I wasn’t exactly the most popular kid in high school, and I’m pretty sure that Matt Wilson would have shunned me, but I did OK for myself. I didn’t really have any enemies, I was pretty quiet, and I got along with most people. In fact, I went to three proms during my tenure at SHS.

Unfortunately, all three were pretty weak.

For my Junior Prom, I went with the girl I was dating at the time. We weren’t exactly the happiest couple in the world, and we ended up having a pretty miserable time. A month later was her Senior Prom. We spent most of the time hanging out with other people and broke up three days later.

So, my Senior Prom came around and I was determined that it was going to be a good time. The original plan was to go with my ex (we had become friends again), but she backed out about a month before the prom (another long story). A friend of mine heard about this and offered to go with me. Her long-term boyfriend (yup) said it was OK with him, so we were set… until she realized that her SATs were the day after the prom (she was a junior). Time was ticking and I was starting to sweat a bit. However, another friend was going through a similar ordeal, so we decided to go together “as friends,” so neither of us would look lame (little did I know that another girl, one that I had a semi-crush on, was going to the prom alone).

Prom day came and we were set. One of the traditions for the proms was that Mr. Steinmetz (a teacher at the school who also did a “morning show” over the loudspeakers each morning) would DJ the prom and also videotape it. Looking back, I have respect for him because he did a pretty damn good job at doing both things. But at the time, I was holding a grudge.

Earlier in the year I had given Mr. Steinmetz a tape of mine to play on his morning show. He played it and proceeded to say how it “sounded awful” and was “a total mess.” Sure, it may have been true, but it angered me, nonetheless.

I didn’t give up. During our senior trip to Disneyworld a few months before the prom, I got his home number from his daughter, who was in my grade. Another tradition of his was to give out his number to a select few people each year during the senior trip and have them call in and leave messages on his answering machine, which he would then play the next morning for the whole school on his morning show. I called up late one night with a freshly-written rap about the trip. When I returned, word around school was that he absolutely loved the fact someone left a rap on his answering machine and that he proceeded to play it six or seven times the next morning.

Back to the prom.

Steinmetz would interview each couple as they walked into the prom. He’d ask their name, who was the senior, where they were going to school, etc. So when my time came, I decided to slightly annoy Steinmetz (and, not purposely, embarass my date). “What’s your name?” he asked. I grabbed the mic, pulled it close to my face and said “Ryan MacMichael. Laze.” [ View the 56k Real Video ]

When we got into the prom itself, I got this weird idea that I wanted to perform. Sure, I had never performed in front of more than a few people (though I was prepared for a battle of the bands that was cancelled), but that didn’t matter. While other students were up at the DJ table making requests for various stupid pop songs, I asked him to let me rap. “I don’t have any music for that…” He was trying to blow me off. I said, “I’m the guy who left the rap on your answering machine from Florida.” He perked up. “Oh! That’s you? That was great!” and he agreed to let me rap later in the night.

Time went on and I bugged him a few times to give me my chance. He kept putting it off. So I decided to pull out the heavy ammo. I asked Mr. LaBrot to bug Steinmetz into letting me perform.

Laze, Rhyming at the Prom

I tore it up at my senior prom.

Mr. LaBrot was a first-year teacher that I had for history. We got along great because he was fresh out of school and into hip-hop. Mr. LaBrot can be seen in the background of this shot. Apparently, this was a good move, because just after midnight I was allowed to go on.

There I was, in my tux (sans jacket) in front of 500 people. Kids I had gone to elementary school with, crushes of years past (and present, at the time), and teachers looking on. I only had a short time, so I asked the crowd to give me a beat by clapping their hands. Unfortunately, they started off way too fast and I said, “Come on, now, this isn’t techno!” and they slowed down. I recited a slightly modified verse of one of my songs called “Styles Upon Styles.” The video footage started mid-verse:

… a universal message with a style that’s all my own,
I told you last record, I’m the lyrical Al Capone,
Mi say, “You stupid punk *” like mi name was Scarface,
But mi not Al Pacino so mi take Carlito’s Way,
I snatch the mic and it’s like a metamorphasis,
People say, “Of course it is!” ’cause the mic is what is forcin’ this
Crazy state that I’ve been put in,
My eyes glaze over and saliva turns to pudding,
Start foaming at the mouth ’cause I’m so excited,
Ready to rock the mic with the band that I invited,
The microphone lord I am, long like an accordian,
Speakin’ of the mic cord, I am, it’s like Freudian,
No lyrical loitering, ’cause I be like enforcing rules,
Ten years gives me tenure in the new school…

* which I edited from “fuck”

Yes, I actually said that I was “long like an accordian” in front of 500 of my peers, while dressed in a tux.

I finished up and encouraged some crowd participation by asking people to “represent” by “[making] some noise” when I yelled out their town.

I think I surprised a lot of people because I was “that shy, quiet kid” up there rhyming like a maniac. When I had rhymed in front of the 8th grade four years earlier, I got similar reactions: “I had no idea that you did that…” Back then, everyone and their brother wasn’t an emcee.

The response was awesome. Being able to watch the video pan across the crowd and see the smiling faces is something I cherish to this day. The fact that these were friends of mine digging what I was doing made it a special, memorable moment for me.

Of course one person had to ruin the otherwise perfect moment. She was a classmate and had helped organize the prom. I heard after the fact that she felt my performance was “inappropriate” for the prom. That’s OK. She was a stuck up, snobby, rich bitch anyway.

My senior prom was pretty uneventful since my date and I only went as friends and spent most of the night with other people, but the minute or two I had to perform will standout as the best memory from the three proms I attended. Too bad I had to spend $150 on each prom to get that two minute memory.

Now… I know you’re dying to see and hear the video, right?

Have at it (low quality 56k streaming).

(If you want a higher quality version, download this high quality version, about 850k.