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I rolled my eyes at the newsstand’s shopkeeper after he commented on the magazine that I had picked up. It was the latest cover of Vibe, and on its cover was a bare-chested rapper whose stage name is Dre Lover.

“Dre Lover,” the shopkeeper said with disgust in his voice. “My daughter listens to his trash, and I can’t stand it.”

I know that he was looking for looking for a response from me that would support his opinion; after all, I look like I just stepped off of a trading floor on Wall Street. I was wearing a pinstriped pantsuit, rectangular-shaped frames, and I had my long brown hair tied up into a tight bun. I was holding a coffee from Starbucks in one hand while digging through my laptop bag for my wallet to pay for the Vibe magazine.

I suppose the cover my hypothetical magazine cover screamed educated, well-to-do, and maybe even a little bit bougie. What was I doing, spending my money to support a man whose lyrics are slightly violent at best, and straight up sexist and misogynistic at worst?

I handed the shopkeeper a ten-dollar bill for the magazine, and said, “Dre Lover is my husband. Keep the change,” before heading off in the direction of the subway. I didn’t bother this time with staying to see his reaction; I already knew that he would be picking his jaw up off the ground as I walked off.

Yeah, I said it. I’m Dre Lover’s wife. However, I should note that I didn’t marry Dre Lover -- I married Andre Wright seven years ago, during the summer between our junior and senior years of college. We’ve been happily married ever since.

My husband leads a double life. He’s a controversial rapper by day, and a rather quiet and well-mannered husband and father by night. Sometimes, I still have to stop and actually think about my husband’s rise to fame in this world, the one full of thumping club beats and tongue-twisting lyrics.

You see, Andre studied chemistry in college, and he has his Bachelor’s degree in the subject, along with a minor in creative writing. But of course, that’s something that the magazines and the pundits often fail to mention when criticizing his lyrics, and more importantly, his entire persona.

Most of his writing came in the form of poetry, and soon enough, written word turned into spoken word. I remember the first night he got on stage at an open mic night, and I watched my shy, soft-spoken boyfriend turn into a completely different person before my eyes. His rhymes came out bold and confident, and I can remember chuckling at the fact that he rapped about ‘hood life, even though we both knew he grew up in a big house in the ‘burbs.

The audience loved him, and so did the owners of one of the small record labels in the area. They wanted to sign him -- well, they didn’t want to sign Andre -- they wanted to sign somebody hard, somebody bad, somebody the groupies and the neighborhood hoes would be attracted to. And thus Dre Lover was born.

Right before he signed, Andre asked me how I felt about him joining that label. We were engaged at the time.

“Babe,” I said to him, “How does being on stage make you feel?”

“Honestly, it makes me feel powerful,” he said slowly. “It makes me feel like I’ve captured the world’s attention. I love it.”

“Do you want it?”

He stayed silent for a moment. “Yeah, I do. It would be fun to be Dre Lover for a few years, I think.”

“Then you’ve got all my support,” I said, inching closer to him, and planting a kiss square on his lips. “Do what makes you happy, I’ll be right here for you.” Andre smiled at me in response as I got serious for a second. “Just don’t let me catch you fucking those groupie hoes, you hear?” I said.

“Tami, you’re my one and only,” He replied, and then kissed me again.

I trust that I am his one and only, I do.

Granted, I’m home with our daughters when he’s on tour, so I really have no idea what kind of stuff he’s getting into when he’s performing. We also try to do our best to shield them from Dre Lover’s lyrics and music. It’s getting rather difficult though; part of their dad’s persona is touting the fact that he’s the “greatest rapper in the world” and that he will forever live the single celebrity life. In his music videos, he’s regularly making it rain on bitches. His face and his music are splashed across the television and the computer, and his songs are on heavy rotation on all of the hip-hop and pop stations.

Even though he would never let him get caught up in the thug life that he raps about, I’m growing concerned about how his lyrics may affect our daughters later on down the line. In fact, our oldest, Tasha, who is five, is beginning to recognize that man who looks like her daddy, but somehow she’s deduced that it can’t be him because he would never raise his voice like that. I’m trying to keep that thought in her head for as long as possible, but it’s getting more and more difficult.

I know that, even after all of the these years playing Dre Lover, Andre would never let the celebrity status go to his head. As a matter of fact, he tries to hide it when he’s not on tour. Whenever he’s home, he sheds the doo-rag, the jewelry, and the baggy jeans and gladly trades all of that for a pastel-colored polo, a pair of Dockers, and loafers, and we hang out at the park just like the rest of the Jack and Jill families in our neighborhood.

See, I don’t want to take away my husband’s power, that force which makes him truly happy, because when he’s happy, I’m happy. But I’ve got to think about our daughters; I want them to have a healthy relationship with their father... without the lyrics about guns, drugs, and sex.

Dre Lover is on tour right now, but Andre will be home with his family in a week. I’ll talk to him about my concerns then. Here’s to hoping I can get my husband, the loud, vulgar, and overly self-centered rapper, to turn into my husband, the quiet, well-meaning chemist.


Nov. 16th, 2011 02:40 am (UTC)
Excellent story. Well written, good characters. Great work! =)
Nov. 16th, 2011 04:24 am (UTC)