94 Rugged Raw

I’m deep by sound alone, caved inside in a thousand miles from home
I need a new nigga, for this black cloud to follow
Cause while it’s over me it’s too dark to see tomorrow
Trying to maintain, I flip, fill the clip to the tip”

-Nas

 
…I sit in traffic going over the QB Bridge on a cool May night engrossing myself in the memory of 1994. The piano versus the record scratches replay the soundtrack of many a night standing under the Brooklyn Bridge part of a cipher but not puffin, just passin. Grown up kids talking about the wrongs of the world and how they would right them by the high thoughts they passed around. Chances were, they wouldn’t remember what they said in the morning, but I would. I was the sober sec’y documenting all their plans to take over society and I marveled at how flawed the plans could be if they weren’t careful… and was saddened by the notion that all it would take is for them to forget and they probably would never make it too far with those grand ideas to change the world. In that fleeting moment… the world was theirs and they were planning to do with it as they pleased… we drove quickly over the bridge and i gazed at the downtown skyline. not even that was the same anymore.

“A real slick bitch, keep a trick up her sleeve
And if I deceive, she won’t take it lightly
She’ll invite me, politely, to fight G
And then we lie together, cry together
I swear to God I hope we fuckin die together”

Biggie


…my first real taste of ghetto love had me doing things I’d never been raised to do. try things so I could see my life through his eyes. rockin’ clothes too big and timbs not tied and talking with a mouth like a sailor… behind closed doors. in the street, the picture of a lady, dressed to the nines and struttin’ my stuff. but my ruffneck would saddle up next to me and everyone knew what was up. i had a soft looking shell but inside i was hard core… just the way my boo liked me. and when we were alone, he was the softy, bearing his soul to me and loving me completely… promising me the world, but the ghetto had a hold of his mentality. he wasn’t going anywhere, wasn’t doing shit… and i’d have to sit and devise ways of how to raise our kids on my salary while buying him a box of dutchies as a gift for his birthday and our anniversaries. i enabled him to think it was okay and i splitting my paycheck with him didn’t help. i only did it cause i loved him. all the nights in the dorm… and the weekends on the island, wrapped up in each other. it was our reality. but it was never real. and eventually, i had to wake up. our bodies change every 7 years… and mine stayed exactly the same for those 7.

“Never fakin I gets down for my crown clown
Shakin the membrane of Encyclopedia Brown
Freakin the funk in any throwdown
While you sustain the sounds, up in ya”

Keith Murray


fresh off the sands… after cleaning my deans home and staying up all night reminiscing as if it were years ago that we were standing on that same wall being screamed at and put through trial after trial… i walked into my dorm and saw my bed and the clutter and all i wanted to do was wash my hair. 16 messages waited for me on the phone and all of them calls of congrats. everyone knew that we were over and a new reign was about to begin. the zeta party tonight, picked up my brand new crossing shirt with the fresh FA94 on the arm and the two tone letters on my chest. i’d lost my freshman 15 in those 7 weeks, 6 days, 4 hours, 10 minutes and 20 seconds… so all my clothing was laying right. this affirmed me. it validated me. i was now a pretty girl and no one could touch me. and I had sisters that would never leave.

“Sometimes, when I’m alone I feel sad
’cause I know you’ll meet me once again
And take my pride
And maybe I am the fool you call me
’cause I’ll be here standing waiting
To hear you say to me”

Tevin Campbell


At the end of the bridge i wondered if i would live it again if i could. how young was i? how much didn’t i know… how much i didn’t care, because I truly lived for every single moment. not worrying about the future beyond my classes and grades. but loving life and making friends and enjoying all the blessings and fully taking them for granted in those moments. i laid down the foundation for who i am today… and although fond memories… 1994 is the best thing i’ll never do again. but the music makes my heart skip a beat because of how much i changed.

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