My Personal Mentaur

Today is Rich Terfry‘s birthday. Buck 65 .
The Has, the Slam; the Boss, the Man.

I posted a quick note about it on Twitter, and a long distance rap friend replied a bit scornfully with “why do you still idolize this guy?”

And it was a nice opportunity to reflect – why do I?

Here’s what i told him:

Sincerely, when i was twelve years old, Rich started guiding my appreciation of the history and breadth of hip-hop, first on the radio & then personally, and he recognized how highly I regarded him as a kid and would give me time & attention.

i would visit his radio show, show up at the magazine store where he worked, bring him my little cassette demos, try to get into his shows underage*, and he saw that i knew all the words to everything. he’d bring tapes for me to events before they were out.

one time i missed a show and my friends told me when he flubbed a line he stopped the beat and said “where’s Jesse? Jesse would know the lyrics.”

it meant a lot to me, it made me feel like part of something. it was very encouraging. i didn’t look up to a lot of men. he was kind.

it’s weird how a seven year age difference means we were in totally different life stages then, but we’re the same age now, so when we became close friends over the years it could have been awkward that I grew up wanting to be him. but it never has been.

tl;dr: he’s been like a Big Brother to me, if not a big brother, and i love him.

Happy birthday, Rich!

Here’s a playlist of about two hours of his songs that made the most lingering impact on me, at least of what can be linked from steaming sites:

*which he helped me achieve many times by letting me carry records into the club with him, thanks to The Khyber‘s wond’rously lax ID-checking practices.

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