Dangerous Minds was a movie far too explicit for an 8 year old.
With a hard R rating and subject matter beyond my maturity, Im not certain how I discovered this cinematic gem in the first place. Regardless, once I realized I wasn’t bringing it home from Blockbuster anytime soon, I found another way to experience the movie. I got the soundtrack.
Unaware of what to expect, I was anxious to pop the dangerous minds soundtrack into my CD player. It was actually the first CD I had ever owned. What I remember most about the album is hearing Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise.” Its hyped synthy melody produced a feeling in my ears I had not before felt. It woke something up inside my soul that still burns today. My love for hip hop. Although Gangsta’s Paradise was little more than a pop anthem of its time, It opened my eyes to a new genre. I learned to love all of the singles from the soundtrack over time.
I soon found my local hip hop radio station and began learning about other artists of the day. Pac, Biggie, Kilo Ali, and more introduced me to the hip hop genre. I explicitly remember hearing about the Tupac and Biggie shootings on the radio in that same time period.
I’m not sure why or how, but the narrative and lifestyle of hip hop intrigued me as well. It was dangerous and foreign to me which made it all the more exciting. As an 8 year old from white suburbia, it would seem I had no common ground to stand on with most hip hop artists, but I still couldn’t get enough.