Soon I started my own music collection. It started with Michael Jackson's Thriller album (on vinyl, believe it or not...I'm fucking old). It wasn't long before I was listening to Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, Stone Temple Pilots, Nirvana...and my favorite artist of the time...2Pac. By the time I got to high school, 2Pac was killed, STP broke up, and Kurt Cobain killed himself.
I began searching for newer music.
Eminem hit the scene...Kid Rock...Cash Money...No Limit...N'Sync...Faith Hill
I had an insatiable appetite for music, and I bought every album I could get my hands on. I never cared much for picking a favorite genre or excluding any genre. As a teenager, it was easy to discover new music. It was easy to tell what was cool or not. People always knew of some underground rapper or garage band that was on the verge of blowing up. I was living in the pulse of American pop culture, constantly introduced to new and exciting sounds. While my dad's music was great in it's own way, I felt what was coming from my generation was easily just as good.
The chords were all there...the harmonizing...the syncopation...the lyrics...all of it was genius. This was the natural evolution of my dad's music. How could he not see this?
As I entered my 20's, my hunger for new music didn't cease. I continued my search for new music, discovering every band, mc, and producer I could...until I realized something in my mid 20's. The new music all sounded the same. It was at this point that I went back to the music my father listened to. I went back through and listened to The Beatles as an adult. I understood it so much better this time around. I then continued through the old playlists, searching music sites for the "Greatest Albums Ever Made." By then, Kurt Cobain & 2Pac had already become legends in their own right and were included on many music critic's lists.
I talked to my friends about how the radio sucked, which we always did. In asking them for music suggestions though, I started to notice that they didn't have as many artists they like. In fact, while I was digging back through my father's crates, most of my friends were just becoming less interested in music altogether, many of them instead opting to listen to sports or talk radio.
I went back to some of my old standbys to figure out what was what these days. Who was Young Jeezy...Band of Horses...Lady Antebellum...?
It was Lil Wayne that opened my eyes to what was happening. I wasn't a big fan of Lil Wayne when he released The Block is Hot. It had a few interesting moments, but for the most part, it was just garbage to me. When Weezy became the biggest rapper in the world over the next decade, he brought with him many imitators, and the commercial rap scene no longer interested me. Lady Gaga was no Christina Aguilera. Katy Perry was no Britney Spears. Music had lost all of it's artistic integrity, and, like my peers, I was disgusted.
Then I heard the ultimate blasphemy...Lil Wayne was being touted as one of the greatest rappers alive. How could this have happened? He couldn't hold a candle to Eminem & Jay-Z, who in turn couldn't hold a candle to Biggie & Pac. How was this guy being labeled amongst the greats? I was insulted to the point that I picked up a copy of Tha Carter III. I listened to it over and over until I finally realized the genius behind it...
I was so busy scoffing it before that I didn't notice the intelligence in his lyrics. I was so distracted by how much I hated the signature Cash Money sound, that I didn't notice the emotion in the music.
I tried explaining this phenomenon to my friends, but they didn't understand. All new music to them was garbage. 2Pac was better than Lil Wayne, and everyone knows it. Nothing commercial anymore was worth listening to. Even though I was aware of what was happening, everyone around me remained in their trajectory. It was at this point I realized that I was able to do something few people are able to actually do. I began idolizing people my age and younger. I stopped myself from getting out of touch with pop culture. Instead of taking the normal route to the Today and Tonight Show that my peers were clearly on, I managed to stop and change directions. Since I didn't work in the industry, I still remained in love with music. I wasn't disgusted by the business behind it.
If you had told me back in high school that I would one day think Lil Wayne is one of the greatest lyricists in history, I would've laughed at you. Most of you are probably laughing at me as you read this. It doesn't make it any less true. I know my musical history. I have over 150,000 songs on my playlist, spanning from Beethoven to Beiber. I put DMX & Buddy Holly on the same mix.
I know music...
I know art...
Lil Tunechi is both...
About the Author - Brian Penny creates awful music under the name Mr. Versable. He tweets under the name @Versability. He believes in true love[Image], and won't rest until he's found his...oh, and his last blog cost Bank of America a whole lotta dough although I'm not pointing fingers, but the typos weren't mine...! Peace and love! haha ;)