It was 1999. I was 17 about to graduate high school. I only really listened to two radio shows at the time: The Wake Up Show, and We Came from Beyond with Mike Nardone. Underground Hip Hop. It was around this time that some of my friends and I would declare : “I don’t listen to the radio.”
The statement was our way of rebellion. An “Overthrow the system.” type comment. When I was in middle school MTV and BET played all kinds of music I never heard on the radio; but, by my senior year in high school both of those stations reflected commercial radio.
Then it got worse.
I had friends during college tell me they would drive in silence, or maybe play mix cds. The radio was rarely turned on.
Once the iPod arrived, there was a point where I saw people everywhere with their earbuds in ALL the time, even IN THE CAR!
A lot of my peers now don’t listen to the radio at all. A lot of the underground shows have changed or not around anymore. It’s hard to dance all night at a club because a lot of “new” music sucks. My friends would say we’re at the age where there’s a generational gap with music today.
I don’t believe that.
Good music is good music.
I’ve been asking younger people what they’re listening to, and in a lot of cases they’d say the same thing I said when I was a teen :“I don’t listen to the radio.” In fact, many of them seem to be listening to the music I grew up to.
I once had a 15 year old tell me, “It’s not like when Biggie was out and people had good albums.” He was born around the same year Biggie died. He doesn’t have the same context I had when I was 13 and Biggie stepped on the scene; yet, he feels a drop in quality albums just like my older friends.
I had a 19 year old on Myspace tell me he “…discovered a group called The Wascals” and had been bumpin’ them lately. Little did he know me and my crew wanted to be just like The Wascals when we were in 8th grade.
A lot of the music coming out today is supposed to target young people with a more disposable income so they can buy albums, but a lot of them don’t seem to really be paying attention. I can’t ask every young person in the world to verify it all, but even when I look at Youtube comments on old videos, I’ve seen some say “I’m 13 years old and I love this song. I can’t stand the stuff that’s out now.”
I guess not much has changed since I was in high school…