"Yo, are you all set up?" The backstage manager grumbled as he peered through the curtains onto the empty stage. "In a minute," Ryu glances at the impatient host as his attention quickly returns to the task at hand. It was always a pain trying to set up in the miniscule amount of time the bar managers would allow. Not even minute later, the manager sighed and proceeded to tap on the clipboard he was holding. "It's like you expect us to be all set up in 5 minutes. You wanna get this set up?" Ryuji intentionally spits back as he concentrates on getting the mic set up. This was going to be his 7th time on stage in this town and each time he performed the thrill from the first time remained, although he could do without the cranky bar owners.
One single deep breath in. Scanning the crowd through the blinding lights, everyone is consumed with their drink or who they are trying to take home. Smirking, Ryuji nods as his stage mate presses play to start the background track. The sound of an invasive drum set with blaring trumpets fills the smoky bar. Ryu needed no introductions, nor did he want to waste time with it. His style takes things back to the early 90's underground rap/hip-hop scene. For him, he was inspired by that decade's rap. Beneath the popular sludge that one would have to wade through, there was a whole world that inspired a new path of introspection. There was more to rap than hood politics. Especially now since he found himself straying away from the life and persona he once carried. Smooth as glass his voice glides through the chorus with ease. With the stage lights beating down and the stuffy atmosphere of the bar, aggressive beads of sweat form and trickle down the sides of his face. He pours all he has into his rhymes. His set closes after an hour on stage. No matter if anyone is looking towards him or applauding, that high he gets from performing is all he needs to feel satisfied with his performance. Taking one last scan of the crowd, he shortly says, "Thanks," as he starts to disassemble his gear with his stage mates.
"Yo, not a bad set Ryu," his stage mate Narco nods. "Not bad huh," Ryu clicks his tongue shooting Narco a comical glare. "Tch, man, you know what I mean," Narco wheezily laughs. "I'm gonna grab a drink, then I think I'll walk home," Ryu says aloud. "Ay, watch out for the crazies," his other bandmate Shu adds, referring to thirsty women bar crawling for the next man they can get to pay child support. "They'll stick to you like parasites," Shu cackles. "Thanks for the note. You are telling the wrong person though," Ryu grabs his jacket and makes his way over to the bar.
Approaching the bar, he commands "Jack and coke," to the first bartender he sees. Waiting for his drink he sees over to his right a lady who is desperate to chat. Turning his back to her, he reaches into his pocket for his cigarettes. A flickering spark briefly lights up the dimly lit room. Inhaling the menthol flavored tobacco, he grabs his phone to jot down a few ideas on lyrics for his new album. Unlocking his phone, he stares blankly. It was an eerie feeling to no longer get constant bombardment of texts for tasks needed to be done. In a way he missed it. As morbid as it sounds, it was a way to pass the time. However, he knew he could never go back to his old town. It was already a miracle that him, Narco, and Shu were able to leave when they could. However, he knew they were always watching. Becoming a bit paranoid, he keeps a careful eye to see if there are any goons around this bar, as it wouldn't be the first time, nor the last he would have someone from home approach him.