I spent another hour yesterday downloading the dirtiest, dumbest and most appalling gangster rap I could find and promptly uploaded it onto my iPod Shuffle. That’s what I call walking music. Great motivational music for walking to work every morning, or even busting my love handles at the gym.
As for the mental stimulation? Not so much.
I’m aghast at the music I listen to these days. And on purpose, no less. My reasoning is this: My life is just a little too mundane to listen to music that reflects my experience. I listen to rap for the same reason one watches action movies — yeah, none of its plausible or familiar to my experience, but it sure is entertaining. (Go with it.)
I don’t walk anywhere without my iPod or iPhone playing. I could go all 1950s and listen to the ambiance that is urban life, but I like having that buffer between me and the world. Music isn’t a disconnect — it’s an enhancement. If you don’t believe me, try walking somewhere today with Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams” playing:
Well, I’m challenging myself to do better starting today. Here forth, I’m going with National Public Radio as my walking companion.
I did so yesterday. Listened to a couple of archived clips from NPR’s fancy app for the iPhone. Maybe not so ironically, I listened to an essay about how rapper Lil’ Wayne’s pending incarceration is part of a larger business model. Then, I listened to an interview with Joel Kotkin, the author of The Next Hundred Million: American in 2050, where he claimed the Midwest would see population growth in areas like Fargo, Des Moines and, my hometown, Sioux Falls.
And you know what? It was compelling radio. Truly. It was satisfying in the way finishing a book is. I was engaged and walked away feeling I had truly learned something. Not only that, in each case, I wanted to take part in the dialogue. Can’t say I get that feeling from Young Jeezy.
Now, time doesn’t always permit me to listen to an uninterrupted hour of NPR, so from now until March 16, I plan on listening to at least five archived segments per day. This will inevitably influence some of my postage, as well, but I promise to not write about anything that originated on NPR without embedding the clip I listened to. OK, reader?
I don’t want to undermine the value of gangster rap music. It has its place. Somewhere. But I’m wondering if there’s some correlation between the amount of rap I listen to and my flippant use of profanity. It seems almost impossible to not regurgitate the language you take in daily. Think about all the jargon you use that comes from your workplace. These are the reasons I use terms like “transparency,” “time management,” “efficiency” and “punk-ass bitch.” You are what you eat and you say what you hear.
Thoughts? How does the music you listen to affect you?
To the comments section! Now!