Quintessence 11 and other graduating seniors celebrated 100 days left until graduation on Jan. 28, an annual tradition at Hampton .
This year was significant for seniors due to being virtual for almost two years.
Ravid Frye, a graduating senior Biology Pre-Med and Music Education major from Hopwell, Virginia, says he’s been waiting for this day.
“I would definitely say [I have been anticipating] would be interactions and being able to actually, once on campus, have a real social event and have friendly encounters with my colleagues and everybody who we probably won’t be seeing for some years after graduation,” said Frye.
Reflecting on life post-graduation, Frye is most excited about the memories that are to come.
“These are things that you’ll never get back,” said Frye. “Long-lasting relationships and being able to experience good times with people and just being caring. That’s really what I want, [to] build as many memories as I can.”
With so much to do, many seniors feel as if the possibilities are endless.
“I’m still thinking about it,” said Chelsea Johnson, a graduating Senior Biology Pre-Med major from Baltimore, Maryland. “I think I’m going to go out, have a little fun, and stuff like that.”
Johnson says she values the friendships she has acquired during her tenure at Hampton University.
“Meeting the lifelong friends I have today and traveling the world with the band and with those friends taught me to be responsible and get things done,” she said.
Graduating Hamptonians are delighted to celebrate the end of a long, hardworking educational journey.
“A hundred days to me as a senior means a lot,” said Robert Jacobs III, a graduating senior Finance major from Richmond, Virginia. “People with whom I had unforgettable times and laughs within my freshman and sophomore years are no longer here due to life and the path they’re on, but for the seniors that have been here fighting the fight the whole time, it’s a sense of achievement.”
100 days serves as more than just an excuse for a celebration, but as a reminder that they didn’t quit during their educational trials at Hampton and persevered.
As students return from Thanksgiving break and prepare for upcoming finals, they might be feeling a sense of heaviness or more apathetic than usual.
Fear not. This is a normal experience, as the days are shortened and night comes quicker than expected.
“Winter blues” has been coined to describe the sadness one feels in the later months of the year.
Although these blues are not permanent, if an individual is not careful, theblues can develop into a clinical diagnosis known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, according to the National Institute of Health.
Here are five tips to help students beat the winter blues.
Go outside and relish in the sunlight.
During the winter months, the challenge for students to take time for themselves and get outside becomes a forgotten task during their free time. Typically it becomes colder, darker, and more dreary outside.
One of the easiest ways to get over these blues is to get outside or even go to a brightly lit space and absorb some vital vitamin D. This is best planned early in the day.
Creating time for oneself to enjoy the day is very important. If only for a few minutes a day, it has been proven to improve both mood and physical health, leading to reduced stress and increased self-esteem, according to the Student Conservation Organization.
Whether it be as simple as a walk or something more complex like a specific activity, enjoying the sunlight is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to beat the winter blues.
Exercise, exercise, exercise
Another simple way of beating the winter blues is staying active, even when it is dark and cold outside. Exercise is often used as a natural way to improve general health.
It has also been proven that exercising during the winter months can increase necessary neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine, according to Healthline. These transmitters help the brain become energized and get into a positive rhythm.
Fortunately, Hampton University provides its students with the unique advantage of an on-campus gym located on the second floor of the student center and other amenities located throughout the campus. While going through proper protocol to access these conveniences, students are encouraged to be healthy physically and mentally at all times. Don’t forget to take your mask when you go!
Keep in contact with your support system
Loneliness and isolation can make the effects of the winter blues feel worse than usual.
When dealing with the winter blues, finding a way to connect with supportive individuals is key to changing your mood.
As some students are not Virginia residents, it is very common for students to become homesick and miss their support system. Try to set up calls with friends and family to help subside any negative feelings.
Doing so with people you feel comfortable confiding in can be tremendously beneficial. This may include outdoor activities, talking on FaceTime or brunch and lunch dates.
Eat well and take vitamins.
Although this can be easier said than done, due to students’ limited resources and funds, eating right and staying on top of a vitamin schedule can be overlooked and undervalued.
Students should look into changing their diet for the better and stay away from too many carbohydrates and sweets. These foods are known to slow down individuals during this time of year.
Green vegetables and iron-rich foods can start a healthy diet for students while on campus. Folic acids and vitamins such as B6 and B12 are known to help with feelings of fatigue.
Seek out professional help.
If these lifestyle modifications and other seasonal adjustments do not provide a sense of relief from the winter blues, consider seeking professional help.
Psychotherapy is highly recommended to treat depressive disorders. Although not overnight, students can gain a major benefit from talking with educated professionals who are trained to help individuals face the issues they are dealing with on a daily basis.
Carr Couture Boutique was launched in June 2021 from the fashion-driven mind of Lillian Carr, a Hampton University sophomore. Carr’s inspiration for the launch of her boutique came from her interest in the fashion industry and her background as a Strategic Communication major.
“I got the fashion inspiration from different boutiques that I admire as well as people within the fashion industry, vendors that I enjoy looking at on social media and other platforms that really produce fashion,” Lillian Carr said.
Carr Couture Boutique is an online boutique that specializes in clothing for women of all ages.
“Carr Couture is a place for fashionistas who dare to be different,” Carr said. “Carr Couture is not just a boutique, it’s a brand. It’s a place where anyone who has a passion for fashion or is interested in learning more about how their fashion sense can grow.”
The launch of the boutique came after many years of thought, but Carr decided to begin her journey as a business owner in February 2021.
“I have a passion for fashion, and I wanted to have the opportunity to share my passion on a bigger platform so the ability to do that through a boutique came to mind,” Carr said. “I had extra free time during the pandemic. I thought that it would be the perfect time to finally launch my boutique.”
After developing the goal of her business, Lillian prepared to launch Carr Couture Boutique.
“I prepared to launch by gathering all of my business documents, doing a lot of research, creating a business account, getting the necessary funds to launch my business and preparing the looks that I wanted to launch for my business,” Carr said.
After getting the research and financial side of her business organized, Carr attempted to establish her business’s advertising and photography side.
“I advertise my business through emails, text messages, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok,” Carr said.
Running a small business comes with many responsibilities, including brand promotion and other forms of advertisement.
“The most challenging part is definitely photo shoots,” Carr said. “I feel like everyone thinks that photoshoots are really fun, and they are, in retrospect. However, it’s truly a lot of planning for hair and makeup. You also have to plan for weather changes because you truly never know what will happen in your photos.”
As a business specializing in fashion, the images are an essential part of the brand.
“Photos are truly one of the most important parts of your work, so if you don’t have that piece, then you won’t have the product to produce, and people won’t be drawn to your brand,” Carr said.
Every business has its challenges, especially for student entrepreneurs attempting to balance work and school.
“It’s tough trying to balance running a business while also being a full-time student,” Carr said. “It’s been really difficult to maneuver such trying times, but I’m persevering and making the most out of my experience.”
Carr is aiming to continue her business while also being a successful student.
After moving on campus, Carr decided to take a break from releasing new clothing items and focus on her academics. Lillian still plans to keep Carr Couture up and running even during her vacation.
“I plan to keep my business running by continuing advertising and just making sure that people know my brand,” Carr said. “I hope that through this next year I am able to engage as many people as possible and build my following so that I can grow my business.”
Carr plans to continue expanding her brand, both as a student and after graduating.
“I honestly just hope my business continues to grow,” Carr said. “I hope that when I graduate from Hampton, I am able to run my business full-time along with whatever else I choose to do with my degree. I want people to know that they have people within the industry that care about them and care about curating the best styles for them.”
A week after trans-visibility week, Virginia became the 12th state to ban LBGTQ+ panic and the first state in the South to ban panic as a defense for murder and manslaughter.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill against the defense on April 7, which previously allowed people convicted of murder to get lighter sentences by claiming they were panicked after learning the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
According to the American Bar Association, the bill’s creator, Democrat Delegate Danica Roem, first learned of the defense after the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, where the men who killed him used the defense in court. The defense was used again in 2004, where a convicted man used the defense in the case of killing Gwen Araujo, a transgender teenager.
When Roem learned of Araujo’s passing, she was a college freshman who already identified as trans. She confessed that learning of Araujo’s murder scared her.
But it was a letter from a 15-year-old LGBTQ constituent that inspired her to introduce a bill to outlaw the defense in Virginia.
“He’s out, and he sent me an email asking me to pass this bill, and I came to realize that in 2021, my out teenage constituents are living with the same fear that I did in 1998 after Matthew was killed and that I did in 2002 after Gwen Araujo was killed,” Roem said in an interview with NBC News. “And you think of how many other people will stay closeted because they have a fear of being attacked, let alone all the other fears that a closeted person who wants to come out has.”
In the early stages of the bill, Roem and her team of researchers testified that panic defense had been used at least eight times in Virginia. Some Virginia legislators challenged it, claiming that other legal defenses aren’t prohibited, which Roem denied.
“What we were showing was, sometimes things are so egregious that when we have this universal acknowledgment that this shouldn’t be happening, we codify that,” Roem said to NBC News. “And so that’s what we did with this bill.”
For LGBTQ+ students at Hampton University, Roem’s push for the panic defense banning makes room for continuous conversation about gay and trans social acceptance on campus.
“Delegate Roem pushing this bill is a great first step towards protecting Black trans women, particularly in Virginia, and hopefully the rest of the South,” said Zior Glover, Vice President of MOSAIC at Hampton University. “Panic defense essentially protects anyone who commits a hate crime or murder, based on someone’s sexual identity or gender. It suggests that trans people are a threat to others and that the comfort of cishet people is more important than our safety or wellbeing. If we want to be a progressive institution, there must be the protection of LGBTQ+ individuals.”
Delegate Roem hopes that with the passing of the bill, state legislatures will begin to change. According to Roem, as the first Southern state to enact a ban on panic security, Virginia provides a precedent for other states. Roem hopes the Mid-Atlantic states will send a message to LGBTQ people once Delaware “gets on board.”
Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey has announced his retirement. Set to retire in June 2022, Harvey would end up serving as the president of the university for 44 years, the longest tenure of any HBCU president and the eighth-longest tenure of any university president in the United States.
Becoming the 12th president of Hampton Institute in 1978, Dr. Harvey arrived on a campus that “was slowly losing ground,” according to a statement released by the university. Over the course of his time at the university, Dr. Harvey managed to expand its academic offering, financial standing and physical uniqueness.
Under Dr. Harvey’s leadership, 92 new academic degrees were introduced, including 12 doctoral programs; the endowment increased from $29 million to over $300 million; and 29 new buildings have been erected.
Through building a reputation of prestige, honor and dedication to Hampton University, Dr. Harvey has maintained a philosophy of leadership centered around teamwork and active listening. He highlighted the fact that a major factor of the university’s progression and success are the contributions of a high-caliber team of administrators, faculty and student-leaders.
“If you look at the team that I have amassed here, I think they are extraordinary,” Dr. Harvey said in an interview with The Hampton Script. “When you look at the fact that I have 17 [administrators] that have gone on to become presidents of other colleges and organizations, when I add in student-leader input, faculty input, the board of trustees input, I think we have a pretty darn good process.”
Dr. Rodney Smith, former HU vice president of administrative services, was appointed president of the College of the Bahamas in Nassau. Former HU Provost Dr. Pamela V. Hammond was appointed interim president of Virginia State University in 2015.
The Harvey Leadership Model has served students, faculty and staff throughout the course of Dr. Harvey’s tenure. In 2016, Harvey published “Principles of Leadership: The Harvey Leadership Model.” The book highlights 10 principles that distinguish leaders. Serving as a culmination of 40 years of result-driven leadership, Dr. Harvey utilized his own personal response to adversity, wisdom from his parents and innovative thinking to pen a guide to obtaining and maintaining an enriching leadership experience.
Through Dr. Harvey’s avid political participation, Hampton University managed to make never-before-seen strides as it relates to the development and expansion of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute, the largest free-standing proton beam cancer center in the world, was established in 2010. Four satellites launched in 2007 made Hampton University the first Historically Black College and University to have 100% control of a NASA satellite mission.
“I have been in the Oval Office for every single president since Jimmy Carter,” Dr. Harvey said. “I think that has helped us gain federal money.”
Dr. Harvey has not backed down from his bipartisan approach to increasing Hampton University’s favor among political figures. Through Dr. Harvey’s relationship with former Republican president George H.W. Bush, the President’s Advisory Panel on HBCUs, a panel on which Dr. Harvey served, secured $776 million in federal funds in 1989 and $894 million in 1990 — an increase of $118 million in two years.
During the Bush administration, Hampton University secured more than $40 million in federal funding for faculty research, student scholarships and the expansion of academic programs.
“My father said to me there are good people and scoundrels in both major political parties,” Dr Harvey said. “He said, ‘Always support the person, not the party.’ There may be times where alumni, faculty and students don’t particularly like the decision. But I will always do what is right and best for Hampton.”
Dr. Harvey’s adoration for Hampton University has been a motivating factor during his long-standing tenure as president. Students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff have recognized the progress that has been made under his leadership.
“We all know Hampton University is a special place that has grown over the years to be a stellar institution,” Student Government Association President Austin Sams said in a statement to The Hampton Script. “Hamptonions of many generations have been fortunate for Dr. Harvey’s leadership, and I congratulate him on creating a legacy that will live on forever.”
As Dr. Harvey’s tenure comes to a close, the university will soon begin to set eyes on his successor. When asked how big of a role he will play in the selection of the next university president, Dr. Harvey indicated that the Board of Trustees will have the final say-so as to who will replace him.
The announcement of retirement has had no effect on the amount of work President Harvey plans to commit to during the remainder of his tenure. With plans to carry out the wishes of former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, Dr. Harvey hopes to assist in raising funds for the creation of a slave museum in Virginia. He also emphasized an effort to fundraise $50 million to $75 million for minority cancer patients who can’t afford treatment. Finally, Dr. Harvey is focused on providing COVID-19 testing for “underserved rural communities.”
Upon retirement, Dr. Harvey plans to stay in Hilton Head, South Carolina, with his wife, Norma B. Harvey. Dr. Harvey plans to embark on yet another literary journey in an effort to utilize his four decades of experience to serve higher education. Although Dr. William R. Harvey will retire as president of Hampton University, HU will continue to be his “Home by the Sea.”
The COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting the lives of many artists, and they are still coping with the restrictive reality that this “new normal” has brought.
Here at our home by the sea, we have a large community of artists, all of whom deserve to be recognized for their talents. As the wrath of the coronavirus still lingers, it is important to get insight on how these artists are staying dedicated to their work.
Promise Robinson is a second-year audio production major from Neptune, New Jersey. A musician, songwriter and producer, Robinson has produced and released a number of pieces throughout the pandemic, including productions that feature other artists at Hampton. To give a bit more insight on her artistry, Promise goes in depth with her craft.
“To describe my artistry, I’d like to think of it as baking a layered cake,” Robinson said.
“I started getting serious about music my junior year of high school, so from there I found the right resources, or ingredients, to build up my career. From getting to open up for little showcases in my city to winning those showcases, I used that as my foundation, my base, to get me to where I am now, which is best described as the second layer of the cake. I can feel myself getting closer to my goals, the top, etc., but I still got a lot more learning, teaching and reaching before it’s time to blow the candles out.”
Promise then touched on the influences that helped her step into her creativity.
“Though my list goes on forever, whenever someone asks who my influences are, I think it’s the most Jersey thing in me to say Lauryn Hill, but that’s who is a major influence on not only my life but my career,” Robinson said.
“She’s been real since she stepped on the scene, and she never steered away from showing vulnerability as an artist. I feel like music is at its purest form when it’s relatable, when you’re telling your story, and it’s not only therapeutic for you the artist, but for the people listening. And you know, I think that’s why I gravitate so close to Ms. Hill because her music is that for me, and that’s what I aspire to be for others.”
As mentioned, the coronavirus has left many in financial hardships. The heavy physical restrictions that were set in place also challenged many artists’ capabilities to support themselves by getting the equipment needed to better their craft. Promise shared how the difficulties that she ran into affected her craft.
“My biggest takeaway from the pandemic is that it taught me how to be still,” Robinson said. “I was so used to being out and spending money I didn’t really have, so because I didn’t have anywhere to go and spend all my money, I was really able to save up and ultimately invest in myself, and that started with my music equipment. I was fortunate enough to keep my summer job, and even more fortunate to have no delays when ordering things like my laptop, studio monitors and desk. Curbside pickup is a blessing!”
With the physical and financial hardships, the pandemic has lowered people’s motivation to do the tasks that were once a part of their daily lives. Promise touched on how her artistic motivation has been altered throughout the pandemic.
“It wasn’t that I didn’t want to work on music,” Robinson said. “I loved working on music, especially working on my first love, which is music production. It was really having motivation for writing songs and gathering my thoughts for my project that wasn’t really flowing like I wanted it. However, it wasn’t until I mentally took myself to things that I’m passionate about and expanded as a songwriter. I expressed myself in ways I’ve only dreamed of, and it came down to me remembering the joy of writing isn’t just to write about where I’m at right now in life, but it’s to write about where I came from and where I’m going, too.”
Creative block is something that almost all artists are familiar with, and the pandemic creates a space for artists to be more prone to creative block. Promise explained how often she suffered from creative block throughout this pandemic and what she did to push past it.
“If I have a creative block, it always seems to happen when it doesn’t feel like the right time or place for my creativity to flow,” Robinson said.
“However, I knew I needed to figure out the best times for each of my creative processes, and that became the most effective way to get the most out of my day. Much like everybody else, I really found what works for me during this pandemic, and with that, I noticed that I work best when I make beats at night, write lyrics in the morning and record in the afternoon. It’s almost like the beat marinates in my mind overnight, and then I wake up, and the lyrics are just cooking up. It’s a super satisfying feeling, and you would be surprised how much free time I’d still have after going so hard.”
With the pandemic skewing normality, it brings about the question of how some artists have been able to keep focus on their art during this difficult time. Promise shares her difficulties with focusing, and drops gems while explaining what she did to get past distractions.
“It all came down to a matter of knowing myself, knowing where I want to be, and knowing that I didn’t want to be the same person I was coming into this pandemic when I came out!” Robinson said. “Just off personal experience, and losing my Pop-pop, cousins, uncles, etc. I realized how easy it is to fall off, rather than keep moving forward, but that would be my advice. Keep moving forward! Put good purpose behind the pain and get inspired.”
“I had to go through and find the small joys in life, dreaming, and manifesting to realize my drive can go through any obstacle that’s in my way,” Robinson continued.
“And with that I was able to drop music every month since May, including my multiple singles, three projects, two of which were my own, and one of which was executed by me, for a good friend of mine. With so much going on right now, this brings me so much joy and motivation because I found my rhythm, and I really don’t plan on stopping any time soon.
While dropping music throughout the pandemic, it goes without saying that Promise has been putting in work this year.
“I’m currently working on releasing another single called ‘Brown Sugar’ featuring two amazingly talented singers who I love dearly!” Robinson said. “This single will also be included on the deluxe version of my latest project called ‘Colors Too.’
“But in the meantime stream the non-deluxe version titled ‘Colors’ and stay tuned for more!”
Fans can support Promise Robinson by following her instagram account @Promtheproducer, where a lot of her work is featured. Her music is available on all streaming platforms.
Professional and collegiate sports’ TV ratings dropped to record lows in viewership during 2020 and the beginning of 2021 due to adjustments to the COVID-19 pandemic safety regulations.
According to Sports Media Watch, the 2020 NBA Finals and 2020 MLB World Series averaged below a 5.0 rating for the first time in history. The 2020 Masters Tournament final round received its lowest average in history with a 3.4 rating. The NHL’s Stanley Cup Final rating dropped 61 percent.
Low TV ratings can have a significant negative effect on the finances of leagues. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many sporting events to be canceled or postponed.
The NBA had to suspend its 2019-2020 season for nearly five months to adjust to the pandemic and government safety protocols. MLB had to shorten and delay its 2020 season. The postponements and delays led to the NBA playoffs, MLB playoffs and start of the NFL season to be played around the same time.
“People’s ability to consume all that content doesn’t expand to meet the oversupply of events,” Fox Sports head strategist Mike Mulvihill told the New York Times. “If people were spending 80 percent less time watching sports in May, they don’t have the capacity to watch 80 percent more in October.”
According to Sports Media Watch, the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship averaged an estimated 18.65 million viewers across the ESPN networks. This game was the least-watched national college football championship ever recorded. The game’s viewership had not been close to that low since the 2005 USC-Oklahoma National Championship, which averaged a 13.2 rating and 21.45 million viewers.
“Even in a pandemic, you can’t watch everything at once,” strategic media consultant Patrick Crakes said in an interview with SportsPro. “If you’re going to lower the pool of the casuals, and you’re going to be depending more and more on a heavier type of sports fan, even those guys and gals are going to have trouble sorting out a crowded environment. You have to make some choices.”
The ratings highlights of sporting events in 2020 were the NFL Draft and first episode of “The Last Dance,” a documentary about Michael Jordan’s last season with the Chicago Bulls. According to NFL.com, the NFL Draft averaged 15.6 million viewers in the first round. SMW reported that “The Last Dance” had nine episodes in the top 50 of the most-watched sports telecasts of 2020.
The Los Angeles Dodgers won the 2020 World Series championship on Oct. 27 by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game 6.
The Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series 16 days after the Los Angeles Lakers clinched the NBA Finals. This is the Dodgers seventh championship. It has been 32 years since their last World Series title in 1988. This title ended the franchise’s championship drought.
“I knew the Dodgers would win. It is great to see after they have fallen short for the past three years,” said Hampton University senior Cameron Smith.
The Dodgers maintained a winning percentage of .629 over the past four seasons, including the playoffs which is the highest winning percentage of any team in a four-year span in the wild card era. Mookie Betts, Corey Seager and Clayton Kershaw had standout performances through the series that helped lift their team to victory. Mookie Betts secured the Game 6 win for the Dodgers in the eighth inning by hitting a home run to give his team a two-point lead. World Series Most Valuable Player, Corey Seager, finished the series with a .400 batting average, .556 on base percentage, seven runs, five runs batted in and two home runs. Clayton Kershaw finished the 2020 playoff campaign with a 2.93 ERA in five starts.
In the eighth inning of game 6, Justin Turner was removed from the game with no further explanation until after the team won. It was later discovered that Turner tested positive for COVID-19 and needed to isolate immediately.
For the Dodgers, the 2020 headlines should be centered around their resilience and becoming World Series Champions throughout all the obstacles they faced during the 2020 season. For the next year, Los Angeles is now formally known as the city of champions.
The murder of a teacher from France has become a source of outrage throughout the country, inspiring teachers and activists to engage in protests for freedom of expression and the protection of educators.
Samuel Paty, 47, was found decapitated in a Parisian suburb on Oct. 16. Later that day, before being gunned down by French police, Abdoullakh Abouyezidovitch, 18, took credit for the killing on Twitter.
Eleven other people, including two school children, have been taken into custody in connection to the crime, according to the BBC News.
The murder was allegedly committed out of anger over a lesson Paty recently taught in a freedom of expression class at the Collège du Bois d’Aulne. During the lesson, Paty showed a caricature of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad from Charlie Hebdo magazine.
French President Emmanuel Macron charterized the incident as an “Islamist terroist attack.” French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer also spoke out in support of the rights and safety of French teachers, adding that the nation would work to defeat the opposition against democracy.
“What has happened is beyond words,” Blanquer said. “There are no words for it, and we must fight against it.”
Teachers and accompanying protestors held demonstrations throughout France in the wake of Paty’s murder, carrying posters with the words “I am a teacher” and “I am Samuel.”
A local French teacher told Le Monde newspaper that she came to the protests after she “realized you could die teaching.”
Many fear that Paty’s death will further create a divide over secularism within France, a value that the country and its citizens have long celebrated.
Secularism, the idea that religious institutions should be separate from the state, is partially responsible for freedom of expression in France, another noted cultural value.
However, after a murder so heavily influenced by religous belief, discussions surrounding the role of religion and religous extremisim in France are inevitable.
Tierra Mack, a senior at Hampton University believes that while freedom of expression is important, so is religious tolerance.
“Violence at any level should never be tolerated, but it’s also important to understand what can be offensive to other people and their religious beliefs,” Mack said.
On October 21, Paty was posthumously awarded the Légion d’honneur, the highest honor given in France.
Coming off (arguably) his biggest year in 2018, Gambino has finally returned to deliver his fourth studio album, 3.15.20. Named after the date it was released, the Atlanta musician took the internet by storm by randomly releasing the project via a website titled “Donaldgloverpresents.com.” The album was playing continuously on this website from March 15 to March 16 and was removed suddenly with no warning.
Six days later, the album hit all digital streaming platforms – still with minimal promotion – and came to a surprise to most. If you’re wondering what to expect from this album, the rollout says a lot about Gambino’s intentions. The surprise drop seems to be intentional as it defies all traditional release tactics coming off a No. 1 single as Gambino did in 2018 with “This is America.”
If you’re familiar with Gambino, this is not surprising. Through his music and creative expression, he refuses time and time again to be defined by industry standards and norms. As for timing, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Everyone across the country is stuck in the house looking for anything new to engage in when it comes to content.
“Marketing wise, this is a great time to drop music,” Hampton University junior Sevaughn Coates said.
3.15.20 is an incredible culmination of electronic sounds, vulnerable emotions unorthodox sequencing tactics and hip-hop/house influences. Gambino has never been one to shy away from putting his influences on the front street. With samples from Zhane, Andre 3000 and Kanye West, the influences of this album from a content perspective are quite obvious. However, the instrumentation in which a lot of these samples are embedded in makes for a quite interesting journey.
Produced by Ludwig Garranson & DJ Dahi, the two producers who contributed heavily to Gambino’s most recent album, Awaken, My Love!, 3.15.20 is composed of sounds representing a wide range of musical eras. This is not new to Gambino. His previous album had a more consistent theme that paid tribute to the funk world’s biggest influences, such as Parliament-Funkadelic and The Ohio Players.
This album’s influences are not as consistent. The intro track “0.00” is comprised of a montage of electronic sounds, incredibly reminiscent of the ’80s sounds of Enola Gay. This record blends perfectly into “Algorhythm,” which takes a similar electronic take to the 1993 hit record “Hey Mr. DJ” by Zhane.
The electronic undertones of the LP come to its pinnacle at the third record, Time, which ironically includes very few electronic musical elements that were displayed in the two tracks prior. Instead, Gambino relies on his use of the voice-box to carry his vocals through. This record serves as the metaphorical rising action of the album. The hybridization of all the musical elements: the strong string section, a choir, electronically altered vocals and even a strong piano performance on the final chorus all come together to create a perfect bridge into the album’s high point: “12.38”
On the standout record “12.38,” Gambino flips the infamous hook of Andre 3000’s Vibrate to construct probably the most sonically pleasing record on the entire album. Aside from his great vocal performance and boppy production, 21 Savage graces this record with some much-needed insurgent energy. None of the features are listed on the tracklisting, so 21 Savage’s appearance came as a surprise during the first listen as the boppy instrumental definitely does not scream “21 Savage.” However, his presence highlights his versatility and range.
On “19.10” and “24.19,” Gambino gets incredibly deep content-wise. Gambino utilized “12.38” as the precursor into his inner thoughts. Making reference to the renowned scholar, theorist, and feminist Bell Hooks, most famous for studies of Love. Both on “19.10” and “24.19,” Gambino dives head first into addressing his quarrels with love. On “19.10,” Gambino proclaims, “To be beautiful is to be hunted,” and on “24.19,” Gambino makes use of Andre 3000’s chorus on Prototype to speak to the emotional fervor that he has for his love interest.
The rest of the album has its fair share of lows and highs. While things get a bit dicey on the production side of things on “32.22” with some obvious Yeezus inspired basslines and synth riffs; “42.26,” otherwise known as “Feels Like Summer,” serves as a bit of a saving grace before the project’s finale.
3.15.20 is unorthodox in every way. From the way it was released to the plain white cover, ominous track titles, uniform yet questionable sequencing and unusually long records, this album is definitely one that stands on its own. The sonic and physical inconsistencies point to some intention on behalf of Gambino as this may be one of his final projects. Gambino doesn’t seem to be concerned with sales, promotion or anything of the sort. Coming off of such big commercial success with his previous album and his single “This is America,” Gambino completely veers off the path he was on and delivers a project that seems to be honest and representative of where he is creatively and emotionally.