The other day at work I was having a conversation with my coworkers about 90’s hip-hop. Names like Mobb Deep, M.O.P, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, Biggie, Fugees, Big L, Outkast, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, the Pharcyde, and a dozen more got dropped. We reminisced how we couldn’t go about our business without having our disk-man and a small cd carrying case with our carefully selected assortment of mix-tapes and albums. In those days we lived for music. We laughed about how we could be in the best mood in the world, but if the right track came on, like Pete Roc and Clay Smooth “T.R.O.Y” or Mobb Deep “Shook Ones Pt. 2”, it could have a transformative effect on your mood. Your walk would become a little harder, your face slightly more stoic, and you quietly thought to yourself that you were the baddest man on planet earth and you wish someone would try to bring the ruckus!
Off course music no longer has the same effect on me as it did back then, because naturally I’m older, and have much better understanding of consequences then I did when I was a snot-nosed teen. But every once in a blue moon, I will come across a track, like Childish Gambino’s “Sweatpants” that will cause my shoulder to sway with a little more determination. That will make me put on that “you better not fuck with me” face.” And for like a minute or two I will allow myself to flirt with the idea that I am as indestructible as I was when I was 18 years old and ready to take on the world. That is until my hardcore walk causes my left knee to hurt, and my back stiffens, and my shoulder swaying is reaggravating an old rotator cup injury, and then I remember that I’m too old for all that tough guy shit. But it’s ok, because near the end of “Sweatpants”, the hard edge transitions over into some smooth, sexy funk, and I realize that there is nothing wrong with just grooving to the track like any normal ex-youngster that just wants to find a graceful way to enter middle age.