Being born in 1981 means I was old enough to remember the 90s in full and what a decade it was, especially musically.
Watching Centric on my day off today just gave me the ultimate flashback when it comes to the songs that I danced, rapped, sang and felt as a teenager making may way through Howard High School of Technology in the late 90s. I’m certainly not trying to come off as an old fogey (even though 5 1/2 months shy of 31, I’m nobody’s spring chicken), but the music from my teenage years still stands out as that was probably the best time of my life to date.
So many great memories, some good, some bad, but songs and headlines anyone 30 and over won’t soon forget.
You remember 1998 when Jay-Z dropped “Hard Knock Life,” DMX shook up the game with “It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot and Timbaland and Missy Elliot were at the peak of their creative powers, crafting hits for Ginuwine, Aaliyah, Playa and of course themselves.
You remember the East-West beef that took out the top two dogs in the rap game (Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G.) at that time and how it was an awkward year or so after Big was murdered.
You remember Diddy taking over the scene after Big died, for better or for worse, establishing himself as his label’s biggest star.
You remember R. Kelly introducing our generation to Ron Isley as the OG Mr. Biggs during the Down Low saga.
You remember the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, overrated as it may be.
You remember the last real R&B slow jams, the ones that had teenage you envisioning the moment you made it past second base and what song would be playing…or was that just me? It was? Oh.
You remember making mixtapes. You would sit by the radio, record a song, hit stop when the deejay started talking and then hit record when another song would start.
Dammit, you remember cassette tapes PERIOD.
You remember having to go to the record store and physically buy someone’s album instead of downloading it. And most times, the albums were worth the money and the trip.
You remember your parents saying “turn that noise down!” Now you say the same thing when you hear the music these teens are playing today.
You remember celebrating being 17 so you could by albums with the “Parental Advisory” sticker on them without your parents knowing or consenting.
You remember going HAM when “The Percolator” got played at school dances and parties.
You remember piling into the one car your friends had access to and riding around jamming with no particular destination in mind.
You remember thinking those two dudes from Atlanta who spelled “outcast” wrong were dope as hell but being from the northeast, no one believed you.
You remember mumbling and tongue twisting every Bone Thugs N Harmony song that was out.
And you’re probably smiling now and wishing you could go back, much like I’m doing now.