March is Women’s History Month so all of the O.S.A.M.s (Old School Atlanta Memories) I write in the coming weeks will focus on women. And history. Unsung women’s history. And music. In the A. There’s a lot of that, by the way.
I had all kinds of grand plans to talk old school this week about the party promotress with the PhD or the Grammy-winning grandson of the unsung civil rights foot soldier who largely credits her influence for his success. I’d been in it for the past few days as Goodie M.O.B. is my default ATL group of choice and we started the week slippin’ on Black Ice with the snow and all. Was maybe going to talk about how great it was to actually be able to play ‘Beautiful Skin’ in the car with my kid when it first came out.
Thought about doing a ‘Still Standing’ (G.M.) vs. ‘Still Standing’ (Monica) retrospective til I saw a poster touting Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopez’s latest offering (r.i.p. eternally).
All that other stuff suddenly got pushed back like Keri Hilson’s (much-anticipated) release date.
So, what’s your favorite O.S.A.M. moment involving an ATL female rapper? Seemed like a logical place to start. The answers I’ve gleaned so far range from “working as a P.A. on my first video – TLC’s ‘What About Your Friends’ to “watching the fight between Princess and Diamond at Soulja Boy’s party.” In the age of instant tweeting, old school can sometimes mean………last year?
The more I thought about it, though, the less I could (once again) answer my own question. Whatever one feels about either of those incidents there’s tons of that history I’m looking for in between. How to choose? I ended up leaving it to the shuffle option on my ipod, Ceelo explaining in the backround that “there’s no such thing as coincidence.” It’s always the first strains of that piano that snatch you up, right? Few songs have ever affected me in the same way as ‘Liberation.’ Reading through the book The Message by Felicia Pride let me know that we “A”liens are not by ourselves here. The whole mythology surrounding its creation deserves a column in and of itself, this coed manifesto of Generation Hustle. Among the bubble bunch were two baby-making couples, pudgy lil ol’ preachers who missed the pulpit but not their callings (or maybe I’m crazy) and Big Rube.
Big Rube alone is usually big enough to stand on his own merits and if you don’t believe, feel free to test my theory – and him.
Ain’t too many folks that big coulda convincingly done Big! (the ballet). We’d originally gone to see the darling of the moment – Lauryn Hill – not the opening home team. She came out blazin’ and did not disappoint. But you know how you go to a show and they gloss over or someone else does the missing performer’s part in a song? Not this night. That lilting piano started and, one by one, they all came out and KILLED IT!
Joi, draped in white with some feathery, furry-hooded, Five Points flavored linger-ree find went to looking and sounding simply angelic. She starts hitting those high notes and those of us privileged enough to sit way up top near the clouds and stars in the old ‘Colored Folks Section’ of the Fabulous Fox Theater began commiserating. Is she coming? Yes! There she was, slowly sauntering toward center stage. Woman was balancin’ that headwrap with lyrics to go.
(Part Two of this post will appear next Friday)
**O.S.A.M. is a weekly feature on StraightFromTheA.com. We will be turning back the clock each Friday to reminisce about Old School ATL. Hit us up at [email protected] to share your favorite Old School Atlanta Memory. **