These Roads Have Me Vexed.

November 23, 2004

I’m remembering this rapper I saw in Asheville, North Carolina.

A couple Summers ago, I was skint and didn’t take my annual trip to an exotic location: instead, I rented a bitchin’ Mustang, and I drove to my friend Kelly Sue’s in Kansas City. Then I drove south, to Branson, to Oxford and Clarksdale, Mississippi, Memphis, and then I headed to Asheville with the intention of driving up the Blue Ridge Parkway and then back home.
It was the day of the New York black out, which, after an initial panic (I asked a waitress at a Tennessee Cracker Barrel if she knew what was going on, and she replied, in her charming Southern drawl, “You mean here in Cooksville?”), I was melancholy to be absent for.
It was raining torrentially. I drove into Asheville, checked into a hotel, and headed to the Mellow Mushroom, which you may mock but is in fact a ridiculously tasty slice of pizza.
There was a DJ spinning instrumental hip hop tracks, and local hippie kids were getting up on the mic and rapping. It was fascinating: I mean, these were hippie kids, dreadlocked, poncho-wearing hippie kids. A procession of them got on the mic and rocked it to varying degrees of proficiency, each with, hilariously, a take on a current rapper’s style: a hippie kid Snoop, a hippie kid Del, a dreadlocked Nelly manqu