Written by Talen Williams

Suburban High‘s protagonist William Moon is known to readers by very specific traits. The traits that stand out the most are the hoodies he’s worn since he was a kid, and the fact that he will keep his hands in the pockets of said hoodies as much as he possibly can. But those pockets also house his Sony Walkman CD Player, which at the time was still referred to as a “Discman” (the name wouldn’t be changed to Walkman until 2000).

That CD player has withstood the test of time, as Will has had it since his 11th birthday in 1996. To him it ranks at the top of the list of his favorite gifts, below only his first hoodie and the copy of Watership Down he received on his 14th birthday.

Will has always had a admiration for music However, before moving to Ingram Park with his family, Will’s CD library was limited. It consisted only of the squeaky clean versions of albums that Wal-Mart is notoriously known for and a copy of the Killer Cuts CD that came with the Super Nintendo version of Killer Instinct. To be fair, Will still listens to that one, and when he thinks no one is around, he’ll attempt to dance to The Way You Move (THAT BEAT IS RARE!)

It wouldn’t be until a few months before leaving Salem that Will would get his hands on music that wasn’t prescreened by his parents. A few days before his fourteenth birthday, his cousin caught wind of a little program known as Napster. The two spent days on and off downloading their favorite songs and new releases. While his cousin knew what he wanted off the bat, Will chose songs almost entirely at random, songs that he would somehow resonate with, as if it were fate telling him to choose these specific songs. Songs like:

Quiet Storm by Mobb Deep (Clean Version)

Will might’ve heard this song once or twice on the local hip-hop station. But hearing it uncut for the first time put an entirely new perspective on the song. Being able to listen to all of the lyrics, Will could piece together what the Prodigy and Havoc were trying to say

Quiet Storm by Mobb Deep (Uncut Version)

Ultimately, the swearing and overall content wasn’t as bad as Will’s parents made it out to be when they would preach to him about rap music overall. Besides, at this point in his life, Will’s ears had been exposed to this language by his peers at school on a daily basis and on a subconscious level, he knew his parents knew that. But that didn’t mean Will was going to be liberal with the playing of the burned CD around his parents. He did his best to conceal it knowing fully well that if his parents listened to even one track on it, it would be in the trash and he’d be grounded for a long time.

Will hypothesized that the best course of action would be to hide the CD in plain sight, so to speak. He kept the CD in his CD player. And even when listening to it around the house as he did chores, whenever asked what he was listening to, he’d answer “that one CD that came with the Killer Instinct game.” He knew that no one in his family would ask to listen to it to make sure because none of them were fans of the techno music from that particular album.