On Monday morning, my boyfriend and I stepped onto the train together. The train was pretty full, but we were able to find seats. As we sat down, we heard something loud coming from the corner. There a man sat, a bluetooth speaker in his lap, blasting very loud, very bad rap music. He and his girlfriend nodded along.
This didn’t seem so unusual at first. Most New Yorkers have been on a subway car with someone blasting ratchet music from his cell phone. And it’s obnoxious, of course. But this was different, and not just because this guy thought went through the trouble of hooking up his music to this massive bluetooth speaker. David and I listened for a moment, and both of us were unable to identify the terrible song playing (normally if we put our hip-hop brains together, we can come to some conclusion).
“It’s his own music,” said David.
This made sense. The production value was terrible (think Casio keyboard circa 1999), and the flow was, for lack of a better word, wack. I couldn’t totally understand the lyrics, which isn’t unusual (how many times have I mumbled along to a YG song before realizing what was happening, and then uttering a silent prayer for forgiveness?). Thankfully, the aspiring rapper and his girlfriend (I assume she was not his wife…a man like that can’t be tied down) would chime in every few words, as rappers are wont to do. We would just hear rap, rap, rap, GOLD CHAINS, rap, rap, rap, MASERATI, rap, rap, rap, BOOTIES. I mean, staples. Yes. But it’s been done. Maybe try something a little more original. Also (#noshade) but I’m 90% sure this guy never set foot inside a Maserati. I never have. I don’t think anyone I know ever has. There is no shame in not being supremely rich. I’m just saying, might be better to keep it real.
Also, it’s worth noting that this was not a young man. I’d guess he was between 45 and 50, which is not necessarily prime for being discovered in the rap industry. Maybe things are changing? But no, they’re not. If you’re a rapper over 25, you better rhyme tight. And you better know somebody. And you better be able to keep up and know the language and trends. Like, please no who “My Woes” are before trying to be a rapper in 2015 (I dont’ know what that means, but I’m not tryna rap. Also, please let me know if it’s an offensive term, I’ve been using it quite regularly).
So, this guy was steady rapping, and everyone was mad. The woman across from me was reading a New York Times and just boiling. She kept sending her stink eye down the train, and I was like, Girl. Relax. You don’t know him. He might be crazy. It’s true. We all read and watch the news. People are insane. I would have loved to shake this man and tell him how terrible his music was, and that nobody wanted to hear it in the morningtime. I would have loved to scold him for all of the coarse language he was blasting while tiny elementary school children sat right across from him, but I’m not yet comfortable using the term ‘coarse language’ aloud. And again, everyone is crazy. You never know when someone might pull out a weapon, or spit on you, or give you a demo CD then ask for a five dollar “donation.” So I kept my mouth shut.
I’m all for following your dreams, but if you’re goal is to become a rapper, maybe don’t force your terrible sounds on innocent people on their way to work. I mean, aspiring actors don’t just hop on the train and perform a monologue. Psychology students don’t get on and ask if anyone has an issue they’d like to discuss (that would be a nightmare, the student would never leave the train). I’d encourage this guy to go the traditional route, and just post something on YouTube or Vine.
[I hope you enjoyed my attempt at using hip-hop terminology]