Tag Archives: r&b

Today’s Word is… MUSIC

One thing bout music when it hits you feel no pain…

I can’t live without my radio…

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.

snoop-dogg-lodi-dodi-cover

Not for kids…..like at all.  Cartoons aint loyal.

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.

-Stan-

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Filed under La Familia, Randomness, Simply Stan

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

image

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… UNDERRATED

Soul.

I have 6078 songs on iTunes. Cool story, Stan.  It’s a random collection of mixtapes, albums, and songs other people downloaded to put on their phones but never deleted (I find that extremely rude by the way, its like using someones bathroom and not flushing).  With over 6000 songs it’s hard to pick one to just listen to randomly, so I usually just throw on shuffle and let iTunes figure it out for me.  So as I listen to music go from rock, to dancehall, to rap, to pop, my ears perk up when I hear one song.  It’s untitled (another pet peeve of mines, i have my itunes organized then people download randomness and throws it off), it’s a guy sounds like Dwele, I whip out my phone and shazam it, it is Dwele, I actually had the song already so she had no reason to download it -__-.  But anyway it got me into a soul vibe, lyricism, smooth instrumentals, powerful voices…no fist pumping, no Skrillex, no enhanced vocals. Soul is such an underrated genre.

Like with my overrated post, when I say underrated I’m not saying that other people don’t like it or that it’s even that great. But like neo-soul music, it doesn’t get as much credit as it ought.

Skinny Women- It’s almost a double standard skinny women are often vilified for simply being skinny. While I can say I typically go for thicker women, I wouldn’t say they are the end all be all. Skinny women need love too. Just keep that stomach flat tho, no need for 6 pack abs. Bleh.

Phone Calls- Something about actually calling someone and hearing their voice that seems much more personal.  Texting is too synonymous with multitasking very rarely am I sitting and waiting for your message, I’m probably doing something else (or talking to someone else).  Skype is fun but i get tired of staring at your cleavage the screen and its not like i can look away you’re watching me.

Drawing- Before silly tee shirts, and muttering funny one liners, drawing was my way to meet girls.  Even in college when everyone had out laptops pretending to take notes, I would sit next to a cute girl and doodle away and wait for her to notice.  Now in an era where pencil and paper are becoming endangered species, I still will find time to draw.  Speaking of, this 30 in 30 blog challenge completely took over my #sketchbooksundays on Instagram.

Guess I’m a dog then…cuz…umm…

Stretching- It’s not just a way for women to be subtly sexy, it’s important for everyone to stretch. It’s amazing how many times you go to the gym, see a guy bench press 300 then need the wall to support him as he kneels to tie his sneaker.  I might not lay out a mat and do yoga but I do stretch all the time, throughout the workday and at the gym.

Tap Water- I go to the grocery store and buy two cases of water every month (and Mitt Romney smirk if they forget to ring it) but even then when I run out I turn to good ol tap water.  It kills me how many people act too good for tap water like they don’t bathe, brush their teeth and make ice with it.

Bob’s Burgers- Easily the funniest show on Fox Sunday, well besides when the Cowboys are playing (shots shots…shots shots shots…shots)

Student Discounts- I will continue to use any and all student discounts until I look too damn old to get away with it.  I still want to enroll in a school this month and claim it on my taxes.  HOPE credit for the muhfuggin win!!!!

QWERTY keyboards- I’ve been eligible for an upgrade since July (yes my longest relationships are now Facebook (6 yrs), Twitter (2.5 years) and Sprint (2 years) tragic) but I wont use it because there’s absolutely no new phones with a keyboard.  I own a tablet, I don’t need a mini etch and sketch sized phone to watch movies on and draw clown hair on LeBron’s picture. And Text to Speech isnt as great as you think, I can’t tell my phone to play Kanye West because Google keeps putting Conyay

Anything Handwritten- I drew up a concept for my tattoo; its centered around my mother’s actual signature (i actually revealed this at Thanksgiving now my sister wants it, we gon have problems).  What’s more artistic that something written from your own hand, especially in this Matrix age where they don’t even teach cursive anymore so I feel my whole 2nd grade education was a sham.  When “Ms” had her internship in Thailand (before we crashed and burned) I suggested we write each other as well, it seemed more personal than a gmail or a skype.  Letters are not just for soldiers and convicts.

Dry Cleaners- I love my local dry cleaners.  It’s pretty much my favorite thing about the town besides the ice cream parlor. I take my coats in before the winter, my track jackets and hoodies before the spring.  They come out looking as good as new.  When I need something tailored, I do my laundry and a stain didn’t get out to my liking, or I just need to know my new jacket size, I go to my cleaners.  I swear I’ma buy that place.

Honorable Mentions: Blog comments, Books, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, dating single mothers, Ciara, egg yolks, fitness walking, sweaters, cats, 12pm dates, Facebook (yes facebook), Fabolous, thrift stores, the fact that while rappers steadily pushing failed clothing lines and record labels, Dr. Dre made $110M off headphones

What I miss? Sound off below?

-Stan-

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