As my time at Stanford involves an finish, so does my time with The Stanford Each day. I wished to make use of my remaining article to mirror on my time writing about music over the past 4 years.
Shan Reddy ’23, considered one of my finest pals at Stanford, inspired me in my freshman yr to place my limitless rants about music into writing for The Each day. As quickly as I spotted how enjoyable and fulfilling it was, I by no means actually regarded again. Since then, I’ve revealed eighty-four totally different evaluations.
It began with my eleven-part collection the place I ranked the “Prime 100 hip-hop/rap albums of the 2010s.” I spent an exorbitant period of time (a whole bunch of hours, actually possibly even 1000’s) finalizing my listing of the albums I had grown up with and beloved.
Wanting again, there are undoubtedly some modifications that I’d make to that listing. I’d put “good child, m.A.A.d metropolis” in its rightful place at quantity two. (I believe I simply didn’t need to have Kendrick taking over the highest two spots.) I additionally ought to have put Lupe Fiasco’s “Tetsuo & Youth” a lot decrease, however I simply wished to point out like to considered one of my all-time favourite artists and some of the underrated rappers ever. Furthermore, Benny The Butcher’s “Tana Discuss 3” simply deserved a spot within the prime 20.
I might simply write one other article simply in regards to the modifications I’d make to that listing, however that’s the great thing about music journalism in some methods. Every article serves as a timestamp for what I believed at the moment.
As soon as I completed my egregiously invested “Prime 100” listing, I started to cut back the time-frame over which I’d analyze. I reviewed prime Hip-Hop and R&B albums of every quarter of the yr in 2020, culminating in finest albums of the yr lists. I closed out 2020 with my “Prime 25 R&B albums of 2020” and “Prime 50 hip-hop albums of 2020” lists, with The Weeknd’s “After Hours” and Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist’s “Alfredo” incomes the highest spot in these respective lists.
2021 noticed me dive into evaluations of recent album releases. Some favourite evaluations from that yr embrace Tyler, The Creator’s “Name Me If You Get Misplaced,” Topaz Jones’ “Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma” and Boldy James and The Alchemist’s “Bo Jackson.”
2021 was a implausible and extremely underrated yr for music, highlighted in my “Prime 25 hip-hop/rap albums of 2021” listing. Taking the highest spot was the most effective hip-hop albums of all time: Little Simz’ “Generally I May Be Introvert.” Coming in at quantity two was Tyler, The Creator’s magnum opus “Name Me If You Get Misplaced,” and the quantity three spot went to the extraordinarily neglected “Weight of the World.” Different spots within the prime 10 contained a mix of underground and blockbuster releases. Navy Blue’s “Navy’s Reprise” and Topaz Jones’ “Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma” held down for the underground whereas albums like Kanye West’s “Donda” and J. Cole’s “The Off-Season” noticed industrial powerhouses remaining related.
2022 noticed continued particular person album evaluations and year-end rankings as part of my column “New Music with Nick.” It was an excellent higher yr for hip-hop (and genuinely one of many higher years of music in latest reminiscence). Because the pandemic’s results started to fade, many artists jumped on the alternative to start out touring once more, resulting in an inflow of fantastic album releases.
My particular person album evaluations ranged from Smino to Ari Lennox to Drake to SZA, with two albums highlighting the yr and changing into what I imagine to be cornerstone albums in fashionable hip-hop music: JID’s “The Ceaselessly Story” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Mr. Morale & The Huge Steppers.” These two held the highest two spots on my end-of-year “Prime 25 Hip-Hop Albums of the 12 months” listing. Little Simz once more discovered herself within the prime three with “No Thank You,” and Denzel Curry and Black Thought rounded out the highest 5 with “Soften My Eyez See Your Future” and “Cheat Codes.” In such a unprecedented yr, the elite ones prolonged means past simply the highest 5. Saba’s “Few Good Issues” and Smino’s “Luv 4 Hire” have been two extra nice albums that I highlighted in particular person evaluations.
Alongside the best way, I additionally tried to take the time to be reflective on cultural and societal moments.
For Ladies’s Historical past Month, I created a four-part collection on fantastic contributions that ladies made to hip-hop all through the 2010s, celebrating fashionable legends like Rapsody, Noname, Nicki Minaj and Little Simz.
For Arts & Life’s 2021 two-part collection “Necessary 2010s albums by Black musicians,” I praised three totally different albums that had huge generational influence: The Weeknd’s “Home of Balloons,” Isaiah Rashad’s “Cilvia Demo” and Jay-Z’s “4:44.” Within the following yr, I regarded on the music and cultural influence of The Weeknd, Kanye West, Tyler, The Creator and Pharrell Williams in our part’s two-part collection “Most influential Black musicians since 2000.”
For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I regarded on the eclectic Anderson .Paak and the massively essential Chad Hugo, two figures who’ve had usually neglected impacts on fashionable common music.
For Psychological Well being Consciousness Month, I dove into Isaiah Rashad’s “Cilvia Demo” — its private that means in my life and its cultural significance. Not solely is it considered one of my favourite albums ever created, however it is without doubt one of the strongest collections of music that I’ve ever heard. I can solely hope that the album touches others sooner or later in the identical means that it has touched me ever because it got here out. To me, this album and this evaluate are the epitome of what makes music lovely and the way I discovered that means from reviewing music.
Even when there have been just some folks studying my column, I hope somebody discovered one thing new that they beloved from my writing. Whether or not it’s coming throughout a enjoyable new album, discovering an emotionally profound hear or discovering one thing that modifications our life views, music is deeply essential to our lives.
If any of my evaluations or the music they referenced moved even one particular person, then I take into account the 1000’s of hours all worthwhile. Regardless, it has nonetheless been a noble pursuit simply to mirror on and specific what I really like.
Thanks on your time. I actually admire it.
Editor’s Notice: This text is a evaluate and contains subjective ideas, opinions and critiques.