*** ill o.g. ***
There has been a disturbing trend in the world of Hip Hop over the past decade or so, and it's something that needs to be addressed NOW. I actually first discovered it back in 1996. I know it's hard to believe but it began back in the day when a friend of mine came over one day to freestyle. What happened next deeply disturbed me but at the same time it made me laugh hysterically. The trend? Finger smelling rappers!
It was a normal day, a day like any other. I awoke from another lonely night watching TV and flipping through my vinyl collection. After eating breakfast, then lunch, I got a call from my boy and he said he wanted to drop by so we could freestyle. I hadn't seen him in about two months because he had gone to New York to chill for that period of time, so I was happy that he wanted to hang.
"Sure", I said. "Let's do this, I got Doritos and Coke", to which he replied, "Cool, I'll be there in a bit". So I got shit ready and started to pull out whatever breakbeats I needed for our freestyle session, stuff that I had played many times before. I had gone a few days earlier to the record store and picked up some new shit, I think it was a new edition of Cracker Beats, or maybe it was Shok Beats Volume 2. I made sure my needles were clean because the last time they had accumulated so much dust that I had to stop a beat just so I could clean them off!
The doorbell rang and I knew what was up, that the session would quickly begin. I buzzed him in and we suddenly gave each other pounds and daps, hi-fives, the works. He looked a lot different than when he left two months ago, he even had some sort of nappy headed hair thing going on. I asked him what the hell happened to his head, to which he replied, "Nah man, I guess Brooklawn caught up to me".
After laughing at him for pronouncing Brooklyn as "Brook-lawn", I got things going. The amp went on, the turntables, mixer, then finally the microphone level went up. I threw on a random beat and he quickly jumped in and started to freestyle like I had never heard him before. I guess NY had a major affect on him because his style seemed different. After a few moments though, something peculiar happened. Something seemed out of place, almost like as if it was meant as joke, but not.
The Smelly Finger
That's when I noticed it! While he was rapping, he was also smelling his finger, to which I started to laugh uncontrollably. "Ahahah, what?", he said. "BAHAHAH you look like you're smelling your finger! Did you scratch your ass too?", I said. We continued to laugh and we continued to freestyle until the wee hours of the morning, to the point where we both realized that it was 6am and we had to shut it down.
Nonetheless, after all of the laughing and clowning around, the finger smelling persona that he now carried, lingered in my thoughts. After he left that morning, it continued to bother me that this is what it had come to. The fact that my good friend and freestyle contributor was now reborn into a new era in which there is no return. Ever since that day, I pleaded with him to stop the madness, stop the finger smelling and just freestyle like he used to do.
The Now & The Future
Unfortunately, that day never came. Weeks, months, years went by and he continued to hold his microphone in a way that his index finger was forever forged between his upper lip and the underbelly of his nose. I told him that maybe it was just a phase he was going through and that maybe there will come a day when he will see his wrongdoing, but that time has passed.
Now all I see is finger smelling rappers. What seemed to start in 1996 in a small apartment on a normal day, now turned into the norm for rappers from all walks of life. The most recent one that I've seen is none other than Jay Z. Some think that it may look okay, others think it's actually "cool". But what seems normal to some is quietly ridiculed amongst a small group of Hip Hop fans that want nothing to do with it.
Holding a microphone is supposed to be an art form. Many in the past have been able to hold it normally, in a way that a game show host would, by grasping the base and speaking clearly into the cone. In some ways, it's the same as those in the streets that hold their gun sideways. It looks cool and seems convenient, but it's so far from reality.
The microphone is your gun. Hold it properly and keep your trigger finger around the microphone, not under your nose. These words will be read but only a few will actually heed them, the rest will continue on at their own will.
I miss those days where the finger was not being smelled. Those days are gone but not forgotten. Rest in peace.