I was walking in downtown Minneapolis during a sunny afternoon in October (go figure). I was on my way back from one of my favorite 50 duties (the daily post office run) when I saw him. You know? One of those guys that you know is going to ask you for money by the way he stares at you from twenty yards away. As we drew closer to one another it didn't surprise me when he opened his mouth to say something, but what he said did catch me off guard.
"Excuse me man, do you like hip hop?"
I ripped open my jacket to reveal a Notorious B.I.G. shirt beneath. The man's eyes lit up. I didn't catch his name, but he told me he was part of a crew called The Messengers that promote street battles and freestyles and he wanted to rap for money. His lips were chapped and blistered like he'd been rapping in the Sahara for the last week. I told him I was working, but he could walk with me and I'd beatbox for him.
So here I was walking down 1st Ave. N. beatboxing loudly with a clearly homeless man walking along with me freestyling and jiving his arms to the beat. We received some entertaining looks from business types as we passed, which made the couple bucks I gave him totally worth it. I respected that this Messenger was willing to work for my money. It also amused me when we parted ways and he immediately repeated his question ("Do you like hip hop?") to some of the aforementioned business types. They didn't say anything and he was off to spread his word elsewhere.