Monday, June 30, 2008

Wale - Artistic Integrity

"Meet Mr. Folarin"...



You already know knew.

Video: TIP - No Matter What


I like the way TIP kept the video simple. It reflects the sense of solitude and introspection that the song has.

It's amazing to me to see how TIP is rebounding from his case, shaking the haters (Shawty LO and all those who are accusing him of snitching, and managing to still be true to who he really is in the midst of what has to be an extremely difficult process of trying not to say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing when you've got a year to be on your best behavior before you head to the bing. You have to assume that there's a lot of pressure on him to convey a more positive and less-violent image after all that's taken place in the courtroom. But he's managing to straddle the fence of staying true to who he is (which is a street dude) while also putting out music that can still sell without seeming to formulaic, pop, or contrived. Kudos to TIPPORD!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

World's Largest Swimming Pool

I'm going! Not sure when, but I will be going!

Located at San Alfonso del Mar resort at Algarrobo, Chile. The pictures say it all.






Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday Morning Laughs

Every once in a while I forget Shaq used to rap. Then he gives me the pleasure of reminding me...


I couldn't resist posting this if not for the "Kobe, how does my azz taste" line it had to be the "Kobe ratted me out, that's why I'm getting a divorce" line. And even though it's kinda lame for Shaq to still take shots at Kobe, you gotta laugh at this guy getting up there actually freestyling (or at least playing it off really well) and crackin' on Kobe. Shaq's a pretty funny guy in general so it's no surprise that he pulled this and he probably tickled the hell out of himself.

Naturally, Shaq denied this being a diss at all, which makes it even more comical.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Canada! Oh Canada!


I'm heading to Montreal next week for work. Well, not to actually perform any real work, but for a work-related conference. While I'm there I'd like to see as much of Montreal as I possibly can. I've never been to Canada before but I always hear good things so I'm starting to get a tad bit excited.

If anybody has been to Montreal before and has any suggestions as to places I should go (besides the strip clubs up there since everyone seems to be suggesting that), please drop a comment.

Tangentially, it's been a pretty fantastic year for me so far with regard to traveling. I've been on a cruise to Key West, Cayman Island, Ocho Rios; Miami; a ski trip to Seven Springs PA; Massanutten resort in Virginia; Atlanta; Boston; and now Montreal. It's definitely been the best year of travel for me yet.

Thank you God for giving me the opportunity to see all these places!

Before the year's done I'll also have been to Vegas, Miami again, and maybe Fort Lauderdale or VA Beach. I get the feeling this Canada trip is going to give me the impetus I need to travel outside of the U.S. more often.

Remember, if you have any suggestions on what to check out in Montreal, please leave a comment.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hill Harper is a pretty impressive guy

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go see Hill Harper at a book signing in downtown Baltimore at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. The event was hosted by a group that I'm a part of, the Pratt Contemporaries. Hill would be there to speak about his most recent book, "Letters to a Young Sister, the follow-up to "Letters to a Young Brother".

I'll be honest, I haven't read either book and didn't have any intention on it either. But after having the opportunity to meet Hill at a mixer before his talk and listen to him speak, I am definitely impressed by they guy and I could see myself getting one of those books as gifts to my younger cousins (that's who they're targeted toward).

He focused most of his talk on things that plague young black women and men. Things such as low self-esteem, unrealistic expectations and desires brought on by falsehoods presented via media outlets, and developing a sense of pride and self-worth at a young age. I was very impressed by Hill's intelligence, grasp of history and historical perspective, his persuasiveness, and ability to convey very important and eloquent points without going over people's heads. Watching him speak you can see that he has a passion for helping nurture children into intelligent and responsible adults. The talk was great and I even left with a few quotables like:
"Sometimes rejection is God's protection"

"Everybody's welcome, but it ain't for everybody"

"F.E.A.R. - False Expectations Appearing Real"
To really understand what he was trying to convey with those last two quotes, you probably had to be there (or perhaps read one of his books) So if you get a chance to see this brother talk, make sure you do. And fellas, he definitely brings the ladies out in droves, LOL. L and I might have been one of maybe 2-dozen men in a crowd filled with women both young and old (not to mention school children). So even if you go scheming on some nice young ladies, you might just learn something in the process. He mentioned to L and I that he was doing a book tour and that he had stops in Philly and Chicago coming up.

After the jump you can check out a few flicks that L took during the mixer before his talk and right before Hill began speaking.


Oh yeah, here's a few things I was shocked to learn about Hill Harper and one interesting tidbit on his role in CSI NY.
  1. Hill is 42 years old. Dude looks like he's younger than me. How to people like Hill and Halle age like that? Amazing.
  2. He was raised in a single-parent household, but by his father
  3. He is good friends with Barack Obama since they went to school together at Harvard
  4. His role in CSI NY was meant for a Black man to play. Before L inquired about that, I never thought about the fact that Hill plays a Black male CSI in New York. I wonder how many there are in real life.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Feels Like Summer

John Legend and Andre (3-Stacks) get you ready to go RIGHT NOWWWWW!

Green Light - John Legend (feat. Andre)

Friday, June 13, 2008

KELLZ!

What a Friday the 13th! You already know why. Kellz was acquitted



Tim Russert must be rolling over in his...

R.I.P.

NBA Rant

  • The Lakers are done. Sorry Dane, but they're done. Even if they win on Sunday in L.A., they're NOT winning in Boston...TWICE! Congrats K.G.

  • The ref that got caught fixing games says that other refs were "on the take". Yeah, probably so. It definitely wouldn't surprise me. How much do NBA refs make? $19K to $80K? Hmmmmnnnn. How much heat do they take from players, coaches, owners, the media, fans? Yeah, probably so.

  • I will probably do a full post on this soon, but last night's Laker's debacle started me thinking, Is Kobe really the NBA's best player? Imagine this...LeBron James working with the same supporting case Kobe has: Derek Fisher (decent veteran point guard that can knock down jumpers and create for others), Lamar Odom (the first half of last night's game is all I have to say), Pau Gasol (good big man with nice post moves and plays half-decent defense), Vladimir Radmanovic (ok, he might be a weak link), and Sasha Vujacic (knock-down 3 point shooter).

    You might be able to stop a pure scorer like Kobe from scoring. But can you stop an all-around player like LeBron who rebounds and passes well consistently in addition to scoring? The Cavaliers DID take the Celtics to 7 games. But yet-and-still, they lost. What I do know is that once you stop Kobe from scoring, he is not as good as creating for his teammates as LeBron is. Not to mention he gets frustrated. And LeBron did more in last year's playoffs with less talent around him. Yes, I'm a LeBron STAN. But I'm just saying.

  • I actually called the series "Lakers in 6" because I thought Kobe was that focused. Boy was I wrong. I wonder how badly he's gonna throw his teammates under the Buss bus in the off-season.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

John McCain



Black President... Jacked?

I recently posted the Black President song by NaS, but as it turns out, the original song is not his. I emailed a bunch of people about Obama's platform and on that list was a friend from elementary school that's a musician now and she goes by the name of Christina K.

Christina hit me back via email and dropped me links to a few blogposts where it's mentioned that NaS jacked the song from her. Check out her version here.

Now check out a bunch of blogs that have commented on the story:

SoulBounce

Rotting Television

Rawkus Records

2DopeBoyz

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nas and Wale are bringing the noise...In a good way

In the last week or so, Wale and Nas have both dropped mixtape CLASSICS!

Read it again...CLASSICS!

They're both in playlist format on your right, but I just wanted to dedicate a post to the ONLY two albums I'm listening to right now. Well not albums, but MIXTAPES!

NaS & DJ Green Lantern - The Nigger Tape



Check out the following tracks: "Cops Keep Firing", "Hero", "Black President", "Association", "Legendary", "Ghetto Remix", "Esco Let's Go", "N.I.G.G.E.R.", and "Nas Timeline".

Wale - Mixtape About Nothing

Check out the following tracks: "Rising Up", "Crazy", "Vacation from Ourselves", "Remake of a Remake", "Grown Up", "Manipulation", "Artistic Integrity", "Cliche Remix", and "Chicago Falcon Remix".

Yes, I am aware that the Carter III leaked. And YES, I listened to it. But NO, it's not in my rotation and other than Dr. Carter, Mr. Carter, and Mrs. Officer, it probably won't be even close to any of my playlists either. Not to shyt on a good (but not great or classic) CD by Lil Strapped and Bent Over but his album isn't even close to being as dope as NaS mixtape and isn't anywhere near as original and "hungry" as Wale's mixtape.

Put down that formula-driven commercial rap and pick up a mixtape people! Actually, pick up TWO mixtapes!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Obama's Blueprint for CHANGE


Since lots of political pundits have questioned whether or not he's just a motivational speaker as opposed to a politician who has a vision for this country (read: more than just rhetoric), here's Barack Obama's "Blueprint". No Jay-Z or KRS ONE.

NaS...Very warm and d@mn near HOT!


I challenged Mr. Jones once... Then second-guessed that... Now I'm totally recanting my shyt...Without further adieu, the video for "Be A Nigger Too" by NaSiR JoNeS.



That shyt is historic!...Most meaningful hip-hop video in the last [insert number here] years...

I don't think I've seen a rapper be this provocative with a video in at least 10 years, probably more.

The video definitely makes the song more impactful (ok, so that's not a word, whatever). I probably wouldn't have challenged the song as much as I did if I'd seen the video first. The imagery adds so much more to it.

Also, "Black President" by NaSiR JoNeS.

Friday, June 6, 2008

I'm just bumpin my music

As usual, I'm listening to a rack of different stuff during the day. Just sharing these and giving a few random comments on each.

Hot Stylz - Lookin' Boy Remix (feat. Yung Joc, Kellz)

Kellz crazy azz murked this joint. You might have seen my original post for this track a while ago where I predicted that it would blow. Now that Kellz has jumped on it (no 12-year old girl) I think the probability of that happening just went up even more. We'll see how long it takes...



Lupe Fiasco - Cold World

Unreleased joint that most definitely should have been released. No Johnny Gill. I wonder if this is a Kanye beat. Definitely one of the dopest beats I've heard Lupe over in a minute. I'm feeling the piano and the Wu-Tang "Cream" sample in this one.



Lil Overrated/Overhyped Wayne (feat. Bobby V) - Mrs. Officer

This is my shyt! Period! Weeee-oooooh-weee-ooooh-weee! Like I said, I'm a closet Bobby V. fan.



Lloyd (feat. "Lil See Reference Above") - All Around the World

Seriously, Lloyd sounds like a friggin' girl. With that said, why do I like his daggon songs so much! I guess it's me getting in touch with my feminine side (shut the fock up Dane). The Paid in Full rip on the beat and Lil "Verse Recycler's" verse pays nice homage to the original Eric B. and Rakim track.



Wale - The Crazy

Wale is next up!

"You're crazy!"

"Am I? Or am I so sane, that you just blew your mind?!"



Lil "Syrup Sipper" (feat. the G.O.A.T. Jay-Z) - Mr. Carter

The song on C3 that most people are/were eager to hear. One of the best 3 tracks on the album, EASILY.



Lil "Put the Vocoder Down" - Dr. Carter

This is real hip-hop right here. Wayne should stick to songs that are this creative, and lyrical. Not all that cookie-cutter radio crap.




Alfamega - Uh Huh

"This a Nitti beat!". Alfamega (who I first heard on TI's "Hurt" where he dropped a mean azz verse) comes with a club joint heavily co-signed by TIPPORD. It might be a good look just to get Alfamega on the map. Like Bloodraw, I've been feeling Alfamega since day one and I'm hoping some of my favorite up-and-coming artists start getting some shine like Ortiz, Drizzle, Bloodraw, and Alfamega. There are others but these are the first few I thought of off the top of my head.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Carter 3: Thank God the Hype is OVER!

...At least I hope it is. Better yet, it should be!

It appears that while I was in Boston last week Lil Wayne's so-called "classic album in the making", The Carter 3 (C3), leaked. Whooptie-do! No really, thank goodness it did. Now people can listen to it and then hopefully get over it because it'll never meet expectations. I'm pretty sure this isn't the exact same album that'll be released in stores but I'm even more sure there's enough overlap for me to make my purchasing decision.

I have been tired of hearing about this album for about the last 6 months. My prediction was this was gonna be way more hype than actual product. After Yeezy dropped Graduation it was no way Wayne was gonna be able to make anything close or as creative. So why care about the Carter 3 anyway? Oh, I forgot. Wayne has flooded the market with guest verses and a litany of mixtapes. Wayne has had some great guest verses on several songs and his appearance has been the only reason to listen to some songs. I can't argue with how he kind of demands your attention once he gets on the mic.

But at the same time this guy has flooded the market with mixtape after mixtape after mixtape for the last umpteen months. All the while, his followers have been hyping his album as if it was going to be best thing since Graduation American Gangster sliced bread. I'm sure a lot of people expected C3 to be just that with all the steam Wayne was building with his mixtapes and guest verses. But at a certain point, I entered the zone I like to called "Waynundation".

That would be the point where I stopped downloading his sometimes good, sometimes bad, only great like once mixtapes and got tired of hearing about him, period. I also got tired of hearing him drop subpar verses on other people's songs. I got tired of hearing him stay stupid shyt in interviews. And I got tired of hearing him use that friggin' vocoder thing too! Most importantly, I got tired of people acting like everything he did was so great. If it was, I'd admit it. I'm not a hater, he did *some* great things in the past umpteen months. But he did a lot more average (if not mediocre) shyt too!

Then he dropped Lollipop, which I have maintained from jump was a shyt-sandwich, radio-friendly track. It's obvious he was looking for spins when he put this together and (good for him) he got them. Not only did he get them, but he got his FIRST #1 single on Billboard. Whooptie-do! Then came the announcement that his album would finally be dropping in June which made me immediately think, "Wake me up in July."

Now we're in June and the album has leaked because this syrup sippin' fool can't keep his mouth shut and likes to disrespect the DJs that helped him garner all this "popularity" in the first place. And after I "happened" across a copy of C3 I have to say it's a lot like I expected it to be...

The product of a lyricist with great potential, too much of an ego, not much to talk about, and lots of syrup sippin.

I've listened to it a few times now and I am pretty firm in my opinion that it's just an average CD. Perhaps good, but definitely not great or classic. This reminds me a lot of 50 Cent's last couple CDs. That is, an attempt to please one's personal tastes while also attempting to make music one thinks will be radio-friendly or club-friendly. This album is a testament to the fact that Wayne may be on his way to being a good artist, but really hasn't figured it out yet. He's still just a rapper. Not even Yeezy (who by the way, has dropped at least 2 classics in his first 3 albums no matter which 2 you pick) couldn't give Wayne enough help to push this CD into great status.

Let's talk about the tracks...

Lollipop (feat. Static Major...who?), Tie My Hands (feat. Mr. Paula Patton...Bastard), Comfortable (feat. BabyFace...how in the fock did these two link up?), and Mrs. Officer (feat. Bobby V, which I like a whole lot but I admit I am a closet Bobby V fan) are all examples of Weezy trying to figure out the radio-friendly hit single. Notice the trend/formula of grabbing and alleged crooner to jump on a track? Except Lollipop where he attempts to be the crooner. He got one hit with Lollipop and I wouldn't be surprised if he has another that just might blow-up on radio as well. People really do fall for these types of tracks if you shove them down their throats (read: ears) enough. IE - Lollipop, which I can now withstand listening to in the club but pretty much nowhere else. By the way, I'm not saying that those other songs are bad because they are not. But they're not great either. They're boilerplate/formulaic tracks that rappers throw on their CDs because they think they'll eventually become radio singles. Think outside the box.

Examples of Weezy trying to please his own tastes would be Mr. Carter (feat. Jay-Z, which is a classic hip-hop track though the beat might be greater than Wayne and Jigga's verses), 3Peat (which I can't stand to listen to because he is on his ignorant shyt a little too much and he doesn't have the creativity of someone like Jay-Z to really pull it off in a smooth way), Nothing on Me (feat. Fab and Juelz, where Fab drops one of the best verses on the album, let alone the friggin song), A Milli (what happened to Corey Gunz verse?), Playing with Fire, and Let the Beat Build. I'd rather listen to an album with just these songs and Dr. Carter than what he appears to be dropping as his album.

The best track on the album is easily Dr. Carter in my opinion. That is closely followed by Mr. Carter. It's tracks like Dr. Carter where you see Wayne's prowess as a lyricist, ability to be creative, and overall potential to become a truly great hip-hop artist.

Then he finds a way to disappoint you with other joints where you realize that Wayne needs to lay-off the promethazine (Phone Home and La La). And I don't even have an opinion on Got Money (feat. T-Pain). I'd say it's an attempt at a radio-friendly single because of T-Pain but it really just sounds like they got a left-over beat from DJ Khaled and borrowed Khaled's go-to-guy (Pain), and said "Hey Wayne, just talk about whatever and let Teddy Pinned-her-Azz-Down do his thing on the hook."

Dr. Carter and Mr. Carter are classic hip-hop tracks. Those are the only two I put on repeat. Ok, I'm lying. Mrs. Officer cranks. LOL. But a lot of those radio cuts are going to have to grow on me (if possible) and I am 100% sure that there are a few songs I'm never going to like.

All-in-all, I'd give this album 3 of 5 stars. But just off his ability to throw in so many wild/sick metaphors and punchlines amidst half-azzed verses I'll bump it up to a 3.5. You can't deny this guy has talent and potential. But will he blow it all drinking syrup, making retarded comments, and having sex with any woman with a heartbeat?

TIPPORD does a far superior job as a southern rapper (notice I had to confine this statement to southern rappers) of covering all of his bases (street, radio, club) than Lil Wayne. Until Lil Wayne can develop that type of versatility and consistency that artists like TIP and Kanye have, then he'll never be a true great, just a self-proclaimed great. And just to clear it up before the discussion starts, I am saying that Kanye is great, TIP could very well be on his way there, and Wayne still has some exams to take before passing the class.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around why Hov gave him the biggup of calling him his heir. If he's Hov's heir, then I feel bad for the throne. Hov sold Yeezy out on that shyt..

UPDATE: Diddy disagrees with me...(You might as well not listen until about 2:30 in where he talks about who's hot right now. Up until then he tries really hard to convince you that the Carter III is a classic)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Black Bonnie and Clyde

This is the type of ish we really need to be on when we talking about Bonnie 'n Clyde, "ride or die" chicks", etc. This isn't some 'ole hood shyt, it's some of that GOOD SHYT!

I didn't get the opportunity to blog about it yesterday but I am sure - unless you had an emergency medical procedure, your child was born, or you are oblivious to anything current in the news - you know that Barack sewed that shyt up yesterday.

Obviously, congratulations are in order. But if we think he had a fight on his hands with Billary, just wait...

But back to the picture above. That picture really makes me proud and happy. It's makes me smile to see how she looks at Barack. You KNOW she loves this dude. And I might be the only dude bloggin' that'll admit it, but I'm looking forward to seeing that look.

Barack and Michelle can have such a positive impact/influence on Black folks just by being in the position that they're in as a married Black couple with children. A Black President? A Black First Lady? And they look happy too?! Sheeeeeiiit! We NEED to see that. Even if he doesn't win, I hope they continue to show them together smiling, nurturing, and supporting one-another. Because more of US need to see that and have that shoved in our faces on a daily basis instead of all the other crap we see/hear.

Video: Wale - D.A.N.C.E.


Wale is about to make it cool to be a DC dude from Murrland (like me). Holla at me if you need that explained. Matter of fact, that might be my next post.

The track is off his Mixtape About Nothing.

If you haven't seen the original of this video, check it out...