Superclean, Volume II- The Marías
While this is technically not an album, this six-song EP packs a punch even with a short tracklist. My best friend introduced me to the Marías back in January of 2019 and I fell in love with them instantly. I was lucky enough to see them live in Oakland at the New Parish. Most bands usually sound very different on stage, however, they sounded as if they were in the studio. During the time I was put on to them, I was in a major depressive episode. Their music soothed a lot of the sorrow I was dealing with. Even though the songs are heartbreaking their ability to encapsulate emotions is so profound. It’s an uplifting piece of music for me. Similar to Currents, I found beauty in the pain. I let anguish take the wheel to see where I’d end up. And on the other side I saw myself grow into someone I didn’t know was possible. Although I put in the work myself, I couldn’t have done it with them, as silly as that sounds. If I could go back in time, I’d listen to this EP sooner because it might’ve saved me from spiralling as badly as I did.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill- Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill made a masterpiece like no other. This album overhauled my view of what love is and isn’t. She takes you through the ups, the downs, and everything in between. From leaving toxic relationships to admitting certain love interests simply weren’t meant to be. To me, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill made me less cynical in regards to love. It made me hopeful that I’ll find someone who will embrace all of me. Beyond love, this album explores what it means to rise above and to get out. Lauryn Hill could’ve stayed content, but she chose to escape and become the person she is today. I relate to that so much. I had to move out of my parent’s house to truly experience complete happiness. And after moving out I became a better, more tactful, person. I can’t give enough praise to how mesmerizing Lauryn Hill’s music is. Moreover, I can’t put into words how much this album changed my thought process on love. I listen to this album at least once a week and I doubt I’ll ever get sick of it.
Currents- Tame Impala
Tame Impala was an artist I didn’t enjoy at all the first time hearing them. Honestly, I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to understand the scope of their music. However, it took a heartbreaking time in my life to occur before I understood the beauty in pain. I gave Currents a second listen and it was an elevating experience. From Kevin Parker’s ethereal vocals to his lyrics which burrow down to the bone. This album takes you on a journey through all aspects of heartbreak. The initial shock of abandonment, the yearning to be loved again, then finally sprouting through the soil. Currents capture the essence of heartache and searches for a silver lining beyond devastation. It taught me that it’s possible to grow from pain, furthermore, there’s nothing wrong with being heartbroken or even crumbling. Tame Impala or rather Kevin Parker crafted an album that made me realize whatever I’m feeling is valid. And it helped me put to rest some skeletons in my closet.
Book of Ryan- Royce Da 5’9
Very rarely do I relate fully to a piece of art, but the Book of Ryan captures a lot of experiences I had during my childhood. The album discusses what it means to be the child of an addict/alcoholic. In addition, it explores how to navigate through life with an emotionally unavailable family. Moreover, it tackles how we can inherit pain and trauma. Being the son of an addict/alcoholic and being born into an emotionally unavailable family resonates with me a lot. I’ve inherited my mom’s trauma and even the trait of getting easily addicted. This album came at a perfect time in my life, it made me feel less alone amid a depressive episode. I realized there are other people out there who experienced the same things I have. It helped me organize all of the scattered emotions I was feeling. Book of Ryan will always be one of my favorite albums of all time. And Royce will always be one of my favorite MCs. I wish I could personally thank him for making a piece of art that helped change me for the better.
Madvillainy- MF DOOM
Madlib and DOOM created an album so special, so unique, it is regarded as one of the best hip hop albums of all time. And it’s worthy of that spot. The first time I heard MF DOOM I was blown away by the rhyme schemes. This man could rhyme anything! When he rhymed “answer” with “stanza” on Meat Grinder, I wanted to quit writing. It doesn’t seem like that outrageous of a rhyme, but at the time I didn’t know if I said words a bit different they’d unlock a whole other lexicon. I was bored with the music I was listening to until DOOM came along. At first, I thought he was rhyming just to rhyme, I mean he is, but his lyrics are poetry, there’s always a deeper meaning. Deciphering lyrics is what makes listening to DOOM fun. When I started performing spoken word, I had Madvillany on repeat while I’d write my poems. My earliest pieces bit DOOM’s style so much, but he taught me how to craft cadences and find unorthodox ways to rhyme words. MF DOOM was a genius and it breaks my heart to hear of his passing. He is one of my favorite artists of all time. Without him, without this album, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into spoken word or poetry at all.