The Cover Girls
One day during the end of the summer, perhaps ironically, I was walking to the nearest grocery store to buy the chips and salsa that has become the main staple of my diet. As I walked up to cross Jeffrey, a BUSTED white 90s Ford pulled up to the intersection, containing about four Mexicans. Dude at the wheel was glaring out of the window with the customary "MOTHAFUCKA YOU LOOKIN' AT SUMTHIN'" expression that many of us minorities probably learn in grade school, somewhere between subtraction and the meaning of Kwanzaa (Umoja = Unity), and girl in the passenger was staring straight ahead with a standard "Betta be street if he lookin' at me" face. Naturally, included in this whole scene were some pavement-shaking jams, coming out of the car; however, this was not standard earthquake music.
I wasn't really then considering what appeared to me the incongruity of the scene, so much as I was trying to figure out what the fuck this music was. I knew that I knew it, somewhere in the deep long-ago of my heart, but I didn't know what the fuck it was. Since I didn't catch any of the lyrics, and there is not yet any search engine that allows you to "dooo doo dooo" into a microphone and match that shit to a song, I scoured the internets in vain.
Until one day I was watching the latest installment of Pot Psychology and I had much the same reaction to the clip's background music. I googled the lyrics and discovered that the song was "I Wanna Be The One" by Stevie B. More importantly, I discovered that Stevie B. was considered something called "Freestyle."
If you grew up on B96 like me, then I might seem pretty late with this, but Freestyle is a genre of music that was popular with latino communities in the late 80s/early 90s, and cultural curator B96 bumped that shit hard as hell. The aesthetic of it is pretty much like this:
I can say without an ounce of irony that Freestyle is fucking awesome. There's just something insanely appealing about the excessive glitz and flare of the music. Debbie Deb is delivering lyrics like "The guys look really fine/they almost blew my mind/the guys look really good/just like I knew they would," without an ounce of self-consciousness. It's just about real life: going to the disco, the dance floor being filled with hot guys, dancing till you bag one, the great struggle that defines all of our lives. Mad depth Debbie, mad depth.
My friend Daniel used to tell me how his mom would play "Diamond Girl" by Nice and Wild, another Freestyle gem, at the end of every single party she threw at their house, like one of those zany idiosyncratic moms in some indie coming of age story. Isn't that awesome? Do you think I should ask Mrs. Gardunio if I can look at her record collection, in search of more gems? Would that be weird?