Aside from trying to raise good, respectful humans and ensuring that they don’t off themselves in one of a bazillion kamikaze-style endeavors that all babies and toddlers undertake, the most difficult part about raising little children is finding appropriate music to listen to with your kids, especially in the car while traveling to and from the various activities all parents inevitably sign their kids up for. You see, while you’re at home, television shows with questionable characters—ain’t a parent alive with a working knowledge of Tele-Tubbies who doesn’t think they’re all on a never-ending LSD trip—can keep your kids entertained. Also it’s 2021, it’s quite common to see little ones with iPads and tablets blasting learning videos and age-appropriate prank shows at alarming volumes. My own children all seem to be unable to hear their iPads unless the volume is on “DAMN THAT’S LOUD.”
But the car. The car is where things get tricky. See, kids watch an enormous amount of videos and such with songs. And seeing as children are selfishAF by nature, they get in the car and want to hear their music, too. If you’re a parent who loves your kids you are likely to want to keep them happy and entertained so you’ll throw on some bullshit A-B-C song or something with animals singing about shit. Kids be knowing, too. They know what their songs are and when you are not listening to their songs. See, their songs have messaging that they’re familiar with about letters and animals and the latest in kid meme shit. They all find out about “Johnny Johnny (Yes Papa)“ or “Baby Shark.” So they want to hear it. You probably do not.
Enter Desmond Dennis, a hero who may or may not wear a cape (I really have no idea). He’s a singer, songwriter, performer who specializes in R&B—his latest offering is a remake of Jodeci’s “Come & Talk To Me” featuring Tone Stith, Shade Jenifer and Demarious Cole—but who also decided to apply for Parent Sainthood by creating a string of albums called Desmond’s Cool Jams which features hip-hop and R&B mixes of nursery rhymes and popular kid stuffs. For instance, he went viral for his “soul mix” of “Baby Shark” a few years ago.
And even if you didn’t care you probably saw or heard his jamtastic ass R&B rendition of “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”
As a person with four children—three who currently like to listen to music that jams—I decided to do some digging further into the Desmond Dennis catalog. And fam, if you have little kids he is a gift. He has SEVEN albums full of cool kid jams, four albums even called Cool Kids Jams 1-4. Nursery rhymes never sounded so good.
And let’s just call a spade a spade, all of these songs are so much better when given the Black Experience treatment. The music jams like shit and you can dance and move to it without feeling like you’re compromising all of that cool you have in your soul that refuses to die. I get it...it’s me.
For instance, WHO THE FUCK CANNOT JAM TO THIS JAMTASTIC ASS JAM?????? I AM STANDING UP DANCING TO THIS AS I TYPE IN ALL CAPS.
I mean, there are even dance movies. You cannot help but hit a pretty inspied body-roll to this song. Like, I’m INVESTED in this song. I half wonder if Desmond didn’t have a slew of songs done and then once he made his first kid jam realized there was a WIDE OPEN lane at his disposal and just erased all the lyrics and then went ham. I’m not even close to joking when saying that right now, for how my life is set up right now, that Desmond Dennis is probably in my top 5 favorite artists, dead or alive. When we get in the car at this point, my kids request these cool kid jams and really I just want to shake Desmond Dennis’ hand for being the change we all want to see in the kids music world.
And if I’m being really real about things, I actually happened to (unconsciously) hop in the car one day and threw on “Brush Your Teeth” and didn’t even realize my kids weren’t with me until I was two minutes into the song. I PROMISE you that if I was DJing at a club I’d throw this on and dare folks not to dance. This song could be a hit song (vocal arrangement and music-wise) for any array of artists. That’s how good this shit is.
And since I believe in love, magic and miracles I cannot not share this abso-fuckin-lutely amazing musical experience that is “Johnny, Johnny Wake Up.” True story, I was in my car waiting on Kid #3 to finish his turn in Tae Kwon Do class so I could switch him out for Kid #2 when this song came on and I almost had an out of body experience. I literally sat up in my driver’s seat and was like, “OH SWEET JESUS!” My kids heard this song on repeat for an hour after class that day. And they didn’t complain once.
Look, I’m just a guy with four kids who grew up on 90s hip-hop and R&B and have been trying to figure out how to keep my flavor while also not exposing my kids to music that I know isn’t good for their ears at this point. Desmond Dennis and his Cool Kid Jams is basically for the cool in you, and your kid who will understand when they have kids of their own.
Desmond...you are good money with me, bro. I even listen to all of his other music both because it’s good and because he’s earned all my streams.
To the parents, you’re welcome. Enjoy.