By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
By Jeff Balke
Scott saw himself lying on that bed. Ten years after his father threatened to kill him, ten years after last laying eyes on the man, forgiveness was instant. He walked down the hall to a small room he remembered from his time in intensive care. Once he was alone, Scott broke down in tears and prayer.
"I realize now that when I was hospitalized, God was preparing me to forgive my father," Scott says. "My heart was softened. God did heart surgery on me." When his father passed, Scott was at peace.
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgement: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet I am not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.-- Corinthians, Chapter 4
There's a million muthafuckas just like me / Only God can judge me -- Tupac Shakur, "Only God Can Judge Me"
Scott didn't take to religion instantly. He had a lot of sin to get out of his system. The drinking was relatively easy to leave behind. The women were another matter. They had always flocked to him in the DJ booth and, later, his store, asking him with their eyes to put a "Be back in 30 minutes" sign on the front door and then spend some time in the back room. But once Scott did give his life to the Lord, he was dead serious about it. Almost too serious. "When Darryl first got saved, he came home the next day and told me, 'I'm closing down the shop,' " his wife says. "I was like, 'You're what? Let's talk about this.' "
Carlon was able to talk her husband into keeping Blast Records open, although he stopped making tapes. The depth of his new conviction made Scott dogmatic and intolerant, and he was hardest on himself. But with a family to support, he just couldn't walk away from his livelihood.
By now rap music was well on its way from being a subgenre to selling more records than pop, rock or country. It also had moved away from the good-time party vibe of the 1980s to something harder, angrier, stronger. Major entertainment companies were making billions selling violent ghetto fantasies to the suburbs, and young black men were only too happy to exploit the "legal drug game."
This did not sit well with the newly saved Scott. But as word got out about his salvation, and about Blast's shaky future, his hip-hop constituency started protesting. Letters arrived from jail saying that Blast was the only sanctuary they had on the outside. Local rappers reminded Scott how he had encouraged them to make the most of their talent. The store stayed open.
About this time, a young fella named Byron Jarmon moved to South Park from the Third Ward to stay with his grandmother. He kept hearing Scott's name, heard it so much he figured Scott was a big-time dope dealer. Then a friend told him he had a job working for Darryl Scott at a record store.
Byron started coming by, talking junk about wanting a job. Scott never took him seriously. He would see Byron drunk or high, hanging out on street corners, curb-serving crack. Byron had been kicked out of Lamar High School in the ninth grade for fighting, and he seemed to be headed down the same route at Yates High. But Byron kept coming by the store, so Scott kept hitting him with the Word.
"Have you ever just thought about the Lord?" Scott asked the small-time hustler one day. "'Cause if you don't accept the Lord, then you'll end up in hell."
"I hear you, I hear you," Byron said. But he didn't. He thought, "Man, this Jesus freak is really getting on my nerves with all this Lord talk, trying to cramp my lifestyle. I'm fixin' to do my own thang."
It turned out that Byron's friend wasn't right for the job, and Scott needed somebody to take his place. Something, he's not quite sure what, made him send word to Byron to come by the store. First thing Scott did was lay down his laws: No smoking weed before or during work, no drugs on the premises. Byron laughed and promised not to let him down.
One night Byron was walking home when a police car drove by. The car stopped, and the lawman stopped Byron and asked to see some ID. It just so happened that Byron had some crack hidden in his crotch.
"What you stoppin' me for?" Byron asked. "You were walking on the wrong side of the street" was the reply. The lawman spread Byron's arms and legs and began to search. Byron had never been arrested, and he thought about running. Instead, he started praying: "Lord, please, if you get me out of this, I'll never sell no cheese again."
How many people have made this same plea when faced with danger? How many have stuck to their word? Byron did. When Scott started having the Bible study at the record shop, Byron was the first one to stand up and give his life to the Lord. Five years after his brush with the law, he's drink- and drug-free, still working for Scott, who provides him with vacation days and medical coverage. He attends church every Sunday. He's got a steady girl Scott thinks he should marry. "Church people can be so hard on you. They show no mercy," Byron says, gold gleaming on his front teeth. " 'Don't do this, this is bad, this ain't right.' With D, it's a slow approach, and he breaks it down to street terms. It's real life that you can relate to."