In 1996 I was 10 years old. I spent a lot of time with my next door neighbors Big John (I was little john :-/ ) & Kyle J. My bro John had so much music, man! I honestly owe so much of my musical foundation and experience to his dynamic collection. He had everything, or at least to a kid who hadn’t fully submerged himself into black culture yet, it sure seemed like everything. I would borrow so many of his CDs and make my own mixes onto cassette tapes. I also started to watch music videos and study the countdowns. 1996 was the year I began to see music. The art of sound became visual.
#illAlwaysRemember sitting at the table with Kyle & John. John had just gotten the 2pac album. I asked Kyle had he heard it yet. He was like yeah I know “2 pace!” Tooth Paste?? Huh? One of those trying to fit in moments gone wrong. I think John and I laughed for an hour straight. The “California Love” video was on top of the countdown for months. The video never got old to me! I probably watched it 50 times. Tupac’s song “Only God Can Judge Me” resonated with me as well, and quickly became a foundational mentality for me.
#illAlwaysRemember Music Videos! MTV & BET were in my Top5 stations(ESPN, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon) So many soundtracks! Coolios’s Gangsters Paradise was the soundtrack to the movie Dangerous Minds. Mary J Blidge had “Not gon cry” for the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack. Keep on, Keepin on was on the Sunset Park soundtrack. The Fugees Killing me Softly and Ready or Not had classic videos. LL Cool J Hey Lover. I mean, the 1996 playlist had Classic Videos to remember! An unforgettable year in music.
#illAlwaysRemember Journeying to John’s room in the downstairs basement and seeing the walls and ceiling transformed into a visual collage of artists and album art. Pages from The Source and Word Up everywhere! John loved music and rap culture. He was my best friend, so naturally his passion began to rub off on me too. Writing this now, I realize how influential he was on my taste and perception of artists.. He had surround sound speaker in his room, we would listen to new songs and watch videos for hours. Busta Rhymes, “Wooo Haaa Got You All in Check!” Ghost Town DJs “My Boo,” Tupac “Ambitionz as a Ridah.” These are the albums that effected me most in 1996.