Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Norris Cole and why the Miami Heat fans had it right last night...

I'm sure I wasn't the only person last night that tuned in to the Celtics/Heat game. I really wanted to see if the Heat would come out at a blistering pace again like they did on Christmas against the Mavericks. And secondly, I wanted to see how Norris Cole played. And Mr. Cole did not disappoint late in the game. He showed poise, the ability to hit open jumpers, the ability to drive and finish/dish, and as a result the crowd in Miami starting chanting "M-V-P!" when he shot his free throws, lol.

The chants were blatantly premature of course but they do underscore something much more important and something that it seems Miami fans have figured out early this season. That is, that they need a much better point guard than they had last year!

With all that said you might be wondering who the hell is Norris Cole?

Well, Norris Cole is probably going to be the reason the Heat win or lose the NBA championship this year. Barring any major injuries this year Norris Cole may end up being more important to Miami than LeBron or Dwayne Wade.

The reason being is that the Heat last year did not have a point guard that could do anything other than spot up for a jump shot. Sure Mario Chalmers had a couple drives to the basket here-and-there but between Chalmers, Mike Bibby, Carlos Arroyo, and Eddie House, please let me know which one of those guys could actually drive the lane well enough to: 1) create his own shot, or 2) dish out solid assists CONSISTENTLY. Go ahead, I'll wait.

All of those guys were pretty much stand-around, spot-up shooters. And most of them are streaky jump-shooters at that (Mr. House, I'm talking about you, mainly though). What that meant for other teams is that you could concentrate on figuring out how to stop LeBron and Dwayne Wade and live with jump shots from any of those guards mentioned and also Udonis Haslem (who has a pretty good set 15-17 foot jump shot by the way).

On top of not being able to create their own shots, none of these guys were defenders that could lock down a solid (let alone good) point guard from an opposing team during the playoffs. What that meant was that opposing point guards like Rondo and Derrick Rose and even Jason Kidd (to an extent) could all create their own shots if they needed to, or create shots for their teammates. Rose and Rondo are elite-level guards you won't stop them with just one guy on most nights but when they don't even have to think about their defender being able to stop them, that's a different story.

But this year it looks like Norris Cole might just change all that. Norris Cole was apparently a two-sport athlete in high school and a solid point guard in the Horizon League playing for Cleveland State. In his senior year he was named Horizon League Player of the Year AND Defensive Player of the Year and managed to drop 41 points on Youngstown State. You're gonna say, "The Horizon League, what's that?" But dropping 41 points as a division basketball player is not an easy task no matter what league or conference you're in. He was then drafted by Chicago, traded to the Timberwolves on draft day, and the Timberwolves eventually traded him to the Heat.

Cole appears to be a fairly decent jump-shooter spotting up and off the run. He also seems to have the ability to drive to the hoop and finish and/or dish depending on how the defense plays him. I use the words "seems" and "might" strategically here because there have only been two games so far to watch him play.  But he seems like he might have the potential to bring all the skills to the Heat at the point guard position offensively that none of those other guys could. And if he can bring it on the offensive end and manage to play solid defense (which will be a tall task against guys like Rondo and Rose), the Heat have got a REALLY good chance of winning the NBA championship.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Hardest Song Out

Common featuring Nas, "Ghetto Dreams". It's been out for a minute but still the hardest joint out. With, or without the visual/video. Bria Myles looking right in the video though.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How I Managed to Pass the PMP Exam

A week ago today, I took the Project Management Professional (PMP, not PiMP people lol) Certification Examination and was fortunate enough to pass on my first attempt. I have told people it was one of the two hardest exams I've taken in my life and that's a very accurate statement. The test lasted 4 hours and consists of 200 multiple choice questions. I know what some of you are thinking, "Multiple choice, it could not have been THAT hard." Welllllll, you're wrong about that lol. Completely focusing in on anything for 4 hours is tough, let alone 200 questions that are all very strategically worded with answers that all seem similar. It's not an easy task. Or perhaps it is for for most and I'm just a little slow. Either way, I found the test to be pretty tough.

With all that said, there may be some of you out there considering this certification and I wanted to pass along some of the things that helped me.
  • I had already taken some Project Management courses and heard that the exam was pretty difficult. One of my professors recommended that I sign-up for an exam prep class prior to taking the exam. So after looking around at a few different exam prep classes, I signed up for PMStudy's PMP Exam Prep class. I did some research comparing various PMP Exam Prep courses and PMStudy seemed like the best value based on what I read online. I also looked into and considered Cheetah but PMStudy seemed just a little better though I'm sure Cheetah's program is great as well. In the end, I was very pleased with PMStudy and the structure of their course, though it requires a decent amount of study prior to the course and quite a bit of studying in and out of class during the 4-day exam prep course.

  • Prior to the first day of the PMStudy course, I completed all the pre-course work required for PMStudy's class. This included memorizing a chart to help engrain the Project Management Process Groups, Knowledge Areas, and Processes. Also, I went over worksheets they provided to facilitate learning the Inputs, Outputs, Tools & Techniques of each process, and last but not least, I took a bunch of practice questions. You can do all this stuff in a day or two if you had to but I tried to stretch it out over several weeks so I wouldn't feel overwhelmed. I took myself to the library a few hours per day and took my time getting everything done.

  • Applied to sit for the PMP exam: The exam application is not a trivial endeavor by any means. It's a process you probably want to dedicate a couple hours to and I also recommend collecting the following information prior to applying: Project management experience (include projects you've managed or been involved in and also hours you've spent on various aspects of the projects), classroom experience (if you've taken any Project Management courses, you should know the dates and title of the classes), employer information (you'll need information on your current and former employer where your project involvement took place including employer address, your role, and your supervisor's contact information). A big part of the application process for me was simply gathering all this information from old files and looking through old project files and emails to approximate how much time I'd spent on different aspects of the projects I'd been involved in. Once I'd applied for the exam, I was approved in 3 days, paid for my exam, and scheduled it for a few days after the PMStudy class just to be safe so I didn't feel rushed having to take the exam the day after the course ended. PMSTudy recommends that you take the exam the day after but after 4 days of studying about 12-13 hours per day, I knew I'd need a mental break for a few days before I took the exam.
Overall, the exam prep course was a very helpful experience and I believe it helped prepare me for the exam. The exam questions were fairly similar to the questions on the simulated practice exams I'd taken but definitely not exactly the same. After taking the exam I'd say the main things you want to know in order to do well on the exam are:
  1. Project Management Knowledge Areas, Process Groups, and Processes: These are the foundational components you'll need to know in order to build upon.

  2. Inputs, Outputs, Tools & Techniques for each Process: In my opinion, this was the most important thing to know. The exam questions were heavily based on figuring out which process you were in based on the context of the question and then figuring out what inputs, outputs, or tool/technique you should use, could use, or how to apply them.

  3. Take as many sample tests and/or test questions as possible: There are lots of places online to take sample exams and if you take a prep class you'll surely be required to take sample questions and sample exams. Getting a feel for how the questions will be worded (in hindsight) was very beneficial. PMStudy's questions were similar but obviously couldn't be the exact same as what I'd see on the exam. This was extremely helpful in getting my mind to think the "PMI way".
Hopefully all this information is helpful to someone. Also, if you are interested in taking the PMStudy course, they have a referral program and if you CLICK HERE, you will get $50 off the cost of your course and I'll get a $50 gift card (that's so money!). That's a win-win, right?

Childish Gambino, CAMP

I have to give props/credit to Cori and Fred for putting me on to Chidlish Gambino.

All these songs are off his studio album, "Camp".

"Played this for my cousin, now he can't even think straight/Black and white music, now nigga that's a mixtape!"

"I made the beat retarded so I'm calling it a slow jam"

"Man why does every black actor gotta rap some? I don't know all I know is I'm the best one"

Rap's stepfather, yeah you hate me but you will respect"

"Made the beat then murdered it, Casey Anthony"

A couple more joints off "Camp" below...

All The Shine

This one has a 808s & Heartbreaks feel to it.

Hold You Down
He drops some jewels in the first verse on this one.

You See Me
Apparently, he has a some sort of thing for Asian women.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Things Girls Say.... Things Black Girls Say...

Presented without any comment other than the first video is based off the second.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Childish Gambino - I'm On It

"Now I got some, but I want it all/And I won't stop until Rihanna give my azz a call". Off his Culdesac mixtape. This is the first joint I'd heard/saw from him and thought, "this dude has potential"...

Freaks and Geeks from Donald Glover on Vimeo.

"Are there Asian girls here..."

"'Yes your booty's big as hers', say that to my white chick!"

Do You Know What Today Is?

Yup, I did that.

Friday, December 9, 2011

I'm not a big dancehall/reggae fan but ...

... this song is pretty good.

This is the first reggage joint since "Give Me a Try" that got me siced when I heard it. Random question, has anyone thought about just how much sugar would be in a concoction that was composed of Jamaican rum and Red Bull? There has to be an astronomical amount of sugar in there which is probably why it's easy to dance like a maniac all night.

Throwback Tri-Pack

Zhane - Sending My Love
Shot hair, don't care!!!"

Not as old as the rest of these songs but it's still a throwback. I wonder what happened to these ladies.

Dazz Band - Let It Whip

I PROMISE YOU there is a "Dougie" in this video right around 1 minute and 26 seconds. I promise!

Gap Band - Outstanding
"You light my fire, I feel alive with you baby/You blow my mind, I'm satisfied!" Good ole' Uncle Charlie.

Friday, December 2, 2011


For those of you that have inquired with me about the significance of those numbers, you are about to find out why I use them a lot. Those four numbers represent the place that up to this point in my life, I know best. The place I grew up for the so-called "formative years" of my life. 4716 is the address number to my mom's house in Capitol Heights, MD. Those of you that have known me prior to college probably know what street the house is on or know what area it's in. Some of you have been there, met my mom, my stepfather, and you probably know my brother Marcus aka Powell too. 

This number is special to me because it's a constant reminder of where I've come from and with that in mind, just how far I am from Capitol Heights and the days when I used to live there. Even though my house is only an hour away from that address in many ways, there's a great distance there, especially mentally. At the same time, this number reminds me that although I'm far away, there's still a lot of Capitol Heights in me, so-to-speak. Capitol Heights, Maryland (or Murrrrland) is what most would probably consider a middle class (probably lower-middle-class) area in the suburbs (yes, P.G. County to those of you that hate hearing those two letters, lol) outside of Washington, D.C. In my section of Capitol Heights you could walk to a McDonald's, a corner store, a gas station, a liquor store, and a small shopping center all within 5 minutes. No Starbucks, Chipotle, or anything like that but you could always find what you needed be it legal goods or illegal goods, lol. There was always the element of potential danger around but there weren't nightly shootings, robberies, or anything crazy like that on a consistent basis. It's a neighborhood not unlike many other suburban areas immediately outside of a very urban city.

This post is not about how tough my neighborhood was or how hard I had it growing up because that doesn't define who I am as a person, it's just part of my story. Besides, I was never truly a tough/street dude, I just hung around a lot of them, lol (unfortunately, high GPA's and participating in volunteer groups don't earn you any street credibility). This post is about me giving a little piece of who I am and where I'm from and saying just how much those four numbers mean to me. They help to keep me grounded in a sense, and they also help me strive to achieve more. My parents still live in that house (admittedly, it's not because they have to but because they don't need the big house farther out in the 'burbs for happiness or self-fulfillment, they value the little/simple things in life). Several of my best friends who grew up in the same neighborhood have watched their parents move out and into bigger homes in better parts of town. Those 4 numbers strive me to help my parents see the day when they can do the same. But just like me, it's home to them to so there's probably no real rush on their end. From the outside looking in you may not understand Capitol Heights and it may not appeal to you, but as they say "home is where the heart is". And my heart is in Capitol Heights at forty-seven-sixteen. So maybe I should say those TWO numbers instead of those four, lol. 

Paramount to everything I have said so far is that this post is also about empowering others who are from similar backgrounds and circumstances to be proud of yourself, where you're from, what you've overcome, and what you've achieved. And be proud to have the duality of being able to stand on the street corner, sit on the stoop, but also stand in the boardroom, classroom, or wherever else you're making a positive impact. Not everyone can understand it and that's part of what makes the duality so powerful. And last but not least it's for those that are living in similar place right now that might somehow run across this post or have someone show it to you in hopes that you realize the world is much bigger than what neighborhood you live in, what school you go to, and your crew of friends at the moment. There's a lot out there to learn, explore, and achieve but you have to get outside of your comfort zone and explore, learn, and grow. Trust me, you'll thank yourself for it later.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"The sexual orientation of my parents has had ZERO effect on the content of my character." - Zach Wahls

This is dope!

Video: Cyhi Da Prince - Chance to Explain

By now you know I'm a fan of CyHi. I wasn't too thrilled by his Royal Flush 2 mixtape though he does have a few nice joints on there. This is off the first Royal Flush mixtape and it's one of my favorites. It's definitely the most lyrical track on that mixtape in my opinion, he drops a lot of lil jewels in this joint. This is one of the tracks I tell people to listen to when they ask me why I like this guy, lol.

"Allow me to clarify why my music will never die/Because I'm seasoned like a Checker's fry/Black Panther pride you ninjas Julius Peppers Chi'/scared to say how you feel so you rather lie"

Video: Kanye West - Amazing

This isn't really one of Kanye's better videos but I've always liked the song, and I liked the video because of the panoramic shots of Hawaii. For some reason I find those shots inspiring (read: makes me want to travel). I woke up this morning wanting to listen to the 808s album and that's what inspired this post.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NFL Round-Up

Tim Tebow (aka The Mile High Messiah aka Football Jesus)

At this point, how can you NOT root for Tim Tebow? I'm guessing that the only way you can't is if: 1) you are a fan of another team in the AFC West, 2) he beat the crap out of your favorite college team while he was at Florida, 3) or you're just a hater.

We all know that Tim Tebow can't throw like an NFL quarterback should be able to. We all know that Tim Tebow has an "elongated motion". But we all know that Tebow is a winner too! What's the most important thing in sports? W-I-N-N-I-N-G!  Sure, his style of QBing won't allow them to win long-term unless he improves as a passer. Sure, he may NEVER be a good passer. But he surely is a winner.

And he's winning while all the analysts are taking small, medium, and large shots at him. Some of which are warranted, others are just because people began talking a bunch of crap about the guy and now they'll look stupid if they completely recant. Bottom line is that Tebow is helping the team win and he's doing it with poise when it counts and after the games he's humble about it all. A lot of these young football players should follow his lead. He's got heart, a great attitude, and I assume he's a hard-worker. I'm not a Broncos fan but I'm rooting for Tebow to continue to succeed and get better.

Also, special shot-out to Tebow for staying so righteous and holy while being in a relationship with...

That was his girl in college and my guess is by now he's probably moved on to bigger and better ummmm, "things".  It's a tough job Tim we know, but if anyone can do it, it's you! Moving right along...

Ndamakung Suh: Look at him, he's big and soft and cuddly... And he smiles too!

He ALSO needs some anger management classes. You can't just go tap-dancing on people's arms AFTER the whistle blows. He should have gotten the two games that he did and I hope he doesn't appeal. He needs to just let it go, take the punishment, and move forward and not do this again. The Lions are done now after losing to the Packers anyway so he may as well take the two games off and come back and start working on how he's not gonna get fined for the rest of this year and next year. I like this guy as a player but he's got some sort of issues going on where he is literally trying to rip people's heads off, knock them out completely with forearms to the head, or mash their heads into the ground then step on them. Really 300-lb person that was a first round draft pick? You thought no one was gonna take notice at your barbarian tactics?

I don't think he's dirty like he's being labeled because I'm sure there's lots of stuff that goes on in the scrums/piles of NFL lineman that's foul and he may just be reacting to that by taking it out on everyone in the wrong ways and at the wrong times (no that doesn't make it right, lol). I think he's got that edge and/or mean streak that a lot of great defensive players have but he's got to do a better job of controlling that aggression.

Will the Packers Lose?

Shot out to the dude on the right in the pic above. And apparently, it really is cold in Green Bay.

I doubt that Green Bay will drop a game this season barring any injuries to their most important players (read: everyone on offense and Charles Woodson, lol). If they don't lose this week to a reeling Giants team that needs a win to have a chance at winning the NFC East, I do not see Oakland coming to Green Bay and winning, Kansas City beating them, or the Bears or the Lions beating them the last two weeks (especially if GB doesn't sit their starters). The only teams that have even a remote shot are the Giants and Bears. If the Giants can pressure Rodgers and control the clock by running the ball they have a shot, especially if Eli/Forrest is having a solid game. The Bears have a great running back that they can use in so many different ways to hurt the Packers defense but if they have to keep pace scoring with the Packers, they no longer have a QB capable of doing that (I think Caleb Hanie proved that last week) and they really don't have the WRs to do it. If only Matt Forte could play RB and 2 WR positions, at the same time, lol.

With all that said, I think the Packers would be better served in the long-run by losing a game. If they drop a game sometime in the next couple of weeks it'll burn pretty badly because they're so close to a perfect (regular) season. They'll take that fire into the playoffs and really go on a tear I'd bet. Aaron Rodgers is playing out of his mind and will have a bad/subpar game or two this season and that's when they could potentially lose.  If I were the Pack I'd rather see that game/those games happen during the regular season than in the playoffs.

Superbowl Picks

Packers vs. The Steelers/Ravens. Part of me wants to see Ray Lewis win one so he can retire on top though I'm not a Ravens fan. Another part of me thinks the Ravens will lose to the Broncos in the playoffs on some bum shyt like they lost to Seattle, Tennessee, and the Jags. The Steelers aren't the same Steelers but they play tough every game and that'll make them a contender until the end. Tom Brady and his team can't play defense well enough to make it and Houston losing Schuab is a killer. The Ravens or Steelers defense against the Packers offense will be a great game. But the Packers will have a hell of a playoff game against the 49ers if the gods are good to football fans this postseason, lol.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Cam Newton

I had my doubts about Cam initially because I thought he'd be a prima donna but he's playing solid and if he had more weapons around him (like a consistent running game and a second reliable receiver) they may have went 6-10 or 8-8 this season. One other thing I like about Cam is this guy wears some MEAN AZZ SUITS after the game. You can tell his daddy is a preacher cuz youngin' be smoother than a pearl-handled pistol at that podium.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Von Miller (honorable mention to Ryan Kerrigan)

I almost took Miller with the last pick in one of my fantasy leagues (who cares about a kicker) and I should have. He's having a heck of a year on an average team but he's showing that he has an innate ability to get after the ball. Now if he could only lose those dumb-azz glasses.

League Offensive MVP: Aaron Rodgers (honorable mentions to Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Matt Forte)

I do not need to explain this one. If it's not gonna be him it has to be Drew Brees who is most likely going to break Dan Marino's passing yards record for a single season. One that he could have broken a few years back. Matt Forte for obvious reasons and Peyton Manning because his team really does suck worse than I could have ever imagined without him. They're not winning a game this year.

League Defensive MVP: Patrick Willis

Beast! I know how much airtime the superstar safeties in Pittsburgh and Baltimore get (as well as the LB in Baltimore) but Willis has been a consistent beast at LB since he came into the league. He doesn't get all the INT returns for TDs and he's in San Fran and they have been sucking so he's not gonna get the same publicity as the Baltimore and Pittsburgh guys but please believe he is just as good and means as much to his team as any of those other guys do to theirs. The most miraculous things he's helped with in my opinion is getting Carlos "Stonehands" Rogers to learn how to actually catch an interception, because he surely could not do that when he played for my Skins.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

R.I.P. Patrice O'Neal

Ladies, you probably won't like this but it's a great example of how good a comedian Patrice O'Neal was. I wouldn't say I was a big fan but he was one of my best friends' favorite comedians so I'd get the occasional message or text about how funny Patrice was (the second video is CLASSIC). I was privy to a few clips of him prior to today but not very many. It's sad to see another person die young, he was 41 years old.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Latest Pair: Saucony Bullet Suede

I was on one of my random/weekly walkthroughs of DSW and I saw these on clearance and thought they were cool.  I then went home, tried to see if I could find them for cheaper on the InterWeb but couldn't find the same color for a better price so I went back the next day and scooped these up. Go ahead, you can say it, #MONEYTEAM!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Picture Du Jour: Public Restroom Rules

Taken from My co-worker sent me this earlier and I almost spit my coffee out laughin at top row, far right. How does top row middle even happen though, lol? The second row is pretty funny and after that it just gets out of control.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Latest Pair: Pony ETC Mid White/Black

It's been a minute since I copped a pair of shoes. Just got these in the mail yesterday.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Video: Stalley - 330

I fools with this (word to RipRock81)....

Off the Lincoln Way NIghts mixtape (now available on iTunes).

Monday, November 7, 2011

THROWBACK!!! I Can't Go For That - Hall & Oates

This post inspired by "The Last" by Childish Gambino...

"Cuz if you hear my name, then you think it's jokes/And I can't go for that..."

Hall And Oates - I Can't Go For That by bebepanda

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Video: Stalley feat. Rick Ross - Lincoln Way Nights Remix

I like Stalley. Not sure why he hasn't gotten more spotlight since he signed with Maybach Music but hopefully he can continue to make more joints like this. His "Lincoln Way Nights (Intelligent Trunk Music)" mixtape is definitely worth a listen. It's probably not what you'll expect though.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"I'm the second Nikki Minaj!!!!"

I'm gonna guess that I am super-late seeing this but this little girl makes me smile...

And there is definitely not a single shy bone in this girl's body, lol...

Obviously Nikki's fake accent is working on at least two people.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sexy Sax Man!!!!

I'm sure some of you have already seen this but I just heard about it from a friend over the weekend and this had me diiiiiiiiiiiiiiie-yiiiiiiiiiiiiing!

And just in case you're wondering about the original - there is no way you don't know this song - here, it goes...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Throwback! The Police - Roxanne

Were it not for Camron (yes, Cameron Giles), I probably would not have an appreciation for this song. I guess Cam's "What Means The Worldto You" for me, is an example of how a sample used in a hip-hop song can make you appreciate the original or at the very least, expose you to the original when otherwise you may not have known about it. The first time I heard this beat was in Camron's song and I'll admit that I would not have known about "Roxanne" had I not seen it online the other day and heard the beat and thought "that's where Cam [or better yet, whoever produced the song] got that beat from!". Cam's version might be a classic hip-hop song though, lol.

Sidebar: T-Pain's "I'm In Love With A Stripper" has an eerily similar focus to that of Roxanne (yes, I realize a prostitute and a stripper are not one-in-the-same).

The Police - Roxanne

Camron - What Mean the World to You

Monday, October 24, 2011

Throwback!!! The System - Don't Disturb This Groove

"Hang the sign up on the door, don't disturb this groooooooooove"

What you know about this joint though?!?!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Throwback! Bone Thugs N Harmony - Down Fo Ma Thang

A friend made me think of this because of something she said in an email the other day, lol.

Bizzy's verse on this used to have everybody rappin out loud like they were him, lol.

Sleep with me! And hopefully a whole lot of other guys too!

Now that I've got your attention, if you haven't already figured it out from the picture above this post is not going to be about what you think, lol. Feel free to close the window/tab now if you think this is going to be about promiscuity, lol.

This post is about an initiative that one of my best friends has started to bring awareness to a very important issue, homelessness. I'll give you background real quick.

  • Baltimore (like many urban areas) has a problem with homelessness.
  • Baltimore City has a plan called "The Journey Home" that seeks to address homelessness over the next decade.
  • Most of us don't care until we see a homeless person: 1) at a light asking us for money or 2) somewhere we don't expect them to be. Sure we feel bad when we see a homeless person but we probably just keep on driving or walking away and five minutes later we're not even thinking about it (myself included).
  • Homelessness is a problem most of us accept but do not act to mitigate or alleviate.
Now for the part where my buddy comes in. In his recent article in the Baltimore City Paper entitled "Please Don't End Homelessness" (click that link) my friend Lionel Foster applauded The Journey Home but also raised the question, "Can we go even farther [than what The Journey Home plans for]"? The answer is undoubtedly yes and for that reason Lionel has taken it upon himself to come up with the following proposal:
"I want to sleep with the mayor. Seriously. I want to sleep with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, whose name is printed larger than anyone else’s right on the plan’s cover, outdoors for a night in front of City Hall to bring real attention to homelessness in Baltimore. And I’d like all of you to join us. The mayor and I would, of course, sleep in separate spaces. She’s married."
He challenges the mayor to pick a night where anyone that cares (that means me, you, you momma, and don't hide ya wife or ya kids, bring 'em) can come and sleep in front of City Hall in Baltimore to bring awareness to homelessness in the City. He's even created a website ( - click that link too!) where you can learn more, sign-up to sleep with the mayor (ha), and I'm sure in short order he'll have information up there about local organizations that aim to achieve some of the same goals that The Journey Home lays out and that he envisions.

I have to be honest and say that I oftentimes poke fun at Baltimore (with me being from the DC-urrrea) and some of it's "shortcomings" comparatively but Baltimore definitely has it's good points and not unlike DC, Baltimore has a problem with homelessness. More importantly, a few years ago I realized that if you're going to live some place you may as well (while you're there) do your part to make that place a better one. And that applies even if you know you won't be there forever. People often talk about making the world a better place and larger goals of world peace, ending famine, finding a cure for AIDS and cancer, and so on. But you can make an impact right where you are if you just make a little bit of time to put forth the effort.

And just in case you're immature (ahem, fellas)  and like to play along with the built-in joke to this awareness initiative, you can find a picture of Baltimore City's mayor (Stephanie Rawlings-Blake) at the Baltimore City website.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"My Blackberry isn't working!"

"How big's young dongle?"

"Well, I don't know much about these things but my wife's seen a few dongle's in her time... And she says, it's a little bit on the small side!"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Throwback!!! The Roots - Silent Treatment


Off The Roots "Do You Want More?!?!?!!!" album (released in 1995) which also features "Proceed" and "My Mellow My Man". If you're a hip-hop fan and don't have this album in your repertoire, you need to get it pay for it ASAP. I remember my friend Brazil introducing me to The Roots around this time by suggesting I check out "Proceed". Once I heard that song I was a fan, and have been ever since.

Black Thought is another one of those slept-on MC's because he's stayed true to his group and not strayed away for solo success. I respect it a lot but I think it holds him back from larger success. But he strikes me as the type that probably doesn't care about the fame, being rich, or having all the attention to himself. The early era Roots stuff is what I think of when I hear people mention them nowadays but they've still been making quality music in more recent years, including a really dope album with John Legend called "Wake Up".

Monday, October 10, 2011

Randy Newman - Rednecks

Blank stare! Especially at the last verse.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Video: Frank Ocean - We All Try

The visual for one of my favorite tracks off of Frank Ocean's "Nostalgia, Ultra" for its thought-provoking nature. If this song doesn't make you think just a little bit you probably already have it all figured out.

Frank Ocean - We All Try (music video) from High5Collective on Vimeo.

Picture of the Day

This made me laugh but is also kind of cool at the same time. Or (as usual), maybe it's just me, lol.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

THROWBACK! Aha, ok, wassup....

"Shut Up" was off one of Trick's better albums, "Book of Thugs: Chapter AK, Verse 47", which was an album I used to play quite a bit, especially the track below. I'm not sure what happened to Trick Daddy as far as him falling off. Rumors were that he got sick or had some disease and Rick Ross indirectly hinted at him having AIDS in "Valley of Death" but regardless, Trick had a nice lil run more than a decade ago. I remember meeting him in King of Diamonds in Miami one time and I went up to him and told him I liked some of his music and he seemed real humble and like a regular dude which is more than I can say for a lot of these rappers, let alone D- and F-list rappers nowadays that act like they are all that and a bag of chips. Back to the reason I used to play the Book of Thugs album. The song "America".

You know you like how Trick turned the phrase "Tis of thee" into "tissidee".

Friday, September 23, 2011

NFL Picks - Week 3

This week, it's time for everyone to sip a little bit of that Cammy Cam Juice. Cam has been putting up good numbers so far and I don't expect those 300+ yard games to keep coming but he does have the Jags this week. Not to mention the Jags will have a rookie QB starting just like the Panthers. I'm gonna predict that Cam gets his first win this week. It's not a very courageous pick but still. As for the rest of my picks...

Pats over Buffalo: Buffalo's good this year, but not good enough to beat New England with the way Tom Brady is playing. I think this is gonna be a high scoring game but Belicheck's defensive mind > Fitzpatrick in crunch time.

Bengals over Niners: I really want to pick San Francisco in this one. I like their coach, they've got the best run defense in the league, and Cincy is starting a rookie. But I just can't take the Niners, not on the road.

Cleveland over Miami: Miami played well on the road last year but I don't think they'll be able to stop Cleveland from running the ball. Lots of Peyton Hillis and few well-timed play-action passes from Colt McCoy should do the trick in this one.

Titans over Denver: The Titans beat the Ravens last week but that's not why I'm picking them. I'm picking them because they play well at home, Chris Johnson is due for a break-out game, and Denver's QB is bound to make a few mistakes. And Kenny Britt is playing pretty freakin' good so far this year. Let's see if he can stay out of trouble off the field and keep producing on it.

Detroit over Minnesota: McNabb's washed up, Detroit's defensive line can crowd the run and rush the passer. Detroit's offense has too many weapons. Detroit in possibly a rout.

New Orleans over Houston: Houston's a trendy pick this year but in case you haven't noticed, New Orleans is still good. They could have won in Week 1 against GB and probably should have. They won last week, and now they get the Texans in the dome. I'm not betting against Drew "Did I Get the Mole Completely Removed" Brees in this one. Too many weapons and I think he will be able to expose the fact that the defense in Houston is a new one.

Philly over Giants: The Giants are injured all over the place and Philly has too many weapons.

Carolina over Jacksonville: Cam gets his first win!

Oakland over Jets: This is a pick I went back-and-forth about but I'm going out on a limb and taking a chance on Oakland here. They have been playing really well so far this year and Darren McFadden is looking really good running the ball. Of course, if anyone can stop him from running well it's probably the Jets, Steelers, or Ravens but I have a feeling that he'll be ok in this one. If Jason Campbell outplays Mark Sanchez the Raiders win this one.

Baltimore over St. Louis: After losing to Tennessee I'm expecting the Ravens to pulverize the Rams.

San Diego over Kansas City: Jamaal Charles is out, their defense stinks. What more do I need to say?

Green Bay over Chicago: Green Bay is simply a better team. Chicago can't protect Cutler very well and Aaron Rodgers will play well as long as they keep two guys blocking Julius Peppers. Much like New Orleans verses Houston, I think that Green Bay has too many weapons and too good of a QB to lose this one.

Arizona over Seattle: Arizona is slightly better than Seattle. I'm expecting Larry Fitzgerald to have a really good game.

Atlanta over Tampa Bay: How Atlanta is the underdog in this game when they won against the Eagles last week is beyond me.

Pittsburgh over Indy: Tougher team overall and Peyton's not coming back any time soon.

Washington over Dallas: This is going to be a fun game to watch. I think Romo's going to play well and I'm hoping Rex plays well also. I know it's going to be tough for the Skins to go into Dallas and win this game but I think that they will stick to running the ball and controlling the clock and allowing Rex to take a few shots downfield. A hurt Romo is still pretty dangerous but without Dez, Miles, and probably Felix Jones (if he plays I don't think he'll be in there long), I think the Redskins can pull this one off.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Name This Tune

More specifically, name the album/mixtape that the track below came from. It's hidden in the track now that I think about it, lol.

I'm sure a lot of you will know this one. It's old, 2003.

Throwback! Bobby Blue Bland - Ain't No Love In The Heart of the City

I probably heard this before Kanye sampled and sped-up a snippet of this song but I'm sure the reason I like it so much now is because of that sample. Lots of times people complain about the use of samples and how it shows a lack of creativity from today's producers, but I actually think that the use of samples can help those of us who didn't grow up on the music get introduced to it and gain an appreciation for it. It just takes a little effort from the fans of this relatively new genre of music called hip-hop to go and do the research to find out where the samples come from and investigate the artists that created the originals.

And just in case you were under a rock from September 2001 until about February of 2002, here's the Kanye-produced "Heart of a City (Ain't No Love)" off Jay-Z's "Blueprint" album:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game. Floyd Mayweather Jr. Edition

It seems like these two punches were the most polarizing issue on Twitter Saturday night. I don't get it though. Before every fight the referee says those age-old words: "Protect yourself at all times." We all hear it and evidently, some of us don't pay attention. Aside from that fact, f I head-butted you during a fight and/or boxing match and then tried to profusely apologize for it, even going so far as to kiss you on the cheek, I'd STILL be expecting you to punch me in the face. That's just the way things work.

Victor Ortiz was losing this fight and unless something miraculous happened, he was going to LOSE this fight. Let's make that clear. Floyd had him figured out in the 3rd round and was doing his usual "chill until he gets tired, try to knock him out and if I can, do it but if I can't just win on points routine". Anyone that follows Floyd has seen this before. Victor Ortiz thought he had an opening and that he was hurting Floyd and he got caught up in the moment and head-butted Floyd. Not even a disguised head-butt but a straight-up, reckless lunge of a head-butt, lol.

Sidebar: Didn't they say he might have been on the juice? Well 'roid rage makes people so super-aggressive stuff, right? I'm just saying.

Moving right along. That head-butt was a desperation move from Ortiz as far as I'm concerned. He knew he was not making any headway in figuring Floyd out, let alone landing clean punches. So when he finally felt like he was connecting and getting clean shots (even though most of them weren't clean), he got over-zealous and head-butted Floyd. What happened after that is one of the most hilarious things I've seen in boxing since Mike Tyson bit Holyfield's ear and Kostya Tsyzu had Zab Judah sleep-walking in the ring, lol.

Mr. Ortiz apologized profusely, hugged Floyd, sort of kissed him ("you make me wanna kiss you like baby kissed wayne" - 50 Cent), and then the ref brought them back together to tap gloves and made a HUGE mistake... He looked away, probably to tell the judges to deduct a point.

Anybody that follows boxing knows that once those gloves get tapped, that's equivalent to saying "FIGHT!". Floyd (who I'm sure was pissed about the head-butt and had blood in his eyes like most of us would), took full advantage of the situation and punched Ortiz in the face. Ortiz had his hands down and was paying more attention to either the ref and/or continuing his profuse display of sorry-ness and caught a left hook that appears to have left him with a serious eye-jammy. When I saw Floyd hit him with the first punch, as it was taking place I thought to myself: "Hold up, was that legal?" By that time Floyd had already landed the right handed shot and put Ortiz on the canvas. Then I thought: "Damn, he caught him but he's gonna get up". Then I realize that Ortiz wasn't gonna make it up and everyone watching the fight where I was erupted into either confusion, laughter, or admiration of Floyd (really, it was a mixed reaction for sure. I don't think half of the people really knew what was going on and whether those punches were legal). But after the replays showed that the ref brought them back together and basically gave the "FIGHT" to them both, it was clear to me that Ortiz simply got caught slipping trying to play nice. And you know what happens to nice guys (or at least what people say happens to them).

The moral of the story is, when you play dirty, you also tend to get done dirty. Though I don't think Floyd's punch was illegal I do think he took the quickest pot-shot at Ortiz he could when given the chance. Fortunately for him it was in fact, legal (even if by happenstance).

Floyd was going to win this fight regardless. Let's get over it, stop bashing the man for doing what boxers do and move on to that PacMan/PrettyBoy fight we all want to see.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Video: Bei Maejor feat. J. Cole - In Trouble

I'm not sure if this has hit radio yet but considering that I first heard this way back in April and immediately thought "this should be a radio hit pretty soon" not to mention a real good look for Bei Maejor and Col, I'd be shocked if this isn't on full rotation on some XM station or FM stations by now. If it isn't, that's a failure of one (or both) of these guys' record label(s).

Friday, September 16, 2011

Video: Frank Ocean - Swim Good

Frank Ocean dropped a video for my second (maybe third) favorite song off his album, "Nostalgia, Ultra".

frank ocean [swim good] from christopher francis ocean on Vimeo.

NFL Picks - Week 2

It was a pretty exciting week 1 of the season with HUGE numbers put up by QBs and a couple running backs putting up some great numbers as well. The Indy beatdown we all expected happened and the biggest game of the week - Ravens/Steelers - produced an unexpected beatdown. Going into week 2 I found it pretty tough to make several of these picks and it looks like we're going to have another great week of football with 3 HUGE games: New England/San Diego, Philly/Atlanta, and New Orleans/Chicago. Here are my picks...

Buffalo over Oakland: Oakland runs the ball, well. Buffalo gave up more than 100 yards rushing last week. It's gonna be tough for Oakland to go into Buffalo and win this game and I initially picked them but coming across the country and playing a Buffalo team that played a lot of good teams very well last year and came out last week and plastered Kansas City, I'm gonna take them.

Detroit over Kansas City: Kansas City should win this game, but I don't think they will. If the Lions defensive line gets pressure on Cassel I think he'll make mistakes. The Lions offense is going to be productive so as long as their defense holds up and they can keep Cassel from beating them, I think they'll win this one. I don't think Jamaal Charles can single-handledly beat the Lions. We'll see.

Baltimore over Tennessee: This was probably the easiest pick of the week aside form the Pittsburgh and Carolina games. If Baltimore plays even half as good as they did last week this is a win. One thing I would be afraid of if I was a Ravens fan, is the Ravens (read: their secondary) getting a false sense of confidence based on last week's game and letting Kenny Britt go off on them. I am sure the Ravens d-line and LBs will be focused but those DBs, I'm not so sure. So far it looks like the Ravens offense is clicking very well and if that remains the case, the Titans won't be able to stop them. I'm just hoping that Chris Johnson can break a long run or two and get a TD to help out my fantasy squad, lol.

Indy over Cleveland: I don't think Indy is as bad as the score from last week would make one think. It was a road divisional game against a team that's had more talent for a couple years now and Peyton wasn't playing. Most of us saw that win coming a mile away. This week, they get Cleveland whose a lot less talented overall but can run the ball really well. If Indy can stop Peyton Hillis from running too much they've got a good shot at winning. I don't think they're offense will be as bad as it was last week and this is their home opener so they'll play hard for the home crowd. Hopefully Peyton shows up to give the team a morale boost.

Minnesota over Tampa Bay: Minnesota's passing game was non-existent last week. I don't think that'll happen this week and I do think that Purple Jesus could lead them to a win all by himself. Minnesota's been ok against the run in the one game they've played. It's Minnesota's home opener as well and I think Tampa Bay is a team they can squeak a win out against in a really charged up stadium and McNabb can't suck as much as he did last week in the passing game. He can't (I think).

New Orleans over Chicago: I think this is going to be a shoot-out. But New Orleans playing at home against a team that's not as good offensively as the Packers (who the Saints stayed with for most of that game) and I think they have a pretty good home-field advantage in their dome sooooooo, Saints in a shoot-out, 41-37.

Jets over Jags: I don't think I need to explain this one.

Pittsburgh over Seattle: I feel bad for Seattle having to come to Pittsburgh a week after they got their you-know-whats handed to them by the Ravens. I'm expecting big games from Ben, Rashard, and Lawrence Timmons.

Washington over Arizona: I didn't pick the Skins last week but I'm taking them this week after a pretty solid performance. One thing they may want to keep in mind however is that they should not kick to Patrick Peterson and they might want to slide coverage to Larry Fitzgerald's side. I'd take my chances at letting Todd Heap and Early Doucet beat me. On the offensive side of the ball for the Redskins it looks like Rex is pretty comfortable back there when there's not a lot of pressure and the running game is solid. Hopefully Hightower gets amped for this game against his old squad and has a great performance. That'll open some play-action up for Rex. The one variable here is that if the Cardinals blitz Rex and get his confidence down early in the game, it may be a long day for the Skins.

Green Bay over Carolina: I expect this to be a blowout. Neither Cam nor Steve Smith South will have as good games as they had last week. Not against this defense. I think Cam will do better than people (including myself) expects but I'm predicting a couple INTs (maybe one for a TD) from Cam and a heavy dose of Greg Jennings from the Packers.

Dallas over San Fran: This is a must-win for Dallas. Actually, it's a must-win for Romo. Robb Ryan's defense pressuring Alex Smith does not bode well for Niner fans (sorry Lance).

Cincy over Denver: I don't have very much confidence in Denver and they should be able to beat the friggin' Bengals but I think Cincinnati's defense is going to play well and if they can get Cedric Benson going it'll help open up some things in the passing game for the redhead (Andy Dalton). If Denver loses this game they may as well just mail it in the rest of the season. Especially considering that they're playing at home (again).

Houston over Miami: I do not believe that Tony Sparano's team is just going to lay down for the Texans because they played pretty well against the Patriots if you watched that game. But I don't think that offensively they can keep up with Houston if Houston gets going. Chad Henne and Brandon Marshall don't appear to be on the same page and Reggie Bush (the greatest skat-back of the last 5 years) might get a big play but it won't be enough.

New England over San Diego: This was the toughest game for me to pick. I really think San Diego has everything it takes to beat the Pats but playing on the Pats home field in their season opener, I just don't know. I'll take New England and Brady coming off through 500+ yards and Belicheck's defensive mind.

Atlanta over Philly: Atlanta stunk it up last week and Philly played well. Philly has a ridiculous amount of firepower offensively but Atlanta's not too shabby either. I think Atlanta's going to rebound from that loss in Chicago and win this home-opener and spoil Mike Vick's return to town as a starter. I'm expecting a couple key mistakes from Vick in this one that will give Atlanta the victory.

Giants over Rams: If Bradford's finger wasn't hurt and Danny Amendola and Stephen Jackson weren't out, I'd be taking the Rams. But the Giants have enough offensive firepower (even when Eli/Forrest Gump is playing subpar) to beat the Rams. Mike Sims-Walker hasn't shown up yet and I don't expect him to this week.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Video: J Cole feat Trey Songz - Can't Get Enough

I didn't think this song was anything special when I first heard it but now that I've listened again a few times I think it's a nice summer song. Too bad the summer's pretty much over.

J Cole feat. Trey Songz – Can't Get Enough from RnbXHipHop on Vimeo.

Regarding J. Cole in general I really like a lot of his music but I think it's going to be tough for his debut release to meet the expectations placed on him.  His album will drop, it'll be a good album, but everyone will want a classic because we've waited so long for a studio release. Meanwhile, his "Friday Night Lights" mixtape was pretty daggon good!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What I Learned from Week 1 of the NFL Season

Either this is the year of the quarterback or defenses have really suffered from the lock-out

I think there was something like 5 games where the QB for each team threw for more than 300 yards. IN WEEK 1! Not to mention Brady throwing for 500+ and Cam Newton throwing for more than 400. Though I think Cam's performance is more of a statement about the Cardinals defense and Steve Smith shutting up and playing than it is Cam's prowess as QB in his first game. Don't get me wrong, I'm rooting for Cam to do well but I'm just saying. Brees, Rogers, and Brady all looked good and I am not surprised though I didn't expect Brady to put up 500 yards.

The Ravens might actually be scary this year

I'm a die-hard Redskins fan and I am usually indifferent to the Ravens but at the same time I don't mind seeing them win. Every year they're a contender and every year they find a way to lose a close game in the playoffs but as all the Ravens fans tell me, "at least we're IN THE PLAYOFFS". Yeah yeah yeah, but on Superbowl Sunday your team is sitting the same place as mine.. AT HOME! Anyway, the Ravens looked really good against the Steelers so that can only mean one of two things: 1) The Ravens may actually be the beast of the AFC this year, or 2) as usual, the Ravens will beat the Steelers in the regular season when it counts the least and then lose to them in the playoffs. Good luck to the Ravens though because the more you win, the safer Baltimore City is for me and everyone else that lives here and doesn't particularly care about the Ravens.

Shot out to Cam Newton

Even though I kinda discredited his performance in the first paragraph above, I gotta give Cam some credit. Everyone expected him to come out and look to run first and only pay attention to one side of the field (which kinda still held true) and he came out and threw for 400+ yards in his first game. That's impressive no matter how bad the other team's defense is because Cam didn't play in a pro style offense last year and no matter how good those defenses in the SEC are, the Cardinals defense is still better than all of them (sorry Alabama). I hope Cam can keep it up, just not the week they play the Redskins.

Whoever wins the NFC is going to go to the Superbowl beat the heck up

In the NFC you've got Green Bay, Atlanta, Philly, and New Orleans who were all pre-season favorites to win. Now you've got to consider Chicago the way they beat up on the Falcons Sunday. Dallas probably gets an honorable mention in this category off potential alone (even though I can't stand Dallas). With Detroit in the NFC North division it's going to make it a hard-fought NFC east championship for Green Bay or Chicago. It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out with regard to injuries and division winners. And don't be surprised if the Bucs play really well towards the end of the year.

Von Miller is going to be a beast

Nothing more to say than that. He's looking like a veteran from day one.

New England isn't going to win the AFC Championship

I guess this is my first real prediction so far this year. The Pats looked pretty good last night against the Dolphins but their defense game up 300 yards to Chad Henne. No offense to Chad Henne even though he sucks but teams like the Ravens, Steelers, and Jets aren't going to give up that many points to the Pats and have QBs that are better than Chad Henne even on their bad days. New England will be a contender, but they won't win it. The AFC is gonna come down to the Ravens, Steelers, and Jets. I know this might sound like an easy decision but you've still got San Diego, Houston (who I think is one year away from being a true top-tier AFC team), and [drum roll] Oakland. Yep as Chris Berman would say it, the RAAAYYYYYYYDAHS!

Tim Tebow will be starting for the Broncos by Week 5 at the latest

If they lose next week the man I jokingly call "Football Jesus" - because he's spiritual and people praise him like he's Jesus - will be at the helm for the Broncos. He'll will that team to a few wins late in the season, they'll ship Orton away, and then a new QB controversy will start for next season.

Peyton Manning is not going to play this season

Let's do the math, 2-3 months to recover from surgery and after that some "nerve regeneration". 2-3 months puts him at mid-Nov at the earliest and mid-Dec at the latest. Then he has to wait for nerves to regenerate so he can get the strength back in his arm. That's gonna take another couple of weeks at the least, putting him at early Dec or early Jan (week 17). If he's coming back in early December and they're out of the playoff hunt (which based on this weekend's game they surely will be), why even play him? And if it's week 17, why play him? Why risk the investment? If the Colts are smart they'll start checking out the top 3 QBs expected to come out in next year's draft. And I'm still wondering how Curtis Painter could be Peyton's back up for as long as he has and they still think that bringing in Kerry Collins was a better option. Painter has been in the system, presumably knows it better than Kerry, but still doesn't get to start. That vexes me.

Last but not least, no superbowl prediction just yet but by Week 4 I think I'll be ready.

Monday, September 12, 2011

THROWBACK! Tupac - I Get Around

We got to see a more fun, jovial, flirty, and promiscuous version of Pac in this video and song, lol. Pac is mostly remembered for passion and anger in his raps but this side of Pac was the side that (at that time in my life) I enjoyed the most. This joint was a fun song that you could just vibe and party to. It can't bee too serious with Mr. "I Wish I Was A Baller" and Shock G getting verses on the song, lol.

Friday, September 9, 2011

THROWBACK! Guy - Groove Me

This came on while I was in K&G last night and I was doing a lil two step through the aisles, lol.
Are those glasses back in fashion yet? I know they're coming. Anyway, Teddy Riley around the time this came out >>>>>

"September 11th Marks the Era Forever of a Revolutionary Jay Guevera"

Remember that quote from Jay-Z's "The Bounce" on the Blueprint 2?  I do. And every September 11 I think about 2 things:
  1. The tragedy that took place on 9/11/2001
  2. Jay-Z's Blueprint
Call me shallow or a Jay-Z Stan (ahem, @mclaw3) for that second thought but every time I speak with someone or a group of people about the day the towers were taken down and the inevitable "I was .... when it happened" comes up, I remember that I was at my student job for the Johns Hopkins University Accounts Payable office and someone turned on a TV after the first tower had been hit. I remember thinking "What type of idiot pilot ran into the tower?" Boy was I wrong! Then, when the second tower went down, everybody freaked out and eventually, they let everyone go home. I remember my cellphone not working and trying to call my mom, grandparents, and girlfriend at the time all to no avail.

But leading up to that day, there was a buzz surrounding something that had nothing to do with national security, terrorism, or tragedy. That was, the hip-hop "beef" between Jay-Z and Nas (and Mobb Deep too). Everyone that was a hip-hop/rap fan around that time had most likely heard two songs: 1) "H to the Izzo" (because Jay debuted it at an awards show earlier, that was an epic moment now that I think about it), and 2) "The Takeover". For hip-hop this was pretty much as big as it could get. Two of raps best and most respected artists ever were about to battle, and Jay had thrown the first punch on wax. This was either a great marketing strategy, real rivalry/jealousy, a fight for the top spot, or some weird and twisted combination of all of those things and more. 

Sidebar: Let it be noted that at the time Jay took that shot Nas wasn't putting much music out and he was also (I believe, Nas Stans) dealing with his ailing mother who had cancer.Jay basically took an unwarranted shot at a man who was going through some serious life issues. It was totally unnecessary. The shot at Mobb Deep (Prodigy specifically)? Well, that was probably warranted.

Back to this post however, once they let everyone leave the office and head home and after trying to contact my loved ones, what did I do? I went straight to the old Record & Tape Traders on Charles Street in Baltimore and purchased "The Blueprint". And that leads me to the following article that poses some a couple theories as to why, like me, 419,999 other people went out and bought Jay's album that week. 

This article poses that many people purchased this album amidst the chaos of 9/11 and the days that followed because:
  • Young people not directly affected are more removed from tragedies like this.
  • "Jay-Z's teen and early 20s fans, already hyped up about this release long beforehand, remained focused on their idol".
I don't disagree with either of those theories and I probably fall into the first category more so than the second. One thing I do know is that on that day, I took my lemon of a 1992 Ford Taurus on over to the record store, copped that Jay, and it became the soundtrack of September 11 for me. It also became known and accepted by most within hip-hop as a classic album. Now, 10 years removed from that day, I probably wouldn't make the same decision. But of all the things that DID happen that day, the one thing I know for sure that did not happen that day was an era of a revolutionary Jay-Z beginning. I'm still waiting on that one.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Football BACK! Football Back! That's all the fans screaming that FOOTBALL BACK!

All eyes on the field, you can picture me throwin'
Time to hit the weight room cuz I gotta get swollen 
All summer I balled, hoodrats having my babies 
Somehow the deal got done, even though the owners were shady 
They screaming football back! football back! 
That's all the fans screaming that FOOTBALL BACK!

In case you're wondering, YES I wrote that myself but it's inspired by Rick Ross' "Tupac Back".

Now that I've got that out of my system I will continue my tradition of picking my winners for each week of the NFL season. Without any further (Freddy) adieu, here are my picks for Week 1.

Green Bay over New Orleans: Opening night after a Superbowl win, at home, I'm taking the Pack! I really hope this is going to be as great a game as I'm thinking it will. Two great offenses that can put up points and one defense that's really good. I'm hoping this turns into a shoot-out and not a defensively-dominated game. We'll get enough defense this weekend when the Steelers and Ravens clash.

Atlanta over Chicago: If Atlanta can play good defense this year they are going to make things difficult for GB, New Orleans, and presumably Philly. They aren't so much a sleeper pick this year as they were in years past but we all know their offense is balanced and they've added another weapon in Julio Jones (though I expect Harry Douglas to have a break-out season), but the question is how well will their defense play because they'll have to go through one or more of those teams I just mentioned in order to get to the Superbowl.

Cleveland over Cincinnati: Finish this sentence: "They should call this game the Dookie Bowl because both of these teams play like some..." But, Cleveland's a better team overall with Peyton Hillis, Josh Cribbs, and (dare I say it) Colt McCoy. Speaking of McCoy, he's looked stellar in the preseason and I'm actually rooting for him to do well this year because he's on one of my fantasy teams (bench guy, of course) and because everyone was hating on him last year. Evidently, the offense they're running now is much better suited to his skillset or he's adapted. Hopefully he does well.

Kansas City over Buffalo: Although I think this is the year when the Chiefs fall off a cliff and land in third place in this division, I don't have the confidence for Buffalo to go on the road and get this win. I love my man Stevie Johnson and I want him to do well but I just can't see Buffalo's defense stopping Charles, Bowe, and Cassel (since it appears he'll play even with the rib "issue").

Philadelphia over St. Louis: I'm not as sold on Philly (I won't dare mouth the term, "Dream Team") even on paper as other people seem to be. Like I have mentioned to numerous people, it's a long season and each game still has to be played and injuries can happen. Philly went out this season and did the same things Dan Snyder used to try to do in Washington every off-season. The only difference is, the Eagles were smart enough to get guys still in their prime rather than past their prime versions of Deion Sanders and Bruce Smith and whomever else I don't want to remember us signing. Philly will win this game but I bet St. Louis and Mr. Bradford keep things close. By the way, Mike Sims-Walker much?

Detroit over Tampa Bay: Detroit is my sleeper team in the NFC this year. Their D-LINE is going to be a P-R-O-B-L-E-M!  Seriously, the only other person that believes this as much as me is Michael Wilbon. Yet-and-still, you cannot block all these freak athletes on that line, even with Nick Fairley out for the time being. If Detroit's offense can keep Jahvid Best healthy and Matt Stafford healthy...Watch OUT!  Megatron is gonna do his thing regardless and another one of my sleeper performers this year is Titus Young. Just remember the name and that he's their slot receiver.  Tampa Bay's my brother's favorite team so I sometimes care if they win but this game is not one of those times.

Tennessee over Jacksonville: I'm picking the Titans mainly because of Pinbal (read: Chris Johnson) and the fact that I think the Jags are going to quit on their coach this year. After the way Jack Del Rio handled the David Garrard situation (he basically Byron Leftwich'd him) I don't see how that team can respect him enough to go out there and play with a mediocre QB for a few weeks just to have him transition things over to a rookie QB. I'm sure MJD will be out there giving it his all but I'd bet that there are guys on that team that are just gonna be playing hard enough to not get hurt. That sounds weird but if you've played football you know that mailing it it can turn into serious injury.

Baltimore over Pittsburgh: I'm taking the Ravens for a few reasons: 1) Revenge. The Ravens lost last season to Pittsburgh in the playoffs. 2) The Ravens will win this because it's the regular season and not the playoffs when it really matters. 3) This is the shocker... I would like to see the Ravens win this game. And finally 4) because I live in Baltimore and people are genuinely happier here for the week when the Ravens win. But if it's a close game (which it most likely will be) and it comes down to Joe Flacco winning the game on a 2-minute drive I will be mentally changing my pick to the Steelers because Joe's good, but he still hasn't shown me that he can win the big game against tough opponents, in clutch time. Over Cincy and Cleveland sure, but against the best competition, not so much.

Houston over Indianapolis: Even if Peyton was playing I'd still take Houston.  Houston's going to win the division this year if their defense can play even just a smidgeon better than mediocre at the cornerback position. If their corners play well, they win the division. If their corners suck, they finish second or third in a division (Colts, Titans, Jags) that they should easily finish at the top of if Peyton's out for an extended period of time. The Texans have the Ravens, Falcons, Steelers, Saints, and Raiders on their schedule. Aside from those games, they could probably run the table. You're laughing but seriously go look, if they were the Patriots you'd be saying "yo, they could run the table outside of those games". The Texans should be a 9 or 10 win team this year, that's all I'm saying.

Arizona over Carolina: Cam's first year, Kolb's "first" year sort of. I'll take Kolb and Fitzgerald over Cam and Shockey. Home field advantage doesn't mean much here but if Arizona lets DeAngelo Williams get going early this could definitely be a Carolina win.

San Diego over Minnesota: $20 says Donovan McNabb comes out looking rusty and throws an INT or 2. Adrian Peterson is gonna get his yards but I'm not convinced that the Vikings defense can stop San Diego and I'm definitely not convinced that the Vikings offense can score the way San Diego potentially can. I want Donovan to do well but I have a feeling that in this game he might try to do too much to prove everyone (read: Mike & Kyle Shanahan) wrong.

San Francisco over Seattle: Flip a coin, who cares. Sorry Lance. Granted, on paper this should be a win for the 49ers. Pretty talented group with Gore, Crabtree, Edwards, and Willis leading the defense. But the one spot they stink at is the most important one, quarterback. If Alex Smith can play well this should be an easy win but he usually makes things hard on himself and his team. As for the Seahawks, I think they should do like the Supersonics and move to Oklahoma. Only difference is, I think they should replace the Seahawks roster with Oklahoma's roster and I bet you it'd be a more competitive team.

Giants over Redskins: By now you know I'm a Redskins fan. Not yet a reluctant fan but I do consider myself a realistic Skins fan. If you read my prediction for the Skins season this year you know I expect us to lost this game. It's gonna suck to lose your home opener in Week 1 but the Giants defensive line pressuring Rex Grossman just doesn't seem like something I should have a whole lot of confidence in.

Jets over Dallas: I would not be surprised one bit if Dallas wins this game. I think Dallas is going to be good this year with Romo back and they've still got a LOT of weapons on offense. Problem is, the Jets defense is a beast and pressuring Romo either turns him into Brett Favre or Heath Shuler. I'm taking Shuler on this one.

New England over Miami: The funny thing about the Patriots is that even though the only true big name they put on the field every week is Tom Brady, you can never bet against these dudes. Especially not against a team like the Dolphins that probably has more big name talent but just can't put the whole package together.  Don't sleep on Cameron Wake on Miami's defensive line though. That dude is a monster!

Denver over Oakland: Oakland is a trendy pick here because they ran the table in their division last year. But I'm not falling for it. In Denver against Football Jesus (Tim Tebow) - even though he probably won't play - I don't think so.  In the end, Kyle Orton was the right choice to start at QB and if the Broncos are smart they create a goal line package centered around Tebow. Orton had a great rapport with Brandon Lloyd last year (as fantasy owners will attest) and Knowshown backed up by Willis "Looking For My Next Baby Momma" McGahee is a good dual attack at running back. I think Denver has a chance to do well this year but the problem is, their defense is ridiculously porous. If they can tighten things up on defense they should be decent enough to finish in the top half of this division. They'll win this game then lose to the Raiders in Oakland.

P.S. - No, I don't have Superbowl picks yet.