Born to Beatles-era parents in a Jay-Z and Eminem time, it wouldn’t have been hard to predict that I would develop a relatively eclectic music taste. Before I ever got my first iPod, I was exposed through my parents (and my older brother) to the sounds of people like Bob Dylan and Van Morrison, Outkast and the Black Eyed Peas, and 50 Cent and Kanye West. In fact, my dad wanted to name my brother and I Wilson and Otis, after Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding.

Luckily, my mom had the sense to push back on that, but the passion for music was passed down to me nonetheless. Sunday mornings with my family were magical moments frozen in time: dad playing the role of dj, my mom and brother and me dancing in the kitchen, the mood as joyous as I have ever experienced. Looking back now, I can’t help but think that my dad’s depth of musical knowledge played a role in making my mom fall in love. And that is what this playlist is about: taste in music is not just a cool attribute - its a currency of love.

Don’t get me wrong - I am a fan of hip hop first, and that will make up the bulk of this playlist. Once I was introduced to the popular hip hop music of the early 2000s there was no turning back, and my taste became more cultivated and mature as I got older. However, this playlist is about not turning a blind eye to rock and roll or the blues, to funk music or soul music. This playlist is about riding in a car with somebody you’re flirting with, and using your taste in music as a means of self-expression, a way for you to stand out from the crowd. It is about getting control of the aux cord and feeling the high of introducing your friends to music they haven’t heard, whether its a song from last week or last century.

In elementary school, to get us to be more observant and descriptive authors, English teachers used to tell us to write like our audience was an alien who knew nothing about our topic. Well, if an alien ever comes up to me and asks me to explain American music, I won’t have to write anything. I’ll just show him my playlist.

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About The Curator - Jake Greenstein

Jake Greenstein   - Music to Curator

Jake Greenstein is a student, a rapper, a basketball lover, and an avid music fan. He loves movies, books, stand-up comedy, and would be happy to debate Jordan versus Lebron, the top five rappers dead or alive, The Beatles versus The Stones, Veganism versus the Standard American Diet, or basically anything else. Jake was born and raised in Tampa, Florida.