Too Soon: My Pain Is Your Pleasure

You do NOT want to be mayor of this place.

One of humanity’s most fascinating and cherished features is our ability to fashion beauty from tragedy.  Such was the case in 1997, when two of my college classmates and best friends died on an Independence Day weekend road trip.

A few of us were in a rap crew at the time (long live The Myth) and decided to pen a song called “On Your Journey (Too Soon)” as a soundtrack to our sadness.  Recently, I decided to completely remake the track so that we could lay down new vocals – the idea was that rallying around this project would give us an excuse to reunite.  After I dived into it though, it became apparent that my emotions had other plans in store.

Let me just say that the last several months have been a dark time for your hero, O my brothers and only friends.  I’ve been in a protracted war with the forces of evil across multiple fronts for a while now, and the nature of the eventual outcome isn’t at all clear.  When the anniversary of my father’s death came around, I could almost taste the darkness that was threatening to envelope me on all sides.  I had to do something.

For me, that something consisted of embracing the pain.  After all, it wouldn’t be the first time that I’d romanced a serious bitch.  It was about time I got something out of this particular abusive relationship.

So, I slightly reworked my verse from the original song and dropped it on the new instrumental.  Thankfully, the lyrics were just as poignant to me in 2011 as they were in 1997.  Now what?  How could I follow that?  Over the course of the next couple of days, I realized that while those lyrics had a specific contextual meaning regarding the death of dear friends, the overarching significance was profound loss and its aftermath.

When I realized this, two new verses poured out, each addressing a different aspect of that unavoidable component of the human condition.  The second verse is about a woman who didn’t know herself and therefore, never fully knew me.  The final one deals with my first and greatest loss – that of my father.  To be honest, I wondered if the whole “black boys need their dad” thing was a little trite, but then I remembered that no one else can tell my story but me…so anybody that mistakes it for a cliché can kiss my muscular ass.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get back to the fight.  Please enjoy the pain.


Filed under Music, Scissormusic

4 responses to “Too Soon: My Pain Is Your Pleasure

  1. Jamala

    You have always been so beautifully strong to me. Even in being there for all this and having those “I just need to talk” calls it still hurts my heart to read this and hear that. We have been there for every major change in our lives… including this one. Now we’re grown with “grownup” lives and “complicated issues” doing the ish we said we’d never do, walking those paths that we promised not to walk. It’s always been that when I thought I was going to laugh you made me cry and when I only wanted to cry you made me laugh. From me being too “pacific” to you having to kill me if you told me and all those “to the grave” promises we made. I too did not know how deeply it went for me until I started writing this.
    Your mother is my mother
    My sons are your sons
    Your pain is my pain
    My joy is your joy
    I love you, my brother.

    P. mfing S.
    This is ALL the damn gush you will get from me for the next decade!!!
    (check out my post about the same things. 33 is after all a power #

  2. TH

    I’m sorry for all of your losses 😦 I think the song is a great idea. If nothing else, you’re remembering your friends as you compose; the memories we leave behind are our greatest epitaph. I think you’re doing your Dad’s memory justice just by living the dream, Ivy League grad 😀 Just keep pushing on. It won’t be dark forever.

    • Thanks, TH. Making the song definitely felt like therapy. I expected that much though, so no surprises there. What WAS surprising was the degree to which I felt all those emotions over and over again each time I heard the song. I don’t know if that will go away at some point (maybe when the darkness fully passes), but it’s interesting.

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