You had me frozen, cooperative, and attentive at the first line: Alright stop. Collaborate and listen. And when you end-rhymed listen with invention, I was a subservient student to your mass-marketed fabrication, sitting ringside leading the cheers for the fly-by-night Great White Hope heavyweight champ, knocking out legitimate contenders to your newly polished double platinum-selling throne. Because I bought in to what your record executives were selling: CD with you cocky, prepackaged, “Aw yeah, yep yep” milky glow, posing on the front sparkling in a shimmery pseudo-three-piece suit that radiated inner-city youth gone more ghetto than even your black boys, who really did grow up in the projects.
I don’t blame you for hiding from your former life: middle class White Suburbia that branded you black sheep, or for claiming you grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. —Because how many of us are daily conductors traveling down a course of what we are not? Blow smoke from our locomotive mouths polluting our guts in an effort to save our cabooses from ourselves. Queen sued you for copyright infringement, but that was undoubtedly your song; King of Cool proclaiming there was a new favorite son on the hip-hop horizon, a fresh star shining in the mainstream manufactured sky.
Today you do whatever it is has-beens do on reality TV shows, apologizing for who you were back then rather than embracing the bland flavor you fed us before you melted into a pool of obscurity, or celebrating the frozen particle of water you once were that flooded our pop culture lives. But what kind of message does that send to teens like I was? Don’t you ever look up at the cold night becoming your own constellation navigating through the cosmos, anonymous body of hurt and angst staking your claim to a spot in the universe, content to be a brisk beacon unto yourself?
—Former president of your fan club
P.S. Was that really your signature on the picture you sent?
(Published in The Northville Review)