So lately I’ve sort of rediscovered watching videos on BET, MTV and VH-1.
Wait let me clarify; BETJ, MTV Hits and VH-1 Classic.
Y’see, I’m nocturnal, and have been for years, and generally speaking, there’s not much good on television in the wee hours of night. But while surfing the mid-300s I actually stumbled across BETJ’s Soul Sessions which, according to the program description, offers “live performances and classic music videos.” In reality, it offers up a handful of videos by artists who skew a tad beyond BET’s youthful target audience.
Soul Sessions is kind of dope. I mean, I get to see videos I wouldn’t be ashamed to watch or have on if someone walked into my room. But the selection is, um… well, dreadful. You’re pretty much guaranteed to see Mary J’s video for “Fine” in every episode. And heaven help you if you get two episodes back-to-back; you might be lucky to see ten different videos in that two-hour span.
Speaking of two-hour spans, VH-1 Classic has resuscitated the 120 Minutes banner for a block of videos showcasing “alternate” artists from the ’80s and ’90s. I really dig it not only because it’s a walk down memory lane, but also because back when I was in Tucson and listened to KFMA, there were songs that I liked but didn’t know who performed them. And now not only do I get to find out the name of the song and artist, but I also get to see the low-budget yet cutting-edge video for the song. And yeah, it does make me feel old to be watching BETJ(azz) and VH-1 Classic. But that’s what MTV Hits is for—it’s when I skew young.
Oh wait, I’m only watching MTV Hits when they have their YO! MTV Hits hour-long blocks. Generally, each block is dedicated to a specific period, like, say, 1990-1991. I note that one because (a) it’s the one I most recently watched, and (b) it’s got “My Mind’s Playing Tricks on Me”, which is like one of my all-time favorite songs.
Yes, watching old rap videos can be stomach churning (The haircuts! The fashion! The baseball bats?), but it’s also refreshing to remember an era when I was so invested in the music that I actually memorized lyrics. Plus, it’s good fun to see Queen Latifah, Will Smith, Ice Cube, LL Cool J and Ice-T back before they embarked on the second leg of their respective careers.
Yeah, despite music videos reminding me of how old I am, they’re still more enjoyable than they are painful. Of course, it’s only a matter of time before watching those videos reminds me of my mortality. That’s a day to which I’m really not looking forward.
Tags: Ice Cube, LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah, Will Smith