Nineteen hundred and nineties, son.

Blase. Super blase, is probably how I would best describe myself. Just in my own world, marching “in my own parade”, ya know…live. Such was the attitude of the 90s, in my opinion. Remember the youthful exuberance and colors that we represented daily? Karl Kani, Cross Colors, Girbaud, Levis, Calvin Klein, GUCCI, COACH, CHANEL, NIKE, Jordan, Reebok, FILA, ADIDAS, PUMA, LUGZ, Nautica, Polo, GAP, GUESS, Tommy, FUBU, Timbs, et cetera, et cetera. We were similar to the youth(teens) today, in cliques and squads. I not too fondly remember the oversized white tees, and the Parker denim joints that the chicks rocked in the 90s. But I just miss how people switched it up. Nowadays, guys aim for say, the “hipster” look. It’s not a bad look…if it’s natural. Go out enough, and you’ll most likely see a guy out in a social setting that looks as if he spent an hour getting dressed. The same goes for the “rock star” look, too. Not too long ago, many of my friends said it was lame, and was “some white boy shit”. But because of a video and Dwayne backing the steelo…yikes. It just seems that now, too many young people (ages 14 through even 27) are susceptible to fads. What’s trendy. What’s hot. Dope. Fresh. Expensive. The styles aren’t different, and the brands are expensive for no reason. For some reason, I always thought it was weird that people my age (24) were infatuated with the 80s. After all, we were born in either 1984 or 1985. How could we be so into a decade that ended with some of us in kindergarten? We remember MC Hammer, Salt N Pepa, A Tribe Called Quest, Snoop, Jay, Big, Nas, Pac, Mary J.(hungry Mary J.), Groove Theory, TLC, Aaliyah, Naughty By Nature, Bone Thugs and Harmony, Do or Die, Ice Cube, Wu-Tang, Outkast, Dr. Dre, Main Source, Camp Lo, NWA, Soul 2 Soul, Tribe, Monica, Brandy, En Vogue, Tevin Campbell, et cetera, et cetera. 90s. The platter seemed to have a greater variety. And not just quantity; but high-quality, too. People were cool because they liked what they liked, for the most part. While there was PLENTY of pressure to be “popular”, I’m glad I’m not a teenager anymore. Social lives of today’s teenagers are hectic. My cousin, 16 years old (and a resident of the A) has an iPhone, and complained to me about her “Echofon actin’ crazy” this morning. Facebook beefs? For a 16 year-old girl, yes. Tumblr, and wordpress.com stats, YouTube videos, spring break trips…I’m her outlet. To be honest, I don’t know how she does it. When I was 16, there was really no “in” website to be a part of. None of us (to my knowledge) blogged, frequented chatrooms, or used instant messaging services. Some of us had phones, and some of us had cars. Yeah, in my high school, people that lacked were sometimes on the butt end of jokes, but there wasn’t as much external pressure to…belong. Gangs of pretty chicks that went to my high school, there were. However, I don’t remember half of them attempting to be models. I knew a number of guys that could spit a bar here or there, but I don’t recall so many that have decided to prematurely call it a career. There was really no “in” brand, or “in” shoe, or style, be it fashion or entertainment. Whether it was Phat Farm, Martin, In Living Color, Ecko, Maurice Malone, Sean John, 106th & Park (AJ & Free), Starter jackets, Jackass, Ren & Stimpy, Saturday morning cartoons and cartoons, period (the glory days), ski goggles, Playstation, Game Boy, the BOX, whatever…we were just more free to simply enjoy what we wanted to enjoy, for the most part. I do see different when I look at teenagers today, bit I mostly see an attempt to be different. The blame shouldn’t be placed squarely on them. This is, after all, a digital age. If you’re on your cell or smart phone, watching cable tv, or browsing high-speed internet, it’s hard to not be influenced in some way. To be 15, 16 years old with all that is available should be an advantage. Yet, I just don’t see the brightness and vibrance of today’s youth (I consider myself “relatively” young) that would indicate what some “experts” say is a more liberal generation. What makes it sadder is to come across old friends, and see that they’ve basically fallen victim to the mainstream. To come from a decade where it was cool to rock a shiny suit, doorknocker earrings, Reebok Pumps, British Knights, leggings, and acid stonewashed jeans to a day where monotony seemingly rules out everywhere. It’s even more important now to be popular, and that even (for some) dictates where they go and what they do. Controlled growth. Self-inflicted limitations. Feeling that because of where you live, or because of the people that you associate with or school you attend, or where you work…that you can’t be free to find your niche. It was once unique to see skater and emo kids. The goth kids and the jocks. The pretty, prissy chicks, and the not so pretty and prissy ones. My feeling is that now, the way fads come in waves, it’s no longer much of a shock to see a guy with black fingernail polish and chains hanging from his jeans. I’ve seen that look in SOUTH SHORE, Chicago. The music. Tv. Movies. Clothes. Even the hair, in some cases. It just doesn’t “pop” the way it used to. The little things just don’t grab my eye the way they did when I was younger. I find that rather heartbreaking, seeing as how I’d get a system overload trying to sort through all that is today’s music, tv, cinema, and fashion. There’s a Crucial Conflict song, aptly titled, “Life Ain’t The Same”. Word. P.S. I miss Karen!!! P.P.S. #shoutout to everybody still caught up in the Native Tongues Movement…


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