Diamonds & Wood: Your First Kiss And Also Five Rap Songs From 1996

"Diamonds & Wood" is an ongoing series in which music critic Shea Serrano breaks down the 5 hip-hop tracks you need to hear this week.

I received an email earlier this week and it's all I can even think about anymore. Really, it's all I want to talk about with anyone because it's fun and funny to talk about. So, with the permission of the sender, I'm going to post (an edited version) of the original email below. Then I'm going to answer it (besides asking him if I could use his query for this column, I'd not sent him any response back). But that's not what the point of this is.

I need for you to answer it. You don't have to write much, or you can write a billion words. I don't care. I just need it, even though I don't know why I need it. I've collected 13 responses already. I need one from everybody on Earth though. It's the only thing that's important, because I think it might tell me everything I need to know about anything. Or it won't. Who knows? Whatever. I asked my mom though, know that. So, we're off. The email:

Tell me something: When was the first time that you kissed a girl? Do you remember where you were or who she was? Do you remember who you were, for that matter? What did she look like? Do you still keep in contact with her? How did you feel the very next morning you woke up? How many more times did you kiss her? Did it change your perspective of one thing or some things or everything?

Do your very best not to use the word "boner" in your response too much please.

My Response:

(It's never not funny to say the word "boner," FYI.)

The very first time I kissed a girl proper was in 1996.

I was in the eighth grade and she was in the seventh grade. We kissed on a dare, which I suspect is how basically all first kisses happened between middle school kids in the '90s*. Her name was Adrianna and she wasn't that pretty, but she was really good at basketball** and she was willing to kiss me back so that was good enough for me.

I don't remember too much about the situation. I do remember that I was standing outside of her friend's window and they were inside the room. And I do remember in my brain I was thinking something near, "Okay, you've never done this before, but so then just kiss her as hard as you can because she needs to know you're a man." And I do remember her friend shouting, "Stick your tongue in his mouth!" right when we started to kiss. And I do remember immediately thereafter thinking something near, "If this hoe sticks her tongue in my mouth, I'm going to bite that bitch off," though I can't specifically recall why I thought that particular action was so threatening. And it seems like I remember some sort of R&B playing in the background, but I don't know how accurate that is. But that's it.

I don't remember what time it was (probably 7 p.m., but maybe 1 a.m.) or what I was wearing (maybe JNCOs, but probably a No Fear shorts/shirt combo) or even what her last name was (it was definitely something Mexicany because I didn't try to start kissing non-Mexican girls until I got to high school—that's when I became a worldly chillbro). But I don't know that any of that matters anyway. I don't remember those same details about the first time I had sex either.

*To juxtapose the difference between being a middle schooler in the '90s and a being a middle schooler now: Three years ago we caught two eighth grade students in the room where we wash all of the athletic uniforms. The girl was performing oral sex on the guy.

**We played for opposite teams in a YMCA league that year. She hit us up for 15 or so points the second time we played, which is like scoring 60 points in an NBA game. I broke up with her the next day. When I told her it was over, she said, "We weren't even going together." I was like, "…Oh." My whole life.

So, you? Your turn.

While you respond, here some rap songs from 1996.

1. Puff Daddy, "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down"

I think I went, like, a good solid year pretending to be Ma$e. I miss Ma$e SO much. Not the new Ma$e though. I miss this Ma$e. 1996 Ma$e. The new Ma$e is like the rap version of Saved By The Bell: The College Years.

2. Snoop Dogg, "Snoop's Upside Your Head."

There was a black guy that went to my high school named Kevin. He used to carry a JansPort backpack. I had one too, but he had the GOOD one (the one with the leather bottom). He used to always write stuff on the leather part in permanent marker. He showed up to school after this song came out with a new one, and the only thing written on there was "Kevin's Upside Your Head" in big bubble letters. Kevin was the tits.

3. Cypress Hill, "Throw Your Hands In The Air"

Cypress Hill always seemed so corny to me, though that might've been because everyone I knew always expected me to like them because they were at least a little Mexican.

4. Tupac, "I Ain't Mad At Cha"

Can you even imagine how much shit Drake would get if he made this song? I mean, it's basically just, "You were my friend and now we're not friends anymore and that makes me kind of sad, but it doesn't make me all the way unhappy."

5. Lil Kim, "Not Tonight"

I miss when Lil Kim was a human.

Also: Lil Kim was the first woman I ever heard talk like this. It was, just, like, I mean, come on.

Shea Serrano is a writer living in Houston, TX. His work has appeared in the Houston Press, LA Weekly, Village Voice, XXL, The Source, Grantland and more. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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