Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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As one can imagine, I expected the hip-hop musical Clay to be like nothing I had ever seen before.  Not only was it anything but ordinary, it also went above and beyond my expectations.  With a song about sleeping with his stepmother, the main man Clifford certainly has a few surprises up his hoodie sleeves.  This one-man musical was intensely entertaining.  It pulled at the emotions.  The audience got to see Clifford all the way from his tragic childhood to his confusing adolescence.  Amidst turmoil and pain, however, bits of comedy were scattered throughout the production. 

One part made me laugh close to uncontrollably.  It was when Clifford was trying to free-style about females and he rapped about “super-man that ho”.  In his rhythmic lyrics, he seemed to quote a description straight from He explained exactly what the expression means in a way I could never seriously imagine a teenager, a rapper of all people, to describe it in.   I already knew what it meant, so his unique description of a strange thing I have already heard about made me almost roll on the floor.  The dictionary diction reminded me of the difficulty of presenting a hip-hop musical to such a diverse audience.

With a wide-array of ethnicities in the New York audience, I felt considerably comfortable watching a white up and coming rapper.  Some faces were young and others were elderly.  I cannot fathom how they took the musical to be.  Much of the content seemed a bit inappropriate.  If the root of the plot was not so serious, I would have been appalled, but the musical had a balance of comic relief and seriousness.  Even though I would never ever fall in love with my stepparent, I did feel that I could relate to the song “Reflection of I,” in which Clifford struggles with his likeness to his father.  I have felt the same way when it comes to my mother.  The concept of the main character being molded into the person he aspires to be also appealed to me. As an inspiring work of art, the overall sincerity and freshness of Clay imprints a lasting impression.