New Romantix

Appropriation and Art

September 15, 2015

I started out by walking down the stairs in a blank corner of Mount Auburn Street. The walls smelled more like piss than the rest of Cambridge. I noticed good speakers, the kind that makes music more intimate than lust. Noticed what came out of them too—a liquid-smooth kind of rhythm, an uninviting and reckless shift of beats—though I couldn’t name the band. Spent a good half hour in the store. Kept trying to find something that would look pretty and simple on red brick walls. Settled on “Can’t Stop the Prophet” by Jeru the Damaja, not because I liked him or I had heard the song before. Liked, instead, the crisp white of the paper, the red sticker on the black record. Didn’t know much about Jeru the Damaja or the song on the disc. Only saw him two years ago in a video on Youtube arguing with Lauryn Hill, the only rapper I knew from the time period, and figured if he was sick enough to chill with L Boogie he’d be pretty enough to put on my wall. Didn’t think about it much after that, even when someone saw the vinyl gummed next to its cover on my red wall and asked about his albums, and I had next to nothing to say.

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