Soudtrack to My Life — “80’s Freestyle Legends”

♫ ♪ Now Playing ♪ ♫

When I hear music…

it makes me DANCE!

Harking back to the time of mix tapes, my 80’s Freestyle playlist includes tracks complied from a tall stack of “burned” CDs.  My best friend and I made them (and many more) from our dorm room in Smith Hall; during our freshman year in college.  Equipped with T3 high-speed internet connections; back when Napster was a fledgling peer-to-peer FREE file sharing interface… Unlimited feels like an understatement (x2).  Looking back, it’s no wonder I’ve ended up with 9078 songs to shuffle with.  The good, the bad, the ugly, and all sorts of silly randomness in-between.

If only I had a digital photo to go along with the visual that I’m having in my head right now!… I’ll be sure to add a scan of the glossy 3×5 as soon as I get my hands on it!

Napster:  A brief History (compliments of

Although there were already networks that facilitated the distribution of files across the Internet, such as IRC, Hotline, and USENET, Napster specialized exclusively in music in the form of MP3 files and presented a user-friendly interface. The back-end system was built by Napster’s chief architect, Jordan Mendelson.[5] The result was a robust system whose popularity generated an enormous selection of music to download – at its peak there were 25 million users and 80 million songs, but the system never once crashed.

Napster 2.0 Beta 7's file transfer screen duri...

Image via Wikipedia

Napster made it relatively easy for music enthusiasts to download copies of songs that were otherwise difficult to obtain, like older songs, unreleased recordings, and songs from concert bootleg recordings. Some users felt justified in downloading digital copies of recordings they had already purchased in other formats, like LP and cassette tape, before the compact disc emerged as the dominant format for music recordings.

These reasons aside, many other users simply enjoyed trading and downloading music for free. They created a username and password and were able to make their own compilation albums on recordable CDs, without paying any royalties to the artist/composer or the estate of the artist/composer. High-speed networks in college dormitories became overloaded, with as much as 61% of external network traffic consisting of MP3 file transfers.[6] Many colleges blocked its use for this reason,[7] even before concerns about liability for facilitating copyright violations on campus.__________________________________________________

Miami Sound Synthesis

Being all the rage in Miami, and receiving continuous airplay on the radio even today (and I’m not talking “oldies” or “adult-contemporary” stations) – it never occurred to me that this “Freestyle Music” was foreign to anyone who grew up outside of New York, Miami, or L.A.. As a matter of fact, until today, I never knew how closely tied it was to American/Latin Culture or to Miami in particular.  I never heard of  it referred to as Latin Freestyle either. The songs are in English (a few in Italian for some reason? but none in Spanish) that I know of. The producers and artists do not have distinct Latin or Hispanic names… I’m still a little confused.  One thing is certain. The lyrics are intensely over-dramatic, and that’s got Miami written all over it.  As for the genre, you either love Freestyle or you hate it!

“The origin of the term ‘freestyle’ to describe the genre is not completely clear and has often been debated, but the term stems from these electro and hip-hop roots. In [Miami] Florida, the name is said to have come from local producer ‘Pretty’ Tony Butler, who was in a electro-funk group called Freestyle, and also had produced Debbie Deb’s club smashes ‘When I Hear Music’ and ‘(Lookout) Weekend.’ His production work laid down the template for what freestyle music was to become, and so the genre is said to be named after Butler’s group.”Michael F. GillStylus Magazine

And what’s all this talk about Hip-Hop?

“People called it Latin hip-hop, but the pop producers didn’t want to use that term because hip-hop had negative connotations. So they started calling it freestyle.”

You learn something new everyday!

Image courtesy of

Here’s something else I learned…

Celebrate the miracle of life, the gift of new beginnings, and the memorable legends that live on beyond their time – even if only within that place which they call home.

Never stop dancing:

“When I hear music it makes me dance. You’ve got the music here’s my chance. I went to the disco, couldn’t believe my eyes.  I looked on the dance floor and saw so many guys…

Everybody’s having fun the music’s #1…” ~ Debbie Deb

I’m really interested in knowing what the rest of the world has to say about this “so-called” Latin Freestyle Music so if you have anything to add – please feel free to share your thoughts. _ Thank you

About lostin0z

Master of Maritime Archaeology Student
This entry was posted in Audience Participation, Found in Oz, Music, Now Playing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Soudtrack to My Life — “80’s Freestyle Legends”

  1. Pingback: P Washington – Pushin Daizys | NFN.AM

  2. Frankster says:

    Is music evolving, are we just getting old, or is there something more? I’m Cuban American, big on the American part. I grew up in New Jersey hearing mostly Rock music – Grunge, Brit, Indie, late 90 stuff. I remember before Napster when you had to go to a web site (things like and download for a few hours (56K modem that mostly ran at 24K) one song at a time that you look up on the search. Then the song was placed on your winamp. Now a win amp that had about 100 songs was a lot (no T3 here). Senior year of HS (2000 – 2001) I hear of Napster and it was free and good, for a while.

    I remember the day I said I would not pay for anything, especially music, on the internet. But I don’t remember the day I stopped buying new music. I only buy old songs, or anything new that comes out from a old musician (and that just goes for Radiohead as new albums from old bands are usually not so good).

    So then as “modern Rock K-Rock” stations are disappearing off the radio, most of their songs are finding their way to “Classic Rock” Stations. This as those High School / College kids who heard their songs in their youth now hear them in their late 20s early 30s.

    Getting old I guess. Even the indie music I heard in college is now NPR Music…..

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