As I start writing this I'm disappearing to 311's 8-16AM. I haven't listened to this song in probably 10 years. Something sparked my memory of 311 and here I am at 2AM reliving my musical history. My shabby memory comes up with Bobby Darin, Queen, Pearl Jam, Tesla, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and many others whose songs I remember even though I can't recall the band.
Initially my music was a mix of my parents' and sister's tastes. The first tapes I owned were MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice. That's what played on the radio so that's what I wanted. Then I moved cross-country from west to east. Music disappeared to me. Replaced by a growing love of computers, video games, and technology in general. I buried myself in the sounds of my modem occasionally interrupted by those sounds coming from the speakers downstairs.
It wasn't until high school that I started paying attention to music again. Cake's Fashion Nugget came out with The Distance. My friends were repeating lyrics and I started paying attention. Then Beastie Boys came out with Hello Nasty. We were already hooked on the craziness of Sifl and Olly and Final Fantasy VII so the Intergalactic video drew us (or at least me) in.
High school is a fast time. Things come and go. Thinking about it now it's kind of frightening how quickly my tastes changed and how those tastes influenced my work at any given time. By today I've written detailed descriptions of fault-tolerant, geographically distributed, clustered filesystems, yet I'm still quite proud of the high school paper I wrote comparing One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to Metallica's Sanitarium. One of the very few A+'s I received in my educational career.
My time with Metallica was short lived. I found 311. I know exactly who introduced me and if I could I would thank him and buy him a beer right now. The 311 catalog sort of dominated the last year of high school for me and reintroduced me to hip-hop (or introduced me.. I wouldn't really consider Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer, and the 69 Boyz modern hip-hop).
After high school I spent a year and a half or so working at Tower Records. For someone with a burgeoning respect for music this was like a sucker punch to the face. Suddenly I heard it all. All at once. Classical, rap, rock and jazz (both in more forms than should be legal). Maybe it was the 311 but I came out of it with a serious love of hip-hop. Tribe, De La, Aesop, Slug, Count Bass, etc, etc,etc, vocals became an instrument to me. That's the best explanation of hip-hop/rap I have. The voice is another instrument, not necessarily meant to be interpreted as words.
Today I find myself enjoying a small range of hip-hop and producers still kind of stuck in my Tower days. Like People Under the Stairs, MF DOOM, Nightmares on Wax, RDJ2, Wax Tailor. I've found some great stuff on the GB forums like Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music (loved Monster years ago) and hope to bring myself back into the music I love so much.
Listening to 8-16 AM tonight just about brought me to tears. Think what you will of 311, it brings me back. Music is an important part of history and I hope everyone here at Giant Bomb has a bit of music in their own history. I still love Bobby Darin's Mack the Knife.