So, we’re at the Verizon store and my husband is gorging himself on iThings, and he wants to get this sweet little Bose Bluetooth speaker for our iPads. The Verizon guy asks me what music I like so I can hear how it sounds.
“Right now, I’m into old school hip hop,” I tell him.
He about chokes on himself.
“I wasn’t expecting you to say that!”
I know, you were expecting me to some gag-ass thing like Celine Dion, or sad, stupid snack-pack pop country, right?
He just sort shrugged and looked all flustered with disbelief, like I’d reached over the counter and given him a titty-twister or something. I told him I’m just full of surprises. A walking study of books with misleading covers. But, in all seriousness, I explained to him that my current fascination with old school rap and hip hop probably springs from a love of percussion and “world beat” music, particularly music with Celtic, African, Middle Eastern and Indian influence (the Afro-Celt collections are among my favorite, and Brent Lewis makes me lose my shit), and when I got Sirius XM in my car, there is a complete lack of this this type of music on their playlist. However, one day I discovered the Backspin channel, and ended up leaving the radio on a recent drive to LA, and really started getting into the groove. The cool thing about Sirius is that you can leave the tuner on “info” and easily see the name of the songs and artists.
I like Dr. Dre. DITTO.
I like Snoop Dogg. (See above)
I LOVE N2Deep. (See THIS – “Back to the Motel” is the gateway song to old school hip hop. If you can listen to that song and hold still, there’s something seriously wrong with you, or dead even. And that goes double for “Jump Around” by House of Pain.)
Funny thing is, I started remembering quite a few songs I’d always liked and just kind of forgot about them. My son used to play them in high school and I used to yell at him to turn them down. All of a sudden… these songs sound pretty dang awesome. It’s that beat… vocal percussion… yeah… I remember that I LOVED LOVED LOVED “Shoop” by Salt-n-Pepa once upon a time, and holy crap, I wanted to be able to dance like those girls. Whatever happened to them, anyway?
And — word — turns out, Will Smith isn’t just a fantastically sexy actor, and I will watch his movies just because he’s in them. (Sorry, James Spader, you have some competition.) He had songs too. I mean, besides the Men in Black theme song. WHO FREAKIN’ KNEW. I told the Verizon guy that I liked the Backspin channel so much I made my own old school hip hop channel — House of Pain channel that I’m enjoying the hell out of, and I’ve even learned a thing or two, such as, Eminem is the Elvis Presley of rap music. The Verison guy raised his eyebrows, and replied, “Hmmmm… I guess he kind of is!” So I told him I have a new hobby… old school hip hop belly dancing. I can put on my jingle belt belly-dance hip-hop fusion, right there in the kitchen while I’m making dinner. (And, it turns out there is one thing I’m even worse at than belly dancing — hip hop. It upset my cats. They left the room.) He asked me what I was listening to, and I said I was boppin and hoppin to that “Ya’ll gonna make me lose my mind” song.
“DMX???” he asked incredulously. “There’s bad language in that!”
“Yeah, whatever,” I shrugged. Eh. So what. My husband chimed in that “Without Me” by Eminem is my column writing theme song.
He shook his head and turned to his co worker, who was a young, really sleek black guy and said, “Check this out.”
“What are you listening to,” he asked me again.
“Old school hip hop!” I replied.
“DMX,” he clarified.
The black guy just smiled, and shook his head. And then I told him, “Y’know, those songs are all oldies now. I already listened to all the other oldies. I needed new territory.”
“1993,” he said, likely still struggling with the cognitive dissonance of a fat old white gal doing hip-hop in the kitchen to DMX.
“Let’s play DMX on this Bose speaker,” I said.
“I’m sorry, we can’t play that in here,” he said. But then he leaned in closer to me and said lightly, “But there are a lot of folks in here who would like it!”
So, he put on a compromise old school R&B channel, and that works too. Earth Wind & Fire, babies. Even older school. It’s all music. It makes me want to dance. It’s all good.