Tuesday, October 09, 2007

When the hell did this happen?

If you don't live in a city like Philly, New York, or D.C., you probably won't get this post. But I have to comment on a phenomenon I noticed today while riding the train to Center City, Philadelphia.

While sitting on the train, I couldn't help but notice all the riders with their tiny earphones hooked up to ipods, nanos, shuffles, and all types of miniature play back devices. I mean at least one in every four people had a little earphone in their ears. The shit was amazing. I sat there and kept thinking to myself; when did this happen? When did damn near every A-merry-can get an ipod? It was actually kind of neat to look at everyone and wonder just what they were listening to. The young heads in their school uniforms were probably listening to some new school rap. The older white lady with the ugly artificial fiber suit was probably listening to Sinatra, or Perry Como. The middle aged black lady was probably listening to Luther, or Rachelle Ferrell. Me, I was listening to some old school rap. A single my man Uncle L dropped about ten years ago.

"How you doin miss? My name is L I'm from QueensI heard about your man he like to lace you wit cream Dolce Gabbana, Mo-ski-no wit Donna jeansbut he slipped up, and threw his rock to a fiend He be playin like a Willie cause he dress ya dove Neva knowin that his woman is in need of love You got Versace gold link stomach chains wit rocks Official hair style but you stuck up in the spot Makin love, Duke is weak then he fallin asleep You on the phone wit your old peeps dyin to creep 'tween my sheets So what you got Chanel on your feet Hot sex on a platter makes the mission complete, uh"

I bet none of the people on the train could ever guess what I was listening to. Just some middle aged black guy in his plantation uniform. Dark suit, white shirt, wing tips. They would probably guess some old school R&B. Maybe some Teddy P. or Blue Magic. But they would be wrong. I love to get my rap or dance hall on early in the morning. I gotta get my mind right for the day. I suspect I would be wrong about some of the people on the train my damn self. That older white lady might be listening to some Wu Tang or some shit.

But you gotta love it. I know one thing, either these people are terribly restrained or they are playing some whack ass music, because no one is even moving or nodding their head to the beats they are listening to. (Whoops, I take that back. I just noticed one of my cousins who thinks she is on Soul Train or some shit) Wow, A-merry-cans are so courteous to each other. This shit would never work on the "rock". Us Jamaicans tend to be...well, how do I say this? Animated. We tend to like to express ourselves, and damn it, if we have some good music to listen to, every one around us is going to know about it.

Which leads me to another thing about the ipod's I like; you can put all your favorites on it. No excuse for any lame ass songs anywhere in your line up. Right now I have everything from Sade to King Tubby's on mine; and before I get to my stop, I will have listened to at least three of those bad boys.

"So what you got the cash flow and escro, damn But your honey ran away like presto, ala-kazam Man made the money, money never made the man You still fakin jacks throwin rocks on her hand See, you put your mack down now you Nino Brown Rock roller wit' so much ice your cap's polarI got em smokin beanies, modelin bikinis Pushin ya whip on the freeway to see me I keep it steamy, I make it burn when it's my turn Teachin shorty all the tools that you neva learned Don't get it twisted, gettin money ain't wrong But she wanna make love all night long, I'm gone"

Oh shit, I think I was nodding my head.


Constance Burris said...

FYI, I'm a nodder. I sit with my headphones at work and nod...

Anonymous said...

Who do you love?
Are you sure?

And I'm pretty sure that I'm older than my age because that's on my iPod too. Shoo, I got Chuck Mangione, Michael, Joe Budden, Roots, Korn, Kool and the Gang ... etc etc.

And of course I notice it. It's insane. I'm one of them. It's a marvel how much humans want to escape from their realities around them. At some point when my ears started hurting too much from hearing my iPod too much, I took them off for a good 3-4 months and just went on the train without my earbuds. I didn't remember what a train sounded like, and random conversation was actually fulfilling. It was an awakening FN!

I'll stop blogging on your comment box, but that's real.

Blinders Off said...

No need to listen to the radio to hear YOUR favorite music designed for the mood your in and to pass time.

Just to name a few the best of Sade, Curtis Mayfield, The Whispers, Bob Marley, Earth Wind and Fire, Prince, Santana, Led Zeppelin, and Frankie Beverly & Maze never gets old for my iPod.

rikyrah said...

I don't have an IPod. I don't know why I'm resisting, but I am. Maybe in a couple of years..

field negro said...

rikyrah, don't feel bad, pretty soon we will all have to come to you to find out what the hell people are talking about around us.

jose and "blinders off", we could probably switch devices and we wouldn't know the difference.

kahnee, I think I am a nodder too, although I try not to :)

Anonymous said...

I LOVE my iPod! I wouldn't trade it for the world. The newer ones look really nice, but I'm keeping my 5th Gen. iPod until it dies.

I have EVERYTHING on my iPod from work notes & files (the fact that I can use it as an external hard drive is so sexy) to music.

I have separate playlists dedicated to old school hip hop and r&b. My old school hip hop playlists are labeled Kangol, The Show, Breakin, Beat Box & Break Dance. My ish be rockin! lol

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Cluizel said...

Stop it...that song came out 10 years ago?!? Goodness...

I think I would have a fit if I forgot my ipod one morning...I listen to it on the subway...all day at the office (if possible)...definitely a head nodder and the occasional hand movements. Luckily in NYC everyone pretends not to care.

I was listening to ATCQ this morning on the train...how could you not move something?

Anonymous said...

The only problem i have with ipods on the train is people that play their's so loud I can hear it over my music. It echoes throughout the entire car. And amazingly the last few times it's been a white person doing it. Blasting yung Joc or Lil Wayne...it's so confusing...

Anonymous said...

All you ipod users be careful about the volume, please. Some turn theirs up so loud the person sitting next to them can hear. Too much loud noise leads to permanant hearing loss. I guarentee, some of the people wearing ipods today will be wearing hearing aids in 10-20 years instead.

(And that concludes today's public service message :)

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

Okay, I admit, I'm an alien no-techno geek. I don't have an iPod. Hell, it was enough to learn how to operate a portable CD player, and when I'm on Metro here in DC, I have to conceal my CD player because I don't know how to download Alex Bugnon, Marcus Johnson or Wayman Tisdale on an iPod.

I am going to take the plunge and buy myself one at Christmas.

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...


Like you, I'm resisting getting an iPod. Probably because I want to know when I get to my Metro stop, perhaps?

And the reason I hide my CD player? Them high school kids are no joke and you become fodder for their comic relief when they see you with a CD player ("What's up with old girl - she still sporting a CD, LOL")

Blinders Off, you know you going back in the day when you mention Frankie Beverly and Maze. That group was a staple in the Bay Area, not to mention I had the pleasure of going to the Kool Jazz Festival at the Oakland Coliseum and got to see not only Frankie Beverly and Maze, but also Kool and the Gang, as well as the Manhattans (now I really went back in the day).

And Field, I had you pegged as a young 30ish Buppie and you talking middle-age rap shyt. So isn't Lark Vorhees too young for you? (LOL)

Foofa said...

My iPod is a necessity for my commute here in chi-town and I am a shameless head bopper. I tap my fingers and nod my head but I generally stop at mouthing the lyrics because i have seen people go that route and it isn't pretty.

La♥audiobooks said...

I also enjoy watching my movies on my ipod video. My daughter has tons of them on hers as well (A nice little kid sitter).

I remember the day’s when years back, I first got a pink ipod mini and everyone was in awe with my little expensive 4 gig and 20 gig gadgets. They wanted to know how, when and where I got this little impressive high-tech thingamajig from. They wanted me to show them the ways of the ipod, and how it works etc..

Now every other knuckehead has one, and I'm not special anymore...

SoakingNKnowledge said...

You are so funny

"Just some middle aged black guy in his plantation uniform"

Your blog is very thought provoking and entertaining

"That older white lady might be listening to some Wu Tang or some shit."


I'm in Cali, you make me want to get an IPOD and hop on the blueline and observe

field negro said...

OK Lil Wayne, and Alex Bugnon in the same thread. (You field Negroes I swear :))

"And Field, I had you pegged as a young 30ish Buppie and you talking middle-age rap shyt. So isn't Lark Vorhees too young for you? (LOL)"

Age ain't nothing but a number.

And just what is middle age? I might only live to be 30 ;)

Jameil said...

i know i shouldn't. but i dance AND laugh on the elliptical while listening to my ipod at the gym. oh well! enjoy the show!

Blinders Off said...


Frankie Beverly and Maze haven't made a new song in over 20 years, but their music is still contemporary. When my daughters first heard California about a year ago they thought they discovered something new :)

Look out for my baby in spirit; she will be riding the Metro while working in DC Mon. - Thurs. for the next year. I am more worried about her being in DC alone than I was when she was in Europe.

field negro said...

"And just what is middle age? I might only live to be '30' ;)"
*I meant '60', but you get the point*

marenda biz, thanks for the kind words. I guess I haven't pissed you off yet. Just promise you will come back if and when I do.

la~msvi.. I am not there yet with the movies. Hell, i am still trying to get used to just getting the music right :)

Anonymous said...

I am a nodder and so much more. I feel you on Uncle L he has got to be in any rotation I have going! Thanks for the reminder its time for a new mega mix for the fall!

Liz Dwyer said...

See, this is why I'm happy my daddy put his foot down and bought Apple stock twenty years ago.

I'd hook my iPod up in the car in the morning and sing at the top of my lungs the whole drive down to Watts. So relaxing!

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...


Yeah, age ain't nothing but a number, but if a sista like me hooks up with Derek Jeter, I don't want to hear shyt from you, al'right? LOL


Your daughter will be just fine. DC's pretty safe, and the METRO stations always got cop cars in front of them (P.G. County Po-Po, Virginny state troopers, Montgomery County sheriff's department and sometimes the DC police).

California was my favorite song. The last CD they dropped was back in 1993, cause I have it in my collection - Back to Basics, I think it's called.

rikyrah said...

Frankie Beverly and Maze haven't made a new song in over 20 years, but their music is still contemporary.

They are the Black equivalent of The Greatful Dead. When people find out they're coming to town, it's like ' FRANKIE BEVERLY AND MAZE ARE COMIN' '

Seriously, they put something subliminal in their messages...for folks to be interested 20 years later.

I thought Anita Baker was ridiculous making us wait a 11 years for new stuff..LOL

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

Like you, I'm resisting getting an iPod. Probably because I want to know when I get to my Metro stop, perhaps?

And the reason I hide my CD player? Them high school kids are no joke and you become fodder for their comic relief when they see you with a CD player ("What's up with old girl - she still sporting a CD, LOL")

Well, I will have to admit this...I only seriously got a cellphone 9 months ago. I just never wanted to lelt people be that able to get to me. As it is, I can count on one hand the number of people who have my cellphone number.

And, my teenaged niece and nephew cracked up at me, as I requested tutoring from them this summer when they visited, about how to program a phone book, a voicemailbox message, how I'd know if I had power on the phone.

Oh, they thought I was a laugh riot..LOL

Woozie said...

I'm not a nodder, I beat fingers and hands to the beat. Sometimes I ty and see if anyone's picking up on the song I'm doing, probably to the annoyance of some on the metro. Take that White Man (in Hammersmith Palais)!

Blinders Off said...


Thanks for easing my mind on my baby being in DC.


You have a point about their music and you are right when the word is out Frankie and Maze is in concert. Unfortunately, there will not be anymore concerts with Frankie Beverly and Maze because if I am not mistaken Frankie has MS and it’s at a progressive stage.

My husband and I went to a concert of theirs about three years back and it was like a time warp back into our late teens and early twenties. I thought I was going to just sit back and enjoy the music, but when the music started before you can blink an eye were up dancing to the rhythm the entire concert.

The Fabulous Kitty Glendower said...

I got an Ipod Nano about eight months ago from Mr. Glendower and a $50 itunes Giftcard. I cannot figure any of it out. It just sits there. I hate it, and cannot find the instructions. Or I should say what I found does not seem to be enough. I see people on the street and want to offer them a $50 if they could come over and load the thing for me.

Anonymous said...

yeah i'm only 24 but im already some kind of luddite...i only recently graduated from my discman which kept breaking every 5 minutes...to a cheap mp3 player...haven't yet made it to the ipod.

i know my music must blast out my cheap headphones and sometimes i wonder what people think when the genre randomly switches...

i'm definitely a head nodder/full body dancer...and i'll say you'd be hard pressed in nyc to find any public transportation vehicle filled filled with people NOT nodding...that would be insane...there's always at least 2 or 3 people singing aloud or dancing around to their music...


brightstarr said...

I loveD my iPod until last week. Unfortunately I've been forced to deal with my regular FM radio station - WPGC - on my very LONG commute to and from work everyday - sucks. The damn thing is DEAD. Don't waste your cash - and definitely don't invest in the iPhone until it's undergone some serious testing. Kick rocks Steve Jobs....kick rocks...

Lola Gets said...

"Frankie Beverly and Maze haven't made a new song in over 20 years, but their music is still contemporary."

Ok, THAT line was priceless! Folks in DC love them so much youd think they were from here, lol.


Mark said...

I don't live in the city, but I get it. Your post makes me want to buy an ipod.

I always had misgivings about ipods, probably irrational ones. Somehow I wished that there was some device that would take all the playlists from everybody's ipod, shuffle 'em and send em back out, so that, when on that channel, you never really knew what you were going to get. It might be Sly and the Family Stone, or it might be Doris Day. You could always shift back to your own music if you couldn't take it, but you'd have the option there of tuning in to the frequency for something totally unexpected, something that somebody else had chosen, and you don't know who.

I saw Frankie Beverly and Maze like 25 years ago in Detroit, don't recall much. Aretha Franklin was the headliner of that show. You have me curious. I'll seek that out.

Great post.

Brown Love said...

I guess I'm living in the "ark ages" because I have refused to buy an IPOD or any of that other stuff for myself. My cell phone is real basic - too much noise - too much of a distraction from my thoughts. I even prefer riding in my car withour music - the silence does my mind (and my nerves) wonders!

Francis Holland said...

Field: As far as Romney (you mention his "mistake" in the sidebar), I don't think that he mispoke when he said that he wouldn't necessarily consult the US Congress before starting a war with Iran. What he meant to say was that he would have some attorneys like Gonzalez, who would approve anything he wanted to do, and he would ask them for a legal opinion telling him that consulting the Congress wasn't necessary. And then he would invade Iran without consulting the Congress at all. This wasn't an incidence of misspeaking. This was Romney telling us what we already know about George W. Bush: He doesn't believe in the clear langauge of the Constitution of the United States.

That puts him right within the mainstream of Republican thought. The fact that Giuliani disagrees may make Giuliani look like a liberal once again in the eyes of Republican voters.

So, actually Romney wins this politically. Democrats will hate him even more for this, but he doesn't care what we think any more than we should be trying to "unite the country" by trying to win the support of people like Romney in the presidential race. We don't need to find a way to agree with people who don't believe in the Constitution. We need to beat them in the election and then send them packing.

Unknown said...

i first noticed the i-bud epidemic in italy 3 or 4 years ago. old ladies hobbling down cobblestone streets with whit buds flowing down to their stitched leather handbags full of digital audio content.

i have an excuse to put a lame ass song on a playlist - to break up some really good stuff with a mediocre tracks or two. it's an audio setup. i appreciate a few low moments before a retardedly good track.

and me? i'm 28, male, white, 'san diegan' - on a playlist i'll go with some black keys, to Ravel, to aesop rock, to gershwin and everywhere inbetween (maybe even the liquid swords album or other GZA)

i'm a foot tapper not a head nodder.



bklyn6 said...

Sometimes I think I'm the only one who doesn't have an iPod. I have a D2. It's pretty awesome!

I've notice folks on the subway too. Everybody has an iPod and they're all playing with that scroll thingy. And if folks aren't hooked up to some DAP they're intensely focused on their Crackberries.

Then too, there are still those old fashioned folks who read while they commute. I multi-task. I listen to my DAP while I read.

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