By David Pohlad
Every Thursday, after school, Young Wellz, a.k.a. Dalai Lama, Ruga Wellz, Repoman, Boogie-Man, but known by his teachers and most peers as Curtis Brown, walks into room 140 to participate in the Four Elements Hip-Hop Club. Brown, as well as many other students, joined this club to pursue their interest in either breakdancing, graffiti, or other urban art-forms. However, the most common interest in the club is rap.
A typical afternoon for the Four Elements club usually begins at around 3:15 in room 140.
“What’s the agenda for today?” are the first words from Mr. Golden who works to maintain organization and balance in the club as its sponsor. The club divides into groups. A a circle of rappers forms. On the other side of the class another group works on a choreographed dance and practices breakdancing moves.
“The club has been around for a while,” said Golden. “I’ve been a sponsor for it for 4 years now, and there was a math teacher named Mr. Ward who was in charge of it for about two years before I started.”
Although Golden doesn’t usually take part in the rap circle or the breakdancing practices, he does share an interest in the hip-hop world with the students.
“I am interested in a lot of music, and yes rap is one of them. My favorite artists are Talib Kweli and Common, but the students are slowly getting me more interested in rappers like Lil’ Wayne.
The second sponsor for the club is Ms. Twohill.
“I’ve only been a sponsor of the club since the beginning of this year,” said Twohill. “Natalio asked me because he knew I taught music.”
Natalio Berrios is the president of the club. His main interest is dancing and breakdancing. He is often found sharing his dancing talents with other students interested in learning.
However the most prevalent group in the club is the rap group.
Brown, Div. 046, has been rapping the longest in the club and is in charge of its rap section.
“The pen to the page is my art. I’m a maestro to that. Me spittin’ is my instrument, and I’m a dog at it,” Brown said.
“I’ve been rapping since the sixth grade but I got serious in high school because of friends,” he added.
Brown raps in an eight-member group called GENOCIDE, which is an acronym for Good Entertainment Needs Our Contribution In Defining Excellence. Three of the group’s performers are still Lane students and can usually be found practicing outside of Lane after school when weather permits. The other five members were seniors who graduated last year.
Members of GENOCIDE are seriously dedicated to the group and its music. A few have even gotten tattoos of the name and symbol of the group. Brown sports a recently inked tattoo stretching down his forearm from his wrist to his elbow.
The other two group members still at Lane in addition to Young Wellz go by the names of Sha-k 47, and Swisha Pearl.
Swisha Pearl’s real name is David Hurley, and like Brown, speaks about rap as an extension of his personality.
“In my eyes, rap is a form of poetry. I sometimes write lyrics that are meaningful to me and don’t share them with anyone, and other lyrics I write I do share and they are an expression of me,” he said.
The group’s practice sessions consist mainly of the members trading verses of lyrics and showing off their poetry and spoken word skills.
According to both Hurley and Brown, the group tries to rap about things important to them.
Brown says he wants to pursue a rap career after high school.
Until then, the rap scene at Lane is alive and well in the Four Elements Club.