I Am Old-School: A Coming of Age Tale Of A “Young” Hip-Hop Head.

When I’m not behind a keyboard writing incredible articles for this blog, recording hot fire in the booth, or dropping the mic at comedy shows, I work in a kitchen part-time like Tony Montana in Scarface; I’m just waiting for someone to give me 50 keys to sell so I can make 5 grand and hang up my apron forever. I’m 28 years old. I turn 29 in October, and up until recently, my age never bothered me. Like Aaliyah used to say, my age was literally nothing but number. But working in a kitchen, especially with kids, who range from 18 to 25, those numbers quickly changed from mindless digits to a deafening reality. I’m not old! But these young putos, and putas, with their hip new interests and wacky fashion tastes are bringing wrinkles to my once pretty as fuck face. I work with mutha fuckas who love all kinds of music. That’s fine. But sometimes, variety in music turns into hoarding and it becomes impossible to not question the sanity of these youngins. I just want to tell these kids to clean up their musical tastes and make some room for “themselves.” YOU DON’T GOTTA LIE TO KICK IT, MY NIGGA! Kendrick.

Music isn’t a fucking episode of Storage Wars, bro! I’m not impressed when you tell me you don’t like Jazz, but you love “Indie” Jazz, and “Techo” Jazz from Bolivia, but only if performed live. And then you tell me Jazz died in the 60’s, so you listen more to Hard Core Punk from the Netherlands, and if you want to go down on a girl, you put on some Swedish folklore. What the fuck are you talking about, dawg? I made all that shit up, too, but that’s how these try-hards sound when they talk about music. I love Hip-Hop. That’s it. I’m a simple mutha fucka. So Don’t ask me what kind of Hip-Hop I like; there is only one Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop is a culture and music is one of it’s elements. If it’s great and stays true to the other elements, it’s all Hip-Hop: this includes Trap, G-Funk, Crunk, Boom-Bap, all that shit! I don’t gotta keep all these boxes in my musical taste room to keep you from being bored. And I know I should expand my tastes, which I’ve been trying to do, but I’m not into pretending like I listen to everything. I like Our Lady Peace. Fuck yeah. Cut my dick off if you have to. I also like Nirvana and I think The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were pretty dope too. When I’m feeling fresh and want to enjoy a nice cigar, I put on some Marvin Gaye and Al Green. When I feel like I’m the man, I put on that James Brown. When I hear the States is still into killing unarmed Black Men and prosecuting Latinos at the borders, I bump Buena Vista Social Club and D’Angelo. And when there’s nothing else to do, I bump that Micheal Jackson like there’s no tomorrow. But, I’ll never tell you about that because I don’t have to. Well, these are the kinds of kids I work with, musical hoarders, and they’re sucking my youth and turning me into an old fuck who smokes cigars, yells at punks, and wears Yankee Fitteds like Babe Ruth in the 20’s. I feel like I look like Russell Simmons every time I walk into work now.

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I work with a dude who likes everything, and because he’s been at the restaurant longer than I, he gets to play his iPod while we’re on the line. In an eight hour shift, I hear everything from Metal, Grunge, Punk, EDM, to fucking Opera. I swear to God, his iPod is like a tiny identity crisis. And once in a while, he’ll play the Hip-Hop he has in his collection, Wu-Tang Clan and Cypress Hill, which is every hipster’s go to reference for Hip-Hop. I love Cypress Hill and Wu-Tang too; but come on, that’s not where the quality ends in Hip-Hop music! I like the guy too; he’s a great dude, but I was ready to knife the puto when he classified Wu-Tang and Cypress hill as Old-School Rap. Take it the fuck easy, bro. Relax. And then he had to nerve to say Hip-Hop hasn’t been the same since, which is not only ignorant, but completely untrue. When you tell me shit like that, I automatically assume you’re lazy and have weak research. I might even call you a racist (kidding.) But I let it go. That mutha fucka is still alive and his Kinder Suprise of an iPod still exists. I gave him a pass. I also work with a young girl from Northern Ontario who loves Hip-Hop. This girl is 18 years old: ten years younger than I. I get along with her great. I had my last shift at this restaurant a couple days ago and it was sad because I liked working there, despite everybody’s musical dilemmas. I’m going to miss this girl the most, though, because she taught me a very valuable lesson.

We were working together in the back, and I was bumping my iPod. Since she’s young and pretty cool, I catered the albums I played to her musical tastes. I put on some Vince Staples, Joey Bada$$, Earl Sweatshirt and A.S.A.P. Rocky. I was showing her the boxes in my musical taste room and she was loving it. I enjoyed watching how happy Hip-Hop made her. I’m not saying she hates her job but working in a kitchen does get hopeless sometimes. After playing a bunch of current day Hip Hop, I asked if she’d mind if I took it to the Old-School and played her some Puff Daddy and The Family, No Way Out. She asked me what that was. I was stunned. I was ready to accept a charge for aggravated assault. But she let me play it, and when she heard Biggie’s verse on one of the songs, she began to recognize what I was playing. She told me she loved Biggie Smalls and his album “Born to Die.” Usually, this shit would make me flip but I thought it was cute. Of course, y’all know she meant Ready To Die, but I didn’t blame her for not knowing that. This girl was born in 1997, when No Way Out just came out, and she didn’t even exist in 1994 when Biggie’s debut came out. I was eight. I told her No Way Out was a staple to my life. I owned the cassette, the CD, I burned it on blank discs, I have it on my iPod and iTunes. Puff’s classic album has followed me my whole life, and in the beginning, I played his album ten times a day, everyday. This girl said, WOW. She told me she plays Earl Sweatshirt’s Doris everyday and it changed her 18 year old life too. I was stunned. First of all, in my opinion, Doris is not a great album; but this is not the first time I’ve heard a young person speak about Earl Sweatshirt like he’s god. I believed her. After listening to half of Puff’s album, she asked if I could play Earl’s new album because she hadn’t listened to it yet. She hadn’t heard it yet because she was mad at Earl for cancelling a concert in Toronto she bought tickets for a year ago. I remember being mad at Puff when the club shooting happened with J.Lo and I stopped listening to him for a while. Her Doris is my No Way Out and that’s cool. I just hope she still has it in her iPod, or what ever, ten years from now when she’s trying to keep it real with a young Hip-Hop Head.

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Written By: Marito Lopez

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