‘Beef’ was a term that was popularised through hip-hop. It denoted a fracas, something far greater than a verbal dispute. In the nineties, when rappers mentioned they were in beef with another rapper…you knew what time it was. They weren’t going to have a dance-off or DJ spin-off like they did in the eighties – things had evolved since then.
We passed the middle of the dance floor where girls were ‘butterflying’, a dancehall move where you rotate your knees together in opposite directions, but these girls were doing it on their backs. I hadn’t seen this dance live before, only in music videos on TV.
Dada didn’t live too far away from my mum’s house, so I decided on taking my burdens to him, and hoped that he’d welcome them. Headphones on my head, Walkman set to play, I bounced down Lee High Road rocking my head hard, rapping along to Biggie Smalls’ ‘Juicy’
I had fallen into a semi-subconscious trance, limbs folded into my chest. I lay within the sunken centre of my bottom bunk. Maria, Shariece, Stella and Tyrone were ‘bogling’ to ‘Wicked Inna Bed’
I ran through the dark estate as I always did. I was on what we called my Ps and Qs. And it didn’t mean ‘please and thank-yous’, which Mum would say to prep mine or Safire’s behaviour when out in public. It denoted being alert, being on your toes or on your guard.
For some moments I lay there on the bottom bunk trying to ease my stresses out. Dad continued to let his mouth run over and above the reggae drumbeats of Dennis Brown’s ‘Stop the Fussing and Fighting’.
He drove us around Lewisham stewing for information, but when Musical Youth’s ‘Pass The Duchie’ came on…it all suddenly stopped. So we ‘bubbled to the riddim’ loving Dad singing and being chilled for once.