“Chatter,” a Rap by Austen Berj Brooks

We are coming up on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving – the day Austen died in 2014.  The actual date is November 25, which falls on the day after Thanksgiving this year, but it’s the Tuesday before Thanksgiving that most hits home with his family.  Not a good day to remember – probably the worst day in each of our respective lives.  This year on the 25th, I plan to put up a Christmas tree, put the wreath on the door, and generally bring some magic and cheer into the house. Whatever else I do will write its own script – you never know how you are going to feel until it’s upon you.

Overriding that sentiment, however, is the gratefulness I feel to have access to Austen’s thoughts, ideas, creativity and words. It’s a part of him still here, left behind, giving us insight into his life (and ours), his world, his struggles, his triumphs, his goals, his humanity, his spirit. It is in that spirit that I share the following rap with you.

“Chatter” was published by Austen via YouTube on February 10, 2013, when he was a senior at Indiana University.  I could not find the written words anywhere, so I have endeavored to transcribe it.  He called it “Chatter” and set the words to beats by J Dilla. On YouTube, he used 3 photos, which I have incorporated in the text.  I add a photo at the end, which I took in Paris in March 2016 and call “Chatter.” 

Here is the original music version of “Chatter” from February 2013, followed by the words:

Chatter

austenquoicropped

Photo of Austen taken in Paris by Suzanne in March 2011.

kick back relax
these raps will make you relapse
on old school tracks
hitting notes like a sax
silky smooth like honey
we get stuck like wax
with the facts to adapt
got the world in my lap
get the hugs, throw the daps
what I love, get it back
I’m the opposite of wack
been a student not a truant
graduated to the stacks
but you know about that
went from zero to the max
I’m a hero for the mass
and my struggles and my tax
might of doubled from the last

when in trouble break the glass
I’ll come running like the flash
I get high without the grass
and the lack is clearly best
and the music let me grasp why I got a second chance
almost threw away like trash
when I threw away my stash
but my using in the past
had enough and that’s that

austenwalkingcropped

Photo of Austen taken in Paris by Suzanne in March 2011.

now the only time I crash….

now, why
check my hit list
murder without a witness
hit it out the park
going home like Odysseus
nothing but darkness in my past
now lets find a give
no more waiting, contemplating
it’s my time to live
no more waking and then baking
even wine and cigs
no complaining
past abating, ready to begin
got the world in my sights
happy like a kid

from now until forever I’ll be running this
everything I ever wanted
ain’t bout money bitch

BloomingtonSnow

Photo taken by Austen in downtown Bloomington, Indiana, December 5, 2010.

peace

Austen Berj Brooks, February 10, 2013

chatter

Suzanne’s photo “Chatter”taken in Paris, March 2016, dedicated to ABB.

Stand At The Junction Of Bliss & Insanity

I remember Austen texting me this photo he took of a snowy evening in Bloomington, Indiana, where he was a student at Indiana University. He later used the photo for a hand-made card he gave me on Christmas day, 2010 or 2011.

 As Christmas approaches, I miss his wish lists and links to possible gifts I could get him and those wonderful memories of he and his siblings padding downstairs at 2:00 am in the morning to see what Santa had brought them. Aside from getting gifts, he seemed to appreciate the magic of the season, the magic of the new blowing snow, of the colors in the night, of the feeling of being truly alive.

BloomingtonSnow

Photo taken by Austen in downtown Bloomington, IN, December 5, 2010.

As 2015 comes to a close, words from Austen to take you through the holidays and into the new year with the force of ‘positivity’:

I am brimming with life, with creativity, spirituality, love and even greatness if I believe.  I can change my perceptions.  Nobody is going to love you and believe in you before you do.  It’s not for anyone else either.  It’s not to make someone jealous or outperform your peers. It’s because you know yourself.  You know that you are a person who is worth it. … If my internal world is positive, I can go forward without fear.  You can’t let your thoughts become so convoluted.  This is just a tactic.  Let your love out and breathe it back in.  Open your heart and your mind to the universe. Stand at the junction of bliss and insanity and be brave.
     Austen Berj Brooks, ‘Journey Through Sobriety,’ June 23, 2014.