I recently watched this short documentary called Why I Ride: Low and Slow which takes you on a cruise through the Mission District of San Francisco (or as one low rider put it: La Misión, Panchito, Aztlán). It took the viewer back to the 80s, which seemed like a foreign depiction to me knowing what La Misión is like now.
I have to admit Lowriders are pretty sweet. If cars could ever be described as sexy, they are it! They have been a cultural staple to Chicanos in the US for decades and Lowrider clubs still exist all over the country. BUT, if you’re going to cruise in style, you MUST have the right music to cruise to. The documentary reminded me of all of those smooth Oldies, and this is what I love the most.
For as long as I can remember, I would listen to “Sunday Night Oldies” on the radio in the Bay. Thanks to stations like Wild 94.9 and 98.1 KISS FM, they would take us back to the glorious days when Lowriders used to dominate the streets transmitting quality music.
Every Sunday, my father and I would drive to Richmond to pick up my mom from work. On the way there are back, the Old School sounds of the Stylistics, the Chi-lites, and the Delfonics would spew through the airwaves as we drove on through the bay in our…Mighty Max Mitsubishi!? Ok, not that classy, but with the music playing and watching the Bay unfold before my eyes, it didn’t matter. I felt like we were cruising low and slow.
Even if you don’t have a Lowrider, the music transcends time and place and can still take you back. You used to hear about love and you felt what love was even if you never experienced it. The artists that produced these catchy tunes actually played their own instruments and had emotive voices that were not overly manipulated in a studio. Most importantly they had real talent. Unfortunately, I can’t say that for the majority of the popular music out today.
Still, I recreate my own Sunday Night Oldies whenever I can. Whether I’m cruisin’ in my Chevy or procrastinating at home listening on my ipod, it reminds me of the culture in the Bay, my people, and the musical greatness that we have loved for generations.