This November, I’m telling 30 stories about 30 albums. The albums on this list are not necessarily my favorite albums, but they are the ones that are instantly associated with a time and place. All of these albums represent a chapter of my life. This is the story of those albums, and by extension, the story of me, presented mostly chronologically.
Album 12: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back by Public Enemy.
The soundtrack to my destruction. After redhead left, it was just the monster and me, and I was fading fast. He moved out of the apartment to another one in the building and I, naturally, became a hardcore drug addict.
A neighbor introduced me to crack cocaine and I wondered why I spent all those years numbing myself with alcohol and weed, when I could have just taken the shortcut with hard drugs to begin with. It was love at first hit.
I came home one day to find all of my belongings piled up under a tree, covered with a light dusting of snow. I was homeless. I was a drug addict. I didn’t care. I took the few things I cared about and stored them with neighbors. I left the rest of it there on the street.
I couch surfed for a while until all the couches dried up. I lived in my car for a while until it broke down on the freeway. I just walked away and left it there. All those people who were constantly partying at my apartment suddenly vanished. I was alone.
I squatted in an abandoned house down the block. There was no electricity, no heat, and broken windows during winter in Michigan. If you don’t know what a Michigan winter is like, think below freezing all the time for months and months. In other words, BRRRR. I’m cold right now just thinking about it.
I was profoundly addicted to drugs. My next hit was all I thought about, all I cared about. I had no job, no money, no home and no options, so I started prostituting myself.
One night, I overdosed. Someone drove me to Detroit Receiving Hospital and dumped me at the front door. I still don’t know who saved my life. Even that wasn’t enough to sober me up. It would be a while yet before I truly hit bottom.
Everything about that period of time is a little hazy. I’m not sure if it’s because of the massive amount of drugs I was ingesting, the traumatic brain injury I suffered not long after, or because I’ve intentionally forgotten, but I only have bits of it. This album is one of those pieces.
Honestly, this post was a toss up between this album and Straight Outta Compton by NWA. While I prefer that album to this one, I always liked PE better.