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Even the sun goes down, heroes eventually die

Horoscopes often lie and sometimes "why"

Nothin' is for sure

Nothin' is for certain

Nothin' lasts forever

But until they close the curtain

It's him and I, Aquemini

Outkast: Aquemini

After a 1hr conversation to catch up on life and process the importance of mental health, he ended with “Just remember. You don’t have to go through things alone. You CAN call me.”

Though the statement was expected, it didn’t go unappreciated. As an only child, growing up solo can be very quiet. It’s just me, my room and my music. A black girl and her radio. The voices and instruments in the music become the conversations in my space.

I’ve been in love with this thing called music since day one. The first 3 CD’s I ever owned were Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation, Aretha Franklin’s Greatest Hits and MC Hammer’s Let’s Get It Started. Your girl was either hitting dance routines or bustin’ out R&B ballads (whether I can sing or not is none of your business). Music knew me and I knew her. She knew how to give me butterflies, sing and shout hallelujah or choreograph a quick 8 count. She didn’t judge. She didn’t tell my secrets. She kept it 100 and remained loyal like a real G supposed to.

Having a dad as a basketball coach came with unexpected perks. Sometimes he was unable to pick me up from school so he would ask one of the players to go get in the car line and scoop me up. Instead of going through the list of people who had the honor of being my chauffeur, I will focus on the faithful 3 from my high school era: KD, Straw and Gus. KD drove my favorite car. A baby blue Honda Accord. But KD, the intellectual math major, played music to the beat of his own drum. There was no tellin’ what was bumpin from his speakers OR if he wanted to ride in silence while he lectured me for the 15min ride home. Then there was Straw, from the backwoods of Georgia, pullin’ up slammin’ cadillac doors. The smooth and tall big brother with all the street sense. He drove an old white Cadillac (Hell! I don’t even know if it was a Cadillac- just an old car with no power windows to me) and during high school I could not appreciate the nostalgia of his ride. I was just plain out embarrassed. Pick me up around the corner so no one can see me please. Last, it was Gus. Gus drove a red Jeep Cherokee with one of those new radios from the early 2000s. You know the ones that would pop into place and you could remove it when you got out of the vehicle so no one would steal it. Yea, ya’ll remember those! Lol

It was in this red Jeep Cherokee that I was first introduced to my music muse. A sound I never heard before. A sound I never knew I needed. Like older siblings, he subtly educated me on the Atlanta duo known as Outkast and the overarching family of Organized Noise. He made sure I heard the best songs on every album while creating an inherent reverence for their influence on hip-hop and the culture of the South. Guaranteeing I knew Outkast was my folx and a group I would reach out for later on in life. He was right. I needed them.

The untouchable, hypnotic melody of Dre and Big Boi will always make its way to the top of my playlist. Whether I need an electric revival from mental stress or an ancestral vibe to invoke my creativity, they were there. Standing side by side to provide the rhymes and hooks. Sending vibrations of understanding and motivation that aligns with the same sentiments of so many of my big brothers like Gus … “You don’t have to go through this alone. You CAN call me.”

Plowing into the lyrics of Aquemini, should be an ingrained system of recognizing things won’t last forever but I will be there if you need me. Whether him is your big brother, best friend, or Him our Lord and Savior (insert praise shout) … It’s Him and I. Aquemini.

KD in the White Shirt at basketball practice.

Straw in the Yankees Hat with Maurice and Nate in the back. Headed somewhere chile

Gus in the 30 Jersey and Maurice at basketball practice. Long nights and early mornings.


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