In the most unexpected ways, the abilities of those who surround me are consistently astounding. From the girl in class who looks like a beauty blogger every day, to the person doodling amazing comics in the margins of their notebook, to the guy I hear excitedly chatting about quantum physics on the phone – people can do marvelous things. I came across this wonderful discovery in one of my classes recently and decided to take the opportunity to emphasize the value of focusing on the talent that exists around us as opposed to what mass media perpetually feeds us.
My most recent encounter with human brilliance was thanks to my course on self-publishing. In this class, students have a variety of interests and display them in extremely creative ways. The person who stood out, however, was the only one working on music – and he proceeded with an endearing air of confidence.
N.C. Palma was this smug-looking student and he recently dropped an impressive and astute hip-hop EP “7001” that I had admitted reluctance to listen to. Hip-hop is generally not my genre of preference, but I agreed to give it a try. While making dinner one night I finally popped open Spotify to check it out and I have been listening to it with pleasure since.
Admittedly, I am constantly seeing friends posting on their Instagram stories asking for new music to listen to and try out. I generally brush aside these posts, but listening to Palma’s EP gave responding a new sense of importance. This is a talented figure who is both humble and appreciative towards those who enjoy his music. Needless to say, I keep telling people to listen to his EP.
Eventually, Palma and I got to chatting about his music. Unlike many other artists of today whose songs scarcely pass surface-level meaning, Palma’s work as a Creative Writing major shines through with his lyrical brilliance. As exemplified by my personal favorite song on the EP, Icarus, Palma plays with poetic tropes, double entendre, and allusion to popular myth. His musical creations embody an intelligence that generally keeps me straying from modern music, but it is accomplished in a manner that is perfectly subtle.
Despite his musical talents, Palma has never received any formal training. He has been able to rap since he can remember, but began taking his music seriously late in high school. Since then, his musical talents have only continued to flourish. Nonetheless, his own skills are supplemented by the work of other musical talents throughout the production process including recording, mixing and mastering. Though Palma writes independently, he definitely humbles his abilities by shining a light on his many supporters.
While it may seem daunting as an outsider, Palma’s post-grad ambition is to pursue music full-time and eventually transition to LA alongside the rest of his studio. These ambitions are admirable in light of Palma’s gratitude towards his audience. It makes his day to know that people are listening. I know certainly am and I can only hope to get more people to do the same.
All photos courtesy of Nick Palma.