Checking Out of the Asylum
I wanted to dance when I was a little kid. Every little kid wants to dance. But I didn't really have a venue for it. (Unless you count church...and that is a different type of dancing and a different conversation.)
The idea of partying and clubbing was really off the radar for me for all practical purposes until I grew all the way up and left home.
I went in the Army and I went to Germany.
It didn't matter to me that the music was different than I imagined myself dancing to. I went out. I danced. You could find me in a club, stone sober at 4 AM in a sweat-drenched T-shirt, picking up whatever the DJ put down.
As much as I had come to enjoy Hip Hop and all of its close cousins by this point, I was turned off by the madness that had emerged around it. The culture that surrounds Hip Hop sometimes is unsavory. As emotionally powerful as the music can be when it is at its best, it goes through phases when the dominant voices in the game spread ignorance and insanity.
(Maybe it's always like that. Maybe the only way to dominate in a world gone mad is to be the maddest of them all.)
In the discotheques where I spent so many nights while I lived in Germany the only context for the music was the club itself. There was no message and agenda except to dance. There were no words that I could understand, just a driving beat and in invitation to come into the moment.
Hip Hop would eventually catch my attention and creative energy again. I entered the mad house where materialism is disguised as aspiration; misogyny is disguised as sexual freedom, and violence is the only source of power.
It's a mad house of made up stories and stories that make us up.
It's sexy and seductive-- the madness usually is. Sometimes you have to check out of the asylum.
These days I spend most of my time standing at the gates of the asylum. Not close enough to make out all the lyrics, but I can see the movement of the bodies. From a distance it looks like they are doing the Nay Nay. And I can feel the beat. That's enough.
Most rappers need to shut the fuck up anyway.
This playlist mirrors my journey from the dance club back to the edge of the asylum.