My top 5 favorite albums of the 2020s (so far)

By: Charlie Boone

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So much incredible music has come out in the past three years, so here are 5 of my favorite albums from 2020-2023, from any genre, in chronological order.

LEYA – ‘Flood Dream’ (2020)

LEYA is an experimental music duo from Brooklyn, New York consisting of harpist Marilu Donovan and vocalist/violinist Adam Markiewicz. Their 2020 album, ‘Flood Dream’ is a haunting and hypnotizing experience combining Donovan’s low-tuned and dissonant harp with Markiewicz’s ghostly operatic vocals for a final product that is as beautiful as it is petrifying. There’s a very distinct eerie quality that feels cinematic but in a very unorthodox way, like it’s the score to a VHS tape that kills you if you press play.

Favorite track: “INTP”

ZelooperZ – ‘Valley of Life’ (2020)

Throughout his time making music in the exciting and ever-evolving Detroit rap scene, ZelooperZ has paved his way as a creative talent, melding elements from both underground and mainstream hip-hop, as well as jazz and club music. He’s an incredibly consistent artist with multiple albums out this decade that could all be on this list, but 2020’s ‘Valley of Life’ stands out to me as a particularly fleshed-out and replayable experience.

ZelooperZ plays with various styles of rap, melding them together with a constant personality and distinctive production style. “Fooseball” features a jazzy lo-fi beat with a unique and infectious groove, while “What2du” (featuring an incredible verse from New York neo-soul artist Fousheé) has what is probably my favorite beat on the album, with eerie synth stabs and sparse yet bouncy percussion reminiscent of Soulja Boy and Tisakorean.

Favorite track: “Just Me”

Brand of Sacrifice – ‘Lifeblood’ (2021)

In the early 2010s, deathcore was at its peak, creatively and commercially. Bands like Suicide Silence and Whitechapel were establishing their footing as the current top dogs of extreme metal, while bands like Winds of Plague and Disfiguring the Goddess were experimenting with technicality and orchestral elements to further expand the sound.

Over a decade later, the deathcore scene seems to me like it’s going in two different directions, one focused on the revival of what made the old scene so great, and the other focused on modernizing and polishing the sound to make it fresh.

In my opinion, the 2000s revival scene is much more interesting with a rawer, more aggressive edge, but the biggest exception to that is Brand of Sacrifice. Their 2021 record ‘Lifeblood’ is pretty much the perfect embodiment of mixing mind-bending brutality with fantastic modern production, and the closest thing to the logical conclusion of what the 2000s deathcore bands were experimenting with.

Favorite track: “Lifeblood”

Ghais Guevara – There Will Be No Super-Slave (2022)

Philadelphia rapper Ghais Guevara has been making waves in the underground recently with incredible, entirely self-produced rap records that are, in my opinion, some of the best and most groundbreaking hip-hop projects I’ve heard in recent memory, combining the aggressive and energetic sounds of East Coast drill and Jersey club with a calmer, more introspective style both over masterfully selected soul and pop samples. ‘There Will Be No Super-Slave’ is definitely Ghais’s current best work and a great showcase of his massive amount of talent.

Still, it’s clear that this isn’t the furthest he wants to go with his sound, and given the way he’s been talking about his upcoming record, I am very much looking forward to what he comes up with next.

Favorite track: “Face/Off”

Danger Mouse & Black Thought – ‘Cheat Codes’ (2022)

The Roots’ Black Thought teams up with super-producer Danger Mouse to craft a jazzy hip-hop soundscape full of dusty drum breaks, fantastic sample work, and countless double entendres. The album’s old-school boom-bap style doesn’t necessarily lend itself to innovation, but with the addition of features like the late MF DOOM and New York staple from Griselda Records, Conway the Machine, ‘Cheat Codes’ is genuinely a perfectly constructed hip-hop album that feels like a portal into a dusty crate of old vinyl records with one of the greatest MCs of all time spitting at the top of his game.

Favorite track: “Aquamarine” (feat. Michael Kiwanuka)

Interview with a Timberwolves fan on the 2023 NBA season

By: Caden Kipfmueller

The 2022-2023 Timberwolves basketball season has been a tumultuous one to say the least, with increasing chemistry issues and fan backlash following the trade for Rudy Gobert this past offseason. The Wolves have had their fair share of issues, but they still managed to make the playoffs, losing in the first round to the Denver Nuggets in five games. While I am not personally a Timberwolves fan, I recently had the opportunity to interview one. He’s attended a large number of games this season, including all of their home playoff games, so it is fair to say that he is a big fan.

Q: Who has been your favorite player this season and why?

A: Anthony Edwards because he is one of the best young players in the league and he will lead the Wolves to at least one championship in the next few years. For his age, his stats line up with the best ever.

Q: Who has been your least favorite player this season and why?

A: McLaughlin, I like the guy and he has had good years but he has been in a pretty bad slump. He hasn’t made a basic layup in ages and has only gotten worse since the play in. I was at a Lakers game late in the season and he kept trying to shoot Kareem-like floaters over Lebron like an idiot. He’s the shortest guy in the NBA, so why does he think he can take those shots?

Q: What are your thoughts on the Timberwolves’ new City Jerseys?

A: I think it makes zero sense because they use so many random shades of colors that are not Wolves’ colors. We should be black, blue, green and white. Their justification for the red was that it’s the red from the wolves’ tongue, but I think that is stupid.

Q: Overall, do you think this season has been a success or a failure?

A: Definitely a success and the best one we’ve had in a long time. The Timberwolves aren’t good normally so it is nice to make the playoffs for a change.

Q: Do you agree with the Timberwolves’ decision to trade for Rudy Gobert last season?

A: I like that we tried for him but we gave up too much. However, Gobert has been very necessary and is the only reason we don’t collapse defensively especially right now with two bigs out. He gets booed even after being clutch and putting up clutch double doubles which is stupid. People need to stop whining about the trade.

Q: How bright is the Timberwolves’ future in the next five years?

A: It will come down to what we do with all the free agents. We have the potential to be better than this year for sure, but we just can’t focus on rebuilding.

What I’ve learned from doing crossword puzzles for over a month

By: Daniel Kendle

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Happy holidays dear readers, I hope you’re having a good winter break. I got a gift for you! Here, open it.

(Crumpling paper) Oh hey, it’s a box. With a piece of paper inside. Turn it over, you’ll see.

Why, it’s a crossword puzzle! Those thingies are always fun to do on a whim. You know, sitting down with a cup of juice in the morning, struggling on the 3rd word until you inevitably give up and look up the answer key on Google, good times.

What? Why am I giving you a present? Well, it’s the holiday season, why not? It’s April? Ha, what ludicrous nonsense. My watch says otherwise.
10:02, Monday, April 24.

Oh. Maybe it’s time to get a new watch. Why does it say that it’s April?

Well, getting back to the topic at hand, crossword puzzles are one of the USA’s favorite newspaper pastimes, alongside the comics section and advice columns. I decided to take it upon myself in order to fascinate the world with this age-old puzzle. Thus, I’ve done the challenge of doing a crossword puzzle every day for over a month (March-April).

For the specific puzzle, I chose to complete the New York Times’ crosswords, specifically one known as the Mini. It’s basically a smaller, bite-sized square that has about 10-15 words, and is more digestible. This isn’t to say that it’s easier, but quicker, yes. Mainly because it takes a solid chunk of time to do a large crossword puzzle, and I wanted to make this article sooner rather than later.

For those who don’t know how crossword puzzles work, you basically have a bunch of boxes to put words in, and those boxes intersect with other boxes to connect to each other with shared letters. The Mini works like this, though is just more tightly wound.

Anyways, I’ve prepared 3 rules from my gatherings in the field to help others with their dreams of crossword claim. Here they are.


Whenever you start a new puzzle, it’s always important to look for the brain dead phrases. Stuff like “What sound does a cow make?” moreover than “What’s my home address?” (Don’t answer that). Once you’ve found the gimmes, then you can move onto the harder stuff.


In life, we always have “that” friend. The friend that is by our side no matter the circumstances. The friend that is willing to give their entire financial credibility to help us out of a problem. The friend that’ll dig a hole into their room to get them out of being grounded (thanks Lil’ Timmy!) and in this case, your friend is Auto-Check. This system checks to see if a letter is correctly placed in a square, that way you’re not just blindly guessing. Some call this a cheat-sheet, though I moreover think of it as a helpful little…cheat-sheet.


There are numerous different words in the English lexicon – at least 10, last time I checked – and it takes time for one to memorize to remember words and such. So do it. Read up on dictionaries, quiz with cordial associates such as your loved ones, and read through solved crossword puzzles to know what kinds of questions are asked.

Alright, I hope all of this has been helpful to you and your crossword-solving pursuits. Let my experience guide you forward into the blissful beyond that is The New York Times crossword puzzle. In fact, here’s a link to their page with all their games!

Happy solving!

The rise and fall of Chris Froome: One of the sports most accomplished cyclists

By: Toby Martin-Kohls

Background and early life

In the world of professional cycling, few cyclists have reached the highs of Froome’s career and subsequently plummeted so quickly.

Christopher Clive Froome was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1985. His parents were British, and he grew up mainly in Kenya and South Africa. His parents continued British customs and culture while living in South Africa. This culminated in his want to represent Great Britain in the world of cycling.

He first participated in his first organized race at 13, a charity race, which he won. It was there that he connected with David Kinjah who became a mentor and training partner for Froome.

After finishing primary school in Kenya, Froome attended St. Andrew’s School and St. John’s College in Johannesburg. He was the school’s cycling captain and kept in contact with David Kinjah. This is where he started to focus on road cycling.

He didn’t turn professional until he was 22, in 2007. He started road racing in South Africa, specializing as a climber, for now-defunct Team Konica Minolta. His strong performances in 2007 caught the attention of a British cycling coach, Rod Ellingsworth. Although Froome was racing for Kenya at the time, he made it clear to Ellingsworth that he felt British and wanted to race under the British flag.

In 2008 he signed a two-year deal with a British-based, South African-backed team, Barloworld. His first professional win came in March 2009 with the second stage of the Giro del Capo in Durbanville, South Africa.

Grand Tours and takeoff of his pro career

He then participated in his first Grand Tour, the Giro d’Italia. There are three Grand Tours in road cycling, they are the hardest, longest, and most prestigious races. They are all three weeks long and tackle everything from flats to cobbles, to hills, to mountains. They are held every year in three separate countries, one in spring, one in the summer, and one in the fall.

The first Grand Tour of the year is the Giro d’Italia, also known as the Giro or the Tour of Italy. It is arguably the second most prestigious race behind the Tour de France. The Giro is usually held during May and sometimes into early June. Like the other Grand Tours, the modern editions of the Giro d’Italia normally consist of 21 stages over a 23 or 24-day period that includes two or three rest days.

The second Grand Tour of the year is the Tour de France. This is the biggest and most prestigious race on the cycling calendar. It is usually held in July of each year, except for the 2020 version which was held in September due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is primarily held in France but sometimes starts in other countries. It is the oldest Grand Tour, being started in 1903.

The last Grand Tour of the calendar year is the Vuelta a España which is held in Spain. Inspired by the success of the Giro and the Tour, the Vuelta was founded in 1935. While the route changes each year, the format of the race stays the same, with the appearance of at least two time trials, the passage through the mountain chain of the Pyrenees, and the finish in the Spanish capital Madrid.

Starting in 2011, it didn’t take long for Froome to make a name for himself on the international stage. He had remarkable stamina and unparalleled climbing skills. From 2012 to 2018, he dominated the road cycling world.

Froome won 4 Tour de France from 2013 to 2017, with the lone exception of the 2014 edition, in which he crashed out. This placed him second all-time in Tour de France victories. He fell just short of the very exclusive 5-time winner group.

In 2012 he was on the same team as the eventual winner, Bradley Wiggins. Most fans feel that Froome was the stronger man that year and that he was held back by his team in order to support team leader Wiggins. He finished 2nd overall, 3min and 21sec back from his teammate.

In 2018, he attempted the famed Giro-Tour double. He won the 2018 Giro and aimed for his 5th Tour de France victory that July. He came into the race as the team leader and favorite, having won the previous three years. He was simply outridden by his teammate and eventual winner, Geraint Thomas. He came very close to joining the all-time greats and possibly becoming the first person ever to win 6 editions of the Tour.

Downfall and controversy

Despite his great success, there was a shadow over his career achievements. There were allegations of ethical misconduct and doping, though never proven. In 2018, Froome faced an investigation into the use of the drug salbutamol, which is used to treat asthma. The drug itself is not banned, but there is a limit on how much athletes can use. Many riders in the pro peloton have asthma as a result of cycling. Ultimately, the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) dismissed the case before the start of the 2018 Tour de France, allowing him to race and no suspension was given.

The 2019 Tour was seen as one of Froome’s last opportunities to capture an elusive 5th title. At age 34, it was likely it would have been his last good year in terms of Grand Tour form. Most professional road cyclists peak around ages 26-33, however currently there is more of a youth revolution.

In June 2019, disaster struck. While on a race recon ride for the Critérium du Dauphiné, which is considered the most important prep race for the Tour de France, Froome crashed into a brick wall at 37mph after losing control in high winds trying to blow his nose.

He went into intensive care via airlift after breaking a leg, ribs and an elbow. He then missed the rest of the 2020 season recovering.

He returned to professional cycling in 2021, this time with a new team. He departed the powerhouse Team Sky/Ineos Grenadiers and signed a five-year deal with Israel Start-Up Nation for a reported 15 million euros. However, he was a former shell of himself, finishing in 133rd place in the 2021 Tour de France.

In 2022, he managed his best result since his horrific crash with an 11th place at the Mercan Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes. On Stage 12 of the 2022 Tour de France he bridged a gap up to the eventual stage winner Tom Pidcock to finish 3rd on Alpe d’Huez, one of the most prestigious and famous climbs of the Tour. It was the first time he finished top 3 in a stage of the Tour since  2018. Unfortunately, he tested positive for COVID after stage 18 and was forced to abandon.

It was unfortunate for a legend to go out in the way that he did, but Froome certainly made the most out of his career. He still races today, for Israel-Premier Tech. He is currently a resident of Monaco.