Mood-Boosting Music, Part II: Then

If there is anything I love more than a new song to groove to, it’s an old song to groove to. I am all about throwback jams. The music of “now” has its flare but it can’t hold a candle to the music of my youth. So, here it is – my blast from the past that will always last. I hope it causes the muscles near the ends of your mouth to flex upward.

Hypnotize by The Notorious B.I.G.

I love me some Biggie Smalls! Always have. Always will. And no song will make me risk the vitality of my sound system quicker than this one. This summer, I played “Hypnotize” from my phone on an iPod deck during a Teach For America staff social. I was not surprised in the least when the place went wild. I was only slightly surprised when almost every white person there could rap it verbatim.


Lights, Camera, Action by Mr. Cheeks

This song came out when I was in middle school. All I can say is, I’m glad I have music On Demand because occasionally, I still play the video…three times in a row…while dance around the living room…every time.

100% by Big Pun and Tony Sunshine

I don’t know what excites me most about this song – the beat that entices me to move my hips, that it reminds me of Puerto Rico, or that I can sing the entire chorus, which is mostly sung in Spanish. Actually, it’s probably that I can sing it and I actually know what’s being said. Either way, the song makes me feel too good.

Back and Forth by Aaliyah

This song takes me back in the best way because it reminds me of when life was oh-so-simple. When I hear it, I close my eyes and picture a cookout that everybody showed up to and didn’t want to leave.


Big Daddy by Heavy D

What is this obsession I have with overweight hip-hop artists? I can’t help but love this delightfully corny song. The coolest things about this song is that Heavy D never says anything explicit when describing why he is head over heels and that the girl who sings the hook has a really smooth voice that probably deserved a record deal.

Just Fine (Remix) by Mary J. Blige and Swizz Beats

The original was a huge hit and became the anthem for almost every black woman in the country who had just experienced a major life breakthrough (no pun intended). However, I love the remix even more. It makes me want to go skating (“ATL” style). Actually, it makes me want to have a skate party. Ok, I’m having a skate party.

Countdown by Beyonce

If you know me, you know I love QUEEN BEY! She is IT! She has scarcely made any song, radio-bound or not, that I don’t love. This song, though? This song makes me feel so good about love for no good reason. It makes me want to get on a random stage in front of a huge crowd and scream, “Everyone, just be in love! Be infatuated! Wear colorful bodysuits with a leotard!”

Jam by Michael Jackson

I couldn’t throw the queen up here and not mention THE KING! My grandma always tells me that I absolutely loved MJ as a child and to this day, this song gets me PUMPED to the nth degree. And who could forget the video featuring two of the greatest Mike’s EVER? Jackson playing one-on-one with Jordan? MJ teaching MJ how to dance? #Historical


Throw It In The Bag (Remix) by Fabolous and Drake

This is the third song on this list that isn’t too throwback but it’s old enough. When this song came out I was like “Yeessss!” I mean, who doesn’t want to ride around pretending they got it like that. Oh, you don’t wish you could “walk up to the register like you didn’t know it had a tag?” You don’t want someone to say to you, “If my lady like to eat, I’ma buy a restaurant?” Well, you are weird.

Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield

Love the artist. Love the song. While I haven’t remained faithful to its overall message at all times, I believe in it whole-heartedly. It lets me know that each day is a new day to learn, grow, and do. And that…that makes me smile.














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