Here's Why You Shouldn't Have Your Kids Help with Your Book About Hip-Hop

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Notorious B.I.G., ready to die.
[In his column Serrano Time, award-winning writer and goofball Shea Serrano writes about his life and times.]

I am working on a new book.

I cannot say too much about it yet, other than:

1. it's with the same company that published Bun B's Rap Coloring And Activity Book.

2. it will be a real actual book with real actual words, and illustrations and charts and stickers and all sorts of other neat stuffs.

3. I have until November to finish it, which means that every day until then I will be overcome with infinity pressure, which means that sometime around July I'll place my head in an oven and never be heard from again.

It is very cool but also very intimidating. My editor is considerably smarter than I am, and I am certain I am the least important person that she (or anyone at her office) talks to, so our correspondence is mostly just me saying "yes, ma'am" a lot and trying to make sure that I don't turn in anything late.

While I worked on the rap coloring book two of my three sons, Bay and Meechy, helped out where they could. Mostly they just sat by my desk and bothered me with ALL the questions while I drew pictures or wrote captions. It was neat, but something I'd hoped to avoid if I worked on another project.

Alas, here we are again and here they are again, asking and needling. I am of course proud and happy that they are proud and happy of the work that I do -- I'm told they told their teachers and classmates to buy some copies -- but were it up to me, I'd just as soon work in peace.

I mean, I love them dearly and whatever, but they're six. Six-year-olds don't know shit about shit. I asked Bay to bring me some Double A batteries from a drawer in the kitchen once and he brought me back a page of fish stickers.

"Dude, what are these?" I asked. "Where are the batteries?" He scrunched his face. "I couldn't find them, Daddy. Can these work instead?" HE THOUGHT FISH STICKERS WERE AN ACCEPTABLE REPLACEMENT FOR BATTERIES.

So a week or so ago, when I sat down to do some book stuff and they eventually made their way over and asked if they could help, I made up an assignment. I printed out some pictures of some of the people I was researching and handed them to them. "I need you guys to draw these for me," I said. "Can you do that?" I asked.

They of course agreed. I handed them the pages and told them to sit at the kitchen table and draw them. I assumed I'd get back seven well-drawn pictures of Biggie, OutKast, Drake, Wiz Khalifa, Tupac, Public Enemy and NWA. Instead, I got these:

Drawn by one of my sons, though I'm not sure which
This is supposed to be that very famous picture of The Notorious B.I.G. Mostly, it looks like an egg. Kids have no respect for history.

OutKast is one of my favorite rap groups and, in general, one of the greatest all-time rap groups. I'm very excited for their 700 scheduled appearances later this year. I actually got to meet Big Boi several months back. We talked for a brief moment on his tour bus after a show, though when I say "we talked," I mean to say that he said hello and asked me how I was and I just stared at him with my mouth open while making this strange humming noise. Such is life.
Motaro is one of the bosses from Mortal Kombat 2. I definitely did not give them a picture of him to draw. When I asked them why they drew him, Meechy shouted, "Daddy, Motaro is half-human and half donkey!" I don't think that's true.

This is a picture of some people playing basketball. I didn't give them a picture of anyone playing basketball either. I don't even know where they got a black pen from. I just don't know what the fuck was going on, I guess.

Not sure who this one is. It could be Drake, though, given the way the afternoon went, it could also be Pablo Picasso. It's probably Luigi or somebody like that. I don't know, man.

And then of course Scorpion from Mortal Kombat. We got a Playstation 3 for the family for Christmas from my wife's grandpa, who won it at work. All of the new-generation extra-special graphics and first-person gameplay made me nauseous, so I tossed it out and downloaded NBA JAM, Mortal Kombat 1-3 and NFL Blitz. That's a little thing called teaching your sons that when something new comes along that you don't immediately like, you discard it and go back to what you know. Life lessons.

Don't let your kids work on your book with you. That's another one.

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