Stuck On An Island Series: Tyra (@TheTyraTales)

Tyra (@TheTyraTales)

Funny enough, I have vivid memories of taking my mother’s hard copy of this album to show my 5th grade friends. Before the very messy and very public demise of his marriage to Paula Patton, Robin Thicke possessed a crazy amount of talent (and most likely still does but that’s neither here nor there). This appeal of this album, in my opinion, is how smooth it is. From “Got 2 Be Down” featuring Faith Evans to “Angels,” Thicke has an extremely soulful voice and tons of range that carries over just about any tempo. As I am not in fifth grade any more, I truly appreciate this album for the variety of emotions conveed in each song. “Cocaine” is literally about what you think it is, “Teach U A Lesson is about a sexy classroom fantasy, “Would That Make U Love” pleads about what makes love possible, and “Superman” details love’s heights. The Evolution is just that; it chronicles highs and lows and in-betweens in a really catchy, funky way.

This is another album that immediately takes me back to my childhood. I recall my parents playing it over and over during car trips and even more so through the house. I even took my parents’ copy to play over and over on the handheld CD player (remember those?) that my Dad gave me. Of course everyone knows “Revolution” (woop! woop!) but I also love “You Are” and “Hold Me Now” even more as I’ve grown in my relationship with God. What makes this album unique to me are the little skits about stereotypical church people that are painfully accurate, like “Interlude: The Verdict” and “Interlude: The Car (Stomp).” The older I get, I realize how many songs Kirk Franklin has taken and made appropriate for gospel, or even just revamped with a twist. “Gonna Be a Lovely Day,” a revamp of the Bill Withers song “Lovely Day,” uses some of the same lyrics but gives it an extra twang.

 

One of one of Stevie’s more underrated albums, Journey is the soundtrack to a 1979 documentary that used time-lapse photography to share how plants come to be. Stevie Wonder is my #1 favorite artist ever, and this album is extremely calming and serene. “Come Back as a Flower” is my favorite and features the melodious voice of Syreeta Wright, Stevie’s former wife. “Send One Your Love” and “Same Old Story” are really soulful classics that are really characteristic of Stevie’s style and are perfectly appropriate for the documentary. This is another album that’s really amazing to play full out and really relaxes my spirit.

 

 

Stuck On An Island Series: Kevin (@Cliche_Kev)

Kevin (@Cliche_Kev)

From the moment I fell asleep on the Megabus and Overly Dedicated seeped into my subconscious I knew I came across something great and profound. A friend years ago played me F*** your ethnicity (Section .80 lead track) before I've ever heard of Kendrick Lamar but later when I heard his songs within the context of an album, that really made me a (super)fan. But seriously how can I pick just one Kendrick project. All of his projects are meticulously handcrafted and it would be criminal for me to choose just one.. right? Or am I'm just copping out by not picking one and shading the other projects. Probably a mix of both. I chose all his albums as number 1 because chronologically his albums show growth in confidence, style, bars (won't get you high as this), risk taking and creativity so it is difficult for me to separate his music. Just like the songs on his albums, his discography trajectory needs to be taken within context as well. The more popular he has gotten the more risk, musically, he has taken. In a sentimental way and I'm probably now just rambling now, he gives me hope that ppl don't have to blend in to be beloved and at the top of their respective game.... His music transcends. This is all hyperbole at this point and in my mind it's all justified. BUT if I had to pick one project to listen to on a loop to listen to forever (Extreme hypothetical to force me to choose) I would go with TPAB. Strictly because it is more than your standard prototypical hip-hop album. All genres of music are tapped to produce this jawn. It's ambition and scope is second to none and despite my love for his previous work, so TPAB would be my pick if I had to choose. 

I felt like the bol that got his ear cut off by Peter and Jesus gave him a new one. The day I heard this, I heard things differently, I was plugged into a different frequency. Music didn't have to have words to be incredible. And music by white people can be legitimately great as well and not feel like cheap imitation (Stan take this line out if you want lol). From the day I heard this album I knew I stumbled upon an unicorn. This album stands the test of time and I still go back to listen to the greatness that is Snarky Puppy every single week. Six tracks of heat . Listen to them and Jesus will give you new ears. 

Take Car....Nahhhhh I hate Drake (had to take my shot real quick). My real number 3 is Feel Good by The Internet.  My number 3 spot is honestly fickle but today I'm riding with The Internet. Yes I know it's not as good as Ego Death, spare me the lecture Stan, but I don't care Feel Good is a favorite of mine. They will be big very soon so I'm hitching my wagon to these bols, but honestly they are already close to stardom. Grammy nominated and they have the ears and eyes of ALOT of big name artists. Feel Good is all vibes all the time. This album played on one of my greatest personality traits...chill. Feel Good is chill and laid back but the musicality and scope of the music will have your ears tuned in to every subtlety. I understand Ego Death is their crown jewel so far commercially but Feel Good is when they took their biggest leap and became a group to watch. 

The Most Honorable of Mentions:

Bilal - Airtight's Revenge 

Mick Jenkins - The Waters

The Roots - Undun

Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream

Hiatus Kaiyote - Choose Your Weapon

Lupe Fiasco - The Cool 

Stuck On An Island Series: Melanie (@_MelLy_MEls)

 

Melanie (@_Melly_Mels)

This was the first album I ever bought and what would ultimate make me a lyrical rap fan for years to come. From grammar school until my first year of college, you couldn’t tell me shit about Wayne. Mixtape Weezy was popping around this time too. As far as I was concerned he had a hold on everything, radio and underground. In my eyes he was the greatest rapper alive at the moment. Don’t judge me I was young and just now taken my love for music seriously. I remember being in 6th or 7th grade and becoming friend’s with a girl because she heard reciting the Fireman lyrics. “Fresh on campus it's the Birdman Jr. Money too long teachers put away ya rulers” was the reason I was the reason I wanted to go to college. Wayne getting an education and still doing what he loved really inspired me. Then to watch him get his own record label later, was amazing too watch. Because of that album I didn’t fuck with any rappers that didn’t have “bars” for a very long time. 

The Black Album.jpg

This may be my favorite album of all time. I’m finally at the point where lyrics or actual talent is not needed for me to love a song. My only requirement is that the song be heartfelt and on a great ass beat. This whole album embodied that plus Hov that dude on the lyric tip. Jay Z and the producers really out did their selves with project. This album is what solidified him as my favorite rapper. Mind you I didn’t realize how great it was until like 2012. I slept on Hov pretty much until The Watch The Throne album. I didn’t think he was weak I just didn’t care for the way he talked about women. That all went out the window when I realized Wayne was no longer the “greatest rapper alive”. I spent majority of my sophomore year in college trying to figure out who did I love more Ye or Hov. Jay-Z’s larger catalogue would eventually win over Ye being and a hometown native. When I was in school I would listen to this album at least once a week. I don’t know why but it just truly lifts my mood. I would literally be walking to class walking around campus reciting pretending I’m Hov. I become a different person when 99 Problem, PSA, or What More Can I Say Song comes on. Dirt of the Shoulder is one of the most nostalgic songs to me, and yes I still rap it like it came out last week. I could write a whole essay about this album and why I love it but I’m going to keep it short and sweet.

 It’s Michael Jackson’s best album, enough said… R.I.P. to the King

I’m technically cheating by mentioning a mixtape, but let’s be real this is might as well have been an album. I’m from the South side of Chicago so I’ve been messing with Chance since 10 Day. I miss when he did free but I’m extremely proud to see how far he’s come as artist and a young man, and where he’s headed. This is another album that will put you in a good ass mood. I don’t even know where to start. This project came out during my sophomore year of college, around finals at that, and boy was it needed. Anytime I would get homesick I would listen to this album because it just screamed to Chicago, the good and the bad, which is very evident in Pusha Man. I really appreciated him and the producers for incorporating the juke beats throughout the project. I immediately would start thinking about my weekends and juke jams and parties back in high school and elementary school. Songs like Everybody’s Something and Everything’s Good, just make you appreciate the small things life. As far as topics this mixtape was all over the place yet still very cohesive and homely for me. This is another project I could probably do a whole paper about.

My new fave. I know this project has only been out a few weeks but I still have it in heavy rotation. Every song is great in my eyes. I even fell in love with Forward. I can tell how excited I was to hear his presence on this project. He’s another favorite artist of mine. Now I’ve been a Beyoncé fan since 6th grade and yes I’m in the Beyhive, so yeah I’m biased but this project is still pretty amazing. As a black woman watching this filming really made me feel so empowered. I honestly think this album is more of a soundtrack to the visual. Just listening to the album, one would miss so much. As far as the infidelity goes, whether she was talking about her life or using a creative license, I’m just grateful we got a dope project out of it. Lyrically this is her best album, kudos to all the songwriters. I absolutely love array of genres on this album. She had me bopping to a country song and I don’t really care for country. I love when artist go outside the box and experiment with new sounds. It shows they’re pushing themselves and thus pushing the art forward. I’m starting to think I should have went until journalism because this is another project I could easily give you 8 pages on. Hell I notice something new every time I watch it.