Ever since 5th grade, I have been making my own choices regarding what music to buy and listen to. Before this, I was heavily influenced by the music taste of one of my best friends at the time, an avid classic rock listener, and my father. My friend advised me to check out AC/DC, Aerosmith, and Pink Floyd, which I did. I enjoyed the hits on the records, but it wasn’t quite the right sound for me. My dad would play his music in the car, but I didn’t appreciate the classical and latin sounds enough to take them in as my own.
MTV music videos and the use of a Sony CD player changed the game and played a crucial role in my household. I was introduced to hip-hop music through the NBA Live 2003 soundtrack and I followed up by watching music videos every Sunday. Perhaps it was the beats, the flows, or simply the fact that my parents didn’t approve of the music that made me listen to this genre more than any other. The first hip-hop record I ever purchased was Will Smith’s Lost & Found. I don’t remember specifically why I chose this album, but at least it got me started with a collection.
My music taste during middle school was terrible in hindsight. First off, I went to three different middle schools in three different cities and I had to make friends from scratch every time. Middle school is a time of trying to fit in, and the way I thought I could fit in was by listening to Soulja Boy and Lil Wayne. I had a flip phone full of Soulja Boy tracks and spoofs of his songs (Crank Dat Aqua Man, Crank Dat Spider Man)… not a good look. I’d download all of Lil Wayne’s mixtapes and fill up my iTunes with Da Drought, Dedication — all those mixtape series. I didn’t know any better and I wasn’t being myself.
In ninth grade, I was introduced to classic hip-hop by my friend Nicolas Martinez: Nas, The Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z. Nick and his friend Andres were creating hip-hop songs and sharing them with friends around the same time that another friend, Cory, suggested I try recording some verses. I took this hobby of writing and recording most seriously in 10th grade, when I had a mixing engineer for a friend, but it has remained in my life since then. I was influenced by Drake, Eminem, and Mac Miller, all artists who had a huge career during my high school years and continue to remain relevant today.
During college, I found myself listening heavily to “on the come up” or underground artists: G-Eazy, Dylan Owen, Kinetics & One Love, Huey Mack, Hoodie Allen, Mike Stud, etc. These are the types of artists that you hear on YouTube and have recommended videos for each other’s music. I liked the idea of following these guys on Twitter and watching them evolve as musicians. Cris Cab, a reggae and pop musician, was an artist I listened to extensively after being introduced to him by my friend Jose. I met Cris Cab backstage after one of his concerts in Coconut Grove which was the only time I’ve ever had VIP access to a show. It was cool to say hello and take a picture.
This past year, a new genre of music that was previously introduced into my life has remained on rotation and will continue to stay on rotation: electronic dance music, or EDM. My interest in this type of music originally came from two sources: my brother and clubs. I noticed my brother had branched out and started listening to more diverse types of music at the same time that I started going out more often. Hip-hop and EDM music both have motivated me to give DJing a shot which has been nothing less than awesome for my life. I’ll be writing another post about this topic shortly.
So, what am I listening to today? I listen to a ton of hip-hop music, ranging from Dr. Dre to Meek Mill to G-Eazy to Future to Kanye. Additionally, I listen to alternative rock, EDM, latin, pop, and R&B. I’m glad I could be well-rounded in my taste of music but I do appreciate that hip-hop and EDM both play a major role in my life, both as a music lover and aspiring DJ.
Here are my favorite artists by age:
Age 9 Green Day
Age 10 Eminem
Age 11 Young Jeezy
Age 12 WWE Theme Music
Age 13 Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em / Lil’ Wayne
Age 14 Nas
Age 15 Drake
Age 16 Mac Miller
Age 17 Logic
Age 18 J. Cole / Cris Cab
Age 19 G-Eazy
Age 20 OnCue
Age 21 Skizzy Mars