Apart from being a mutant banger, Melf’s “CRZY,” feat. Alexandra Rotan reminds me of the Spanish Harlem streets where I lived for years. Dark edge thinly veiling a boiling excitement — the regular reminder that with urban grit comes poverty/crime/pain, but also vitality, raw energy in un-refined form breeding the hardest music, fashion, religion, slang. Culture that doesn’t give a fuck about me or you…only itself and the personal expression it must release.
This track feels like the soundtrack to the time my cousin and I were attacked by addicts on a dark Harlem street. East side, somewhere in the 130s — they wanted money. It was one of the few fights I ever won. In that frenzied moment, cast only in blurred moonlight, I remember glancing at my cousin pinned against a car flailing wildly before I was overtaken and forced to focus on my own assailant. He smelled like drugs. Which drugs I’ll never know, but it was a synthetic, hollow scent…full of misery and desperation.
I think he expected me to cower and back down because he was taller, bigger. But for some reason I mustered a spark and lunged. I stepped forward, put my foot behind his leg and tripped him so he fell hard on the concrete. Caught inexorably in the momentum of fighting for life, I leaned down and punched him hard in the face.
His nose exploded under the weight of my fist and I was covered in his blood. Covered in drug scent that still haunts me to this day. I can remember his eyes which had lost all aggression, full of fear and wonder that this victim, this lamb had suddenly become the wolf. He was unable to conceive of the anatomical damage afflicted to his face. And I was just as stunned at my own violence, depravity.
Strange how a song can return us — so vividly — to ruthless moments.