As my time at Stanford involves an finish, so does my time with The Stanford Day by 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 greatest pals at Stanford, inspired me in my freshman 12 months to place my limitless rants about music into writing for The Day by day. As quickly as I spotted how enjoyable and fulfilling it was, I by no means actually appeared again. Since then, I’ve revealed eighty-four completely different opinions.
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 record of the albums I had grown up with and cherished.
Trying again, there are positively some adjustments that I’d make to that record. I’d put “good child, m.A.A.d metropolis” in its rightful place at quantity two. (I believe I simply didn’t wish to have Kendrick taking on the highest two spots.) I additionally ought to have put Lupe Fiasco’s “Tetsuo & Youth” a lot decrease, however I simply wished to indicate like to considered one of my all-time favourite artists and probably the most underrated rappers ever. Furthermore, Benny The Butcher’s “Tana Discuss 3” simply deserved a spot within the prime 20.
I may simply write one other article simply in regards to the adjustments I’d make to that record, 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” record, I started to cut back the timeframe over which I’d analyze. I reviewed prime Hip-Hop and R&B albums of every quarter of the 12 months in 2020, culminating in greatest albums of the 12 months 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 opinions of latest album releases. Some favourite opinions from that 12 months embody 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 improbable and extremely underrated 12 months for music, highlighted in my “Prime 25 hip-hop/rap albums of 2021” record. Taking the highest spot was top-of-the-line hip-hop albums of all time: Little Simz’ “Typically 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 missed “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 business powerhouses remaining related.
2022 noticed continued particular person album opinions and year-end rankings as part of my column “New Music with Nick.” It was a good higher 12 months for hip-hop (and genuinely one of many higher years of music in current reminiscence). Because the pandemic’s results started to fade, many artists jumped on the alternative to begin touring once more, resulting in an inflow of great album releases.
My particular person album opinions ranged from Smino to Ari Lennox to Drake to SZA, with two albums highlighting the 12 months and turning 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 Large Steppers.” These two held the highest two spots on my end-of-year “Prime 25 Hip-Hop Albums of the 12 months” record. 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 12 months, the elite ones prolonged approach 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 opinions.
Alongside the way in which, I additionally tried to take the time to be reflective on cultural and societal moments.
For Girls’s Historical past Month, I created a four-part collection on great contributions that girls 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 completely different albums that had huge generational affect: The Weeknd’s “Home of Balloons,” Isaiah Rashad’s “Cilvia Demo” and Jay-Z’s “4:44.” Within the following 12 months, I appeared on the music and cultural affect 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 appeared on the eclectic Anderson .Paak and the massively necessary Chad Hugo, two figures who’ve had usually missed impacts on fashionable standard 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, nevertheless it is among 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 approach 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 cherished from my writing. Whether or not it’s coming throughout a enjoyable new album, discovering an emotionally profound hear or discovering one thing that adjustments our life views, music is deeply necessary to our lives.
If any of my opinions or the music they referenced moved even one particular person, then I contemplate the 1000’s of hours all worthwhile. Regardless, it has nonetheless been a noble pursuit simply to mirror on and categorical what I like.
Thanks to your time. I actually recognize it.
Editor’s Notice: This text is a evaluate and consists of subjective ideas, opinions and critiques.