Valentine’s Day will mark the 5-year anniversary of a project near and dear to me. I released The Pragmatic Playlist as a senior send-off to start my last semester at the University of Delaware. I had originally planned to rap over electronic/dance tracks I liked, as well as songs I would play at parties. It would be your go-to playlist, from dager to pre-game to night of DEBAUCHERY *Spongebob voice*. Eventually my feelings for a “party” tape soured so the project became all-original and much more personal.
I drew inspiration for the cover from Big Sean’s Detroit mixtape. That fountain in the center is Magnolia Circle, where UD seniors traditionally take a dip before graduation. An intentionally grainy black-and-white picture gave it a sense of nostalgia. The title brought together two things I had learned on late nights outside of lecture halls and practice rooms. First, a definition:
pragmatic [præg’mætɪk] adj.
1. Dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.
I gravitated toward the word pragmatic as I began junior year. At that point I saw no sense or necessity in jumping through hoops just to go out with friends. The days of finding enough ladies to even out the ratio, long treks to a random house and door charges for foamy Natty Light were OVER.
Then, there was the playlist. College is where I developed a need to make playlists for different occasions. The drive back to campus for band camp and a new academic year- check. Band camp break blocks- I had a playlist for each time of day. And most importantly, I had to have the tunes on deck while getting fresh for the night. I wanted this collection of songs to be my best yet, as well as something that people could actually play at a party.
Although The Pragmatic Playlist didn’t propel me in terms of exposure, I took leaps in what I learned from the process. This was the project that helped me to find my sound in production and my voice as an artist. I shot and edited my first (later scrapped) and second music videos. It was the first project that had material I felt others would “get” when performed live. I wanted to revisit this one to remind myself of the progress I’ve made and the critique I can still give myself. Even if you never went to college, you can still remember fleeting moments of independence and the excitement (and fear) of everything being new. That was the goal of The Pragmatic Playlist. I hope you take a little time to stroll down my memory lane.
Download The Pragmatic Playlist here.