The first time we met was at a friend’s house fourteen years ago. I was a shy, nervous glassy eyed boy, who didn’t know much about the world. She was a bit older, wild, exotic and very well traveled. We were complete opposites.
I still remember that encounter vividly; it was almost like a trance. She waltzed into the room, and everything stopped. There were a bunch of us in there, and every single eye was on her. She was mesmerizing, an attention grabber to say the least. It was almost like real life slowed down, a matrix like effect.
We continued to ogle, barely breathing as we watched her every move. She spoke in a sound unlike any. It sent a rush through my body, a thrill I had never experienced until that very moment. Mind you, I was only eleven at this point. My brain could not properly interpret the emotions rushing through my body. All I know was that I loved it and wanted more….And then she was gone. Just like that the object of our fascination had left without as much as a ‘good bye’. That was my first taste of heartbreak, and I knew the other kids in the room felt that way too.
For the next couple of years, life kicked in, and I pretty much forgot about that night. I never heard or saw the mysterious lady for a good while. She was pretty much a foregone thought, until that fateful day, the day love took a hold of me and refused to let go.
‘The day’ as I have aptly named it, will forever be etched in my mind. I constantly replay that moment, still laughing at my reaction. It’s when my life changed. The day I effectively morphed from boy to man.
It was a very hot day. I was lying on my bed, bored with nothing to do. The radio was on the window sill, birds where chirping outside. That was when I heard it. It sounded so different, yet so familiar. That sweet melodic voice that transfixed me to the spot a few years back was back again. Could it really be her? She sounded so different, yet felt the same. I knew she was saying something meaningful, but I paid no attention to the words. Her voice was rapturous, taking me to new heights.
And then, just like the last time she was gone yet again. Dashing out of my life as quickly as she had entered it; déjà vu perhaps, but this time I’d be damned if I let her go. I was hooked, and there was nothing going to stop me from finding this woman.
The search was on! I remember going to school the next day, trying to find out more about her. Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one who had fallen for this intriguing lady. There was a whole bunch of us, and we maniacally craved for more. This was a period where cassettes were still the norm. CD’s were just becoming the acceptable means of listening to music, so tapes were the rage. We would scour the school looking for anyone with anything new from her. Then we’d have someone dub it on those tapes. It was serious business back then. Messing with a guy’s tape was like messing with his food. It was our only connection to her, and we cherished it intensely.
As I grew older, my love for her grew stronger. My parents of course frowned upon it. They just couldn’t see the attraction. She was unruly, rowdy and unrefined. There were better things to invest my time in they thought. I wish I could break it to them the impact she had on my life. She allowed me to express myself better, opened me to a world I never thought existed. She thought me how to dress, how to carry myself and how to have a jolly good time. She imbibed in me a sense of self-worth and thought me how to pay attention to what people were saying, rather than what they were doing. The list goes on and on, I could go on for days about this woman’s effect on me. She’s done more good in my life than bad. The kid from Lagos was madly in love with the girl from Brooklyn and there was no one that could tell me otherwise. Love had found me, and in the most unexpected way.
That was then, this is now.
She was the drug, I was the addict. But now I’m sober and my love for her has waned tremendously. When did I start losing interest you might ask? Well probably about my first year in college. She had simply become too famous for her own good. She started messing with the big dogs. Guys who only wanted to use her to make money. They pimped her, and in turn she got ridiculously famous. Everywhere I went, she was there. Her looks started to change, and so did her voice. Complexity was out the door, and in came marketable, gimmicky stunts. She showed her skin more, stopped trying to make sense. Sex sold, and she knew she could get more people to pay attention to her that way. She was the girl that every guy in the neighborhood had stories about, and trust me that’s never a good thing. She had lost her integrity, a cheap whore. You had the money; you could do as you please with her. What a shame…what a shame!
Something had gone awry and there was nothing I could do to stop it. That girl we admired from afar was no more. She was simply that tramp that would get with anyone for the sake of money. I couldn’t look at her without feeling disgusted. Couldn’t listen to her without something foul forming in my mouth. Gone were the days of adulation, replaced by nothing more than scorn. Nas not too long ago said, hip-hop is dead. Some agreed, some disagreed. I tend to believe she is in a coma. A self induced coma for that matter. She loved the lime light, loved the attention she commanded. Unfortunately sometimes we love something too much and it tends to be bad for us. She lost sight of what truly made her unique and now she has no identity.
I mourn for my love, yearn for days of old. Once in a while, I will hear something fresh that piques my interest. Sometimes I pick up my tapes from back in the day to relive those moments. It never feels the same, but it’s the closest to feeling like I used to. Hip-hop will always have a special place in my heart. Still can’t let go, despite the fact that there’s so much garbage out there.
Good bye my love, my heart weeps for you. I pray one day you will come back, but something tells me that will never happen.