Rap Music, Who I am and My Mission

I grew up in a small town in south Texas that would be considered the “country”. There were cows everywhere, I rode horses and got chased by wild hogs when I walked through a field looking for a place to read. I watched Old Yeller in the 3rd grade and it was a movie that was meant to teach us something, not traumatize us. I don’t know if it was because I was already traumatized by life or if that was how it was for everyone else, but watching that movie made me wanna dog and know how to run from wild hogs.  My childhood was no the greatest, but I didn’t really know that at the time, it took me becoming a teenager to figure out just how angry I was about things that had happened to me when I was little. Now that I have done some healing I am able to look back and see all the of things that made me who I am and see that there were more good times than bad times.

I love music. All kinds of music.( except techo) When I think of certain times in my life there is a song that pops in my head and I can see the entire memory in song lyrics. I learned how to speak English when I was 8 years old by listening to country music. I would tell the kids at school that Kenny Rogers was my dad when they would make fun of me for not having one like everyone else did. Country music played a huge roll in my life until Bon Jovi came out with Slippery When Wet my fifth grade year. I loved every song on that album to the max. I ached for love like that. That album plus Dirty Dancing really made me want to find me a hot guy to marry so I could live happily ever after. That guy would have to look a lot like Donnie Walhberg because he was the hottest guy in Teen Bop magazine. Duh.

My prayers were answered when a boy who looked just like that started going to school at my Jr. High when I was in the 7th grade. I fell in love with him the second that I saw him walk down the hall his first day of school to Ms. Overby’s science class. I still remember that moment like it was yesterday. That boy is now my husband and there are moments when I catch a glimpse of him and feel the very same way that I did that day about him.

Stacey Adams was the most popular boy in school in no time. To this day he claims that he had no idea that he was or that girls were crazy over him, but I was one of those girls soooo I remember it pretty well. You should know that my husband wears a cowboy hat, wranglers and cowboy boots on a daily basis now, but that wasn’t always the case. When I met him at the age of 13 he was the one who introduced me to rap music. He introduced me to NWA, Eazy-E, Public Enemy, Slick Rick and Flava Flav. Some people may think that rap music is trash, that’s fine, everyone can have their own opinion, but for me it was a look into a world that I never knew existed. I didn’t know anything about black people or gangs or any of that. In our small town there were no race issues or gangs. You either sniffed white out, or you didn’t. You were either poor or you were rich. You either were the cool kids who got to hang out at Pizza hut or you were the nerds who hung out outside of Pizza hut. That’s it. That’s what divided us in Kenedy, Texas. Oh, and then you were a slut or you weren’t.

The thing is though, if Stacey had never introduced me to that music, I would never have survived my move to big town (big compared to where I came from) where I went to school in the ghetto. In Amarillo, there are 4 high schools and the one I went to was on the ghetto side of town with the most black and asian population. Amarillo was very segregated when I moved there in high school and it still kind of is. It was a rough school. My first year there, there was a shooting inside the school. That was before Columbine and it was in a school with drug dealers and gangs, so we only made the media for 5 seconds, unlike a shooting in a middle class suburb. When I started school at Palo Duro, I wanted nothing to do with being there. I wanted to go back home and I hated everything about this school. It was loud, it was huge and it was full of strangers who yelled at me if I was trying to figure out where I was going. One day, I just hid inside a phone booth and skipped class because I was so overwhelmed with everything. I was a small country girl who didn’t know the first thing about racial class and I was going to a school where the guy who had a locker next to me asked me if I wanted to buy some crack. It was too much.

A popular football player found me in that phone booth and became one of my closest friends. He taught me how to stand up for myself and he introduced me to people and they were nice to me because if TB said you were cool, then you were cool. Why he took me under his wing is beyond me but I do know that since I knew about and loved rap music, I had some common ground with people that I wouldn’t have had anything in common with. Rap music gave us a place to start from, a place in common where we could laugh, jam and get to know each other. I made some really great friends there, friends who are in my life to this day. I learned a lot about the inequality of this country. I learned that if you are with black friends at the mall, you will be followed by cops. I learned that bloods and crips have no idea what they are fighting for and I learned that no matter how low you get in life, there is always a way to make it back up.  I learned that you can take your experiences and turn them into art for the world to see who you are. I learned that loyalty is worth more than anything. And I learned that there is no time or room for bullshit when you are on a mission to change the world, which we all should be on.

I can’t wait to see Straight Outta Compton because rap music is such a huge part of who I am and it has given me so many lessons that will help me in my mission in life which is to grow closer to God and help others do the same.


2 thoughts on “Rap Music, Who I am and My Mission

  1. I too am looking forward to seeing the movie (in fact, my Orange County- born and raised husband is seeing it right now!)

    It’ll be great to reflect, and it’s ironic that early 90s rap is such a touchstone for many of us whom it wouldn’t seem to match up with, culturally or socioeconomically or whatever. It must really be about the shared experience of living it with specific peers. The intensity of adolescence is a curious thing.


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