I live nowhere near my immediate fam, so some weekends are consumed by 4+ hour road trips, such as last night’s. I tried to be slick and catch a detour through Jersey, but it backfired and my trip took about six hours (when it usually takes four). So anyway, my point is that I made an incredible discovery on this flawed journey of mine. Somewhere around Princeton, NJ I switched from my mix CD to the radio and found some station at 103.3 FM. And on this station was the grimiest radio show I’ve ever heard on the FM airwaves. This was like…Emerson College’s late night Hip Hop show meets Grindtime East Coast.
In the span of about an hour I heard Ghostface Killah, Chino XL, KRS One, Grand Puba, production from DJ Premier, Vinnie Paz, Vado, Prodigy, Mcgruff, Jim Jones, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks…all uncensored. There were raps about hustling, raps about 5 percenter stuff, raps about killing, street-style braggadocio raps…basically all the stuff I want to listen to while I ride around BK, but Hot 97 will never play and I’m too lazy to burn onto a CD. Sure, the show was some collegiate, low-budget, hood shit. Well, as hood as Princeton University’s radio can get. It seems that Hip Hop lives in the most unlikely places. By the end of the drive I couldn’t tell if my neck hurt thanks to being in the car for so long, or because I was breaking it nodding my head to all those tracks. The DJ calls himself the Surgeon General and speaks like he’s straight out of Brooklyn, dropping lots of “son” and “nahmean” after almost every sentence he utters. He even went on a diatribe about how business and friendship should be kept separate and did RIP shoutouts that rivaled Emerson College’s relaying of messages to inmates on air. I really can’t make this up.
By the time I was passing through Philadelphia, the signal was fading and I was wondering if I had entered some sort of alternate universe in the middle of nowhere in Jersey during that drive. But it was real. And I won’t forget it. College radio is still that glimmer of hope that maybe the artists that I support so much online will have a chance at hearing themselves on FM radio one day.
Once I arrived at my parents’ crib in VA I also found this little teaser of a gem from Philadelphia. A montage of North Philadelphia graffiti put together by Mr. Green (think Pacewon), with a nice instrumental to top it all off.