There are a few things I’m absolutely positive I got from my father: My flat feet, my skinny calves and my love of music. Probably because of this, some of the important relationships in my life have been forged over music.
My dad and I have always been pretty close, but I can remember the point when our relationship turned the corner from strictly a father-daughter relationship to one based on shared interests, the first of these shared interests was music and I can tell what jump started it: Napster.
It came down to this, my father had a new computer and was looking to easily digitize his music collection which was mostly shelves upon shelves of LP’s in his man cave. It started with me downloading the Napster software and showing him how to find songs and download them. It turned into him introducing me to artists I had never heard of, like Terry Callier, Hamilton Bohannon or hadn’t thought to listen to like Steely Dan and Peter Frampton. He schooled me on deep cuts from artists I knew Earth, Wind and Fire and Marvin Gaye (hence my love for Hear My Dear).
The bonding came because he didn’t just school me, he let me school him. He gave me Brass Construction, I gave him The Philadelphia Experiment and later The Roots. He gave me Nina Simone and Four Women, I gave him Reflection Eternal’s version. He gave me Steely Dan’s Aja and I gave him Lenny Kravitz’s 5. He gave me Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack and I gave him Lauryn Hill and Maxwell. Sure we didn’t get to Pac, Biggie, DMX etc, but we understood a little bit more where each of us was coming from; and that’s what mattered.
Now, when I call my dad, we have pretty interesting discussions about race, politics, philosophy, religion and a host of other topics. At the end of these conversations, when we have nothing left to add, he’ll inevitably say, “Now that we’ve solved all the world’s problems, you heard any good music lately?”