Last night a DJ saved my life.
performed by Indeep
Well, it wasn’t really last night. It was more like last week. And it was the middle of the day. How about—a DJ got me over? Does that work?
My boy [DJ} Soup WENT IN on his Internet radio show and gave up the Classic R&B ghost. He took me back to woppin’ it out at school dances, tapin’ Friday night radio shows and dancing in front yards. Soup put his fingers on my pulse and was my Soul Controller with his Old Skool R&B and Hip Hop set. It was a child of the 80’s dream.
Though I was seated at my “desk” at work, the sterile walls transformed into pages of poster pull-outs from Right On! and Word Up magazines. My New Edition tribute wall with group pictures and individual shots spread out before me. Prince, Big Daddy Kane, MC Lyte, even Sweet T graced the other available wall space. My 1st room, when I was old enough to command the “art” work on the walls, was a tiny L-shaped space with my bed, 1 bunk from the bunk beds I used to share with my sister, and a vanity. I was 12 and all I had to myself was my music. My Boom Box was my best friend and music spoke the words my spirit couldn’t yet articulate. I was still in that room at 14, the year I got my first and only press’n’curl. Dancing in my room cooled down for a little while, not wanting to sweat out my hair, knowing it would never again be “regulated” like the other girls I went to school with. Yeah…Soup, you helped me remember that.
The summer before I moved into that room I was in Omaha, Nebraska with “cousins.” I was supposed to be running in the Jr. Olympics that year…I’d qualified, but my mother had other plans. Neither here nor there. While in Omaha, I got to hang out with one of my favorite “aunties” in her youth theater group. I did some acting for the 2nd time in my life and fell in love with this new group of children, discovering there were black folks in Nebraska. Who knew? When we traveled on the bus that transported us everywhere, we sang lyrics from our favorite songs, BET becoming more of a staple in our households. Janet Jackson’s video for Nasty was giving us all fevah and we were all hard pressed to learn MJ’s baby sister’s fierce choreo. She had us all vying to be the Nastiest girl of ‘em all. Ahhhh, the summer of 1986, wrapped up, neatly bowed, and re-gifted by Soup.
While in that L-shaped room, I perfected being Nasty with the help of the girl band, Klymaxxx, among others. I spent a lot of time in there memorizing Salt n Pepa lyrics, but my dance floor had relocated to the living room floor where I had access to the TV and all the YO! MTV Raps I could stand (taped every episode). At home I was busy trying to decode De La Soul’s Potholes, follow Bobby Brown in the Every Little Step video, and satisfy my hunger for Scoop and Scrap Lover’s (Big Daddy Kane’s dancers) every move. At school was a different story. A love story was taking shape, with Du’Shawn Williams (I will keep blasting the good moments in his life since his is apparently being lived in a jail cell…again). 1989, the
I did a lot of time traveling with Soup. I was rooted to my seat, hating when I HAD to go and perform some professional duty or another that couldn’t be put off. By the end of the day, I was emotionally energized, feeling as alive as I did in Jr. High school, curious about all the new nerve endings all a buzz, barely beneath my pre-nubile surfaces. My age eventually caught up with me in real time when I had to weigh going to the bathroom to relieve my bladder, or to stay and finish listening to Tony! Toni! Tone!’s Just Me and You. Boyz N The Hood was my movie. And that song was the soundtrack, on repeat, for my heart. I was so torn. In the end I had to ride with the fact that the song’s in my own iTunes at home and my childhood memories wouldn’t go up like a puff of smoke as my own bladder let down (TMI-sorry).
Soup, I loved you before as my friend. I love you more for calming the music fiend in me. If you’re looking for a reprieve from the cookie cutter sounds on your radio during your midday, check him out. You won’t be sorry you did.
He made me move.