i am a closet hip hop junkie. i used to sit in front of the tv with my boombox and a blank cassette in the chamber, ready to record rap videos in low-fi fashion from the 13" tv in the basement to my tape deck that i bought with my paper route money. i was enchanted with slick rick, ll cool j, kwame, and kool moe dee. hell, i even had a senior picture taken in a
t-shirt with the show's logo plastered across my back.
one of my favorites was heavy d, who died today. the overweight lover had a joyful spin to his lyrics, nimble dance moves (especially for a big man), and an entertainment slant to his overall product. i liked his work with janet jackson, quincy jones, a video with chris tucker, and especially this jam with aaron hall from guy. it got me through some teenage nerves at school dances, tough times with my folks, and still does the trick for late night driving struggles.
i moved on to a variety rappers that tripped my trigger, including tupac shakur, eric b. & rakim, digital underground, a tribe called quest, notorious b.i.g., and many many others. some of the curious college kids i teach ask me what kind of stuff i'm into, so i flip the script on them. when posed the question "what kind of music do you like", they emphatically tell me that they like everything except rap or country (or both). i quickly confess to them that i like a bunch of rap artists and have a sweet spot for dolly parton.
a gal just interviewed me for an english paper she was writing. she was feeding me questions about jazz, and asked me if i like any other types of music. i told her that i don't listen to just jazz and, in fact, am probably a little lax in that department considering the position i hold at isu.
i said that i like good music, regardless of era or genre. sharing that sentiment with these young minds (or, as my mother-in-law calls them, america's hope) might free them of the shameful stigma that is attached to liking pop top 40. we're all occasional suckers for this stuff. now excuse me while i crank up that heavy d track again, break out the running man, and try not to hurt myself in the process.