In the Phone Booth: Out the Box

By: @medafORACLE

“Norm”: (noun) – a standard, model or pattern. A designated standard based on the past performance of a given individual.

Many standards are set in life, some lower than others. There are pros and cons to this. The pros are individuals will have a blueprint as to how to act out a certain task. The cons to this are, if an individual sticks to this said “standard” they may be selling themselves short in doing the expected norm. Most of us never get acquainted with our full capabilities. One of the reasons for this is this standard that is set by certain individuals who then become professors in the norm. This norm and these professors are then backed by media outlets who convince majority spectators and or participants that the norm the “industry standard

In some cases this may be true. Take the English language for example. In school at a young age we are taught perfect grammar. As we ascend in grade level, and age; grammatical errors are looked at on a more microscopic scale. On any level, though; run on and incomplete sentences are unacceptable in any written presentation. On the other hand you have Hip Hop and within this art form you have average emcees and then you have intellectual and superior emcees. Ironically the more average “norm” emcees create the more complete sentence based rhymes compared to the more diverse or superior emcee, if you will.

What does this have to do with boxing”….well….we will get to that shortly. In writing an essay, in high school or college; complete sentences are not only the norm but; essential to getting a passing grade. Take the start of any of these paragraphs for example. The paragraphs contain complete sentences accompanied with correct punctuation. To a professor this would be coined correct writing or dare I say….”beautifully written” All jokes aside though, in Hip Hop this rule does not apply so much. Take a four bar stanza for example…..

“Mind penetrate/ barbaric actions my lines demonstrate when rappin’ and I ventilate hatred towards bigot, fake rappers; just die! Get it straight/ when you attempt to rhyme, I am who you try to emulate” ~medafOracle

In a metropolis filled with grammar police, I would be breaking the law, or simply just given an F by my English professor. Such incomplete sentences lacking punctuation would be deemed sinful and unreadable to all professors BUT…in the Hip Hop world the sound and fluidity of this stanza is…dare I go back to the phrase,  .“Beautifully written” or simply just viewed as out of the norm.

So here is the boxing portion of this column. In boxing we see similar standards set. Coaches teach fighters your basic 1,2,3,4 combo. If you’re a right handed fighter (orthodox stance) 1 is your jab, 2 is your straight right, 3 is your left hook and 4 is your right uppercut. Compare this to a sentence and your complete sentence would be “jab, right, left hook, right uppercut.” Or “1,2,3,4.” Always start with the jab and end with the 4 to complete your sentence with having it make sense or be the “standard”. For someone who not only writes music but boxes, my question is; “why does this have to be MY standard or “norm” as well”?

Let’s take a step back to the lyrical portion of this for a second. Sometimes the most unacceptable and horrifically written rhymes from a “standard” and “norm” grammatical perspective are the most beautiful sounding. Why can’t this be so in boxing as well? As a fighter, imagine taking this same concept and conducting it within your punch approach or boxing “sentence” if you will. Your coach or “English professor” would tell you, “your sentence should start with 1 (jab) and end with 3 or 4 (left hook or right uppercut)” Would it be so devastatingly wrong if you started your sentence with “3” and followed it with “2” and ended it with a “1”? Your sentence would be presented as “left hook, straight right hand and jab” Now to a professor, whom sets these “standards”; such a sentence would be failing in expected completion but, to a spectator or boxing purest this sentence would be beautiful to watch. Take a fighter like Leo Santa Cruz for example. Often seen, leading with a right hand followed by a left hook to the body accompanied with a right upper cut or left hook. If described grammatically by the expected “norm”, his “pathetic, broken English” approach to the sport would be a complement to say the least…BUT…to watch him is beautiful and a privilege.

Society is often caged by “normality” set by media and so called professors. From novice fighters to veterans, I ask you, “Why does this have to be your norm as well?” Step outside of the box and create your own normality or just simply be “out of the norm”, regardless, do not allow professors and media to dictate what your “standard” should be. If you want to end you sentence with a jab, then do so and do it beautifully. As an emcee, if you want to create run on and incomplete sentences, then do it equally as beautiful. Boxing and Hip Hop’s bridge shall never be burned by “norm standards”. Both are an art with similarities……by all means, we don’t call them “punch-lines” for no reason.

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