A Story for My Detroit Niggas

(Written by Hex & kept safe all these years on @Houseshoes' myspace blogs)

Subject: the best thing ive ever read on the net. THANK YOU HEX.
Category: Dreams and the supernatural
4/4/2007
Mood: Blank
________________________________________
"A story for my Detroit niggas..."



I wasn't sure I would ever tell anyone this story, but I feel like it needs to be heard, because muthafukas need to really understand the power of music. I might even be posting it in the wrong forum, but I don't give a fuck.

It starts over a year ago, on Feb 10th, 2006. I was in Fribourg, Switzerland w/ SV & we were eating pre-show dinner in the back of the venue. The European tour mgrs phone rings. Nobody pays too much attention, we just keep eatin' & talkin' shit. Howi (the EU tm) gives T3 the phone, & says "It's Tim" (SV's mgr). T3 listens for a minute, then gets a totally blank look on his face. Totally absent of any type of emotion. He hands the phone back to Howi & looks @ all of us (me, El, & Dez) w/ a blank expression, not saying a word, his mouth forming a small "O". Finally I spoke. "What, nigguh? Who the fuck got killed THIS time?" He turned around to look @ me. & said, "Dilla just died". Nobody said a fucking word for a few seconds. Then Dez said, "Man, I gotta smoke." T3 went in the back to use the computer, Elzhi sat @ the table looking numb, & I went in the back to check on T3. Mind you, this is approximately 30-45 minutes before the FIRST date on this EU tour, I think it was about 12-15 dates. Howi asked me did we still want to do the show-no brainer-"YES". There's no way Dilla's death was going to silence his music in any way, shape, form, or fashion.

The show must go on.

We walk on to the stage, the venue is packed. Dez is on the tables, I'm punchin' the buttons on the replay. I hit the first joint-"GIANT" from the self-titled lp. 3 & El come out, killing it. Next up is "SET IT". @ the end of the joint, 3 tells me to hold up. He addresses the crowd, & informs them that J.Dilla has passed form. The majority of these kids don't even speak English. As I peered out into the crowd, I saw people wearing, "J.DILLA CHANGED MY LIFE" shirts & other types of Dilla & Slum memorabilia, some shit that I hadn't seen in the states in YEARS. T3 asked for a moment of silence, & some dude yelled out in broken English, "J.DILLA IS A GOD!" The crowd screamed it's approval, T3 said "Hit it",
& the show went on. The ride back to the hotel was quiet, nobody said much of shit. Everybody alone w/ his own thoughts, thinking about a fallen friend.
The tour instantly became a Dilla tribute tour of sorts.

The next day in Zurich, one of the opening acts had a painter onstage. He painted throughout their whole set, & left it onstage when they got off. It was a portrait of Dilla. He gave it to us. (You can see it in my pics on my myspace page)T3 flew to LA for the funeral & missed two dates, one in Belgium & one in Germany. Elzhi HELD IT THE FUCK DOWN, you hear me? & the crowds gave so much love, because they knew mufukas were going through SOME SHIT. A friend of ours from London flew into the Belgium gig to show support.

Imagine that shit.
You're halfway around the fucking world, heart heavy as a mufuka, doing what amounts to a one person SV show & you see this funny lookin', funny talkin', scarf-wearin' African dude in the middle of the crowd, w/ his hands up the whole night w/ a shit-eating grin on his face & @ that moment he becomes the most beautiful person in the world. We talked, kicked it about Dilla & he told us he'd see us in London.

Those first few days were some FUCKED UP DAYS, I'll tell you.
A whole lot of internet & phone calls & red eyes & shit, you know? But the shit started to change. We incorporated a "DillaTribute" into the set. More & more fans were showing up wearing Dilla shirts & anyone who got a chance to talk to the group expressed nothing but love & respect for Dilla AND SV. But the wounds were fresh, niggas were still hurt, & the press didn't give a fuck. I had to monitor all interviews and give a limit to the # of questions that could be asked about Dilla.

Dilla was ALWAYS the shit overseas, & his death drove the music media into a frenzy. How many times can T3 answer "How do you feel about J.Dilla's passing?" & what the fuck did they expect him to say? We could see people suddenly referring to Dilla as a "legend" or an "icon", but he already was that to us. As a matter of fact, the day before he passed, me,T3 & Dez were in my room in London talkin' about Dilla & if the world & especially the U.S. Would ever completely understand his genuis. I swear to God, Dez said, "Man, nobody's gonna really realize how sweet Dilla is until he's gone." We all agreed wholeheartedly. Foreshadowing for your ass, huh? Anyfukingway, tour ends, we come home.

There had been all types of J.Dilla tributes & memorials & shit while we were gone, so obviously SV wasn't able to be a part of them. We didn't mind,though.
Almost every night for a month we held our own J.Dilla tributes & memorials on the other side of the planet, & I believe those audiences needed to see SV & hear that classic Dilla shit just as badly as SV needed to give it to them.
Therapy.
After that first night in Switzerland, we never did "A MOMENT OF SILENCE" again. It was always a moment of NOISE & the crowd ALWAYS gladly complied.

Story doesn't end here, though.

About a month after we get home, on April 11th, around 5am, I'm sitting up watching "PulpFiction" on onDemand @ this broads crib. All of my communication devices start ringing/buzzing/vibrating @ different intervals, so it's sounding like non-stop racket.

I know this can't be good.

The calls & emails are from various people. One text msg said, "IS IT TRUE"?
I reply, "IS WHAT TRUE?" The response comes, "ABOUT PROOF?" You know how it feels when you're on a rollercoaster & you just start droppin' over that first hill? My fucking heart fell into my feet.
Another msg said, "TURN ON THE NEWS".
I didn't.
I couldn't.

A lot of that shit is a blur.

I remember talkin' to 1stBorn & asking "IS HE GONE"? I remember Freddie calling & asking where I was, telling me to hold tight, he's on the way. I remember going to the wrong St.Johns-the one I went to when Fats lost his little brother Sammie.
I remember the hospital parking lot. News trucks on the street. Camera's set up. I remember Mike D's wife telling me Mike was hyperventilating & asking me which hospital we were @.
I remember P's little sister Mschief hugging me so tight I couldn't breathe. I remember Dolo running into the hospital w/ tears running down his face, & the police running in moments later. I remember what seemed like 100 police cars filing into the driveway in front of the hospital. I remember going to St.Andrews, @ about 11am & everybody getting fucked up & praying & shit. I remember clandestine conversations about the likely whereabouts of the shooter. Leaving. Trying to sleep thru the incessant buzzing/ringing/vibrating of those motherfucking phones. Going to NorthernLights.

BlackMilk telling me, "Dog, I can't see you nigguhs like this-I'm out." I remember Trk callin' me @ like 5am, we talked, & yelled & screamed & cried.
Yeah, dog.
We cried.
We cried for P & we cried for the city. The rest of that week was a lot of bullshit. Mufukas on TV lying, nigguhs lying to us, a lot of fucked up shit. Snik & Hush coming to get me,
we went to see Keyshia Cole, then going to Sevin, gettin' fucked up, trying to forget the unforgettable.

I wouldn't go inside the wake.

I sat in the car for about 2 or 3 hours. People came up to the car & spoke to me, some of them tried to get me to go inside. Nope. Uh-uh. Not me. I'm going to remember my dog like the last time I saw him. My man ForbiddenFroot told me, "COME ON, GO ALL THE WAY W/ YOUR NIGGA MAN. YOU GOTTA GO ALL THE WAY". I'll always love that nigga for sayin' that, but that wasn't P in there.
My dog was already gone.

This story isn't about death, though.
It's about the POWER OF MUSIC.

I didn't go to the funeral.

SV had a show in Amarillo,TX that day & we were glad to get on that plane & get the fuck out of Detroit.
It felt like the city was dying.
A couple months after Proof died it was time to go back on the road.
Back to Europe-FestivalSeason. Started it off w/ a Dilla tribute @ the Montreaux Jazz Festival. SV, PhatKat,PeteRock, Baatin & Bilal.
I don't even need to tell you how ridiculous that shit was. I think there were 20-25 dates, but I'll tell you about the two that stick out the most to me. In Dublin, quite possibly the whitest place on the planet (ask Snik) I saw some shit I will never forget. Standing in the very front of the stage, in the middle, right next to each other, where two twenty-something Irish kids, hands up the whole show, spazzing out, knowing almost every word-feeling it, you know?
There were a lot of cats like that @ SV shows, but these two were different.

One had on a "J.DILLA CHANGED MY LIFE" shirt, pretty common @ SV shows, right?
The other guy had on a PROOF shirt.
You know the shirt I'm talking about. Black W/ Proof's face on it, BigProofForever on the back. We all had them. Marc LaBelle & Mikey made sure that cats had those black Proof shirts. There's no telling how many they had made. I mean, w/ the internet & everything that might not have seemed too strange that some dude in Ireland was wearing a PROOF shirt.
But this shirt was different.

It was white.

So these two guys are there in the front row & @ the end of the show I grab them, & bring them backstage so they could take pics w/ SV. I gotta get a pic of these two Irish dudes, who got together to come to an SV show to represent, shoulder to shoulder, front row center reciting "FALL-N-LUV" like they wrote it, one rocking a Proof tribute shirt the other a Dilla shirt.

The two dudes didn't know each other.

On the last day of the tour we were in Germany @ Splash. Splash is widely concerned the biggest & best festival in Europe. Everyone wore their "BigProof" shirts & Dilla NewEra caps. While I was doing the line check, I could hear the crowd murmuring..."BigProof...J.Dilla...BigProof...J.Dilla..." Kinda like, "Tastes great, less filling". It was kinda weird. SV comes on, murdering that shit, & we come to the part of the set where they do the J.Dilla/BigProof tribute. Thousands of people w/ their hands up, shouting out our niggas names to the heavens,half a world away, showing love to Detroit's finest.

I don't think I've ever been prouder to be from this dirty muthafuka.

All because of MUSIC. You can concern yourselves w/ radio play, or street promo, or whatever the fuck you want to, but trust me, your music is going to reach who it's supposed to reach. So whenever you rap niggas write a verse, or you producers make a beat, & you're repping DETROIT CITY, remember that you've got a beautiful & wonderful legacy to uphold.

Make us proud.

Make THEM proud.
R.I.P.
BigProof & J.Dilla.
Forever.

Have gun, will travel.

33 comments:

  1. I ain't no bitch but, I cried reading this shit, Nuff said.

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  2. It gets no realer than this...

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  3. Well written. We'll always miss those brothers for their contributions to our memories.

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  4. Salute nigga real ass shit #PERIOD

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  5. Speechless

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  6. damn. just, damn. wow.

    -BrotherDante

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  7. I never met Dilla however had alot of respect for the man and what he gave us..Proof told me stories about him and we became friends over time during shows/tours in Australia...I always feel hs still with us in spirit and often feel his around>>thank you for sharing this with us. Respect and one love.

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  8. One of the realest shit i've ever read. No extra BS. Damn

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  9. C@$HBRED~Dat was sum deeeeeep Det 313 Shit I wrote"R.I.P. J-Dilla ,Blade ,Aaliyah ,and Big proof

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  10. Wordup. Thanks for sharing this Hex. People tend to talk about these guys like they were some fictitious super heroes or something but we know y'all considered them to be family and that those relationships are really special. They live on across the globe through all the people who appreciate their legacies.

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  11. WOW! I PROUDLY share a birthday with Dilla and I swear it feels like I've read or heard damn near every interview, article and update about him (although I know I'm not even close)! This HAS to be one of the best reads to date; very real and helps me know him a little more abotu James Yancey just by listening to the people who actually knew him.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Much respect Hex thanks for sharing with us.

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  13. This was such an in depth story.
    I felt like I was there.

    Thanks for sharing Hex.

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  14. Two Legendary greats, J-Dilla, a king of dope music, Big Proof, simply the illest in existance, I was in my bro's room listening to the re-up and went out for a smoke, and recited that verse, screamed it, and as I did I swear to God a shooting star flew through the night sky, and I knew he was out there somewhere, I felt awe inspired and at the same time, priveleged to be in the same existance ,
    2 absolute legends.
    Thank you Hex
    Free

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  15. Damn, This just reached down to the core of my soul. This is definitely the realist and most heart felt story I've ever heard. Mad props to you and the crew to continue on in the midst of a tour and spread the love while doing it. Music is the thing that connects us all. Thank you for sharing this!!!

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  16. Cant even count how many times I have read this.

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  17. I love and miss my brothers J. Dilla ans Proof. I love you too Hex for sharing this story. Even though my heart gets heavy at times, I still find a reason to smile because both of them always showed me love.

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  19. My brother....through loss comes strength. I never knew dilla personally and only barely knew proof...but each of these days I'll never forget. It felt like I was punched in the gut. Twice.....part of it was the creative loss. Mostly though it was the sadness due to the pain that alot of my friends were going through.
    I am proud of the fact that the city has accepted me into the community, proud of the music this state has created, but mostly proud of my friendships with all of you...your strength through so much loss is inspired.

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