1992 affected me more than almost any year of my life. I still say soda instead of pop even though I’ve been back in Ohio for 17 years.

In the autumn of the nineteen hundred and ninety second year of the common era, fate bestowed upon me a confluence of events which would eternally shape my future.  First, I met Cleveland “Baby Jordan” Fuller, the man who played basketball with me almost daily, and the man who told me to rap. In October of 1992, B.J. and I were walking to UCF to play basketball with the college kids because we thought we were too good to play at the high school. On the way, B.J. told me to “kick a rap.” I replied “I can’t rap man.” He reiterated,  “man, just kick a rap,” so I did.  I memorized that 30 second freestyle and it became my first song “Inventor.” 

B.J. and I then freestyle battled almost every day. We used to play a card game called Tunk, which was a hybrid of Gin and Rummy using only 5 cards, with the objective being to “go out” with either two runs of 3 or one run of 5. While playing the game, we would talk trash in rhyme about our hands. We used to freestyle on the way to and from school, as well as while waiting to play basketball, etc.

We briefly formed a group called the multi-culturals with a third member.  It was brief enough that I don’t remember his name.  He was Puerto Rican; hence the name of the group. It also abbreviated to M.C.’s, and one of our songs was called “we’re the M.C.’s.”

We eventually recorded a demo on my dad’s tape recorder. We sent a copy to 102 Jamz in Orlando,  but it never got played. We also gave a copy to a talent agent. I was 14 by that time, so it was 1993. She told me “rap is on its way out and you should do something that’s you.” Rap became more popular in the coming years, and I’ve always known that I’m doing something that’s me.

The other thing that shaped my life in 1992 is that I played high school basketball.  In some ways, that may seem trivial.  It truly wasn’t, and that’s where we’ll pick up next time.


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