[Editor’s Note: For his third WOHM feature, Sermon got creative and penned a fictional story, which is supported by artwork from Damon Smith. Hope you all have fun with it. #PreachOnSermon]
There I was sitting in between Kanye West and Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda. They were discussing an experimental collaboration idea that involved cow bells, the sound of Seattle rain, and a sample of Final Fantasy X’s “To Zanarkand.” It sounded like one hell of an idea.
“What do you think of that, Serm,” ‘Ye asks me like we hadn’t just met five minutes ago.
“Well, I’ve always been a fan of Final Fantasy, and Seattle is my hometown,” I reply.
He looks angry as if I was supposed to be his hype man for the idea. Mike interjected saying that it’ll work for sure. Kanye smiles and leans back in his chair. The lights dim low, and the crowd erupts. They know what time it is. The start of the first annual Best Rap Award Show on Earth, or BRASE for short.
Vince Staples is tonight’s host. During a press run, he was quoted as saying, “I guess one of the execs follows me on Twitter and thought I was entertaining enough to host this year.” I had high hopes for Vince. Surely he could execute his duties better than Russell Brand or, yuck, Miley Cyrus.
“There’s no room for bitchassness tonight,” Vince said with his throwback P. Diddy shirt. “If you fit into that whole bitchassness role, please stand up and exit the building. Thankfully, we didn’t let Miley Cyrus within a 50 mile radius.” That got a few laughs.
The first performer of the night is DJ Khaled. Normally, this would be a turnt up affair, but Khaled is just focused on We The Best Music. Ace Hood comes out to “Hustle Hard,” Vado shows up next with a song from Slime Flu, and finally Mavado with some record. At this point, I’m over it. Khaled says he has the best music group in the entire industry. Kanye and I look at each other at the same time and start laughing.
Presenting the Best Autobiography in hip-hop award is Ben Savage and Ma$e. It’s an awkward exchange as the latter tries to teach the former how to Harlem shake. The award goes to….Scarface’s Diary of A Madman. Unfortunately, he’s not there to accept his award. Twenty minutes ago, he tweeted, “in the studio getting a fix from the doc.” Well, that sucks.
As the master of ceremonies, Vince Staples reappears sitting in the crowd, flirting with Tinashe. Some guy tries to hand him a microphone and tells him, “we’re live, sir,” but Vince doesn’t care. He’s making post-award show plans. Finally, he grabs the mic, says to “stop bothering me America,” and introduces the next performer.
It’s Fetty Wap! He breezes through a medley of his current four top 10 Billboard hits before bringing out Lil B to do some new album cut that sounds like it might be titled “The Based Zoo.” Fetty thanks the Based God, and something else happens that I miss because Vince saw me and started talking, more like shouting, to me.
The nominees for the Best Rap Album are as follows:
– Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
– Travi$ Scott – Rodeo
– Dr. Dre – Compton
– Vince Staples – Summertime ‘06
– Future – DS2
I’m very impressed and can’t pick my choice. Mike Shinoda says he’s riding for that Dirty Sprite all day. “Freak Hoe” is his favorite. In the row behind me, I hear Travi$ say, “I don’t give a fuck about that award.” Dave Chappelle is giving out this award. Dave has this natural funny vibe, so it took the audience a moment to simmer down to hear the winner.
“The winner is…Travi$ Scott’s Rodeo.”
I turn around to see Travi$ standing on his seat. He looks to be scouting the rows for someone. He jumped to the ground, tore his black DONDA-designed shirt off and ran around the rows gathering the other candidates for Best Rap Album.
“Look, I don’t give a fuck about this award. All of us up here are artists and we all deserve to be recognized for our art,” Travi$ says. “We all win.”
Kanye is smiling big as his protégé pulls a move that ‘Ye himself would’ve did years ago.
It’s a commercial break for the broadcast. Hard to believe this is on live TV. I need to stretch my legs after an hour plus of sitting. I run into DMX who tells me he’s working on a Christmas album after the success of his Rudolph remix. In the lobby, some rapper is trying to convince me that he got next and wants me to slide Kanye his demo tape. Man, I just wanted some water! Go away. The line is too long.
I rush back into the theater as the lifetime achievement award begins.
“This award is to honor the musical contributions of a legend. From the days of giving the police a middle finger to, well, the days of still giving the police a middle finger, Ice Cube has become a household name. His discography spans nine studio albums, one N.W.A. album, and a successful crossover into films. Classic records like “It Was A Good Day” and “Hello” flood his immerse catalog. You can spend days listening. I was 12 when I bought Death Certificate on iTunes,” Kendrick Lamar pauses to wait for any laughter. It’s seldom. “Regardless, Cube is a staple of rap and deserves this award and so much more. Give it up to the one and only, the OG, the legend, Ice Cube!”
Instead of a speech, Ice Cube lets his music do the talking. Straight into a performance highlighting some of his best songs and verses. Guest appearances from Dr. Dre, Public Enemy, Snoop Dogg, and WC give assistance to an already stunning performance. Mike Shinoda tells me he wasn’t a big fan of Cube’s, but plans to check his stuff out. He asks for an album recommendation. I tell him to start from the beginning while sighing inside.
“Why is it almost the end of the show and they only handed out two awards?” Juicy J asks.
I found that an odd, out-of-place thing for Juicy to say considering he’s always high and just chills in the background. Was he expecting to win something? Was he high enough to think he got a nomination this year? Probably.
“They’ll probably just give the rest of the awards out on Twitter,” Wiz Khalifa responds with his signature laughter. Juicy J found that hysterical. Yeah, he’s high.
Vince Staples comes back out. Where the hell was he for the last 40 minutes? “Sorry everyone, I was tweeting.” I pull out my phone and scroll to Vince’s timeline. Lots of random thoughts.
“I hate award shows. Too many nerds.”
“I asked Kanye West for a beat and he told me he got me.”
“Mac Miller is a scrub.”
“@Tinashe Come backstage after the show. Security said you’re good.”
Well, it looked like more than 40 minutes worth of tweets. Vince says he had fun tonight and hopes we all did too. He says there’s one last performance to end the show and jokingly eases our biggest fear: “it’s not Papoose, I promise.”
The stage set-up is some weird looking flower world. It’s what Poison Ivy would live in if she existed. There’s people dressed up as flowers moving around. Kanye looks more confused than I am. Who’s the performer? Are we being trolled?
From a field of flowers emerges the performer but his or her face isn’t visible. A microphone is revealed in the artist’s hand and he puts it up to his face.
“One, two three… My baby don’t mess around..”
Andre 3000 performing? What is this fantasy world we live in!? This can’t be a real award show. The whole theater is loving “Hey Ya” like it just came out. At the end of it, Andre explains his absence from music for the 100th time and ends by telling the crowd that his solo debut album, titled Diving Into The Deep End of Flowers, is now available on iTunes. Talk about an ending nobody expected.
Mike Shinoda is overly excited. He seems like the guy who became an Outkast fan because of “Hey Ya” and never heard the older albums. Mike is on iTunes on his iPad purchasing the album as people begin to exit.
Kanye taps me and says he’s leaving to get home in time to tuck North in. I let out an “awww” and he laughs. I tell him it was good to meet him, and he says to take his number down. He’s booked a studio session to finish up SWISH or whatever the title is now and wants to come give my opinion.
“Yo, I’m checking their Twitter and still no other awards announced,” Juicy J says as he and Wiz walk by.
“They still gave out more awards than The Source did this year,” Wiz laughs.
Oh, brother. At this point I’m so tired that I can only laugh with them.