Mom, Dad, I feel like it’s finally time for me to come clean about my latest project. You remember that $20,000 you loaned me six months ago? Well, it wasn’t for “paying off gambling debt” like I claimed. The money actually financed a studio-quality recording in which I mercilessly rip the both of you to shreds over sonic layers of flawlessly-mixed hip-hop. In the music community, we call this a “diss track.”
Before you rush to judgment, let me just say that this isn’t about you. Not entirely, at least. I also recorded diss tracks to my landlord, my former landlords, some guy at Dairy Queen who gave me the stink eye, and Kanye West. I’ve dropped eight tracks so far, but it seems “Herez 2 Tha Phoniez Who Raised Me” is the only one that’s gone viral. And yes, Mom, I realize that you and Dad are technically my only former landlords, but if you actually take the time to listen to “Phony Azz Landlordz,” I think you’ll agree I raise some valid grievances about the overall levels of bitchassness I faced in that joint.
All that aside, I’m really looking forward to you guys hearing what I’ve been spitting. I know I’m not the most objective critic to weigh in here, but I seriously feel like there are some verses in “Herez 2 Tha Phoniez” that are so beautifully poignant and mesh so well with the synth beats that they just make you want to sock your own mother in the face.
I wouldn’t expect you to understand, though. See, a lot of people your age are simply far too out of touch with contemporary culture to realize how powerful an expressive medium like rap is for white, upper middle class millennials utterly bereft of any experience in the art of struggle. If the two of you had even bothered to occasionally confine me to a closet, or create a website in which you mock my every decision using stop-motion animation, maybe the YouTube posting of my diss track wouldn’t have upwards of three million views right now. Maybe I’d be battling deep-seated psychological issues and not even recording music with your hard-earned money.
And no, Dad, it wasn’t all a lie. I really am in serious gambling debt with some highly dangerous people. I live a perilous, day-to-day existence, but you know, the unadulterated fear gets channeled into the music. Hypothetically speaking, if my body were to wash ashore sometime in the not-so-distant future, I’d like for my track dissing the local Russian organized crime syndicate to be played at the funeral.
What’s that, Mom? Well, I don’t exactly know how I expect you to respond to all this. It’s customary to retaliate by dropping your own diss track or popping a cap in someone’s ass, but neither of you are exactly the musical types. Don’t think I don’t remember the two of you drunkenly singing along to Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do with It” at those stupid parties you would drag me to as a little kid. But that’s all I’m going to say about that. I feel like I thoroughly hashed out those issues in verse 4 of “Herez 2 Tha Phoniez.”
Alas, my phone’s ringing. I’m afraid I’m going to have to take this—it could be Kanye, but really, it’s most likely the Russian mafia.
Erik Cofer lives in Greensboro, NC. His work has appeared in The Big Jewel, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and The Toast.
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