When I was younger, I used to spend a lot of time in Stamford, Ct. My grandparents lived there and so did a ton of my cousins. I used to spend weekends and summers with them. I discovered hip hop music during one of those visits in the early 80’s.
My cousin Gary had a lot of stereo equipment in his bedroom. His sisters and I used to love to go in his room and annoy him. He always tried to keep us out and he would booby trap his room so that he would know if any of us happened to go in there. But one night, he invited us in. He was jamming some interesting music from a radio show that was being played by a DJ called Mr. Magic. This music was called hip-hop music, aka rap music, and it had an intoxicating beat accompanied by interesting lyrics that rhymed. From that moment I became hooked.
I started tuning into local radio stations in NYC, specifically, 98.7 Kiss FM, and 107.5 WBLS to hear more. I discovered artists such as the Sugar Hill Gang, Afrika Bambaataa, Kool Moe Dee, and Kurtis Blow. I started copying some of this music onto cassette tapes (remember those?) so I could listen to them all the time.
Surprisingly, hip hop has come in handy at times. I remember one time when I was in the 8th grade and we were having a science exam. Some of us were nervous about the exam and at the time, one of my fellow classmates said “just remember Roxanne, Roxanne.” Roxanne, Roxanne was a song by the group UTFO. In that song, they mentioned some medical terms as follows:
“Dermatology is treatment of the skin
Infected and you’ll see me and you’ll know you’re again
There’s enthesiology, opthomology
Internal medicine and plastic surgery
Orpedic surgery and pathology
A disease involves a change of the body.”
Yeah, yeah, they may be spelled wrong, but I never read the lyrics, only heard them, and they sounded right to me. Remembering that lyric helped me to answer some of the questions!
Since then, I’ve been a hip hop head. Although I prefer old school hip hop, I still listen to some of the new stuff.