Like a Phoenix, 2020 rises from the ashes of the past decade and brings many a time to reflect on their past self. I was once known as oldschoolhip_hop before I even became The Musical Hippie and through the past 10 years I have gone through many evolution’s in my musical taste. So what I would like to do is discuss each year, from 2010 to 2019 on what album defined that year for me and where I was in my music taste. Like wine I only hope my music taste aged well but lets dive in, these are the albums that defined my decade.
During sixth grade I found myself very glued to the 90’s West Coast hip-hop scene. I was a big fan of Tupac, Eazy-E, Snoop Dogg and also was more recently getting into the East Coast scene with Biggie Smalls, the Wu-Tang Clan and DMX. At this point I was very close minded and only believed true rap had to have been from the 90’s. But when “K.I.D.S.” released on August 13th I found myself very confused with my position on rap. Mac Miller was from Pittsburgh which was new to me because I had never listened to a artist from there and brought a different sound while also using East Coast classic beats from Lord Finesse and Q-Tip. Miller was a new sound for me and I latched on which led me to explore and listen to new artist in 2011
2011 had so many classic albums, from Drake’s “Take Care” to “Watch the Throne” by Jay-Z and Kanye West. The 7th grade had tons of bangers and one of my favorites was “The R.E.D. Album” by The Game. I was still very heavily into older rap music but The Game really helped break me into being more open minded. One of my absolute favorites was “Martians Vs. Goblins” which features Lil Wayne and also Tyler, the Creator. I memorized songs like “Pot of Gold”, “The City” and one of my favorites, “Ricky” by heart. Dr. Dre’s absence didn’t bother me on production cause Pharrell, DJ Premier, DJ Khalil and more killed the gritty feel this album had. Being white while bumping this was funny looking back but god damn did The Game make me really wanna pop off in 7th grade.
2012 was a very slow year for my exploration, I had started looking into older funk and soul while still maintaining a undying love for rap. E-40’s “The Block Brochure: Welcome to the Soil 1, 2 and 3” really defined my playlist, especially “Zombie” featuring Tech N9ne and Brotha Lynch Hung. Looking back at E-40 from 2012 to 2020 shows his growth in business and that he has one to many yearly releases. Past “Zombie” these 3 LP’s had a lot of slappers, from “Mary Jane”, “Red and Blue Lights” and “Catch a Fade” to name just three. Another notable album I was also playing was “Good Kid, M.A.D.D City” by Kendrick Lamar but at the time I wasn’t heavily into Kendrick.
2013 was for the boys, Call of Duty: Ghost released and is arguably one of the best COD’s we had in the 2010’s next to Black Ops 1 and 2, Modern Warfare 2 and 3. Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” released on November 5th but quickly found itself played out. 2013 had many LP’s that I now listen to often more than TMMLP2, Earl Sweatshirt’s “Doris”, “Wolf” by Tyler, the Creator and Czarface’s self-titled album “Czarface” all in perspective are better albums than this but at the time Call Of Duty really hyped me for this album. Besides the singles this album had some good songs, “Bad Guy” and “Legacy” being two of my favorites.
2014 was about the same as 2013, I really had been listening to multiple genres by now and sorta had fizzled out newer rap for a while. “36 Seasons” by Ghostface Killah released on December 9th, the same day as J. Cole’s “2014 Forest Hill Drive” but I had no interest in Cole at the time. I honestly only remembered listening to this album in full, I had played a lot of leftovers from 2013 still and only bumped singles for a majority of the year.
Macklamore may have robbed the rap category during the 2014 Grammy Award show but Kendrick Lamar instantly won 2015 with the release of “To Pimp a Butterfly” on March 15th. Sophomore year of high school was never the same. Joey Bada$$ who released his debut album “B4.Da.$$” was also released which really shook the game up for me because Joey was and still is on par with Kendrick lyrically so I had these along with “I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside” by Earl Sweatshirt on repeat heavily.
2016 had some fucking funky albums man, from J. Cole’s “4 Your Eyez Only and “Blond” by Frank Ocean to Post Malone’s debut with “Stoney” I had a issue really thinking of what album I enjoyed the most. But when I really look back I remember the hours I spent up at night listening to the psychedelic journey that is “Awaken, My Love!” by Childish Gambino. Many would say Travis Scott’s “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight” or even Mac Miller’s “The Divine Feminine” but honestly it came down to this or B.o.B.’s “Elements” which had a lot of good songs spanning 4 different, very interesting mixtapes. But while I pick and choose songs from “Elements” I fully listened to “Awaken, My Love!” and have since made it a smoking must in my hot-boxing mix since its release.
2017 was the fucking year for my music taste, “SYRE”, LL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$”, “Fin”, “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1”, “17” and so much more. I had experienced what I think was the peak of excitement for album releases this year but none could compare for Tyler, the Creator’s “(Scum Fuck) Flower Boy.” I had pretty much rediscovered a more colorful side of myself that I thought never existed, a childish feeling I thought lost long ago and this album really brought it out. I had spent my first real checks from work to save up to see Tyler, the Creator and Joey Bada$$ preform these albums in the same year but Tyler really changed who I am for the better. Without “Flower Boy” there would be no Musical Hippie.
Released November 9th, I had a hard time between Lil Peep’s “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 2” and Mac Miller’s “Swimming” so I feel both of these dark, beautiful works of art will define my 2018 playlist. I’ve loved and lost both of these artist who I have honored on me in ink done by Hustleart (@hustleart). “Swimming” was a beauty that I felt deserved its Grammy nomination, I remember when I was working at Oakridge Mall on Blossom Hill Rd back in San Jose that this was a constantly played album for my smoke breaks and travels back home along with COWYSPT2 because of how much I related to the themes of being lost, searching for my place and someone to love. Another few honorary mentions are Joji’s “Ballads 1”, “Mudboy” by Sheck Wes, “TA13OO” by Denzel Curry, “6 Wolves” by 6 Dogs and Danny Wolf, “Some Rap Songs” by Earl Sweatshirt, “Isolation by Kali Uchis and “Kids See Ghost” by Kids See Ghost.
2019 has been yet another year where music found itself really locked in my eyesight. Two really big albums this past year that carried over were Post Malone’s “Hollywood’s Bleeding” and Tyler, the Creator’s “IGOR.” Both albums have played a huge part in 2019 for me, “Hollywood’s Bleeding gave me a comfort to who I am, what I wanna be while enjoying life. “IGOR” however also reminded me about the beauty in love and lose, not to mention “IGOR” and “Hollywood’s Bleeding” have some fantastic production work. Some more notable releases for me are “Father Figure 3: Somewhere Out There” by Rexx Life Raj, “Pony” by Rex Orange County, “Para Mi” by Cuco, “Zuu” by Denzel Curry, “Sensational” by Yung Gravy, “Apollo XXI” by Steve Lacy and “Everybody’s Everything” by Lil Peep.
Looking back my taste has matured yet always been hungry for more. My thanks will always be towards music and the stories they tell while I form my own around the words that are formulated. All I can say is I am excited to see what 2020 brings and hope to be around another decade to write about what I listened too. Salute to all the fallen artist from the past decade and let us shoot for nothing but good health and prosper in our respected dreams.