I tweeted a couple weeks ago that I miss the days of discovering music through MySpace. That’s how I got started on this whole thing. I got inspired after talking to a friend when I was home for Thanksgiving break and he told me about all these young hip hop artists from Seattle who he was really into (names like Macklemore, Blue Scholars, Dessa…but this was back in 2008, so even a name like Macklemore meant nothing to me yet). So to find their music, I had to go to their MySpace pages. And what was really fun was to find an artist I really liked, and then find out who they were into by searching through their top 8 friends on their MySpace page. It was kind of like a puzzle for me, and I’ve always been a big fan of puzzles. Sometimes the artists would put their top producers on their Top 8, sometimes they’d put their inspirations, and other times they’d put that artist from down the road who they were good friends with and wasn’t getting much recognition yet. I remember finding Ryan Lewis, specifically, and getting super excited. Here was this guy who was an incredible musician and producer, but also an extremely talented photographer and videographer. But nobody really knew about Ryan Lewis outside of Seattle yet. These days, everything’s so open – it’s almost as though there’s too much access. Everything’s right there in front of you on the table (or in your inbox, if you’re a blogger), it’s just a question of whether you have the time or attention span to go through it all. I miss the pursuit. There was a bit of a chase, and it was fun.
But what I can still hold on to is the joy I got out of listening to good hip hop. There’s something about finding a hip hop song that not many people have discovered yet and listening for raw talent that really gets me going. And to be completely honest, I haven’t been able to find much lately that’s been able to get me going. Day after day, everything seems a bit the same, life seems a little redundant. I’m stressed out at my job, I miss my family at home, and I look forward to vacation time more than anything else. I miss my friends and the simple lifestyle in North Carolina. It’s a scary feeling. But I reminded myself that I’m lucky to know of one thing that makes me really happy. It’s not that easy for some people to pinpoint. Music has been a constant for me for many years. So I let myself slow down and get back to doing what I love – finding music, and letting myself stop and listen. I took myself on a search for some new hip hop music (to be honest, I tried to recreate the MySpace chain search experience on SoundCloud to find people I hadn’t heard of yet, but it didn’t work very well) and included some songs below that I liked as I went along.
One thing I’ve learned in the past couple years is that you may not recognize as you’re doing something just how meaningful it will be in your life. Ordinary things may not stand out to you while you’re experiencing them. But once some time passes and you think back on those things, some moments may stand out that you didn’t expect. It’s like when you smell or see something that immediately reminds you of a time in your past. At the time, you may not have realized that you were creating a memory. But looking back, you wish you could go back to that moment in time. I had no idea that MySpace would be one of those things for me. It feels kind of weird saying that. But those days also remind me of being in college, of days of lesser stress about getting older and needing to know exactly what I want to do with my life, of having all of my closest friends within walking distance at all times. It’s not just about MySpace, it’s about the times that surrounded that experience. But while I sit here and wish I could go back to those days, I’m also trying to take a second to recognize the good things I may be overlooking in my present. I may be going through a hard time, but there are little things (right now it’s the smell of the wreath in my apartment, the cozy feeling of the twinkle lights I just put up in my windows, and the good music I’m listening to right now) that I may look back on and long for someday in the future. We’ll see, maybe I’ll be posting something a few years from now called Straight Talk Sunday: I Miss My Twinkle Lights.
OnCue – Staring at the Stars (prod. CJ Luzi):
BMB – Playah (ft. GoldLink)
Sunni Colón – Jezebel
Logic – Like Me (ft. Casey Veggies)
Vic Mensa – Suitcase (ft. Chance The Rapper)
NoName Gypsy – Samaritan (ft. Mick Jenkins)
Brothers From Another – Groov (ft. Asher Roth)