Eight 2K

I think it was a Friday in August of 2000. I was at my usual spot freestyling to my small but faithful crowd in the Student Union at Alabama State University. My custom was to rap about the people and things around me so everyone would know I was truly improvising. A new face joined the crowd and soon became the subject of a line or two. I could tell she got a little upset, so when I finished the set I tracked her down to let her know I meant no harm. We became friends and she slowly introduced me to her friends, who happened to be the most pious group of twenty-somethings I’d ever seen. The example they set made an immediate impression upon me. I fell in line quickly, assimilating into the group, trying to glean as much as I could from each member. My entire life was transformed in a matter of weeks if not days. A thief turned into a giver. A liar started boldly sharing the truth. A womanizer began to respect, honor and protect his sisters. The common cursing in my lyrics yielded to blessings. I met my wife and my closest allies through this encounter. I’m not sure what my life would have turned out to be had Aisha Ware not stopped by to check out some young hip-hop head that day. When I sometimes think I’m getting too old to be walking up on college students to tell them how they, too, can be transformed, I think that any one of these people could be another me – just one chance meeting away from everlasting life. So all these years later, I press.