A group of rappers seek to get rich quick.
“There’s no future in rap, lads.” Mr Green walked in to the basement without warning. Greg and his mates were videoing themselves on Tic Tök. They stopped mid track, 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 poet and the rapper. The others did the backing soundtrack and the break dancing.
Greg’s friends made a move. “We’ll get going, Greg.” Baz grabbed his black leather jacket. “See you, Mr Green.”
The other two lads mumbled a garbled goodnight as they left to go out into the dark, leaving the brightness of the neon-lit basement.
Greg walked outside with them to their cars. “Sorry about the old man, guys. Man, he makes me heated, wouldn’t know good rap if it hit him the face.” They all agreed about parents. “See you tomorrow night.”
Baz’s car reversed out of the driveway and fishtailed it up the street, leaving black rubber on the road.
Gary ambled back to the house. His father was waiting in the kitchen..
“When are you going to look for a job?” Mr Green shook his head, “You're wasting your life with those losers. Playing stupid video games and rappin’ ain’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.
“Oh, man, that sounded brill. We just need us a name now, guys.” Baz grinned at the others, raising his clenched fist. Gary, Baz, Chuck, and Lee had just finished recording a set and got it down on video. They watched the playback and high fived.
Gary was the focus of the group. It was he who sang and wrote the words. The others were more athletic, their breakdancing skills cool and skilful. 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, Bro, 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 do that?” Chuck looked at Lee, as if he knew the answer.
“We need to get ourselves noticed first Chuck. Get us some gigs.”
“We need a get rich scheme.” Gary sounded disheartened, his shoulders sagged. He knew 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. What else would get us known as quick?” Greg agreed, brightening up.
“Let’s check it out. You can write some tunes, special.” Baz nodded at Gary.
“Yeah, okay, this will 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,”
“It’s the 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 National Audience and winning the money spurred him on. That and 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, the show’s running in Sydney this year. They’re auditioning in Perth in six weeks.” Lee said.
“What? We just turn up like?”
“No, we 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.” Gary 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 Australian Idol 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. some word outlandish attire. Guys and girls with musical instruments of all kinds. Even a grand piano. There were jugglers, dancers and acrobats.
“Christ, I didn’t think there’d be this many people here!”
The four boys simply stood looking at the scene, their confidence taking a dive when realising what they were up against. Lee pushed the trilby hat he always wore, up off his face. He liked to think he looked like a gangster from the prohibition era. Gary’s short sleeved black tee shirt showed off his tattoo sleeves. He touched the heavy silver cross his grandmother gave him for his eighteenth birthday for luck. They made their way to the registration table and 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 closely kept their eyes on the exit from the stage each time someone had finished. A few appeared waving their numbered cards, big smile on their faces.
“Yeah! I made it to the next round,” a young girl screamed as she ran to her anxiously waiting parents.
But most of them sheepishly left, shaking their heads, some outwardly crying. At last came the moment. “Number 247 please, you’re on next. “The boys 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 foot lights made it impossible to see their faces. Then they heard the words, “When you’re ready.”
The boys gave it their all. Gary’s rap, the boys spinning 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 whispered 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.