I Remember Blackness: Mixtapes & Countdowns

I’m an 80’s baby, with late 80’s and 1990’s experiences! One of the biggest things that engulfed my childhood was music. It was always music! One of my favorite things to do when I was in 5th grade was to make mixtapes.

Oh, yes!

I remember buying blank CD’s and stalking my favorite radio station–MAJIC 108!–and waiting for my favorite song to play. So, that meant I had to keep a blank tape in my radio (which was Panasonic!), and when my song would come on? I would smash that Record and Play buttons together and record. Oh, the hand-eye coordination had to become a superpower! The thing is with blank tapes is that they pick up background noise as well! So it you weren’t careful, you would have your favorite song with your Daddy screaming your name in the background!

But it was amazing! And don’t let it be a video of your favorite artist?! Then you have to position the radio just so to make sure it wasn’t muffled and you get everything! Moreover, the best blank cassettes to tape on were Maxwells! It was a science to this, man! Then, if you were to go the library and check out a cassette (Hush! I told you that I was 40!), you could dub the cassette and take it back if you knew someone that had another radio you could use!

When I was in middle school, Friday nights were so much fun for me! I got to stay up late, and I got to watch two things: YO! MTV RAPS and the Top 20 Countdown on BET. So, in order to get in on the conversations on Monday, I had to know who was hot on the Countdown.

I HAD to know!

I suppose this is one of reasons I enjoy my Apple Music so much. It is a throwback to me being that happy 10-year-old dancing in the mirror with my Sony Walkman in my grandmother’s basement like I was Janet Jackson with my favorite song on repeat. This time I can just hit the Back button rather than flipping a tape over, Fast Forward, flip it back over and play the song again.

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