One of my best friends, Sean Beeman, calls me Brother Darkness. Yes, just like Charlie Murphy True Hollywood Stories from Chapelle's Show. This was wild and crazy but no one went through a mirror or got slapped. It is not as funny but just as cool. This one is for Rick James...BITCH!
I arrived at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip pretty early, on August 15, 2010. I wanted to be the first in line because it was a general admission concert. I made conversations with a few people, before the show. One was an opening artist. He went by, Big Stat; he is an MC from Connecticut. We talked for a bit, I told him what I was doing out here. He promised that he would give me a mixtape of his. Which had, Redman, on it as a special guest.
As I was standing around, some people thought I worked at the House of Blues. I was decked out in my Method Man shirt and my Wu-Tang Clan beanie. I could have fooled anyone but I decided to be honest. Boy, did that pay off!
I noticed a man walking from the tour bus. I didn't recognize him at first because he was in a t-shirt and basketball shorts. I looked again. It was Ghostface Killah from the Wu-Tang Clan. He noticed what I was wearing and gave me ''daps.”
He gave me "daps” and asked, "What's good?"
I replied with a question, "How are you?"
I'm a dork. I didn't want to pretend to be something I wasn't. I was just being myself.
A couple of guys walked by and shook my hand. They thought I was a roadie. That was insane too. They asked me for directions.
I said, "I'm just a fan."
I was finally let in. I made my way to the front. It was an all-ages show. So, it wasn't really packed. They also had another show immediately following for 18+. I saw Big Stat, Duo Live, and Ghostface Killah perform.
Ghostface said that he would be at the merchandise booth signing autographs after his set. He played some Michael Jackson songs to pay homage. The crowd went nuts.
This was a true Hip-Hop show. No one used second-audio. They didn't have 20 million men on stage with microphones. It was just pure heart, soul, and talent.
Redman and Method Man were up next. The chemistry they have is unreal because they know each other quite well. It was by far the best Hip-Hop show that I've ever been to. Method Man had the people hold him up, as he walked through the stage. It was as if he was walking on water. He did a move similar to the corkscrew plancha. Redman just stage dived--it was insane!
Their performance wrapped up, around 9:50. They had to set up for the next show at 10-something. I bought merchandise at the booth. I went wild. I felt like I was on a shopping spree. I bought myself a Redman shirt, a Method Man/Redman "Blackout 2" shirt, a Ghostface Killah shirt, and a Method Man/Redman bandana. I bought shirts for my best friend, Jessie, and my cousin, Huy, too.
The merchandise guy thanked me for the purchases. He gave me the bandana for free. As I was waiting for my car, I noticed the merchandise guy. He thanked me again. He also noticed my gear. He noticed how old they were and he appreciated that.
I said, "I support real Hip-Hop!"
I guess that was the password. After I said that and was about to leave, he said something to me that would make me stay.
He asked, "Would you like to stay for the second show?"
I responded with a question, "For free?"
"That would be awesome!"
It turns out that this guy has been a part of Method Man's entourage, for quite some time. He is known as "Wooden Soldier".
He said, "Wait up! I'm going to see if I can get you in with a backstage pass bracelet."
I said, "Cool!"
His friend, "Shaolin", checked on me so I didn't feel as if they abandoned me. They wanted to assure me that they were indeed looking for one.
Shaolin came back out for a cigarette break. He told me how “schemish” the people in New York were. He set an example using the people around us.
He said, “See those seven people—us included…”
I responded a question again, “Yeah?”
“In New York, five out of those seven people would be ‘scheming.’ They would do anything to have what you have—if they don’t have it. You could leave something on a desk and they would see it, take it, and run.”
“I see. That’s pretty shady.”
“Yeah, that is pretty shady.”
I think New York accents are cool! He smoked too much of that ‘good’ stuff. He did not remember what city they stopped in last. That is when you had too much of the ‘good’ stuff. I did not mind. He was a good person to talk to. I’m glad he told me what New York was like and what to look for. He said to not look like a tourist.
I said, “I should wear my Method Man shirt and Wu-Tang Clan beanie, right?”
He smiled and said, “Yes! You’ll be just fine if you do that.”
I waited around and noticed someone else walking my way. It was none other than RZA.
He noticed my gear and said, "What's good?"
He walked by really fast. I didn't want to make a scene or else the people would go insane.
Shaolin and his fellow entourage member kept their word. They gave me a backstage pass bracelet. I had to put my arm low so we didn't get caught. He put the bracelet on me and I walked right in. I felt like Wayne and Garth from Wayne's World, when they met Alice Cooper backstage but I didn't wave my bracelet everywhere.
I walked right in and I thanked the two men. They were working the merchandise booth again. We acted like nothing happened. I made my way to the balcony. I needed a bag to put my shirts in. Strangers noticed my gear and gave me "daps." I had a conversation with a few of them.
Ghostface Killah performed. He performed his hits and invited RZA on stage, with a liquor bottle in hand. They sang a few songs from the Wu-Tang Clan catalog. It was awesome!
I went downstairs after Ghostface's set. He signed my shirt, my ticket stub, and a few House of Blues pamphlets.
A little later, a celebrity arrived. It was Katt Williams. I couldn't believe it. He was sitting no more than 10 feet away from me. I believe his significant other was there with him--along with men from the Nation of Islam. Williams was protected. I don't think anyone could have gotten to him. Anyway, he crossed his arms, had a grimey look on his face, and he bounced side-to-side. Shortly after, he grabbed a wad of cash and threw it over the balcony. The waitress set up a bucket of ice, a couple of glasses, and poured Dom Perignon in each glass. Katt Williams handed them out to everyone that was close by. He went back to crossing his arms, having a grimey look, and bouncing from side-to-side.
I made my way downstairs again. I thought about how I was supposed to wear the shirt that Ghostface Killah signed. I decided that I couldn't and I bought another one just to wear to school.
Shortly after, I made my way to the restaurant. I asked the waitress for a bag. The edges of the pamphlets were destroying my bag. As I stood by the door, Katt Williams headed towards the balcony. He just left the bar on the other side. He walked by me and tapped me on the shoulder.
I said, "Hi Katt!"
I stayed for the rest of the show. Again, Method Man and Redman did their rituals. The whole crowd walking, corkscrew plancha, and stage dive. They talked about how crappy the other rappers who wear chains, use second audio, and so forth. They told the crowd that they aren't like that and that is the difference between a rapper and an emcee. It is true. They told us that we were being cheated. I couldn't agree more. The show gave me my money's worth and then some. I HIGHly recommend going to their shows. (Did you like my subliminal message there)?
I ran into Big Stat, again. This time his DJ was with him. They were awesome the whole night. We became good friends and wished each other well in our future endeavors.
I made my way back to the valet area. I made conversation with a few people. One was special though. His name was Armel. He was waiting for his car too. It just so happens that he is a Wu-Tang Clan affiliate. He is one of GZA's artists. We talked. He could tell by my accent that I wasn't from California.
He asked, "Where are you from?"
"Colorado," I replied.
"What are you doing out here?"
"I'm out here for the summer--doing an internship."
"Horror movie stuff...I work for one of the legends."
"...and who is that?"
"That name sounds familiar--."
I cut him off and said, "He made 'Hellraiser' and 'Candyman'."
"Oh yeah! How did you get a gig like that?"
"I wrote him an e-mail one day--by the way, my name is Sareth."
Pointing the ramp he said, "I'm Armel, I'm one of GZA's artists. I noticed you when I walked with RZA down that ramp over there."
"Yeah? You know they misspelled Albuquerque on the back, right?"
"Yeah." <as he smiled>
"Why wasn't Method Man there?"
"He was promoting with Redman. He was on two shows on that tour."
(All this time I thought he was on some legal problems in New York. Boy, was I wrong. That's the last time I believe in any rumors. It is always good to go straight to the source).
"What made you get into horror movies?" he asked.
"I was sick of the PG-13 Horror movies and remakes,” I replied. “It is kind of like Hip-Hop. You know, like the ringtone rappers are the PG-13 horror movies and remakes. I'm trying to bring back the stuff you saw way back when--like the Freddys, the Pinheads, the Candymans, you know?"
"Word, that's what I'm talking about!"
"My heart and my mind are in the same place. There's my car. I better go."
"Alright. Stay up!"
He ran up to my window and knocked on it.
He said, "Take my number. My name is Armel. A-R-M-E-L. RZA lives out here. We should get together and talk business."
I typed it in my phone, called it, saved it, and I drove back to Palmdale.
The next morning, I looked up Armel. Sure enough, he wasn't lying. He is a Wu-Tang Clan affiliate. He text messaged me as I was researching for Clive. He called me and RZA was talking to him to tell me stuff. He wanted to meet Clive. I was told to arrange a meeting of the masterminds. This would be huge because I think RZA is equivalent to Clive in the music world, as Clive is to the horror world. RZA and Clive are living legends. They both worked on comic books, video games, television, movies, and books. I know Clive has written plenty of them. I'm not sure about RZA. All I know is that RZA created the score for Kill Bill Vol. 1, made appearances in Funny People and Chapelle's Show, and is involved with Afro Samurai, and many other career accolades and accomplishments.
I got together with Clive's former assistant, and I told him what had transpired. He was just as excited. I have a feeling the masterminds will cook up something sweet, in the near future. I hope so--anyway. That would be crazy!!!!
Well, that was my version of True West Hollywood Story. Quite gnarly, eh? Here is the link for Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Story snippet from Chapelle's Show:
Every story needs a happy ending, right?
On my last day of my internship, I went back to the office/studio and I was cleaning up the studio. I was awaiting the arrival of RZA.
I saw a maroon BMW SUV parked outside. I didn't pay much attention to it. I went back to the office/studio to clean up again.
RZA and his assistant, Tam, arrived. They were waiting inside as I left the office/studio. I didn't freak out. I maintained my composure. I took RZA and Tam on a tour and I talked with RZA as if we had known each other for more than a few minutes. I showed them what I had done. I told them about the books written by Clive. They were in awe. I told RZA to reach inside a comic book box under the 'W' section. He went through the 'W' section and pulled out two Wu-Tang comic books.
He said, "That's what's up. Respect."
I took him by 'Studio C' and Studio 'D'. He thought the bloody dentist chair was awesome. I took him to 'Studio C' and he was digging the black room, stripper pole, the red fabric, and the two-way mirror. It was just like a boom-boom room.
RZA asked me if I heard about Gravediggaz. I told him that I haven't. I felt awful because I later did research on them. When they arrived on the scene, I was only 11-years-old. I wasn't old enough to buy their albums and the only Hip-Hop I heard were through my friends and MTV. At the time, Dr. Dre and the West Coast scene were blowing up. The first exposure I had to the Wu-Tang Clan was when my sister let me listen to Wu-Tang Forever, after she brought it over from Europe. I'm old enough now and it is never too late to pick up the other albums.
Armel and Quiet Whispers soon met up with us. I greeted him and I met Quiet Whispers. Armel was really excited that I pulled through for him. I couldn't let him down.
I took all of them on a tour and we made our way downstairs. They saw Clive's paintings. As we walked down the stairs, Tam thought she was looking at a tongue. Nope, it was a penis.
We walked by 'Studio B' and we proceeded to walk into his art studio. I showed them the paintings in the loft too. I told them about the painting I painted with Clive, at the bottom of the stairs too.
We made our way back up to the meeting room. Clive's former assistant took over from there. He told RZA and company about the future of Seraphim Films. They were digging it. He went onto extend his hand to RZA to see if they wanted to make music videos or have photo shoots at the office/studio.
RZA also spoke of the Dirty: The Official ODB Biography premiere. I would have gone in a heartbeat, if I didn't have to be in Pomona the next day. I had tickets to go to the Epicenter Festival. I spent that night in San Clemente with some old friends.
RZA and company left, shortly after.
It was kind of one of those 'have your people call my people' sort of deals and it turned out well.