The balcony at Granny’s house was the
best place to listen to “Ready to Die” The thumping, all parts of the music wrapped tightly around my ears lying on the floor in 76 minute intervals sneakily
moving my body all seizure like as not to get caught “Gimme the Loot” plays audio so crisp the lisps of Biggie causes me to have
tongue too big for teeth. Vulgarity too big for my 11 year old mouth. Fake microphone. Real crotch grab. The music makes me a rapper. Crisp air, crisper beats. The crackle of a new track beginning. Even now, I want headphones that allow me to hear every nuance. A microphone that brings out the thug in me. Or simply just the writer. Because I discovered the entire underworld of my Brooklyn neighborhood in a single audio cassette tape. Discovered what I know now is the birth of a baby, a movement in hip hop, On the streets and in my soul. I tell you, the right sound, at the right volume, with the right clarity, can shift the stage in your chest. Can make a performer out of you. Can make an activist out of you. Can make a martyr out of you. Can take the voice once silenced and make it a bullhorn. A car alarm. A loudspeaker. A siren. Or the wail of Biggie’s mother at his funeral. It can take you off of the balcony and right Into the Promise Land.