Notes From the Field: I Really Hope You’re Enjoying The CDs You Stole From Me, Anonymous Dude From Back In The Day

Back in college, somebody stole a bunch of my CDs from my dorm room, and the tough thing about having your CDs stolen is that you don’t always know which ones are gone until you try to listen to something, so every time you look for something and it’s gone, you feel pissed all over again. One interesting side effect of CD theft is that there are sometimes albums that you loved but haven’t heard in years. One such album for me was Bringing Down The Horse by the Wallflowers. Music often means something to us because of the place or time or stage of life, and I wondered: was it just through the foggy haze of nostalgia and memory that I viewed this album so fondly? I was afraid to listen to it, just in case it hadn’t held up. It would be better to remember it as it was rather than see it in broad daylight with all its flaws and foibles, silently feeling foolish for ever liking such crappy music.

But no. I listened to it and it’s still awesome. So, anonymous person who stole my albums which included Ginuwine’s 100% (definitely not going to risk listening to that one for the reasons listed above) and my DMX and a bunch of other stuff, I hope you listened to Bringing Down The Horse on repeat and appreciate it for what it is.  Because the only thing worse than having your music stolen is finding out that the person who stole it is using it for a weed plate.

Let Us Now Celebrate Da Brat

The beautiful thing about music videos back in the day is that, more often than not, they depicted places you wish you were with people that you wish you knew doing things you wish you were doing.  And from a hip hop and R&B perspective, people were still on the come up and were really about the music more so than the business of music. So it wasn’t a big deal for other famous people to show up on your album or at your concert or at least a cameo in your video.  At least, that’s how I play it out in my head. In most hip hop videos today, the people in them just don’t look, well, cool. They don’t look so much like they’re doing what you wish you were doing or are with people that you wish you knew. It all seems so contrived; how many Bentleys can you really look at? I don’t want to see Britney Spears singing the hook on a Mobb Deep joint because it might have “crossover appeal.” I don’t even know what that means anymore. Meanwhile, people in the videos of the 1990’s could make a Jeep Wrangler or even a Geo Tracker look like the best time in the world.

And that’s how I felt about Da Brat’s “Give It To You” video. My college roommate and I threw a party celebrating the fact that he had passed calculus (long story) and I had moved out the ghetto (longer story). We hired a band and sent out classy invitations, but we also served chicken wings and red Kool-Aid for which we refused to measure the sugar–basically, we just kept adding sugar until it wouldn’t dissolve in the water anymore. And though we never explicitly said it, we were probably trying to recreate a lot of the feelings felt in this video. Continue reading