Do you remember riding in the backseat of your parent’s car as a young kid in the 90’s? The windows down, wind hitting your face, and the vibration of the speaker wrapping itself around your spine. Your dad is driving as your mom rides passenger sporting big bug eye sunglasses and a light wash jean jacket. Your mom sings “you know very well what you are” and immediately after your dad follows up singing “you’re my sugar thing, my chocolate star.”
The words do not register with you at such a young age, but you enjoy the beat and the sight of your parents singing is a funny one. Naturally you harvest this memory as it is one of your earliest and most cherished.
For recent Penn State grad, Troy Smith, this is the exact memory he has from his childhood.
“Music was always playing in my family,” Smith says. “Whether we were driving to the grocery store or getting ready for school, artists like Nas, 2Pac, and LL Cool J were on.”
Fast forward to your freshman year in East Halls, on a Thursday. Your roommate is boasting about how great their “Throwback Thursday” playlist on Spotify is as you begin to get ready for the night. The volume is up and cheap perfume fills the air as the first kick of the bass drum sends vibrations through your black heels.
“It was all dream, I use to read Word Up magazine”
At first you realize how much you enjoy the beat, a slight smile comes over your face as you begin to bob your head back and forth as the bass continues to drop. This vaguely reminds you of something, but you cannot put your thumb on it given that you have not heard this song before. The song continues…
“You know very well who you are…”
Boom! You realize that this must be a remake of the song your parents would listen to as they drove you to daycare. This is the same beat that used to send vibrations through your spine, bringing a genuine memory back for you.
You go on to learn that the Notorious B.I.G.’s song “Juicy” (1993) is a remake of Mtune’s “Juicy Fruit” (1983).
What you probably didn’t realize is that so many of current songs have origins or samplings from songs your parents listened to when they were in college.
Just look at Kanye West’s song “Gold Digger.” To the untrained ear, this song easily could sound like a Yeezy original. However, take a deeper look and you would find that the song samples the melody of “I Got a Woman” by Ray Charles. Which believe it or not is largely based and sampled from “It Must Be Jesus” by The Southern Tones!
Listen closely next time you turn on your favorite pop hit, you might just hear a chorus from your dad’s retro hits.
What goes around always comes back around — even light wash jean jackets.