It’s been almost a month since I’ve posted something fresh on flowsfordays. Perhaps it was writer’s block, or something larger, but nonetheless here I am with a full editorial. This one is special to me, and the most significant to my history with music.
The first post on FFD was a welcome to the site via Weezy F. Baby, an artist that stole my heart via Limewire, Datpiff, music magazines that I still own today, and burned CD’s that I couldn’t help making every single week. A few years ago I wrote about How Mixtape Weezy Turned My Hip Hop Love Affair Into A Full Blown Marriage. A heavy claim, but an accurate one. I was 13 years old when I got my first Mac, and 13 and a half when I started adding music to my iTunes like a maniac. I thank my brother for introducing me to Limewire and the joy of searching for rare freestyles, remixes, singles, and full albums (or mixtapes) that dropped way before its street release date. It was then that I found Datpiff.com and saw Lil Wayne take over the front page with official tapes, bootlegs, one offs, and pure freestyles. Downloading music was a rush, and I became addicted from the jump. I downloaded from Limewire, Datpiff, random ‘illegal’ sites, and whatever else I came across. If I was even remotely interested in the artist I’d hit the DL, drag and drop, and feel a sense of power when it hit my library.
I still have that computer, and often look through the music I accumulated to remember the days when you had to WORK to find the good stuff. As I got older I became smarter, frequenting libraries to check out CD’s by the bundle to then put into my disc drive and download. I kept this secret from my friends and family, knowing damn well they wouldn’t give two fucks. It felt like a sacred act that only belonged to me. I received my first iPod at age 14 and went bananas. The music I played and organized obsessively at home could now travel with me wherever I went. I could share this music with friends, and even better, play it as often as possible. Homeroom, study hall, bathroom breaks, bus rides to away basketball games…there were no limits or bounds.
My obsession with collecting music reached new heights when I received my first laptop Freshman year of high school. Now I could travel with my iPod AND my laptop. I could download new music off my laptop, then plug in my iPod, and the latest downloads would hit my mobile device. I did homework from time to time, but my focus was on perfecting tags, organization, playlists, and acquiring more music. I graduated with a poor GPA which still doesn’t bother me for a multitude of reasons. I went to an outrageous private school with the wealthiest and most entitled human beings I’ve ever met. The homework load and the expectations put on us were laughable at best, and I never gave in to their idea of intelligence. What really mattered to me was how involved I had become with music. Later on this would give me the courage to transfer to an artists school and major in music business. I ended up graduating with a 3.4 GPA.
The idea of ‘downloading music’ is rarely mentioned these days as Spotify, Apple Music, and other streaming sites only require a push of a button to add music to your library. I often wish Spotify never caught on because Apple had to follow suite and other brands and companies had to compete. Also – the rush is gone. We are in an age of ‘if you want it you can have it’ – taking away the game I loved and grew up with.