The other day, while watching some throwback music videos on YouTube from the mid 90’s to the early 2000’s, I couldn’t help but notice that I knew every song word for word. The excitement that I felt when the next video on cue came up was like a child at Disney World for the first time. The feeling I had watching these videos made me ask myself, does Hip-Hop/R&B music have the same effect on us now as it did in the late 90’s and early 2000’s? I remember (as I am sure the rest of you do) watching 106 and Park, when AJ and Free were still the hosts’, and they would announce that Ja Rule would be dropping his “New Joint” that day, and we would “keep it locked” to see the video. We already knew the song because the radio would play it once (maybe twice) an hour, but the video always made it that much better. The next day, we would go to school, the ball court, the studio or even sometimes the work place (oh don’t act like you didn’t) and the first thing we would say to greet our friends were “Did you see that new Ja Rule video on 106”. Ok, Ja Rule wasn’t your favourite? Fine, but you still sang the song, and saw the video. Every other week, Nelly and the St. Lunatics were releasing either a club banger or a song you could just ride out to, but either way we knew the lyrics, the melody or at least the hook. We were excited to hear the new songs, but even more excited to see the video that would soon follow.
One artist that I know everyone could agree on, one artist that I know had us at the edge of our seats when we got wind that a video to her new song (any of her songs from 95-05), was dropping, is no other then Missy Elliot. When we heard that new Missy joint on the radio, we would be crazy excited, partially for the song, but even more so for the insane video we knew she would release for it, and even if you weren’t a huge Missy Fan you could still sing the hook for any of her songs.
Now I know you’re probably sitting there, reminiscing, but also thinking to yourself, where is she going with this?
I want you to ask yourself these few questions before you continue to read this: Can you name all 10 (or is it 15 now?) songs on the 106 and Park countdown? Can you name the artist, or at least any of their other songs? Can you tell me the last time you watched 106 and Park from the beginning to the end? And last, but not least, Do you know any of the artist’s that sing the last 5 songs you heard on the radio on your drive home today?
If you were unable to answer these questions fully, then keep reading. For those of you who were able to answer those questions with no problem or pause, thank you for reading, but the rest of this doesn’t apply to you.
Ok, for those of you still here, just know…you’re not alone. I couldn’t tell you the last time I watched 106 and Park in its entirety and I honestly have no clue at all who sings the last 5 songs I just heard on the radio, even after the radio host said their name. Up to last year I think it was safe to say that I lost touch with what I use to know so well, as I’m sure most of you have. I used to blame it on being in school and working so much that I didn’t have time to catch up on the newest videos out and the newest artist/songs breaking the scene. When I finished school and I had a lot more free time on my hands to focus on what’s new in the hip-hop world, I still couldn’t seem to identify. This year I took the time to catch up and become aware of what was new and who was breaking through, and I can honestly say, that I don’t think I will ever feel that high that I use to feel when Destiny’s Child, Erick Sermon, Outkast or Ja Rule would drop a new song, and then a video.
Everyone in the music business knows that it’s all about timing. It seems like the people I have mentioned in this article along with most artists in that time period grasped the concept of “the right timing”, but artists on the scene now seem to be not aware or uneducated on the importance of timing. I miss the excitement and anticipation of a new video release, now it seems like the video comes out before the song (yeah I know you recently saw a video and said to yourself “when the hell did they come out with a new song?”)
Do you find yourself not being excited about the new stuff you hear on the radio, and even less interested in seeing the video? Again, you’re not alone, it makes you wonder does Hip-Hop/R&B music have the same effect on us now as it did in the late 90’s and early 2000’s?
By: Keisha Fanfair