I love music, but even more than music, I love stories. That's why so many of my interviews sound less like question and answer sessions and more like conversations; really, all I'm trying to do is get rappers to tell me stories. So let me tell you a story. It's Soundset and it's pouring outside. I'm in better straits than the soaked fans crowding in front of the stage, at least I'm relatively dry inside the media tent, but the media tent is literally just that, a tent. Jockeying for position over rare power outlets, sliding past protective tour managers to talk to an artist minutes before they go onstage, it's guerrilla journalism.
And so I see Fashawn walking by and I'm sure to grab him first. He remembers me from the interview I did around his Ecology album - or at least pretends to remember me - and is seemingly always down to talk, and so within minutes I'm sitting across from him, asking him to tell me the story of the first time he met Nas. I didn't want to hear the STORY, the polished narrative, I wanted to hear the actual story, the waiting, the dissapointments, the eventual surreality of really, actually standing in a room with Nas, shaking his hand. Fashawn gave me that actual story, and it's incredible to hear. And for bonus points, you can hear my head exploding as Fashawn also casually mentions he once wrote for Dr. Dre's now mythical Detox album, or at least one of the many versions of Detox.
We were on a roll, so I pressed Fashawn for even more stories. Like Nas, are there other moments when Fash couldn't believe that he was standing next to that person, times when he came face-to-face with one of his idols?
I think I love stories like that in particular because it's a reminder that although some artists may seem untouchable, everyone's still just a fan of someone else. So many people look up to Fashawn and he looks up to Nas and Chuck D and in turn Nas and Chuck look to him and on and on. Music really can be a force that unifies, that reminds us that no matter how big or small your role in it, we're all just part of hip-hop's larger story.
[Nathan S. is the managing editor of The DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. He also occasionally talks in podcast/radio form. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.]