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launched 1 january 2016

Essays from 2015

Lórenzo J’s Highly Scientific Ranking of the Year’s 17 Best Songs

I’ve been making year-end playlists for a few years now. It’s a really fun exercise. Every now and again, you’ll see a song that you downloaded in January and can’t believe that song came out in the same calendar year as a song that came out 2 weeks ago. My only general qualification for this project is that the song be on an album that came out in 2015. I picked 100 songs to start, cut that down to 40, and finished with 17 — 7 honorable mentions, and a top-10 I painstakingly ranked. Really, painstakingly. It hurt me to cut some of the songs. But, tough decisions had to be made and whatnot. So, without further ado, the honorable mentions, in no particular order:

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Today’s your day, pleighboi. Redd’s proud of you. Cedric’s proud of you. I’m proud and Irmon’s proud and the brothers are proud and Ron and Crawf and Derrick and Jamila and Ms. Nadine and Brenda … I know they’re all impressed with the man you’ve become.

But none of them are as proud as me. I love you, Donovan. Thank you for being the brother I always needed.

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In Defense of Late Registration

The conversation started innocently enough, as far as I could tell. A guy tweeted his favorite Kanye albums in order, starting with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Really, all I remember is that MBDTF came first, Graduation came last, and Yeezus — YEEZUS! — was third, ahead of Late Registration.

Here’s where my perplexion — no, perplexion isn’t a word, but stay with me — begins.

When did Late Registration become this underrated?

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Kendrick, Cole, and Home as Hip-Hop’s Muse

Anyways, like the masochist I am, I sought out reviews for Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly the day it released. I forget what I was doing that Monday, but my day was fairly empty, so giving TPAB an initial listen straight-through was pretty easy. I caught its major themes pretty quickly, so it shocked me when everybody — literally, everybody — ran away from reviewing it. It’s too early to review because there’s so much going on, seemed to be the consensus, but it is really amazing sonically. I personally was perplexed that everyone was so perplexed. I texted my best friend, a fellow music snob, to see if she picked up where Kendrick was going, and she agreed the project was really easy to comprehend. Why were the folks who get paid to critique it so afraid to try?

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