I love Throwback Thursday. Mostly because I love to reminisce and share pictures of when I used to be fat. Which was basically like 5 years ago. Hooray at no longer being chubby Eric. But perhaps the biggest reason why I enjoy Throwback Thursday, or #tbt as the kids call it, is because it gives me an excuse to share and talk about the music from years gone by.
Making playlists around eras or years is one of my favorite activities. I’m pretty much a DJ. One look at my Spotify profile and you’ll find playlists names “JuCo 2005-2007” “HS Hits 2001-2005” and “2005”.
We all know that music has the powerful ability to reconnect you with the past. That’s why you always hear people say “ah yes, I remember where I was when I first heard…”.
Making a #tbt playlist is more powerful and more emotive when the songs are grouped by era or time in your life. It’s weird having a song that reminds you of going to grandmas house when you were little followed by a song that takes you back to the time you had sex in your car. It’s awkward.
The only qualification I have in this field is that I’ve made a lot of playlists throughout my life. A lot. The other day, I got a text from my buddy Aaron, telling me that he was listening to our “Sexy Party Mix Vol. III” Mixtape. We made that in December of 2004! Eleven years ago! Ah!
So for this week’s #tbt, I won’t post fat pictures or pics of me bumming it around the world. No, rather I will share a playlist from an important era in my life: The Bridgewood Era, circa 2004-2007.
Now, the Bridgewood Era deserves it’s own post or perhaps it’s own book. But I’ll summarize it here. During our junior year of high school my buddy Tyler got his own house. No, he didn’t hit the lottery or anything like that. Rather his mom moved in with her boyfriend and left him the house.
For about four years, our group of friends bounced in and out of the house on 2005 Bridgewood Way. It was our meeting point and our base of operations. Although only Tyler lived there, in a way, it was everyone’s home.
As Sean put it; “…it was the first place that we got to be more independent. We all had good times, bad times, average days. But that was the first spot where we lived it up, and figured it out with the homies. As many brain cells as we killed there, we learned a lot.”
We also listened to a lot of rap at the Bridgewood garage. And with so much of our conversations centered around new albums, hot mixtapes and sick rappers, it’s only right that we compose a list of those tunes.
For the most part, these songs came out between 2004 and 2007 or roughly one World Cup cycle.
1. Cam’Ron “Get Em Girls”
I still have no clue what Cam’ron’s rhymes mean. I don’t think anyone does. But for a solid five years, every mix CD that I made had to have a Cam’ron song on it. This was one of them.
2. Nas “Thief’s Theme”
Eddie gave me a copy of “Street’s Disciple” during our senior year. It cemented our friendship and started a beautiful thing. We had played football together and hung out a few times. But once he handed me that double disc in Mrs. Freeman’s class, I knew we were homies. So hi Bunz! This one’s for you.
3. T.I. “Front Back” ft. UGK
T.I. is the epitome of hustle. Listening to KING made me want to go out and get fucking paid. I’ve never sold drugs in my life, but listening to this album and to this song, sure made me feel like I had.
4. Kanye West “Touch The Sky”
I gave Tyler a leaked version of Late Registration for his birthday on August 19th, 2005. That’s how important this song and this album are to me, I remember where I was when the album first leaked, when I first listened to it, and how many people I gave it to. Kanye’s second effort was like a soundtrack to our first summer out of high school. Any song off that album could have gone here.
5. MURS “H-U-S-T-L-E”
MURS was probably the first relatable rapper I ever listened to. He was rapping about real life, everyday mundane shit. And he made it sound incredible. Take a listen to “H-U-S-T-L-E”, he’s talking about bagging groceries and selling incense and he raps about it like he’s recounting dealing coke or selling arms in the middle east. Most of the rappers on this playlist are genuine and talented. But for a bunch of dirty, lower middle class kids, only MURS was relatable.
6. E-40 “Tell Me When To Go” ft. Kanye West and Ice Cube
When the remix came out, some internetz people said that Kanye on the track gave E-40 legitimacy. No. The bay has a long and storied hip-hop history. But Kanye’s inclusion gave the track a different bounce and somehow made it more fun. Then Ice Cube gets on it and reminds listeners that he’s still from Compton. Sick.
7. Lil Wayne “Go DJ”
As we were going through high school, Lil Wayne was climbing the top of the rap world. So in a way, it’s like we came of age with Weezy. After all, we drank lean and partied with hella girls. And by “lean” I mean “chew spit” and by “hella girls” I mean “with way too many dudes.” So yea, we had nothing in common with Wayne.
8. Rich Boy “Throw Some D’s”
Not sure what happened, but for a cool minute Rich Boy had all the makings to be the next big thing. You know your song is hot when Lil Jon, The Game and Andre 3000 hop on the remix. AND you know you’re on to something when Kanye does his own version of the track. Although Rich Boy could never really build on the success of his debut album, this stands out as one of the best songs of 2006.
9. Diddy “Come To Me”
There was no way the homies would ever let me play this song at the bridge. But secretly, I loved it. And whenever it came on the radio, I would belt out the lyrics like a 15 year old girl at the Drake concert. It was my guilty pleasure. Hell, it still is.
10. Cipse “Grindin”
Okay, “Grindin” came out in like 2002. We were Freshmen. But you know what? “Grindin” is timeless. It’s forever. We will be tapping pencils on picnic tables at our kid’s birthday parties.
The Bridge was a special time for me and my friends. We did mostly stupid shit, but then again what could one expect from a bunch of 17-19 year olds. We also learned a lot, as we got our first taste of independence before our classmates even took off to college.
I miss those days and these songs take me back to playing dominoes, chewing tobacco, throwing parties, playing Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2002 and coming of age with my best friends.
So this playlist is for anyone who ever passed out or threw up at Tyler’s House.