My Future's Still Coming

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This joint struck me for a couple of reasons: 


1.) I'm going to be 35 in a month, and the nostalgia of this song is pretty resonant. 

2.) I saw the 80s from a particular perspective, much of it tinged by the negotiation of violence. Colors, New Jack City and Boyz In The Hood was how I spelled teen movie back then. It's nice to get some sense of the world from the perspective of someone who might actually have seen Molly Ringwald's movies in their time. (Something about me still rejects The Breakfast Club.) All of us city kids use to dis the county. In fact, we wished we were out there. I would have done anything to live in a place where the way you walk and what you wore was not, at times, a matter of life and death.

There's good critique of 80s-influenced indy pop. But it's not really one I can share. I missed a lot of this stuff—"9 MM Goes Bang" had to be my shield. In some ways, I lament that—I'm 34 and just learning to, as I said, get out of my own fucking way, just learning to put down the shield. But I can't really lament it with any real zeal—I saw humanity in a specific and important way as a kid. It's informed so much of me. I got my first lessons in the basement of friends, trying to become Rakim. I don't know what I'd be without that.

Meh, Frodo will light the way...

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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