Stories from the Nine-Nine and the 2000

The late ’90s and early 2000s were a special time for me, a new city (we moved across the country), new experiences, and new music! Let’s get into a couple songs and tell some stories from my life during those times.

Y’all know D’Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does It Feel)”. Sidebar: this was some really creative shit. The song is called Untitled, which is a title on its own, but then he gives it an actual title “How Does It Feel”. Whatever his weed man brought that day was next level. I’m not sure I want to be that high, but that creative space seems fun. Anyway, I was 10 when that song came out & I remember hearing how fine women thought he was. So as a budding sex symbol, what do I do? I practice singing chest naked in the mirror. Seeing that y’all ain’t seen my albums on Apple Music, it’s safe to assume that I didn’t make it big and that’s okay. Just know, I killed it in that bathroom mirror. I don’t know who I was asking how does it feel, but my 11-year old body was sure they were satisfied.

My family moved to Slidell, Louisiana (45 min outside of New Orleans) right as cash money was takin’ over for the nine-nine and 2000. It was a special time for me. Back Dat Azz Up quickly became an instant classic and 9-year-old me was introduced to twerking, bounce music, second lines, and a whole host of Black ass culture that I was secluded from in cold ass Alaska. No shade to Alaska, I learned plenty of random nature shit out there, I also learned some rock songs, they’ve served me well when meandering through non-black spaces. It’s 2001, I’m 11, and Juvenile is releasing his second album, “Project English”. Guess who had their money and was ready to hit FYE to buy it right after school? (This was when music was released on Tuesdays) I HAD to get the explicit version, that tiny stamp of unfiltered approval set you apart from kids with strict parents, at least that’s how it made you feel. I remember my dad asking me why I wanted the explicit version and why I was so interested in rap (remember; Alaska, grunge rock, non-black people, moose, wilderness) I told him that I liked the sound and the way it made me feel, it was about my lyrics, not the cussing. He bought whatever bullshit I was selling and okayed me getting the album. I was so excited! I couldn’t wait to play it loud and rap every cuss word with gust when my parents weren’t around. “Set It Off” was the lead single. Here are the first few lines from the song.

I'm a T.C. solja, New Orleans stunna

If a b**** leave me, I'm a take everything from her

Leave while ya can, or ya mom will pick ya rum up

I'm a find me some new p****, and buy me a Four-Runner

I walk wit a limp, 'cause my nuts heavy

And I like it from tha back so hold your butt steady

I know I got some big lips, but I ain't trippin'

Lil Momma I love p****, but I ain't lickin'

I was 11! What did I know about any of this?!

My parents and their friends used to hold kickbacks after Mardi Gras parades. We’d have pounds and pounds of shrimp, crab, and crawfish. They’d sit outside & drink Crown while the kids were inside playing video games or wrestling. I later realized those purple Crown bags also held their sacks of weed. With red eyes and slurred speech, they’d gather us to head home until the next weekend when we did it all over again. These were good nights, the New Orleans version of the quiet storm program on the radio always played “No More Rain'' by Angie Stone. I always heard it on our way home and I always fell asleep