Check This Out, I Wanna Ask You A Question. Where Were You?

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Check This Out/I Wanna Ask You A Question/Where Were You On That Night?/See I Remember/I Know Where I Was At — Urban Mystic

We’re already in the second week of January already but I think this post connects to the idea of the New Year. Around this time of year we often think about the previous year and what we would have done differently.  Thoughts about the new year beginning are normally about becoming a better person through a New Year’s resolution. But for me, when I think about the year that we just finished, I’m always reminded of songs…

There are some songs that I have in my iTunes library that I have no recollection of how I discovered them or how they even got into my library. But when I go back and listen to them I am instantly reminded of all the reasons why I am glad that I discovered them. Music has a way of bringing forth forgotten memories. You can hear a song and be transported back in time to where you were when you heard a song for the very first time. That feeling is one of my most favorite feelings in the world. Even if the memory that I’m submerged into is a bad memory. The way that music can take over your entire mind, body and spirit is immaculate.

The R&B tune, “Where Were You” by Urban Mystic is one of those songs that I have no idea how or when I first heard it. Which is a little ironic though because the song is all about remembering where you were when specific events occurred in your life. Some examples include: “when you first heard Biggie and Pac and you knew you were blessed with the best of hip-hop,” “the happiest moment of your life,” “a fresh pair of timbs,” “when you first love was true,” “when Shaq left the Magic and a season later met with Kobe at the Lakers,” or “when you first got your two-way pager.”

I do pride myself on my memory. I believe I am a modest person, but when it comes to my memory I will be very bold about how great it is. I get it from my mama. There are a TON of songs in my iTunes library where I remember a lot of details about them. Let’s take a walk down memory lane together.

Track 1. Since I Seen’t You by Anthony Hamilton — I was with my dad’s cousin driving on Alma in Palo Alto. I had never heard the song before so I was lowkey spacing out while the music was playing. All of a sudden my cousin started chuckling to himself and saying to me, “did you hear that?” I hadn’t. He played the track back to me and he said, “okay listen for the chorus.” When I heard Anthony Hamilton’s lyrics to the chorus (and later, the title of the song) I had to chuckle to myself as well. The song itself is really good! It’s definitely one of my favorite tracks and I love Anthony’s voice. Every time I hear this song I smile and think of my cousin.

Track 2. Drop A Dime by Kooley High — The first time I heard this song, I just so happened to be watching the music video. I only watched it to the halfway mark before turning it off. For whatever reason the song didn’t grab my attention until a few days later. Something about either the song or the music video popped back up in my mind and I was drawn to it. I, then, spent the next few minutes trying to remember where I had seen the link to the video or who the group was or what the song was called. Eventually, I re-found Kooley High and re-watched the video in it’s entirety. I proceeded to download the mixtape Kooley High Presents: David Thompson and it is now one my favorite mixtapes. Every track on that tape is dope and I hope I get the chance to see them perform live sometime soon.

Track 3. It Kills Me by Melanie Fiona — At the time, my current boyfriend (now, ex) and I were driving in San Jose. We had just left an Ethiopian restaurant and were driving back towards the freeway. This song came on the radio, at that moment I heard the pain in her voice coupled with the lyrics and I quickly realized she was singing about all the things I felt in that relationship with him. As I was lost in the meaning of the song and all the feelings I had, he began to make fun of the chorus: “and it kills me, to know how much I really love you. So much I wanna ooooooh ooooooh oooooooh to yoooou ooooooh ooooooh.” He thought that part was so ridiculous. Asking me why didn’t she just say what she wanted to do to him? That outburst by him, reminded me where I was and what “role” I needed to play in that situation. I knew if I admitted to liking the song, that that would have led to another conversation that I really didn’t want to have. So, instead, I laughed it off with him. Now when I hear this song, I’m reminded of that car ride and all the feelings that I hid from him and more importantly, from myself. (Side note: If you know me now, you know that I rarely hide my feelings. This is a good thing.) I’m happy I’m now able to have the freedom to listen to this song (among others) and sing along to the lyrics and enjoy it.

Track 4. My Mind by J-Stalin — I used to listen to the radio a lot more frequently than I do now. But during my radio-listening times, I listened to a popular Bay Area station, 106.1 KMEL. One night, I had just left a friend’s house and heard the last few minutes of an on air interview with Bay Area rapper, J-Stalin. They were discussing his recently released mixtape, Gas Nation, and this was one of the songs they played to help promote the tape. If you’re new to Bay Area music, I suggest checking out this tape. And if you’re not new to Bay Area music, I suggest checking out this tape. And if you’re not new to Bay Area music and already have the tape…I suggest bringing it back one time! And think of me when you hear this track.

Track 5. Think It Over by Bilal — I first heard the acoustic version of this song via a YouTube recording of him singing for a small crowd at a store in NYC. Later, for his album, Airtights Revenge, he re-worked the song and created a final version of it; however, I prefer the original YouTube version I heard. There is something about the first version of a song that I can’t get over. I know it’s like reading a rough draft of an essay and then not fully enjoying or appreciating the final draft, but I can’t help it. That’s just my style, I guess. Anyways, the quality of the song isn’t the best but it’s his voice and the fact that he’s pouring his heart out into the music that traps me. It is a sad song, about loving and losing and the possibility of a second chance at loving again. I later saw another YouTube video of him singing the song live and before the song starts he says, “it’s about a little girl that just broke my fucking my heart and I tried to do all I could to get her back.”

Track 6. I’ll Be Long Gone by Boz Scaggs — It was New Year’s Eve night in 2007 and I had just been broken up with by a boyfriend and was feeling pretty down. I was supposed go over to a friend’s house for a NYE party. But given the circumstances, I wasn’t feeling it. My mom came into my room and asked, “have you ever heard this song called ‘I’ll Be Long Gone’ by Boz Scaggs?” I hadn’t. She proceeded to play the song for me and it began to lift my sprits. It was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. It is a song about not waiting around for somebody to make up their mind about you, and instead to make up your mind about yourself and “get up and make your [my] life shine.” In that moment, the song really hit home for me. That night I put on a dress, wore my hair down, put some make up on, met up with my friends and went to the party; that New Years Eve was, and still is, my most memorable New Years Eve celebration. I’ve been making my life shine since then.

Now you know where I was. So, I want to ask you a question, Where Were You? Feel free to post a reply. 🙂

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