Take That, Mr. Cleemann!


Having mastered the works of one Dr. Seuss at a precocious age, it was clear that I would be naturally gifted in the art of freestyle rap, should I ever choose to make my debut in this art form.  However, even with the force of this overwhelming scientific evidence, my obstinate boyfriend Mr. Cleemann saw fit to disagree when, over drinks, I attempted to impress him with my talent. 


He cited my lack of experience listening to hip hop music and resulting ignorance about such historical figures as Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur, implying that this would somehow impede my virtuosity.  I countered this outrageous claim by showing him the official university diploma for my Bachelor's degree in English, a course of study during which I became intimately familiar with legendary rhymesters like William Shakespeare, Alexander Pope, and Dorothy Parker.  In the heat of the argument that followed, he threw out insults such as "yuppie," "over 30," and "square," but was forced to capitulate when I immediately freestyled that it didn't matter what he thought because I didn't care.


To back my devastating victory with further empirical evidence, one summer evening I shut down my computer, unbuttoned my pinstriped blazer, put my blackberry on vibrate, and exited my office building to catch a bus to the south Bronx for a lesson with a distinguished freestyle master.  My instructor was the leader of a NYC hip hop group that performed nationally, and he graciously welcomed me into his home/recording studio.  The musky scent of authentic hip hop incense reminded me of the vendors that line 125th Street in Harlem, a hip hop cultural center with which I am well acquainted due to the Thursday evening yoga class at the New York Sports Club there.   


He flashed me a warm smile and played some beats on his mixboard as we began our lesson with an impromptu collaborative freestyle rap.  We kept it positive, avoiding the negativity associated with some battles, like the one at the start of the opera Cyrano de Bergerac in which Cyrano composes a freestyle while sword-fighting against a ne'er-do-well.  I've heard that a fellow named Eminem also had some unsportsmanlike experiences in the freestyle world;  these were supposedly documented in a film, although my boyfriend may have made that up in a sad attempt to sound more authoritative about rap than I.   


The stunned look on my instructor's face when we concluded our freestyle confirmed my suspicions - I have a gift.  He concurred with my exuberant finding, I apologized for elbowing him in the eye while joyfully flinging up my arms to shout "take that, Mr. Cleemann!", and we determined that there was no need to continue the lesson. 


Hugely satisfied, I proceeded home to inform my boyfriend that the argument I had won several months previously now had even more definitive proof in my favor:  "in our fight, I was right!"