I was driving home from seminary today and I was listening to FM radio. I do not normally do it, since most of FM radio is wacky DJ’s and lots of car stereo commericals. I had heard of a new hip-hop & RB station in the area that played decent music so I figured I would give it a try, especially since I grew up a hip-hop music fan and have been mourning the death of good hip-hop for a couple of years now. It is funny to note that good rap music and the decline of the NBA seemed to happen at the same time, maybe we can blame David Stern for both. Anyway, as I was listening to the station they were doing like an old school lunch hour and here are some of the songs they played and I actually found myself enjoying.
Montel Jordon– “This is how we do it.”
Now if you had a pulse during the time this song came out you knew this song. It was like the Billy Ray Cyrus “Achy Breaky Heart” of the RB world. It played on MTV every ten minutes and it was just a great song to listen to. Not to mention I remember that this guy was like 6’9 and in the video he was trying to do a bump and grind thing with girl that was like 5’5 this made for great comedy, but gave hope to me at the time as a white kid who was terrified of dancing with a girl. This is a song that when I hear it on the oldies station thirty years from now it will immediately bring to mind all sorts of memories and thoughts of where I was in life (puberty).
Hammer– “We got to pray”
Hell after hearing this song I could not help but remember what a HUGE star this guy was. I mean he wore pants straight out of Aladdin and did this shuffle thing and people went crazy. For awhile he challenged Michael Jackson for the label of “King of Pop.” As I heard this song I realized that Hammer was the nineties version of Kanye West, without all the profanity. But think about it he made praying/Jesus cool for about 22 seconds, and both were incredible self promoters. The only difference is that Kanye seems to be much smarter. Kanye is a great businessman and does not waste his money on gold urinals and employing everyone he went to Jr. High with. The point of all this is that I am anxiously awaiting the next decades version of the “Kanye-Hammer.”
Kris Kross– “Jump Jump”
Oh c’mon you know you know them!! Their fifteen minutes of fame were huge. I still have their hook swimming around in my head fifteen years later. I even remember being in the fifth grade and convincing this kid in my class named Eddie, to wear his pants to school backward one day. The amazing thins is he did it. Except his pants were Wranglers and really tight so he ended up just looking ridiculous. This is further proof that elementary school is a horrible time in life, and we should all thank Jesus that we made it through. As I heard this song in my car I could not help but sing along and sing the chorus. I even wanted to Jump Jump! When I got home I got on itunes and looked up what other classics this guys made and I found quite possibly the greatest elementary school kid anthem song ever, “I Missed the Bus.” If you do not know about this song, go right now and find a way to listen to it. I mean just look at this album cover.
While I am partly ashamed to write this post I realize that we should not be ashamed of our past, and growing up all of these songs/artists were quite meaningful to me. I listened to their music, took some fashion ques from them, and even took dancing tips. And while I look back and shake my head at how embarrassing all of this is, I am even more saddened that the currents state of hip hop makes Montel, Kris Kross, and Hammer look like the golden age.