YCA Blog

The Top Five Featuring Nate Marshall

The Top Five Featuring Nate Marshall


Welcome to the Top Five. We know it's Monday and you may be looking for inspiration, and we are here to help! Every Monday, we will be inviting some of our favorite artists to share five links that inspire them. Tune in to find some new music, poems, and more. Today, we have Nate Marshall talking about some of his favorite debut projects. Check it out!

Right now I'm in the throes of working on my second book and I'm confounded by how to approach that process and make the book reach as high and higher than the first thing so I want to drop a bunch of first projects that I love and that I go to for inspiration.


1. You're So Talented

This webseries is the first series written and directed by Sam Bailey. Sam went on to direct and produce the smash hit Brown Girls (written by #YCAFam Fatimah Asghar that was recently bought by HBO.)

2. Est. N19g4 by Saba feat. Jean Deaux (prod. by Such N Such)

My introduction to all of these artists. I think this is maybe all of their first video?! Either way this joint is fantastic.

3. Medicine For Melancholy

Catch this one on Netflix. Barry Jenkins's first feature film before the Oscar-winning Moonlight. A quiet, quirky love story set in the gentrifying city.

4. I Wore My Blackest Hair by Carlina Duan

One of my favorite writers and a former student. I've had the pleasure of living with these poems for awhile now and I'm excited for the world to see this stunning debut this fall. Pre-order now.

5. Through The Wire by Kanye West

The first Kanye video from the first album. Important moment in Chicago history and for me personally.


Nate Marshall is from the South Side of Chicago. He is the author of Wild Hundreds and an editor of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. Wild Hundreds has been honored with the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s award for Poetry Book of the Year and nominated for an NAACP Image Award. His last rap album, Grown came out in 2015 with his group Daily Lyrical Product. Nate is a member of The Dark Noise Collective. He completed a B.A. in English and African American Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing at The University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers' Program. Nate has received fellowships from Cave Canem, The Poetry Foundation, and The University of Michigan. Nate has taught at The University of Michigan, Wabash College, and Northwestern University. Nate is a proud YCA alum.