Moving from Los Angeles to New York City in the summer of 2000 is the second wisest decision I’ve ever made. The first? Well, heeding the sound advice of my good friend, who persuaded me to stick around our local bar for one more drink that late October evening nearly 10 years ago. About 15 minutes after heeding his advice, I serendipitously met the love of my life, the incredible woman who would become my wife a few years later. But back to that close runner-up of a decision. In August of 2000, a restless soul of just 22 years and one year removed from my graduation from UCLA, I had grown indifferent toward my life in West L.A. Desperately craving a change of scenery and a lifestyle recalibration, so to speak, I ventured east to New York. And more precisely, the neighborhood of Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
Five years before I fortuitously found and fell in love with my future wife, I fell head-over-heels for Fort Greene, and I fell hard. Though my family and I now live in an adjacent neighborhood just a stone’s throw away, Fort Greene remains the most vibrant and thrilling place I’ve ever called home, and I vividly relish all of the wonderful friends I’ve met and indelible experiences I had there.
As I’ve written about in this column before, my recollections of time and place are always inextricably connected to the music I was absorbed in whenever and wherever I happened to be. My memories of my first few months in Brooklyn are no exception to the rule. In fact, I can immediately pinpoint three albums in particular that functioned as my most intimate musical companions during that transformative period of my early adulthood. Common’s Like Water for Chocolate, Coldplay’s Parachutes, and Jill Scott’s Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1. In fact, the latter was the first album I ever bought in New York, the day after I landed in my new city. So among the three aforementioned albums, Scott’s debut LP is the one I most closely associate with my introduction to the Big Apple and my newfound feelings of rejuvenation and redemption upon making a new home there.
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Justin Chadwick is a columnist for soulhead.com, whose #LongPlayLove series celebrates the anniversaries of albums that command a sentimental place in his mind, heart and soul. Follow his insatiable passion for music on Twitter @justin_chadwick.