In 2015 there’s nothing revolutionary about my respect of other music, but at the time, “revolutionary” would probably be the best word to describe it. This is before Pusha T called himself the Black Zack de la Rocha on “King Push.” Yes, this was after Run-DMC and Aerosmith’s “Walk this Way,” but how much did that matter to our age group? Ice Cube did that song with Korn once, but really, our generation – the 90s hip hop-loving generation of Wu-Tang Clan, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Tupac versus Biggie – we slipped through the cracks when it came to loving what most of us called “White people music.” History of the Black origins of rock and roll aside, we were sort of cheated. That is, until many of us came around through a friend, a movie, or, in my case, an AMV.
Granted, the spectrum of rock music that fits AMVs is a narrow one. Few-to-none are learning to appreciate Vampire Weekend over montages of Eren and Mikasa protecting Wall Maria. Yet and still, the gateway unlocked those songs that did fit, and opened many of us to a genre we otherwise ignored existed. And so like most interests, they snowball until I myself, for example, learned the entirety of “The Battle of Los Angeles” and “Hybrid Theory” without even the tiniest shred of embarrassment. My rock knowledge is still relatively slim – probably 10% compared to hip hop – but yo, I’ll take that 10% of RATM and everything that followed over the 1% I stumbled across as a kid flipping through MTV during the wrong hours. What is life without “Sleep Now In the Fire”? AMVs showed me what I was missing from those Columbia House CD Clubs: a few dope albums, and basic financial knowledge.
Remember Columbia House? The sweet nostalgia of my first debt owners.
The marriage of anime and rock taught me, a Black kid with a very narrow worldview, more than I ever could have known by sparking a simple curiosity based on something I loved, and something I would learn to understand. It was a seemingly minor collision whose effects rippled through my life like skipping stones to a rhythm. And it’s one that lasted for a few powerful years, so that for a time – even if only for a short phase in my life – being a nerd expanded my universe yet again. That is, until people started making hip hop AMVs. “We give Dre rock its props, but that’s where it stops.” It’s still hip hop over everything. But if you haven’t watched your share of rock anime AMVs, I offer a sincere suggestion you try the best mashups that nerddom has to offer, because they truly are some of the most glorious food for a nerd’s soul. Ask your friends, or if you’re already a connoisseur of the art, share your favorites with the world. There are people out there who need to hear it. Really. Wake Up.
Art Credit: YoungLinkGFX
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