Today as I drove my children to their track practice and flipping through the radio stations, I came across an old hip hop song called “Get Up” by Salt and Pepa. As I listened and sang along word by word, I noticed my daughter looking and cringing at me as if she were thinking how uncool her mom was. I explained to my 12 year old daughter that songs like these were the very songs that defined my growing up. These songs were not too vulgar (if at all), and boasted of nothing but having good pure fun. Now, I make it my duty to educate my children on the power that “Old school hip hop and R&B” has on me and the many people in my generation and some of the generation before me. My daughters have also grown up to these songs as they are played in heavy rotation in my house. I do use discretion for some of the songs can be a bit out there, but for the most part my kids get the drift. My oldest definitely loves to listen to old school R&B. She sometimes likes to show off that she knows everything there is to know about the genre (you ain’t there yet boo, but keep trying). She says her friends call her an old soul when it comes to music. My middle daughter has two favorite hip hop songs, “La-Di-Da-Di” by Doug E Fresh and Slick Rick (clean version) and “Super Sonic” by J.J. Fad. She can wear out an iPod with those. She just asked me to upload the Salt n Pepa song on her mp3. My baby loves to listen to Michael Jackson. I even have a video of her when she was 2 years old singing “Beat It” posted on my FB page. It broke her little heart when he died, as I’m sure it did with millions of little children just learning about this great master of music. Though she still listens to Michael she has become a new fan of Pink now.
Every chance I get, I try to school these young-uns on the history of music because I think that music plays such an important role in our lives. Your born hearing melodies that wake you up, Teach you to play, and lull you to sleep. As a youngster music teaches you the alphabet, about history, and how to play well with others. In your teenage years, music helps you bond with others and introduces you to your first love. As an adult, music helps you get over heartache, celebrate life, and reminisce the many years of joy and pain. Someone once said that music is the soundtrack of life and all that it entails and I believe that this next generation needs to respect its origins by learning as much as they can about it. I believe the music that is out today, though some are still quite tasteful, disrespects the old school somewhat by taking songs to the extreme. Many lyrics today leave absolutely noting to the imagination. I am all for freedom of speech, but I also believe that a good song doesn’t have to explain exactly how you want to do-me-and-screw-me-till-the-walls-fall-down-and-neighbors-call-the-cops. I believe we have lost the romance that once was real music. I would like to give credit for all of the new school artists who still pay homage to the old school and keep it clean or at least don’t go by the way of the sleazy. Artists such as Jill Scott, Amel Larrieux, Alicia Keys, Raheem DeVaughn, Music Soulchild, India Arie, Rashaan Patterson, Ne-Yo and the list goes on. Those artists are a welcome favorite in my house. Believe it or not, I still love to listen to hip hop but now I’m very choosy about who gets play in my house. Common, Kanye, The Roots, Mos Def, and Talib Kweli are masters who not only have great flow they have great messages that should be heard.
I have been brought up knowing that music can set the mood for many a situation. It is the best pick-me-up, the best friend, the best healer we have. I will continue to bump it in my jeep, blast it on my stereo (LOL), and rock to it on my mp3, but most of all share it with the next generation so they can hear true music and how it should be.