The good ol' days.
The reason I got started writing any kind of lyrics was because of a high school english class assignment in 10th grade in 1989. I wrote a poem called "The Pleasure Trip (aka Permanent Vacation)" which was actually about my parents accidentally dying while on a trip. My teacher (a friend of my mom's) didn't find it so amusing, but I thought it was pretty damn clever - it was about 20 lines long and every line rhymed. My friend Todd, who had just introduced me to N.W.A actually, was in that class, too... and it was either him or me, I can't remember which... that suggested (as a joke) that I do it as a rap in front of the class. I was like... awwwww yeah! You could bring up a turntable and we could be wreckin' shit! Wooo!

Hehe... I knew he wasn't serious, he mighta even been making fun of me, but I wasn't all that serious, either. I probably would have done it in front of the class if I had any cojones. But I don't, of course, so I didn't. What I did do, however... was continue to think about poems especially written to be lyrics. I was really getting serious about hiphop music. I was a student of lyricism and began to really begin working out certain rhythmic patterns in my head. So I put words to them. Basically, I would think of a song I liked, get the beat going in my mind, get a topic, and just write. The first "songs" I wrote (with titles like "Unity", "Fear", "Fakers", "Don't Dis Me" and "Escucha" which was written completely in Spanish) didn't hardly have any structure - I would just write until the verse was done, and then write another one. Or it would be just one long verse. I wrote a shitload of these "songs" the rest of my sophomore year and my entire junior year. Senior year, Stan would return. Then, things would change for the better...

Stan moved back to Auburn to graduate with our senior class (long story, he moved away in 9th grade...) Anyway, we were always friends but not really close - I didn't even know he was moving at the time. But when he came back, we really hit it off. "Gimme that beat, fool... it's a full-time jack move..." Aww yeah. Eventually he learned about the writing I was doing and he became pretty interested in it, himself. I would write and write and show him my stuff (with memorable titles like "Stay The Fuck Out", "Time To Flow", "Retaliation", "Bandwagon", "Suicide"), and he always encouraged me. I think it may have been my idea for him to do something too, and we started to pass my notebook back and forth in between classes and we would work on our lyrics. The folder we used to keep all our shit in was this blue denim-material thing, and it had a big 2 Dope on it... I still have the name, even though the folder fell apart years ago. I have no idea where the name came from... I think it was just Stan describing us, and that we were "too dope" and we took it to be our name. Two Dope. The Double D. Oh, yeah. The song ended up being about 10 pages of lyrics... it was massive, it was simply called "Two Dope : The Anthem".

We heard about this thing that the band director puts on called the "Baron Revue" - basically it's a talent show but not a contest. We got this idea to actually perform! Oh yeah! So we put together a little song idea, and approached him about it... we got the shaft. He gave us the run around and basically said it was for band-members only, which was complete bullshit (non-band members DID end up doing skits for the show). Ah... screw him. We moved on. Prom was coming up so we thought maybe we could get a gig that way. We just wanted to do a little something, ya know? Have some fun, put on a show, get our rhyme on, rock the house, show people we had skills, etc. Stan had a class with one of the teachers on the Prom committee - and she wasn't thrilled with the idea, either. She never really said no - and there was already a student who was going to sing a song, anyway - might as well let us do one, too. We were seniors for cryin' out loud! come on! We never got the go ahead for real, but we went ahead and prepared a song, anyway. It was basically a combination of some other songs we were working on... we called it RaProm, for lack of a better title. The track was from Ice-T's "Ricochet" and there was a little intro skit before the song, too. We got the tape ready to go, took our clothes to change in to, and had a plan to get the good word from the head honcho, himself : the principle. We got it alright... he was mad cool. All we did was ask if we could, he said "let me see the lyrics first" so I wrote mine down on a bathroom paper towel, and Stan showed him his sheet. He had a little problem with one of my lines that used "sucka" - so he asked that we omit that. Stan said "what about chump?" Principle Hummer looked at me, and said "yeah, chump is good, go with that." in the most serious voice, it was hillarious. He's the shit.

So we go in the bathroom, change into our "rappin' clothes" (shorts, shirts and hats - pictures available here) and hooked up with the DJ to get the mics ready and put the tape in. We went backstage to prepare to wreck shop. Stan was hella nervous - I was pretty sweaty myself, but I knew my lines. Stan was a bit unsure about his - he was still checkin' the lyric sheet just before we went out. The DJ introduced us: "Here they are, they're classmates of yours, and they call themselves Two...Dope" - the tape had a little intro with some skits that I had thrown together (the future "Intro" from No Kidding) and it played for a good minute before the beat started, and we waited for the intro to get over before coming out from backstage. We could kinda tell the crowd was getting anxious (I think someone yelled out "come on, already!"), then the beat started and out we went. HOT DAMN, the whole friggin' crowd at the prom was literally steps away from the stage. I had thought they'd be up in the seats, but they were all crowded down on the dance floor, most of them standing but some sitting right at the foot of the stage. Shit - that made me nervous as hell - I had to look people in the eye! We grabbed the mics, and proceeded to rock the house. Stan did mess up a few lines, and I tried to keep him on pace as best I could, but mostly his verse ended up just fine. When I was doing my main part, the DJ decided to say some wise-crack through his own mic (which was turned up louder than ours) and he completely cut me off. I had to wait for him to stop and then find the beat and come back into my verse. I kindasorta pulled it off, but I was pissed - what an ass. Anyway... Missy snapped a few pics, and we were done. Whew. I went into the bathroom to put my tux back on, and some kid in there kinda congratulated us and said "so, y'all got a deal yet?" HAHA... whoa, slow down there, Jimmy. Nice gesture, though. I got back out into the prom and got some good kind words of encouragement from friends. They were all pretty supportive. It was kinda cool to be back in school after the weekend, and have some folks come up to us, too. It was probably the boldest thing I've ever done. Unfortunately, that would be the last gig Two Dope or OB would ever play!

More to come...?

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