Art,  Music,  Vibes

“I used to be jealous of Aaron Afflalo. He was the one to follow. He was the only leader foreseeing brighter tomorrows.”

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I often find myself reminiscing about the best times of my life when I go through the worst. I write down the pros and cons so I don’t make it a habit of forgetting when times were worse/best. 2012, Nick and I first connected. It was probably the best part of the “new feels” you get.  You know…that fresh feeling when you first start dating someone. You’re always anxious and floating because you’re unable to predict what the next part of your life will be like. No one can really bring you down, because everything feels perfect. Our initial conversation consisted of music. Days later, the core of our conversation consisted of music, books, film & just art period. I let him know for the past 3 years, I’d only listened to artist like Cage the Elephant, Kings of Leon, RHCP, The Black Keys, Coldplay, AWOL, The Fray, Tame Impala, Kimbra, Lana Del Rey, Florence and the Machine etc.

I explained that the previous years before that I heard so much new hip-hop and rap garbage I practically ripped my radio out of my car. I decided I would not settle for what I believed to be the best the world had to offer at the time. I really appreciated expanding genres the past few years. It was probably the perfect break I needed at such a tough time in my life; it got me through for sure. I’d seen Coldplay, Kings of Leon & John Mayer live with my sister and would soon be in Austin for similar shows. He talked about hip-hop artist I had never heard of. I explained how nervous I was to hear new rap. And if given a try again I’d step into it like testing how cold pool water is with your big toe lol but he completely understood. 

We talked on the phone for hours- still mostly about music. A day that really sticks out to me is the day we were riding around Austin.  He was driving and hooked his phone up to my aux cord. I thought “Oh God, please don’t ruin this, cause I’m feeling you.” I was at a point in my life where any wrongly placed vibe like that could kill a relationship.

It was rap & it sounded so different than what I had last heard. He didn’t ask did I like it but I’m sure he noticed the continuous head nods and tapping feet on the passenger floor. (Queue to turn that shit up)  Three more songs in I had to ask.

“Who is this?”

“Donald Glover.”

(Blank stare)

“Childish Gambino?”

Riding around a little more he played something so fire I forgot I just met him.

“Bro, who is this? What is this?”

“Kendrick Lamar; Section 80. K.DOT.”

I thought surely I have not missed out on this much greatness over the years. But I definitely had. We enjoyed Austin and I will always have those memories. I can’t think of Gambino & Kendrick without thinking of ATX- and him of course. I thought, dude you just earned triple points for this and you haven’t even touched me yet.

When I made it back to Dallas I had to hear more. He recommended some of Kendrick’s classics and mentioned I may be interested in his new album coming out soon. I happened to find one I enjoyed called “Black Boy Fly” online. It was just a random single and I had no clue what album it was from. I actually thought it was old. When I told him about it he found it funny that the album just came out and I found a bonus track that isn’t on the actual album. 

“Black Boy Fly” stuck out to me though. It was like a breath of fresh air to hear a rapper that wasn’t Pac rap about people in the hood rise and achieve success/greatness in spite of the odds against them. Above all, he was speaking knowledge and transcending it ina a way that could touch everyone.

I went and purchased the album that day. Embarrassingly, I wasn’t really up on things and I still bought CDs. If not, I’d just settle for music on Pandora. But it was still something I loved about having the physical album. I played Good Kid Madd City back to back for the next 2 months. Nothing else played in my Monte Carlo. That album just did so much for me. I grew mentally and spiritually- every play.  First off, it was the first of new rap I’d purchased in years but Kendrick was on to something. He was a head of time and a leader. I thought I really like this man…Nick, I mean. And if we just fall off within a few weeks I would always be grateful for him putting me on to Kendrick- and back to rap, period. I knew it was meant for us to meet…at least for that much anyway. 

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