Most of you have heard of only child syndrome. But Sullivan County child syndrome?
Trust me, it exists.
The symptoms are common of any childhood in the sticks.
We learn to fight – hard – for what we want because we won’t recognize the advantages to small town life until we’re much older.
Even once we have – sometime after we’ve left town and returned to embrace the past – we have a soft spot in our hearts for the success stories.
We cheer for our own underdogs – the kids who are catapulting themselves up and onward.
As proud as I am to have carved out my own niche here in my hometown, I’m prouder still to be able to give a boost to the kids who are following my path.
At the root, my life and that of aspiring rap star Metafore couldn’t be more different.
But there was a strange thrill when I opened the e-mail from his manager and cued the music.
This, I told her later, was not what I was expecting.
I supposed a teenager from Liberty had gotten lucky, gotten someone to pay attention to his rhymes and now he was going to get a little regional attention, a few gigs here and there.
But the rhythm thumping out of my computer speakers made me reach for the volume.
While my colleagues glanced over, smirking, my shoulders started to move.
I was on my way back to high school, before I was a mother with a bit on a country radio station and Elmo tracks in her CD player.
This was good.
This was fantastic.
This was the stuff that – 10 years ago – I would have recorded on a mix of favorites and slipped in the tape player in my car, bass up so high my windows shook as fast as my parents’ eyes rolled.
And, to think, this was a kid from Liberty.
Then I met with Tashan Turner, who’d earned the nickname Metafore when he was in high school – Monticello High School.
He was polite, well-spoken.
He was proud, but not cocky.
He was sure of his talents but not counting on them.
And he wasn’t hiding who he was.
His dreams stretch beyond personal achievement and back to Sullivan County, his home, the place he’d like to put on the map.
Ten years ago, I would have told you my musical tastes would never become “adult,” I’d never paint a genre and its artists with a broad brush.
But 10 years, a real job, mortgage, marriage and child later, I’ve shut off much of the rap and turned a blind eye to its stars.
I’m not surprised that some people saw the front page of the Democrat last week, read “rapper” in the headline, and turned the page.
I’m begging them to give it another go.
He’s a hometown kid. He’s OUR hometown kid.
He’s not straight out of Compton. He’s straight out of Monticello, born in Harris and a graduate of Liberty High.
He raps. And he’s pretty darn good at it.
He makes me proud, proud to be a product of Sullivan County, the place that will one day boast a sign – birthplace of Metafore.
And maybe, one day, Sullivan County kids can see from the get-go, that we were never the underdogs in any fight.
(By the way, we can make it happen. We can go online to vote every day up until Dec. 31 at www.snackstrongproductions.com.)
I’m in tune with his smalltown dreams
December 24, 2007 by 1 Comment