Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.
Jimmy Nice, Spit Syndicate: Jay-Z – ‘The Blueprint’
We were introduced to each other during the summer months of ’02 in Crook’s Annandale house. I have a vivid mental note as to where all 3 of us were seated around a pile of faded outerwear and graffiti tools.
Our lives shifted that day.
My rap knowledge at the time was the pride and joy of my right sided brain, I saw the world through new eyes when I found it. I felt like the teachings in rap music at this time in my life acted as a big brother to all of us kids who were looking to find something to put our name on. Hilly taught me everything he knew about rap, I told others what I knew and so forth. As a crew we decoded these works as they inevitably became the soundtrack to our adolescence.
With that said, Hilly and I had found you under conflicting circumstances. You see at this point we were losing our minds over a gold burnt cd that Charley Lester was passing around the basketball courts with some illegible black writing across it that read “Stillmatic”. Any moment we weren’t sleeping was a chance to memorise every word, every ad-lib of this masterpiece.
The gun shot intro with the screwed 2pac sample on track 2 yelling “FUCK JAY-Z” was no exception. We were hooked, and if I’m being completely honest with you we were riding for a completely different borough to Brooklyn and you couldn’t tell us any different.
But now it’s weeks later at Crook’s house and I see the blue disc with the man and the cigars next to him. We weren’t really having it, but he insisted we play you. “It’s like nothing you’ve heard before”, he said.
He was spot on. We must’ve played ‘The Ruler’s Back’ a hundred times that day until it just sounded like melted gold. (We didn’t even understand the Slick Rick parallels at this point).
We studied your liner notes and every mob-inspired image in the album booklet. You gave us a whole new soundscape forged by Justin Blaze and K West. And, as the story goes, you were completed in only a few weeks. Unbelievable.
I just wanted to take the time to show our appreciation for this level of rap excellence, on behalf of myself and the rest of the KBM clique.
I’ll end this piece with a quote of yours:
“How you rate music that thugs with nothing relate to it?”
You helped us see our way through it. Thank you.