This story is brought to you by Beth, a driver and writer for the Creative Collective. I was just about to call it a day when I got a ping for a pickup in inner-city Baltimore. I recognized the area – it was not one of our better neighborhoods.
When I arrived, a young man got into the car, shaking the rain off his dark blue shirt. We fistbumped and I learned he needed to get to the White Marsh Mall. It was his first day at a new job.
I looked over at the many tattoos lining his arms and neck. We started talking about our hobbies, and he told me he was a "battle rapper." He said he'd been quite successful at it, traveling up and down the East Coast for tournaments. Fascinated by his story, I asked him questions and he was eager to tell me more. I could tell he was excited to have someone truly interested in learning about his passion.
He went on to explain how battle rapping is essentially a battle with words. Having grown up in a rough, gang-infested part of town, he'd turned to rapping as a non-violent way to express himself. "It's basically poetry. You gotta dig deep, and I don't understand what comes through me, but it does. I wanna be an example for other young men," he elaborated.
He told me his battle rap name is "Horus," and when I asked him where the name came from, we launched into an intense conversation about ancient civilizations, spirituality, what it's like to be a gay, black man in the inner city, and much more – all in a twenty minute ride together! I could tell he didn't want the conversation to end, and neither did I.
As he was getting out, he said, "This right here is the purpose of Lyft – to bring people like you and me together." I couldn't agree more! And though making a few extra bucks is definitely nice, THIS is what I love about Lyft: how it's bringing people — and worlds — together.