My one true love will always be Hip Hop. I listen to it daily and lyrics from artists like the Notorious B.I.G. will sometimes involuntarily pop into my head.
“And I feed em gunpowder, so they can devour
The criminals trying to drop my decimals” – Warning
See, there it happened again.
I was born in the 1980’s and although I was old enough to painfully watch Patrick Ewing miss that layup and lose to the Rockets, I was lucky enough to witness the Golden Age of Hip Hop.
First of all, if you are a New Yorker, Hip Hop is not just music. It’s religion, fashion, a lifestyle and for some people it’s everything.
The 1990’s brought powerhouses like the Wu Tang Clan, who could each individually stand on their own, especially Ghostface. DMX, Jay-Z, The Lox, dead prez, Nas, Big L, Capone-N-Noreaga, Mobb Deep, KRS-One and one of my absolute favorites, A Tribe Called Quest (R.I.P. Phife), are just a fraction of the talent that was pumping out some of the best Hip Hop music ever made.
I remember once when I was in middle school my dad made a 2Pac reference. I was floored.
In Brooklyn, music was everywhere and at times I felt like I was being showered with it.
The summer especially reminds me of Hip Hop because Brooklyn is small; it’s hot and incredibly congested. The only relief you could get from your small hot house or apartment was to go outside and sit on your stoop. People would be set up outside with a cold drink and a stereo bumping some of my favorite songs. There was honestly no need for an iPod or headphones. Sound bites of the greatest music were all around me as I walked through the sizzling NYC streets.
So I think you can tell where I am going with all this. Hip Hop is still a big part of my life, but there is something undesirable about it. It’s profane and is definitely not for a 3-year old’s ears.
As a writer I will defend Hip Hop to the end because it’s people expressing themselves and it has done a lot of good for people over the years. For the most part it’s an expression of people’s life experiences and there are a lot of ugly parts of life.
That being said, I do not under any circumstance want my 3 year old son listening to Biggie’s Ready To Die album any more than I want him watching Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. I think it’s inappropriate and by no means do I think that he should be exposed to that level of profanity, especially at such an impressionable age.
Having kids has obviously caused me to modify my music listening habits. I pride myself on being a very hands-on dad. I love spending time with my children and I would take them to work with me every day if I could.
I usually spend the most time with my kids at home or in our car. Hip Hop is obviously off limits. This restriction eliminates two of my favorite times to listen Hip Hop. There are very few things that can compare to driving on a warm summer night through The City with the windows rolled down while listening to a song like Things Done Changed (Biggie).
Now that I’m a dad I have taken this unforeseen restriction in my life like many others (no bringing candy into the living room after 4PM) in stride. I was just wondering if there are other dads and moms who have had similar experiences.
Are there things that are near and dear to your heart that you now have to restrict yourself from doing now that you’re a parent?