Year of Discovery – Nico & Vinz’s Black Star Elephant

Released October 14, 2014 (Worldwide)

Track List:

  1. Intro (Interlude)
  2. Am I Wrong
  3. Last Time
  4. Leave Us (Interlude)
  5. Know What I’m Not
  6. Miracles
  7. New in Town (Interlude)
  8. My Melody
  9. Powerful (Interlude)
  10. Another Day
  11. People
  12. Runnin’
  13. Imagine
  14. In Your Arms
  15. Homeless
  16. Lakota (Interlude)
  17. Thought I Knew
  18. Arrival (Interlude)
  19. When the Day Comes
  20. Kokadinye (Interlude)
  21. Imaa Imaa

This was recommended to me by a friend awhile ago, so it’s about time I listened to it. 

Intro (Interlude)

It’s a short but nice way to start the album off.

Am I Wrong

It’s a nice pop song with with a refreshing message of self-reliance and self-belief in our lives and the choices we as people make. Strong start for the album.

Last Time

Ain’t nothing wrong a love song. I do like the chorus. It’s another poppy, mainstreaming-sounding song and while it works here, I wonder if the entire album will have this sound. Not so much the African influence, but the lyrics being overtly positive. Again, no problem with positive, but I could see myself finding the album getting old if it’s operating at this level.

Leave Us (Interlude)

It’s so short, I didn’t even notice that I had heard it. 

Know What I’m Not

I love the idea of putting worries on a plane, or sending them on a helicopter. I particularly like this song cause I’ve personally subscribed to the idea that it’s just as important to know what you aren’t as it is to know what you are.


Okay, I’m starting to feel worn down. There is nothing wrong here, I’m just finding the theme and the light and breezy direction of the sounds are starting to blend together and it’s getting hard to differentiate the songs. 

New In Town

Again, didn’t even notice I heard it. 

My Melody

I like pairing the two languages together on this. It let me focus on the melody of the song before the English shows up. 

Powerful (Interlude)

I’m starting to wonder if having so many short interludes is counter-intuitive. They can be effective in shifting the listener’s state of mind as albums move in different directions, but I’m again not registering that they are interludes. Which might be the point. 

Another Day

The album pics up a bit here. They get into a more traditional rap form, which obviously works for me. 


Again, I am down with the message. But the socially conscious lyrics and general positivity is is becoming less effective because it’s all that is here. 


I like the idea of wondering if the person you are seeing is the person you would want to spend your life with, but I might’ve preferred if the music was a bit more dower to match the subject matter. I don’t think the juxtaposition of the music with the lyrics here works to what they want to accomplish with this song.


I’m struggling to not repeat myself. 

In Your Arms

Same applies here.


I like the idea that anyone can call home where every they are. 

Lakota (Interlude)

Might be my favorite interlude.

Thought I Knew

Similar thoughts to Runnin’. I like the concept of loving someone but they don’t reciprocate that back to you. This might be a better pairing of music with the lyrics cause by the end of the song I didn’t feel as though the two parts were as discordant as I thought it sounded when I first started listening to the song.

Arrival (Interlude)

It’s a nice transition to the next song.

When They Day Comes

Part of me wonders if this should’ve been the last song on the album. It feels triumphant and could’ve been a strong end for the album.

Kokadinye (Interlude)

I’m left indifferent about this last interlude.

Imaa Imaa

Okay, this was a good way to end the album. There is a hopefulness that caps off everything in a satisfying way.

Overall Thoughts

Nico & Vinz are certainly talented. They have a chemistry with one another which is apparent and I think they have good ears to find nice melodies and rhythms. I just found this album redundant and it had me wondering if their other music was more dynamic. I wanted more ebbs and flows to this album. In tone, subject matter and overall sound it stayed at this bright, mostly upbeat and generally happy and optimistic level, but it became hard to appreciate that cause that’s all the album had. When it came to Runnin’ and Thought I Knew, those stood out to me cause they had just a different angle on love which different from everything else here it was hard not to notice. Plus at 21 songs, I couldn’t help but think if this was cut down to maybe 10 to 12 songs that this would’ve been a much stronger piece of work.

I grew numb to this by the end of it, which is sad cause what is being said on these songs are worth singing about. But if you keep getting hit in the same way over and over, it loses the punch it started out with. 

April – Sherrily’s Selection


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