It took a bit of effort to remember certain records in order to remember certain time frames of my life. I bought various books in the last few weeks to help kick start some thoughts. Considering how important the era was for the genre, it's amazing the lack of attention and focus it receives in many publications. Most of them highlight the genesis of hip-hop within the five boroughs of New York City, but stop the story around 1984-1985.....just when it was getting good. The story doesn't end there. The story has never ended. There is no finish line.
The difference here between, say, someone studying every wikipedia page to learn everything they can to be viewed as having a wide span of knowledge on the subject, and the way I've approached my last few weeks of searching....the difference between the two is that I've had all this in my head for decades. I remember all of these releases first hand. I remember the anticipation of every weekend, my version of new release day. The books I've looked at lately and the crawling around the Internet have just been there to help me....they have been there to help me reminisce.
......and YouTube. This may have been the first time in it's existence that I realized how much more than office freakouts and ticklish kittens it both offers and contains. I don't want to dive into it all right here. I'd rather give "YO! MTV Raps" it's just deserve and devote more than a few paragraphs.....much more than a few paragraphs. That show was the reason I'm happy to be antisocial and I'll explain why that is.
This is the first subject in a very long while that I'm truly excited to dedicate my time to. There are only so many pieces of fiction I can write, only so many mundane childhood thoughts from the white bread society that are worth the effort of a campfire tale. I'm not sure how many can or will relate. I'm not sure how many of my peers, my age group, will remember all of this the way I do, which is finding something larger than life, taking it in and then running for it.
I'm hoping there are quite a few of you. I'm hoping that I can speak about all of this in a way that brings it all back in your minds as well. I want everyone that was lucky (and old...) enough to remember that golden, golden era and relive some past inspirations.
I want you to remember the firsts: the first time you heard about Run DMC's Adidas sneakers with no laces, the first time Rob Base's lyrics on "It takes Two" were stuck in your head on repeat, the first time KRS-ONE gave you Edutainment, the first time you saw five mics in The Source, the first time you saw Nasir Jones' video for "Halftime" late on a Friday night on MTV courtesy of Dr. Dre and Ed Lover, the last five minutes of every episode of In Living Color, the first time you saw Juice and witnessed how multi-talented 2Pac was, the first time you entered the 36 Chambers, the first time you were forced to Jump Around, the first time listening to Blowout Comb, which in turn blew your mind, the first time you heard the purple tape.....the first time you realized your addiction to the voices and the words and the music and the films.
For everyone born between 1974 and 1979, we have the privilege of being birthed at the same time as hip-hop itself. We grew up together. We had our rough moments of confusion and feelings of being lost together. We've found ways to be on the right track together. We found happiness and belonging together. The only difference, thankfully, is that when us humans fade away and our hearts beat for the last time, we can be confident in knowing the beat is still infinitely flowing somewhere else.