My third and final year at uni was quite mad. I was working a lot, not going out much, and in the last few months spent more time at the library than at my house. It was hellish, and there was times I thought I’m really not gonna be able to make it through. After countless tears and phonecalls home I was finally able to finish uni. Aside from the love and support my friends and family provided me with, music was the constant during my time spent at uni. Here are the 13 tracks that helped me with my final year, but first off are the honorable mentions!
Cam’ron – Rap City Dreams Freestyle
Madlib & Freddie Gibbs – Real
Chief Keef & Tadoe – Me
Conway – Biscotti Biscuit
Nipsey Hussle – Forever on Some Fly Shit
Conway and Benny – Hot 97 Freestyle
Fleetwood Mac – Dreams
The Game – Put You On The Game
Kanye West – Jesus Walks
Rockie Fresh – God is Great
Spice Girls – Viva Forever
I can’t even front, I was listening to a lot of Spice Girls through third year but none as much as this. I’m talking all the hits from Say You’ll Be There to 2 Become 1, but this one stuck out to me and I don’t really know why. Maybe it was the vocals and how softly they’re sang, or just the calm soothing tones it provides. Viva Forever really is a great song and I have no shame in saying I like the Spice Girls…. I mean okay, maybe a little.
Asco – So Litt
There is such a slick, laidback coolness that oozes from this song. Asco is one of the rising stars in the UK right now, and it’s this song that has made so many fans become infatuated with him. The line in the chorus “She said boogie you’re so litt, I tell her say Masha’Allah you know” is one of my favourite lines I’ve heard in a long time. It is perfectly acceptable to put this on at any point, it’s one of those safe songs to play on the aux. One of the best all round tracks the scene has been able to produce recently, from lyricism to production to the video, all A1.
Dion – Runaround Sue
I don’t know what it was that made start listening to doo-wop, perhaps it was the nostalgic feeling it provided because I grew up with it playing in the house a lot. It’s just so easy listening and feel good music, and it was this that I turned to when I was growing tired of the aggressiveness of quite a lot of the hip hop I was listening to. Also it’s songs like this that are perfect to sing in the shower.
Potter Payper – Link Up TV Behind Barz
My dissertation was constructed around grime, drill and UK rap, so aside from listening to them for the majority of my life out of my own interest anyway, I was listening to for academic purposes too. One of the main reasons I chose to go forward with the dissertation topic is because of Potter Payper. His bars are so poetic yet haunting, so hood yet so vulnerable. This freestyle is genuinely one of the greatest freestyles to ever come out of the UK, so it’s no wonder this was on repeat all through third year.
Snap Capone, Stardom and Young Marv – #1Take Freestyle
Sometimes you just need that aggressive type of music in your ear, Snap Capone fits the bill for that perfectly. This freestyle, although delivered with Stardom and Young Marv, really is Snap Capone’s. I first heard it at the back end of last year, one of my friends was playing it late one night, and I was hooked on it since. Snap raps with such a venom yet he’s so imperturbable throughout, able to deliver lines like “No gun Imma shoot him with a crossbow” and “Snap Capone Mussolini, rolling round the city like we own the city”. Impossibly gangster, I’ve yet to listen to a track of his I don’t rate.
Dom Kennedy & Nipsey Hussle – Pleeze
The passing of Nipsey Hussle hit hard, a wonderful artist capable of producing some great projects and songs, but it was his feature on Dom Kennedy’s Pleeze that was one of his most memorable moments for me. It’s one of those songs that epitomises this past decade of hip-hop, but it’s the hook that gets me. ‘Please make it home safe’, very chilling considering what happened to Nipsey. This song is undoubtedly one of the best from both artist’s catalogues and well worth the listen.
Tim Cappello – I Still Believe
The Lost Boys is one of my favourite movies and one of the opening scenes has this song in it. I’ve always loved it but in third year I found a new found love for it, it’s a song packed with so much energy and such a good feel to it. It’s one of those to belt out, and it’s one that all my siblings know too, so when I was in the car with my brother and this came on it instantly begins to become an anthem to sing. This, when performed with the hand gestures Tim Cappello does in the movie too, is one of the greatest things you’ll ever hear. That saxophone, wow.
Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence
I can’t even explain my love for this song properly. It’s a wonderful piece of music, and a perfect accompaniment for late night winter weather. The bitter cold really does add to it, I found myself listening to it when I’d just get in and sit down with a hot drink, be it in the library or at my house. It’s a warming track, and when in the library perfect just for people watching.
Mall Grab – Can’t (Get U Outta My Mind)
This type of music isn’t normally for me, and I can’t even really remember how I stumbled across it, but wow it helped me a lot. I understand why people listen to this sort of stuff now, and it was one song that just allowed me to zone out for a bit and get on with work when needs be. It was also one to help me unwind, times when I’d come in after work at 3am would be best spent with this song and others like it.
Pharcyde – Runnin’
So much about this song pulls me in. The beat, and overall melancholic sound to it is so warming to here what is essentially rap from a loserish perspective – with no offence intended towards Pharcyde. But anyone who can connect with this track will understand what I mean completely, such a beautiful song. Add to this that it was featured in the movie Tag, which I watched on a day I spent with my sister with a donut from Temple Donuts. Honestly one of the best days I’ve had in years.
Da$H & Lucki – Summertime Horrors
Two of my favourite current rappers collaborated here for a slow, dark and effortlessly good track. It was one of very few tracks I had on my phone’s music, so when my data had run out and my iPod had died, this was played so many times. Unlike other tracks though, I didn’t get sick of this. The beat is wonderfully produced, and the vocals are delivered in a way that makes you feel intoxicated, I can’t really describe it. At only 2 and a half minutes I wish it was longer, but alas it’s one to keep in rotation regardless.
Slowthai – Ladies
I wouldn’t have been able to make it through university without the support of a few women in my life. Aside from my Mother and Sister who have and always will be there for me, there was some who helped prop me up. Whether the relationship with them was platonic or romantic, or even in some cases both, there was so much support from these faces that I will never forget. I’ve done a lot of growing up at university, particularly this year with regards to this aspect of life too. The hook of “This one’s for the ladies, cause they have our babies, and they drive us crazy but they make us men” some might say is degrading, but I don’t see it that way. I see it as a form of empowerment. Regardless, this song helped me to appreciate the women I surrounded myself with, and I want to thank them all.
DMX – Slippin’
This one hits me hard every time I listen to it, and when in my final year at uni I was able to relate even more to times I’d listened to it before. I could quote so many lyrics from it and tell you how it relates to me, but maybe the most quotable lyric in the song is the quote from Freidrich Nietzsche at the beginning “to live is to suffer, but to survive is to find meaning in the suffering“. It’s such a poignant yet endearing and promising line that helps set pace for the rest of the song. It’s X bearing all, and the gravelly voice that was so used to screaming and shouting to get one’s attention was made to sound as if he could cry at any moment here. The hook of “I’m slippin’, I’m fallin’, I can’t get up, I’m slippin’, I’m fallin’, I gots to get up, get me back on my feet so I can tear shit up” will stick with me for the rest of my life. This song gave me so much when I was at low points throughout uni, such a strong character being able to show a softer, weaker side helped me through and now your boy has only gone and finished uni.
words by Rohan Parmar