Tag: Linton Kwesi Johnson

Hey, Macklemore, can I come to your Pizza Party?

My son and daughter have grown up in a family of two English teachers so it is not unusual for all of us to talk about fictional characters as if they are real. My children have not suffered because of this phenomenon, but there have been times when it has confused my kids.  The tables have not only turned, the tables have been upturned as my children have gotten older. The world they exist within is not the same world I grew up in, but like any supremely cool parent (sarcasm intended) I have tried to allow them to exist within this alternative universe while doing my best to educate myself about this other place. It is why I have attended my first rap concerts, learned to text message, watched the stupidest television shows ever produced, and kept my fingers crossed that I wasn’t a terrible parent.

This past week I learned a few more things: 1. Each year Seattle rapper Macklemore has a pizza party for his fans, 2. There is always a contest to get into the pizza party, and 3. Columbia City is not a bad place to spend three hours if you have not been invited to Macklemore’s pizza party but your daughter has.

On Tuesday morning, I received an email from my wife (we still like to communicate the old-fashioned way) that informed me that Owour sent a text to my daughter and invited her to Macklemore’s pizza party. I knew who Owour was because my daughter talks about these Seattle rap folks by first name, and I have seen him on television several times jumping around with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis as they played that “funky” music the children love so much.

The invitation was an unexpected and generous act that caught us unprepared. The party started a 6PM and was in an area of Seattle that my wife and I were not familiar with, so that meant I would be going. I get to venture into the unknown because I am taller than my wife and don’t mind getting lost.

We live a bit away from Seattle so it was a dash to make it to Columbia City in time, it didn’t help that the Mariners were having a game downtown, but we made it to the pizza party in time for my daughter and her invited guest to stand in line for a few minutes before being swept in through the VIP entrance. It was a little like taking her to the airport and dropping her off for a three-hour trip to some place fantastic. I know enough about the band to know that she was in a safe place with some great people.

Here is what her evening was like:

The line to get into the world premire pizza party.

The line to get into the world premiere pizza party.

Em, Jon, Ray

My daughter with the director of the Thrift Shop video (Jon Jon), and Ray Dalton.

Shoes

Macklemore’s shoes. I believe those are Ryan Lewis’ shoes to the right.

same love

Macklemore, Mary Lambert and Owour performing Same Love.

While my evening was not as glamorous, I did manage to survive. I ate an entire pizza in about ten minutes. Wandered down to Starbucks and watched some old ladies knit up a storm.

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This is before Charlotte arrived. Once Charlotte showed up some serious knitting went down.

I found a great eyeless gnome.

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My son was afraid of gnomes when he was younger, so I took a picture of this guy and sent it off to my son with this message, “Is this under your bed?”

I ate a small plate of nachos.

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After the pizza, I could not finish the entire plate of nachos.

After the pizza, the coffee at Starbucks, the discovery of the gnome, and the plate of nachos, I still had about an hour to waste. So I wandered aimlessly around the streets until it got dark. I did discover a “Gentleman’s Club” just down the street but decided that even though I am a gentleman, I should probably skip that one. (I did not have my top hat and tails with me.)

My daughter eventually emerged from the party and by all accounts had a great evening. She saw the world premiere of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ new video, met lots of people, witnessed a mini-concert, and most importantly had an experience that she will remember forever.

If there is one thing life has taught me it is that experiences are priceless. My greatest regrets are when I passed up opportunities to do something because it was slightly inconvenient or cost more than I was willing to pay. I look back on those handful of opportunities with the knowledge that the $40 I saved by not seeing Pink Floyd in Auckland was wasted someplace not as memorable, the $75 I didn’t want to spend to rebook my flight to include a Fijian stop-over probably got spent on rice and beans in Spokane, and the chance to drive to LA to see Linton Kwesi Johnson in concert would have made me tired for work on Monday, but it would have created a memory that I still have today. It is those moments I regret, but those are the moments that help to remind me that driving to Seattle on a Tuesday night and getting back late was worth it even if the only thing I got was heartburn and a great big hug from my daughter.

Here’s the new video if you were curious.

What I Learned About the Seattle Rap Scene

 

Last week, I wrote a sarcastic little review of a rap concert I attended with my kids. I thought it would be a fun way to preserve the memory for my family and allow some of my blog followers to have a laugh. My intention, and all writers realize this, left my control once I hit the publish button. My blog blew up and I learned a great deal.

 

Lessons Learned:

 

1. The Seattle rap scene is really interconnected, supportive, and for the most part a  positive group. My review was snarky, but the groups themselves seemed to enjoy the review. The review got picked up on social media and I believe almost everyone performing that night read it and had a laugh. I doubt this would be the reaction from most urban rap scenes which made me feel even better about the connection my kids have with this music.

 

2. Prometheus Brown (Bremerton graduate hence the shout out to Bremerton) is a stage name and the group he was performing with that evening is called The Bar. The other members of The Bar are Bambu and DJ InfraRed.  Brown also performs with a group named Blue Scholars (not Blues as I had first written.) This still confuses me a bit because I think of being in a group like being on a team, you can’t just play on two teams, but it speaks to how interconnected the Seattle rap community is. Someone wrote a comment that if I didn’t like The Bar and BFA I could listen to Wiz Khalifa. At first I thought The Bar in question was the club I went to, but it wasn’t. I still have no idea who Wiz Khalifa is and I am not going to Google him either. Ignorance is a gift in this case.

 

3. I am really out of touch with what is fashionable. I made fun of the BFA’s DJ and his fashion choices, but it appears I am the one dressed like a doofus. I watched a video by Macklemore yesterday about shopping at thrift stores. From what I can tell, the new thing is to wear old people’s clothing.

 

4. Social media really works. I blog but I don’t tweet or do anything else that pushes my blog out to more people. My daughter tweeted my blog to somebody and then the thing just snowballed. I think of the internet as a flat world where things are linear, but it isn’t. Twitter connects people one way, Facebook another way, Reddit (never heard of it until last week) another. I follow media in an old-fashioned way. I do one thing at a time, but people who are really connected toss all of the media together like a salad.

 

5. People are passionate about the music they love. While the groups I reviewed didn’t take much offense to what I wrote, the same cannot be said about all of their fans. One person thought I was a closet racist. (I really have nothing against closets. In fact, some of my favorite rooms are closets.) Others didn’t appreciate that I made fun of music that they really love. A few people couldn’t believe how clueless I am. I wasn’t always this clueless, but it happened. A few years ago (the 80s and 90s) I was ahead of the curve, I have the record collection to prove it. I worked as a college radio DJ and did a reggae show every Friday night, but one day I looked in the mirror and I was old.

 

6. Parents shouldn’t be too worried about letting their kids go see groups like The Physics, BFA, and The Bar. I wouldn’t take a bunch of ten year-old girls, but if your kids are listening to the rap music, why not go to a concert and see what it is all about?

 

Two Things I Want My Readers to Learn:

 

1. Buy your music. Don’t steal it off the internet just because you can. If you love music keep it alive. These groups you love deserve it. They are not millionaires, and if they are, it still doesn’t make it okay. I know music can be expensive but you have to feed the things you love. Music and musicians cannot live off of your love (unless your love comes in the form of food.) Supporting artists is a tradition that has been around since Man started developing culture. We would not have the great paintings, music, sculpture, and writings if it were not for patrons of the arts. Become a patron instead of a leech.

 

2. Get to know the reggae branch of the rap tree: Toasting/Dancehall. Yelllowman, and Eek-a-Mouse are pretty good, but when it comes to spoken word music no one was ever better than Linton Kwesi Johnson. If you don’t know him, you should.

 

English: Linton Kwesi Johnson on stage reading...

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