I met “Malice” at my first ‘invitation only’ event hosted by Grow Interactive. Of course I knew him as, Gene. We had met through a mutual friend, an aspiring musician, TuanAnh Vu. Being friends with TuanAnh for years, at the time he had always mentioned doing work with his friend, Gene and after speaking with him earlier that night he mentioned showing up to the event with his friend, Gene. Not knowing who Gene really was, when we finally met, I thought he was a real heartfelt and down to earth guy. I don’t know many people that give strangers hugs, but he’s one of them. And he always has a smile on his face. After a brief conversation, I quickly learned from my friends that I had been talking to “Malice of The Clipse.” You know, we all used to sit at lunch pounding our fists on the tables or some of us even ‘stepping’ to reproduce the hit, Grindin.’ I’m glad I got the opportunity to meet him (Gene) for who he wanted me to know him as and not just for who everyone says he is.
Well, every time I look back on that I laugh to myself because I’m sure someone like him enjoys normal conversation. I’m sure he enjoys being able to introduce himself without someone else telling him who he already is. I guess those first impressions are things that some of us take for granted. Although I can’t relate to any celebrity, I can still say that I’d hate to not be able to express who I really was. But for the most part, they (the celebrities) are portrayed to us as the people we can read about, hear about, or watch/learn about from a glimpse. Media is crazy and so are its powers.
Tonight was another night of firsts for me. I’ve been interested in The Student Hip-Hop Organization (THE SHHO) since I discovered their blog earlier this year. I had asked around a lot about who handled what and what their purpose was. I guess I was just impressed, to say the least. These people really know how to execute something. I didn’t know any other new and upcoming anything that branded who they were as well as they did. So, I finally made that commitment to my curiosity to figure out exactly who and what THE SHHO is.
Walking in five minutes past the events planned time, the room was packed with rows full of people shoulder to shoulder. Luckily, we managed to find good seats and catch the end of our friend Ehrl’s, DJ set. As we waited, I looked around into the crowd to figure out the vibe and how everything could potentially play out with the little time given. I was pretty excited about the types of people that were there, more interested in the types of questions that would be asked. Shortly after, Gene showed up and stood quietly behind my friends and I. The whole time he was there, I don’t think one person was facing any other way. I just watched the effect of one person’s life over a hundred or so. The rest of the night played out as planned, I assume.
The event was centered around Malice’s book: Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind, & Naked. Without reading the book, a lot of the well read said that the book places you on a personal level with Malice. I was immediately drawn in with the question, Could someone that has very little background on hip-hop or who Malice is appreciate the book as well as they did? Gene himself described the books goal was not to let readers in on his life, it was more on hip-hop the industry, and its influences, or shaping moments, to say the least. He even admitted to the dislike of writing and how he could never see himself writing a book years back. That just solidified for me that he was just like the rest of us young adults at some point. Life or just certain events hand us opportunities that we could never imagine. Another thing Malice mentioned was his background growing up. Unlike many artists that talk about “the struggle” of growing up he came from a real home, a family, and two parents. The influence of hip hop with him differed there, because most in a position like him would have said that “hip-hop raised them.”
Malice made it more than clear that he was spiritual, he said it plain and simple: I’m Christian. His story in his book is said to parallel the book of Job in the Bible. As he spoke, he never failed to mention Him in some way. For some of us that aren’t comfortable in front of a large crowd, especially speaking about a touchy subject, he didn’t show any signs of being nervous. Flawless as his rhymes, no word went misspoken.