We are shaped and become who we are by the company we keep and the lessons we are shown by others. Being raised in a household with three older brothers allowed me to learn many lessons and spend quality time with my loved ones. My oldest brother Joe is the biggest role model in my life, and the greatest thing he passed down to me is his undying love for music. This past weekend, on Jan. 22, 2023, I had the opportunity to pick his brain about his all-time favorite artist list, examples of perfect albums, and the beauty behind the artistry.
Many car rides with Joe have served as my introduction to a wide range of albums and artists. When asked about his favorite albums and artists, Joe had this to say: “My favorite album changes constantly. Life is always in a state of ebb and flow, highs and lows. However, my environment at that time usually dictates what I am listening to. Wherever my mental state is at that time dictates it as well. Now, if you were to ask me who my favorite artists are of all time, that would be simple. That list has rarely changed. That list would go Marvin Gaye, Pimp C, 2Pac, Kanye, Donny Hathaway, Prince, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, P-Funk, Nick Hakim, Stevie Wonder, Jay- Z and pre-2011 Lil Wayne.” Many notable names echo throughoutthis list, but the most notable to me is Stevie Wonder. With the recent passing of the 50th anniversary of his 15th studio album, Talking Book, Stevie Wonder is viewed as an all-time great, and his work is still sampled by many artists today.
A “perfect” album is given this title based on the individual’staste and personal preference, which is something both Joe and I understand. “There is no such thing as a perfect album, but there are always two albums that I can return to when it comes to my go-tos. No skips at all. Those albums would be My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and To Pimp a Butterfly. Being an extension of TPAB, Untitled Unmastered is in there as well. Bothare works of art. More art than music. Music was just the medium the picture was painted by. Poetry in motion. Life on wax. Luxury and self-devastation. Self-reflection and self-deprivation. Those three albums have almost everything when it comes to music. Sonically different than most things we had ever heard in hip-hop. Kanye had a legendary rollout with MBDTF on GOOD Fridays. Kendrick was spiritually in another realm when creating TPAB/UU. Both are literary works of art. For that reason, even when life is changing and altered, these two albums will be my favorite albums of all time.”
As the interview came to a close, I was able to truly see how music had shaped Joseph and my world. Despite our agedifference and life experiences, the one thing we can always have in common and connect with is music, which shows just how music can be used as a tool to bring people together and create beautiful moments. Not only being my big brother but also a great friend, a simple “thank you” is simply not enough to express my gratitude to Joe for introducing me to the world of music.
Written by: Jordan Young