Christmas Holidays Music Thanksgiving

I Tried Waiting for Thanksgiving to Start Listening to Christmas Music, but…

…I failed! And this year it happened three days after Halloween. Let me explain.

It was the day after Halloween. The Spiderman costumes were stored away. The candy bowl still filled with treats. No more children ringing the doorbell for their trick or treat candy. My family peacefully sleeping. I, on the other hand, was sitting in my car preparing to drive to work. The heat inside was set to a comfortable setting while the temperature outside was cool that morning. Here I am scrolling through Apple Music finding good music to listen to before the drive. I took a sip of iced coffee and pressed the “Search” image on the app. The search page appeared on screen, and there it was! A box with a purple background with Christmas lights in the top right corner titled “Holiday.”

“Should I?” I asked myself while taking another sip of iced coffee. “No, it’s too early for Christmas music. Like besides, Halloween just ended. Let Thanksgiving come first, then play all the Christmas music I want from that day until New Year’s.” I pressed the “R&B” box, found a suitable playlist for my drive, and drove to work.

Work was busy that day. Test after test, an endless cycle. Around 1:00 p.m. I took my lunch break. The room was empty as I sat at a table near the exit and begam to check Facebook. The first thing I saw was one of my friends posted he started listening to Christmas music today and does not care what anyone thinks. “Ok, is Facebook listening to my thoughts?” I asked myself. “These algorithms are getting too personal nowadays.”

Two days later I repeated the same cycle before leaving for work. As I took a sip of iced coffee inside of my car, I pressed the Apple Music app in search of music. Pressing on the “Search” image, and there read the word “Holiday.” This day I actually pressed it and the first thing I saw on its page is “Christmas Playlist.” Below this title read “Essential Christmas.” I press on the playlist, and the first song I see is Mariah Carey “All I Want for Christmas is You.” Memories of Christmases pass began to flood my thoughts. I can never escape this song. From a kid to man, I never missed a Christmas season where I did not hear this song. I have heard it so much a few years ago I stopped singing along to Mariah Carey and just sing with the background singers. And here I am three weeks later still playing Christmas songs.

And this would be the day I began listening to Christmas music this year. Three weeks before Thanksgiving, four days after Halloween. I tried to stay strong, but it is the Holiday season.

What about you? When do you normally start listening to Christmas music? After Thanksgiving? The week of Thanksgiving? At the start of November? Year around?

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Hip Hop May 4th Music Pop Culture Science Fiction SciFi Star Wars Star Wars Day Uncategorized

Star Wars x Hip Hop

Written by: Preston Thompson

May the 4th be with us today on Star Wars Day. In a planet hidden within the Milky Way called Earth, a group of Sci-Fi fans, movie-lovers, geeks, and nerds have turned May 4th into a sacred day based off the world’s most popular and referenced movie franchise, Star Wars! Its movies are the most referenced by other movies, TV shows, videos and others. Its fan base has the most loyal group who not only watch the movies and TV shows, but also buy their toys as collectors, wear their clothing, and read their comics and books in search of a story that keeps growing.

On that same planet another group spun off from its parent genre and made a name for itself. A stronghold in the music industry that even the government failed to ban, Hip Hop has taken the mantle of highest-selling genre for years, and its influence is being heard in other genres across the world. Since its rise in the 1980s, namedropping and references has really shaped the lyrical content of a song. Your brand isn’t popular if a rapper doesn’t not namedrop it.

What happens when the Star Wars Universe gets namedropped in a Hip Hop song? You get some of the hottest lyrics to hit your ears! Therefore, I (a fan of both worlds) created a playlist of 13 Hip Hop songs that referenced/namedropped Star Wars.

  • Bring the Pain – Method Man
  • Hypnotized – The Notorious B.I.G.
  • Blessings – Big Sean featuring Drake
  • Woo Hah! Got You All In Check – Busta Rhymes
  • All N My Grill – Missy Elliott
  • Venus vs. Mars – Jay-Z
  • 03’ Adolescence- J. Cole
  • Happy Valentine’s Day- Outkast
  • Rap Phenomenon – The Notorious B.I.G. featuring Redman and Method Man
  • Get By – Talib Kweli
  • Rocking with the G.O.A.T. – LL Cool J
  • Hip Hop Quotables – Ludacris
  • Rhyme or Reason – Eminem

Below, I have added a link to the playlist I created on Apple Music

#MayThe4thBeWithYou #StarWarsDay


2021 Hip Hop Movies Music New Year Pop Culture TV Year in Review

My 2021 Year in Review

               What do I love most about the end of the year? The answer is simple. It is the year in reviews. Maybe it started when I was a preteen watching BET Notarized, an all-day show that aired every New Year’s Eve showing BET’s 100 best music videos of the year with recaps from artist and celebrates during the early 2000s. Then again it could have started when channels like ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, etc. looked back at the most popular events of the year leading up to the ball drop on New Year’s Day. Perhaps the years of watching I Love the 80s, 90s, 2000s on VH1 sparked my interest in looking back in the past year.

               You see, I admit I am a data nerd. I like to see numbers and trends especially when it has to do with my viewing and listening habits. I have an odd fascination with looking at my iTunes play count and top 25 most played songs just to see how songs I love stack up against other songs in my music library. And on Sunday’s I pay close attention to the weekly notifications iPhone sends about your screen time and apps you used the most during the week. If there’s a way of viewing total hours and number of tv shows/movies watched on streaming services, I want to see it just to see my own personal trends.

               I remember in 2015 or 2016 President Obama posted his favorite songs, albums, books, tv shows, and movies of the year to his Instagram page, and he still does it every year around in December. This interested me so I began posting my top 10 favorite albums of the year to my Instagram and Facebook page every year as well. The only difference is I wait until New Year’s Eve. Then Spotify and Apple came out with Wrapped and Replay, respectively, and my nerd senses would get excited to see what my most played songs, albums, and artist of the year were. What’s even more exciting is the total hours of music listened for the year.

               Which leads me to today. Now that I have this blog The Book of Think Pieces. I can do more with my year in review that time and Instagram do not allow. So, get your reminiscing on because I am about to reveal My 2021 Year in Review:

Favorite TV Shows/Docuseries of 2021:

               Invincible [Season 1] (Amazon Prime)

              Titans [Season 3] (HBO Max)

               Insecure [Season 5/Final Season] (HBO Max)

               Power Book II: Ghost [Season 2] (Starz)

               Superman & Lois [Season 1] (The CW)

               The Circle [Season 3] (Netflix)

               Cobra Kai [Season 3] (Netflix)

               Money Explained [Season 1] (Netflix)

               Squid Game [Season 1] (Netflix)

               WandaVision [Season 1] (Disney+)

Favorite Movies of 2021

               Zack Synder’s Justice League (HBO Max)

               Judas and the Black Messiah (HBO Max)

               Space Jam: A New Legacy (HBO Max)

               Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Disney+)

               Soul (Disney+)

               Fear Street 1994, 1978, 1666 (Netflix)

               West Side Story (HBO Max)

               Below Zero (Netflix)

               Black Widow (Disney+)

               Fatherhood (Netflix)

               (***Spiderman No Way Home would be on this list, but I have not seen it yet.)

Ten Most Played Songs in 2021 According to Apple Replay ‘21

               Leave the Door Open by Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak & Silk Sonic – 73 plays

               95.south by J. Cole – 55 plays

               Time Today by Moneybagg Yo – 48 plays

               Hellcats & Trackhawks by Only The Family & Lil Durk – 45 plays

      by J. Cole, 21 Savage & Morray – 44 plays

               Heartbreak Anniversary by Giveon – 42 plays

               Pick Up Your Feelings by Jazmine Sullivan – 35 plays

               Still Trappin’ by Lil Durk & King Von – 35 plays

               Skate by Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak & Silk Sonic – 33 plays

               Wants and Need by Drake feat. Lil Baby – 32 plays

Ten Most Listened to Artist in 2021 According to Apple Replay ‘21

               J. Cole – 41 hours

               Drake – 40 hours

               Moneybagg Yo – 20 hours

               Lil Durk – 19 hours

               Young Dolph – 19 hours

               Lil Baby – 19 hours

               Bruno Mars – 18 hours

               dvsn – 17 hours

               Key Glock – 16 hours

               Anderson .Paak – 16 hours

Ten Most Played Albums in 2021 According to Apple Replay ‘21

               J. Cole – The Off-Season – 261 plays

               Moneybagg Yo – A Gangsta’s Pain – 201 plays

               Drake – Certified Lover Boy – 186 plays

               Fisher-Price – Sooo Sleepy – 169 plays

               Travis Greene – Oil + Water – 159 plays

               Nas – King’s Disease II – 158 plays

               Giveon – When It’s All Said and Done – 146 plays

               Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak & Silk Sonic – An Evening With Silk Sonic – 132 plays

               dvsn & Ty Dolla $ign – Cheers to the Best Memories – 125 plays

               Key Glock – Yellow Tape 2 – 121 plays

Favorite Songs of 2021  

               Leave The Door Open – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak & Silk Sonic

               95.south – J. Cole

      – J. Cole

               Heartbreak Anniversary – Giveon

               Skate – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak & Silk Sonic

               I Got It – Pastor Mike Jr.

               Wonder – Travis Greene feat. Le’Andria Johnson

               family ties – Baby Keem & Kendrick Lamar

               We Win (Space Jam: A New Legacy) – Lil Baby & Kirk Franklin

               I Believed It – dvsn & Ty Dolla $ign feat. Mac Miller

Favorite Artist of 2021

               J. Cole


               Travis Greene

               Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak included)



               Moneybagg Yo

               Key Glock

               Pastor Mike Jr.


Favorite Albums of 2021

               J. Cole – The Off-Season

               Moneybagg Yo – A Gangsta’s Pain

               Drake – Certified Lover Boy

               Travis Greene – Oil + Water

               Nas – King’s Disease II

               Giveon – When It’s All Said And Done

               Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak & Silk Sonic – An Evening With Silk Sonic

               dvsn & Ty Dolla $ign – Cheers to the Best Memories

               Key Glock – Yellow Tape 2

               Various Artist – Judas and the Black Messiah: The Inspired Album

Estimated Most Used Apps in 2021

               Apple Music








               HBO Max



               Disney +

Classic Hip Hop Music October Pop R&B

Four Albums I Am Listening to this October

Written By:  Preston Thompson

               Music has been a big part of my life since birth. My mother sung me to sleep when I was an infant, and my late Grandfather bought me a portable radio with its own earphones when I was six or seven. As a child teenage family members put me on Hip Hop/R&B of the early to mid-nineties. Every Sunday I got my dose of gospel riding on the church van. Not to mention I sung on the youth choir then later played the piano/keyboard for my home church. From middle school to high school, I played the trombone in class, concert, jazz, and marching band all while listening to the latest Hip-Hop, R&B, pop, rock, gospel, a little county during my teenage years of the new millennium. Then, I went to college and was introduced to Hip Hop Wednesdays during the warm months of the Fall semester. All the student organizations would have tables set up on Greene Street in front of our main student center while a DJ would be spinning the ones and twos playing all the newest mixed with old Hip Hop songs (edited version, of course) of that time.

               Which brings me to today. October is a special month because it kicks off holiday season. First up, Halloween. As the leaves turn colors, weather gets cooler, and days get shorter the time has come that we prepare for Halloween night. Our homes decorated with Halloween pumpkins, ghost, spiders, tombstones, anything that says, “We celebrate Halloween,” while others rewatch famous horror movie classics all month long. And then there is music. It is that time of year I like to stream famous songs and albums that gives me that Halloween feeling. I have condensed the list down to four. These albums are not Halloween albums, but the lyrics and tone of the instrumentals put me in a mood to prepare for Halloween all October. Here it goes:

1) Michael Jackson-Thriller

               Come on now! This is an October classic although its released date was November 30, 1982. The album peaks every October in the Billboard 200 and has sold over thirty-four million units. The main reason I picked this album has everything to do with its second half. Its self-entitled single speaks for itself. The music video alone went viral when there was no YouTube. People are still doing flash mob to its iconic dance today with no variations. He follows up with a warning about getting involved in street life in “Beat It” then curving Billie Jean because the lyrics suggests she was out looking for Michael’s money by putting a kid on him. The closing three songs has us falling in love and acting upon it. When asked, it is in our human nature.

2)  J. Cole-Born Sinner

               He said it would be darker in the intro on his second studio album. After listening to this album countless times, I learn something new every time, it is darker. J. Cole gives you the dark inner thoughts from the aftermath of sneaking girls in and out of his dorm room to now having to see these same women in public years after moving on. Not to mention he dabbles into the sins of the leaders of the church and questions were is the money going? He talks about the evils of having fame and worldly possessions to a point where you really must question is having money everything? Does money really make you happy or are there more problems with the more money you possess? What I loved most about this album is how he mentions the rappers he looked up to are now becoming his rivals and how he must survive in the music industry by maintaining success, and how the older heads may start to resent him. That is like Batman viewing Robin as a threat to his success and fearing Robin could become a better Batman than him.

3)  Kendrick Lamar-Good Kid, m.A.A.d City

               I feel like somewhere between the late nineties to early 2000s some Hip-Hop albums began to slowly move away from its tradition. They seemed to be a collection of songs put together in a single album but had no real connection to the album’s title. Any song could be an intro. In fact, I feel during this era you can shuffle most Hip-Hop albums and still get the message to the song but not the whole album. Along came GKMC in the fourth quarter of 2012, and the traditional Hip-Hop albums went mainstream again. Every song on GKMC connects to one another in a story format. Kendrick also gives you an R&B feel with the way he changes his wordplay by playing with different sounds to his voice (especially with that futuristic space sound) and incorporates the bridge during instrumental transitions in a few songs. However, the main pitch to GKMC is the story. The intro begins with The Sinner’s Prayer. What is also interesting are the voicemails his parents leave needing their van back while he is out in the city driving around with his homies. Throughout the album you get a glimpse of different events he gets into with his guys. While trying to maintain his innocents, he struggles with becoming a victim to a city that is mad, driven by peer pressure to fit in. He also gives us his mental state that could have been a result of the things he has seen while out in the city. This album is so good Kendrick needs to write a prequel to GKMC then another about what happened after the original ended. And please bring back the voicemails with your parents.

4)  Beyonce-Lemonade

               We all have fallen in love with Jay-Z and Beyonce’s marriage despite the online rumors. Whatever they did we know about it and became consumed with their relationship. Their whereabouts, what they did, their family. Then Beyonce pulls the curtains back and exposes the dark side of love. She spends the first half of this album dealing with the consequences from mistakes she never made, and what she should do in the aftermath. Then towards the end she chooses to forgive and strengthen their marriage. This album dives into her feelings, pain, and vulnerability, but what I love most about this album is Beyonce told the pop world she is black, black! Not just black, but black, black. Her second halftime Super Bowl performance alongside Bruno Mars and headliner, Coldplay, following behind the release of the “Formation” music video that targeted police brutality towards black men and her love for everything black spoke for itself. We as fans have not heard this part of Beyonce in her music, at least I do not remember. The album stayed on topic and makes my list of albums to listen to in October.