I remember when I first started in hip-hop journalism at the tender young age of 20, someone said to me, “You know this is a young man’s game, right?” Okay. That’s no way to enter into a career knowing you’re going to be labeled old as fuck at like 30. Little did I know that the person meant it’s a young man’s game for rappers. Still though, it’s a youthful culture where I eventually won’t fit the criteria. Considering one day I’ll be old and I’ll never have a penis, I’m very aware of the fact that I will ultimately be obsolete. I’ll be the Tandy Computer of hip-hop. Well if I’m the Tandy then I met the fucking Commodore a few years back. Forget that, I met papyrus and a quill; at least that’s how he seemed given his incontinence.
I was working with another editor to revive the whole “Legends of Rap” thing within the company. Working in hip-hop at the top of the new millennium, it felt as though the late 70s slash early 80s were getting further and further away from us. We didn’t want kids to not know who the architects were (though if you ask some little douchebag today who invented hip-hop, he’ll probably say Lil Wayne). So to somehow prevent the inevitable we decided to take some meetings with a few living legends to see how they could help us out. When our first meeting was scheduled, I was so excited. The artist coming in was such a pioneer of rap music. The whole collection of artists from that early 80s era was full of trailblazers in their own rights, but this one was a pretty big deal. I almost wanted to wear bamboo earrings and a Kangol to look the part that day. Thank goodness I didn’t, because that’s ridiculous, especially given the events that followed.
So my co-worker and I get to the meeting, and we’re waiting for the legend to arrive. We have our cellphones set to camera with no flash to sneak pictures to post everywhere so everyone knew we were seated at a conference table with royalty. Then our king arrived…only his kingly robe must have fallen into a pile of shit on the way in because he stunk to high heaven. His odor entered before he did, actually. We both bowed our heads, which probably looked like we weren’t worthy or something, but really we were protecting our noses from the funk (not the style of music either). When he entered, he had a bodyguard with him who sat down first. The rapper had aged quite a bit, dressed in big baggy jeans (this was years after those were a thing) and wearing a hat from some random police department (Public Enemy would not be pleased). He sits down and still holding our breaths, we collectively say, “It’s an honor to meet you.” The bodyguard replies, “He’s happy to meet you too.” What? What the hell just happened? There was no eye contact made whatsoever, only with the bodyguard. So throughout the conversation, when we asked questions directed at our guy, the bodyguard would answer. It was the most awkward meeting in existence, like he needed a translator or something. Randomly he’d lift his head to shake it or nod, but that was the extent of it. He didn’t look sick, he just looked…old I guess. But not even old in that incapacitated “come wipe my ass” old either. It was like he aged quite a bit and gave up. I felt bad. Not for long though.
As we’re sitting there ironing out the details of this legendary takeover, the conference room begins to smell like a subway. The stench that entered the room had invited a urine stink to the party. I started dry heaving, and ran out of the room. When I opened the door to the conference room to get air, one of the loud mouths in the office caught a whiff of the odor and yelled, “Whoa! Whose dick died in there?” As I’m trying to gasp for clean air while now suppressing laughter, I inhaled and exhaled a couple more times before entering back into the room. They were wrapping up. Thank God. The two man friends walk out and my coworker and I run out of the room. As we’re heading into the hallway, the artist uttered his first words of the day, “Where is the bathroom?” I point and head to my office, slam the door and start dry heaving again. After a while, I hear a faint knock, and it’s my intern. “Uh, you might wanna come into the conference room.” I walked in, and where the man was sitting was a gigantic puddle of pee. It slid off the plastic Ikea chair and had already seeped into our new carpet. You could hear drops of liquid hitting the saturated rug. Oh.my.God.
By now the two had left the office. I called the cleaning crew and explained what had happened and that the bathroom might also be at risk. I was not opening that bathroom door though. The crew arrived wearing masks with some high-powered cleaning fluid to sop up the conference room mess. The bigger issue at hand was the impending doom of entering the bathroom. My office was directly across from there too. I walked back into my office and closed the door, put on music so loud, hoping they’d think I was really busy or something. A few minutes go by and there’s a pounding on the door. It’s my intern again. “Yo, the janitor needs you.” I had a promotional bandana from some rap group in my desk drawer, and I took it out and tied it to my face like I was about to rob a bank in a Western movie. I knew what was about to happen. I walked out and one of the crewmembers shook his head. “Ay mamacita, someone come and shit on floor and use as paint. You have to come see.” I didn’t wanna come see, dude. At this point though I had to.
He pushed the door ajar just enough so that I could witness the crime scene. The floor had shit smeared into perfect circles. It looked like a Venn Diagram of filth, like crop signs of defecation. I couldn’t believe it. Then the wall had handprints of smeared shit like some child with a mental disorder who develops separation anxiety from his feces and tries to grab it before he flushes. I couldn’t even vomit, because if I did, I’d have to walk into the bathroom to do it. I close the bathroom door, take off my little gang mask and shake my head like I just identified a dead body or lost someone during surgery. “Do what you have to do,” I said to the cleaning crew. “I’m so sorry.” They put up a hazard sign and the bathroom was off limits for the rest of the day.
I devised my own scenario in my head to give this man the benefit of the doubt. He wasn’t feeling well, he got to the bathroom, he had an accident, and he attempted to clean it. Attempted. To leave the place like a shit-infused version of The Shining though is the part I’m not particularly clear on. Who does that?
We were told not to bring up the matter, but prevent the artist and his bodyguard from coming to the office ever again. I received a call the next morning. It was the bodyguard. “Yeah, he doesn’t think he’s gonna go through with this situation. It’s not a good fit.” The only thing that wasn’t a good fit as far I saw were his bodily fluids staying in his body. I had to play it cool though or else they might show up and starting flinging snot at me or something. I wanted to have a tantrum, but I opted to take the high road. “Well, that stinks,” I said. Literally.