The first time I met Scott he looked uncomfortable. He was fidgeting in class, and looked like he was ready to run out altogether. He talked feverishly in class, and had a passion for whatever topic seemed to come up in Introduction to Cultural Studies that particular day that was unmatched by any other half asleep student in the class at 10 am Tuesdays and Thursdays. The first big project, I was put into a group with him and 4 other lucky individuals. We didn't know what we had in store for us-or at least I didn't.
After a few weeks of slacking off we finally met outside of class, at the UMD library. We couldn't get a soundproof study room, so we set up shop at one of the tables in a main area. After minimal progress, conversation turned to music. Instantly I recognized that same feverish manner in his eyes and voice. We started talking hip-hop and it was on. Before I knew it, he had begun a freestyle rap at full volume in the middle of the library, much to the embarrassment of the rest of his group, wondering who this kid is. I was wondering the same thing, and eventually I would find myself years later still trying to figure it out.
Scott Vazina has some interesting hobbies. An English and Sociology double-major from UMD, he already has a good job as a local website consultant, building sites and working with clients. He's worked there for five months, and already has three times the clients of anyone else who works there. He's soon getting a pay raise, and is even thinking about moving to a position in the cities. He spends little time talking about the job, however.
Music is Scott's life. He does other stuff, but beats are always on the mind. "I always got instrumentals buzzing around in my head, I really can't stop thinking of rhymes," he explains with that familiar look in his eyes. "I'll take breaks at work and just rap non-stop."
At this point he looks anxiously around the room, turning his body completely around as if to case the place. "I wanna spit right now but there's kids over there," he explains.
He's been working on songs for a full album for two years now, and is now trying to narrow it down from an estimated 100 full length songs already recorded. He plays shows, house parties, open mics-anywhere he can possibly be heard. All roads lead to the album, though.
"This is gonna be my report about 23 years of life on earth," he says. He plans on touring all summer to pedal the disc and get himself heard, the ultimate goal. "If people like it they will, I don't have any delusions," he confidently explains.
Although it certainly is always there, rap isn't the only thing in the mind of Scott Vazina, or Scoot Vazoon as he'll refer to himself in the rap community. There's also Magic: the Gathering. Playing since he was in third grade, the fantasy card game conceived by mathematics professor Richard Garfield is a big deal for Scott. He plays a tournament every week in Duluth, often for over four hours nonstop. It's a $5 entry fee, and they can draw quite a crowd. Last week he won $40, but he's left with a $100 on different occasions and tournaments. He's been through 3 collections in his lifetime. One was lost in a mold disaster 8 years ago at a former residence, along with every single possession the family had in the house. Another got stolen a few years later, acting as a catalyst for a break until freshman year of college, when the hobby came back into his life. "I didn't realize it could be competitive until recently," he says. "Before it was just therapy." Now he's ranked 4th in the region, and in the top 50 in the state.
[[I'm going to a tournament with him this Friday, so I should have a lot more material on the gaming portion soon. I don't know how I'm going to organize it, and I'm sure the structure will change with more reporting. I'm not sure where I want to go from here in the story.]]