Archive for the ‘Combat Jack Salutes’ Category

Combat Jack Salutes RUN-DMC

April 6, 2009

If you’re younger than say, 34, 35, close your eyes for a minute and as impossible as it may be, try to imagine a world without Hip Hop.

My first experience with Hip Hop was in the summer of 1978. My best friend Frank, who lived up the block and was two years older than me, used to be a messenger working at a courier service down in the Wall Street area. At work, Frank would hang with some brothers from the Bronx and Uptown and as they would build during their lunch breaks, they would tease my man with snippets of live performances from groups with bugged out super hero sounding names like Grand Master Flash and The Furious Five, Kool Herc and the Herculords and the Cold Crush Brothers as they performed musical routines in an art form then unknown to the world. It was most definitely unknown to cats like me in Brooklyn. For a couple of weeks after coming home from work, Frank would desperately try to explain this new sound called rap coming from Harlem, banging from the Bronx. I had no concept of understanding what the hell my man was talking about, or what the fuck a Melle Mel or a Grand Master Caz was, only that it had the homie Frank amped. This one Thursday night, before payday, Frank convinced me to pony up $5 and go half with him on one of those cassette tapes he was going on about, said he would cop a Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five joint. Little did I know that after that night, my was life was never going to be the same.

That next day, on Frank’s stoop, on Lincoln Place in Brooklyn, as he popped the tape in, and emcees Cowboy, Raheim, Kid Creole, Scorpio and Melle Mel invaded my senses, hypnotized by how Flash was savagely raping beats with his furious cuts and scratches, my whole d.n.a. metamorphed into something else, something new. As a young teenager trying to find his way in a changing world, the music that I heard that day seemed like it spoke only to to me, the lyrics was about shit that only I could relate to. Growing up on r&b, soul, funk and disco was cool, but on that very day in 1978, in discovering the beginnings of a culture that I would wholly become a part of, in speak, in dress in attitude, in perspective, I became a B-boy. On that fateful day, I became complete.

Over the next year, my cassette collection blossomed with the likes of Kool Herc and The Herculords, Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde, Busy Bee. On top of Melle Mel becoming my first rap idol, The Cold Crush Brothers stayed being my favorite crew because they kept their routines sounding fresh and on the way they sounded in their famed battle against rival crew The Fantastic Five. I still have that CCB vs. FF cassette, and even though the FF officially won that, I claim the Cold Crush the true winners. In school, I stayed having an edge on my peers since I was so much more up on Hip Hop than they were. Some cats began to think my shit was a bit weird in how I kept my jeans creased, how I would flip if a sucker scuffed my Adidas, my Hush Puppies, my Puma’s, how I stayed with the ice grill when cats I didn’t really eff with too tough was around me. Hip Hop was my own little private world, and the more private I kept it, excluding clowns that wasn’t down, the happier I was. I was steady tripping on that young teenager shit. My definition of nirvana was sneaking out after dark to the park, packed with other teenagers crowded around our local deejays with their makeshift turntables and speakers blasting the break beats of “Seven Minutes of Funk” by The Whole Darn Family, or “Mardi Gras” by Bob James as our local rappers lined up, waiting patiently for their chance to rock the microphone, their only shot at a brief moment of stardom, weed smoke from all the burning joints further expanding our young consciousness as we danced, grooved, romanced, postured and thugged out in this very private, intimate world of ours. All this without a record deal.

On an October morning in 1979, as I was getting ready for school, I was listening to WBLS when my world was changed again. That morning was the first time I heard “Rapper’s Delight” on the radio. Although it was the first rap record I heard on the airwaves, I was pissed. Pissed at how these Sugarhill Gang rappers sounded fake, nothing near as authentic as the cats I had been following on cassette, even though they rocked that Chic “Good Times” beat that had flooded every hood in the US. Plus they looked whack and had corny sounding names like Wonder Mike and Big Hank and Master Gee. Out the gate the record industry betrayed me by insulting my Hip Hop intelligence with a rudimentary Mickey Mouse ass sounding song as it’s very first rap single, still and all, I grew to like, grew to love that record as they started playing it at all the little parties I was going to, how the girls who wasn’t up on Hip Hop loved to dance to it. How that record was the first official corner stone that went into the construction of the rap music industry. Right after “Rapper’s Delight”, it seemed like every one was rushing to put out a record, further gelling the makings of a growing musical genre. My favorites, Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five and The Cold Crush Brothers got a chance to do their thing on wax, and even though some of their records took off and it felt good to hear my original rap heroes on wax, the sound that I first heard on cassette, primal, raw, fresh was replaced by slick production, almost a smooth blend of Hip hop beats with a lil of that r&b. No doubt I stayed fiending for that next single, that next banger, but over night, the era of the sound of rappers performing the most original of routines as their deejays spun, mixed, cut and scratched records with the crowd screaming in the background was replaced with the rap record. My private little Hip Hop world was now part of a growing industry and teenagers from Brooklyn to Beijing began to take note, began to become a part of this new culture.

Mr. Magic kept me up late on weeknights, trying to catch the latest joints way before anyone else. Rap albums started being released and even though they rarely felt quite cohesive in content and theme, we kept dancing. In 1983, I started hearing “It’s Like That” by a group with the unique name Run-DMC. “It’s Like That” was cool, but at the time, it was nothing that made me take note. Shortly after, I heard “Sucker MC’s” at a block party in Bed Stuy and me along with the crowd went ape. That record was the first time I heard a single that fully captured that feel that I had when I used to rock my earlier rap cassettes, a parse driving beat, cutting and scratching, two rappers spitting fire, nothing more. No chorus, no r&b inflected baselines, no chorus, just that out in the park late at night vibe, packaged neatly as the b-side to “It’s Like That”. “Sucker MC’s had Run-DMC standing out and apart from the herd, right out the gate. Even though they released the follow up single “Hard Times” that was similar in nature to “It’s Like That”, the heat rock single next launched from the Run-DMC chamber was the instant classic “Rock Box”. “Rock Box” was that perfect mix of hood rap and rock strings, what with that electric guitar riff making that joint sound hard as hell. In addition, the single was accompanied by a video, an artsy looking black and white piece that visually showcased the young rappers, Run coming off with the most arrogant of emcee swagger, DMC looking like the B-boy hard rock version of Frankenstein, stiff, menacing, hard, [||], Jam Master Jay showing off his Hollis cool as he manhandled the turntables. Not only did these cats have the hottest song and video out. They also dressed like me (or like how I wanted to dress). Gone were the coked out, older looking rappers with the Jheri curls, leather, lace and leopard, who were desperately trying to jack r&b’s and disco’s smoothed out and slightly homo-erotic glam look [||]. Run-DMC were the new niggas on the block and with one fell swoop, they declared with “Rock Box” the death of Hip Hop’s “old school” generation artists that laid the foundation. Looking like it was shot at a party representing New York City’s then downtown scene filled with Punks, whites and a smattering of Black faces, “Rock Box” is known as the first hip-hop music video to air on MTV. Cementing their place in history with the release of their eponymous debut album in 1984, Run-DMC dropped what some consider to be the first true rap album.

Becoming Hip Hop’s first true widely recognized stars, Run-DMC set out to conquer not only rap, but the rock genre as well with their follow up release “King Of Rock” which dropped in 1985. Because of the noise they made with their first album, many esteemed critics from the rock establishment began dismissing the group’s accomplishments, shitting on them and rap as a whole as not being a true art-form, that Hip Hop was just a passing fad for ghetto kids, that it wouldn’t be around that much longer. In what was a shot aimed against it’s critics, Run-DMC’s next single and video, named “King Of Rock” had the group dissing major pop acts like Michael Jackson, the Beatles and even Elvis. On an intense drum beat and a scathing base line loop, further expanding on the rock feel introduced by “Rock Box”, Run-DMC boldly claimed themselves to be the new kings of rock, kings of pop even, and dared every one out there to test them. In retrospect, this was such a brilliant effin move, shutting down all potential rap competitors and aiming for the top spot in one shot. It also helped that the single was fuego and MTV stayed jocking the video in major heavy rotation. Matching Hip Hop’s street intensity with rock and roll’s colossal instrumental sounds, Run-DMC convinced the world that they were here to stay. The album also broke all Hip Hop records in that it was the first to go gold and then platinum.

If “Run-DMC’ is considered to be rap’s first complete album and “King Of Rock” it’s first major crossover, the following album “Raising Hell” released in 1986 is deemed rap’s first masterpiece. Taking over most of the production, legendary producer and co-founder of Def Jam as then partner to Russell Simmons, Rick Rubin went in deep with this one. Whereas their prior records had combined elements of dense and sparse production, “Raising Hell”, at the time, was simply the best produced rap record ever. The hits on the album were plenty with classics like “Peter Piper”, “It’s Tricky”, “My Adidas”, “Walk This Way” and “Raising Hell”, what on earth was effin with this? Run-DMC’s 4th album went triple platinum. Even though the group would drop further classics in their subsequent albums “Tougher Than Leather” (1988), “Back From Hell” (1990) and “Down With The King” (1993), “Raising Hell” proved to be the last monster album released by the group.

I can’t even begin to get into the highlights surrounding Run-DMC’s career in connection with their impact on touring, movies, magazine covers, endorsement deals and merchandise without having to write another coupla thousand words. This past Saturday, April 4th, Run-DMC became the 2nd rap act ever to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, second only to Grand Master Flash and The Furious Five. Funny, how Melle Mel was my first rap idol and Run-DMC was my second. Not known for their true lyrical skills and rarely mentioned in anyone’s top 5, top 10 or top 100 emcee lists, it was great to see them receive the highest props for their contribution spanning back 25 years. Run-DMC may not go down as anyone’s favorite G.O.A.T. emcee’s of all time, but they remain arguably, Hip Hop’s Greatest act of all time. From me to you, a sincere and heartfelt salute from Combat Jack to Run-DMC, the Kings from Queens.

So I’m asking, what’s your favorite Run-DMC song?


Combat Jack Salutes Gabe Tolliver

February 10, 2009

This one goes to the homie Gabe Tolliver. Don’t worry, dude’s still alive so no misty eyed R.I.P. thingie at the end of this post. Being that he’s still living though, he might be a lil’ pissed at me for putting his shit on blast like this, but fuck it, that’s what friends are for.

I met Gabe back in 1989. Or was it 1990? I had just gotten back to New York from law school and was mad green in the jeans working in the record business. Gabe was legendary from the gate, legendary because upon graduating from N.Y.U. film school he instantly landed a gig working as a producer at M.T.V.’s classic and groundbreaking video show, the seminal “Yo! MTV Raps”. Back then, that title right there meant instant pantie disintegration on any first date. But I digress, Gabe and I didn’t become friends solely because of his job title, we became friends because dude’s mind was incredible. As a producer, screenwriter and director, Gabe was so ahead of his time that a gig at M.T.V., as much as it bigged him up, served to hold him back from demonstrating how talented he was behind the pen and camera.

Not only was he skilled at the above-mentioned talents, Gabe had the uncanny ability to spot stars years before they popped. Like back around ’93/’94, Gabe was working on a short called “Connects”, a brilliant piece that centered around a cast of characters living in Brooklyn whose lives though separate and diverse, but for a series of events, were connected intimately to each other in ways that they were unaware of. For that and some of his other works, Gabe mined the young and unknown talents of Saul Williams, Bobbito Garcia, Craig “muMs” Grant of “Oz” fame, my man Walter Mudu who is currently killing ’em out there in the commercial world as well as cameo appearances by yours truly. In his works, Gabe masterfully directed us all in helping to create great unknown pieces of social commentary by, of and for a young Hip Hop generation.

On top of all that, my dude possessed a criminally genius deviant mind for all things concerning the art of the come up. If you wanted to serve revenge, justice or to plain punk folks out, you’d call Gabe. See Gabe was born and raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Gabe’s dad was a military man who died too early for his son to appreciate. In an attempt to connect, to identify, to continue in his pop’s legacy, Gabe poured himself into military history, weaponry, wars and strategy, C.I.A. lore, covert and black ops shit. All that. Basically, Gabe would fuck you up in such a manner that you never saw it coming or going, shit, you wouldn’t even know you were fucked up until my dude had done left the premises, like four days earlier.

For example, during the mid ’90’s Gabe had an ill duplex on St. Felix Street in the Clinton Hill/ Fort Greene section of Brooklyn way before gentrification began rearing its ugly bland homogeneous head. At night though, baseheads would populate his block like zombies straight out of a George Romero flick. Gabe had a problem with that, with how the crackheads would harass his neighbors and even at times, take mean shit dumps on his stoop. So one night and like a true deranged vigilante on some Charles Bronson shit, Gabe pulled out some black military wear, painted his face black, put on the night goggles and dusted off his high powered and fully loaded paint gun. Dude climbed the flights of his building up to the roof, then camped out and waited like a hunter for his prey, the living baseheads, to appear as they did nightly and congregate on and about his building’s steps. As they gathered, arguing and fussing about whose turn it was on the pipe and who hadn’t paid for such and what not, you know, having that mindless conversation that crackheads have, Gabe held each of them in his scope’s sight and let loose with the pellets. POP! One landed on a nigga’s neck, and as the sting from said pellet exploded into a blood red mist, that crackhead started yelping out loud as to how he got shot in the neck. POP! Another one landed on another one’s wrist. Like the sniper he was, Gabe let loose with a coupla more shots, each landing right where he intended. Screaming in pain and fear, them crackheads broke the eff out with the quickness, running for their lives. They never ever showed up again either. Most effective way of getting rid of undesirable “neighbors” I ever heard in my life. Don’t sleep though, even with all the shenanigans, shits and giggles, Gabe kept the real authentic trusty Mossberg shotgun tucked in his closet for actual fire fights, just in case and for good effin measure. He named her “Daisy”. True story.

Gabe pulled off mad other hilarious pranks on many an unsuspecting victim. I won’t go into detail about how the F.B.I. showed up at his door one day, months after he prank called THE Reggie “Red Man” Noble on some red-necked K.K.K. shit. Funny shit is how the feds tried to squeeze Gabe on some hate crime shit, but were flummoxed since both he and Red Man were Black.

When I wrote “Bling, The Hip Hop Jewelry Book” back in 2006, Gabe was my co-author. He introduced me to the then new book “Generation Kill”, the very same book from which I copped my name “Combat Jack”. According to that book, Combat Jack means:

“To jack off in the middle of a firefight, or any combat situation.”

Yes, that’s right, in the heat of battle I will jizz on nigga’s manuscript, on GP and just for fun. [||]. Gabe’s organized creative mind helped us in not only landing the book deal, but dude was mad integral in keeping all that info and all those pictures in order. That book also took us 1/2 way around the world as we were hired as consultants for the 2006/2007 Bling Exhibit held in the Diamante Museum in Antwerp, Belgium, the diamond capital of the world. Amsterdam was the shit too.

When we got back from Europe at the end of ’07, Gabe shared with me that he was enlisting in Uncle Sam’s army. Being in television and the film industry for so long, Gabe reached a point where he was no longer willing to kiss ass, be subservient or compromise his talents for a dollar. He had written mad intricate scripts as enthralling as the Coen brothers, he broached topics as broad as Steven Soderbergh, on top of directing some memorable pieces for shows like PBS’s “Sesame Street”. Still and all, as the industry began to turn it’s back and once again ignore, as it did before the civil rights movement and affirmative action, talent that didn’t neatly fit into what it believed was Black culture and what was appropriate content wise as to what Black writers and directors should be delegated to, my dude got shut out from making a decent living. Film and television became whiter, bills piled up and my dude fell more and more in debt.

We argued. I was like wtf!?! “Nigga, you about to fight this bullshit George Bush war, plus, you just turned 41!!!” Mind you, politically, Gabe knew how fugazi Bush’s war against terrorism was and didn’t sip the kool aid one bit, but as the military, desperate for recruits during a cynical age, had just upped their recruitment cut off age to 41, he knew this was his last shot. Yeah, we fought, shit got a lil tense between us as well. But Gabe wanted to stop the financial hemorrhaging he was going through, and the US Army was very attractive with the financial packages it offered. They knew the time, employment options were becoming very slim in every city USA. They also knew how to make a nigga’s debts disappear overnight, plus some. In hind sight, we both know that part of what drove my dude to join was his fascination with all things military, plus a final opportunity to jump feet first into that adventure as he identified with and got closer to his father’s legacy. In December 2007, Gabe and his friends gathered at a restaurant in Brooklyn and celebrated together in what would be a new departure for our friend.

I’ve seen Gabe frequently since, on his leaves and when he drops by Brooklyn. He’s done survived basic training and dropped at least 25 pounds. Nigga is ripped! Scary how on top of how he already knew 100 ways to chop you down, he can now also deliver a well old fashioned bare handed beat down. Brutally. Being an “old man” in a young man’s arena has helped create some hilarious stories as well, like the time, during basic chemical warfare training, how he was in a gas chamber and had to take off his gas mask, inhale a breath of mustard gas and “calmly” put his mask back on. Let’s just say that that one didn’t work out so well, and upon waking up from passing out, lunch, eye juice and snot all over his army greens, his superiors ordered him to redo that exercise. Or how his drill sergeants, Black and white, would refer to him as “Ole Nigga”. Funny shit. You can peep more of his stories from behind the barracks on his blog.

In wrapping, I really want to shout my dude out, just for doing the damned thing. For also further teaching me how it really is that different strokes for different folks ish, and how, at the end of the day, I can no way in my right mind criticize another man’s choices unless I stand firmly in his shoes. I really believe what they say about not waiting to big up your peeps when they’re no longer among us. My dude Gabe, for being a true friend, an official Combat Jack salute to you. Stay safe homie, and wrap up that commitment on the quickness!

Combat Jack Salutes David Nuttall

January 26, 2009

Summer of ’86, I had just graduated from Cornell University. My aim was law school, but things were kinda tight. I had been rejected by Brooklyn Law, and my #1 school Georgetown had me on the wait list. 9 outta 10, this was not a good look as the wait list meant you wasn’t getting in and had to try again next year. Fortunately, through a series of mad hustling, wheeling and dealing (I might tell you about that in another post), I received a Western Union Telegraph (do they even do that these days?) through the mail informing me that I had been accepted to G-town, literally two weeks before classes started. Mission accomplished, it was time to get my shit in gear, especially since I had no dough, not a single connect in Washington, D.C. and no where to rest my head once I got down there. In speaking to one of my bourgie homeys from Harlem, he let me know about one of his former classmates from University of Pennsylvania, David Nuttall, who was about to start Georgetown Law as well. I cold called Dave with the quickness and explained to him that this BK dude was just accepted and needed a place to rest in Washington until I got on my feet. Immediately, Dave told me it was cool, I could crash at his joint, face unseen. A coupla days later, with no time to waste, I packed my meager belongings, some snacks, my $300, hugged my moms and started out on my journey.

My ride dropped me off at Dave’s crib like around 2am in the morning. Dave greeted me and was like, “yo I got some cold cuts and brew in the fridge, make yourself comfortable. Here’s your room, tomorrow I’ll show you around D.C. and the school.” The next day, Dave did just that, and as the following days turned into weeks, months, then three years, here’s what I learned about Dave:

– Dave grew up playing basketball, and dude was incredible. He also played varsity at U. of Penn.
– He grew up middle class, his father owned a software company which had just started to blow up
-His parents were divorced, hence his father was divorced from him, leaving Dave with some deep emotional scars.
– Dave loved his moms deeply, even though she took a lot of the hurt she had from her divorce and aimed it at him. They had a great, but tough relationship.
– Dave was one of the coolest and most level headed people I’ve ever met, but on occasion, this nigga would flip out on some Sam Jackson from “Pulp Fiction” ish and get really really dark and gully. It was important to never ever end up on the dark side of Dave’s wrath.
– Being a DC native, Dave was very popular and was able to feel comfortable around everyone, from the South East thugs to the nerdy white boys that were our classmates.
– Dave had major chicks in the DC and B’more area on lock and had them light, long haired ones throwing panties his way on the regular.
– Because he was an athelete and had a wicked temper, Dave was also nice with his knuckle game. I seen him put down a coupla dudes just on gp.
-Dave was one’a the most loyal dudes I’ve ever met. Once he claimed your set, it was ride or die til the wheels fell off, blood in, blood out.

The first year of law school was one of the most intense things I’ve ever experienced. We were responsible for ingesting between 150 – 300 pages of law for homework on the nightly. Fuck around, you might get called up and tortured by your law professors at any given moment. Your class might consist of 200 – 225 students, 98% white, with you front and dead center. Your boy CJ never stumbled nor stuttered though. Still and all, the pressure was inhuman. I seen chicks, black and white, having real ass nervous breakdowns. This other Hatian kid, Phillipe, caught a case of the breakdown, as I saw him crying in broad daylight up in the cafeteria one day, nose a bubbling, with him moaning about how, at the end of the semester, he was never coming back, like on some “G.I. Jane” shit. Nigga did eventually “ring the bell’ and broke for ghost like he said he would. Me, I stayed on point, but the stress had me having some serious ass headaches. Dave never shook though, and handled all that classwork like a champ. Dude always stayed looking out as well. If he sensed I was low on paper, Dave would let me hold some. Fridays, man made sure we took a break and he had me and a coupla other students staying zoned out on some fine drank and burning on some choice trees. He occasionally kept us skiied out on some a that snow white as well. Sheeit, if my President can claim it, I’ma claim it too! One night, I damn near cried to Dave that since shit was too hectic, I hadn’t been able to get laid by NOBODY for damn near 120 DAYS!!! Me being in my prime, my shit was so backed up that whenever I sneezed, I snotted out babies. That very next Friday, my man Dave came through (I had my own place by then) with two purty birds from Howard University and an 8 ball of that raw. He let me hold alla that too!

Our second year at Georgetown, Dave’s mom had a severe stroke that left her partially paralyzed. Dave was now forced to play full time student AND caretaker for her. On top of that, his mom’s stayed giving him mad shit. His sister wasn’t around as much to ease his load, his pops, much less. To numb the pain, Dave stayed with snow white more often. I started dating a fellow student whose pops was Ambassador to a foreign state, so I was whipping the Benz through our nation’s capitol, diplomatic plates on blast. I’d pick Dave up now and then, and drive through that beautiful city with no worries in the world. Dave’s eyes though, they started looking a bit lost. He kept his g.p.a. high, and was applying to all of the nation’s top law firms, but because he was mad competitive, he would go ape shit whenever one of our white peers landed the jobs he was going for, even though he had the superior grades. That shit right there stayed driving him crazy.

Our last year of school, shit got worse. Three months before graduation, Dave’s mom died. That shit there took the wind out of his sails. He ended up failing Ethics class, which is the easiest “gut” class one takes when going through law school. So easy that it was easy to not pay attention to it and easy to fail. He pleaded with the school administration to give him a break what with all he was going through, especially since he had done well in all of his other classes. The administration decided they were going to break him instead, requiring him to have to redo another semester. Law school ain’t cheap, people. Hearing about that shit damn near broke me too. I graduated in spring of ’89, came back to my beautiful New York City and ended up working at Def Jam Records. I also lost track of Dave, even though I tried to contact him several times. Word on the street was that Dave left snow white alone for her younger, faster sister, crack rock. Damn.

Winter of ’91, when I was working at a small law firm, I got a call from Dave. He told me he eventually graduated, and was in New York for some interviews. I told him to drop by the office for some lunch. When he showed up Dave. didn’t. look. right. That lost look in his eyes was more prominent. A look I’ll never forget. Plus, he had on a long coat, dress shirt, a pair of cotton sweat pants, dress socks and some dress shoes. No jokes, no lie. I still embraced dude like my brother. During lunch, he told me how hard shit was, but how he maintained and was successful in getting his mom’s affairs in order. He was also very interested in how Denise, my ex’s sister was, especially since she was the one Black who was hired (and eventually made partner) at this exclusive Park Avenue law firm. I told him she was doing well as we chopped it up. As we parted, he shared with me how, on his way down from DC on Amtrack, he was pick pocketed for his wallet and he needed to hold something, just so’s he could get back to DC. Without question, I pulled out $2oo from the ATM, we dapped and he bounced. Two hours later, I get a hot call from Denise, pissed the eff at me for “telling” Dave to roll up to her office. He went there and hit her up for like $500. I explained what took placed and she backed up off me. By the end of the week though, we found out he had “hit up” several other of our former classmates for money, white and black. Shit was looking bad for my man. That was also the last time I saw Dave.

Three months ago, I was talking to my lawyer about some business. She asked me if I knew her girlfriend Claire, who attended Georgetown around the time I was there. I remembered Claire because she was one’a the fine joints Dave used to smash back in the day. Me and Claire connected and we immediately jumped onto the subject of Dave. Claire also being from DC let me know that by the mid ’90s, Dave was officially a crack head. He had lost all property and belongings passed on to him by his mom’s and was out for dolo on the streets. No one had heard nor seen from him since, although the belief was that by the turn of the century, he had died of unknown causes.

They say that shit like that ain’t supposed to happen once a brother gets up out of the hood. I say they full’a shit. The streets is always talking, always calling too, waiting to pull back another brother under the bullshit. Barack said it himself, when questioned on 60 Minutes as to whether he feared for his life and he responded how easy it was for a Black man’s life to be snuffed out by doing something as mundane as going to the gas station. Shit like that ain’t supposed to happen, but it did, and it does.

So, on account of me not being able to do it back then, to my nigga, my friend, my comrade David Nuttall, thank you for being there for me through thick and thin. An official Combat Jack salute to you. Twenty one shots on your behalf. Let the effin doves loose, and rest deeply in peace my dude, rest deeply in peace.