I'm aware that I'd be pretty hard-pressed to find anyone who wasn't at least a casual fan of the man who invented Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee is in the same category as Jimi Hendrix and Wilt Chamberlain in terms of iconic figures hard to argue against - but as long as I can remember I've used some of Bruce Lee's philosophies as if they were "Cliffs Notes", effortlessly guiding me through this clusterfuck that I call a life. Forget about the sobering irony of Jeet Kune Do meaning "Way of the Intercepting Fist" and my penchant for getting rather aggressive hand-jobs from disgruntled strippers for one moment - even though Bruce lee died 42 days before I was delivered in a Honolulu Hospital, he has served as a template in which I lived my life and how I approached Hip Hop. Bruce Lee believed that a person could fight more effectively if they were completely relaxed, being that excess tension could cause you to not only quickly tire but also make mistakes that could prompt you getting your ass handed to you in the most public of fashions. He was right, every fight in which I was completely relaxed I was able to see the opponents punches a mile away - thus being economical with my counter-attacks, even though I'm sure that Bruce would thoroughly disapprove of me continuously kicking the defeated man while he's down and proceeding to go through his pockets on some "High School Bully" shit. I employed the same technique to freestyle battling as well, no matter how viscous someones rhyme was about yours truly - a clearer head on my part would usually cause the metaphors, similes, alliteration, and rhymes about a person's transvestite father to come spewing out like a broken water mane.
When a woman once asked Bruce Lee what technique she should use if she was ever attacked, he quickly informed the woman to kick the man squarely in his hairy bean bag - explaining to her to use anything at her disposal that worked. I've subscribed to the same tactic during the tenure of my life, choking out people with telephone chords, throwing hammers at people, beating a motherfucker with the wood in a paper towel dispenser, frying pans, steak knives - shit, you'd be surprised the havoc you can cause with your simplest household items. From using a big piece of cardboard as my portable dance-floor when my mother refused to pay for tap lessons, someone beating on a lunchroom table in High School so I could bust some rhymes for all 4 of the black girls who attended my predominately white high school - even now at the grizzled age of 33, angrily free-styling in bumper to bumper traffic as if a bearded black guy with flowing dreadlocks wasn't scary enough to your garden variety soccer mom.
Lastly, after Bruce Lee was already an internationally known martial arts sensation loved the world over - it didn't matter where he happened to be at the time, he would find himself on the business end of a public challenge to fight. Usually the challenger would make his intentions to fight known by tapping his foot three times then crossing his arms, legend had it that Bruce never refused a challenge - he didn't give a fuck whether it was on a movie set or at a bar mitzvah, proving that he was the best while handing someone their ass was always a top priority to Lee. That's Hip Hop, what Hip Hop means to me that is - not this alternate universe we live in now where swagger and someones fashion sense has trumped actual lyrical ability. That's what always set the genre I love apart from any other, no matter how well Mariah Carey can sing - I highly doubt that one day she will get ambushed at an "in store" somewhere in middle America, some eager unsigned artist exhibiting her 8 octave range to embarrass Carey's 5 octave range. You never see rival Heavy Metal Singers going at each other, battling to see who's scream reigns supreme - even in a sport like boxing, where the two participants are supposed to savagely brutalize each other, for the most part they keep it to their scheduled event.
With Hip Hop, I'm talking about real MC's here - its the only art form where you constantly have to keep your game face on, movie set or Bar Mitzvah - because you never know some bastardly opportunist is going to tap three times, cross his arms, and hit you with a rather deadly 16 lines. Not for nothing, but Bruce Lee is definitely Hip Hop.
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