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The Bad Boy Reunion Tour: Why Its’ Just The Science of Music


Bad-Boy-Reunion-Tour Lil Kim.jpg


Bad-Boy-Reunion-Tour-busta rhymes.jpg
Bad-Boy-Reunion-Tour Usher.jpg
Bad-Boy-Reunion-Tour Nas.jpg

Photo Credit: VDot Photography

Before you read please check out my old post on NY Times With Diddy 2003 Marathon

Whether you call him “Puff Daddy” or Sean Combs he came and conquered with the family last night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour was 90’s Hip-Hop Music on steroids. The line-up did not disappoint with Mary J. Blige, NAS, Usher, and Lil. Kim, Jay Z., The Lox, French Montana, Rick Ross and Busta Rhymes an inspiring tribute to The Notorious B.I.G. Damn even Cassie came out,  Black Rob and Faith Evans. New York was all a buzz with Bad Boy and the Stage was on fire.

Watch My Fun Here:

Robert J. Zatorre and Valorie N. Salimpoor wrote an article in the NY Times about music and science saying, “Music is not tangible. You can’t eat it, drink it or mate with it. It doesn’t protect against the rain, wind or cold. It doesn’t vanquish predators or mend broken bones. And yet humans have always have prized music- or well beyond prized, loved it.”

As a fan of everything musical an in particular Hip-Hop music, I am reminded of the genres effect on everything. Today we spend a lot on tickets for concerts, decide which streaming service best fits our needs. Perhaps you subscribe to a few like I do and for whatever reason we keep investing in music.  Even the Paleolithic people invested in music by making sounds from animal bones. So why this music thing is so damn prized -or at its core; is it just notes that once sequenced together hold so much intrinsic value?

The obvious answer is music helps to make us feel good. Last night thousands felt as I did, very good…the arena was lit. Yet, the more you explore, the other less obvious conclusion… is why? For that there’s neuroscience and I am so scientist, but my research came up with some interesting explanations as why I needed to see the Reunion Tour so badly. Deep inside our brains there lays sub-cortical nuclei that are important to our reward system that motivates our emotions. So when we listen to music it triggers “peak emotional moments” in music. You can feel it when your head moves or your feet start tapping-that “chill” in the verse to the musical passage- “causes the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, an essential signaling molecule in the brain.” (NYTimes).

So, you really do need ‘weed’ or a ‘drink’ your dopamine is going to kick in on its own (maybe a little). The “Pleasure Principle” that Prince was talking about all ready in the music. Well the “DOPE” is stored in an ancient part of the brain called the ‘striatum’ located in the vertebrates… (More we rock and move the more its’ released). The best part of my discovery is that the idea of reward is related to anticipation (The reunion Tour) and the prediction of the desired outcome (The Reunion Tour Is Gonna Be Lit) has a history in neuroscience.

Still there’s something called the auditory cortex? The auditory cortex is the most highly organized processing unit of sound in the brain. Think of that iconic cut “It’s All About the Benjamins” that’s the auditory cortex act work imagining the tune. That’s how we can experience music even when it’s physically absent. So we can without much effort even discern patterns in music like major chord differences. You know when you hear some on out of tone…that’s why auto tone was invented. Someone’s auditory cortex is out of whack!

Here’s the other thing that jumps out from what I found. You know how some people just are good at this music thing. We say their blessed with talent or have a good ear. I have been told that I can spot a talent or even navigate through some studio sessions. Well those cortical circuits in our brains allow us to predict sounds base on past events. That means our knowledge of musical sounds is an accumulated library of musical information coming from a lifetime. That includes our gestational lifetime too.  That means our mothers begin creating temples of musical statistics present in the music of our culture. Our mother’s wombs are the incubators enabling us to understand the music we hear in relation to our stored mental representations of the music we heard (thanks Mom).

For every time we hear new music it is like reiterating the past and predicting the future. So when we hear music the brain is creating expectations based on your past stored knowledge. That’s why Sean Comb’s is a master of his craft. What is Sean Combs adding neuroscience to the resume? Maybe, but putting together this reunion tour manipulates these prediction mechanisms and gives us what we what- or is surprising all of us, with something even better than before.

I am glad the Barclays Center’s acoustics was ripe and ready for my cortical systems. My stored patterns needed no longer be analyzed and my ancient rewards and motivational systems know the answer to the question: I love BAD BOY Music…and there is little I can do about it or that I value more.

We were Lit…

Thank You,

“Puff Daddy”

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