Back in the days when I was young, I’m not a kid any more, but some days I sit and wish I was a kid again…and everybody say, I remember way back when. – Ahmad
Every year since I turned twenty five, I get a bit nostalgic, like Ahmad, weeks before my born day. As I reminisce, certain songs bring back the sweaty smell of the high school cafeteria on hamburger day, or homemade mixtapes spliced together for my personal collection, or the unbearable humidity from the lover’s rock-only hooky party. Shoot, my skin would be slick with sweat and my ponytail plastered to my neck, but I kept wining, with my eyes closed, of course.
A few weeks ago, my boy, Rob the Music Ed had me thinking back, as he usually does when we chat about music, with his Slow Jamz blog. The last entry on his list of baby-making music was New Edition’s “Can You Stand the Rain.” There’s footage of our karaoke rendition of that song somewhere in this office, but I prefer that it stay one of the lost tapes. I’m gonna have to take Jamie Foxx’ advice and blame that one on the ah-ah-ah-alcohol. Why else would we flip that song into a duet, with yours truly getting my baritone on as a young Johnny Gill?
Anyway, I was definitely feeling old school after reading the scoop behind Nas’ Illmatic. Has it really been 15 years? Damn. When “Ain’t Hard to Tell” dropped, I was in North Carolina; a college junior with a kung-fu grip on my scholarship and tutoring never-missed-a-meal football players in English for extra dough. Hearing Nas’ voice on that track offered me, and my homesick crew from the boroughs, a hearty slice of NYC. Those southern playas with their Uncle Luke just couldn’t relate to the kid with the chip-toothed smile.
Here are few other joints that inspire me to reminisce Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth-style.
Run DMC, “Sucker MCs” – Not sure what possessed us, but four of my friends—dressed in matching white T-shirts, blue Lees and blue kicks—were pre-America’s Best Dance Crew contestants in an elementary school talent show. We didn’t take home the trophy (no shock there), but my jones for performing in talent shows was born on a stage in Brooklyn.
Big Daddy Kane, “Warm it Up” – Dudes at Empire Skating Rink murdered the floor at speeds of 100 MPH when the DJ dropped this track. He never played anything this hot when it was an all-girls’ skate. We always got some corny, slow jam, however we happily paid $5 to skate on the weekend session.
Tupac, “Me Against the World” – The day after I graduated from college my boyfriend and I packed all of my crap into a mini-van and made the trek from North Carolina to NYC. My abuelita “tolerated” listening to ’Pac for about 20 minutes, before threatening to hitchhike back to BK if we didn’t play Muddy Waters, Charlie Parker or something without the F-bomb.
Jay-Z, “Feelin’ It” – One year into my first magazine gig, my editor approved a trip to Virginia for myself and two other editorial assistants. Road trip! Road trip! Road trip! We blasted “Feelin’ It” at least 20 times in a row, experienced a little racism in the hotel’s pool and escaped the common wealth state without a speeding ticket.–Miss One