Bumbershoot had some big names this year. I unfortunately got a late start to my day. However, it did not prevent me from obtaining a last minute interview with the up and coming artist, Xie. The rest of the first day was filled with exciting big named artists including Lil’ Wayne, RL Grime, The Chainsmokers, and Ludacris.
Lil’ Wayne and Ludacris I specifically wanted to see because I knew it would bring back the nostalgia of my younger years. Unsurprisingly, while approaching the Main Stage for the New Orleans rapper- the familiar scent of blunt smoke filled my nose. It instantly brought me back to my days in high school driving around Mountlake Terrace, WA hot-boxing my Isuzu Rodeo without a care in the world.
The energy I feel when I hear mid-2000s rap gives me this feeling of grit and rawness. It fills me with that nostalgic feel of hope when reflecting on my life. I am a salesman by trade, and for some reason, hip-hop has a strange correlation for me in approaching my profession fearlessly and optimistically. It’s amazing how just by listening to a song it can fundamentally change your disposition and self-esteem.
Hip-hop gave me a musically induced sense of swagger- an emotion I may not have otherwise felt in that moment. My sister spent a lot of time living in New Orleans so I have an affinity for the city and the music that originated there. Lil’ Wayne, obviously being from NOLA, serves as a crescendo of jazz, hip-hop and gritty deep bass lines that are often synonymous with “The Big Easy.”
RL Grimes and Xie on the other hand hold a different type of significance as trap was not mainstream in my youth. However, I seem to experience the same emotions when I listen to that style of music as well. I have an appreciation for it because it serves Millennials and Gen Z in the same fashion rap did for me. It can take someone with low self-esteem and an anxious demeanor and provide them with an unfamiliar bluster that can get them through uncomfortable situations in life.
I think rap/trap really plays into an artificial fantasy of what my life could look like and gives me the feeling o
f confidence as if it is already accomplished. I really appreciate that – because even if it is fleeting – it serves as motivation.
Ludacris makes me think about my life’s story and he holds a part that is dear to me. It may not readily ring home with anyone reading this, but it reminds me of my youth. More specifically a memory I have at Golden Gardens, a local youth destination for summer debauchery. One night there, when I was 17, there was a particularly raucous group of people at the beach. “Blueberry Yum Yum” had just come out and was taking over the charts. Being the former pothead I was, I relished in the opportunity and mission of scoring some of the coveted blueberry yum yum strain.
I was able to procure some and we walked into the far side of the beach past the restrooms toward the tall and skinny trees away from the party. We rolled up a grape Swisher with the blueberry yum yum and proceeded to play the song and enjoy the blunt. It definitely did the trick and I felt a euphoric sense of calm when walking back to the beach party that was in utter chaos.
A particularly inebriated woman was jumping through the fire and fighting other men – at such a young age my friends and I relished in anything excited and unexpected. Sadly, the brawl devolved and became uncomfortably violent and yet I maintained a sense of calm putting in my earbuds and enjoying some more Ludacris.
The reason I tell these stories is because for me the most powerful thing music can do personally is influence and fundamentally alter my emotional trajectory and as a result provides a fond memory attached to the experience. Bumbershoot serves as a catalyst for never-ending memories and emotions that at least for a sliver of a moment disconnected me from reality and allow me to relish in fantasy.
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