#Instant Messengers EP Coming Soon.
© Erlin Geffrard, Jordan Bogash.
Stephen Hicks: I remember March 10, 1997 better than I do the prior day’s events. It was a Sunday and I was just leaving church. As we drove the backroads of Brunswick County heading toward my grandmother’s house, I heard the news on the radio: Rapper Notorious B.I.G. was killed last night. I heard the news but I was not flustered. It was as if I expected it somehow. The magnitude of it all didn’t hit until a few hours later while sitting in my grandmother’s den. Damn, Biggie died! Just two days before, I was in the car with my mom when WPGC 95.5 FM premiered ”Hypnotize.” And too be honest… I was not feeling the song but I was delighted with his re-emergence. I always enjoyed Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s stuff but Big was always the central component of that too.
Big made me feel comfortable. Unbeknownst to many, I was the chubby kid in elementary and middle school. I looked up to Big because, from my perspective, he made it cool to carry extra pounds. Each Christmas, I requested a Coogi sweater and a Kangol hat from Cavalier’s with no avail. I was sure the clothes would convince others. Yet, even in my Bugle Boy attire, I was Big. And if you were a fly on my family room’s wall, you would have seen how distraught I was when Spike Jonze didn’t cast me to play Big in the “Sky Is Limit” video. Tears, tears, and mo’ tears.
A particular memory that stays with me involves my main man from back in the day, Corey. He was my next neighbor in Chesterfield during my middle school years. He borrowed a Funkmaster Flex mixtape from his older brother (Funk Flex used to put out frequent tapes). We were playing basketball and blasting the tape for all of Scottingham Drive to hear. Suddenly, immersed in the boom bap vibrations, I heard Big’s voice. He says, “If Peter Piper picked em…” Then he ends with, “I’m rich. I’m going to stay that bitch.” There, confusion rushed me. I stopped dribbling or playing defensive or whatever. Why was Big calling himself a bitch? Corey didn’t know why either. We paused our play and pondered Big’s words. Soon, darkness fell and our moms were signaling our return. Close to three months later, Lil Kim’s debut ”Hardcore” drops. And guess what I hear? Kim spitting those same lines. It was not until I had a little peach fuzz on my chin that I put the pieces together. Still, I have only heard the Biggie version twice since that fateful day with Corey.
This is my story. Every Notorious B.I.G fan has their story too.
“You have been telling people that this is the eleventh hour.
Now you must go back and tell people that this is the hour!
And there are things to be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your Garden.
It is time to speak your truth.
Create your community.
Be good to yourself.
And not look outside of yourself for a leader.
This could be a good time!
There is a river flowing very fast.
It is so great and fast that there are those who will be afraid.
They will hold on to the shore.
They will feel that they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.
Know that the river has its destination.
The elders say that we must let go of the shore,
push off into the middle of the river,
keep our eyes open,
and our heads above the water.
See who is in there with you and celebrate.
At this time we are to take nothing personally,
least of all, ourselves.
For the moment that we do,
our spiritual growth comes to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over.
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones that we have been waiting for.”
- The Elders, Oraibi, Arizona Hopi Nation