One of hip hop’s greatest assets and cultural contributions to society is its roots in exploration. Since the days of the park jams, DJ’s raided record collections and stores for rare breakdown sections to garner a reaction from their audience. The first response is “What is this?!” then one must find it.
As the music made its transition from live performance to wax, the creators searched for obscure drum patterns and melodies to create a collage-like orchestration. Sampling is an artform. There are many musicians who disagree; but I’m here to tell you, for a fact, those who say this could never do it. For example, my dad has toured all over the world, produced music for decades, is technologically savvy, and in the loop of everything new. But on his best day, he can’t chop something up like I can; and he’s the one who showed me how to do it.
Half of the fun as a producer and lover of hip hop is to figure out the elements which created a great song. Even the casual listener will listen to a track and begin to look for the original song which was lifted to create another. Someone we’d never listen to, or knew existed, has many brand-new listeners as a result.
As I listened to Rapsody’s 2017 album, Lailah’s Wisdom, I came across “A Rollercoaster Jam Called Love;” one song which has three parts, all with different musical beds. When the song began, my producer ears perked, and I asked myself “What is this first song?!” This is how I discovered “Yours” by Gwen Bunn.
I used to listen to it, over and over; then felt compelled to chop it up as a sample for my own song. I shifted the song’s pitch up a couple half steps. Over the sped-up pieces, I combined and interpolated both “Make the Music With Your Mouth” by Biz Markie and MC Shan’s “The Bridge.” Without bias, the beat is crazy. I played it for my longtime friend and trusted producer Gabe, who is more nonchalant than me; his reaction confirmed I had some ill shit in my hands.
Note: as a producer, your goal is to make other producers widen their eyes. Our natural response is when we hear anything, to play it cool. When we show a reaction outside of a slight head nod, it’s that shit.
My reincarnation of Gwen Bunn’s song is so good, I haven’t been able to write to it for almost two years. I have an idea what I want to say and a flow cadence already figured out. Whenever I feel this way about a creation, I tell myself “I have more living to do,” and wait for the moment God says “now.” Until then, I am more than happy, to let my creation play and follow it with the original song by Gwen Bunn.
I had a dream about Timile last week. She was still alive, and we reunited in Virginia. We were happy to see each other. The best way to describe our time together would be one in which anyone and an ex whom they have not seen for an extended period fall back in love because their high on euphoric nostalgia.
Our honeymoon came to an end when I made a remark. As we cuddled on a couch, basked in the moment, I said with excitement “Wait until Cydney finds out. She will be so excited!”
Timile sat up and said “You can’t tell Cydney about me.”
“Wait, what do you mean I can’t tell Cydney about this?” I replied with provoked agitation. Timile and I began to argue over our different viewpoints. I defended our daughter, who has no memory of her mother, all the tears, and hard moments she’s had; she’ll never fully recuperate from the loss of her mother.
“I can’t do this.” I said and began to leave. The only “us” which mattered was my daughter and me. As much as I loved her mother, I had to let her go in my dream. In real life, as hard as it may be to say, if I had to choose between the two of them, it is always Cydney.
Over the past nine years, I have had many dreams about Timile; this was the second one which felt real. There may be a brief reference, but we never talk about our daughter. I think the reason is because we shared there was only a brief nine months together. Sure, the three of us are a family and Cydney shares both of our genes. However, our time together feels more like a transitional overlap between two different lives, woven together by outside elements.
My relationship with Timile feels like a lifetime ago. As of 2020, our time together too place in the prior two decades, in different cities and states, and we were in our twenties. In all honesty, the my daily reminders of this past life do not come from Cydney; but the two cats Timile and I owned. At 11 years old, they are in their twilight years; but they too moved here with us from Atlanta (Note: the day my cats go, check up on me. I will certainly be a mess).
Cydney and I have been on quite a unique journey over the years. I love our relationship and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Before I had this dream, I have asked myself, in my waking hours “What if I found out Timile were still alive?” My answer is I would be happy to know, would love to see her, but I would also be quite angry. If she were, I would not explore the possibility of a new romantic relationship because we would have grown apart. I would still like to be friends; but I have accepted, long ago our chapter ended December 9, 2011.
I told my best friend Kofi about my dream. He asked me if I was over Timile and let her go. I told him “Yes and no,” and I explained how so. My brother, who had been there since the days of when I was uncertain whether or not I should date her in 2006, said to me he feels as if what I had to say made room for his belief I may not be over her. I then clarified my stance:
I am aware there can be an air of a remarkably high bar, set by my relationship with Timile. To deal with me-and my daughter-is not for the faint of heart, requires a lot of patience, and you would have to be very confident to hang. In my clarification, I told Kofi “This has nothing to do with Timile. Sure, my experiences with and after have developed me. But the reason I feel the way that I do is because I know my worth.”
I will never fully get over or heal from the loss of Timile Brown. As time progresses, new ways will emerge and I will learn more and more about myself as I mature and moments resurface and reflected on, in combination with newer life experiences. I am more than okay with this because I have accepted this is a part of me. I have moments of happiness, sadness, and a myriad of other emotions which spectrum between the two.
Another reason I feel as if my dreams with Timile have very little to do with our daughter is because just as if she were living, the two of them have their own relationship; one in which they have and will continue to develop until they are reunited.