One of my best friends growing up was my highly cherished Sony boom-box with detachable speakers. My she was yar! Little Sony Boom-Boom arrived after a summer of hard work at the Burger King, and she occupied a treasured spot atop the chest of drawers in my pretty pink bedroom. I kept that single cassette player working overtime with everything from MC Lyte to Duran Duran, and Boogie Down Productions to Bach organ music, but my favorite was Run-DMC. The rap duo, along with DJ Jam Master J, strung together raps over synth-drum beats that offered slice of life tales from their point of view. And while there was the usual posturing in their raps, they also taught valuable lessons, sort of like a hip-hop tinged School House Rock.
In one rap, they railed against the rampant consumerism that was already inserting itself into youth culture:
Calvin Klein is no friend of mine,
Don't want nobody's name on my behind
It was genius, heck, even my mom and dad liked that one!
In another rap, titled, "You Talk Too Much", Run-DMC tackles a topic that most are familiar with - the annoying gossip who should maybe show some verbal restraint. Herewith, a lyric:
You're always spreading rumors, whether bad or good
You're the damn Walter Cronkite of the neighborhood
The Barbara Walters, and the Howard Cosell
You always come around, with a story to tell
You talk too much And then you never shut up
I said you talk too much Homeboy you never SHUT UP!!!
OK, so maybe the Walter Cronkite and Howard Cosell references are a bit dated, but the lessons endure.
I learned a lot from Run-DMC, and on their oft-overlooked rap, "Wake Up", I learned of their vision of a world made whole. Here's a sample:
When I woke up this morning and got out the bed
I had some really fresh thoughts going through my head
they were thoughts that came from a wonderful dream
it was the vision of a world working as a team
Unemployment was at a record low
and the presidents were chillin at our show
listening to the things that we had to say
and trying to create a new and brighter day
A peaceable kingdom set to a back beat, and I'm not playing, that is all from I'm Just Saying:)