“I been here since the beginning
Beginning of time yo beginning of time
Deep in the mind of the ancient ones
Everybody love me like they do the sun
I shine at times yo at times I’m dark
You can’t categorize me, my mind’s a art
Inside my heart, it ain’t about climbing charts
I’m the one you roll with when your ride is smart
The change that came, the change that comes
I change with chords and I kick it with drums
Get blow with horns and did it on the one
Riffed for guitars, for the Lord I sung
Spun around the world at parties and weddings
Wherever I go I create the setting
You know me from lessons or your pops collections
Whether whole or half stepping I’m a blessing
Yo I am music”
– “I am Music” (Common)
Luisa Bastidas, violinist
I can’t say that i remember growing up around music, at least not until I was in the junior high period of my grade school . My parents did have vinyl but i can’t recall much except for that Thriller album cover or 45 singles like “Endless Love.” There are much stronger memories of Christmas songs being played on a record player , and gospel songs and hymnals in french and Haitian creole at the Baptist church I spent a good chunk of time in.
Then the memories got more vivid with trips to a friend’s home which was around the corner from my childhood home. Watching music video shows on cable which was absent from my home –ironically headed by a father who worked for Time Warner Cable. I was hipped to Rap City and Yo! MTV Raps and the infamous The Box. I began taping radio mixes and getting a great education on early ’90s hip-hop and R&B.
My second afterschool job and the opening of a record shop a few blocks away from home created a weekly habit of buying something musical, a whole album or a single. My Walkman became one of my best friends, providing a safe place to listen to secular music and I enjoyed reading the liner notes.
The Walkman was replaced by a portable CD player in college and the tape collection was overwhelmed by my CDs. And college was a special time, a meeting of the minds with other music aficionados. And free music from record labels all because I wrote reviews for the school paper. An editorial internship at Vibe at it’s creative peak opened up so many doors to my earbuds-Jamiroquai, Stevie Wonder (yes i’m serious, before i only knew about the commercial work from the ’80s), etc.
After college, my relationship to music intensified with my writing and editing about music and the culture surrounding it. Music magazines like Fader (before it became something different altogether), XXL, Straight No Chaser, and others showed up in my peripheral vision. This was the early ’00s and the music industry was enjoying record-breaking historical sales, where almost anyone who dropped an album went gold. But it was also the time of “The Napster.” I had been trading mp3s with a friend via CDRs but programs like Napster and Audiogalaxy changed the game and how I viewed music. Essentially my musicals tastes changed and expanded actually making me buy more CDs that were not R&B or hip-hop.
“I – don’t want to – Go to work today – I ‘d rather – Stay home – And play -
video games- I wanna chill
But I gotta get up
I gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta gotta get up
I don’t want to go to work today
I’d rather stay home and play video games
I’d rather chill for real
I don’t know how you feel
But sometimes I feel like I’m
Workin’ for nuthin’ tryin’ to get sumthin’
Every where I turn there’s a bill standing out
Swim the river climb the hill
Complacency you ain’t gone get me no no no no”
“Gotta Get Up (Another Day)”– 4Hero Featuring Jill Scott
So much has changed since I bought my first 4Hero album in 2000. Right now, my music history is being recorded online as I play it through Itunes, tracking my listening habits and recommending artists i might like. I still buy CDs but mostly to support artists I know personally or the ones who have stayed consistent with releasing music that I like. I am slowly becoming one those people who shuffle their music around and doesn’t listen to albums in full. I am still amazed at being able to carry around thousands of songs in a device smaller than my first Walkman and that after sellling so many records and made history, Big Boi is treated like an artist who has just come onto the scene. But hey, going 1X platinum is considered a big feat nowadays.