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I Miss: Music Video Countdowns

Do you remember waking up early Saturday morning and flipping to VH1 or MTV to maybe catch a glimpse of your favorite music video? Remember coming home from school and catching the “Top 20 Countdown”?

This guy here does.

They were simpler times back then. Times when music videos weren’t ready to stream at a moment’s notice.

I remember watching entire countdowns from number 20 to number one just hoping that my favorite song would be in there somewhere. I remember 106&Park everyday after school. These countdown shows were also a way to discover new music and to find out what was really hot in the music world. Sometimes they would premiere a brand new artist and it would be exciting.

I’ve never gotten over that. I still love music videos. I think most people do. But I pay special attention to them, the direction, use of animations and colors in the video. Sometimes I like to recreate that “countdown feel” by making a playlist on YouTube or letting the algorithm autoplay songs.

Still it’s not the same as watching a countdown anxiously for your favorite videos in between commercial breaks and finding new songs to go and hurriedly download onto your MP3 player.

I guess I’m just feeling nostalgic but I think there was something so pure about how we discovered music in those days. Not to say I’m not thankful for all the advances we’ve made thus far.

Do you have any special memories about watching countdowns on TV? Let us all know, we’d love to hear from you.

I Miss When People Made Mixtapes

Remember the good ole days of burned CDs and mixtapes on cassette? This one here does. It’s crazy how the new generation doesn’t remember these things and God I feel old for saying that but it really is a blast from the past, you know?

I remember when I asked a friend of mine to burn a CD for me for the first time so I could play it in the car. I gave him a list but he managed to put in a few pleasant surprises in there that really made me happy. It was a special feeling. Then I learned how to do it myself and everyone got CDs.

The way we share music has changed. Barely anyone has the time anymore to just check out some music you send them. The music scene is saturated right now so we have too many options and also, there are just way too many distractions online. With a video tempting you to click it with a clickbait title or a juicy social media thread; we’ve spread ourselves thin.

Nowadays we just pay a subscription fee and we can have unlimited downloads. I’m guilty myself of downloading music I’m never going to listen to. Whereas in the past we had to scour a file sharing site for the best quality upload so we could download it onto our MP3 player and risk getting a virus infection on our computer.

Mixtapes used to be personal. They had your name on it, they were your signature. You got the chance to be a curator, or a DJ. A tastemaker. And mixtapes came with their own titles like “music to listen to when you’re sad” or “music that makes you dance.” It was almost like the art of making a playlist as where if you had one skippable track on the whole thing then it was a dud. It’s crazy how romantic it seems now looking in hindsight.

I’m not saying I don’t like the advantage of having access to hundreds of thousands of songs in great qualify readily available. I just miss the times where we paid special close attention to the details. Where we tried to create music for an occasion. For the right moment. Music pairs well with experiences as they imprint memories in your head that last a lifetime.

All I’m saying is that if someone wanted to send me a mixtape titled “songs that make me think of your beautiful face,” I wouldn’t be mad.

But just kidding.

Guess This is the End

I walk up to the kitchen window to observe the expansive blue sky. In my headphones I’m listening to a song that sounds like it’s pulled straight out of a soundtrack. This feels like the end. Or at least the end of one chapter. I’ve been here for two whole months and for a moment I didn’t know if I was going to be trapped here or not. I fly tomorrow and what I’ll bring back home with me I’m not sure but I’m confident it’s something.

I have a hope for the future. For a moment it was touch and go. These last couple of months haven’t been easy. I found myself praying a lot. Making myself to be a victim. Then I realized just how fortunate I am. Something clicked in my head. Now I feel like I have a mission. It won’t be without its tears but that’s life I guess. Whether I wait around forever for someone to “save” me is up to me entirely.

I like music because it makes me feel like a hero. Will I be the hero in my own story? I guess we’ll have to see.

Artist Profile: KOTA The Friend

Kota (pictured)

Over the course of this week I had the pleasure of getting to know a rapper by the name of KOTA The Friend. It all started as I was on a quest to search for new, cutting edge lyrical rap.

Let’s just say Kota was a breath of fresh air. Everything from his delivery to his lyrics, wordplay and aesthetic.

Kota has a series of videos up on his YouTube channel. They all have a similar format but that’s what makes it so digestible. All you see is a regular looking dude with an amazing background spitting nothing but bars. There are usually some yellow subtitles at the bottom so you can follow along.

Let me tell you this dude is clever. He touches on topics from baby mommas, being a father, his hometown to mental health issues. Dude is honestly versatile and a breath of fresh air for Hip-Hop. His raps are often delivered by this calm, non-threatening tone that makes each bar connect and you never miss a beat.

Still, you can tell that he is delivering with such honesty and sincerity you can’t help but to feel it. A part from his song ‘For Colored Boys’ I personally enjoy goes like this:

And do not be afraid of change
It could be a segue way
To a better something
But have patience
And always make time for family and celebration
And every good thing in life requires dedication
Like career, wife, kids, and it’s spiritual
The point of our existence isn’t physical

I think I may have found a new favorite rapper of mine. I’ll post some recommended songs below so you can check him out:

For Colored Boys