Okay, maybe not that, but lemme explain. I think I’ve written a good bit over the last few years about music. I do the annual music lists where I go over my favorite projects and songs each year. I write about the different artists I’ve seen in concert or the work that has moved me to think about the world in exciting ways. I’ve also spent a good bit of time thinking about how my music consumption has shifted around. I’ve dabbled into pretty much all types of genres and found artists I can appreciate in each. Recently, however, the last two years have mainly been me listening largely to just hip-hop. I was seeking an honest reflection or perspective on the world that I felt was not as easy to find in other genres from my perspective as a Black male writer and organizer. Hip-hop was the answer to attempting to articulate that part of my life.
But, I don’t know, I do enjoy dancing and having a great time to more upbeat music. I can enjoy Kamaiyah or other west coast artists, but I know that there’s something to be said for other genres providing that energy. To be someone living in Chicago these last three years, without having deeply engaged with the history of house music here, feels like a failure. But I’m doing that now. What started with me wanting to just find something to “dance the night away” (however cliche as that sounds) has since expanded into me trying to really dive into a genre that has given so much to the world. It all started here.
Enter my brother’s house music playlist. I kind of just began diving into all the stuff he enjoys playing where he goes to school. I’d add interesting stuff, create a playlist of just things I thought were a good grove, and begin tapping into more Black house DJ sets on YouTube. I’ve now expanded my range of types of house music and gotten to appreciate for once house made for us Africans. I bring a lot of the music into the cafe too while I’m on shift, particularly since we need a good groove and vibes in the space. There’s something especially needed in this trench of midterm and thesis writing times that house offers in terms of just bringing out the best in me.
Especially in the last few years amidst a pandemic, amidst the absence of the same types of community spaces, I am just appreciative of the ways I can finally just enjoy the grooves that keep me…