Growing Up/Back in the Day

by Gap Tooth Brotha

I was just a seven month preemie/Two and a half pounds, you could barely see me/At the age of five nothing but skin and bones/Dribbling all day on the sidewalk, cause I had a serious basketball Jones’/ Lived on Normandie and 107th Street in South Central LA/Pops just got out of the Navy, raised me the military way/Taught to make a bed up so tight/You could bounce a quarter off of it, if made up right/Dianne Carroll was Julia on TV/Black Panthers giving lunches away for free/Chips and a soda were a nickel and two dimes/Stealing candy from Lee’s Market, committing petty crimes/Kindergarten, important memos pin to my shirt/Free vaccine shots, cried before I received them, cause I thought they would hurt/Wearing a different color of Tough Skin jeans everyday/Couldn’t leave your lunch table until you ate all the food on your tray/Running home from the bully at Woodcrest Elementary/Moms standing in the front door, “Either you fight him or you fight me!”/Didn’t want to fight moms, so I bloody that poor guy’s face/Still got a whuppin’ for running in the first place

Moved to a corner house on 107th and Denver, where the Denver Lanes hung/Margarita taught me how to kiss using my tongue/Playing football in the middle of the street, tag on concrete and tackle on the grass/Running into park cars when I went out for a pass/Racing bikes, crashing like the Six Million Dollar Man/Waiting in County Hospital for hours cause we didn’t have a health plan/Forced busing to Stephen White Jr. High School/Sportin’ Levi 501’s, corduroy house shoes, tube socks, and black nylon knee highs, cause I thought I was cool/Michael Jordan’s name was Dr. J/Sugarhill’s Rapper’s Delight was the song of the day/Playin’ hoops at Ascension Catholic School/Showin’ off in front of the girls, talkin’ trash and actin’ a fool/Fantasizing over the women on the Ohio Player’s album covers/Everyone slow danced to Marvin Gaye’s live version of Distant Lover/Buying Player’s magazine from Gil’s Liquor Store/Moms found my stash of girlie magazines in the bottom of my dresser drawer

Afros, cake cutters, Black power picks/Watching Soul Train on Saturday afternoon, Soft Sheen blow out kits/Pops on strike, dinner consist of beans and rice/In the alley flipping quarters, shootin’ dice/Playin’ dozens until we came to blows/”Hey, Roderick! Yo mama’s scar makes her look like GI Joe!”/Helen Keller Park was controlled by Raymond Ave. Crips/ Superfly and the Mack were superheroes as pimps/Chris’ brother killed a guy and got life/Everyone knew Mr. Gibson beat his wife/Darrell killed during a drive- by/Brothas at the funeral to hard to cry/Roy strung out on a new drug, rock cocaine/Paddlefoot and Paul Bunyan enticing young girls, pulling trains/Being a punk, meant your ass/Brothers quick to pull your ghetto pass/Every diss or slight I solved with a punch/Didn’t win many. But, if you fought me, you better bring your lunch/Shaun claiming Denver Lanes, dressed in red from head to toe/Brothers constantly coming out of Kim’s house, the neighborhood hoe’

At Morningside High, Ken’s a Muslim selling bean pies/Older sister smoking cigarettes getting caught, then telling lies/Hanging out in Westwood or Sunset/Met my future wife at church over a five dollar bet/House parties always end in a fight/Arrested for pulling a knife on Rodney after work one night/Old English with red Kool Aid/Slanging rocks was the new way brothas got paid/Wendell McClintock’s parents packed his clothes, then showed him the door/When Prince’s Head played everyone did the Gigolo on the dance floor/Prom, graduating, and attending college/Getting in a university is more about politics than obtaining knowledge/Kevin’s in jail/Rodney charged with rape, out on bail/Otis turned, now he’s a fairy/Karen strung out, she’s a strawberry/Nine to five everyday/Bills and a house note to pay/Single father with three daughters, turning into their mother, right before my eyes/Laughing to myself, funny how time flies

Growing Up/Back in the Day by Gap Tooth Brotha

© Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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