Something’s gotta change
Sounds of laughter and happiness turns my teardrops to rain
Been bearing this burden for too many of my days
Looks like breezes of autumn done finally move my way
Like memories of yesterday…
While Southernplayalisticadillacmuzic opened up the door for southern hip-hop, Aquemini is the five-mic classic, Stankonia was the crossover, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below won all the awards, and Idlewild was a movie; ATLiens is most cohesive of Outkast albums. It’s the one where Dre (Not Andre 3000) and Big Boi were still a collective and not celebrating themselves as individuals and the only album in which there is no skipping any songs all the way through (Yes, Aquemini is better bar-for-bar and production-wise but I have to be in the mood to listen to Synthesizer, Da Art of Storytelling pt. 2, and even SpottieOttieDopaliscious). It covered a wide range of topics to a fairly southern backdrop but on a more appealing palate for northern and western purists.
While Elevators is hands down the best song, number two is the album’s closer: 13th Floor/Growing Old. Strategically placed as the last song because it’s the longest, is in the key of A major like the intro which gives the album a full circle feel, and the subject matter it is something that we can all relate to: growing up. Its a reflective song by two guys who are about twenty-one years old coming to grips with yesterday while simultaneously acknowledging their transition from boys to men (Hence every album after celebrating them being individuals coming together).
Whenever I listen to the album and I get to the last song, I always wind up repeating it a few times and I find myself thinking about the people I transitioned from boys to men with: my boys from college and life after. We just knew it was in the cards for our mixtapes to get a buzz and become stars. After classes, we’d reconvene in my dorm room and eventually mine and my roommate’s apartment, shoot the shit with beats I made playing in the background until an idea came up for a new song all the while seeing and being around each other through some interesting situations. We’d witnessed a lot while those beats played: breakups, expecting children, making phone calls finding out that people weren’t graduating, fights ending in tears on the phone and much more. A part of me truly believes that out last mixtape which never came out due to my computer crashing was us being saved from ourselves. I think had it, we all would have went down paths we weren’t supposed to. Lord knows Timile and I wouldn’t have worked out and that was the beginning of our relationship.
But more than anyone else in my crew, running my own record company was my dream since I was eleven (Before it was the cool thing to do. I loved music and wanted a regular job instead of being the artist). It took me finding something that meant more to me than that to put it aside. Timile wasn’t fond of my choice of professional aspirations. I was working at a record company at the time hopefully sooner than later having an office job at one, so all of my marbles weren’t just in my group. When I realized what I had in her, I realized that she meant more than any of that. So I let it all go. I left my job and music became a hobby until I needed it to make money.
Much closer to thirty than twenty, almost everyone has some kind of graduate degree, is married, or has children. I don’t think any of us except maybe one has a career that is what we went to school for. The second half of your twenties is when that idealism that is synonymous with college begins to fade and you have to start making real life decisions. It’s the beginning of slowing down and life being about people other than yourself.
Last week, I asked my mother how different was life thirty years later from when her and my father got married. I was asking in a context of being young and having what seems like your life ahead of you to making compromises and quite simply God having other plans. Without delving into personal details she said its nothing like she’d imagined. Hell, she didn’t think she’d have twins. While only a few years older than she was when she got married, I related. My experiences over the last three years have taught me that this happens.
With all that said, getting older your forgetting things winds up becoming an asset. All you remember is the good things. I remember the days with the crew fondly as boys becoming men in the same way I look back and can’t really think of anything that Timile did to get on my nerves. That’s the other side of “Trees bright and green turn yellow brown.”