HIGH SCHOOL REUNION: Mayumi Okamoto (1995-1999)

October 20. 2011 | By Mayumi Okamoto

From the time I was born until I graduated from high school, I lived in the same house in the same secluded suburban neighborhood in south San Jose. Music played a huge role in my life when I was in high school and I have specific memories tied to all of the songs on this installment of High School Reunion. During those four years, my life was all about playing competitive tennis and basketball (you can’t tell by looking at me today, but I was quite the athlete) and writing notes to my friends about my boy troubles. I religiously listened to Sunday night oldies on WILD 94.9 and routinely heard Malo blasting out of cars as we cruised Santa Clara Street in downtown San Jose. TLC’s CrazySexyCool was the first CD I ever owned and for some reason or another, I was convinced that I was the Asian version of T-Boz (my haircut in my senior portrait was my feeble attempt to look like her). I wrote letters to my boyfriend on Hello Kitty stationary and he sent me mixtapes (remember those?) in the mail with illegible writing tagged all over the label. Some of the songs that I’ve picked were songs originally on those mixtapes – I remember because I still have some of them. Even though those mixtapes are stored in boxes at my parents’ house, the fact that I still have them is a testament to how great hip-hop and R&B were back in the day and how that music played such a large role in my coming of age. Even today, I can’t let go of my love for slow jams and hip-hop – and even a little bit of low rider oldies thrown into the mix.

James & Bobby Purify – I’m Your Puppet

Malo – Suavecito

Al Green – Let’s Stay Together

Keith Sweat – Twisted

112 – Cupid

Jon B & Tupac – Are U Still Down?

Outkast – ATLiens

Lost Boyz – Renee

Wu-Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M.

Total featuring Notorious B.I.G. – Can’t You See

Rappin 4 Tay – Playaz Club

Aaliyah – Are You That Somebody

TLC – Creep

Janet Jackson – Got ’til It’s Gone

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