In light of the whole May 21 "the world is ending!" craze, I thought I'd kick off my first Mood Music entry with a song that is dear to my heart. This album came out when I was a freshman in college, and Judah happened to be my roomate. I remember it was almost winter, so the amazing imagery in the song captured the season, and whatever was going on at that point in your life. Hit play on this song while you read the post, and I'm going to just let my thoughts flow however they come out...
I just happened to be in a relationship with my high school sweetheart who was going to the same college (See Do or Die: Holding onto Your Mojo). We had our ups and downs, but as far as I can remember we were in a good place when this came out. In a way, the "feel good" yet melancholy nature of the song brings back the emotions I felt about the relationship in those days. Our good times were GREAT, but it was almost like the calm before the storm, because in the backdrop we both knew we were at a new place in life and changing, and perhaps things were leading up to their inevitable end. But in that moment, with all the BS going on, I was happy. If hell comes crashing at my door later on so be it, but for now I'm feeling alright.
"I got a blunt for my chronic, a juice for my tonic, I know now that I'm feeling right if it goes down..."
"And I know it's not my time to go now... Cause God's got my back in this showdown, so I know we'll be alright."
Not condoning getting lit to solve your problems, but I can dig the sentiment. It's cold outside and people are going crazy, but I'm not worried about that right now... I'm feeling good. And no matter what, I know whatever turmoil that is bound to come will only make me stronger and I'll get through it.
"Caught a glimpse of myself in the Barney's shop window, kinda see my father's features creeping in a little."
Nas always takes time out his verses to add some stream of conciousness type thought or imagery. I do this all the time, because the older I get, the more I look like my father. And at the point of my life when this came out, I was coming of age, so I realized I wasn't a boy anymore. I began to look like a man, act like a man and deal with adult problems and situations. And it was time for me to learn HOW to deal with them.
"There's a war in the streets tonight, and all this drama's got me feeling uptight. I don't know what I'll do if I don't see my boo 'cause she's standing, on the corner of Linden Boulevard... Holding our baby in her arms, so hold on your daddy's in sight."
No matter what stress life's changes brought me, I still in the back of my head envisioned a future in the relationship. Yes, kids and all. Perhaps I was thinking heavier than a young man should have been at that time, but putting this song on gave me glimpses into what I hoped would be a beautiful future.
But at the same time...
"Planned to be a strong black family, but we were too young, too strung, too much flashin'"
"Nothin but the worst type, worst night, when we brought my baby home the first night, cursed like sailors..."
"Regret the sex but not Desi [His daughter]"
Perhaps things were going too fast so we were bound to spin out of control. Because I vividly remember relating to the first part of the verse about how cool it'd be to see her holding our kid and being happy, but at the same time the above lyrics struck a chord with me also. I could picture us having some spats and having a baby in the mix to further complicate things. That tends to happen a lot of times when relationships begin to go at warp speed in a direction toward change or a possible end, that mix of emotion and uncertainty tends to result in "Let's figure things out" sex, or an attempt to reconnect and see if something is still there. And in the process, baby's get made. So though the parents couldn't figure out how to keep it together, a kid is brought into the world. And a man/woman coming of age together mixed with good and bad, arguments and make up sex, hormones and fear, ambition and uncertainty can be a potent cocktail. I'm just thankful I never had to experience that because kids deserve to have parents that already have their stuff together.
All in all, for me this is one of those songs that take me back and create a definite mood. I'll be 60 years old one day, and if this song comes on it'll give me a mellow vibe, some happy thoughts and deep thought. And though it takes me back, as time goes on the song will take on different meanings and give me different thoughts, which it already has.
And above all...
"I've grown up and thankful for lessons God gave me."