My Summer Rewind: An Ode to Self-Care 15-“On the Radio”

When it comes to in-car music, my daughter and nephew have no idea how great they have it. They have let it be known-as individuals and in concert-they are not particularly fond of my music choices when I am their source of transportation. I’ve heard many-a-gripes about my “annoying 90’s music.”

Do I care? Not one bit.

On numerous occasions, I have bridled my tongue and not said “Back in my day, all we had was the radio! My parents’ cars didn’t have cassette and/or CD players so all my sister and I could do was listen to the radio! And guess what they weren’t listening to?! Wendy Williams on 98.7 Kiss FM!” As I read my thought as words on a page, I feel very old. Instead, I tell them “One day, you’ll appreciate this.”

I am grateful my parents listened to the classic soul and contemporary r&b radio stations. As much as hip hop is in my DNA, I am an r&b guy at heart, a connoisseur. Some would consider my knowledge makes me a snob; and I wear the badge with honor. They forced me to have a broader palate when I wanted to paint in monochrome, I consider it a microcosm of good parenting.

Their musical preferences gave insight into who my parents are: nuanced and complex. It may not have been their intent, nonetheless I learned more about mom and dad than they may ever express in their lifetime. There will be a day where they depart, and I will have to live without them. But with one listen of Earth, Wind, and Fire or Black Ivory, they will still be there to impart wisdom in spirit.

The music I listen to in the car with my kids is a deferred default. In spite of my dislike of what modern music has evolved into, I do listen to keep abreast in today’s culture. For the most part, I stream older r&b and hip hop as a happy medium. They-nor I-need to hear how blatant music is today, all the time, to a variance of the same sound bed. What I prefer to listen to, I cannot-especially at this age, Cydney-with children in tow. I cannot live out my fake fantasies of boatloads of drugs, hard times in the hood, and what have you. How would I look, if I belted Akinyele’s “Fuck Me for Free” with a nine and fourteen-year-old in the car?

(Spoiler alert: Tomorrow’s song to write about is Akinyele “Fuck Me for Free”)

I do get sick of the songs I listen to in the car. This is when I play my favorite game: How can I annoy my kids?

My personal favorite variation me to sing and play specific songs I know will get under their skin. In a strategic-yet-scattered pattern, I’ll run a track until they are vexed by said song. Before they know it, they sing along and get mad because it was done for this specific reason. I laugh at them find another track to repeat the process. Why do I do this? Because there are very few pleasures in the world like playfully annoying your kids. It is my sincere thank you for all the years I had to endure their children shows.

Two of my favorites were “Purple Stuff” by Big Moe and “On the Radio” by Crash Crew. On a whim, I decided to listen to the former. I noticed the visceral reaction from the six and ten-year-old in the back seat of my car. They found the song absurd, unaware the song was about prescription-grade cough syrup. I found asked questions in which my answer was the song like this:

Me: Cydney, what did we use to paint the walls of your room?

Cydney: Oh, no, daddy don’t do it…

Me: Purple Stuff! *drops the beat*

One evening, we as we left our local mall, the mall I told my nephew, daughter, and mother I would catch up with them. I ran back inside and bought a Colorado Rockies hat. I caught up with everyone right before they reached the car. “Cydney, you want to see the hat I just bought?” I asked. She opened the bag and lost her mind when she realized it was a bag of “Purple Stuff” in the form of a baseball cap. As the coach for my nephew’s basketball team, I picked our jersey color to be violet and gold. Before every game, he had to grab his “Purple Stuff” or he couldn’t play.

I can all but see my daughter and nephew want to ask me “What is this old school shit you’re playing?!” whenever Crash Crew’s “On the Radio” begins. They hear “Hey Y’aaaaaallllll” at the beginning and know what time it is: as soon as the beat comes in, I pop lock and them know they have no choice but to endure whatever I’m “rocking on the radiooooooooo.”

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