Welcome to my very first column here at Inside Pulse. It’s a brand new site, which means that I should have a brand new attitude, in theory. In reality I’m really just the same ol’ guy that you knew (and hopefully loved) over at 411Mania.
Who am I exactly? I’m just your average guy, who happens to be kind of snobbish when it comes to music. I’m the guy who looks down his nose at you when he notices that among your purchases is a Nelly album. I’m the guy who won’t hesitate to walk up to you in a music store and suggest that you try this album instead of the one that you are grooving too. I’m the guy that will get into a debate over why Jay-Z is a better mc than Eminem with a coworker, a debate that will lasts. I love music, I’m against illegal downloading, and I have close to a thousand cds. Basically I’m just a guy with opinions, who isn’t afraid to share them.
I’ve always been a fan of music, particularly Hip Hop. I can remember as a child when my half-brother came to live with us, he brought some samples of what the East Coast was listening too. I remember UTFO and The Rappin’ Duke. It was so cool to catch a glimpse of another part of the world, which I know close to nothing about.
When everyone else in Tucson was rocking their Raide’s gear and quoting N.W.A., I was bumping B.D.P. and Public Enemy. Gangsta Rap never appealed to me. I never had an ear for it, as a result I hung with like minded people. I’m not going to lie; when we first heard “Deep Cover” we thought it was sick. But I never got up on “The Chronic.” While I was born in Arizona, my heart and ears belonged to the East.
I can remember cruising Tucson with “Stunts, Blunts and Hip Hop” bumping from my man’s jeep. We were all slayed when we first heard “Who Got The Props.” And I still remember when the Onyx concert was canceled, because someone was letting off shots. Then due to some unpleasantness, I was sent to Iowa to live.
Now Iowa is just like you’d imagine. Everything you think about Iowa is true, but not in a negative way. It’s typical Americana, just like a postcard. But it’s quaint like Mayberry. Exactly like Mayberry complete with lack of Black faces.
As you would imagine Hip Hop was hard to find in Iowa. I couldn’t get any from the radio, and while MTV still had “Yo” it hit the airwaves way late at night. As a result I had to turn to buying CD’s. But fortunately for me it was during Hip Hop’s Golden Age.
This is when I became a music junkie. Every Tuesday I would get my fix. I can still remember when I bought (the then new) “Buhloone Mind State.” That cd blew my mind. It was like perfection to me. On that album De La Soul reached me like nothing before. I really felt that album.
Of course “Midnight Marauders” followed, and drew me further into Hip Hop. From there my love affair with Beatnuts began. I also began reading “The Source” and holding every word on its page sacred. Basically if I hadn’t gone to live in Iowa, while I may have been a Hip Hop fan, I wouldn’t have cultivated the collection that I now possess.
What a difference a decade makes. I just got back from a family reunion in Iowa, and I specifically didn’t take anything to listen to. I didn’t want to distract myself from the natural music found in the area, or at least as natural as the radio gets.
I took a time out while writing and caught part of Magnolia. I love that movie so much. P.T.A. is guaranteed to make an appearance on my “Top Five Movies of Any Given Moment” list. Man, I love that movie.
End of Interlude
I was shocked to find out that two of my cousins don’t have any taste in music. They don’t have a favorite song or band. They don’t have a favorite CD. I really couldn’t wrap my head around it until I realized that the energy that I invested in music, they invested in video games. We found common ground in the form of Mega Man I & II where they played to their hearts content (and even beat the games with an assist from their old school cousin) and I bugged out on how cool it was to hear the old Mega Man music (if anyone knows where I can find that game music, drop me a line.)
I did find a kindred spirit in the form of another cousin whose passion for music goes beyond me as he’s an actual musician. I remembered that he was a huge Beatle fan so I brought along the “Grey Album” for his listening pleasure. He gushed about Jet, King of Leon, and the new Hives disc. We debated about downloading and burning. It was nice to find someone in Iowa who had a musical opinion.
Later in the trip an uncle and yet another cousin, both of whom had heard of my love of Johnny Cash, played me an acoustic version of Folsom Prison Blues, which was cool on several different levels.
On one level, it was cool that they put it together for me. On another level it was cool to actually see an acoustic set. It was equally cool to be that close to musicians who were caught up in the moment. It was definitely one of those memorable experiences that won’t be forgotten any time soon.
On the way back to Vegas after the trip through airport security (which may be addressed later, if I decide to venture off the topic of music) I got acquainted with music on the planes stations. I was pumped to see that on the playlist for one of the stations they had my favorite Norah Jones song, followed by a Ryan Adams track. The bad part was that it followed a Country program. The worse part was that I couldn’t figure out were in the Country program they were.
After missing it a few time (it was a long flight) I finally caught the Norah Jones song, only it wasn’t the song listed. It was supposed to be “The Prettiest Thing” but the song played turned out to be “What Am I To You?” It’s a cool track, but I was really digging the thought of hearing “The Prettiest Thing.” Needless to say I was disappointed.
However I was thoroughly impressed by what I heard of Nellie McKay. They played a in studio versions of some songs, and it really perked up my ears. Plus they ran a portion of an interview with her, which captivated me equally. I remember reading about her in magazines, on my former music section, but now I am convinced that I need to buy her album.
I was also intrigued to see that Joan Osborne, Dave Koz, N’Dea Davenport, and Montell Jordan were all featured on the same album, and it had no affiliation with VH-1’s “I Love the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ90s.” They all appeared on an album called “Bridge to Havana,” which, from what I heard, sounded pretty nice. Apparently some American musicans went over to Cuba to collaborate with some Cuban contemporaries. The resulting music was put together on an album. Gladys Knight and Mick Fleetwood also contributed. It honestly wasn’t half bad.
Now you’ve come to the end of another column with an empty feeling inside you. Allow me to point you in the direction of some more filling reads;
Aaron says goodbye to 411.
Jeff would have said goodbye to 411, but it never made it up there, so read it here.
Gloomchem talks about good bad music.
Double M and I debate biting. Part two coming up.
Joe makes is illustrious return with an assist from me.
Evocator dips his toe into reality tv, I mean writing.
Five Mixes In Heavy Rotation Right Now
1. Jon Brion Mix
2. Motown Vol. I
3. The White Stripes Mix
4. Pumped Up Hip Hop Mix
5. Badly Drawn Boy Mix
Five Artists Who May Never Be Able To Redeem Themsleves In My Eyes
2. Lil’ Jon
3. Lenny Kravitz
4. The Pharcyde
5. Anyone from St. Louis