Musical spelunking for $300 Alex

If there’s one thing I love is discovering new (good) music. I’m an equal opportunity employer when it comes to tunes, but I do have my preferences. I’m a man of metal and hip-hop, an unlikely pairing by any means. I can attribute my descent into heavy riffs and double bass drums ironically enough to Breaking Benjamin. They were the gateway for a lot of people I’ve come to find out. From BB, I got hooked on Arch Enemy, Morbid Angel, and Overkill. Then came Suicide Silence…that was it. It was over. I was officially a metalhead at that point. The Cleansing blew me away in 07′. Such a gruesome and heavy sound. It was perfectly attuned to the amount of angst I was harboring in my teenage body. Fast forward to now, I’m mellowed out like nobody’s business. So I’ve been sticking with my progressive and indie/alt metal flings. Opeth, Abandon, Isis (not the terrorists), Baroness, Animals as Leaders, the list goes on. Suffice to say I’m not angry anymore. Just occasionally irritated and annoyed. Wishing death upon my enemies has lost its luster a bit.

Going to need a few more listens to this Lupe album, but DROGAS Light is an interesting beast. Homeboy did not skimp on the trap beats. It’s what’s popular so there’s some speculation that he’s appeasing Atlantic this time around. Tetsuo and Youth was a masterpiece though so I can’t say what the thinking was behind DROGAS Light. I believe Lupe mentioned it was his “indie” album, but I dunno. It sounds pretty rehearsed for an indie album, but apparently this is the prelude to the real DROGAS album. In any case, there’s some solid bangers and some “you trying too hard” joints. Overall I like it. “Kill” is the top song for me. Smoove af bruh.

Speaking of hip-hop and new music, I believe we’re in a weird sort of renaissance of new school taking on the lessons of the old school and formulating their own sound. One of my favorite new school cats, Mick Jenkins, is proof positive of this. I can’t say there’s a song of his that I don’t like, but there are some songs he’s crafted and it’s like he designed it for my soul. Dude is a shining gem of Chicago along with Chance, B.J., and them Free Nation boys. I just discovered how great 6LACK and Sean Leon are. Such diverse sounds on this hip-hop spectrum. 2016 was the year for music and video games. 2017 might follow in its footsteps. I’m gonna need a compendium for sure. Too many artists to name, but just let it be known that hip-hop was never dead and she’s coming on strong. My ears are loving itttt.

I’ll confess that I’ve never really given R&B a chance because it’s generally too mushy for me. Don’t get me wrong, I do like to be in my feelings every now and then, but variety is a must. Can’t be simping for 20 tracks straight. Then I’ll just be feeling like I need to go drink myself to sleep. Got me feeling like I just broke up with somebody I never met. I can’t be going out like that. So I’ve always kind of skirted just on the cusp of diving into the catalog of various artists. But this month I stumbled into Sampha’s debut album and yeah, straight butter. His features on Too Much and Saint Pablo were pretty good, but hearing him on his own project. Boiiii. Them beats, dat melody, dat energy. I couldn’t deal. Kicking off 2017 strong. And it’ll be perfect next to Syd the Kid’s solo album during my pity parade on Single Awareness Day next week. Also Khelani, but I can only listen to her in short bursts. She makes me feel bad about being a man sometimes. As fine and crazy as she is (drool).

It’s funny that I know just about all the 90’s R&B hits because of my mom. She played them out. To the point where I just stopped asking if she could change the song or switch to Radio Disney. I didn’t understand why she listened to the same album for months on end until I started dealing with the opposite sex. Then it all made sense. Relationships are the worst. Classic R&B is definitely a viable talking for a talking point in a “I’m tryna meet somebody” scenario. I’m not too invested in R&B, but having that familiarity does wonders for my attempts at spitting game. Just wait til that smooth joint comes on, slide on over and lip sync. Only a heartless monster would deny somebody getting their karaoke on. Just have a drink on standby when you start forgetting the words. Easy transition. I can’t be responsible for what happens next. Either y’all on the way to baby making or somebody’s having a salty margarita party in the corner.

It’s crazy how universal music is to the human experience. What is it about beats, rhythm, lyrics, and situational awareness that makes it so alluring? Even weirder are the people that claim they “don’t listen to music like that.” That’s some bullshit, you ain’t found the music that speaks to you. That’s how I felt about rock for the longest time. I just assumed it wasn’t for black people and it was a white people thing. Come to find out, black people are responsible for all the popular music of today, rock included. Once that knowledge bomb was dropped on my forehead I had to do my predecessors justice. Can’t be out here all musically illiterate. Might have to stunt on somebody one time that don’t think you know who the Troggs are. You better tell em why you a Wild Thing.