To be honest, if you're going to New York, Manhattan is probably your travel destination of choice, not the Bronx (unless you're going to see a Yankees game). But on this Music Monday, I give you a Bronx playlist because:
- I have a Bronx tale of my own.
- If you know me, you know I unapologetically love me some rap and hip hop (yes, there is a difference), as incongruous as it may seem.
"Incongruous" I say because, well, I'm a white, upper-middle class, Jewish nerd girl who gets enraged when people misuse semicolons. But I also get enraged when fools call Converse Chucks "shell toes." These are not what shell toes are. So stop.
So, yeah, Jen and I grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, home of "The Wire," and we hung out regularly at the mall where Hae Min Lee worked, but if I'm being honest with myself, we all know that the street cred I get from my proximity to the subjects of "Serial" only goes so far.
In fact, my friend Gavin regularly refers to me as a square. I didn't get properly drunk til college. I've never smoked pot. The only rules I break are of the 3-oz. liquid variety. I'm not straight-edge for any particular reason. That's kind of just how it happened. This is who I am and I really couldn't give less of a fuck if anyone thinks I'm uncool.
Maybe that's because I've done some pretty badass shit regardless. For instance, in college for a journalism class assignment, a classmate and I went on a ride-along with some NYPD officers in the Bronx.
The students in my class paired off, and we each randomly picked a district out of a hat. My partner and I managed to choose what the cops later told us was the most violent square mile in the country (I don't know if this still holds several years later, given the current states of Detroit, Chicago, and *ahem* Baltimore).
And so one Friday night, we headed to the Bronx and found ourselves at a dilapidated police station. We brought them donuts. They were not amused.
Luckily, the cops we were assigned to ride with were cool as hell (and not bad looking either). They handed us each a bulletproof vest, took one look at my boobs and said "Sorry, they don't really make these for women, but you should probably put it on anyway just in case."
In case of what, exactly?
As we cruised around the old Yankee Stadium in a car in need of some major cosmetic help, they patiently answered our journalism student questions, and finally a call came through on the radio for an incident at one of the high-ride buildings in the projects.
We got there, and the partners got out of the car, ready to split up and take opposite stairways.
"You guys can stay in the car if you'd like, but just watch out because sometimes people throw rocks at the police cars."
Ah, so that's why the car looked the way it did.
My partner and I exchanged glances and got the fuck out, each of us pairing up with a cop.
Next thing I knew, they had shut the power off in the building (I don't remember why), an alarm was sounding, and we were running up the stairs of the high rise. Just picture 20-year-old me, panting her way through the projects in the dark, face pale and boobs painfully smashed down in a made-for-a-dude bulletproof vest.
And so went the rest of the night.
So in honor of the birthplace of hip hop and my little college jaunt as a fucking G, enjoy some jamz, mostly old, a little new (with a little dash of West Coast thrown in too).
And remember -- always listen to Lil' Wayne.