30 Albums, 30 Stories: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

NationofMillionsThis 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.

Favorite track:

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.