Show date: September 5, 2008
@ The Cop Shop
This was a surprise appearance — even to me.
Yesterday afternoon, Timid hit me up and let me know that Ike Infamous and Keese MP were hosting an open mic at The Cop Shop last night. For those who don’t know, The Cop Shop is probably the only Hip Hop-dedicated record store on Long Island, and was the preferred local retailer for I Am Hip Hop when it was released. Ike and Keese run one of the major underground shows on FM radio here in New York. A few years back, Timid and I rocked one of their events in Bellmore called L.I.F.E. (I don’t know what that stood for, but I’m assuming the L.I. was for Long Island). That was one of those special occasions where everything just falls into place and magic happens. EJ told me that he’s still waiting for that one show that makes him feel like a star coming off stage. When I came off stage that night, I felt like a star. It’s no secret that New York crowds can be tough, but we absolutely tore it up to the point that the following week, we walked in the same club and had every artist paying homage to us without having to rock again. We were invited to the radio station for an on-air interview on the strength of that performance. Months later, we were approached by a stranger on the street in a completely different town who shook our hands and said, “I was at that show in Bellmore where you guys just destroyed the mic.” It was legendary.
Pizon, Ike Infamous, and Timid at an industry party in 2007
As my career prospers, I don’t want to lose touch with what’s happening on the street level. Being a “star” is an illusion. It’s important to always remain grounded. So yesterday I told Timid we should check out the open mic and see what the local heads were up to. Timid wanted to drop off some copies of his album at the store anyway, so he thought it was a good idea. Before I left my house, I called him and asked, “So, what songs are we doing?” He said, “Oh, you think we should perform too?” C’mon now.
(Let me add that he also made the hilariously lame joke, “What do you call Pizon when he’s down for anything? An Open Mic. Get it? Do you fucking get it?! An Open Mike!” I resisted the urge to call a saddened Timid a Blue Jay.)
I didn’t really know what the reaction to us would be when we got there. My question was answered as soon as we walked in the place. Ike spotted Timid and was overcome with excitement as he proclaimed, “There’s the man of the hour!” He immediately congratulated us on the success of “Dreams Come True” and everything else that’s been going on. It was a challenge to hear him over the music, but he was basically commending us for our achievements and hard work. I told him that we were still in the struggle like everyone else. He told me to feel accomplished that other people are “there” and I’m “here” (with outstretched palms facing downward, the “here” palm significantly higher than its “there” counterpart). It did feel good to get that recognition. He said he could appreciate the grind because being a radio host is just as hard as being an MC these days. Believe it or not, most rappers are so self-centered that they not only ignore other rappers, but they also ignore people who want to put them on the radio. It does take a great deal of finesse, and perhaps a small dose of insanity, to navigate the treacherous waters of this industry.
The owner of the store, E-Nice, was just as welcoming. He was also surprised but jubilated to see us. When he asked if we were going to rock last night, Timid smiled and said, “We might do a little something.” In the meantime, we watched the local talent tear it up. There were some real gifted cats doing their thing. A couple were too high to be conscious — much less performing on a stage — and some were somewhat tentative, but that’s to be expected at events like these. That’s actually the beauty of events like these, because you get to witness the stars of tomorrow in training. The vibe was spectacular. The Cop Shop is a relatively small store, so it provided a very intimate setting. Despite the imminent hurricane, the store was packed from wall to wall with Hip Hop heads throwing their hands up and showing love to their scene. I was getting anxious to hit the stage myself, but as it grew later and later, I started to figure out what was happening. After every single act who had signed up for the open mic performed, Ike announced: “We have one more act tonight. Just a few years ago, these guys were like all of you. They came and performed at our event, and now they’re doing big things with record deals and heavy airplay.” After an introduction like that, we had to deliver.
Timid asked the DJ to start the music before actually giving him our show CD, so I got to make fun of Timid on stage. It’s always good to make fun of Timid on stage. After that was cleared up, the first joint we rocked was Timid’s “Bringing the Awe,” the Domingo-produced banger infamous for criticizing “slaves whose chains hang low” and “fools walking around sagging like their diaper’s full.” I made sure to let the people know that the song was on Timid’s album No Time for the Jibba Jabba, now available at The Cop Shop itself. My preference when performing that song is to do the third verse acapella and then drop back into the beat for the final chorus, but that takes some planning with the DJ to set up, so we just rocked it straight through last night (we’ve had some awkward moments in the past where the DJ forgot to start the beat back up after the acapella, or skipped to the next song altogether). I reminded everyone that The Fam album was coming soon, which led into “Get Off My Ass,” the joint off Family Business produced by and featuring Mr. Porter of D12. Timid fronted like it was himself on the hook. Since EJ wasn’t there, I winged it and spit my verse from “Fix Your Face” (another song from the upcoming Fam album) for the third verse. I think that verse was even better received than the first verse I spit that was from the actual song, because it’s more battle driven. Lines like, “You a retired actor: you don’t want no part” always get the live crowd hype. I also got to rock the new Fam shirt for the first time on stage last night.* There’s a secret about performing that I learned directly from KRS-One recently, and I got to use that too. It’s actually something I’ve done before, but I looked forward for the chance to make a point in doing it on stage. I did it last night to great results — and no, I won’t tell you what it is.
After our little set, Ike and Keese took the mic to thank everyone for coming out and encourage everyone to drive safely in these inclement conditions. Ike made sure to add, “Timid and Pizon, thank you for closing the show. Please come back next month.”
You never know. We just might.
* don’t forget to cop the new Fam shirt from www.thefammusic.com and receive a free press copy of the Family Business album before it hits stores!
Upcoming scheduled Pizon appearances:
9/24 – Brooklyn, NY @ Fish Eye (“Get Ready for Miami” event)
10/25 – Cincinnati, OH @ Annie’s (Scribble Jam video battle)
11/2 – Harlem, NY @ 115th and 5th (NYC Marathon performance)
11/4 – Alexandria, VA @ VOTING BOOTH (Election Day)