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. Eventually my mother caught wind and smacked the black off me, I’ve been this shade ever since. I also loved hip hop ever since, having it forbidden only made it worse. I was always the good child in part my siblings couldn’t stand me sometimes. Now I finally had my act of rebellion. I fit in, 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. Also, I had predominantly white friends at school, they listened to rock. Enter Korn, Limp Bizkit and Slipknot. As I hung out in the hood more, I let the notion seep in that R&B was too soft, rock was too white. It was bad enough I was the dude with the 160 something IQ but Sisqo was going to get me beat up. 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. But deep down I knew it was all a front, it wasn’t me. I go off to college, and now I’m too rough around the edges it seems. 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 never win, yo. 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. All my life I let music define who I was, now I’m looking at all these genres and definitions and none of them suit me. 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, I hate it, it makes me want to fist punch DJs.) 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 (I smell follow-up post) 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 (I had hilariously brief stints in piano, tap dancing, singing, saxophone, rapping, and producing/songwriting), because like writing it takes me out of reality for a bit, just me and the words, or chords, notes, whatever. Now to finish this post and get back to it. I can’t write without silence. My two loves just can’t get along for some reason. *Shrug*