Yesterday on the way home from work, I was talking to a couple of kids on the train who I see on there quite often. Good kids, but always loud and often inconsiderate of the people around them.
Had to call out the one kid when he yelled a casual c’bomb at his mate while surrounded by a bunch of senior citizens who did NOT look impressed.
At first me responding to him and telling him trains ain’t the place to be dropping cbombs at the top of your lungs seemed to get his back up. But then he recognised me from when I’d previously stood up for him against guards and was a bit more accepting. But not that accepting. He kept taunting me to call him by his name – which I didn’t know.
Then one of his young female friends caught me mouthing Jimblah lyrics and jokingly teased me about my singing; to which I replied “you are lucky I’m not singing out loud, I can’t sign for shit”.
Long story short, I got harassed to sing and told them I can’t sing but can rap… Next thing you know there’s 10 kids standing around pretty much chanting ‘rap rap rap’ at me.
So I dropped a couple of verses right there on the train with an audience of 10 teens, a bunch of seniors and a few other bystanders I hadn’t really taken much notice of.
The kids loved it. I got political. I rapped about the Iraq war and climate change and being respectful to them.
When the train pulled up at my station and I got off, the kids were all beaming up to me like I was some kind of hero and the tension of the initial confrontation was forgotten.
And even though I had sworn for emphasis in the lyrics of my rap, the old people actively thanked me – because there is a time and place for swearing.
Most of the time that’s NOT on the train – but in that moment, when I was teaching those kids how to behave – everyone seemed to appreciate it.
Next time I see those kids on the train, I bet they behave without me having to say a word. Sometime’s you just gotta get down on a level they can respect before they will show respect.
I can do that now. Hip hop makes it easy, and I love hip hop for that.
Moral of the story: there’s lots of ways to make the world a better place, and sometimes it’s as simple as rappin’ to a bunch of teens on a train. So do that, if the opportunity arises.