Monday, February 20, 2012

Class Is In Session.

It wasn’t easy. No, see… don’t get it. I grew up in a small and ultra-conservative rural farming community of 3,000 people. In Idaho. There was no such thing as the internet. Cassette tapes were hard to come by. No record store to be found. I dare say I grew up in one of the most religious communities in the nation. Sheltered? Naw, we were off the damn grid. You know what I heard on the radio? Paul Harvey motherfucker! Paul Harvey! Look it up, ‘cuz I know you have no idea who that is.
A sandwich mahfucka, do you have one!?

Somehow this farmboy from Idaho got his hands on Hip Hop. Like I said, it wasn’t easy. I used to fall asleep listening to my clock radio, and most memorably, the Dr. Demento show, which was the ONLY thing that seemed to be broadcast from outside the cultural vacuum I lived in. My dad would come down the stairs to check on me. Those heavy, “boy, you better be asleep” steps triggered a Darwinian response deep inside me, causing my body to go limp and my eyes to close. Pops walked into the room, stared at me for what seemed like an eternity and somehow miraculously turned off my radio. I say miraculous, because my father can’t even turn on his TV and watch a DVD without my phone support these days.

I think by now you are aware that music was hard to come by when I was a kid. To further complicate things, I happened to be inexplicably drawn to Hip Hop. I have two early memories of how this happened. The first being a strange incident when I actually saw RUN DMC on the TV screen. For a very short time we had cable television. I was 8 years old, and I watched Rev Run and D.M.C. walk into the “Museum of Rock and Roll” and straight trash the place, clowning on Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis in the process. I was mesmerized. The second incident I owe to Dr. Demento. Late one night he introduced a relatively unknown (at least in my part of the country) group called the Beastie Boys to the national airwaves. Despite the fact  that ‘Fight For Your Right’ wasn’t even meant to be taken seriously, I had to hear more Rap Music. I could not live without my radio, R.I.P. LL Cool J. (Ed’s Note: LL Cool J is not technically dead.)
F*ck. Yo. Car.

Eventually I somehow tricked my oblivious, angel mother into helping me get a BMG membership, and started ordering Hip Hop. The selection was slim, in fact it was awful. I spent hours looking at that sheet of tiny stamps. I had no reference as to what was good, so I had to go purely off of the pictures, and how cool the name sounded. Among my first purchases were the Fat Boys, which is a little strange considering the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Run DMC, LL Cool J, etc. all had albums out at the time. Within a year or two, I would be on to the harder stuff, such as “Straight Outta Compton”, but that’s a story for another day. I had to diligently hide what I was listening to, for fear of punishment and loss of my precious cassette tapes. The first tape that I felt would illicit an apocalyptic event in my household if discovered was “Crushin” by The Fat Boys, aka, The Disco Three. Even if you ARE familiar with the album, you are probably still laughing at me right now. Well, FUCK YOU. I was 10 years old! C’mon son, songs like ‘My Nuts’, ‘Between The Sheets’, and ‘Hell No’!? Fuck outta here! My parents would have had me committed, or exorcised, or something like that. The angry, hard as steel sound of the title track alone was enough to conjure visions of eternal damnation in a lake of fire and brimstone. Please listen to this album. Oh, you don’t have it? Well find it then, and keep it safe because it is an invaluable piece of Hip Hop history. It is also the only Fat Boys album to go Platinum.

P.S. – I wrote more, but Fat Joe ate it.



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