IF memory serves me correct, it was the summer of 1996 and I was walking back and forth from my family's apartment, to campus, in order to try and pick up a piece of paper from an accredited university (a diploma). I used to slide a CD into my RCA Portable CD Player ESP w/Anti Skip Protection and get lost in the lyrics for about twenty minutes or so during my walk to campus; in fact the first CD that I ever purchased was ATLIENS (OutKast), from the university music store downstairs by the bowling hall/University Student Union (USU).
I feel as though from 1994 (summer) - 2000, I was on a musical rollercoaster influenced by emcees who had a message to share. From my days of church and purely church music, hip hop gave me a view of what was around me, the stories which would eventually shape me into the person I am today. While I was attending college in Upstate New York, I got a chance to see Notorious BIG and Craig Mac in concert, I peeped Wu Tang for the first of what would be numerous times (Not what you want baby, it's what you need, satisfaction guaranteed) and I heard Gang Starr,Premo and Guru, (So let's get a car you know a fly whip) for the first time as well.
In 1994, I was briefly exposed to a rapper by the name of Nas from Queensbridge, New York. I only say quickly because in 1994, I didn't have an RCA Portable CD Player ESP w/Anit Skip Protection, I had my church hymnal and kid tapes that my parents picked up from church everyone once in a while for my siblings and myself. You see, the only way that I heard hip hop/rap music initially was with my buddies whose parents didn't have their hands over their children's ears so to speak.
Let me quickly get back to 1996! My parents had just picked up a four door Saturn, with automatic windows and doors, and it was a bit surreal in that we had been rocking a beat up blue Buick something or another for close to ten years, plus. It stinks when money isn't like the other kids and you get to the party late; cuss, I was just happy to be at the party, better late than never.
My parents weren't keen on letting me roam around, in the whip, too far without them but for some reason, on this one particular day, they both agreed that I could take the car to campus so I could grab some books for the upcoming semester. Y'all know what this meant... I had to roll the windows down, once I was out of sight, and then slide into the CD player Nas' It Was Written and you guessed it, I had to play If I Ruled The World which for about ten minutes I did until I saw a group of girls walking, I tried to get cute with my non-driving skills and almost crashed my parents whip into a car that had stopped in the middle of the street!
Needless, to say, when I was on stage watching Nas greet Fashawn, I thought about how far we'd all come; I was watching my little bro take on the world.
Fashawn, The Ecology, in stores now and on iTunes (find your favorite tracks but keep your eyes on the road).