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May 6, 2010

This morning I was listening to The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy,” one of many rap joints or tracks that chronicle the rapper’s journey to success and repeatedly criticize the individuals who told him he was destined for failure, wouldn’t amount to anything, and so on. The rapper mocks the negative opinions of past naysayers as he describes his ascent from the streets to a penthouse, from drug deals to expensive meals, from bachelorhood to unrelenting pussy from all directions. It seemed to me that the obvious thing to do, all things considered, was to write a parody.

What can I do but request that you put your hands in the air?

This for all the people
who was supportive of my academic ambitions
‘cause they thought I was gonna make it.
This for all the professors who was givin’ me As,
thinkin’ I was headed straight for a PhD.

Listen close, y’all.

Seventeen years old, I moved away from Estevan. E’ybody told me, “Just do the best ya can. First year o’ university’s the hardest.” But I had a thirst in me, I was a essay artist. Contemplatin’ and thinkin’ while classmates was matin’ and drinkin’. Mad hard Latin conjugatin’ while they was Mike’s Hard Lemonadin’. I made the Dean’s List, I was a machine, I said, “I’ma be a classicist.” (You interrupt my rap to say, “But surely you was datin’?” Don’t call me Shirley, and what kinda crap is you conversatin’? I didn’t need no relationship, I was gettin’ educationship. Mad learnin’, earnin’ 4.0s in my five-year-old clothes, stressed studyin’, no time for sex buddyin’, and wasn’t nobody lookin’ none at me, I always had a book in fronta me.) I came first in GRST, earned me a silver medallion. While otha bitches my age been dallyin’, displayin’ their titties, I got accepted to pursue my MA in three cities. Cash offers rollin’ in like Benzes, relentless tremendous quantities to show how much they wanted me. Hell, it got really bad, departments fightin’ over me like I was Briseis or Helen in the Iliad. Desire to leave was lackin; I stayed in C-Town, released a thesis like a Kraken, joined a triumvirate, had fun with it. The next year I began to grieve ‘cause I didn’t wanna leave—applied for another Master’s degree, this time in philosophy, my intellect was the boss of me. At what cost to me? I was lost, you see, buried in transcripts, married to manuscripts, felt I had no choice, and my own voice, if I coulda listened and heard, woulda said: “You’ve always wanted to write; why ain’t you written a word?” But I kept goin’, academia was all I was knowin’; my reputation preceded me, exceeded me, distended and shoved me while it pretended to love me. Applied for a PhD, got in immediately. E’ybody thought I was gonna be a big-shot professor wit’ a doctoral diploma mounted over my dresser.

How you like me now, classics faculty? I was loungin’, now I’m scroungin’. Mighta ended up in your department, now I’m a writer, can’t afford a apartment. Was studyin’ poems for dollars, now I write ’em for free. Was writin’ words for other scholars, now I write ’em for me.

Y’all ain’t counted on me leavin’ it;
some o’ y’all still ain’t believin’ it.
I had a 4.0, my GPA was flyin’ like a rocket,
today that’s how many dimes be lyin’ in my jacket pocket.
Time was I had a SSHRC,
now I don’t even work.
Master of Arts, now I’s a slave to lack o’ dollas.

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