Facing Childhood and Adolescence in Iowa’s Cedar Valley: Beats and Lyrics

Childhood, Facing Community Belonging and Citizenship from University of Northern Iowa (Waterloo, Iowa)

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Illustrated by: Hailey & Liv

Written by: Daniel

I walked down the rickety stairs as quietly as I could. These steps led to the basement where all you could hear was a thumping beat and a beautiful voice that goes perfectly with it. I peeked down the corner to try to see the face behind this beautiful voice, and then I saw a big rolly chair – like a tall, rolly chair. At the age of 5, it was probably smaller than you think. But in my eyes, it was the coolest, biggest thing ever. It was the biggest beat making set up – it looked like a thing out of Star Trek. I went and sat in the chair and started messin’ around clickin’ buttons. Then I heard a deep voice from the back that said, “Why it sound different? Hold up. Play it back.”

Then I saw one of the tallest men I’ve ever seen. He had two braids and a thick goatee. He looked down at me and said, “What are you doin’ on the chair?” I was like “Nothing sir, just messin’ around.” He actually introduced me to The Beautiful Voice and showed me the incredible beats. I stayed in there for an hour, and then my mom came barging into the room. “Oh my gosh I’m worried sick! What are you doing?”

“Nothing, I was just messing around. I’m sorry. I’m coming back.”

The tall man said, “Everything’s okay. I was just showing him how to make music. He’s pretty good at it. He could probably do this all by himself.”

That’s what started me off trying to do all this stuff. Making beats and lyrics.

This story originally appeared in Facing Childhood and Adolescence in Iowa’s Cedar Valley, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by the University of Northern Iowa in Waterloo, Iowa.

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