As my time at Stanford involves an finish, so does my time with The Stanford Day by day. I needed to make use of my last article to replicate on my time writing about music during the last 4 years.
Shan Reddy ’23, certainly one of my greatest mates 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 noticed how enjoyable and fulfilling it was, I by no means actually appeared again. Since then, I’ve revealed eighty-four completely different critiques.
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 (tons of of hours, actually perhaps even hundreds) finalizing my checklist of the albums I had grown up with and cherished.
Wanting again, there are undoubtedly some adjustments that I might make to that checklist. I might put “good child, m.A.A.d metropolis” in its rightful place at quantity two. (I feel 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 needed to indicate like to certainly one of my all-time favourite artists and one of the underrated rappers ever. Furthermore, Benny The Butcher’s “Tana Speak 3” simply deserved a spot within the high 20.
I might simply write one other article simply concerning the adjustments I might make to that checklist, 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” checklist, I started to scale back the time-frame over which I might analyze. I reviewed high 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 critiques of recent album releases. Some favourite critiques from that 12 months 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 incredible and extremely underrated 12 months for music, highlighted in my “Prime 25 hip-hop/rap albums of 2021” checklist. 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 missed “Weight of the World.” Different spots within the high 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 critiques and year-end rankings as part of my column “New Music with Nick.” It was a fair 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 fantastic album releases.
My particular person album critiques ranged from Smino to Ari Lennox to Drake to SZA, with two albums highlighting the 12 months and changing into what I consider to be cornerstone albums in fashionable hip-hop music: JID’s “The Without end 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” checklist. Little Simz once more discovered herself within the high 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 rare 12 months, the elite ones prolonged means past simply the highest 5. Saba’s “Few Good Issues” and Smino’s “Luv 4 Hire” had been two extra nice albums that I highlighted in particular person critiques.
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 completely different albums that had large generational influence: 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 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 appeared on the eclectic Anderson .Paak and the massively essential Chad Hugo, two figures who’ve had typically missed impacts on fashionable standard music.
For Psychological Well being Consciousness Month, I dove into Isaiah Rashad’s “Cilvia Demo” — its private which means in my life and its cultural significance. Not solely is it certainly one of my favourite albums ever created, but it surely 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 evaluation are the epitome of what makes music lovely and the way I discovered which means from reviewing music.
Even when there have been only a few 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 pay attention or discovering one thing that adjustments our life views, music is deeply essential to our lives.
If any of my critiques or the music they referenced moved even one individual, then I contemplate the hundreds of hours all worthwhile. Regardless, it has nonetheless been a noble pursuit simply to replicate on and specific what I like.
Thanks on your time. I actually admire it.
Editor’s Notice: This text is a evaluation and contains subjective ideas, opinions and critiques.