Every once in awhile, I see a “celebrity” of our era and try to think what it would be like to explain that person to my future son, King Phillips.
(Please note that King Phillips, my future NBA-playing son, has been a running joke among friends of mine for over a decade, except they’re totally unsure if I’m actually serious about using that name. It’s fucking fantastic; my girlfriend hates it.)
Kids ask a lot of questions — a lot of blunt, honest questions — and I know that I asked my Dad about plenty of obscure celebrities when I was growing up.
Who is Boy George? Who is Corey Feldman? Who is Ross Perot? Who is Milli Vanilli?
God, I feel bad for my old man. I probably peppered him with questions every week about useless people that he knew next to nothing about or didn’t feel like explaining in-detail to his prepubescent oldest son.
But these future conversations with my son, King, are the things I think about late at night.
So what would it be like if my son, King, asked me about mid-2000s rapper Paul Wall?
Here’s how it might transcribe:
King: Dad, who is Paul Wall?
Scott: Well, King, Paul Wall was a rapper who was a one-hit wonder from when I was in college.
King: What’s a one-hit wonder?
Scott: A one-hit wonder is a musician that has one good song.
King: Then how come when I looked through your CDs I found two of his CDs?
Scott: (embarrassed) Well one of the albums is a collaboration with Chamillionaire and the other one is Paul Wall’s debut album “The Peoples Champ,” which had the one “good” song on it. But the other album is mostly Chamillionaire carrying Paul Wall.
King: (staring back blankly without a response)
Scott: Paul Wall came around at a time in my life when I was confused about things and very big into hip-hop.
King: Is hip-hop the same thing as rap?
Scott: Yes, it is. You know Dad likes rap, right?
King: Yeah… So if Paul Wall had one good song why did you like him?
Scott: Because I thought “Sittin’ Sidewayz” was the jam and — at the time — he was the master of Grillz.
King: Like George Foreman?
Scott: No, buddy, not like George Foreman. These kind of grillz are diamond mouth pieces that you put over your teeth to make them look shiny and cool. You know how your mouth piece is for basketball?
Scott: Well, kind of like that, but custom-made like braces and covered with jewelry.
King: Why was that cool? Was that during the time you had earrings like a girl like that one picture Mom showed me of you?
Scott: Dad came from an all-white high school and I thought that in order to enjoy hip-hop that you had to dress like an idiot. So that’s why I had earrings and thought it was cool.
King: Did you like Paul Wall because he was white?
Scott: No, King, I don’t enjoy rappers or anyone else for anything else based on the color of their skin. Remember what I taught you?
King: Yes. Judge people by how they act and not how they look.
Scott: Very good, buddy.
King: Then if Paul Wall acted like a black guy and he was white did you want to be black, too?
Scott: Hey, King! Look! There’s a McDonald’s. You want a Happy Meal before I drop you off at your Mom’s house?
Scott: (under breath) Shit, I really dodged a bullet there.
King: You said, “Shit!”
Scott: Let’s get you some Chicken McNuggets, buddy!