Artists That Defined My Decade

Beyonce

Favorite song- Blow

Favorite album- 4

Now Beyonce has been the soundtrack to my life because I’ve been listening to this woman since before I can remember. I downloaded Beyoncé’s self titled from Tumblr (don’t tell the Beyhive) the night it was released by surprise. I would sit up in my living room watching the visuals and trying to dance like her as always. I got Tidal just so I could stream Lemonade. I actually teared up over, “Formation,” because it was inspiring for a young Black girl learning to love herself.

Rihanna-

Favorite song- Work

Favorite album- Anti

I idolized Rihanna throughout middle school and high school. I watched all her videos. I’d have pictures of her photo shoots and fashion saved to my computer taking up space on my computer. She was the, “It Girl,” for me. I wanted to be just like her.

Nicki Minaj

Favorite song this decade- Barbie Tingz

Favorite album this decade- Pinkprint

The way I feel about her currently doesn’t represent the way I’ve felt about her for most of the decade. I was obsessed with Nicki Minaj. She was one of my favorite rappers. I would out her pictures and put it on the front of my binder in 7th grade. She’s the reason why I wore Chinese bangs and wanted a kanekalon ponytail. Girls like me would memorize her verses just to show off.

Drake

Favorite song this decade- God’s Plan

Favorite album this decade- Nothing Was the Same

Drake’s been around for a huge part of my childhood, from Degrassi to his music. He gave me the songs for when I was in my feelings and when I was feeling myself. Nothing was the same was one of my favorite albums in high school. Songs like, “Furthest Thing,” just resonated with me. Most of his songs have a memory of middle school and high school attached to it. Drake’s music is nostalgic for me.

Kanye West

Favorite song this decade- Bound 2

Favorite album this decade- Yeezus

Like Nicki, the way I felt about him for most of the decade and the way I feel about him now are completely different. I idolized Kanye in my middle school and high school days. I felt like this man was a genius. I used to argue with anybody that had something bad to say about Kanye. That’s how much I loved him.

Tyler, The Creator

Favorite song- Fucking Young/Perfect

Favorite album- Flower Boy

Tyler was here for my teenage angst and my more positive mindset as an adult. Going from Bastard to Flower Boy correlated with my teenage years to adulthood. I remember listening to, “Bastard,” and watching, “Loiter Squad,” in the 9th grade. That’s when my love for Tyler started. I resonated with him being a weirdo because I felt like an outcast in school.

Megan Thee Stallion

Favorite song- Running up Freestyle

Favorite mixtape- Fever

Megan gives me that bad bitch empowerment every time I hear her music. Her unshakable confidence and sexually liberated lyrics are everything. I love that Meg’s a college student on top of being a rising star. She’s a multifaceted person and she seems genuine. Megan is definitely my favorite female rapper in this new era. She had me saying, “Hot Girl Summer,” and wanting to drive the boat. Now she got me trying to get better knees.

Lady Gaga

Favorite song- Aura

Favorite album- The Fame

I admired her for her unique style and music. I always felt connected to the artists who were unusual. I kept her first album, “The Fame,” on replay in 6th grade. “Born this way,” was such a powerful song for me and it still is.

Janelle Monáe

Favorite song- Don’t Judge Me

Favorite album- Dirty Computer

Janelle is an inspiration to me as a queer Black woman. I used a lot of her songs to empower me through hard times. What I love about her is that she has paved her own lane. She can’t be compared to anyone else. She puts a lot of effort into her art which unfortunately, isn’t common anymore. Janelle doesn’t get the credit she deserves. I got my poster signed by her at a Dirty Computer screening and I regret not telling her how important she was to me.

Solange

Favorite album of the decade- A Seat at the Table

Favorite song of the decade- Cranes in the Sky

Solange dropped, “A Seat at the Table,” in 2016 and she’s been one of my favorite artists ever since. That album spoke to Black youth in the 2010s, the same way, “What’s Going On,” spoke to them in the 70s. Solange’s social commentary, beautiful melodies, and avant garde style makes her so lovable.

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