Thursday, July 29, 2010

1 Year Later...

July 30th will mark 1 year since my good friend Jarronn passed away. Time sure does fly. If he were here on earth I know we'd be talking about the new Rozay album and I'd be getting that phone call from him with his infamous greeting "What's up Mike-DAWG!?!" at least once every month. He'd probably be coming to the Stogies & Sippin' event next month. He'd probably be talking about going on my upcoming cruise in January and telling me about the plans he and his wife Jessica have coming up. It'd be a lot of casual conversation, laughs, and joning. You know, the stuff friends do.

But although one year ago I lost a friend, I gained one more angel looking down over me. One more person to help me check my humility, integrity, and character when I think: "If [Jarronn] was here, what would he do/say?" One of those people whose impact on you after he passed may have been more resonant than his impact when he was alive. Because we tend to take those moments of life for granted, myself included.

In the year's time that's passed since he passed, all of us that knew him have aged, but the question is, have we grown? Have we grown in some positive way that we can look back on the last year and say that we've accomplished something that helped to make us a better person. So the anniversary of his passing is like a personal annual review of sorts for me, and also a celebration of the good times I had with him.

Rest In Peace Jarronn.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


JAM! Ohhhhh Jam! Jaaaaaaaaaaam!

Ya'll know the rest...

Go ahead, act like you're not dancing right now! Shot out to my mom for passing along that love for music gene.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Affion Crockett's Drake Spoofs are Hilarious!!!

These spoofs are so funny I have to do a post for archival purposes. At least, they're funny to me because I've been following Drake since the hype first started.

Original Blackberry Freestyle

Watch how hard Flex sices this shyt up though, LOLOLOLOL!

My favorite Flex quotes:

"Shootin' the movie! IN HD!"

"I need his mic UP...Let me situate this!"

"Ya in the Aston Martin doing DONUTS!!!!"

Drake took a lot of heat on the InterWeb for reading the rhymes off his Blackberry but I don't really think it's a big deal. None of these rappers freestyle anymore anyway so what's the big deal if he hadn't memorized his Blackberry freestyles yet, lol.

Affion Crockett Spoof

LMAO at "You need some fruit!" and him saying "why you put that on, Imma find something for that!" lol.

Original Westwood Freestyle

Westwood sicing this joint almost as much as Flex. Flex's sice-ups are EPIC though because his voice just takes over any other sound, lol.

Affion Crockett Spoof

Peep how Affion has the handshaking and mannerisms down to the tee, lol.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Short Case-Study on the Pros & Cons of Leaked Music: Teflon Don

I'm gonna confine this post to the issue of album leaks (both on-purpose and not) and how that can have an impact on the reaction from fans on the true release date of an album.

By the way, am I the only person that realizes that the Teflon Don name came from John Gotti and not Big Meech, Larry Hoover, or MC Hammer? None of which were truly teflon-anything because they all got caught-up by the laws. Anyway...

Case Study: Rick Ross - Teflon Don

For a while now, Rick Ross (or Ricky Rozay) has been promoting his "Teflon Don" album release via Twitter, email blasts, and he even dropped a mixtape of free music (Albert Anastasia EP) for fans to devour in hopes it would create excitement for the Teflon Don release (I'm still curious as to why he called it Albert Anastasia).

What ended up happening (which seems to be inevitably be the case nowadays) is that Ross's album leaked. As I write this post (6 days before the album's official release date) I've already heard friends talking on Twitter about the album and how they've heard most of it already. That leads me to the topic of this post: What are the pros and cons of an artist leaking songs (or having them leaked illegally) that will be on their official album when it's released?

The Pros:
  • If the music is good, people will get excited for the album. Most times people assume that leaked music will be on the album (at the very lease in the form of a bonus track). I'd argue that nowadays that's not so much of a guarantee but it still holds true in most cases. In Rick Ross's case, I'm sure he leaked the John Legend feature track "Sweet Life" in hopes it would have the same impact as the John Legend track off of "Deeper Than Rap" (Magnificent) and he could then put it on Teflon Don. Unfortunately for him, it didn't. In fact, it came across as a formulaic attempt to recreate what is an arguably better track, Magnificent.

  • If an artist is thinking about conceptually going in a certain direction on their album, leaking a few songs can allow them to get feedback from the masses. In my opinion a true "artist" wouldn't care about what fans think of their album's concept (see Gods'Illa) but rather, just make what they want and release it. But in the highly-commercialized music industry of today, the "InterWeb-focus" group is probably a valuable tool. In Rozay's case, I am not sure if he really had a concept in mind to begin with. It seems to me like his plan was to get some great production (which Ross is pretty frickin' good at), some big names as featured artists (Jay-Z, Kanye, Diddy), and continue his raps about drugs, weed, women, and all his other vices mixed nicely with hyperbole and exaggeration.

  • If the music is well-received (and can garner radio spins) you can always put it on your album. In the case of Rick Ross, I doubt he was going to put Blowin Money Fast on Teflon Don until the response to it was overwhelmingly positive. Same with MC Hammer. But Blowin Money Fast had the InterWeb, streets, and eventually radio going nuts so it only made sense to put it on the album. MC Hammer had a similar but less strong buzz also.

The Cons
  • Lack of album cohesion. Nowadays it's pretty hard to keep a hip-hop album from leaking before it's release date. So it was an afterthought for me that his album would leak. I'm actually surprised it took so long to leak (or maybe it wasn't truly complete until very recently). But once I heard the album and reviewed the tracklist, I realized I'd already heard all but 3 songs. BUT, I hadn't heard them within the context and flow of the album and that makes a big difference in *some* cases. Perfect example is the song Maybach Music 3, which was leaked about a week ago and it seemed like people really enjoyed it. I felt it was over-produced and didn't live up to the reviews I was hearing. Fast-forward to me listening to the full album and I like the song more within the flow of the album. Go figure. It's still not better than Aston Martin Music.

  • Fans will feel jipped. I hinted at this in the last point but if fans have (in the case of Teflon Don) already heard leaked versions of 6/11 album cuts and 2 of the remaining 5 were on a free mixtape, then that means there's really only THREE new songs on your album. The appetite of InterWeb users for new music is insatiable and because of this, an artist has to tread the line between over-saturation and quality music leaks and also tread the line between leaking quality music and giving away all your album's good content. So much of Teflon Don was leaked or given away by Ross that the other 3 songs remaining should have been EPIC. I'd argue that 1 is dope (I'm Not a Star), 1 is a contrived party track that Diddy convinced him to do, and the other is the obligatory "I talked all this bullshyt on the album about drugs, guns, women, and money so now let me say something that resonates a bit more with people's hearts" track. So 1 out of 3 are dope, 2 out of 3 are at least listenable. And that's not a bad thing at all. But I'll bet that fans complain about having heard most of the album already.

  • Setting the bar high with free music is dangerous! If you give away quality merchandise for free over-and-over and then say "On date X, Imma start charging", how do you think people will react? That's one question that I could do an entirely separate post about. When your free music is good, what happens the next time you give away free music and it doesn't meet the listener's expectations? They start drifting. And in the case of many hip-hop "fans", they start hating. Setting the bar high with free music and not being consistent with the release of solid music can turn a fan-base fickle. And a hip-hop fan base is nothing else if it not fickle. Ross put out a solid EP, Albert Anastasia. It's a really good street record. But if he does another mixtape after Albert Anastasia, it'll have to be as good or better. Otherwise, it's going to be a failure in many people's eyes and it'll "devalue" his "brand" just a bit (shot out to LeBron). The same applies to album releases but those are paid for (theoretically, lol) so people should be able to demand a certain level of quality.

I say all this to say that the InterWeb is a great place to find, listen to, and review/comment on music. For the listener, there's no real risk. But for the artist, it's gotta be a tough position to be in. Create a buzz, maintain the buzz by giving music away, drop an album with some familiar music that's good mixed with new music that's as good or better than what's been leaked. I can't imagine what these artists are going through, but I can sit back and enjoy the music.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Time to Play Miami Heat General Manager, Pat Riley

Now that LeBronapalooza is over it's going to be VERY interesting to see two things:
  1. How the Cavaliers shape their roster.
  2. How the Miami Heat fill their roster with 3 guys who should be getting max contract money.
The latter case is much more interesting in my opinion so I'll stick to that one.

LeWosh (LeBron + Wade + Bosh) should all be getting maximum salaries this year. But if they want to have a real shot at winning a championship, they'll ALL take salary cuts to enable the team to sign better players via free agency. There's a good amount of talent floating around via free agency this summer outside of the players we've all been hearing about over the past few months. If LeWosh really want to take this team to the promised land next season and for a couple seasons after that, they'll take pay cuts knowing that any money they lose in NBA contract money they will MORE THAN make up for via endorsements outside of basketball. I actually believe they could make a couple million dollars just off club appearances in South Florida alone.

All of what you're about to read is my guess at what the Heat could do with LeWosh's contracts and the available free agents right now to have a decent team for next season. I repeat, NEXT SEASON, not the next 2 or 3 seasons.

DISCLAIMER: I don't know exactly how much of a pay cut LeWosh would have to take in order for this to work but I know that this is a possibility.

Step 1: They ask all 3 stars to take a multi-million dollar pay cut this year. Maybe $5 million each, thereby freeing up $15 million to sign other solid players.

Step 2: I hate Duke and I can't stand this particular guy but...Pick up a shooter (JJ Reddick) at 2.8 million (he's already in Florida and he can come off the bench as sharp shooter when needed). That was really tough to suggest, some of you all will understand.

Step 3: Pick up a center (Ben Wallace) at $850K (defensively he may still be serviceable for a seson...maybe). The point is that they DON'T don't need an offensive center, just one that plays defense. Keep in mind they'll also have the Varnardo kid from Mississippi state who is a great shot blocker as insurance.

Step 4: Pick up Juwan Howard at $830K (I know what you're thinking, "He's still playing basketball?" Yes! He is, and he had a decent year last year, has a smart basketball IQ and could play a solid role for this team coming off the bench.)

Step 5: Make sure they sign DeSean Butler (solid back-up at the 2 and maybe even 3 depending on match-ups) and Dexter Pittman (a "project" type of Center like Bynum was/still is). Signing Varnado is also a part of this step as well. If I were the Heat GM I'd consider trading the rights to Pittman to another team that can provide a solid 3 that's a good role player (Matt Barnes anyone? He's out there with a $1.6 million dollar price tag).

If they took these five steps they'd have the following:

Starting 5: Chalmers, Wade, Bron, Bosh, Ben Wallace as starting five. Minus Ben Wallace this is a pretty friggin' good starting five. Especially if Chalmers has a Rondo-type of improvement over the next couple seasons.

Bench: Reddick (SG), Howard (PF), Butler (SG/SF), Varnado (C), Pittman (C)/Barnes (SG/SF). What they would be in dire need of would be a decent backup PG (dare I say Derek Fisher?) off the bench. Derek Fisher would actually be a REALLY good pick-up to instill some veteran leadership with a group of back-ups like this and to support LeWosh the same way he supported Kobe.

Again, this is just my $0.02. I'm not exactly sure how the money/contracts would have to work in order to facilitate all this but I think it makes sense and would give them a decent shot to at least make it to the Finals next season and still have some decent young players to keep around for another year or two if they want.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

King Kong ain't got nothing on Dan Gilbert

I think it's safe to say that this is how Cleveland Cavs owner Dan Gilbert feels about LeBron. Imagine Ethan Hawk as LeBron, Denzel as Dan Gilbert, and let's just call Terry Crews and Cle "Boan" Slone D. Wade and Chris Bosh for fun...

D Wade: Lebron, go 'head and bounce homie. Get up outta here, we got your back.

D Gilbert: Oh no you didn't...

Hey hey King! King! KING! Come back here! King!

KING! I need my money...

*turns to Wade and Bosh*

Oh you mothereffers...I'm putting cases on all you b*tches!

...You mothereffers will be playing BASKETBALL IN PELICAN BAY when I get through witcha! Shoe program ni**a!

*turns to LeBron*

Go 'head and walk away, cuz WE gon' burn this [Cleveland] mfer down!!!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

VIDEO: Steady Mobbin' - Lil Wayne and Gucci Mane

The video does this song no justice. This is one of my all-time favorite Lil Wayne songs (maybe I should start a formal list) and definitely a song that is still in the rotation even months after it first dropped. I remember being in LIV in Miami back in January going bananas to this song when the DJ dropped it. If only these two cats could have stayed out of jail maybe the video could have been as dope as the song.