Today is Tunes From the Crypt Episode 3! For those following along, so far in the first two episodes, I focused on the arrival of Heavy Metal music in my life. That path will continue to follow in upcoming episodes, but I’ll be taking a few side paths along the way, discussing other music I listened to as well growing up.
I’ve not been a fan of Hip-Hop or Rap for years. I no longer get much enjoyment out of listening to that style of music. For those who enjoy it, fair enough, but I struggle with even listening to the older stuff that I used to enjoy, let alone trying to wade through the steaming pile of new stuff to find something I’d maybe listen to or enjoy.
I’ve mentioned before that I found a lot of my music through getting CD’s from Columbia House and at the time period I’ll be going through here, that is still the same. But also at this time, movies began to play a larger role in my life as well as my parents getting a satellite dish.
Up to this point, we’d had three TV channels. The arrival of the satellite dish brought us up to close to 50 channels I believe, with a number of them being USA based as well as movie channels. It was a dream come true.
I was no longer stuck with watching only the movies that our neighbour had to rent out, but now there were channels specifically made just to air movies!
Along the way, I discovered a show that helped me find some great R & B, Hip-Hop and Rap. Soul Train. Soul Train had already been in existence for a number of years when I finally found it but it had me mesmerized. I couldn’t believe that a world where people danced and hung out like this existed. Remember – I was from a super small town and the closest town to us didn’t get concerts or anything like that.
One of the first groups I saw on Soul Train that really got me excited was Bell Biv Devo.
Bell Biv Devo – Above the Rim
From Soul Train I began to listen to more Hip-Hop and Rap based soundtracks. One of my favourites was the Mo’ Money soundtrack. I can’t remember if I liked the movie when it came out, but the album stayed in our rotation for some time. Specifically, I loved the Public Enemy song featured on it.
Public Enemy – Get Off My Back
One thing I always found when I did enjoy Rap and Hip-Hop was that I enjoyed a grittier, grimier sound. While 2Pac and N.W.O were hugely popular, as was Dre and Snoop Dogg, I was never really drawn to them. I enjoyed the Janet Jackson-2Pac movie Poetic Justice, but I was a marginal fan of both of their music at best back in the day. I grew to enjoy 2Pac’s music more as I got older, but back then it didn’t really push me to listen to it.
Now one artist that surprised me with a release was MC Hammer and his ‘The Funky Headhunter’ album. I had never been a Hammer fan prior, but when I saw the release available in Columbia House, I ordered it. The interesting thing for me now when I look back, is the number of releases I ordered off of a gut feeling and instinct as Youtube, Spotify and the internet didn’t exist at that time.
MC Hammer – Don’t Stop
Of course at this time with all the new channels available, I began to discover some new sitcoms and from that found some great artists. Where I grew up, two artists lorded over the others. If we weren’t going to be listening to rock or heavier than it was most likely going to be Will Smith or Kriss Kross. I think we all connected with Kriss Kross because of their age. My personal favourite album was their album Da Bomb and that was an album we played frequently.
Kriss Kross – Drop Da Bomb
At the same time, Will Smith was beginning to be the TV star we knew for years to come. His music was always fun and as he didn’t swear we knew we could get away with listening to him whenever our parents were around… because we knew they just don’t understand.
Will Smith – Nightmare on My Street
Now, even at that age, we weren’t immune to the influence of popular culture. My sisters used to watch Mrs Doubtfire all the time. This, of course, was my own introduction to House of Pain.
House of Pain – Jump
Interestingly, I believe this was my first experience with a non-African American group performing Hip-Hop or Rap. From all of these great bands performing fairly different types of the same style of music, I kept exploring.
Another group that really opened my eyes to the variety of Hip-Hop and Rap was Salt-N-Pepa.
The ladies were brash and in your face and when you were a pre-teen boy, having a group of attractive females talk about sex was exciting and felt like a naughty secret we had to hide from our parents.
That wasn’t our favourite song though. We always jammed this one while jumping on the trampoline.
Salt-N-Pepa – Shoop
The last band I’ll discuss was the first band that really talked about something a lot of groups didn’t. When I was younger we didn’t pay attention as much to lyrics. We knew they were talking about real life things, but a 10-year-old kid, living in a town of 100 people in the middle of nowhere in BC, Canada, really didn’t put too much emphasis on the lyrics talking about drive by’s and baby mommas. But we had a lot of hippies/down to earth people and folks who enjoyed some of that wacky tabacky.
So when I first heard Cypress Hill and saw how they really embraced the entire culture around Marijuana I was really intrigued. The first song I ever heard from them was, of course, Insane in the Brain.
Cypress Hill – Insane in the Brain
I began to really engage with the lyrics from bands. I wanted to know what they were talking about. And while I always took time to check out record gatefolds and the booklets in CD’s, I began to explore the lyrics attached more often. It wasn’t just about the stunning artwork anymore.
So we’ll close this episode up here. Until next time, where Tunes From the Crypt will verge off into another side path, this time focusing more on soundtracks!
Steve Stred is an up-and-coming Dark, Bleak Horror author.
Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun and his most recent release was the coming-of-age, urban legend tale The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.
On June 1st, 2019 his second full-length novel, The Stranger will be welcomed to the world.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here
Ahhh… nothing like the annual summer family camping trip, right?
Malcolm, his wife Sam and their two kids have been staying at the same cabin, at the same campground for years now. Heck, Malcolm’s been coming to the campground since he was a kid.
Miles and miles of groomed trails, hiking, kayaking on the pristine lake. What’s not to like?
But this year… well this year’s different. You see, roof repairs have caused them to have to change their plans. Now they’re staying at the cabin at the end of season, in fact they’re the last campers before it closes for the winter.
While happy to be spending time with the family, Malcolm feels a shift.
The caretaker next door makes it known he hates him.
The trees… move and dance, as though calling him, beckoning him.
Then on a seemingly normal kayaking trip, the family makes a discovery.
YOU TAKE FROM ME
I TAKE FROM YOU
Something’s out there, just on the other side of the fence. Malcolm’s positive it’s just the caretaker trying to scare him, teach the family a lesson.
But what if it’s not…
What if there is something out there?
The Stranger is the second novel from Steve Stred and 9th release overall. The Stranger is another offering following in the footsteps of similar books Invisible, YURI and The Girl Who Hid in the Trees. As Steve describes his works; “dark, bleak horror.”
With this release, Steve has decided to look deeper into what makes humans tick. He confronts two key elements of mankind; bigotry and our environmental footprint.
Featuring stunning cover art by Chadwick St. John (www.inkshadows.com), The Stranger will be a story that will leave you feeling uneasy and have you looking at the trees differently.
Maybe it’s not the wind making the branches sway…