Choppin' It Up


“If you let a person talk long enough, you’ll hear their true intentions! Listen twice, speak once.” Tupac Shakur

The burger was good—a flat patty with crispy edges, crunchy lettuce, a glistening tomato, sriracha aioli, all between two sides of a toasted, buttery bun. 

Neither this meal nor the company sitting across the table were planned at the start of my day. 

The young man, who in conversation disclosed he was now twenty-two years old, had texted me earlier that afternoon. He remembered we had met when he was twelve. He came to a basketball camp. Since then we’ve had many fist bumps and hugs as we pass on the street. He’s never been in our building, never been to church. He’s a rapper. Most young men in our neighborhood are or at least aspire to be. However, he actually is. He’s performed at the Apollo, has tens of thousands of followers on social media, and is excited about signing a deal with a prominent record company. His music reflects his experience in life, an experience very different than mine.

Yet there we sat—talking, listening, or in his words, “choppin’ it up.” Perhaps as you get closer to the end of this paragraph you’re expecting to find a point, a moral, a conclusion. No, it’s not here, just as I don’t have a conclusion to the end of my story. When we got back to the block, we parted ways with another fist bump and a hug. I’m not sure the point of it all, but I look forward to more opportunities to chop it up.