Homage to De La

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Raised by race is not a statement that is all bad. I experienced a few isolated incidents that I will eventually cover, but it was the timing and shock of who was involved in the incidents that would bring me to certain crossroads, forcing me to make decisions.

There is a group that in my opinion had more impact on hip-hop and culture than N.W.A., and that is De La Soul. Artist like this either became overwhelmed with the dead end fight against commercialized booty shaking and unoriginal modern hip-hop, or joined the dark side to lure young desperate artist into the slavery of the record industry. These guys were bohemian and not easily duplicated. I can remember searching, without access to the internet, to find clothing that closely resembled theirs. Prior to the band dropping their first album 3 Feet High and Rising I had dabbled with skateboards a little. I was trying to send a clear message to my peeps in the neighborhood that I am a geek that is not interested in gang banging, set trippin, slangin rocks (dealing drugs), or anything else that was going to get me beat up.

Before we moved to South Rome my brother told me that the guys on the South Side would kick my butt for having such a smart mouth. I was doing the pesky little brother thing to him, and instead of jawing me, he gave me fair warning. So when we moved I had terror in my heart for a few weeks. At the time I didn’t have any ideas on how I could dress in order to look harmless. Family Matters didn’t air until 1989, so the Steve Urkel look wasn’t an option. Then comes the refreshing oddity of a group. I lost myself in the group and took on the identity of Plug 1 Posdnuos. I really thought I was this dude. It was not easy to find comfort in my new identity because despite my friends being rap-atics no one was trying to be De La………except me. Thus we’ll call this incident one that shaped my life. The relationship to race was the idea of becoming something that was safe for the acceptance by both whites and blacks. I found an escape from the stereotypical image of South Rome in a rap group.

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