Life, Love and Hip Hop. Summer 1986

Growing up as a youth of the hip hop generation in the eighties and nineties was a very stimulating experience. Hip hop was still fresh, new and experimental. One of my earliest recollections of my introduction to hip hop music and culture came from an unlikely place during an unlikely time in the Summer of 1986.

Every summer as small children we were whisked away down south to spend the majority of the summer at our Grandparents house in Dermott, Arkansas along with most all of our cousins. For the most part, as a small child my summers were filled with running through cornfields, searching for snakes, rumbling through Grandma’s garden, getting whoopings with switches for eating Grannies teacakes, childish mischief or following along with Granddad in his tractor as he worked the cotton fields. Everyday was quite satisfying tagging along with the elders and exploring about. Out of all of the children down south I was one of the youngest cousins so as the bigger children played and the teenagers ran around town I for the most part hung with my Grandparents. 

My Aunt Carolyn, affectionately known as Aunt Cat lived in Little Rock, Arkansas and would come down from time to time with my older cousins Tasha, Calvin and Corey which was always a good time. For some reason I felt a deep connection with those three and a sense of security as a little kid flowed through me when they were around. One day we were riding from Dermott to Little Rock and my cousin Corey had recently bought the cassette single for Run DMC’s “Walk this way” featuring Aerosmith. He pleaded with my Aunt and Uncle to put the tape into the cassette deck and eventually they obliged and let Corey jam out along the ride back home. As for myself my mind was blown.

As i sat on one of my cousins laps in the rear seat of my Uncle’s 2 door coupe the sounds of the Aerosmith guitar riffs infiltrated every fiber of my being. The raps of Run DMC were coming at me too fast to understand but what i did know was that with every line my cousin Corey was next to me going nuts! This alone was exciting enough to keep me engaged. We played that tape over and over until we reached our destination and with that my love for rap and hip hop music was birthed.

To be continued.

Author: Armstrong Ransome

I break bread, ribs and hundred dollar bills.

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