So a lot has happened since I last wrote something. Mr. Barack Obama! Obama! Obama! accepted the democratic nomination and, became the first African-American in history to be elected as the democratic front runner for President of the United States (woo-hoo!); my computer caught the most annoying mother-freaking spyware virus which I believe I have finally been able to resolve and get rid of; the NFL kicked off another season and my NY GIANTS are 2-0; and, last but definitely not least, I’ve been informed that I have a subliminal/undercover/cult following now. Yup! I actually have a fan base, and they’ve been bugging me to write something fresh, new, interesting, and maybe shall I say…cool. I must thank Ms. Betty Boo’ for that (you know who you are). I take this time to send some homie love to my folks @ 120 Broadway. You know who ya is, Val (thanx for introducing me to that “Black Russian” bread. It sounds dirty, but I’m hooked, dat shit is bangin’), Royal, Glen, and of course the infamous Ms. Betty Boo-woop-ti-woop! While I’m at it, I have to also give props to other fans who continue to show me love, like my peeps Zak, Renu, So Yon, Candice, Giselle and my cuzzo Ariel. Ah! Ya didn’t think I would do it huh? Yup, that’s right, I gots love for ya. Yes, gots, with a mother-freaking “S” at the end. I’m gangsta’, you didn’t know? You betta ask somebody…who am I kidding; I wouldn’t hurt a fly while It’s still breathing. Wait a minute, do fly’s breath? If they do, is it oxygen? How long can they hold their breath? Do fly's fart? Can you imagine the sound of that? Would the fart be hidden under a buzzing sound? OMG! Another blog idea. OMG! I can see it now, the pathology of a fly-“The Fly Buziness”. Interested? No? Ok, let’s continue.
Well as far back as I can remember music has been a part of my life. I’ve had to hear some form of melody every single day, since the day I was born...I ain’t lying! For those that don’t know me personally, I’m Dominican, or as we like to say it, “Soy Dominicano!” That being said, you know I was born with the innate ability to dance to any tune ever invented; really! My mom says I learned to dance merengue before learning how to speak or walk or even suck a titty….I ain’t lying! And growing up in Washington Heights didn’t help me either. Washington Heights aka “The Mini-D.R.”, was known for booming systems in cars that were constructed by putting the pieces from three or four other model cars together. We had Honda/Toyota/Chevy’s, driving up and down the streets all day, every day. You gotta admit though, we some creative people son. Yup! We had some f&*cked up cars, but the systems on them suckers would put Funk Master Flex’ system to shame, and the sound could be heard in Jersey City, NJ...I ain’t lying! If I’m being honest, cause as I’ve said in three previous occasions, I don’t lie, I think my people purchased cars just to see what kind of stereo system they could squeeze in to them. The music would blast 24/7, 7 days a weeks, 365 days a year, and I would dance to every song, every single hour, every single day. I ain’t lying!
Growing up though, I became a true R&B and POP fan (come on, with Michael Jackson around, who wasn’t a pop/r&b fan?). Although when I come to think of it, rap was my first and preferred choice, but, I was forced to pick-up these other genres instead. Why forced? You see, although rap was a fairly new genre for the kids of my day, thus being the reason why we were all hooked to it like crack-heads with 3 good teeth (ok, maybe we had several good teeth), it wasn’t allowed in my home. I was a church-going-boy, part of a family that had been Spanish-Pentecostal for 3 generations, and my mom, wasn’t cool with me listening to any of that “worldly music” (as she and everyone else of the doctrine would refer to it). She wasn’t having none of that “hip hop the hippie the hippie to the hip-hip hop, a you don’t stop the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat”, coming out of the stereo system, especially if she owned the only stereo available and was the one paying the “La Luz” (“The Light”) bill. One day though, as I chilled at home after school, one of my younger uncles called me into his room and showed me something, something special, incredible even. He had just picked up a used copy of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album (the best-selling record in music history), from one of the Salvation Army thrift stores in our neighborhood. I was about 6 or 7yrs old back then, and as I sat next to him, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. At that moment, my mom quietly passed by his open door, and as my heart stopped in anticipation for some form of disciplinary action, she said,
“He’s always been an amazing artist, even though he’s a little coo-coo in the head.” “He looked cute with his big nose”. “I don’t know why he had to do that stupid operation.”
I was awestruck. My mom was cool with Mike? My mom was cool with Mike! For the first time ever, I felt a silent approval for anything having to do with English music, Michael Jackson, or anyone else. I began to visit my uncles room every single day, for a taste of “Beat it”, or “Billie Jean” or “PYT-Pretty Young Thing” and the scary as hell “Thriller”. It started with Mike, but then it eventually passed on to other records in his collection, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Madonna, and Diana Ross etc. Everything I listened to during these “wonder years” became engraved in history, as my “songs of innocence”. I sang them everywhere; in the shower, in the store, at church, at burial services, parents-teachers conferences, every freaking where.
The funny thing is that when I look back at all the songs I learned, and sang over the years, I realized that my “songs of innocence”, weren’t that innocent after all. There were several songs that caught me “off-guard”. You see, their messages were hidden. Contrary to these days, the songs in those days weren’t all up in your face about, “whipping it out” and “sexing” someone up. Although most adults got the message, ignorant and gullible children like myself, didn’t get it until later on in life. I was surprised to find that the songs that began with my first experience with Mike, and then moved on to other artists over the years, were not only kind of dirty, they were sexually explicit and freaking HOT! What’s even funnier is that the older I got, the dirtier the songs became…or was me that was getting dirtier? Who knows, but I continued to notice that songs, which were created for the larger masses, carried these hidden messages, so the younger individuals could groove to them with no regret, and the older folks could do the “nasty” to them, with no regrets he-he. Although I’m sure you can come up with maybe 1,000 songs like these (you dirty minded people), I can recall a few that I learned to sing, before I learned what the hell they were talking about…SEX!!!! Not to overwhelm the reader, I will take excerpts from a couple of these songs to show you what I mean.
Song: PYT “Pretty Young Thing”; Artist: Michael Jackson; Album: Thriller
It was 1985, and as history shows, a couple of cool things happened that year. Mike Tyson made his boxing debut; Wrestlemania debuted in Madison Square Garden; Tetris was released; the Nintendo Entertainment System is released; Microsoft releases the first version of Windows, Windows 1.0; and for kids everywhere, Thundercats debuted on TV. Now, on that year, at the age of 7, I finally learned the words to one of the songs from Michael Jacksons “Thriller” album. Although this was not my favorite, “Billie Jean” was, I recall that as I revisited the lyrics as a teenager, I couldn’t believe how sexually explicit this song was. To add more terror to the previous finding, I thanked the heavens, that my mom didn’t know any English at that time. That Dominican lady would’ve smacked my lips off, changed my name to a curse word, and demand that I stop crying immediately. In any event, my lips are still intact, but I still couldn’t believe how “dirty” this song was. For starters, Mike begins this song by saying:
“You know you, you make me feel so good inside”.
(Pause) OMG! What the hell was Mike talking about? What’s inside? Why should I be feeling something good inside? Mike, what the hell did you mean by that? Just imagine, a 7 year old boy, taking ESL (English as a Second Language) classes, singing this stuff in the hallways of his elementary school, P.S. 173 in Washington Heights, NY. Yup! Hilarious!
Mike goes on to the second verse to say:
“Nothin' Can Stop This Burnin'”
(Pause) Okay, Okay, Okay what’s burning Mike? What are you burning Mike and why? Is there an STD going around that you haven’t told us about Mike?
“Desire To Be With You”
(Pause) Folks, remember, I’m a kid singing this stuff….sweet!
“Gotta Get To You Baby, Won't You Come...
(Pause) Come where Mike?
“It's Emergency. Cool My Fire Yearnin' Honey…”
(Pause)There he goes again talking about this freaking fire!
“Come Set Me Free Don't You Know Now Is The Perfect Time. We Can Dim The Lights Just To Make It Right. In The Night Hit The Lovin' Spot. I'll Give You All That I've Got.”
(Pause) What the hell is wrong with you Mike? How are you gonna make things right by hitting the “loving spot”. What loving spot are you going to hit Mike and why? OMG! Is he talking about that spot? That secret spot? No! I can’t believe what my ears are hearing. Mike, in 1983 when this album was originally released, was talking about hitting the D, E, F, G spot. OMG! Mike was nasty!!!! What’s even nastier, is that he ends the song making several kissing & moaning sounds, like if he just finished doing "the nasty", with this PYT, that he's been rambling on-and-on about. Maaaaad dirty! But I loved it! Thank you Michael! We love you!
Song: Downtown; Artist: SWV; Album: It’s About Time (1992)
Fast forward 6 yrs into the future, and you’ll find yourself in peak of modern R&B music. The early 90’s was known as the rebirth of R&B, or R&B groups for that matter. With groups like Jodeci, H-Town, X-Scape, Total, TLC, Blackstreet, EnVogue and so many others, things were taken back to the roots, when talented groups defined this music. Now, in the 90's, 1992 to be exact, there was one special group that brought a little twist to the game, and really put female R&B groups on the map. Originally from our very own NYC, this trio of fine sistas were introduced to the world as SWV (aka Sisters With Voices). They came on the scene with their double platinum-selling and American Grammy Award nominated album, “It’s About Time”, which had hits like “Weak”, “I’m so into you”, “Right Here/Human Nature” (that hot track w/ Michael Jackson in the background) and finally the women-anthem “Downtown”. Now, “Downtown”, was written in honor of all the ladies, to inform all the men of the world, of something they were not quite getting. The Woman’s Rights Movement, not only brought equality between men and women, but also allowed women to express their true feelings about several topics; politics, the entertainment business, and yes, even SEX! The phrase “going downtown”, took a whole new meaning, and became really popular in the 80’s and 90’s, and the women of the world took great advantage of it; it was quite revolutionary. It (the phrase) would come up in casual conversations, board meetings, and even parent-teacher conferences. “By the way Hun, I’m a bit stressed from a long day of hard work, so when we get home, I need you to go “downtown” for me. Now of course, as a gullible 13yr old freshman in high-school, which is when this album dropped, I thought the lady wanted her man to take a quick trip to Union-Square or The Financial District or something. But nope, little-old-ignorant me was fooled once again. SWV made an important point to stress that there was really only one way to a women’s heart; “GOING DOWNTOWN”. They said:
“Boy, I want you to listen closely to what I have to say
'Cause this is the way to my heart”
(pause) For many women, this is the only way to their heart. They’re so selfish (he-he).
“You've been wondering how you can make it better
Baby, it's easy to turn my world inside out…”
“You gotta go downtown”
(pause) And not downtown time square, or union square, or any other squares.
“That's the way to my love. Take it round and round”
(pause) Fellas, yeah, I’m speaking to you, this means some circular tongue action.
“Oooh, you can't stop 'til you find my love
Go downtown, To taste the sweetness…”
(pause) So you see after not stopping till’ you find her love or aka bring her to a “sexual eruption”, you won’t be able to taste sweetness. OMG! Nasty!)
“Until you uncover the mystery”
(pause) Since most men were in darkness about what was missing in their love life…
“Take it nice and slow. Baby, don't rush the feeling
Now you know how you can make it happen, yeah…”
“Let me guide you down to the place to be.
(pause) Woman mother-freaking love this song. Where’s the place to be ladies? Sing it! Doooowntooooooown!
To my surprise, when SWV dropped this joint, they were actually given men a 101, on a very sensitive topic, about a very sensitive area, in essence, the need for a little more focus and “special” attention. In other words, a basic lesson, “tit-for-tat”, or “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”, or I “licky-licky” for you, and you “licky-licky” to me. Plainly put, an introductory to “eating the box”, some “cunnilingus”, or “going downtown!”
So, with that in mind, sit back, relax, turn on your stereo system, and if your in company of that special someone... " Do the nasty!" You're not that innocent after all. Be Merry!