EPMD Concert Epiphany -- by Dru Hepkins, November 2006
I attended the EPMD concert at BB Kings during Hip hop week. The venue was packed and the show was hot. The crowd seemed to know the words to every song and the energy was definitely paying homage to the Hip hop pioneers.
Another ghost from the past, Keith Murray rushed the stage first and kept the crowd going. EPMD eventually hit the stage to a barrage of cheers. However-----I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed myself. An unfortunate series of events took place that very night that forced me to focus on deeper issues concerning the mentality of today's Hip hop generation.
I brought a female friend with me to see the show, whom I left at the bar for a few minutes. My friend is a beautiful, successful black woman. It's women like her that fellas of our community should be protective of. However, when I returned to the spot where I left her, I came back to find a thuggish character cursing and bickering in her face. I'm no thug but I couldn't let that happen so I stepped in to intervene. Within seconds, the dude decided to throw a punch. I guess ordering his drink first or whatever the situation was was extremely important to this man. While we were locked up and going at it, a second goon with spare time on his hands to devote to a worthy cause came out of nowhere and hit me with a clean cheap shot to the side of my head. It appeared as if this soldier and his partner were ready to go to war with anyone anywhere over the cause of ordering drinks. Eventually, a bouncer came and pulled me out of the scuffle. He let me know that he saw what happened and that I should know the cops were on their way in and he was looking out. The 2 worthless degenerates scurried away into the dense crowd. I was hit with a few blows to the head but I was ok for the most part. My friend and I walked to a different section of the venue. Not only was that mystery thug of the moment and his partner a complete disgrace to the women who brought them into the world, they couldn't even AT LEAST allow a man who stepped into to do the right thing to have a fair one. One of them disrespects a lady and then they try to jump the man that defends her. Aaah----what men of purpose----you gotta love 'em. .
Later, Ralph McDaniels and Mr. Cee hit the stage and there were other recognizable people there that I wanted to grab to catch an interview with. I told my friend that I was just going to head up to the stage to see if I would be able to talk to someone. Halfway to the stage, I decided to turn back because the place was too packed. I couldn't move around and it would be better to wait until the end of the show. Returning to where my friend was, I saw her in an argument with another dude. Yup---another one! This time around I had mixed feelings. One squabble is understandable. A second altercation with another guy the same night----I started to question my friend. Regardless, that was my friend and she's a woman so I decided to step in with a different approach.
How this problem erupted when I left for the stage area is as follows: My friend was sitting by their booth that they paid for. The gentleman didn't want anyone in or near his booth. Sure there was room in his booth, but he didn't want her there and proceeded to tell her how much the booth costs etc…etc. They started going back and forth and he was also very disrespectful. So by the time I returned from the stage area after I already had to deal with nonsense, my head starting to throb a little from the last run in----there he was: Super Nigga' standing on his booth, with an imaginary capital “N” on his chest arguing and guarding his area. I let Super Nigga know that I respect the fact that was his booth and that I respect him but the person he's arguing with is my friend and a woman and I want to resolve this the best way possible. I let him know that I didn't think he needed to talk to her like that. I didn't come off violent but he retorted with aggression and the hint of an invisible cape flapping in the wind. I also saw his corner of cronies turn and look at me for moment as things were about to get hot. I got through one situation relatively unscathed as far as getting jumped goes, but my luck probably wouldn't stretch through another outnumbered situation and we decided to move. My friend became very upset with “black men” and she left angrily.
Did my friend handle these situations in the best way? Absolutely not. A woman arguing with random thugs is dangerous and not the brightest thing to do, especially when she's out with one male friend. In retrospect, she realized that and apologized to me for putting me in potentially dangerous situations. My friend and I go back a long time and my beef with her was only temporary. There is a much graver paradigm beneath it all.
The EPMD concert sparked an epiphany of sorts for me. Our culture and community has gotten too used to having no class, no honor and simply just being uncouth. Upon my friend leaving the club, I looked around by myself and realized I was surrounded by a lot of ignorance and immaturity. There just isn't any justification for a man cursing in a woman's face. It shouldn't have had to be just me to come to her aid either. We're a community that's breeding worthless rabble at an alarming rate. I'm very disheartened to know that this Hip hop generation that idolizes pimps, mobsters and gangsters has absolutely no ethics and almost nothing positive to admire. I hate to sound corny and 20 years older than I am, but we all know that it's true.
The first clown was an unpolished, unsophisticated nobody who took himself a little too seriously. He decided that he came first before women when it came to ordering drinks or whatever his trifling grievance was. Consequently, I was forced to fight with someone who sized up with me as a man, but mentally is a pathetic adolescent.
As for the second rapscallion, I concede that you're entitled to have who you want in a booth that you paid for. It's also my opinion that my friend shouldn't have been sitting there without asking. However, there's always a better approach to how you handle situations. If it were me, I'd be honored that a beautiful girl was sitting at my booth and I'd probably make a new friend (If not something else). If I didn't want her there, I'd have a smoother way to handle it instead acting brutish and telling her how much it costs. This Hip hop generation is full of folks with the mentality of children that never seem to grow up. Telling someone how much you paid for a booth may have impressed or meant something to some ghetto bird, but he was talking to an accomplished accountant. In retrospect, he seems even more ridiculous. They weren't bawlin' in our eyes, they just paid way too much for the same damn thing we were watching. Besides, he and about 7 of his dudes had to split the damn thing anyway. I also don't recall any women with them. Party on playas.
Like a pack of clowns, I'm noticing that so many people in our community seem to be stuck in the scene of some gangster movie. When everyone thinks of himself like a Scar Face, something has to give eventually. (Scar Face, an old school gangster, wouldn't be barking at a lady in public anyway----just FYI). Being positive, good natured and taking the high road is looked down upon with disdain and as weakness. Depending on the situation, I look at it as strength. These “children” nowadays don't seem to realize that it takes a lot more nobility and strength of character to take the high road and avoid drama when necessary. This generation feels compelled to prove to everyone what we're worth by what we drive, how we act in front of people, and what we wear. In this MTV age of hopeless materialism and self promotion, no one seems focused on content of character. Everyone is hell bent on promoting themselves as larger than life and deserving of deference from strangers. The unseen truth of the matter is if you need to be that way, you're probably battling myriad of subconscious insecurities and you'd get farther in life learning to exorcise those demons. Negativity breeds negativity. Positive energy propels people toward success and great things. Never forget that those people you see in videos and on the radio are pretty much actors. Another thing that should really hit home is this: For every 1 thug-gangster-pimp-bastard type that makes it either on a street level or legitimately, there are MILLIONS----MILLIONS that you don't see who don't make it and often meet a dismal end. In a nutshell, most thugs don't get anywhere in life. Those cats leave themselves no other option but to go further into the dark.
It's about time people let go of the tough guy isms. When your soul is drab, you can't succeed. If you happen to “get money”, which in and of itself isn't success in my opinion, you still won't be complete and satiated. To put it short; our community has a lot of bravado, but a deficiency of manhood.