These aren’t just songs; this is the soundtrack to my thought pattern and mentality towards women. I hear the influence, the feelings of passion, the words and messages that are sent, and the fly, fresh swag. It is everything for me, just as it is for many men. As we combine these influences with the women that we encounter on a day-to-day basis, we learn. Not to mention, some of these songs--all of them, actually--are just fly lovely classics! Some of them are old school hip-hop and soulful R&B, while others are a mixture from women and musicians across the globe, but they are all heartfelt tracks that meant something to the writers, and that something was conveyed and delivered to me as a young man.
Indie Arie: "Brown Skin
Beyonce: “Schoolin Life” and “Upgrade You”
Queen Latifah: “ Unity”
MC Lyte: “Lyte As A Rock” and “Poor Georgie”
Aaliyah: “At Your Best” and “Four Page Letter”
Lauryn Hill: “I Get Out”, “That Thing”, “Nothing Even Matters”
Mary J. Blidge: “Sweet Thang” and “Reminisce”, “Mr. Wrong”
Brandy: “I Wanna Be Down” and “Have You Ever”
Essentially I can go on and on about the music that was the soundtrack to a young black man's life and how that soundtrack taught me so much about women. I learned that they are indeed complex; the same woman that could be singing "I'm Going Down" can turn around and be cold as ice if you push her past that thin line. I learned that some women don't play being called a name. In fact, most women aren't having it, so despite what NWA and my male music idols taught me, I opted to leave that habit before it started. I learned that love and the people involved in it are complex, and women have visions for their lives just as men have visions. Believe or not, as men we have to learn this over time because so much of the world has been shaped by the visions of men, henceforth it caters to men. A woman can "Upgrade You" if she chooses, but you cannot box her in, she will "Get Out" of your boxes, as well she should, and just like "Poor Georgie" I learned that being a "playa" isn't for everybody, maybe not for anybody. There are many more songs and musicians that I could've added to this list--feel free to drop your opinions and comments on the music that helped shaped you.
Header image via www.clashmusic.com