Long ago when single and blind dating up a storm, I met up with Gunner, a man fresh from the grasp of the military who was a retired Army reconnaissance officer. He wanted to try out a local brewery located in the back of an old-school strip mall called The Pruneyard.
Just as we toasted and began sipping our Rock Bottom Brewery Terrapin Alt beers, across the room came a loudly proclaimed, “Fa shizzle ma nizzle!”
We (and everyone else) turned to see a pony keg of a guy working his groove right towards us in a fur-lined Puffa jacket and combat trousers, with a three-inch-thick silver pendant chain around his neck.
“Fabulous jacket,” I exclaimed with much admiration. The guy looked menacing, but entertaining. I was pretty certain that he knew Gunner by his deliberate beeline to our table.
“Yeah!” he exclaimed. “It’s all about the Benjamin’s, baby!!”
Meet “Brotha Lunch,” Gunner’s half-brother and budding rapper—or more specifically, a budding gangsta rapper. He pulled up a chair, sat on it backwards, looked at Gunner and asked, “What it is?”
My date was clearly embarrassed and balefully uncomfortable. He was on a blind date and his attention-grabbing brother appeared on the scene. It was a bit weird, so I quickly steered the conversation to include the three of us, hopefully comfortably. I saw this as the only palliative after Brotha L had so rudely butted into our date. I wasn’t sure what to say, so I complimented Lunch’s stylin’ name and let him know that I was pickin’ up what he was layin’ down by saying I knew Sacramento rapper Brotha Lynch Hung Lynch, whose second album dropped in 1995. He immediately sparked like I was the Oakland Po-Po on a Saturday night, and quickly said he had too much street cred to steal a game.
“Lunch” said he wanted to be like Nate Dogg and rob a Taco Bell, or like Snoop Dogg and get 25-to-life for murder, but get off scot free. Even though I was pretty sure Brotha L didn’t have the ten points of “street cred” I was looking for, I knew that focusing the conversation on him would be more note-worthy than what I’d seen from Brotha Gunner thus far. I had a few beers and I was in the mood for fun banter, plus all my conversations with Gunner prior to the date had been kind of taut. I was glad “L” arrived, and my date “G” seemed okay with the fact I was chatting with, and being kind to his brother.
I sipped my Singletrack Copper Ale and adjusted myself in my hard chair. Then Lunch and I got down to it.
“The first step in the hip-hop world,” he said, “is creating a handle.” I commented that perhaps something influenced by Schooly D’s name would be dope. I also added that I thought his lyrical focus on the lifestyles of inner-city gang members and criminals could be anti-violent if he spun it right. He nodded enthusiastically. He was actually listening to this suburban white girl sitting in front of him.
“Like how the Beastie Boys produced proto-gangsta rap tracks on their 1989 album, Paul’s Boutique,” I went on. “Misogyny creates a conflict
between gangsta rappers and women in which these men struggle to empower themselves. Gangsta rap is their means of this empowerment. This is how they throw it down.”
I prattled on with all my key points like there was no tomorrow, and like I actually knew what the hell I was talking about. He would answer me every time with a punctuated “fa sheezy weezy in the keezy” (translation: “we certainly do feel at home”) or a gut-busting laugh and “tribble ribble ma nizzle” (translation: “ah, that’s hilarious”).
When empty glasses stood before us, Brotha Lunch proclaimed that he had to go “kick it with his road doggs on the E side ‘cause he’s rollin’ with the new jack crew.’”
He flashed a peace sign at me when he trotted off, and I looked at Gunner, feeling quite pleased with my bad self. Homey G, however, made it clear that he was always embarrassed by his brother, and his feelings about that were as subtle as a flying brick.
After a long silence, Gunner remarked, “The only thing he said to my last date was ‘Hey, phunky monkey, you got some junky in your trunky.’”