Sneak Peek Saturday: Pharaoh’s Gold: A Hip-Hop Love Story

It’s the weekend.

You’re quarantined and trying to remain COVID-free.

You’ve binge-streamed every show and movie that your heart desires, and you’re looking for something new to pique your interest.

Well… Joi Miner to the rescue!

Welcome to Sneak Peek Saturday! Every Saturday, I’ll share a snippet of one of my novels… either upcoming, or already available for you to enjoy.

This week’s pick:

Gold

My two eyes saw yo’ third eye from across the room

I can see your soul babe; I think you my soulmate

My two eyes saw yo’ third eye from across the room.

You remind me of a goddess, pardon if I fall in love too soon.

Big K.R.I.T.

“Gold, your four o’clock is here,” Amari, my assistant, said, peeking her head into the door of my office.

I rolled my eyes, stood up, and smoothed my green gypsy skirt and tunic down. I hated these damn interviews with local hip hop artists. They all had an attitude like they were Jay-Z or something. Coming in smelling like they bathed in whatever too strong ass cologne they chose to wear, gold-plated in chains around their necks and gold in their mouths. Shoes and clothes that cost too damn much. Wasting their futures on fabric instead of investing in a 401K. And they always… and I mean always hit on me. Then acted like something was wrong with me when I ain’t respond to the shit.

But, ya know, that’s what every woman wanted, right? A man who had an ego bigger than his dick, and had to deal with women falling all over him because he was able to put words together over a beat and recite the shit onstage? Not I. Give me a poet any day of the week. Or a bag boy with interesting conversation. I’m a sapiosexual, and that limelight shit didn’t do it for me. I shook off my frustration as I approached reception and turned on my professionalism. This was the hand I was dealt being the new Urban Features Reporter for B-Metro Magazine. So, I was learning to deal with it.

I looked around the lobby and didn’t see anyone waiting. I looked back at the receptionist, Brandy, and she pointed to the bathroom while she took a message from a caller. I stood patiently, waiting for him to come out so we could get this over with. When the door opened, I was sure my face reflected my shock.

“Gold, pick ya jaw up off the floor, boo,” Brandy leaned over her desk and said, laughing softly.

I looked away from him and tried to fix my face, but I was sure he’d seen me. And there was no way I could get this blush from my cheeks in time to save myself any further embarrassment. When I turned around, he was standing over me, smiling.

This man was what I knew the original man must have looked like. He stood a little over six feet tall, towering over my five-foot-three-inch frame, even in my six-inch stilettos. His skin was the color of dark chocolate and just as smooth. His big, dark brown eyes were peering into me. And his tiny locs hung to just above his ears. His wide, full brown lips that were peeled back smiling at me were framed by an unkempt goatee. He had a bit of an overbite and a gap, but those kinds of imperfections were sexy as hell to me. And his nose. My God… it made me think of home, the motherland.

“Miss Harris,” he said, breaking me out of my thoughts. I had been staring.

“Yes. Mr. Wright?” I said, extending my hand.

“I am Mr. Wright. Nice to meet you,” he said, and I blushed again.

I bet you are Mr. Right, I thought to myself. Flirting with the man inside my head. Get it the hell together, Gold. This is business, I attempted unsuccessfully to give myself a pep talk.

“Nice to meet you, too. Let’s go to the meeting room,” I said, knowing that I couldn’t be in the close quarters of my little office alone with him.

“Lead the way,” he said, his smile getting broader like he could read my mind.

We sat across from each other at the conference table, and I clicked on my recorder.

“So, Pharaoh is what they call you, correct?”

“Correct,” he grinned at me.

“Pharaoh, when did you first fall in love with hip-hop?”

He burst out laughing, making me scrunch up my face. I didn’t think I’d said anything funny. And definitely not anything that damn funny.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” he said, still laughing, trying to compose himself. “My bad. It’s just, somebody has watched Brown Sugar one time too many.”

He smiled broadly at me.

“Brown Sugar?” I asked, and he looked at me like I couldn’t be serious.

“You mean you’ve never seen the movie Brown Sugar? Taye Diggs? Sanaa Lathan?”

I was drawing a blank. I really had no idea what he was talking about.

“I don’t watch TV. I’m more of a reader, honestly,” I said, feeling like I’d missed out on something important.

“So, that’s just your first question to everyone you interview?”

“Yes…”

“And no one has ever brought up Brown Sugar before?”

“No…” I folded my arms across my chest.

I was getting frustrated. I was the one who was supposed to be asking the questions here.

“Wooooowww,” he said, staring at me. “You ever been to a live show?”

“No, that’s not really my thing,” I admitted. “Look, we’re getting off-topic here, and I’m the one who’s supposed to be interviewing you.”

“This interview is over,” he said, standing up.

“Wait… what?”

“What are you doing tomorrow night?”

“Where are you going? Mr. Wright, if I offended you, I apologize. I’d really love to interview you,” I said rushing ahead of him and standing in front of the door, blocking his exit. I needed this interview. He and his artists had some big shows coming up soon, or so I was told, and this would give us the exclusive. I needed this exclusive to establish myself here. I knew they still doubted me because, up until now, I had been getting what they considered small fish.

My little arms barely reached out far enough to do anything, but I was determined. I was glad the blinds were closed and the door was wooden with no windows, or anyone passing by would be certain that I’d lost my mind. This had to be the oddest interaction I’d ever had in my life. Who ends an interview over a movie? He looked down at me.

“I asked what are you doing tomorrow night,” he said.

“Nothing.”

“You will get your chance to interview me then. I’m gonna send you an address. Is the number I have for you your cell phone?”

“Yes,” I responded, puzzled.

“Aight. Be on the lookout for a text from me. See you tomorrow, around seven?”

“Mr. Wright, I don’t date… I mean… this is business, so I would like to keep it as professional as possible.”

“It’ll be professional. I just don’t think that you can honestly do either of us justice in this interview if you have no real knowledge of what it is that I… do,” he said, leaning down and reaching around my arms to twist the knob. “See you tomorrow at seven. Be on the lookout for that text,” he said again.

I moved out of his way so that he could leave. I walked back to my office in a daze.

“That was quick,” Amari said when I walked past her desk.

“Yeah… we… re… scheduled,” I said, going in and having a seat.

It took me a few moments to regroup. I went through the entire conversation, trying to figure out what I’d done wrong. I guess I needed to watch that Brown Sugar movie. And get ready to see him in action tomorrow night.

“Amari,” I yelled out of my open office door.

“Yeah?” she yelled back with a question in her voice. I was still out of it. Hadn’t thought to use the intercom.

“What does one wear to a hip hop concert?”

She bolted into my office, her eyes as big as her head.

“You’re going to a concert?” she asked, her hands on her hips.

“Apparently… and I think I need to watch this movie called Brown Sugar…”

“Oh my God… he got you open!” she said, laughing and going back to her desk.

She didn’t even answer my damn question.

Pharaoh

So maybe this approach I’m takin’ will be beneficial to me

these other girls are artificial to me

and I prefer that organic

under the influence of something other than yo panties

or my quest to get inside ’em

~HER Dopeness

No Suh Foster

Yeah, she was it. I’d never invited anyone to my crib like that, especially somebody I just met. But there I was, waiting for her to show up. There was something about her, though. Something… I don’t know, organic. Unique. She didn’t have on all that makeup and weave and shit. Not that I’m against it. But there’s something about natural beauty. And I didn’t think she knew just how beautiful she was.

I’d spent the whole night cleaning. Now, I was in the studio workin’ on a track. I kept checkin’ my phone. Time was passing by so slow tonight. Thirty minutes ago, it was 6:30. But my iPhone read 6:32. I was trying to focus, but I was excited. Why was I excited? It was just an interview. I’d done thousands of them in my career. Maybe it was because it’s for B-Metro. Whatever it was had me feeling weird. My phone rang, and I answered it, trying to hide my smile.

“Hello? Mr. Wright? Did you give me the correct address? I think I’m outside. At least this is where my GPS brought me. But this is a… house,” she said, nervously.

I was already walking through the house. I opened the door and was greeted by an uneasy Miss Harris, standing on my porch.

“Come in,” I said, opening the door and stepping out of the way.

“Is this your home?” she asked me, looking around. Her eyes landed on my smudge stick sitting in the ashtray, and a smile tugged at her lips.

“Yes, this is my home,” I said, closing the door behind her. She faced me, and I could tell she didn’t think this was a good idea. “Come on,” I said, grabbing her hand and pulling her down the hallway before she could protest and run for the hills. She was thinking it. I could tell.

I opened the door to the studio and looked down at her. She was cute and comfortable in a pair of white shorts and a gray graphic tee that read Metaphors Be with You. She walked in and sat in the leather office chair the farthest away from the door, staring up at the screens. She was in awe.

“I wanted you to see what I do. There’s so much more that goes into my music than just me performing on stage. Listen to this,” I said and played her the song I’d just finished for one of my artists. It was a soul song, and I knew it would be something that would catch her attention. I don’t know why I knew, I just knew.

“Nice,” she smiled. “Wait. I know that voice. Is that Soul?”

“Yes,” I was impressed by the fact that she knew one of my artists just from the sound of her voice.

“Oh my gosh! I love her! I have tickets to her show at the Syndicate next month! You work with her?”

“She’s one of my artists,” I said proudly, sitting down in the leather office chair beside her.

“Really? I didn’t know,” she said, looking at me and then looking away quickly.

“You don’t really do much research, do you, Miss Harris?”

“Gold… call me Gold. And no, I’m new and still learning how this works. I applied for a book review, literary feature position and this is what they had available. Six months, loads of interviews later, I still can’t get with this hip hop shit. No offense…”

“Hmmmm. Ok, well listen to this,” I said, removing the vocals from the song. I played the track, again and again, each time removing another element until there was nothing but the metronome keeping time.

“So, you add all of these things, one at a time, and it makes…”

“What you listen to in your car,” I told her.

She smiled at me. She got it. She really got it. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Us, here in my creative space, where I pour my heart out and turn it into something that reaches the core of the listener, it was… nice.

“Mr. Wright,” she murmured.

“Eric,” I gave her permission to call me.

“Eric…”

My name rolled off of her tongue.

“Yes?”

“Play me something else,” she said, breaking our glance.

She giggled and pulled her feet up in the chair. Her eyes lit up as she stared at the huge screen in front of us and watched me dissect my beats.

After about three more songs, I played her the one that I’d been working on while waiting for her to arrive. I hadn’t finished it yet, and it was the last song that would be included on my upcoming album. I felt like it was missing something. Looking at her, I felt that whatever it was missing was over there. With her. I moved my chair over and watched her look at the screen. When we’d gotten down to the metronome of that song, I let it play. I stared at her shamelessly. She peeked with her peripheral but refused to lock eyes with me. I was studying her.

“Gold,” I called to her.

“Yeah?” she asked, finally giving in and looking at me.

“That’s it!” I screamed out and slid backward in my chair. Typing in the search engine, I’d found the missing element for the track.

She watched on while I dragged and dropped, snipped, adjusted volume, added and removed effects and then…

I hit play, laying my head back and listening to it. I felt her eyes on me, but I was reveling in the feeling that I had every time I got it right. I breathed in and could smell her perfume. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it was nice to my nostrils. She must’ve been in my head.

“You know, my favorite part of your face is your nose,” she said, and that’s when I realized that she was standing over me.

I couldn’t hide my blush. I was blushing. I’m too dark to blush, man, but the burning in my cheeks told me that’s what it was. I opened my eyes and glanced up at her. That thing. What was it? She had me curious. I stood up, and she took a step back. Then another. I placed my hand on her waist to stop her from moving any further away. Leaning down, I kissed her. I don’t know what came over me; I just felt like I had to. She melted into me. I didn’t wanna undress her and get a nut like I did with the groupies. I was ok with just kissing her. With stealing glances at her.

I wanted to share my art with her. Let her into my mind and the closest parts of me. She reached up and touched my face with her hand. She pulled away a little.

“I should go,” she said, her lips brushing against mine.

“But the interview…” I reminded her of the reason for her coming in the first place.

She pulled away and rushed to the table, picking up her keys.

“I’ll email the questions to you,” she said, not even looking back.

She was down the hall and out the door before I could think of anything to say to convince her to stay. My mind was blank for the first time in forever.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a runner,” I said into my house, laughing and walking to close and lock my door.

I went back into the studio and started working on the track again. My phone alerted me that I had a text message.

Gold: Next time we watch Brown Sugar 😉

Me: Bet

*****

Click the image to grab your copy!

If you want to read more, head on over to Amazon and grab your copy!

See you next time, loves! ‘Til then, be kind to yourselves and each other!

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