So the other day I was driving around the city and my music player had ran out of battery, the only cd I had available was a hardcore Mariachi mix that my old homie Tepes (Luis Reyes, the bouncer at the Room Hollywood) gave me a few years back when I worked there as a bartender. Unfortunately I wasn't in the mood for hardcore Mariachi, I was looking for something a little on the smoother side. More in the key of Sade's "Nothing Can Come Between Us" or a little Al Green's "I'm So Tired Of Being Alone".. Ahh, Perfect.
But my battery's dead on my phone, Ive got no charger, stuck in traffic, one CD and I'm running out of options. My final choice would be do what any normal person with a working functional steroe would do and listen to the radio.
Well, I'm far from normal and for a wide variety of reasons which I shall divulge a few in this upcoming post, I do not favor listening to the radio.
In my experiences with mainstream radio as of late, first of all, there are only a few stations that come in clear enough that have a decent variety of good music ranging from Classic Rock, 70's-80's, Motown, Smooth R&B..when they find time to play it of course.
I might get lucky and catch a block of 'commercial free' radio for an hour or so but be reminded every three and a half minutes, for however long the spot is telling me that I'm listening to 'commercial free' radio on so and so radio station (instert Explosion, or Something to that effect). What the? Next song.
Aww man, What is this song?
Change the channel.
Commercial after commercial. Static. Two songs blended together one you like one you dont, you find the clearer station, its the song you dont. More Commercials.
OOH, the tail end of Mavin Gaye's "Got to Give it Up". YES! I can dig it!
"Theres got to be another good song after this, I can feel it. Bout to hit my groove! They've GOT to follow up a classic with another classic right!?!".. Nope! Ugh.. I do not want to trade my car for cash, thank you.
Change the CHANNEL.
I have an eclectic soul, I love sound from any corner of the universe, from all walks of life. I love music that invokes heart centered, feel good vibrations of love and pure energy. Music that makes you feel and think, music that takes you on a ride.
A few artist I listen to for an example of this are: Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Santana, Bobby Caldwell, Bobby Darin, Bob Marley (since we are on the Bob's..lol) Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, Chaka Kahn, Tina! Wow, I can go on and on.. Hall and Oats, Steely Dan, FleetWood Mac, Prince!! Can't forget Prince! Ok, ok I'll stop for now, but pretty much
everything on the spectrum of music I am willing to listen to, and most of it I love.
I have been very fortunate to have been brought up by parents with an awesome, diverse ear for great music. I was raised primarily on Motown and Funk Soul Classics. Throw in some Golden Oldies and a little Classic Rock and there you got it, my childhood. For my BayArea brethren and sistren 99.7 KFRC was my station 24/7 as a kid.
Those origins ultimately led me on my musical journey and discovery to find and develop my own taste in the art of sound.
The older I became the further I drifted from my musical roots and started diving into my own musical endeavors, primarily the hip-hop scene of the very late 80's early 90's into the 2000's. In that era Bay Area radio stations would play the jams. Music that carried a message. Music that was fresh, new, exciting and ALIVE!
As a young teen-ager I was exposed to artist like, Pharcyde, A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, Tupac, Biggie, Souls of Mischief, Nas, NWA, Too Short, E40 Water Himself, Snoop, Dre Dog, Busta, Native Tounges, WuTang, Outkast to name a few. I was a huge fan of hip-hop, I really dug seeing the progression of its inception into mainstream music, with the transition from the old school funk era into break beats. DJ's mixing, sampling, scratching & producing. EmCee's turning into lyricist, crazy things being said that you couldnt even imagine at the time being allowed on any mainstream media outlet. But there it was.. The integration of the Radio and Music Video game during that time brought the movement to an all time high. Hip-Hop exploded on the nation and I was being a witness to it all. Hip-Hop culture in the early 90's was rich and vibrant with life. History was being told and made daily. School was in session for the masses.
I always dug songs with meaning, dont get me wrong I like other stuff too (at times) the party down, go dummy fun stuff when I'm in the mood of course or when its appropriate.. But, it truly amazes me when a song can connect you to any moment in time and positively affect you.
I look back now at that era and I feel that even though there were songs being played during that time that had violent or unsavory content there were more artists back then in the mainstream media that were raising awareness then there are now. Somewhere in the shuffle or maybe because of all the scare from Y2K, hip-hop music for me, hit its first low point. Mid 2000's I almost officially shut down the hip-hop machine and went back to my roots. 2013-2014 SHUT DOWN.
I don't blame the radio. I don't blame mainstream media or some outside force, I blame nothing. It is all a part of the process my friends. It's part of the cycle.
In my youth it was fun going out and trying to find the newest artist, the dopest tracks or the hardest lyricist. I looked at the search for new music the same way as I looked as a kid digging for Dino's in my backyard. It was a fun, exciting mission. I used to look forward to tuning into my favorite radio station to hear the newest tracks. The older and older I got, the less and less I liked to dig. My brain and my ears hurt from all the non-sense I was being subjected to.
See back in the day, there was a plethora of mainstream artist who in my opinion were great artist who put out great music. Now a days, it just isn't the same. It's few and far between that you can see conscious artists being inundated throughout mainstream media. On the contrary you see the opposite of those conscious artist who helped pave the way for these new Egotistical, Materialistic Anti-Role Models who have a horrible sense of community or purpose to serve the greater good. These so called 'artist' that pay no respect to the ones that have come before them only to exhibit a terrible demeanor and promote negative elements to demolish progress.
A majority of the songs out today are straight up degrading, demoralizing, commercialistic, ego driven, mind numbing falsehoods with repetitive lyrics and beats, spinkled in with subliminal (as well as flat out blatant) imagery that does absolutely nothing to further the human race. Whew!
Did I just say all that?! Haha.
But really though, the hip-hop music that is on constant rotation on every major radio station now-a-days is nooo bueno.
..That means, Not Good.
If you really think about it, these songs that contain such imagery and demoralizing content are being played on high rotation throughout almost every high-school, middle school, and young teen/adult social setting. In peoples cars or houses, where children are present. In grocery stores, clothing stores, at ballgames, umm, all where children are present. The radio is the new ambient sound to the everyday grind. Is that a healthy ambient sound to grind to? Why are we even grinding? Wait, When did this turn into a 2LiveCrew video? Ha!
As of late mainstream radio plays nothin but garbage, yeah I said it. Lol.
Ok, I'll fully admit there are some songs that slip through the cracks here and there that have a dope beat, catchy hook and slap hard but the majority of it, in my opinion, is just flat out garbage and I just don't have the patience or energy for all that. (Garbage might be a little harsh.. It's music at a vibration that I can't consciously or spiritually vibe with)
What makes it funny is that this garbage is played over and over and over again, till you have no choice but to like it!!.. and that just drives me up the wall! (as my lovely Grandmother would say haha, may she rip, love!)
The other funny thing is, we allow it. Let me retract that, I won't speak for you or anyone else. I allowed it. At one time. And that's ok. No harm, no foul, lesson learned. I take full responsibility for the actions of my past.
I find it an absolute blessing when I am in the presence of good music. I cherish the moment in its entirety and for a split second I get lost. There's nothing like it but this Ratchet/Hood non-sense has got to go. If a song can't stimulate my brain in a positive manner, I highly recommend tuning out. Let's keep it classy.
So here are my actions now and for the future. Look, Listen, Understand.
I can't change how the radio or media industry is ran or what they play unless I organize a substantially large, peacful group of likeminded individuals. Petition, protest and vote in new legislation for standards and practices.
Or! I finally put together this album idea I've had for the past few years. Tour the world, spread messages of love, compassion and kindness. Start a global movement of Peace and lead humanity into the Golden Era, no problemo!! That sounds better!
El Perezidenté to the rescue! Haha!
Ok let's keep it real, in this very moment, it's just easier to turn the radio off.
If I happen to be babysitting my nephews or nieces or the day comes where I have my own lil ones, best believe I'll teach them well. They will have no parts of that type of business until they are old enough to understand it and choose their own path.
It is our duty as good human beings to shine light on all these hidden gems out there because there are so many great artist in the world that need to be seen and shared with the World. The Universe offers endless amounts of good music. You just gotta find it.
Having an eclectic ear and a vast musical library is like I said earlier about digging for dino's. To be musically inclined, one must be the archeologist. It takes a whole lot of time, patience and a little bit of luck to find a track that vibrates your soul to your very foundation. But when you do, it's magic.
Until the day I hear legit, trustworthy reporting; honest, positive commentary and most importantly, good music on the radio, I will keep on my search for good quality music without that instrument.
(Unless of course I'm checkin in on the homies Davey D or Chuy Gomez. Or if I'm listening to Kruk&Kuip for @SFGiants games. Mainstream radio should have the big homie BigBodyCisco on the Air, he's all about that feel good life! #BayLove)