Photo: Clover Hope

Everything is stupid, and so are we. Welcome to Jezebel’s Stupidest Summer Ever, a season-long celebration of our worst, most idiotic thoughts and opinions.

As a teenager in the ’90s, I began a tradition of recording songs off the radio and onto cassette tapes—like everyone else was doing. In college—like everyone else—I graduated to downloading mp3s and burning them onto CDs to create my own personal mixtapes. These days, people call them “playlists.”

But back then, children, there was manual labor involved in creating playlists. You had to buy a CD-R (or better yet, CD-RW), locate and download the mp3 files for songs you wanted, and then wait several minutes as the songs transferred from your computer to a CD—there was an entire mp3 industrial complex built around this process. Each month, for I don’t know how long, I would roll up my bootleg cut jeans, burn a CD of my favorite songs (which I would play in my car, etc.), and label it something inventive like “September 2003,” “Oct. 2003" or “Hot Mix.”

For the purpose of writing this blog for Jezebel’s Stupidest Summer Ever, I decided to unearth one of my old compact discs. I quickly realized I no longer own a CD player, proceeded to panic for a second, reminisced about my old fire-engine red Sony disc man for another second (it was nice), and then found an answer: my boyfriend’s ancient computer, which has a CD drive. The CD I chose is from September 2003. There are, regrettably, two R. Kelly songs on it, but I’ve omitted them from this playlist on Spotify. (Spotify for some reason does not have the Tank song.)

The track list is as follows. You’ll see there’s a healthy mix of rap (I was still mourning 2Pac) and classic saccharine R&B. This playlist reflects my undying love for Eve and Ja Rule and features a few songs that are on my all-time list of great songs, including “I Gotta Be,” “So Into You,” and “Sweet Thing.” Sandwiched between these: a classic Faith Hill track and, inexplicably, “Oochie Wally,” a song I don’t remember ever liking.

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“SEPT. 2003":

  • Case, “Missing You”
  • Eve, “Who’s That Girl”
  • Ja Rule, “Put It On Me” feat. Lil Mo & Vita
  • Jagged Edge, “I Gotta Be”
  • Janet Jackson, “That’s the Way Love Goes”
  • Rufus, “Sweet Thing”
  • Ludacris, “Southern Hospitality”
  • R. Kelly, “Fiesta (Remix)” feat. Jay-Z
  • Maxwell, “Get to Know Ya”
  • Tamia, “So Into You”
  • 2Pac & the Outlawz, “Baby Don’t Cry” 
  • Tank, “Maybe I Deserve”
  • Faith Hill, “Breathe”
  • Lil Kim, “Queen Bitch Pt. 2” feat. Puff Daddy
  • Nas and the Bravehearts, “Oochie Wally”
  • R. Kelly, “Just Like That”