Young man/old man
My pop once told me that every young man needs an old man. He either said "has" or "needs" and I like "needs" better. I feel fortunate that I have had a lot of "old men" in my life, even when I was still a boy and my old men were young. In some ways, I think that my life typifies what people on the left mean when they recite that old African proverb. My first communication with my dad came when I was 17 years old; I didn't meet him face-to-face until my 20th birthday. Nevertheless, I had plenty of male role models, from guys who were slightly older than me, to uncles, to grandfather figures. In that respect, then, I don't think that biology is as important as somebody being there. Obviously, it would be ideal if all children knew their fathers and all fathers were involved in their children's' lives, whether the parents were together or not. That goes without saying. Even though I had plenty of positive male influences around me as I grew up, I can see where knowing MY old man would have been helpful; more quiet confidence and less bluster and bravado. Still, coming from a single-parent home is no death sentence. There has to be a positive support network, though. What made me think of all this is that last night I was at a beef-n-beer and I ran into my Funk "old man," officer Doug Paige, whom I met when I was a freshman at Temple. He took me to my first P-Funk concert, back in August '96. That man has an encyclopedic knowledge of recorded music, funk in particular. I remember the first time I went over his house. I was trying to find the source for a sample on a Leaders of the New school song, "Sound of the Zeekers." (The source song was "Express" by the B.T. Express.) Man, when I went to his crib, I was staggered by the amount of music he had. In the corner of the living room was a wardrober, full of CDs. Sometimes people are surprised when I tell them that I have around 500 CDs. His collection is literally staggering. Especially considering that his whole collection was not in the wardrober. I don't know any hard numbers, but Iwould be surprised if it wasn't closer to 1500 than 1000. I still have that B.T. Express CD, too. Following his model, I have tried to be people's funk "old man." Actually, I'm some kids' funk "godfather" because I supply their teacher, who is introducing them to the funk by playing them the source song for the hip-hop samples they love. I make genealogy CDs where I do just that. From what he's told me, he got the biggest reaction from "Five to One" by The Doors, which is the sample for Jay-Z's "Takeover." I can't lie, that's one of my favorite sample uses, too. This reminds me of a debate I used to get into with one of my professors (another one of my "old men") over the legitimacy of hip-hop as an art form because of sampling. At the time we really used to get into it, Puffy was really hot, so the popular song all had very obvious, untouched samples. I agree that stuff like that takes no talent. However, as a contrast to that, if you listen to "Nation of Millions," the use of samples there is incredible. For instance, on "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos," the Isaac Hayes sample from "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquidalynistic" is perfect. It's almost like a score for the movie Chuck D is talking in the song. Come to think of it, maybe I'll just break down and do a list of…there's no way I'm gonna sucker myself into trying to make a literal top 10. I'll just mention some samples that impress me, in the order that they came to mind. • "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" – Public Enemy : Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquidalynistic" – Isaac Hayes • "Rebel Without a Pause" – Public Enemy : "The Grunt"- The JBs • "Thought @ Work" – The Roots: "Apache" – Incredible Bongo Band • "I Am I Be" –De La Soul : "You Have Made Me Very Happy" – Lou Rawls • "Fakin' the Funk" – Main Source : "Magic Shoes" the Main Ingredient • "Fat Pockets (radio remix)" Showbiz & AG : "Scorpio" Dennis Coffey (I'm on the bus on the way to the crib. There's this phenotypically white cat on here talkin' about he's Black and singing James Brown's "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud." Wow. Some stuff you just can't prepare for, no matter what.) As an addendum to yesterday, I was going to mention how it seems that there aren't as many Black girls who have that 'black girl' butt, while White girls seem to be gaining. My friends and I have been marveling over this for years. Still, when you get right down to the bottom of it, the ones with the most pronounced waist-to-hip ratio are still sistas. Some'a them chicks I saw yesterday…man! My boy, Art, all he likes is chicks with those ghetto blasters and I did some broadcastin' to him! There was this one young girl, that joint was outrageous. Art would'a jumped up and kicked his heels together.