forgot about dre
i was in 7th grade that year. 12 years old or so. i was in the hall of my school cutting class with my best friend thomas. he told me i had to hear this song, but he didnt know the name of it. he said it was the more than fresh, the best song ever. i asked him if he had a tape and he said naw, he had heard it on the radio. it was the best song they had played that night, he said. just listen to the radio, and i'd hear it.
so a few nights later i tune in to the local rap show, on a small station way left on the dial hosted by this cat named marcus clemons from the call letters KPOO. the minute it comes on i know its the song thomas was talking about. even though he couldnt describe it. even though the only detail he could give me was that the rapper had a "squeaky" voice, i knew it. the instant the beat dropped, i knew. it was classic. it was Boyz in the Hood, by Eazy E.
that was the first time i'd ever heard dre. better known then as dr. dre. of course, Eazy E's voice was the immediate allure, but it was that slow, bass driven, dark west coast funk that remained in me when the song was over. the chant of the chorus, the calm gangsta drawl, figured something out in me. about who i was and where i was from and all the history id suffered at that early stage. it tickled my masculinity, it suffocated the coward in me. it hit me in undiscovered depths. a kaboom in my young conscious. for the next 3 to 4 years dre would strike this deep, drunken, ghetto chord in my system. then we lost touch.
the day everybody bought 'the chronic' album i bought 'bizarre ride to the pharcyde', and i knew, and still believe, i got the better end of the deal. 'bizarre ride,' for me, was a paradigm shifting album. the humor, vulnerability, clever wordplay, and classic hip hop attitude of pharcyde did for me at that age what N.W.A. did for me 4 years earlier. it helped me define who i was. it, in some strange way, for even existing, justified the person i had grown into. i was black and living in the sorta safe confines of a mostly white suburb but i felt out of place and exotic. i wore baggy jeans and bore scars left by women. i danced, played old funk when no one listened to it, and took too much acid. i was clever and charming and distant. i was in high school. a senior with failing grades.
the day i got it i went to a friends house to smoke some weed. another friend of his was there and he had just got 'the chronic' album and wanted to play it. he said it was hella dope dude. i said, wait, just let me play you three songs from this cd i got, its hella dope too. then i played them 'passing me bye,' into 'pack the pipe,' into 'otha fish,' and when they were over he said no dont take it out, this is good, we'll listen to dr. dre later. and we didnt, we just rewound 'bizarre ride..'
i heard the singles on the radio. i didnt like 'nuthin but a g thang.' i thought the sample was lame and snoop doggy dog didnt sound as hard as he had on 'deep cover.' then came 'let me ride,' which i thought was good, but not anything to cheer for. then 'Fuck wit dre day.' which i again, thought was ok, but didnt care about. when i finally heard the full album the only track i really cared for was a 2 minute short, 'high powered,' from now maligned RBX. good? sure. classic? hardly.
but i was wrong.
10 years after it dropped im older and wiser and watching tv. im stoned and wired and flipping through the channels. my roommate comes home and starts rifling through the cd's. he finds one and says 'yes!' softly then ask me to turn down the tube. he puts on 'the chronic' and rolls a joint and we started nodding our heads to the opening bassline. a few more friends come by and weed starts being rolled and i sneak to my room and do a bump of crystal. the sun was setting over san francisco and a girl starts shaking her butt and some dude slaps it and she says ow! and im like, damn yo, aint nothin like a gangsta party. and it was easy and fun and so fucking classic that i didnt know why i'd slept. oh well, better late than never.
wow, i just started listening to dre songs and forgot all about this post. shit. im tired now. ill tell you about why dre's '2001' album just now hit me some other day.