Forgotten Eras

Ah, music, an essential life tool to keep us sane as well as serves as an efficient ice breaker. The other day, I was jamming to my own playlists I make and was thinking, “music is this mother of all umbrellas holding us under her wing so we won’t drown in the downpour of reality” which I believe is relatively true. Where would we be without music? Imagine the dullness, silent life we’d have. Our abilities of self-expression i.e. your style and expressing your mood etc. would be limited since the majority of that would be through music, and for my music-obsessed people...we’d lose our minds. This is all to say that music is an extensive concept that many people unintentionally constrict into only one small, bland umbrella called mainstream music. To clarify, nothing is wrong with mainstream music; it serves its purpose which is to increase the energy among people and get to dancin’! However, there are many genres of music that go unnoticed and in my opinion, are much better than nowadays mainstream music.

Personally, I am an old school enthusiast so any time someone asks for me to put them on to new music, my go-to is old school. What I consider old school music is from the 50s to the late 90s, but I am more so in love with the 70s to 90s eras. The first thing people automatically assume is that it’s what their old fashioned, trying to be cool parents listened to it… and you’re right. There is an obvious reason why our parents continue to listen to music from their era in this generation of “babbling static” as my dad calls it. Musicians poured their souls into their instruments which was rehearsed numerous times until it was presented with perfection. Singers used little to no autotune but you can feel their voice wave over your body causing every hair to stand up. Everything was so authentic then hence why old school music will always reign as the foundation of music now. Now that you’ve got a perspective of how authentic old school music was, allow me to open camouflaged doors of different genres that you might have overlooked when thinking about old school music. There is r&b and soul which started around the 70s, more groovy and tailored to get people dancing. Some artists are Earth Wind and Fire, Maze Frankie and Beverly, and Chic. Your grandparents are probably the first to hop up to dance at almost every function when they hear these artists.

Then the heartwarming, bone-chilling use of the instruments slowly began to fade out of the music industry, and coming into the spotlight is the introduction of turntables and sound altering systems. This change is known as the sparkling 80s. Now, beats are more techno-based with slight usage of instruments and made with sound altering systems rather than the natural dependence of instruments. The birth of rap also started with the group, Run DMC, (yep, those guys that mixed rap with rock music). The 80s really was a great time with the combination of groovy, soulful, instrumental melodies and record-scratching, real rap, and the rise of new ways of engineering music. The artists that powered the 80s through pop were New Edition, Micheal Jackson, and Prince.

Lastly, hardcore 90s. The 90s was a raw time for music; almost every lyric dripping with explicit language about sex, drugs, and violence. However, what people tend to forget or not know is that this (sex, drugs, violence) is what these rappers such as Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., and Ice Cube sees every day in their environment. As Ice Cube once said in an interview, they were just documenting what America tends to overlook; they are the eyes and ears of their community. The opposing audience may interpret their lyrics as promoting these things positively hence why there was a love/hate relationship with rap and still to this day. Aside from the hardcore aspect, 90s rap began to become more gender-neutral with the introduction of Lil’ Kim, Queen Latifah, and Missy Elliot that eventually landed them spots as legends in the rap game. 

The evolution of music is an amazing thing that we are able to witness so why not invest in other eras of music and indulge in the roots of authentic music. There are several other genres that I did not touch on but why not be curious and experience real music? There’s 70s reggae, 80s rock, 90s neo-soul, etc. that brings the same nostalgic feeling. Explore the beauty of music.