Today I witnessed something kinda puzzling. As I walked through the parking lot to work, a woman was driving behind me trying to leave the parking lot. I first noticed that I needed to pick up the pace so she could get out. That’s when she unintentionally caught my attention. And no, she didn’t catch my attention in that way! She caught my attention by the serious bass-line in her music. She was an African American female who was about 50 years old and she was listening to some hardcore rap music.
As she got closer, I could make out a rhyme pattern that affirmed my initial suspicion. Yep, that was definitely rap. The next thing that I heard was a familiar voice. RICK ROSS!!! Yep, Mr. Rozay was getting some major airtime in her 2008 Chrysler Jeep. But why? Why would any 50 year old woman with good sense be listening to Rick Ross on her way to work? Was there someone behind the driver’s seat with a gun pointed into her back forcing her to pretend she was down with the original Maybach prison guard?
I thought she would be into some smooth jazz or something. I guess I was wrong…
Even though this woman defied all of my stereotypes, I had an experience at my last set that reaffirmed many positive stereotypes about doing church events.
Last Friday [August 17] I participated in an event that was completely refreshing for me. It was my first experience sharing rhymes within a church (besides my home church) in over 5 years. This event caused more anxiety than most of my shows because I knew that people would be coming with their cups turned up. I knew that faking wasn’t an option and that empty lyrics would only mean missed opportunity. I knew that- just superdope beats- or Rick Rozay flossing, wouldn’t cut the mustard. People would attend this event looking for hope, inspiration, and a spiritual connection. They would be looking for GOD.
Any artist that is faced with a crowd like this must first acknowledge that they will not, and can not measure up to the need of the crowd. They must call for backup. They must call on the giver of the gift. So that’s just what I did.
It was T minus 30 minutes till showtime and I took a walk. I took a walk to ask God to give me something to say to his people. I completely believe in the gift and talent that he gave me. However, I lacked a belief in my ability to deliver. I didn’t believe that I was ready to stand in front of his people again and deliver a performance that was worthy of their attention. My mind was clouded with thoughts of: the argument I had with my wife, the upcoming school semester, the piles of work that I left on my desk earlier that day, and all the people I forgot to invite to this event.
Hopefully, this paints a picture of what shape I was in as I smiled at the event organizer and told them I would forgo using any music on this set. Wait, what did I just say? Did I just say I was going to forgo the one thing that could mask my complete unpreparedness for this show? Did I just dive off the cliff of stability into the sea of uncertainty? Did I just take a shaky show format and remove any resemblance of structure?
Yes I did…And here is how it went:
May A&B selection went over well with the people who were there because they heard a good word in my performance. The event went well for me because God proved to me that He could even use me when I was most distracted and felt the farthest from Him.
Liberation A.M.E. Zion is not my church. However, I was liberated last Friday. I believe the people were liberated also.
If you would like to experience my music in a non-religious setting please check out my YouTube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/ill95.
The cover charge is $5 and the entertainment is top notch. The Rob Dixon Trio is the feature and the open mic list will be waiting for your name. Even if you don’t get on the list…This is an event you don’t want to miss!!!