This is the first memory and meditations I seek to write to archive, and most importantly, to share.
I grew up on early rap/hip-hop music. It is one of the earliest of sources of creativity that helped define me and inspire me. Growing up on the west side of Rockford, IL (northern Illinois) rap music was a profound discovery young people of color, especially in the inner city, were growing to love and delving into deeply. I was one of those young people who quickly fell in love with the raps, the rhythms, the rhymes.
My older brothers began collecting and playing the 1970s and 1980s rap/hip-hop music I owe a lot to. They were playing all kinds of rap music, mostly from the east coast. It was a new form of music that would not only identify what was going on in the inner city streets of this country, but would also change what was going on here. It became our soundtrack, our collective voices, our messages to the world.
Break dancing was beginning to take over as well, so these two elements of the hip-hop culture were allowing young people of color, especially Latinos/as to to express ourselves in the most creative ways. The older people didn’t understand it. They would look at us crazy wondering what we were doing, what was going on. We stuck to it. Rap especially was the sound of the day, we had our own music to dance to and to sing along to.
One of my earliest memories was going to a local convenience store not far from where my family and I was living at. That store sold cassette tapes and rap was one some of these cassette tapes. I saw one that said “Funky Technician” by Lord Finesse and DJ Mike Smooth. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted that tape. I had to hear that music! It didn’t take me long. I got enough money to buy the cassette and went and bought. That was probably my first purchase of music. It was one of the best purchases I ever made.
Funky Technician, the first project by Lord Finesse And DJ Mike Smooth is a groundbreaking rap/hip-hop recording. I had heard nothing like it at that point. Lord Finesse was on top of his lyrical game and the beats by Mike Smooth fit the raps perfectly. My favorite song on the project “Funky Technician” I bobbed my head to many times. I can remember this like it was yesterday.
I spent hours in my room listening to this cassette tape. It introduced me to a lyricism and production I had no idea existed. All of the tracks on the project has a unique flavor, all of them definitely are funky, creative. DJ Premier produced a track on the album. I didn’t really know of his work back then but you can see that Preemo – as he’s called – was definitely a producer on the rise back then.
This is a meditation. A memory. Reminding me of where I came from as a lyricist and a poet. I learned from poets like Lord Finesse and it is nice to meditate in this, to document it, remember it. We’ve all been inspired by something or someone. Let us take note of this as we strive and thrive as Creatives.
In Deep Peace, Christopher D. Sims a.k.a. UniverSouLove.