It's that time of year again! The 2022 Starving Artist Awards, the Starvies.
There will be more award categories featured on our Instagram, but for this article, we'll use our traditional categories.
BEST NEW ARTIST (TO MY MOM): Kids See Ghosts
I was actually kind of shocked to see this duo as my mom's pick and not just because it was someone from this millennium. I didn't think my mom was ever a big Kanye fan and I'm almost positive she's not a Cudi fan. But there's something about the way they come together that has always been special. Kanye has always been excellent at getting the best out of Kid Cudi's features and Cudi has always been a focusing force on Kanye's music, but this album felt different. It's hard to explain but there's a moment when you're not "big brother/little brother" anymore. You're just brothers, respected as a peer, with ideas shared equally. This album seems like that point.
BIGGEST OBSESSION FOR MY BROTHER LEGEND: Richard Ayoade
It seems like every time I came downstairs, Richard Ayoade's charmingly nasal voice was emanating from the TV. Whether he acted as Maurice Moss in the classic "The IT Crowd", Onion in the adorably sweet "Apple And Onion" or any of the (many, many) cameos and small roles he seems to have, Ayoade's star has been steadily rising outside his native United Kingdom since 2010. The cool thing about him is his complete lack of fear at attempting things outside his comedy roots. You wanna see him in anime? Check out "Neo Yokio". You think he'd be good in a space western? You seen "The Mandalorian"? He directed the best episode of Community as well as Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend and Radiohead music videos. But this is what I mean when I say representation matters. When you see a mixed guy who's nerdy, doesn't really like sports, witty and multi-talented, it gives you a sense of belonging to a larger world around you.
VIDEO GAMES THAT REMINDED ME WHY I LOVE VIDEO GAMES: Forza Horizon 5 vs. Cyberpunk 2077
As my favorite YouTuber NakeyJakey once said, "I really like video games and I hope they like me back".
This year has been a struggle, as I'm sure it has been for many of you. Quarantine, career issues, mental health, if you've been around long, you know I'm not shy about sharing issues I've had. This list could also feature indie gems like Neo Cab, Backbone, Hitchhiker or Overboard, which you should definitely try! But nothing brought me into another world quite like Forza Horizon 5 and Cyberpunk 2077. I made a promise to myself that I would have an Xbox Series X by the time of Horizon's release and finally playing it blew me away. There was so much joy and so much flash in the opening interactive cinematic, from the music to the cars, everything felt like "holy shit, can you believe we did this". As the game goes on, the different Expeditions bring your experience even more to the forefront by having missions and objectives that keep you focused when unlocking new festivals. This is a game that earned its Game Of The Year title.
I love the genre of cyberpunk. Akira, Ghost In The Shell, Blade Runner, I have a deep love and respect for these art pieces and how they've built the world and the genre into a technology-based punk ideology. After being disappointed upon the original release, I got back into it after picking up the new XSX and good god, the change is so apparent. The game is so much more polished, the extra power on the system is used to its fullest potential, the game-breaking bugs and glitches are gone and it feels like a game that puts you into a whole 'nother world. It was exactly what I needed more than a few times this year and I'm excited for the upcoming next-gen version.
BEST ALBUM THAT REFOCUSED AND RECENTERED ME: Haram! By GoldLink vs. TAPE 2/FOMALHAUT by BERWYN
GoldLink has quietly been creating one of the most accomplished discographies in music. I had first heard of him in 2016ish, right before his hit single "Crew" dropped. I was a big fan of And After That, We Didn't Talk and even though At What Cost didn't really hit for me, Diaspora totally did. And this follow-up was even better. I listened to "TerrorDome" so much because it hits all those perfect feelings music gives me, a sort of nostalgia for something I haven't felt yet. GoldLink is so good at tapping into emotion and in a year this taxing, it was exactly what I needed.
Oh, jeez, Berwyn. OK, so I just discovered him this year and his mixtapes are in such a relatable, vulnerable place, it's almost a tough listen. "100,000,000" might be the most identifiable song I've ever heard and "I'D RATHER DIE THAN BE DEPORTED" is a raw take on immigration, giving a sense of depth to his heartbreak. He offers a fresh take on the emo rap genre and he's got a very bright future ahead of him.