One thing bout music when it hits you feel no pain…
It was some year in the 90s…i don’t remember I’m getting old. For Christmas that year I got a 2XL robot, a wisecracking quiz machine. I would play with it for hours until I pretty much mastered every question on every cassette tape. I got bored with it soon enough. I remember looking my brother’s New Edition tape and wondering if 2XL would play it. Eureka. I had my first boombox. Prior I listened to what my mother listened to, which was the oldies The O’Jays, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson. Now I had a radio, I can play the songs I wanna sing. I had no tapes of my own except the Space Jam soundtrack and a some Mint Condition snippets I had got at a Celebrity basketball game one year. My father had a huge music collection but I was forbade from touching his things. Kids don’t listen. I thumbed through his cassettes and was drawn to an album with a cartoony cover, I put it in my 2XL. Meet “Snoop Doggy Dogg” or rather meet hip hop.
So I traded “Science Adventures” for rap cassettes and became a hip hop head. (Eventually my mother caught wind of this and smacked the black off me, I’ve been this shade ever since). I still loved hip hop ever since, and now having it forbidden only made it worse. I was always the good child; now I finally had my act of rebellion. I fit in with my siblings, and so I thought. However, they don’t like rap, they listen to r&b mainly. I’m on the outside looking in again, so I start listening to what my sisters male/female groups. 702, Dru Hill, Brandy and Monica. I liked R&B but I was still too young to really pick up what they was laying down. Then there were my predominantly white friends at school, they listened to rock. Enter Korn, Limp Bizkit and Slipknot. I was also heavy into wrestling back then so that also got me really into rock. I gravitated more toward the heavy metal and the classics more than the alternative. I wasn’t quite goth kid, but it was close. I wanna say this phase went up until, maybe high school, sistas I was feeling, wasn’t here for the rock, they wanted hood…
So, welcome back hip hop.
For the years that followed it was all about rap, trap music, street music, whatever. 50 Cent, Uncle Murda. and underground mixtape artists told my story. Then like most black teenagers there was the “I can rap” phase. I don’t think I was that bad, relatives would differ when reminiscing. Haters. This pretty much lasts up until I go off to college, and now I’m too rough around the edges it seems. The girls appreciate a little hood, but in general its leave that hood mess in the hood, here’s about a good time. Its all about party music, crunk and dancehall. I barely danced now I was in a circle who wanted to turn up 3-4 days a week. I was a wallflower, but even then you wasn’t safe from someone rolling up and getting their wine on. As I started to get more into the party scene, I had to learn on the fly about dancehall and soca which had to this point passed by all my Merican sensibilities. I think I’m a decent dancer now…but 18? Yikes. College and clubbing every weekend phases comes and goes and now, I’m an adult who is less inclined to fit in or adjust to people. As I found myself too tough for R&B, too black for rock, too young for soul, too smart for rap, too uptight for reggae, I was musically lost. What did I actually like? Who was I?
I was diverse. I felt it all, all the time I kept feeling like I had to keep myself in a box when in reality, I was a sensitive, reckless, nerdy, emotional, ghetto kid. My music tastes didn’t define me it expressed me. Music is so expressive you’d be limiting yourself if you stuck to a genre. Over the years I added Neo soul, (some) country and jazz to the list because I can. (I will never ever ever ever add Techno/electronic dance music to that list, fuck all glow stick music, incessantly.) I always used music to connect whether it was with my family, friends, girlfriends, or environment. So with each song comes memories of where I was in my life, my itunes a scrapbook of sorts. My top 10 favorite songs are so different, some are near and dear to my heart because remind me of my mother, others bring back to a happier time, some just never get old. They’re random because I am. I love music despite my obvious lack of talent for it because like writing it takes me out of reality for a bit, just me and the words, or chords, notes, whatever….you know all that fake deep shit like that.