A boy, a teen, a man, but one dream.

That’s the vision of A Dream Deferred. Skyzoo channels himself at 7, 15 and as a young man, daring the world to defy his ambition. Over some of the most lush production of the decade, Brooklyn becomes a character as much as an environment, breathing down Sky’s neck, threatening and encouraging in equal amounts. And in that cradle, Sky reflects on himself and celebrates Black excellence like few others could. So, read our thoughts on A Dream Deferred, listen to our interview with Skyzoo and hear why it’s one of the best of the 10s.

I observed everything as a kid. I was a sponge. My first rhymes were looking out the window on the 18th floor.
— Skyzoo

Chi-Ali bumps from a Walkman and another kid’s Jansport Strings get jacked. Hustlers on the side streets dispense wisdom and warnings. The city dreams and murmurs in its sleep. Skyzoo watches. As pastoral as the works of Langston Hughes, Sky charts his own evolution, with ambitions growing in scope, even as the ramifications match the pace.

As sharp-eyed and detail focused as any rapper this decade, Sky took technicolor beats as his canvas to paint an intimate portrait of Brooklyn. Mentions of Roemello, Spike Lee and wishing proper revenge on James Dolan makes it as New York as possible, but that’s just the surface. A lovely surface mind you, but Sky’s got bigger goals in store, reflecting on the possibilities and passions of Black excellence in a world that wants to do nothing more than crush dreams, watching them dry up like a raisin in the sun.