For the better part of my years on this planet, that’s what I thought: rap music is not for me. And it wasn’t. I lived worlds away from whatever I perceived as the worlds of “rap” and “hip hop.” The closest I was willing to get was Will Smith as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and maybe Blondie’s “Rapture,” even though I hardly identified with either. And though, growing up, my parents tended to frown upon most forms of music that weren’t classical or jazz (i.e. “just noise”), listening to pop, rock, R&B, or even rap was never expressly forbidden. That which threw a monkey wrench into whatever thoughts my folks had about music, was the car where we were allowed to listen to adult contemporary and the oldies. The flavorings in everything from Glen Campbell and Abba to The Platters and The Ronettes were probably what initially drew me to 80s and 90s pop music in general. Trying to conform to the crowds and enjoy The New Kids on the Block was just something I couldn’t do – that vain attempt muted (but didn’t destroy) my interest in pop music for several years. Instead I turned towards classic rock and heavy metal; I just didn’t have the big hair and band shirts to prove my love. That path led me straight into grunge and alternative, and eventually into punk and electronic. The road to rap wasn’t one that I outright avoided, it was simply one that I didn’t follow.
But then I heard songs from Sage Francis and Atmosphere, and they made me completely reconsider that road not taken.