So, I wrote a rap song with my mom. Why, you may ask, did I do such a thing? Well, the answer to that lies in two parts.
Firstly, I wrote a rap song with my mom because I could. And what I mean by that is, a.) I already write rap songs, and b.) my mom has written poetry for as long as I can remember, so it didn't seem like it would be a huge leap to just get her to do that over a hip-hop beat.
And secondly, I wrote a rap song with my mom because I thought it would be pretty damn cool. And what I mean by that is, my mom has always been super-supportive of my unorthodox, not-particularly-financially-secure career choice of being a Jewish Canadian hip-hop musician (through listening to my music, coming out to live shows well past her bedtime, etc.), but I thought us actually creating a song together would be a pretty unique way for me to really share with her what it is exactly that I do. And that was important to me, given that my love for words is due in no small part to her love for words.
So I pitched it to her, she agreed, and we set off. What that entailed was each writing a respective solo verse, then coming together to write a third and final "back-and-forth" style verse (in the time-honoured rap tradition of groups such as Run-DMC, or, in this case, Mom-DMC...sorry, couldn't resist!).
But actually, before we even set pen to paper, my mom began expressing some doubts about the whole endeavour. She was fearful that, never having done such a thing, she wouldn't be able to write a rap song. Or record one! Or perform one live!! Or shoot a video for one!!! Or do nation-wide press for one!!!! But that's one of the great and most inspirational things about my mom: Although she does tend to get nervous about a lot of things she hasn't tried before (like most people), if a particular thing is important to her (as creating this song with me was), she'll somehow find the courage to confront those fears and still get the damn thing done (and usually excel at whatever it is she's doing in the process!).
And as we had that discussion about my mom's fears around creating this song, we soon realized that would actually make a good topic for the song: Our mutual respect for each others' courage in life (mine, for the traits in my mom I outlined above, and my mom's, for my willingness to pursue an unstable career path simply because it feels right to me).
So we wrote the song, recorded it, performed it live (twice so far), shot a video for it, and are currently doing nation-wide press for it. And, in typical fashion, my mom has been nervous every step of the way, but, because it's (and I'm) important to her, has managed to find the courage to not only do all of those things, but to excel at them (I swear she's already better at doing interviews than I am!).
I think I can also speak for her when I say the whole experience has been pretty awesome for both of us. She's told me that she now has a much better understanding of what it is that I do and the guts that it requires to do so. And it's confirmed for me just how kick-ass and adventurous my mom really is.
So, in conclusion, I'd say, don't feel obliged to write a rap song with your mom this Mother's Day. However, instead of just falling back on the clichéd card and flowers approach, maybe consider actually sharing something that's important in your life with your mom. I did and our relationship is definitely stronger as a result.
Also, if you're free at 3:00 pm (after you've taken your ma to brunch), come watch my mom and I perform the song (which is called "Courage [feat. my mom]" by the way) live at The Mascot café in Toronto's Parkdale. And/or check out the brand spanking new video for the tune, directed by the awesome Ken Galloway (see below).
Thanks for reading and word to your moms,