Tag Archives: 90s

Today’s Word is… ARENBEE

I had to Musiq Soulchild it,  it’s been like 3 years why break format?  Anyway,  growing up I was a big R&B fan.  By default really, I had no music of my own so I borrowed my parents cassettes (omg am I old now?) and my sister’s CDs.   (My 7 year old nephew uses  Spotify…. kids these days, okay maybe I am old).   I’m not one of the super nostalgic types, while I can listen to 90s R&B and engage in online debate for  several productive work hours,  I’m also able to listen and enjoy current music.   It seems like ever since Nas declared hip hop dead and proceeded to make a mediocre album to serve as a eulogy,  the line in the sand was drawn and now with social media to echo bitterness no one seems to like…. Anything. Ironically,  as we have more access to music than ever before,  people still live in the past,  listening to 90s R&B and telling kids to get off the lawn. It’s perplexing to pay $10 a month for a streaming service and only listen to music you purchased 20 years ago.   But hey, not my ears.   As someone who chooses to live in the now,  I’ve just come to accept that R&B has been…. sundered.  In every era,  there was one dominant sound whether it was doo wop,  electropop, or new jack swing and slow jams.  This era is a bit more scattered.  For example there’s….

R&Buckfoy- This is probably the one that history will sadly label the era as a whole.   Dudes are too tough to love,  women are just hoes,  bitches and thots anyway.   Popular with the League of Ash-assins and dudes who never got hugs in high school.

Ex: Some dude who isn’t Chris Brown & French Montana -Can’t Trust Thots

PBR&B- or Alternative R&B,  will be the other label that would be used to describe this era of music 20 years from now.  A break from the previous era where the stars were confident heartthrobs, now are much more weird and vulnerable.  

Ex: The Weeknd weeknds Drunk In Love

R&ebriated- Artists these days do love….. Being drunk. A growing trend to sing the praises of alcohol that doesn’t pay you to do so.  *Insert Kermit Meme*

Ex: Elijah Blake x I Just Wanna

R&Biguous- Like in the early 2000s when every pretty brown skinned girl with a 24 inch sew in got a record deal,  these days it’s racially ambiguous girl next door types.   Unfortunately not much different from the Ashantis,  Brooke Valentines, Ameries,  Niveas,  this pretty faces don’t carry much of a tune either

Ex: Jhene Aiko – You Vs Them

Hard&B- A confusing bunch,  they can sing but think singing is soft so they try to over compensate their street cred.  It didn’t feel forced when Nate Dogg did it but then you see like a Chris Brown do it and it’s like,  cmon bruh.

Ex: Pictures say a thousand words

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You're singing a duet with Aaliyah fam

Slur&B- It’s not really singing you’re just kinda dragging your voice over music that sounds like a water level in Super Mario Bros.  This Drake’s fault.

Ex: Post Malone – White Iverson

White&B- aka Blue Eyed Soul or as I like to call #SneakyAthletic R&B,  is some of your typical R&B except because it’s a white man singing it, it’s much more popular.   It’s why Tank got lawn furniture in his living room and Sam Smith has Grammys in his. No shade tho,  it’s probably my favorite playlist on Spotify

Ex JMSN- Street Sweeper

R&Barz- Only way to describe whatever it is when people are basically singing rap lyrics over club beats

Ex Trap Queen… I refuse to make a link for it cuz I’m so tired of that damn song

R&90s- For those who can’t get with the new new, plenty of their favorite artists are still kicking…..except they’re still doing the same thing they were doing 20 years ago. 

Ex: Toni Braxton & Babyface – Roller Coaster

Then of course,  there’s Neo Soul,  but they saw the storm cloud and hopped on their lifeboat a decade ago.   They long gave up chasing hits and selling their souls to sell records (sideeyes Usher),  they have their fan bases and will shut down a House of Blues in a second.

So what happened to the R&B we knew and loved?   It still exists but to my point about neo soul it’s much more of a niche genre.  Art reflects the times,  and really,  people just find love boring.   Sure, a good breakup song will get some spins but a song like All of Me is a rare exception (because people love they ass some Chrissy). Also, society as a whole has become increasingly narcissistic, songs are no longer about being vulnerable and wooing a woman,  it’s more I know you want me so just pull em to the side.   Then of course,  there’s just a lack of appreciation for greatness…..but that’s another post entirely. Maybe.  If I get around to it.  I’m busy.

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Today’s Word is… NOSTALGIA

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So way back in the day, I was out with my mother I think we went grocery shopping and I wanted to get back home in time to watch Full House.  She assured me we would be back in time.  Of course when we got home, it was literally the end of the episode and it was the episode of DJ’s prom that closed with Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You”.  I was livid and because I was like 5 I cried about it until my mother played the song for me which had nothing to do with nothing but I appreciated the gesture instead of giving me something to cry for #NoPeterson. There was no on demand, no DVR I literally wouldn’t see that episode for like 2 years in syndication.  It wasn’t good. DJ was the worst character on the show.   But in the moment I felt like I just missed a television spectacle.  Thats pretty much how I view nostalgia now, people who just miss the idea of something but not really.  People my age are pretty much overwhelmed by nostalgia, so much to the point we use modern technology to complain about how “great” the 90s was (because apparently you ask anyone about 10 years ago they immediately think 1994).  Don’t get me wrong I loved the 90s, it was probably the blackest decade (we ever gonna get), from Michael Jordan ruling the world, Clinton on Arsenio, FOX on Thursday nights, your favorite black movie, your favorite black movie soundtrack, to hip hop’s peak.  However , I do think we get so glossy eyed over the past we forget that plenty was left to be desired.  Then there’s the people who have just pitched their tent in the 90s and refuse to come out.  The ultra, nostalgia folk. (they didn’t get this Frank Ocean reference because he wasn’t out in 1998)

The Nostalgiamaniacs are easy to spot, but do not engage unless you want to talk about how Aaliyah would be bigger than Beyonce if she was alive.  They watch the same 90 Martin episodes and are in denial that the show wasn’t good by season 3.  They spend all their time on Buzz feed and Tumblr taking quizzes about which Saved By The Bell character they are and reading the 25 lessons you got from Boy Meets World.  They loathe most new artists and are in complete denial that bad music existed before 1999.  Ayyyyy macarena. They have any least conceded that 90s fashion was abhorrent, which is prefaced by the fact that its being worn by hipsters and teenagers now. 

I think part of it comes from us wanting to feel like what we experienced was unparalleled.  We balk at the notion that any player could be in Jordan’s league, won’t admit that slow 90s R&B wasn’t as great, or that Tupac was overrated a lot of 90s sitcoms did not age well (I’m looking at you Urkel).  We don’t miss these things as much as we think we do we miss where we were when they happened.  Again, I do miss the era of positive black faces being mainstream without having to say hey look I’m black and positive and I may or may not have considered bringing back the old school answering machine message (because I mean if you leave me a voicemail in 2014 you ought to be trolled).  I loved Nickelodeon when I was a kid, I’m in my 20s now, I’m not watching Rugrats.  Full House? Maybe.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… PHONE

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I’ve been on this earth for 25 years, quarter century, a crack dealers jail sentence.  I’m a tweener between 90s baby and millennial and usually bounce sides.  For example, I think Jordan is the greatest player ever but can admit Kobe/LeBron do some things better.  I went my entire high school education without a cell phone, but been on some form of social media since 17.  I said all that to say this, where I’m really split between 90s baby and millennial is that I hate talking on the muhfuggin phone.  I was that teen on the phone all night talking about nothing but our first world problems and adult feelings we aint know nothing about, but these days I’m over it.  Let’s go to lunch, video chat, hell write me a letter, but why do some women seem so insistent on talking on the phone?  By some its usually women older than I am or have some Steve Harveyism that a man who doesn’t call got a wife or doesn’t like you.

Perhaps its the introvert in me that cringes every time my phone rings. A ringtone is never not intrusive, whether I’m at work, actually using my phone, or just sitting alone in four cornered room staring at candles.  Other people’s phones annoy me, especially in public when I hear the sh t and apparently they can’t.  The convenience of a cell phone is its downfall, at least back in the day, I left and the phone stayed there, something about always having access to me, not a big fan.

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There’s exceptions to the rule like if one of us has a question that needs an immediate answer, I’m mad and need to yell at you, you have a great story or one of us is driving, or you’re just that incredibly awesome we can talk for hours and its effortless.  Two people. Two people can probably make that claim.  Otherwise, its a chore and what makes it more of a chore is trying to hide the annoyance in my voice.  Bluntly put, our daily lives are not that interesting.  Even in an era of social media/blogging, even this blog I put it out there, people read or don’t, talking on the phone you’re forcing them to listen, care, respond.  Texts you can respond at your own convenience, in person theres almost always something else going on (TV, food, activities, people watching). 

Maybe I’m being too hard on phone calls, people bore via text and real life.  I think we communicate too much sometimes, that 2 hour phone conversation would’ve been better had we just got up.  If all I did today was talk to you, what’s there to talk about tonight?  Admittedly romance is lost when I’m just words on a screen, but so is hearing your voice and not seeing your face.  Phone calls are just as impersonal, even if you’re getting more attention than a text its still only part of them.  A text is a snack, a call is an appetizer, face to face is the meal, you don’t want to feel up on either but if you’re that hungry why not go for the snack until the meal comes?  That makes sense right? 

-Stan-

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