storytelling, hiphop, music, writing, lyrics, story
90’s but has changed drastically over the years. Styles have evolved and new sub-genres have emerged but the opportunity for compelling storytelling has remained. Over the course of this past semester with the guidance of my sponsor, I explored this rich tradition. I listened to several albums with release dates that spanned from the 90s to 2000s to get a feel for what techniques some of the most well-known storytellers in hip-hop have used. The albums that I found to be particularly useful were ‘Ready to Die’ by Notorious B.I.G., Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Good Kid, m.A.A.d City’ and ‘Because the Internet’ by Childish Gambino. Armed with this knowledge, I took my project to the next level and put what I had learned into practical use. The months that followed consisted of the creation of my own storytelling album, with the intent of telling the story of college through my own unique lens. The album explores the various feelings, emotions, and themes that many college students experience as they navigate their way through undergraduate life. During this time, I learned what it takes to conceptually create an album, how to tell a story through music, and how to physically produce an album in a meaningful way. The process was long and began with finding instrumentals to use and then writing, which is an intense process in and of itself. This part of the process involved talks with my sponsor about the development of a story through poetic writing as well as the importance of making sure that the songs I was creating lent themselves to the overall theme. What I hoped to learn through this project was what it takes to create a meaningful album and to develop a relatable story through music. I believe that this album can show people the power of hip-hop and its unparalleled ability to tell a story and convey meaning.