Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Traumatized by the revelation she switched to Ortow Pylit
Years before I convinced myself I could write I thought a reckless and trifling lifestyle would make me a better rapper; it did; though the gap between writing 16-bar attack-verses and up-at-dawn story writing was to me, merely a matter of technique. You see, when it came to rhymes I had 20 years of practice, honed to near perfection, witty punchlines, lyrical timing etc; as I say, fellow peers would recognize and would salute my constantly evolving, hyper-trendy technique, but a novel? Heck I knew I could do it, sure, but would publishers detect a neophytes technique? This was where I focused. So, with all my (hopefully) entertaining vexations superimposed over romantic comedy/tragedy, plus coming from an ignorant world where “hedz” never refer to heavy-duty text, I wrote while pondering illusory competition, (all them well-read premiere authors I’d hear on the Radio4), still remaining conscious to develop a technique of my own, but first I had to escape the sub-culture I was embroiled in, being sidetracked ever-deeper into defensive wargames, as the music and non-music line blurred, me and my crew wasting time, flicking off certain rival rappers, heretics upon whom I identified as candidates for my “special psychological operations”. This was verbal-scalping battle-rap and it was getting ugly, and crucially, for no fightpurse… well… maybe stripes of a rival?
Yes but I was a ghettosnob, and vain with it, seeking the lens barrel, and although the whole Americanized industry was heading that way (so naturally we would follow), lacing raps with ultimately empty threats born of mistrust and pride was not what I came to London for.
At some point it’s fair to say I secretly wanted out, most definitely, but didn’t know how to do it, so out of desperation I opted for rule#1 – act crazy, a trick which, by the way, worked, but at a price. See my lifestyle at the time, it was just smoking, drinking and rapping, but the problem was, those who rapped, (which added up to like, a micro-class within itself), I wanted them to leave me be, foolishly intrigued by wrong ambition, assuming through adoration I could sidestep the lane of misfortune. But I was in too deep, plus, you can’t just say to peers to whom you owe studio time or stage attendance “just please, leave, me, alone, just gimme, like, 15 years alone, to write, please”. You just can’t. So I went to a place, they as rappers, would never look for me - (this is before the “bling-bling” era) - which was the pub! But that only worked with some of my world at the time; my phone still rung, and my door still knocked - allies would obviously speak to other allies, therefore, somehow I still felt connected, and I wanted real overhaul of life, total change, and badly, which meant stage a crash n'burn, like 911?, manufacture situations which would travel, and cause intended separation, it seemed like the only way at the time, I had no plane ticket to escape anywhere did I…? So I had to go, with my (by now) self-imposed alcoholism, down to where, I personally, had been before when I first moved down here, but to where no weedsmokers, fellow mic-spitters, or new pub drinkers would follow… The world of the homeless!
Now, getting drunk with them behind churches and the like, developing ways to beat my new friend (the shakes) with downers, breaking into opticians for more downers, well, it landed me in jail for two months of 9, which was like a holiday; never been on holiday before, especially to another continent, and Brixton HMP I was determined make my equivalent. But before that, all the while I was thinking to myself “mate if your gonna do all this, you’d better do it all before your thirty!” which was: be an alcoholic drug supplier, then nightshift dealer, strung out on weed since school, somehow land an album deal in Germany, then an EP deal in Maidstone, then Wales, oh yea break my legs, start to crush opiates into spliffs, go to jail, outline a hip-hop-romance novel, make three albums for three indies, shoot a couple of videos (just so I can trick a groupie into having my baby), be a roadie on one tour, support some artists on another, whereby dodging death threats from the neighbourhood would-be drug don I ripped off, plus a couple of rival rappers, all upset and angry cause my rap-stats are higher than theirs (plus I’m better looking but pity the pretty)! So… there it is… my twenties on a page-: No “time out” on a beach in Thailand, no Ibiza, no happy uni-days, no mom, no dad, no paying taxes, just sitting there thinking of crime, either stoned or drunk for ten years straight from leaving school till my early twenties, basically goofin’ at the TV in a new city thinking “I'm bored, better do something, wife, kids, jail, anything’s better than this”? So I did, and it had the desired effect… a clean slate, and space to write, of sorts, but as I said it came at a price, I understand the poetry now. So, yep, there was some method to my “rule#1 act crazy” madness, allowing me to pop up years later on the other side of the country, like emerging out of a self-created grave, with nobody but my beautiful daughter Tibet in my arms, and that (as I remember) was what I always wanted. Now at least, I'm not sitting there saying “shoot I’m bored, technique? I’m switching off the auto pilot”!