I grew up at my mother’s knee listening to music. There she’d be, Schlitz Malt liquor in hand singing (yelling to the top of her lungs actually) to whatever happened to be playing on the stereo. Usually, anything from The Gap band, to Rene’ and Angela, or most likely Confunkshun or Earth, Wind, and Fire would more than likely be bumping on the component system. A record player on top, radio in the middle, two tape-decks (one to play, the other used to dub another tape or something off the radio) with two tall speakers on the side. Good times. I yearn for those days, not only because it was an opportunity for me to pretend that I too could sing, but also because it was my education in music.
Those days taught me what music is, was meant to be, and is no longer. I grew to have an ear for what songs would be a hit on any album. Usually, they were the ones record company’s would pay little attention to, maybe they were to urban, or perhaps A&R execs aren’t as good at their jobs as they believe. Whatever the case,the songs I usually love on an album, released or not, tend to be the ones that when listened to by others, are the stand out tracks on an album. I still recall listening to one of Jay-Z’s albums and at the beginning he stated that if you were a music lover like him, the first thing that you were doing was looking at the credits, scanning the liner to see who the producers are. I still do that to this day. I’ve always liked the music first, the artist next, and the lyrics last.
Today, I no longer enjoy music as much as I once did. I had so much pleasure in running out on Tuesday’s and picking up whatever album came out, because most c.d.s had several singles of which could’ve been released and it would chart. Now, every thing sounds the same. Having stellar vocals, or mad rap skills are no longer prerequisites for an artists. This would make me mad as hell if I were a Rihanna, or Soulja Boy. I would be enraged that there was no expectation for me to develop my craft the way others such as James Brown, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston had to. It’s like bad public schools that allow students to graduate from high school unable to read or write.
All is not lost. We still have our Jazmine Sullivans, Marsha Ambrosius’, and T.I’s. Still, most of the talent that remains is pushed to the back-burner so that talentless statues can stand in place, and look pretty as they lip-synch their way through a song. Gone are the live bands, back-up singers that could easily sing the lead, and choreography that would make you want to tape a performance, then rehearse it until you got all the moves down. Instead audiences are treated to back up tracks, or if their lucky a D.J. I would take M.C. Hammer today over most of the artists who are out now. He couldn’t rap to save his life, but he’ be damned if he didn’t give a good show. Which is why I’m mad at music, and perhaps at consumers as well. Stop supporting the mediocrity that you are being force-fed. Take a stand and demand that you be given quality entertainment by not attending concerts of artists who refuse to perform. Take a stand by not down-loading music from singers, who can’t or will not sing live. Take a stand not only for yourselves, but for those after you who deserve to know the reality of what music is, should be, and what it is not.
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