TODAY’S HIP HOP HAS NOTHIN’ ON THE ’90’s HIP HOP I GREW UP LISTENING TO!
I still feel so young, despite being 41 years-old. My 71 year-old father joked a few weeks ago that I was nearly “middle-aged“. “Haha” God willing, I will see another 41 years, but given my diagnosis, that’s not, “very bloody likely”.
MUSIC IN THE ’90’S
Anyway, the music I listened to back in the ’90’s growing up is now considered “old school”.
Back then, I was this little white girl, living in an upper/middle-class suburb of NYC, driving around in my SUV pumping as much base as possible, when listening to hip hop.
These were also the days of grunge, of course. “Yes, I wore tons of plaid, Doc Martens and still remember explicitly when Kurt Cobain died”
As for hip hop though, some of my favorites were “Biggie”, “Cypress Hill” “Bone, Thugs-N-Harmony.”; Wu-Tang Clan; Nas and the now late DMX (I LOVE the movie “Belly” featuring both rappers as well as Method Man of Wu-Tang, who played a great role).
Jay-Z hadn’t “blown-up just yet; but when he did, he was on my list. There are definitely others I’m forgetting, but that’s not really the point.
A LOT OF HIP HOP BACK THEN TOLD THE STORIES OF THESE ARTISTS‘ LIVES
These artists rapped about the projects, slingin’ crack for money just to survive; growing up in a single-parent home; violence; and death.
Uh, I lived in a beautiful wealthy area; I went to an all-girls prep school; I never even had to get a job until I got into college! Why? Because I had two parents who are still the hardest working people I have ever met.
What did I have in common with these artists? Not a whole damn lot They just made great music!
Yet, now I hear “the story they tell” through their music .
NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY – “Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell”
There’a an excellent documentary on Netflix right now. It obviously focuses on the Notorious B.I.G /”Biggie”/ Christopher Wallace. However, it also “tells the story” of how hip hop became so popular not just in urban areas, but crossed the boundaries so that lil white, suburban girls like me were now listening.
The Notorious B.I.G /”Biggie”/ Christopher Wallace
As told in the documentary, Biggie stood out as an intelligent, young kid. As he got older, he stood out with his size and talent. (At the time of his death , he was 6’1 and 395lbs!)
He was an unbelievable performer/rapper. While, the Netflix documentary discusses this, growing up, Biggie was neighbors with jazz saxophonist Donald Harrison. Then known merely as Chris he would eventually become The Notorious B.I.G., or, Biggie. Yet before that, Chris became like a protege to Harrison. He learned about music, he studied it as “homework”. So, Harrison and many others believed with that intelligence and talent, he do great things like go off to college or be a jazz singer. Despite that, he dropped out of high school freshman year and started dealing drugs. https://www.npr.org/2010/08/02/128916682/biggie-smalls-the-voice-that-influenced-a-generation
Nevertheless, he did rise-up to become one of the greatest selling hip hop artists of all-time! Biggie helped hip hop “break through” to the mainstream; i.e. suburban white kids like me began listening to hip hop.
Yet, generally speaking, we knew nothing about the struggle so many rappers went through everyday living in the projects.
Only 24 years-old, the The Notorious B.I.G, /Biggie/Christopher Wallace was shot and killed on March 9, 1997. It’s estimated that he already had a net worth equal to $10 million at the time of his death!
WHAT’S 1990’S HIP HOP GOT TO DO WITH BRAIN CANCER, OR ANY DISEASE?
I’ll get to the correlation. Promise!
My Pet ScanOn 04.16.21
I contemplated quite a bit on life and death as I awaited my first Pet Scan since the discovery in Oct. 2020 of the metastatic cancer that escaped my brain and landed in several lymph nodes in my neck and my parotid gland (a major salivary gland). I detailed that 2nd recurrence/metastatic cancer which is now outside of my brain here:
That Post relates in a way to how I’m feeling after undergoing this PET Scan too. Unfortunately , being radioactive doesn’t turn me into a cyborg or comic book superhero.
THE PROCESS/PREP FOR A PET SCAN
My scan was a “full body plus brain”. Don’t ask me why “the whole body” does not automatically include the brain.
First, I get an IV of radioactive isotopes injected. Then, I wait an hour to drink a contrast.
After that, I sit in dimmed or dark lighting – no phones, no conversation, no reading. Essentially, this is so that my brain is not stimulated prior to the scan. It’s okay though- I just slept.
However, considering that long wait-time before you’re even in the machine, if you have to be somewhere afterwards, it’s not so okay.
I overheard another patient telling the nurses he had to catch his bus out to East Hampton at a certain time! For anyone unfamiliar with New York, that’a a 2.5 hour drive on a good day! However it was a Friday afternoon! In the summertime, those buses would run pretty often. However, not this time of year!
Boy, I hope he caught that bus because he’d be waiting a long time for the next bus.
THIS IS 2021!
Yes, folks, this is cancer screening in 2021! “Let’s make you radioactive and unable to be around pregnant woman for the next 72 hours! Oh and we’re going to give you a card, which states I’ve undergone this scan, and it technically makes me just “slightly” radioactive.“
Especially if I’m crossing major bridges and /or a tunnel, I have to keep my card on me because I could potentially set off any sensors that detect radioactive materials!
If you’re unfamiliar with PET Scans, basically, the purpose is that any cancer is supposed to “light-up” under the camera in the machine, once you finally get to that point, hours later!
You’ll never be able to convince me ANY of this is good for my body!
SO WHAT’S 1990’S HIP HOP GOT TO DO WITH BRAIN CANCER, OR ANY DISEASE?
2PAC’s “ME AGAINST THE WORLD” – Release Date: March, 1995
The rapper 2Pac, who was also shot and killed when he was just 25 years old, released “Me Against the World.”
As I said, I never listened to much 2Pac, but I read the lyrics to this title track, the other night and it definitely got me! The album by the same name was released when 2Pac was actually in prison.
Even though I’m almost twice as old as Biggie and 2 Pac when they died, These artists spent so much of their young life in fear of dying on the streets, or being shot. As a spoiled teenager in the ’90’s with no real problems, I couldn’t relate to the fear of dying too young. Well, now I do!
DESPAIR & HOPELESSNESS
Sure, I’m not going to get shot because I’m selling crack, but I’ve got an official “terminal diagnosis” listed on my medical records now. Fan-fuckin’-Tastic!
SEEING OTHERS DIE AND HAVING NO CONTROL OVER THE SITUATION
2Pac said the album, and I presume the title track, was meant to show his respect for the art form of music. Thus, this album was “more reflective and deep,” It was all about his fears, all the things he couldn’t sleep about.” AMEN!
I’ve been in the “cancer world” for over 7 years now.. Yes, I’ve beaten the odds so far, but I watched as a dear friend passed from brain cancer. Further, when my cancer recurred in the 2020, two other friends whose scans had shown “no evidence of disease” for years were suddenly diagnosed with recurrences too.
Since my initial diagnosis, I’ve lived in and out of hospitals s. I can tell when someone passes… Though the staff do their best to hide it, it’s something you just feel on the ward.
I know how this disease destroys families and relationships.
Like life in an unsafe place, like the projects, you sit and watch others suffer or die, helpless to the situation.
2PAC’S SUCCESS WITH THIS ALBUM
In 2008, the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), in conjunction with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, included “Me Against the World “in its list of the Definitive 200 Albums of All Time!
Some themes on the album include “prominent sentiments” include anguish, despair, hopelessness, paranoia, and self-loathing. Yep. I can definitely relate!
“ME AGAINST THE WORLD“ LYRICS:
It’s just me against the world baby
I’ve got nothing to lose, it’s just me against the world
Stuck in the game, me against the world baby
Can you picture my prophecy? Stress in the city, the cops is hot for me
The projects is full of bullets, the bodies is dropping
There ain’t no stopping me, constantly moving while making millions
Witnessing killings, leaving dead bodies in abandoned buildings
Carries to children ’cause they’re illing
Addicted to killing and the appeal from the cap peeling
Without feeling but will they last or be blasted?
Hard headed bastard, maybe he’ll listen in his casket, the aftermath
More bodies being buried, I’m losing my homies in a hurry
They’re relocating to the cemetery
Got me worried, stressing, my vision’s blurried
The question is will I live? No one in the world loves me
I’m headed for danger, don’t trust strangers
Put one in the chamber whenever I’m feeling this anger
Don’t wanna make excuses ’cause this is how it is
What’s the use unless we’re shooting no one notices the youth
It’s just me against the world baby
Me against the world, it’s just me against the world2PAC “ME AGAINST THE WORLD” (emphasis added)
It’s just me against the world, me against the world
‘Cause it’s just me against the world baby
Me against the world, I’ve got nothing to lose
It’s just me against the world baby, I’ve got nothing to lose
Now, I GUESS it’s just Me Against the World AND… CANCER
I can’t pretend I know what it was like in the projects, but everything these talented artists, lost too soon, experienced was like a cancer:
- violence and death
- police brutality
- young boys raised by only one parent, their mothers
So, like everyone who faces such serious challenges, I’m just gonna continue fighting for long as possible.
The rest is in God’s hands. .