My whole entire life, music has had a profound effect on my entire being. Music is like that female friend that you have. We all know how catty females can be. You have that love-hate relationship with them. Although they can do you wrong, and tell all of your business, you can't help but love her. You can't help but want to listen to all her problems, give her advice, and then tell her off for telling your business. You still love her, even through all of her faults...I always give credit to my parents and my older brother for introducing me to the world of music. I thank them, because I can't see how my life would be without my daily dose of magic. I need my music to get through the day. I always get the memories of parties my dad threw throughout the summer, and I would dance my little heart out. It was mostly to the old school jams that fill part of my iTunes today. From the Blues, to r&b, to rock and roll, my dad played it all! I think that is one reason my musical taste is so eclectic. I listen to music from r&b, rock, indie, all of the in-betweens, I've heard it all, and actually enjoyed it. I think back to the days where Mariah Carey was my IDOL! I owned ALL of her albums and sang every last song. I wanted to be like Mariah, not in the physical sense, but her talent was AMAZING! I wanted to be able to go out and perform and hit those high notes just like she did. My mom has always been into doing things as a family. I remember her having little talent shows, where would be able to sing our own solo song, and the rest would be the background. Can you guess what I sang? You got it, Mariah Carey, every time. That memory makes me smile, even now, because we had so much fun! My younger brother would sing "Freak Me" and basically KILL every other performance before him, including mine! He was, what you call, an ENTERTAINER! He would sing so hard, hitting every note, and drop down to his knees, like he was begging. And to think, he couldn't have been more than 7 years old at the time! LOL. He put on a show like none other, and couldn't sing a lick! It felt good to him, and it felt good to us. He would always get a standing ovation from us! I also remember when my sisters and I decided that we WERE Destiny's Child! You couldn't tell us that we weren't better than them. We had the vocals, the choreography, and the attitudes of true divas in the making. We had no problems performing in front of everyone, but just like Destiny's Child, we didn't last long! LOL. I was Latavia of the group and the first to go! LOL! I have to say, my fondest memory would have to be with my older brother. My older brother is the one who really got me into the new age hip-hop and r&b of the 90's. I remember sitting and watching videos with him, singing along to the songs. Having a grand old time, enjoying our connection through music. He taught me to APPRECIATE great music. Not just sing along, because it sounded good, but to actually listen to the words, feel the words, enjoy the music, and all the hard work put into it. I don't know if he knows how much I appreciate him introducing me to something, that today, has helped me through so much!
Music has an affect on me that can be weird, and misunderstood. I listen to music all throughout the day. I am forever finding new music to listen to. My family always tells me I listen to depressing music. They don't realize that I am not listening to the beat, I am feeling the words, that is not depressing at all. I take music in, try to get a message from me. I don't really listen to a lot of rap music of today, because they all talk about the same things: the hood, money, cars, clothes, chicks. Same thing, different beat (sometimes). I like music of substance. If I listen to rap, it is more on the level of Kid Cudi, Lupe Fiasco, Common, Talib Kweli, B.O.B., The Roots, and others of that caliber. Rappers who epitomize the word "edutainment." They are entertaining while educating. Rappers who are very underrated because they don't rap about what the "typical" rapper raps about. Nowadays, "artists" put out music to make money, not to have substance. That is why we have the trash of "artists" like Soulja Boy, whose lyrics are FAR from the artists I've listed above. (I can't stand Soulja Boy with a passion. He is what music DOESN'T need right now..) The music world is no longer about the music, it is about the money. Everyone wants to do it to gain fame and make money, it is no longer about the actual music. That is why I listen to a lot of underrated artists who still have that passion and fire for the same music that I know and love. I will argue someone up and down about why Lil Wayne is NOT one of the greatest lyricist, (another post) why Nicki Minaj would have never become famous if she didn't have the gimmick and the looks, (female rap artists have it so hard) why r&b music is failing right now, and why David Banner is one of the smartest men in Rap.
I long for the days where the music mattered. Where it wasn't watered down by record labels so they could make a quick buck, where people actually cared more about the lyrics than the hot beat. I feel let down by a lot of artists who have to oversex themselves to get their albums to sell. I've always said I hate that so many artists out today can't sing at all. I actually used to be a Rihanna fan. Her first two albums used to be in constant rotation. I began to not be a fan when her whole image changed. She went from being this wholesome Barbados chick, to this uber-pop sound, that to me, wasn't her. If you listen to her first two albums, you were listening to someone who had the passion. Now, I just feel like she is in it for the fame. There is no more passion in what she does, which makes me not want to listen. A lot of artists that I used to LOVE are no longer in my iTunes library because I can't stand how they have become part of the "machine" which is a record industry that gives us true music lovers lackluster music.
I have moved into the arena of the new music artist. There are so many out there that are amazing. To list a few, Aaron Camper, The CraigLewis Band, Joonie, and other great artists. Each of them has an album that I have had on repeat more than a few times. They've each, in their own right, given me back what I felt I was missing in a lot of the music today. They've are giving back to my beloved genre of r&b, especially male r&b. I get so tired of Trey Songz talking about sex, Ne-yo crying, and whatever the heck Usher calls himself doing these days. I honestly miss the music of Dru Hill, Boys II Men, Carl Thomas, and the rest of the male r&b singers who made you fall in love with music. Where are they now? Why have so many shied away from the formula that worked so well. I read an article on thefreshxpress.com about Trey Songz pretending to be a singer. I wanted to find the writer and give them a hug and a high five for putting out there what I have been saying for YEARS! It is all about his looks. If Trey Songz didn't have his looks and body, he wouldn't be as hot as he is today. His singing is not even mediocre, at best, and he doesn't have the greatest personality in the world. Seriously, what happened to our music?
I had a convo with my brother earlier that made me look at myself and how critical I am. He said "black people are so hard on black music. You hardly ever hear a white person say about a white artist that "they can't sing." but you hear black people say it about black artists." I had to really think about it, and he was right. I am very critical about the music I listen to, and I listen to ALL music, black, white, red, hazelnut, blue-green, whatever. With me, in the same sense that I say that Trey Songz can't sing, I say the same about Justin Timberlake. I will be honest, I am hard on any music. I will give everyone a chance, give everyone a good listen, but if it is garbage, it is garbage. The voice is only part of the equation. Give me something I can feel. Give me something that pertains to me! Buying clothes, jewelry, cars and making it rain at the strip club doesn't pertain to me, or a million other people who are trying to give you the benefit of the doubt!
So, that is my love-hate letter to music. I long for the day where artists will be able to express themselves musically without having to sell their souls to the devil...i.e. the record labels. I hurt for the music industry today. I only hope it will get better, and I can get back to the music that has taken over my life.