Trix (Antwerp), date.
Rahzel is coming. Yes, Rahzel the Human Beatbox aka The Godfather of Noize. After missing out on Snoop Dogg ànd Kanye West I wasn’t really confident anymore… (Yes I failed on Kanye so hard and fast I couldn’t even write a story about it)
Rahzel wasn’t alone. He came with JSONE, DJ MUGGS (Cypress Hill) and Beastie Boys’ MIX MASTER MIKE. He was in good company but still, he remained my main target. The funny things is, the day of the concert, I had Open Doors at work (yes, I do have a job). I work in fashion and basically that meant that I had to run like hell to get from Brussels to Antwerp after an exhausting day of talking about nothing else but the next fashion season. All this in very, and I repeat very high heels and a sassy little dress. So when I arrived at the Trix venue and ordered a beer at the bar I was feeling a little ‘out of place’ to say the least. The crowd was mostly male and I saw them looking at me, wondering what this chick was doing there. Well, I looked good for once, and I hoped it would help me to draw attention, And I thought it was pretty funny considering I experienced for the first time what it really meant to be overdressed.
I was there with my partner in crime, Jules. She is a hiphop-fanatic and most importantly she has the knowledge, enthusiasm and guts to help me with my quest. I checked out the venue and things were looking good. Cosy, intimate venue. Very low stage. Laidback crowd. Backstage supposably at the left corner of the venue straight next to the stage. Maybe trying to go backstage wouldn’t be so necessary since the stage was so low. You could take as many pictures as you want. He only needed to look straight into my camera, stand still and pose all the same time. We’ll see.
I still had some time before the concert took off so I decided to play the game by the rules for once. Why not ask the owners of the venue? Maybe they would just be so kind to open the doors of the backstage? I quickly was sent from one dude to another. The one told me I had to ask the other. Until I finally ended up with the right person who told me the following:
“Cool project, bùt, you’ll have to ask the tourmanager. She is Mix Master Mikes’ wife, her name is Diane.”
Ok. I’ll ask Diane then. I happily went to my girls and told them I had to ask Diane. I immediately saw some eyebrows raising up. “You have to ask a woman…?” “Forget it, this is not gonna work, I’m telling you.” I didn’t agree. What? Talking about clichés here! Just because a woman is in charge she wouldn’t help me out, because I’m a woman and she’d feel ‘threatened’? Come on?
The concert starts. JS-1 is starting. He opens his set with the following words: “I’m not playing Fergie crap for ya’ll, I’ll show you some real music.” Ok then. He played a very diverse set and the crowd was quickly swept away. We were front row, at the left side of the stage. I was waiting for Diane. Then she showed up from a dark corner from the very left of the stage… She was wearing a trucker hat, shorts combined with sexy stockings and knee high boots with a killer heel. She was pretty with long sleek caramel hair. JSONE introduced her to the crowd while announcing that it was her birthday, asking the crowd to sing for her birthday. I looked at Jules and started singing as hard as I could. I would’ve sang a whole aria, only to please the woman.
Time to work. The moment our eyes crossed, I asked her to come over. She came and listened to what I had to say. I explained her the project, showed the artists that I already had on polaroid and asked if she could help me – pretty please – with Rahzel.
She told me she would ask the artists. She wasn’t acting all excited but I had confidence that she would help me. She went off stage and I waited.
I waited. I waited some more. I kept waiting. When she got on stage again, she didn’t look at me anymore. She’ll come later, I told myself. She goes off stage again. Although it was getting late, I was wide awake and smelling the damn coffee. She went on and off stage but she just didn’t come back anymore. All of sudden we cross eyes again and she comes walking straight up to me. I was already in a desperate state of mind with big droopy eyes. “I’m sorry, but they said no.” DJ MUGGS started with his set. I felt like I was glued to the floor and somebody smacked me real hard on the cheek. She walked away while pointing out people in the crowd that were filming and needed to be stopped doing that.
Fuck! What did she mean ‘They said no” How come “no”? I couldn’t believe it. I don’t need ‘them’. I only needed one! People were taking digital pictures by the second and I couldn’t take one stupid polaroid? After Snoop and Kanye I was nòt planning on failing on this one. Let’s raise the stakes here. I was NOT taking no for an answer. So, I decided to waste some polaroids and take the pictures while Rahzel was performing. Hoping that I would end up with a great picture after all.
It was getting later and later. The concert started around 20h00 and the clock was going for 23h00. The next day I had a busy day at work and needed to be there fresh, clean and most of all focused. Fashion folks can wear you out. Believe me. I started to get nervous. So finally, it was time for Rahzel. If you ever have the chance to see Rahzel, you should do whatever it takes to see him live. You run, you fly, you drive. Forget the Youtube videos, with Rahzel the real deal counts.
He appeared on scene with a black shiny bomber jacket looking fly. He beatboxed from Aaliyah’s “If your mother only knew” to Timberlake’s ‘sexy back’ all the way to Busta Rhymes ‘ “Touch it” and he threw some Optimus Prime in the mix (my favorite, I just LOVE Optimus Prime). I was really stunned by his talent. Some people say it’s a fake, but I watched him every minute from his performance up close and I’m telling you, I caught myself numerous times with my mouth open. Rahzel is the shit.
Anyhow. During the performance I waited to take my picture. Diane was also on stage avoiding people from filming and although everybody was snapping digital pictures it didn’t feel good to take some polaroids. It felt almost like I didn’t have the permission to take them. Since I couldn’t take one polaroid backstage, what was the difference between taking one on stage?
Rahzel was finishing his performance and I froze. I didn’t have the guts to take a picture. I was just standing there, doubting, questioning myself. He went off stage and I swear I was so disappointed I felt tears coming up…
FUCK THAT SHIT!
In the background I hear Mix Master Mike preparing his set. Rewarding his beautiful wife for her birthday. I started thinking real fast. Mix Master Mike is her husband. As a good wife is supposed to do, she will stick with him on stage during his set. The clock is ticking. 00H30. I need to be in bed. I need to sleep, tomorrow is a big day at the office. I was not planning on missing out much needed sleep, not being in my own bed and nòt having a polaroid. Are you kidding me?
Jules looked at me with her big brown eyes. I knew she felt sorry for me. “Look”, I told her. “I know its late, I know we have to go to bed, but I’m not leaving knowing he is only one door away in a little concert venue with poor security.” I held post stubbornly a couple of meters away from the door. Scanning every single soul that went in and out. Everyone that left the door I asked to get me in. Some tried, but they said that he was eating and did not want to be disturbed. Others looked at me, convinced I was a disturbed groupie.
A guy comes up and starts pulling one-liners on me. “Hey babe, what is a girl like you doing here all by herself?” I felt a bitch-fit raging in my stomic. I swear. I looked at the dude and started raging the following. “Listen buddy! I’m here for one goal, and that is a polaroid, this is not the time nor the place to start hitting on me, since I’m not very in the mood for smooth talk. I need a polaroid and they don’t let me in, and how the fuck is that possible, it’s not fair blablababla.” The guy didn’t really expect an encounter with a hysterical female so he quickly told me he was going for a drink. Raging. Àlways works.
In the meanwhile the gigantic security dude was still standing there like a statue. I couldn’t be too close since I was too dressed up and didn’t want to draw attention. But what was he doing…? I saw him going up to people from time to time asking them to immediately throw their cigarettes away, since smoking was forbidden.
01h00 Jules told me she was going to call for a cab outside and left the venue.
01h03 I see the security looking at somebody. I see the security leaving the door.
I see the security going to the other corner of the venue. Like far far away.
01H05 I see a door without security.
01h06 I started running towards the door.
01h06 and 30 seconds. I open the door and have 2 options. Left or Right.
At the right side I guessed would be the stage entrance wich means: DIANE. I took the door to the left. My heart was racing. What the fuck was I doing. I felt like entering the White House without permission while secret service was following me on big screens in a basement somewhere. I opened the door slowly. two faces looking up, surprised. “Helloooooooow” I said. I was in. MUGGS was picking some food from a buffet, and looked at me while he slowly said: “Well hellow doll, I’ve been waiting for you to come in here.” He was wearing a wife-beater. I had a public display of all his tattoos. Rahzel was sitting at a table, he still had his jacket on. He was busy with his blackberry. He just looked at me, and then continued text-messaging.
I introduced myself like I was a 15 year old schoolgirl speaking for the first time in front of her classmates. “Hello, my name is Elisabeth, and I’m sorry If I intrude your privacy, but I’m doing a project and I wonder If I could take a picture of you. Rahzel. But if you don’t feel doing that, just tell me and I will leave this room. I totally respect that. I just wanted to ask you in person. He looked at me. Smiled. Stopped smiling and continued text-messaging.
“Look, honey,” Muggs said, “I don’t know about taking any pictures, but , I have no problem with you being here. Still, I’m eating and I do NOT want to talk, so you better be fucking quiet.” Ok then. I was so impressed I didn’t even dare to move anymore. There I was. Still standing. Now I felt like a punished schoolgirl. I asked if I could “please take a seat”?
Muggs nods. Rahzel still textmessaging. Muggs eating. Silence. It was so surreal. I was at a table with these people and the atmosphere was
not exactly friendly. I felt that if I didn’t play this one real, real smooth I could get kicked out in a second.”
“If you want, I can show you some other artists that agreed on the project…?” I took my Ipod-Touch and turned it towards Rahzel. “Here we have Tariq & Questlove, maybe you know them?” I knew he knew them. Rahzel started out with The Roots. Rahzel looks up and looks at the picture. Long and focused. He says nothing. Fuck…I sure hoped they didn’t have any beef or anything. You never know.
Muggs looks up. “Show me that!” Aha. I finally got their attention. I show him the pictures. Tariq, Ahmir, N.E.R.D., Killah Priest. Suddenly Muggs looked at the pictures asking me who the fuck thàt guy was. I was surprised. He played some Wu-Tang songs, so he must know that
the guy on the polaroid was Killah Priest. “Uhm, well that is Killah Priest…you know….from the Wu-Tang Clan….?” MUGGS sniffed and said. “Never heard of him”. Jezus Christ. The atmosphere just got all twisted again. Ofcourse he knows Killah Priest?! He played some Wu in his set an hour ago! Again I wondered if there would be any beef between them. If there was, I’m sorry, but I can’t follow that shit anymore. I decided to play the game back hard and quickly replied him:
“I see, You don’t know Killah Priest from the Wu-tang Clan? That is possible ofcourse. I guess you don’t know GZA neither then?!” and stopped showing him my polaroids.” Rahzel looked up. Surprised by my changed attitude. Muggs smiled. “Look, I do not want to waste your time or mine. It’s late and I have to go home. So either you let me take the picture or either you let me out. But please give me an answer and I’ll respect that.”
“Yes”. Rahzel still textmessaging. My hart made a jump. “What…is it ok?” I said. I was so surprised. “Yes, miss, so take the picture.” Rahzel replied. I asked him where he wanted to take the picture. He didn’t want to get up so he told me to take the picture at the table. I aimed my camera. He looked up with his blackberry. (I wondered what made that Blackberry so damn special, he just could not put the thing down!) 3 2 1 and click. A polaroid leaves my camera. Rahzel starts text-messaging. Again. I looked at the picture slowly coming through. I wasn’t happy. He just looked at the camera like he just came out of bed or something. He didn’t gave his best. Fuck. Ok. Let’s bring some charm in the game.
I asked him if I could take a second polaroid, since I always try to take 2 pictures because with polaroid you never know if the picture will turn out good. Muggs laughed and said:”Carefull Rahzel, the woman is playing you.” I looked at Muggs and told him: “Hey, I ain’t playing nobody! It’s the truth and nothing buth the truth.” “Sooo… Can I?” I asked Rahzel. No answer. Text-messaging. “Or.. I can give you one. Since polaroid films are very rare nowadays, you have a cool picture and in return you let me take a second one.”
Rahzel looks up. “Deal”. Muggs shrucks his head. “Man, she is playing you, big time.” I aimed my camera. He looks up. And what did he do. He gave his best pose. I clicked. “Now you pose! Unbelievable! You gave me nothing, but nòw you pose!” Since the picture was for him, he clearly wanted to have a cool one. The picture was coming through and as I watched it I said loud and clear: “My god, is this possible, I see a little a smile….”
He looked at me, “Give me that picture!” I handed the picture still holding it, he takes the pictures and I didn’t let go of it.
He pulled, I pulled back. He was cleary charmed and started laughing. He looked at the picture, was very pleased with the result and put it somewhere safe. “Okay, Okay. All good, you can take the last picture.” He smiled. “Cool, thanks, but nòw, I need you to give me your best pose ever!” I aimed. He looked at the camera. And gave me his biggest smile. Bingo.
A door opens. I look up. It’s Jules coming in all cool and relaxed. She managed to get in as well. “Hello everybody!” One thing about Jules, she is smoother than butter. She immediately started chatting with MUGGS. It was getting late and our cab was waiting so we got up and said our Goodbye’s until…. Àll hell broke lose. The door of the backstage opens. Diane comes in. relaxed. She looks up. She sees us. I fucking froze. Jules her mouth fell open. I held my bag in between my arms holding tight to my precious polaroids. She looks at me like she wanted to kill me. I mean, with the heels she was wearing she could’ve easily done just that. “What the fuck…” she wispered.
I look at Rahzel and Muggs. They were looking both amused as surprised. They clearly had no idea… “Listen, I said, I hope you understand, I saw an opportunity and I simply took it..” She looked at me with little focused eyes. “What?” she said. “I HOPE YOU ARE HAPPY, SO, YOU CAN TAKE YOUR LIL’ CAMERA WITH YOUR LIL’ POLAROIDS AND GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE” She looked like a dinosaur, protecting her eggs. Not too friendly ones with their long necks that are vegetarian. No, she looked like the evil raptors from Jurassic Park looking for something to put her teeth in. “Ok, Ok, I said, no problem, we’re out of here..”
I grab my polaroid camera that was still on the table and swing it over my shoulder. I swing the thing so hard, I hit a bottle of beer that hits the floor and breaks in pieces with beer every where…A total embarrasement… Very Bridget Jones. I didn’t know what to do!! I had the intention to clean the mess up but Diana was looking like she was ready to explode like a volcano that was asleep for a very very long time. I see Rahzel looking at me like he thought I was completely losing my mind. “I’m soooo sorry, sorry, sorry….I have to go now! Bye” I ran for my life. Wìth my polaroids.