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Rated: ASR · Essay · Music · #2276453
The story of Left Eye


This is an odd choice of a song for me. I really don't like pop very much, and do not listen to rap. But I found the scene in We're the Miller's in which Kenny (Will Pouler) raps so damned funny, I had to investigate.

First, I watched the video and read the lyrics. In particular, the rap portion written by Lisa Lopes. It was not only good, it was poignant. It deals with the horror of gun violence and AIDS. Certainly not the subject of most songs of those genres.

Lopes, also known as "Left Eye" has a very interesting history. But it wasn't until I read about her early years that it dawned on me why she seemed so familiar.

It turns out, not only did she grow up in the neighborhood next to mine, she went to Philadelphia High School for Girls. I attended the high school next door, and when I went there, both were segregated by sex. Mine was the last all male public school in the nation, in fact.

Now, she was much younger, but even so, I recalled a few things. I grew up less than four miles from her house, and the neighborhood was a fun place to go party. I do recall watching a young girl rapping, but I can't really say if it was her.

When I was fifteen or perhaps sixteen, I rebelled against my father, the preacher. I refused to go to church. It was one hell of a fight, but in the end he relented. So until my father retired and started attending a different church, I stayed away. As it turned out, they needed a second baseman for their church league softball team, and I fit the bill.

I loved sports. I hated church. Several of us would get high before service. But I clearly remember attending when a trio of singers came and just got down. Forget you, organ lady, they are going to sing! Usually church was a drudge that let me play ball. Not that day. Some kids rocked the house. Gospel music, but damn …. they could sing. That was The Lopes Kids.

It wasn’t until much later I would know it was her, when I looked up how she died, It was helping others in Honduras. She had a tough life growing up, and I can attest to that, Philly is a rough town. Overcoming your youth is not easy. She did … in spades. Rest in peace, Left Eye.


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