Teach the Babies

“Killer Mike, I’m a junior in high school and I’m an artist. I just wanna ask why should I know who KRS One is? “

There’s a stunned look on my face. Um yeah, okay… so what the fuck do you say to that? Huh? Any one got an answer?

The question came at the Hip Hop social lounge in New Jersey- you know the sixth borough- home to Redman, Joe Budden, Chino XL, Treach, and The Fugees. I mean If New York is hip-hop’s Mecca, surely N-E-W Jerz is in the running to be Medina. I expect this sort of thing south of the Mason Dixon but not here, not on the east coast.

Biggamike, Avengerxl, T.P.A.R …BOL do any of you have an answer? I need an answer.

Why don’t the lil’ homies know their hip-hop history? Why ain’t they heard the classics- you know the albums that were the blueprint to this rap shit!

Actually, I know why (sigh). We ain’t teaching, we just been preaching to them. We tell them how good hip-hop was but they never catch us playing it.

At some point way before skinny jeans and autotune, hip-hop went soft. We suckered out. Yeah us! The folk that fought the power, warned of self-destruction and stated “we all in the same gang.” We stopped supporting the music and movement that got us through the crack-slanging, starter-jacket—robbing, jacking- for-Jordans-era. I don’t know if it was the shiny suits, the collared shirt hard bottom shoe hip-hop clubs, the hip-hop goes corporate agenda, or the new age Emo rapper prototypes, but we have forgotten how dope the music that shaped us is. With all this focus on retro why don’t we play the dope ass, timeless records that shaped us? I mean if the trend is now the 80s and 90s, when are we gonna play the music for these little swag mannequins?

The south has reverted back to square dance rap and mush-mouth chants, New York has followed and the west in spite of having an arsenal of dope emcees seems to be the victim of relentless swagger jacking by the rest of hip hop.

Two things continuously imitated are 40 water’s coined phrases and the blood/crip gang culture that has infested Newark and the east coast. Maybe if the youth heard us playing the Menace to Society soundtrack Death Certificate or EFIL4ZAGGIN they would know what they doing ain’t nothing new and banging can only lead to disappointment and death. Even in the realm of “positive rap” we have a lack of informed and enthusiastic fans. Maybe if all those sonic supporters of the lil’ homie Charles Hamilton knew that Luther “Luke Skywalker” Campbell risked his freedom and his business in order to protect his first amendment rights by refusing to alter his content they would have been a little more respect when the two rappers butted heads.

I know I’m ranting but I’m pissed. Fuck this “it’s all about me, I’m the star. I’m super swagged out and I’m hotter than hot and that’s hot cuz I’m hot” shit. Our babies think we all dressed like fresh prince and listened to Hammer, Vanilla ice and R&B only. They do not know great rap pre-Pac and Biggie. I giggle when I think of the Biggie and Rakim rhymes Wayne reintroduced to the hip-hop audience and hardly anyone made it a point to dig up the original records and play them.

The young don’t know and the old have become too lazy. It’s so much easier for the grown to hate the young and thrash their moment when they could be turning the lil’ homies on to classics. If they like J. Cole, play Tribe for them. If they like Boosie, play UGK. While you are staying current with the lil homies and keeping up with whomever is hot on radio this year, make sure you school a young’n.

When I go to expensive rock concerts to see over the hill rock gods rocking out I always see middle aged white men with their sons, wearing classic rock tees and singing the words together. They pass the love of those bands and that music on to the next generation. It’s time we do the same.
I will be giving a young intern Death Certificate and EFIL4ZAGGIN because he’s from Gary where those albums were), word to Freddie Gibbs (a youngster ya’ll should support!).

I guess what I’m saying is we who were blessed to be 80s babies and 90s niggas should be playing the music that shaped us and not trying to be so hip we forget the hop! Please send me some suggestions on what records you think are timeless and we should still be playing for the youth. It’s Bigga!

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  • Brahsef

    Although hip-hop heads love 80s rap, it’s sound is hard to digest for a younger generation. I kinda compare 80′s rap to 50′s rock as in people have a mass load of respect for it, but the genre hadn’t reached its zenith in sound. Lyrically, it’s on point, but the beats sound dated.

    I think when Dre came on to the scene, he completely changed the sound of rap to making it have a poppier sound. I’m not sayin he was pop, but his beats ushered in a new era of production of where beats sounded cleaner and more polished.

    I think once that happened the 90′s became equivalent to the 60′s in rock. The glory days. I mean every even year in the 90s was epic. 92, 94, 96, even 98.

    top 5 albums (no order) every young gun should listen to from the 90s:
    Ready to Die
    7 Day Theory
    Enter the 36 Chambers
    The Chronic

    Yeah they’re mainstream, but it’s a good starting point.

    • Moving Sideways

      Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • SouthCakC23

      BWAHAHAHAHA you have enter the 36 chambers as a top 5 from the 90′s? No ATLiens, Aquemini, Souldfood, Still Standing, Ridin Dirty.

      Of course, that’s your opinion, and I respect your opinion, I just can’t see 36 chambers being in any top 5 other than The Wu Tang Clans top 5 albums.

      • Brahsef

        Haha I feel you man. I’m a wu stan, won’t be afraid to admit it. And I’m not sayin top 5 albums of the 90s, I’m just sayin the 5 albums I’d recommend to a young gun. I got that north blood in me, so that southern steez…although I bang it…aint the first on my list.

        • southcakc23

          yeah, but there is NOTHING on 36 chambers that is something we need to be relaying to our babies. When I think of top 5 albums form the 90′s that our babies need to hear, I think of songs like “One Day” from Ridin Dirty, “The Experience” from Still Standing, “Babylon” from ATLiens, “ATLiens” from ATLiens…..I could go on and on but there is NOTHING that comes to mind when thinking of 36 chambers that I am going to insure that my daughter hears as she is growing up.

          It’s not about recommending albums that you feel are great. It’s about recommending albums that will provide a positive influence into a younin’s life. We got too many Hip Hop “fans” now that get memorized by the usage of big words, word play, technical rapping ability and yet they COMPLETELY let SUBJECT MATTER fall by the wayside. This mentality that rapping ability > subject matter is absurd and has lead to a false state of hip hop and what constitutes greatness. If you rap about a pile of shit, regardless of how well you RAP about that shit, you are still rapping about shit.

          I only recommend albums that contain a substantial amount of lyrical subsistence and artists whose sustenance of said subsistence is clear and without question.

  • raazi36

    NWA mos definelty needs to be played !! an some public enemy !! these lil young ma’fuckers out here dont know about that, they all on some whack shit, go back and listen to blast master KRS ONE, fuck it go back an listen to that curti blow shit ! ! !ONE

  • Chilly Willy

    Glad you still in the building,Mike. And cosign all this drop to the fullest !

    I’m not sure if this is an answer, but I think this whole situation is bigger than hiphop. We chose TV and video games to baby-sit our kids nowadays. We expect the school to teach them all about life, we mad when they get home with bad grades, but instead of teaching them, helping them, or supporting them, we mad at the teachers for havin the nerve, the nerve, to say our young’ns ain’t no Einstein. Hiphop didn’t get soft. Truth is, even with all the struggle and all that shit, we as human, lately at least, just got wimpy. They have to write “this shit is hot” on a coffee paper-cup otherwise dumb-ass nyncompoop won’t realize they’ll burn their pampered ass. Yeah, this is a rant against everything. I know I’m a part of it too, I won’t front. But whenever I realize I’m becoming lazy, I give myself a big kick in the ass so hard it gives me tonsil surgery (nhjic). But those moment of clarity don’t come as often as should be…

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    Here comes Bigga with that brain food…

    Most of these kids don’t have parents around, who would possess them oldies so they don’t have a clue. I agree w/Chilly Willy where a lot of these kids have logged too many hours in front of a TV, only seeing who the Trilateral Commission approved of & not the people’s champions.

    I’ve been ranting about a rap contemporary format for a minute, even trying to bring it to fruition, because something like this would expose the kids & regions to a lot of music & artists.

    Edutainment-Boogie Down Productions(teach ‘em)

    Business Never Personal-EpMd(1st swag tag team)

    Enter Da Stage-Black Moon(music selectas)

    Ironman-Ghostface Killah(superb bar game)

    New Rap Language-Treacherous 3(1st speed rap)

    Bridge Is Over-Boogie Down Productions(1st ETHER. This would’ve held that KRS convo down)

    Break Of Dawn-LL Cool J(2nd ETHER)

    The Great Adventures of Slick Rick(the storyteller & 1st Mr So Icey w/lyrics)

    You know there’s way more…

    • $ykotic/Don McCaine

      BTW Bigga you bodied that “Street Cred” cut.

      You have some questions to ponder over there in the bangers section…

  • J

    Do You Want More – Roots
    Stakes is High – De La Soul
    ATLiens – Outkast
    Black Reign – Queen Latifah
    Creepin On a Come Up – Bone Thugs

  • Detroit Dave

    Mike You gotta do a Show in Detroit!

  • http://dasteamwerkmusik.blogspot.com bollocks

    “…and the west in spite of having an arsenal of dope emcees seems to be the victim of relentless swagger jacking by the rest of hip hop.”

    THANK YOU, MIKE, FOR SHOUTING OUT THE WEST COAST, AND FOR ACKNOWLEDGING HOW MANY PEOPLE RIP OFF FO’TYWATA!! The West Coast (but especially the Bay Area) has been criminally slept-on for decades. So I’m gonna keep it at the Bay for my suggestions:

    1. Too $hort: Life Is…Too Short (’88)
    2. Too $hort: Get In Where You Fit In (’93)
    3. E-40: Federal (’93)
    4. E-40: In A Major Way (’95)
    5. Spice-1: 187 He Wrote (’93)
    6. Mac Dre: Young Black Brotha (’93)

    I know none of this is really true school, but that’s the basis of a lot of the current West Coast sounds.

    It’s The Bay, mayne…you better read about it.

    • Mr. North

      You right on point with this. Only thing Spice 1′s first 3 albums were tight but that 187 He Wrote is in the top 5 of albums that came out of California ALL TIME(period).

      • ILLWILL

        That Spice 1 was the best shit 2 come out of the Bay!

  • AvengerXL

    The main issues are the fact hip-hop is not treated as a true artform or culture by most of its practioners and the media which we have no real control over have turned hip-hop into the new blaxsploitation movement. It has been that way ever since the gangsta sound started to dominate.

    Rap music was expected to be a fad and a passing novelty at best. It was born of the party and always championed the new ish (whatever it was). It reperesents whats fresh and now, ever changing and moving. Not daring to look back for fear of being turned to salt(eternal youth). But now it has come of age and lasted much longer than its detracters expected. So now we have history for real it is up to those who care to document and champion this, so that the youth will have something to talk about. Also it is up to the aging artists to decide what their role is. The question for them can they take this limitless artistic medium and make some more relevant music or is their glory behind them. Like I said most cats don’t properly treat hip-hop like an artform. They just spit some lines to get a check cut, which may get you paid in the short term but seals your fate in the long run.

    Then there is the matter of how the media don’t show any balance in their coverage of the culture. You would be hard pressed to find a mainstream rapper that doesn’t have a arrest record or at least posing to have one. So that paints the whole culture into this ghetto off shoot with no redeming social quality and it demonizes the rappers as messengers of their communities apocalypse. Now kids in the ghetto try to do music to get out because rap has such a low entry point due to technology and such. If you can talk you can rap(But that doesn’t make you any good see soulja boy). So these kids get in the culture not out of sense of love or tradition, just for money. They follow the industry script as the new stereotype rapper characters not realizing or caring that they are doing a diservice to themselves and the music.

  • Mike Bigga

    @Bollocks Its all True school and thanks 4 the list those are some of my most prized records!

  • Gerv

    All I got to say is chuuuurch and keep on spittin that real talk Killa!


    the d.o.c first album 89
    snoop’s first album 93
    dre’s first album 92
    first wu album umm this is umm 93
    ghostface first album that is 93 or 94
    ob4cl that is what 95 or 96
    outkast aquemini that is 98 or 99
    the roots things fall apart 99
    man alot of good stuff i didn’t name

  • MB

    Goodie Mob-Soul Food
    2Pac-Me Against The World
    DFC-Things in the Hood
    8Ball and MJG-Outside Lookin In or On Top of the World
    Dre-The Chronic
    NWA-Staight Out of Compton
    Geto Boys-Any Album
    Scarface- The Dairy
    AZ- The one with Sugar Hill on it (Great Album)
    Biggie- Ready To Die
    UGK-Ridin Dirty, Super Tight, or Too Hard to Swallow
    Mystical-Mind of Mystical
    Ice Cube-Lethal Injection

    All these albums are my personal favorites. Some are missing, but I can’t think of anymore. Must be heard by the young pups. If you can’t appreciate these, you can’t appreciate Hip Hop music.

  • El Tico Loco

    I actually have put my sons up on the stuff I came up on so their views on this music are similar to mine (I got em early) and they like Jay Z even though they know most lines he bites, u just gotta teach them not to be sheep and appreciate quality, if you got crates or a deep playlist press play.

  • Brooklyn

    a lot of young kids don’t really understand certain types of music until they get older. although i’m still young, i was introduced to old school hip-hop at an early age, and i didn’t like it because i didn’t really get it. it was only when i was older that i was able to grasp what was being said and realize how nice niggas were back in the day. besides, back then, hip-hop was treated as an art. nowadays, most young niggas just look at hip-hop as a way to get rich, and seek to make money off it without enriching the culture of it. they can, in good conscience, excuse a nigga like soulja boy because he’s making money. they never take into account that he’s making money, but at what cultural cost? that idea is completely lost on them.

  • Master Cheef

    just to add a few that haven’t been mentioned:
    Westside Connection’s “Bow Down”,
    Run DMC’s “Raising Hell”,
    Naughty by Nature’s “Naughty by Nature”

  • Thomas

    Kool G Rap & DJ Polo – Road To The Riches (1989)
    O.C. – Jewelz (1997)
    Eric B. & Rakim – Follow The Leader [1988]
    Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
    The Roots – Illadephiahalflife (1996)
    Outkast – ATLiens (1996)
    Scarface – The Diary (1994)
    Wu-Tang Clan – Wutang Forever (1997)
    Killarmy – Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars (1997)
    Snoop – Doggystyle (1993)
    The D.O.C. – No One Can Do It Better (1989)
    Big Daddy Kane – Long Live the Kane – (1988)
    Boogie Down Productions – By Any Means Neccesary (1988)
    3rd Bass – The Cactus Album (1989)
    Gang Starr – Daily Operation (1992)
    Dr. Dre – Chronic
    Dog Pound – Dog Food (1994)
    M.O.P – First Family 4 Life (1998)
    Mos Def – Black on Both Sides (1999)
    Phoaroah Monch – Internal Affairs (1999)

    Probably more….Heavy East Coast…but I live out there…so don’t go there (c) Big Poppa

  • http://www.justice.gov.za GO-Getta’

    I will let this slide as most of my favs been already mentioned.

  • money mitch

    Brahsef i think your exactly right as far as production value goes!! I have Big Daddy Kane’s very best of now him and kool g rap are in my top 5 but the records themselves just aren’t up there as far as sound quality goes but i think that has a lot to do with new york itself with wanting that live in the park sound which makes sense because that’s where hip hop started. But when i make beats and mix them I almost always use dr. dre’s or dj paul and juicy j’s records as a reference to make sure my mix is on point. Outkast’s atliens is a perfect example as well that’s from 96′ and is a timeless record as well as all of tupac’s excluding 2pacalypse now and thug life.

    Naughty by Nature’s Poverty’s Paradise(again sound quality issues but still very much on point)95′

    Nas It was written 96′

    Icp Carnival of Carnage (hate all you want aside from slick rick, violent j is the best story teller in hip hop period!) 92′

    Do or Die Heads or Tails 98′

    Twista Adrenaline Rush 97′

    Esham Boomin’ words from hell (written/produced by esham when he was 13) 90′

    Ugk Rydin’ Ditry 96′

    Trick Daddy Book of thugs 98′ or 99′

  • General

    A lot of great album suggestions. No doubt that too many of the youngsters don’t know the classics.

    Another nice Blog Mike, but I am wondering like a lot of others, whats up with these tracks with Gucci and OJ that you been puttin out? I’m all for solidarity among Atl artists, but your really lowering the bar for your listeners and fans with some of those tracks when listening to your catalog and reading your blogs its obvious you have so much more to offer the game…

  • these posts are racist

    Co-sign to the fullest.

    Generation Text is all about being great, without doing great. You don’t need to know your history, but then you will never really be “hip hop.” Just like a literature major needs to study the Classics and Law students need to read old case law and understand the foundation for public and legal policy, Hip Hop Heads need to listen and study Hip Hop. If you listen to “Run this Town” and have no clue what Jay is referring to when he makes non stop Rakim references, then you are only intrigued by the sound of the drum…Which is fine, but don’t get mad when Heads look at you like a poser.

    So my answer is: Just like anything else…you want to be an expert? You want to be a true Hip Hop head? Then study the classics. Study the history. Understand the lyrics and references. Understand the flow.

  • Mike Bigga

    @ General i also have songs with B.O.B and Mickey Halsted, Rymfest and Talib. i am an artist homie i will make records with artist i like including, Gucci, OJ, Waka Flocka and many other southern street artist. If i do not record with them how can i expect to influence their audience

  • DV8

    Ive touched on this before on one of Dallas Penn’s blogs. Trying to teach these kids about the history of hiphop and all the great MC’s that have come before a Lil Wayne or Eminem is frustrating as fuck. Not because I dont have the knowledge and resources to do it but because these lil mofo’s dont want to listen. They look at alot of these greats as wack or even worse they hear something that was being sampled by they current favorite rapper and think that the originator is biting. And whats the point of Jay-Z or any other great MC quoting another great MC from years past if they dont let it be known where that qoute comes from?

  • http://www.djtrackstar.com Trackstar the DJ

    Man I remember all the homework I did when I started to dive deep into hip hop. Taking lists of recommendations to the library and used cd store…it’s so much easier to catch up on music now, but I don’t see the youth do it.

    I do a lot of work with the youth, and most of them have never heard of Tribe, and couldn’t name a Wu member besides Method Man (and sometimes they guess Redman)…let alone KRS, Kool G or Rakim.

    WE definitely gotta teach em, cause they aren’t learning it on their own….

    • mr okene

      true talk most peeps here in africa think redman was a wu member.

  • http://www.xxlmag.com crisis

    co-sign to the fullest, but i too have wondered about some of the shit you are putting out with obviously inferior artists bigga. not saying you should only do tracks with percee p or rodan, but some of these cats are so far below you their ants, and working with them is working against your message, which more people need to hear. but how can i apply your principles to my life if you don’t always apply them to yours?
    i want to hear you with scarface, or kool g rap, more often

  • http://www.xxlmag.com crisis

    in case any cats wanna question my grammar

  • Avenger XL

    Like I said in my long winded response above. It is up to the older artists to work together to make sure history is put front and center. We also have to compalin as a culture when folks just throw the hip-hop label on watered downed pop versions as a true representation of the culture. The BET hip-hop awards is a insult to any one who cares about this culture. Not just because they are still dick riding Drake as the next big thing(And he is for those into pop rap). Soulja Boy and Gucci man are head lining the event. I have no problem with these pop dance artists but I can’t help but wonder why they don’t balance that with a Rakim,Raekwon,KRS,NAs,Brother ALi,Common,Goodie Mob, E-40 etc…. Balance aids in eductaion. As long as the media paints one picture it is nearly impossible to prodtect your image.

  • capcobra

    it’s so many classic singles and albums and groups and producers that you really gotta go year by year..you gotta show ‘em where certain artists picked up where other artists left off..going all the way back to sugarhill and how they replayed good times and caz ghostwrote big bank hank verse..then go forward from there…lately i been finding myself in production debates..i tell dudes to listen to that bomb squad production on PE.ICE CUBE and the 1st L.O.N.S..3 totally different artists..ranging from political to gangsta to party..but bomb squad made ‘em all accessible by capturing the energy of hip hop..they used a million samples just to make 1 song..and to me that’s what hip hop represented..making something outta nothing…whether good or bad..just make something..because that’s how we make progress.

  • ri067953

    Yo, bottom line is that the nature of hip-hop is to be time capsule of what is going on in pop culture. Therefore, most of the old hip-hop sounds wack to the new generation because they can’t relate. They didn’t grow up around dookey ropes and African medallions. If you look at the works of some of the greats, only some of their songs are considered classics and can hold up over time. Take Big Daddy Kane for example, “Raw” is a great song and shows his lyrical dexterity, but play “I get the job done” and it comes off corny as hell to those that can’t appreciate Kane or grew up listening to him. Plus, what the hell is NWA saying that hasn’t been said a million times over by any of the current rappers the kids listen to?

  • mousie

    “Killer Mike, I’m a junior in high school and I’m an artist. I just wanna ask why should I know who KRS One is? “

    Ahh, the youth…

    Because there is an elite group of individuals commonly referred to as the “architects” of this great thing we call hip hop, to which KRS is a member. This group was not creating hip hop to gain mass amounts of wealth, which is the case with these “artists” on radio today. This group was creating material for the love and the sport of it. Their content was not all party and bullshit, albeit, the was some. However, in addition to that, there was great intellect that inspired and imbedded in an entire generation a desire to seek knowledge. Hence, you have all these educated men and women now gaining the very wealth you seek, commonly referred to as “old heads”. Perhaps if the youth take a good listen to what is being said in the past material, they will be inspired as well. To those seeking to be the next “hot” thing, I wish you all the best. But without an education, what will be your lyrical content? I think we’ve all had enough “party and bullshit”, the weekend ends at some point. Get yourself a plan B just in case. Don’t be that dude in the Datsun on hubcap spinners when it does.

    You must learn – KRS one

  • mousie

    “Killer Mike, I’m a junior in high school and I’m an artist. I just wanna ask why should I know who KRS One is? “

    PS. Because he wrote “My Philosophy”, serious?

  • alderman j


  • SouthCakC23

    The issue with most “hip hop fans” today is that they haven’t experienced what the OG’s experienced so they can’t relate. Thus, they gravitate towards rappers who rap with a certain aspect of perversion. Whether the perversion is jewelry, nice cars, hoes, drug dealin etc…(take your pick at naming a carbon copy trap rapper) or horrorcore rapper who raps about about horror movie esque bullshit (eminem) or gimmicky dance rappers (souldja boy). The days of expecting a rapper to provide lyrics filled with substance, and said substance being the ultimate requirement for a rapper to be even considered an MC, have fallen to the side. You have children who think just because you are the best at rapping words together creatively, you should be considered the top MC; even though your lyrics lack substance.

    Today’s rap fan cares more about HOW the rapper raps over WHAT the rapper is rapping about. This is the problem with our babies and their ignorance of OG’s of this beloved culture we call Hip Hop. They gives a damn about the message; as long as it sounds good when they are hearing it.

    Plus, like most problems in Hip Hop, Outkast and Goodie Mob told you about this issue OVER A DECADE AGO…..

    They told you about laying face down in the mainstream…


  • gift

    to be clear, the dumbing down in hiphop was caused by our hiphop forfathers who were still in powerful positions, selling out there companies and other things to corporations who new nothing about the elements of hiphop. NIGGAS NEED TO QUIT BLAMING THE SOUTH (DON’T ACT LIKE NIGGAS DON’T KNOW BOUT UGK, BALL AND MJG, OUTKAST, EVEN T.I., SCARFACE, DAVID BANNER, AND i COULD KEEP GOING. ASIDE FROM THAT COMMENT, THIS ARTICLE IS DEAD ON. THE OLD HEADS NEED TO TEACH THE YOUNGER GENERATION ABOUT THE HISTORY BEHIND WHAT ALOT OF US ARE TRYING TO DO W/OUR LIVES, WHICH IS HIPHOP.

  • Alan

    Beastie Boys – Licensed to ill
    Vanilla Ice – To the Extreme
    Paul Wall – Peoples Champ
    All Eminem albums


  • KingKnot

    Top Authority – Somethin’ To Blaze To
    Boogiemonsters – Riders of the Storm
    Common Sense – Resurrection
    Three Times Dope – Original Stylin’
    Kam – Neva Again

    A young person can do a little research a basically find out all the prominent artists & albums at different times but I think what will get lost in the shuffle is those obscure gems. Shining light on those is most important. Cuz young folks generalize too much, they figure if a artist or group never gets mentioned they all must have been bumms. So ya gotta give ‘em a summary of that time period & explain why that particular material was good or great, whether it sold or not.

    (Previously viewed this site as the home of alotta blah blah blogging so I neva bothered 2 allow my presense 2 exist here. Since you {Bigga} put your stamp on it, I decided 2 give it a 2nd look)