The phone rang, its ring tones competing with Beethoven’s Minuet in G streaming from the iPod dock. I pressed accept. ” Hi granddad, it’s Kayleigh, I’m shooting a rap video and need an English voice for four lines, can you do that”. Its programmed into every grandparent’s DNA to never refuse their grandchildren so I immediately responded yes. “Great we’ll be over in an hour, we need your back yard for background scenery”. As soon as I hung up I had a feeling of dread.
Kayleigh is competitive by nature. She has an inner voice that demands perfection and is in a constant state of turmoil striving to answer that call . When she competed in competitive gymnastics she would haunt the house, thoroughly absorbed in the moment as she glided through her routine. It was captivating to watch as, eyes closed, she stepped forward, pivoted and raised her arms gracefully above her head responding to the rhythm in her mind, oblivious to her surroundings.
Would she expect perfection from me? I had a flashback to my childhood of reciting the story of the “Three Little Pigs” to my class. ” E uffed and e puffed and e blew the ouse in”. “No” my teacher responded, rapping my knuckles with the bamboo cane, ” He huffed and he puffed and he blew the house in. Now repeat” . I took a deep breath ” E uffed and e puffed and e blew the ouse in”……. and so it went on and on.
When Kayleigh was ten she was excited to perform in her school’s talent contest, along with her best friend. They chose a gymnastic dance movement and practiced it for a month. On the eve of the talent contest Kayleigh’s friend informed her that she would be unable to participate. After the inevitable initial frustration had passed Kayleigh was determined to go ahead and complete the performance by herself. So the next day, in front of a packed, standing room only, school hall she waited her turn in the spotlight. She was called to the stage and the music started. It was the wrong music. She calmly made her way down to the announcer and requested that the music be changed to the piece that she had selected. It was a captivating performance. She never put a step wrong as she gracefully floated around the stage. She finished to a standing ovation.
Kayleigh arrived accompanied by her sister Brianna and friend Lauren and we proceeded to the back yard. All three are twelve years old and admirers of Jake Paul, a YouTube star, who’s song we were about to rap. “Okay granddad, are you ready. We just need you to rap four lines, can you do that.” I nodded my head obligingly and started to memorize the lines written down for me. After fourteen takes I expected Kayleigh to produce the bamboo cane and start rapping my knuckles. But to my surprise she was very patient with me. ” Okay granddad just remember, its not London is my city, but England is my city.” “Got it”, I replied. After eighteen takes.” You forgot to start with, ‘it’s everyday bro’ “. Kayleigh paused, staring into space for a moment. ” Okay, let’s do this. Just rap one line, then I will pause the video, feed you the next line to rap and so on”. We finished on the nineteenth take. That’s a rap. At seventy years old I felt I was following in the footsteps of my son.
When my son was fifteen he was deeply into rap music. I came home one day to hear ” Burn the house down” and the “F” word emanating from music he was playing in the basement. I became the inquisitor in chief determined to save his soul from the damnation of gangsta rap and ended up throwing his rap tapes in the garbage. I still regret that to this day…..and here I am rapping.
Me and Kayleigh are bro’s. Its everyday bro, I say its every day bro.