Today is my brother’s birthday. Although some might say “would be,” he truly is with me all the time. I think of him laughing and think of what he might say, the only thing missing is the punch in the arm.
I decided I wanted to write something that I knew would make him laugh. He was not a fan of rap music, so I present…
The Day the (Rap) Music Died
It began in a small town near Madison, Wisconsin when Camp Missawaka’s musical director reported that all of the kids that came for the summer from nearby wealthy Illinois suburbs suddenly wanted to play the tuba. By the time that he had visited all the possible music stores in the immediate area the news had spread and the local news was interviewing them for their evening broadcast. The kids were well behaved and Mr. Schmechel kept merely throwing his arms in the air and shaking his head.
The effect spread quickly, like some alien invasion in the movies. Boys turned around their ball caps and lined up outside the Gap for belts to keep their pants up. Girls traded in their and their boyfriend’s gold chains for money for college. And girls suddenly, and would never again, tweak and boys stopped saying “yo, yo.”
And it was because, for no apparent reason, no one wanted to listen to rap music anymore. They just didn’t want to swear and they didn’t want to yell, and they didn’t want to pretend to understand the lyrics to look cool. Suddenly guys in their 40s were trying to be rap stars and act young and collectively their entire audience realized that was fu—excuse me, messed up.
Kids started to sing. They clapped a rhythm instead of sampling one. They rode with the car radio turned to NPR.
And although their parents were relieved to not have to listen to the music, they were worried. Counselors, therapists, politicians all wanted to know. But all the former fans could say was “That’s a rap.”