Talk the talk

By CHRIS FARAONE  |  June 17, 2008

Seventh pulls my card: noticing the reporter’s notebook in my back pocket, he calls me out for bringing written rhymes. He also mocks my hat, the “P” on which he alleges stands for “Pussy.” I slash back with “You can make fun of my gear, but I can get a new hat/While your whole style is wack and there ain’t no hat for that.” I’m not sure whether it’s because people realize that I stole the line from Nick Cannon’s Wild ’N Out or because it kind of sucks, but the crowd abandons me. I’m also out of canned rhymes, and that causes me to worsen matters by tossing some lackluster physical threats. To the surprise of few, I’m defeated in a close decision. As I walk off, one kid declares it “the worst battle ever” — the second time that day someone has used “worst ever” to describe my rapping. I’m better off losing, however; had I beaten Seventh, I would have been chewed by New Hampshire foulmouth Ape$hit, who in the final takes the title from the Grime, of the Camp.

I conceived this article not only to separate myself from the voyeuristic pop anthropologists, ill-informed music critics, and detached academics who cover hip-hop but also to persuade a few fledgling MySpace rappers to stop perpetrating. If some arbitrary MC beat me in an essay contest, I’d reconsider my own career. But now that it’s over, I don’t believe I contended in order to make a serious statement, any more than I expected to win the $700 prize package. I knuckled up because what people say about music critics is especially true in my case: I’ve always been too chicken-shit and tone-deaf to consider rapping at any serious level. And now that I’ve tried it out myself, I’ll think twice about romping anyone who strides where I stumbled.

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