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August 24, 2010

Truth Topics...The Introduction

Chan.Lo. note:

I've been playing with ideas for this blog as well as features that will be implemented when www.chan-lo.com launches in the Fall. One thing that was notably absent was a lack in personal features that cater to the original goals of SBNP and Chan-lo.com. While we are all about our business, I believe its important for you, as our readers, to receive a glimpse into our thoughts. Therefore, I've added another creative mind to the writing team. Kenny Masenda is wonderful writer, super-duper sports fan, and an all around stand-up guy. He's written original works on his own blog (I Got Soul) and he also contributes heavily to the sensational sports blog: www.edthesportsfan.com .

Peep the piece below and say hello to Business Personal. :)

The Old Days Are Gone

It seemed like a dream, because it was simply too good to be true. An arena packed with concert-goers danced, sang along, and rejoiced in old times. Even though the scene was recent, the elements involved made it feel like so long ago. There were old-school dance moves, simplistic lyrics, and nostalgia abound. This was the scene at the Verizon Center about two months ago, at the New Jack Swing concert. That night, I felt like I was back in middle school and high school all over again. Montell Jordan kicked it off, with SWV, Dougie Fresh, Bell Biv Devoe, and Blackstreet following soon after. Honestly, anytime one of them sang a song, I was able to put myself back in that time, at a certain event, and the feeling was beyond anything I experienced in a long time, if ever.

There were school dances, walks home, parties at the skating rink, basketball games, you name it. As much as I enjoyed it, it was also a sign that my childhood, as well as others of folks my age, is long gone, and waiting for a time like that to be duplicated is the worst exercise in futility any of us can engage in.

There were times when complaints about today's R&B flowed out of my mouth relentlessly. It seemed perfectly normal to compare what folks listen to not to what we listened to in the other days, and see absolutely nothing wrong with doing so. After a while though, it just hit me that times are different. In that era, simplicity was in, and folks were able to enjoy it to no end, because the music was just that good. It spoke to us, through us, and for us. When a youngster had trouble articulating his feeling to a girl he had a crush on, he just played a song off the radio, and he won. It wasn't even corny to do it then, and even the few detractors you had didn't matter, because the majority would let you make it anyway.

Take a minute, and just think about some of the 90's R&B groups. You had Boyz II Men, Jodeci, Silk, Shai, Blackstreet. Hell, you even had Dru Hill, and lets be for real; Dru Hill, as good as they were, could never be put in the same category, in terms of greatness as Jodeci, Silk, or even a Shai, but if you put Dru Hill in today's R&B climate? Those cats would be as big, or bigger, than anyone doing it, yet they were middle-of-the-pack back then. They would be considered legendary, yet you can look at the old day, and since there was so much talent to go around, they're remembered as good, but not great. By no mean is it a knock on them, it just lets you know how fortunate of a time it was that we grew up in.

The same goes for individual artists. Who are considered today's stars of R&B? Pick one, two, or even three of them. Take those three and put them in the 90's and see how they would hold up. Do we see what these artists are up against? Even those who were considered average back then would be top-notch now! Once I began to look at my comparisons like that, my energy to rail against the new regime died.

The best today's R&B artists can do is forge their own path. Attempting to be as good as the golden years of R&B is like someone trying to be the next Jordan. It's impossible, and while they may have a little moment or two, they'll eventually crumble under the expectation and the weight that comes with the responsibility.

For me, the old days are gone, and that concert, on that night, with that crowd of people singing, dancing, and rejoicing confirmed it for me. Fans and lovers of 90's R&B can always turn back the clock and listen to how it once was, but waiting for today to be anywhere near yesterday will be the worst mistake any of us can ever make.

-K. Masenda

Make sure to check out Kenny's work and visit him on Twitter @soulonice6

Peace. Love. Life.



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