If I had to describe 2014 with one word, it would be...tumultuous.
Yeah. 2014 was tumultuous.
In addition to a few break-ups, there were also a few car, house, and mental breakdowns as well. Oh, and body breakdowns too. I mean, I had Shingles...fucking shingles?! What is this, Oregon Trail!? You know when you are having a rough day, week, or month, and you reach a point to where you truly give no fucks. You know, that point where so much bullshit has been dumped on your head that you just become oddly excited to see what else the universe can possibly throw your way? It was like that...for much of my year.
Now, it may seem odd considering that me telling you that I had Shingles might be the most embarrassing thing I've ever written, but I'm a very private person. If some shit is going on, I'll deal with it myself. It's like there is a little O.T. Genesis in my head who, at the mention or thought of reveling anything personal, pops up like the little dude in Mortal Kombat when you get a vicious lick in, to remind me never to tell anyone anything...ever. I know nothing! Still, while I internalize (probably too much) there was one friend who always knew how I was feeling, what and why I was feeling it, and they always, always, knew just what to say.
That friend was music.
I've always loved music and it's always been an important part of my life, but I've never had a year like 2014. I've never needed anything like I needed "Boobie Miles" to get out of bed, like I needed to hear "Wilderness" when she moved away, or "In Due Time" when I would be up late worrying about being closer to 30 than 20 and not being where I thought I would be by now. Would I ever get there? What if I'm just forever behind the 8-ball? I'm so inept as a grown person, how am I ever going to get my shit together? All those questions, feelings, and thoughts, from my ex to to my next paycheck, didn't go away, but where I wasn't able to verbalize them, music already knew.
I'm sure everyone else pursuing both passion over pension and pension over passion has had these very same thoughts, but talking to a person is a whole lot different than letting music talk to me. Just knowing that someone else out there had the same feelings gave me the boost I needed to keep going. When I would freak out about writing something personal (like I am now) I'd think of every artist who I admire for bearing their soul for the world. Even if the boost from my song of the moment only lasted a few hours, or one trip to Chipotle, there was always another piece of music that would take over. Whether it would be "My Own Parade" helping me forget, "Hang Loose" helping me well, hang loose, or Oddisee helping me really take a hard look at what I was doing and what I wanted to do (even giving me my new mantra), music, from Taylor Swift to Bach, would always be there helping me get though. I listened to music everywhere: the gym, at home with the lights off lying on the ground, eating lunch, doing my laundry, sleeping. In a year that was highlighted by, at times, an overwhelming, and crippling amount of uncertainty, music was a lone constant. It was always there when I needed it and I needed it a lot. We all need water and food to survive, but this year I learned I also need music.
As I round out 2014, despite all the turmoil, I feel some real excitement about 2015, and I owe it to music. Sure, I am brimming with happiness having PRhyme, Cole, and D'angelo as my three-headed music monster over the holiday, but it's more than a great rotation. I feel much better off. I am still dealing with the some of the same problems that don't seem to ever go away, but as I look back at all the shit I dealt with I remember being able to love the one thing I already loved most even more. I've always loved music, but there were points this year where I seriously questioned if I could do it or if I had it in me, but now, looking back, it's really been my only choice. Nothing helps shape my everyday world, my past, and my future like music. Nothing makes me cry like music and nothing dries those tears like music. It's the most powerful force on the planet (at least in my life) and all the shit I put up with this year feels like kindling to a fire in my soul that is sparked by music. Most people would be thrilled to have a few weeks off, but I'm already looking ahead to the new DJBooth year and all the material I want to write about and share; I'm excited for work.
There is still all that uncertainly, but I leave this year with a sense of calm because I know, ultimately when I have music I can do (and get through) anything. It's the same feeling when I am on the Metro, in my Detox shirt, wrinkled khakis and ratty Reebok pumps, Stanning out to a sample Premo used on the PRhyme album. The whole train, from the people in business attire to that homeless guy in the back, are giving me weird looks. Hell, the whole world could be judging me, shitting on my parade, and making me feel insecure, inferior and weird, but as long as I have music with me it doesn't matter. I can immerse myself in a sample, a line, a vibe, and know that no matter what those two girls leaving their happy hour might say to me, or what 18th century illness the doctor tells me I now have, I know that I'll be alright so long as I have a great song on deck...and there is always a great song on deck.
2014 was the year music became my best, most trusted friend.
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is “College Dropout,” but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.]