Posted on Sunday, August 24th, 2008 at 3:59 am
Author: Joe Sapien
Today marks the passing of an artist and a legend. Some of us were able to call him our brother, or our son. Another five people called him husband. But one thing we could all call him was… “friend.”
L-Shock was taken before his time. Initial police reports indicate that he slipped on a stray banana peel, and then tragically fell onto roughly seventy large caliber bullets outside of a crowded circus. While the police have heard rumors of foul play, nothing has been made definite at this point.
Rather than mourn the passing of a titan, we at the network would like to celebrate with you the life of a legend.
Lil’ Shockolate, born Micky Leroux, grew up in rural Chicago. His mother often tells the story of how she would come down at night to find baby Micky banging on pots and pans, thoughtfully picking his nose, or even placing a bucket on his own head.
[Cut to a clip of Mother Leroux]: “Two things that boy did have were rhythm and determination. No matter how many times I locked him out of the house or put a ‘Sold’ sign out on the lawn before he came home from school, he would just bonk his head on the front door until we let him in.”
While Micky was not a star performer during his grade school years, his autobiography indicates that he certainly could have been, if he had wanted to be. Fate had other things in store for him, though.
L-Shock became involved in the drug trade. Displaying an uncanny knowledge of market forces, he would force people to smoke crack or eat raw methamphetamines at gunpoint, an activity he liked to call “recruiting.”
Eventually, these exploits would bring him hard up against the law. He chose to represent himself during his trial, and his now-famous defense strategy consisted of threatening the judge with a hole-puncher. His later attempt to appeal the decision by hurling a chair through the courtroom window fell on deaf ears. L-Shock faced up to 10 years in prison.
By his own admission, L-Shock was nervous about entering the prison system. His concerns mainly stemmed from the effects that he felt his looks would have on the other inmates.
[cut to clip of Lil Shockolate during an interview]: “I got these two diamond spikes through my upper lip, going all the way into my mouth, making me look like a sexy walrus. They’re putting a walrus in a prison full of hungry Eskimos.”
But, like his appeal, his many carefully written letters to PETA fell on deaf ears. During his time in prison, he received many amateur tattoos. He also received a Hepatitis C infection, which would go untreated because he did not, quote, “believe in ghosts.”
It was during his time in prison when L-Shock first began to rap. His utterly unique blend of syncopated rhyming over pulsing bass beats proved to be wildly popular, both in prison and, later, on the charts. Further setting him apart from every other hip hop artist to ever exist, he would often rap about such gritty subjects as drugs, violence, and his own experiences on the street.
However, Shock’s music would reveal the eternal, angst-ridden conflict that he felt as an artist, the soul-rending dichotomy that existed between being a hardened street-warrior, and being a soulful lover. He was often praised for his ground-breaking R&B efforts, where he would deftly capture the very essence of street romance and honest passion.
Furthermore, he daringly included these songs on the same albums as his more aggressive tracks, where he would mention violent or graphic acts like feeding his enemies to a Tyrranosaurus, “doing a diarrhea in [their] pool,” or kidnapping their children and leaving them to be raised by a family of possums.
Fellow rapper, ABCDeez Nuts, had this to say about his fallen friend.
[Cut to clip of ABCDeez Nuts during an interview]: “We’re artists, and artists are sensitive and love to hug. I wasn’t surprised at all when he’d rap about being faithful until the end of time, and then go right back to rapping about killing [bleep]‘s. What? No, I don’t see the contradiction at all. I’ll tell you what I did see, I saw a man under tremendous pressure to determine when he felt like working, receive millions of dollars a year, and have tons of women trying to sleep with him all the time.”
“I saw a man constantly being pushed by the media and by society to drive his Ferrari around the city, and spend three weeks a year recording an album. When you’re an artist like he was, of course you’ll be conflicted. He was a complex guy; his love songs revealed his gentle, good side, while his harder songs showed that he could [bleep] a [bleep bleep] when he had to. Completely original. You tell me, what other hip hop artist has done that?”
What other artist, indeed?
We’ve come to the end of our segment on L-Shock, a man, a legend, and some even say, an icon. For many, especially those in hip hop circles, this is the end of an era, and also a chance for emerging artists to claim that they are the best since somebody other than Biggie or Tupac.
Shock, you will be missed.
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