I see a lot of people doing "Challenges" on Instagram stories. I'm the middle aged grumpy "Get off my lawn" kind of dad stuck inside of a 29 year old's body. So whenever I see that dumb shit on social media, I shake my head quietly and say "Fucking kids."
But I have to admit, there's been one challenge that I actually like. People have been challenging each other to post 1990's-2000's R&B music, and I'm here for it.
So I have a story for you about two R&B jams by one British dude that have stuck with me for about 20 years now.
Before we break down the songs, I want to give you a little information on how we used to get our music.
We had CD's, and for you kids who don't know what that is, it stands for "Compact Disc." Most of your cars still have the feature to play a CD, but it probably just collects hella dust.
In 2001, we couldn't really burn CD's with only the songs we wanted. LimeWire was invented in 2000, but it hadn't really begun to pop off like that yet. So we had to buy the shit we wanted. Even if we only liked a couple of songs we heard on the radio, we had to buy the whole fucking album just to enjoy those songs whenever we wanted.
New CD's would drop every Tuesday, and you'd go down to Target or Best Buy and they'd be right there on display. But I remember this subscription my mom had, it was a booklet that would come in the mail that would have choices of hundreds of CD's.
I can't remember what it was called, and if you remember this then let me know. Basically, you could buy all genres of albums for a discounted price. Like if you bought 5 CD's then you get 3 free. It was a steal back then because you were going to buy the albums anyways.
You could even order albums that weren't out yet and they would show up in your mail the day they came out. This was revolutionary shit.
And I don't know why, but I specially remember this artist and this album and the time I asked my mom if she could add this to her order.
Born To Do It
August 14, 2000
Craig David was bubbling up in the UK in 1999. His hit single "Fill Me In" was climbing up the charts over there, and he sustained a new level of popularity. But his music didn't reach the United States until May 2001, when him and his team decided to release this hit worldwide.
I remember watching the video for the first time on MTV Jams. As a ten year old boy, I didn't really understand the context of the song as he was talking about him and his girlfriend sneaking around her parents. But the melody and vocals were were so infectious that anybody who heard it loved it.
This storytelling in R&B form was masterminded so eloquently that it was impossible to turn away. Who was this kid? Why is his first song such a banger? Why did it take 2 years before anyone in the United States knew who he was?
Why were you creeping 'round late last night?
Some time had passed by and I had learned every word to the song. Always waited for that part when it sounded like a voicemail message so I could distort my voice and say "Please leave a message after the tone."
I was a fan of this guy I knew nothing about. And then the next single dropped...
I remember MTV Jams would do this thing for a whole day whenever there was a new video, they'd have a little banner on the bottom that said "MTV Premiere." That's how you knew this was some new hot shit.
As soon as that guitar hit, anyone with a pulse was forced to groove. And then Craig comes in again with the storytelling, some of the best you've ever heard from an R&B artist.
In "7 Days" he explains to his friends at the barbershop about this girl he met that he just can't stop thinking about. He continues to say that things escalated pretty quickly and that they "Made Love."
Now look, I love this song and Craig David is amazing. But if you had sex with a girl for four out of the first seven days you met, I highly doubt it was love. Good effort though.
I met this girl on Monday
After both of these singles hit, I knew I needed the album. I remember seeing it in that booklet my mom got in the mail and I asked her to get it for me. I probably told her I'd do the dishes or something, or however else a ten year old can pay their mom back for anything.
I still remember how I felt when I played the album for the first time. As a kid, it was all brand new to me. It really opened my eyes to the fact that there was great artists out there worldwide, and that the art of storytelling was an incredible and rare trait.
The ability to have the lyricism and poetry matched up with an amazing voice along with the melodies created by his producers and team made for this to be an incredible album.
I remember being in our little one bedroom apartment, singing songs off of this album as loud as I could with my mom we cleaned. This album not only made for great music, it allowed for the listener to create memories.
The pure love poured into the music makes it easy for someone to be taken back to the days they first heard it.
So the new challenge is "The Craig David Challenge." What album or song helps you relive memories of the past so vivid that you feel like you're there again?