A group of rappers seek to get rich quick.
“There’s no future in rap, lads.” Mr Green walked in to the basement without knocking. Greg and his mates were videoing themselves on Tic Tök, but they stopped singing and dancing, Greg’s words fading mid sentence.
“Dad, how many times do I have to ask you not to disturb us when we’re working?”
“Working? Huh, I asked you to cut the grass today. I noticed you didn’t do it. Too busy fooling around on bloody Tic Tök?”
The group had been practicing for weeks. Greg was the rapper, the others made up the rest of the group.
His friends made a move to leave. “We’ll get going then, Greg.” Baz, grabbed his black leather jacket. “See you, Mr Green.”
The other two lads mumbled a garbled goodnight as they left, leaving the brightness of the neon-lit basement. Greg walked outside with them to their car.
“Sorry about the old man, guys. Christ, he makes me heated, wouldn’t know good rap if it hit him the face.” He slapped the roof of the car. “Okay? See you tomorrow night.”
Baz’s car reversed out of the driveway and fishtailed up the street, leaving black rubber on the road. Gary ambled back to the house where his father was waiting in the kitchen..
“When are you going to look for a job?” Mr Green shook his head, not expecting his son to answer. “You're wasting your life with those losers. Playing stupid video games and rapping isn’t going to get you anywhere.”
Gary turned to face away from his father and mouthed the words, “When I was your age…”
“When I was your age..” Mr Green began. Gary tuned out.
Gary, Baz, Chuck, and Lee had just finished recording a set and got it down on video. They watched the playback and high fived.
“Oh, man, that sounded brill. We just need us a name now.” Gary said.
He knew he was the leader of the group. It was he who sang and wrote the words. The others were more athletic, their breakdancing adding a visual element to the group. Baz was also in charge of the beats and the sound. Sometimes Lee joined in with lyrics and Chuck could play a mean guitar and drums if they needed them.
They each suggested names until at last, after an hour of disagreements, they settled on ‘Brothers Big.’
“Now we got a name, we need to make some fetti, and quick. I’m sick of being skint. My oldies told me last night I gotta get a job, or go back to school. They say they’ll chuck me out.” Lee complained.
“And how we gonna get money?” Chuck looked at Lee, as if he knew the answer.
“We need to get ourselves noticed first. Get us some gigs.”
“We need a get rich scheme.” Gary sounded disheartened, his shoulders sagged, knowing there was no such thing.
Lee piped up, “My old lady told me about Australia’s got Talent. She reckons a dance troop won it last year. We could go on that?”
“What’s the prize money?”
“A couple hundred big ones, I reckon.”
Chuck nodded, “Cool, that would get us started,”
“Yeah, and noticed. I mean, what else could get us get known that quick?” Greg agreed, brightening up.
“Let’s check it out. You can write some tunes, special.” Baz nodded at Gary.
“Yeah, okay. This’ll be brass. Famous and rich!”
When the guys got together a few days later, Greg showed the others some words he’d written.
“Cool man, you’re such a wizard with lyrics. You’re a poet, man.” Chuck shook his head in admiration.
“It’s not poetry, you tosser,”
“Well it’s the cool rhyming dude. How do y’ find the words, man?”
Greg was quietly proud of his latest rap song. He’d been up all night writing. The thought of playing to a nationwide audience, and winning the money, spurred him on, plus imagining his father’s surprise when his son became a famous, high rollin’ rapper.
“Did any of you check out the dates, how we apply and all that? Gary looked at the others.
“Yeah, I did. The show’s running in Sydney this year. They’re auditioning in Perth in about six week’s time .” Lee said.
“What? We just turn up like?”
“No. You have to fill in an application, online. Here, we can do it now on my phone.”
The boys filled in the audition form: The last question asked what sort of act?
“A rap and dance group called the Brothers Big.” Lee typed. He pressed send. The four lads slapped each other on the backs and Gary laughed, “Christ, we did it. There’s nothin’ stopping us now. Come on, let’s win this thing!”
Over the next few weeks, they practiced every day. Gary wrote more tunes. He felt on fire. Words poured out of him into his songs. It was as if Shakespeare himself had possessed him.
The day of the audition arrived. The letter of acceptance instructed them to get to the Entertainment Center by six am. Baz pulled up outside Gary’s house, the other lads were already in the car. Gary walked out into the dark morning, closing the front door quietly behind him. He’d not mentioned anything about Australia’s Got Talent to his parents. He couldn’t stand the way his dad looked at him these days. It’ll make the surprise better. I’ll show him!”
When they arrived, the bright lights of the Auditorium seemed shocking as they shone down on the hundreds of hopefuls. There were people of all ages. Many had arrived already dressed in costumes and glamorous clothes, wearing makeup. There were guys and girls with musical instruments of all kinds, even a grand piano. Jugglers, dancers and acrobats practiced wherever they could find a space.
“Christ, I didn’t think there’d be this many people here!” Baz murmured.
The four boys simply stood looking at the scene, their confidence taking a dive when realising what they were up against. Lee tilted the trilby hat he always wore, he liked think he gave a gangster vibe. Gary’s black tee shirt showed off his tattoos. He touched the heavy silver cross his grandmother had given him for his eighteenth birthday as they made their way to the registration table. A woman, who barely looked up from the list of names, handed them a numbered card.
By eight o’clock acts were already auditioning. Everyone kept their eyes on the exit from the stage each time someone finished. A few appeared waving their numbered cards, big smiles on their faces. But most of them left shaking their heads, some outwardly crying. At last came the moment the boys were waiting for.
“Number 247 please, you’re on next.”
The Brothers Big, walked through the curtain where they’d seen so many hopefuls enter and exit. The only other people in that vast space were four judges sitting about three rows back. The footlights made it impossible to see their faces. Then they heard the words, “When you’re ready.”
The boys gave it their all. Gary rapped, the boys spun madly on the floor, back flipping, none of them missing a beat. The backing sounds boomed through the speakers. They were an absolute triumph!
“Thank you. Sorry, not this time. Next please.”
Gary stood on the top of the supermarket ladder, stacking rolls of toilet paper. He crooned softly to himself. Practicing his latest rap, he mimed the words.
“Heres a few words from a guy with depression,
A guy who’s only felt neglection.
A guy that truly wants affection,
Not the image known as his reflection.
Betta get out of my bed, stop wasting time,
My old man says I was way out of line.
Get off my ass, go cut the grass.
He says rappin ain’t sublime.
I wish I had a mill- yun,
Better, though, a billion. Great pots of money.
that sure would be funny.
I could buy my own pad, then maybe I’d not feel so sad.