Do you remember when Robert VanWinkle became popular? Maybe not, but you remember his song, Ice, Ice Baby. Right? “Word to your mother” and “if there was a problem, yo I’ll solve it”…ok, now you remember….Vanilla Ice?
It was the first rap song and perhaps the only one that I’ve memorized. I was so cool back in 1989. A bright, 23-year old college graduate in a professional job riding down the road rapping. Yeah, so cool…haha. Vanilla Ice was 16 when he wrote that song…he was cool, all the way to the bank.
Ice, Ice Baby came on the radio the other day and I was transported back to a time that seemed familiar but then when I look through my now “older, wiser” eyes, I can’t help but grin and laugh a little bit. And yes, I still remembered the song, word for word. That’s the scary part.
My daughter has grown up hearing more rap as it’s a part of the teenage playlist. I remember the first rap song she learned back in 2009, “Down” by Jay Sean with a cameo from Lil’ Wayne. Maybe not exactly rap the way people think of rap. I was captivated as she knew, line by line, the lyrics. At that moment I realized that the business I should be in is to somehow take every school lesson and set it to rap. I’d be a millionaire! Kids listen and repeat. Well, I looked that up and guess what? Yup, already exists… www.educationalrap.com
Rap has come a long way since 1989…relatively speaking. In a strange way, I like some of Eminem’s music and his bit for Detroit’s comeback was admirable. It’s a little ironic when you think about some of the rappers and their tough exterior and really what they are doing is setting poetry to music. The pain and challenges in life are no different than the stories told in country, pop, or even in classical (no words but the music alone can set emotion). Rap can be traced to African American roots. Centuries before rap and hip hop existed, the Griots (storytellers) of Africa were delivering stories in rhythm. Unfortunately, there are some not-so-nice rap songs out there these days that might make even Vanilla Ice melt a little.
Even the once seen “apple pie” and gold medal guy, Michael Phelps listened to rap as he prepared to swim his victory laps. Motivational? Maybe. One song by a guy named Weezy says “Yes I am the best/and no I ain’t positive I’m definite/I know the game like I’m reffing it.” I like that, might have to go get that one.
So, off I go looking for meaningful music and I encourage you to find yours. Music is what we make it and it becomes personal to us. Everyone has those tunes that take us back to places and events and the new music sets the tone for today. What’s on your playlist?