Sports and Music
Or Bicycling and Hiphop.
Either way, I figured I’d put some of my thoughts in writing on the topic of mixing two of the things I love most in life. They both give me unlimited amounts of freedom and have over time become intertwined with everything I do in life. These two hobbies (for lack of a better word) affected almost every facet of my personality, how I present myself on a daily basis, how I act in various situations, my outlook on life, etc.
This cat back in high school sold me De La’s “Stakes is High” (someone else’s review) for a crisp $5 bill. I thought he was kidding at first when he made the offer, I didn’t understand why he’d want to get rid of this classic. I shrugged my shoulders, and jumped on the deal.
By that year (circa 1996) I was pretty much hooked on the jazzy nature of hiphop music and lyrics that made my neurons shoot off all kinds of electrical charges. Early nineties hiphop was a dichotomy of mean/macho West Coast “ganster” rap and conscious East coast groups like De La Soul and Tribe Called Quest. That’s about the time I jumped into the mix, an immigrant in his teenage years getting his first glimpses of American culture.
I always found hiphop culture to be pretty much all-inclusive and the one with the least judgemental peers. In that sense, it’s very similar to the cycling community in Los Angeles – you can just be yourself. True, some kids go overboard with their cool obsessions, image is important for a lot of folks in Southern California. But for the most part, everyone is comfortable with who they are.
Hiphop doesn’t always push the most eco friendly ideas, heck most rappers drive ridiculous cars and as a result are mad out of shape. I, at one point in my teenage years, wished to own a ridiculous car just like everyone else that’s bombarded by mainstream advertising. So I won’t try to reconcile the two, I just wanted to point out that you can always pick up on the positive things from anyone or anything you look up to, while dropping whatever you don’t find appealing.
A relatively inebriated female once asked me what my favorite rap song was, and I tried to answer to the best of my ability, even though I could tell she wasn’t genuinely interested. Easy, I thought, it’s a close tie between The Roots‘ “What They Do” and De La’s “Stakes is High” with Pete Rock and CL’s “TROY” coming in a close third.
So when the Southside Midnight Maraudazz ride came around, those three songs were automatically on the playlist. Midnight Marauders happens to be the name of a classic Tribe Called Quest album, and it was the inspiration for this specific nighttime outing. “Seven times out of Ten, we
listen to music ride our bikes at night”. It was a chance to roam through Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills, past the Crenshaw Mural (long shot, detail), and even do a couple of loops through LAX departures and arrivals. All while blasting old school hiphop tunes from a portable Roland guitar amp. A picture perfect Saturday night, thanks to the planning efforts of this gentleman.
This month has been filled with outrageously fun night time excursions, that seem to all blend together into one hard-to-believe narrative. Steven, another westsider who also volunteers at the BikeRoWave and happens to be a hiphop head, helped put on two of the livest parties this past weekend. First there was the wild in-the-streets dance party during Abbott Kinney’s Art Walk, then the BikeRoWave party and fundraiser, aka BikeRoParty 2.0. Our tunes did not get as many folks dancing as we had wanted to, but BikeRoParty 3.0 will make that happen. Heck, we may even invite a few bboys to get the party started correctly.
Bottom line is, whatever your hobbies or passions are, don’t complain that the bike scene isn’t for you, bring something to it. If there’s something that you like to do, plan it out, build a ride around it. Make it happen ™