in 1988 i was 14 and i think either a freshman or sophmore at chicago christian high school. why i was at a “christian” school is another story for another time. it was a cold friday night during the halftime of my high school’s football game, i took a drag off my first cigarette, a newport, and heard for the first time the record that would change my life for ever. his name was john lobezoo, or something like that, he was a skinny white dude from Palos Heights that drove a mid 80’s monte carlo or something like that. in any event, we had went over to the local college, that was like 4 blocks away, to sneak our smokes or in the words of john “hey, i smoke with my mom so fuck them” i guess referring to the school authorities. so, i guess he was looking out for our own good, what a swell guy. given that it was a cold night and also that i was too lazy to walk back, i took a ride in john’s sweet ride back to the “stadium.” half way through the ride he popped in a casette and from the speakers came the most glorious noise i had ever heard.
this monsterous voice came blaring through the car, i was in complete awe. i had no idea that i was black, until i heard this record. this guy was bustin and hatin on people more than i was at 14, but at the same time he came across as misunderstood. he just wanted to get his point across, and it seemed that his knowledge was fallin on deaf ears. this is the shit i was feelin. i sat there in the car, while everyone else went to the game. i had gone to meet a girl, but this discovery was far too important. sadly, i still think i would pick music over some girl, but thats easy for me to say now. this wall of sound was hypnotizing, those god damn sirens had me. so as i sat, this dude was spoutin out names that i had never heard Malcolm X, Farrakhan, FOI, etc. i needed to know more, and like right then and there. flash gordon intro! what the hell is Yeaaaaaaaa Boyeeeeeeeee all about?
the next time i saw my saviour, john lobezoo, i grilled him to no end regarding It Takes a Nation Of Millions to Hold Us Back. the best he could come up with was “yeah, i think they hate white people.” which, at the time, sounded awesome cause i hated white people too. i still needed to know more, so i ventured to a few of the “black” hoods to inquire further. my line of questioning was all based off of one listen, cause i still didnt have the record in my possession at the time, but as soon as i got $9.68 in my pocket it was all mine. even with the sincerest of intentions, i was shut out at all the record shops i went to. most often my questions were met with blank stares from the dude behind the counter, all black dudes mind you.
not one to give up too quickly, i would save that quality for my late twenties, i decided to head to the library and check this stuff out. needless to say, my head was spinning after leaving the library and really changed the way i felt about certain heavy topics.
with $9.68 in hand i headed to my local record shop and walked out with the object of my desire. in 6 months i would have to shell out cash for another copy cause i had worn it out, but this time i bought the cd. that was 1988 and til this day, Nation of Millions.. has never been out of reach or outta my mind.
the importance of Nation of Millions has never been more evident than now. the state of hip hop and music in general is in the shits. the shit that is pushed on the general public on a daily basis is sorry, and the pushers should be ashamed of themselves. if you dont know you are getting raped, then whats to stop the rapists? it should be mandatory that everyone get a copy of it once the pubes start poppin out or when that pre adolosence rage starts to flair up.
it should be the measuring stick on which all other records are compared. forget dylan, the beatles, the stones, etc. anything in their respective catalogues pale in comparison.