I had about a month or so to prepare for my first show. I made sure to practice all my verses every single day but I never really sat down and thought about how weird it would be to rap on stage in front of a group of people I’ve never met before. When Pcmkr and I arrived at the venue (The Central) I was immediately nervous. There was a decent amount of people outside drinking and smoking (around 20) and there were even more inside (maybe 35). I felt really intimidated by the crowd even though it was quite small. Another thing that made me feel nervous was that it was mostly a metal show and we were the only rap act for the night. All of those factors combined with the fact that I’m still not quite sure how to perform on stage caused me to start thinking about different ways to get out of this situation. I finally stopped the cycle of negative thoughts and just told myself that everything would be okay. We finally got on stage around 1a.m. Pcmkr opened the show with two of his own songs that I didn’t know very well so I couldn’t really be a reliable hype man.
On the third song, Pcmkr was supposed to do the first verse and I was supposed to do the second verse. I was introduced to the song 6 hours before and only practised twice which was really fucking stupid on my part. On stage, Pcmkr did his verse really well which gave me a bit of confidence. On his last sentence I was supposed to immediately start my verse; This was where shit got real…
Suddenly I couldn’t remember my verse. I stood there looking like an idiot for about 6 seconds which felt like 6 mins. I couldn’t remember the first word at all. It felt like everyone was looking at me and praying for me to fuck up, but in reality it was just my imagination. All at once all of those negative thoughts vanished and I was left with my lyrics. After the first couple lines or so I finally found my rhythm and started to feel comfortable as fuck. Even though the crowd wasn’t really enthusiastic about our performance, I still saw a lot of people really feeling the music which pushed me harder. After my first song was finished, an older drunk woman approached me with her arms waving violently in the air. I thought she was getting ready to complain about my liberal use of the N word but she looked at me and said “You are beautiful! You are so good! Are those your lyrics? Who are you?” I replied “I’m no one and yeah, I do write my own songs” she had this really excited look on her face and said “Wow that’s amazing. My son really likes your music so much!” I thanked her and told her that I had to go into the next song. For the whole show she was just looking deep into my eyes, dancing like the people in those black and white videos danced at The Beatles concerts. It was really fucking weird. How the hell does her son like my music? Does she think I’m Drake, or some other incredibly successful black Canadian talent? She has to think that because I don’t really show anyone my music.
(In this picture you can see my first and only fan. A middle aged drunk Korean woman. Everyone has to start somewhere I guess…)
In short this whole experience felt like the reverse 8 mile where the lead character is a black inexperienced rapper from the suburbs who had a successful first performance. By the time I was on my third song I noticed a few people in the audience listening closely to every word and reacting to every punchline which was really amazing to see.
It was an incredible experience, and I would love to do it again. Maybe I might actually do it again. Maybe sometime in early May…
My Music: http://soundcloud.com/richeylynch
Pcmkr’s Music http://soundcloud.com/pcmk3