So Lecrae is a hip hop artist that I've only known about for a few months now. I'll be sure to get more of his music up here, but to kick things off we'll start with "I'm Turnt", a fun music video and quality record. Bump this one. And that's the thing, if you actually turn this up and get twerkin or whatever, try to ACTUALLY listen to the lyrics. You'll notice 'turn't' isn't necessarily what it usually is in most other hip hop songs. Yea, I'm really feeling what he's preaching... o and I almost forgot to mention, he's a Christian rapper~
So Chasey Peralta just dropped the 'Man Down' EP and I gotta say, he came correct. Clearly Boston get's love - Boston Celtics, Red Sox, Bruins and the Patriots, but it has never really been given the respect it deserves when we are talking rap and hip hop. An artist like Chasey might be among the few to help switch things up a bit.
With a cover picture of what looks like John F. Kennedy smoking, the 'Man Down' EP has one particular record called "Drive(n)" that uses an original recording of the 1963 announcement of JFK's killing, which I'm sure will definitely turn some heads. And as an independent artist, we all know how hard it is to get mainstream attention, but with a style of his own that can also be compared to a combination of J Cole with a splash of Kendrick Lamar, he just might be among the few to make it.
There only 7 records on here and I'd highly suggest giving them all a go. But along with "Drive(n)", I'm especially feeling "Clarity" which samples the legendary Michael Jackson record "Human Nature". Reminding me of why I'll always believe in Boston artist, especially since we already have rappers like Edo G, Termanology, NBS, Dutch Rebelle, Reks, and Slaine, this will surely be one to remember from the summer of 2015.
If you are a real rap or hip hop fan in 2015 and you aren't familiar with Dee-1 yet, I'm sorry to say it, but you've been missing out. However at the same time, it feels good knowing that I'm introducing you to the brother. I mean let's be honest, how many rappers are spitting hot music that is conscious? If you are a real hip hop head you are down with conscious rap because that it where it comes from - consciously speaking about everyday life.
Matter of fact, since we're talking conscious rap and hip hop, here is a little list with some of my favorites; Immortal Technique, Common, Talib Kweli, Nas, Masta Ace, Lupe Fiasco, Dead Prez, Murs, The Roots - Black Thought, Mos Def, Edo G, Killer Mike, Brother Ali, Tupac, Public Enemy - Chuck D, X-Clan, Kendrick Lamar and KRS-One to name a few. I know I'm forgetting a few big ones (current and a bunch of artist/ groups from the 90s), but this should keep you busy if your interested in quality rap and hip hop music with a meaningful message behind it. *And feel free to send me emails with others, eventually I'll be posting a list of the top conscious rappers... TheReelAce@gmail.com
Now some might question me putting Kendrick, Nas, or Tupac on this list, but if you dig into their music, you'll see that they are conscious. Of course there will be party or somewhat aggressive songs that don't necessary always fit the mold, and that is fine here and there, but ultimately they were/are modern day griots, telling the story of what they saw while growing up in their communities. To some extent, and some people will get mad at me, Macklemore has somewhat of a conscious background (check out White Privilege). And even Kanye West is conscious at times, so it can be a little difficult to draw the line on the conscious rapper topic.
Here is a short video with Michael Eric Dyson helping to explain this whole concept of conscious rap and hip hop.
But there is no question that Dee-1 is a conscious rapper that should be bigger than he is. I know he signed with RCA a few years ago, but after reading Talib Kweli's article about why he's an independent artist, I question how effective RCA has been for Dee-1's career. And Tech N9Ne is a great inspiration to me simply because he built a dynasty on his own. Now if only a Tech N9Ne would promote or sign a Dee-1, that would be money. Because a rapper like Dee-1 needs to be heard, not necessarily O.T. Genasis, Fetty Wap or Young Thug. Which is no disrespect to them, I was just bumping "My Way" last night, but they clearly aren't conscious which is what we need more of these days.
As you will hear in "Jay, 50, and Weezy", Dee-1 has an important message for other rappers, hip hop fans, and the music industry. I like Jay Z, 50 Cent and Lil Wayne, but lets be honest, majority of their songs are doing more harm to the black community than good. And as Dee-1 touches on, it's not only about the rappers, they are only a part of the problem. But enough from me, I'll let Dee-1 educate ya'll on the rest of the story...
Freddie Gray is the most recent black American to have his life taken at that hands of a police officer. Justice needs to be served. And the continued misrepresentations of the black community within the media doesn't help. Only showing images of young black men rioting and acting like thugs, is what the media does best, we all know that. And of course they fail to focus on the young black men and women that were peacefully protesting. But there are many articles and videos out there that touch on these issues. So with all of the racial tension in America right now, this video is very inspirational and truly demonstrates the love and passion that exists among us Americans.
Now after watching this video for a second time, I have mixed feelings about it. I have so much respect for this man for building her a place to sleep at night. But not just any place, but a space that she can call home. I applaud him for putting his own time, money, and energy into creating a home for a stranger. Or to be more blunt, considering all of the racial tension, a white man helping a black women. Now lets not dig into this any deeper than we need to, and lets just take it for what it is - inspiring and beautiful.
And at the same time, it hurts to know that there are thousands and thousands of other homeless people in America. Black, white, men, women, boys and girls. This guy took it upon himself to build someone else a home, and while I love what he did, I'm also upset. How is it that we neglect so many people every day? As a country, we must do more. If this one man can help one person, imagine what we could do as a country if we truly pulled together and made a real effort to improve conditions.
Man, I'm glad I double checked this email! Especially towards the end of the week and over the weekend, I tend to glance at them without really paying attention. But next week on April 30th at The Sinclair in Harvard Square, will be a night of free performances from Chance The Rapper, Action Bronson and Michael Christmas. And this is only 1 of the 5 nights full of free music for the Massachusetts community. Making sure there is something for everyone, they invited other acts such as The Replacements, Passion Pit, Slayer, and much more. So s/o Converse for hooking it up!
And since I haven't posted anything from Action Bronson or Chance The Rapper, here's the official music video for "Baby Blue". I'm surprised they are the first to do something around Eddie Murphy's 'Coming To America' movie. And you gotta love Action, he almost sounds like an old school Ghostface Killah, but white ~
Here's the official Press Release with more details about the event, Converse and more~
CONVERSE ANNOUNCES FIRST EVER, FREE FIVE-DAY CONCERT SERIES IN BOSTON
SPECIAL CONVERSE RUBBER TRACKS LIVE BOSTON TO TAKE PLACE APRIL 27 – MAY 1 WITH PERFORMANCES BY THE REPLACEMENTS, PASSION PIT, SLAYER, CHANCE THE RAPPER, DESCENDENTS AND MANY MORE
BOSTON, MASS. (APRIL 16, 2015) - Today, CONVERSE Inc. announces Converse Rubber Tracks Live Boston, a free, five-day multi-genre concert series kicking off in Boston on Monday, April 27 at The Sinclair. In celebration of the highly anticipated opening of Converse’s global world headquarters in Boston’s Lovejoy Wharf, this special Converse Rubber Tracks Live Boston concert series will take over the city for the very first time. Featured performers include acclaimed international artists The Replacements, Passion Pit, Slayer, Chance the Rapper, Descendents, Dinosaur Jr., Baths, Doomriders, Action Bronson, and King Tuff, as well as five Boston-based acts who have all recorded at a Converse Rubber Tracks recording studio. “In anticipation of Converse’s momentous move from North Andover to Boston, we wanted to bring our Converse Rubber Tracks music platform to the city in the most incredible way possible,” said Jed Lewis, Converse Global Music Marketing Director. “The city of Boston has always supported us and this free, five-day concert series featuring local artists is our way of showing our gratitude and appreciation to the residents who continue to embrace Converse as part of the community.”
Converse Rubber Tracks Live Boston is the on-stage extension of the Converse Rubber Tracks program and will feature five nights of varying music genres. Giving local fans the opportunity to see performances from some of the biggest names in rock, metal, hip hop, electronic, and more, the concert series will also feature local hometown favorites – all of whom have been a part of the Converse Rubber Tracks program – as the opening act.
See below for full lineup:
Monday, April 27 – The Replacements, Dinosaur Jr., The Young Leaves
Tuesday, April 28 – Passion Pit, Baths, Radclyffe Hall
Wednesday, April 29 – Slayer, Doomriders, Rozamov
Thursday, April 30 – Chance the Rapper, Action Bronson, Michael Christmas
Friday, May 1 – Descendents, King Tuff, Bent Shapes
Music fans can register for a chance to see one of the five Converse Rubber Tracks Live Boston shows starting Monday, April 20 at 12 p.m. EST on a special Converse ticketing page via Converse-Music.com, the brand’s newly-revamped online portal that features latest Converse Music news, exclusive video content, global Rubber Tracks Studio applications, Rubber Tracks Live show information, and much more. The unique ticketing page for Converse Rubber Tracks Live Boston, located at Converse-Music.com/Boston,will feature an online countdown clock to when ticket registration opens, a newsletter sign-up for ticket sale reminders, social sharing options, and more details on the five-night series. Tickets will be distributed through a random drawing, with chosen ticket holders being notified via email starting Wednesday, April 22.
Over the past three years, the Converse Rubber Tracks program has expanded beyond the initial studio in Brooklyn with Converse Rubber Tracks Live and Converse Rubber Tracks pop-up studios. Converse Rubber Tracks Live is a free music series, offering musicians the opportunity to perform in front of live audiences as the opening act for a high-profile headlining artist or band. Converse Rubber Tracks pop-up studios have brought the Converse Rubber Tracks experience on the road to vibrant music communities around the globe. Both music platforms have been established in music cities such as Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Montreal, São Paulo, Beijing, Amsterdam, London, Hamburg, Paris, and Mexico City to name a few.
Converse Inc., based in Boston, Massachusetts, is a wholly owned subsidiary of NIKE, Inc. Established in 1908, the Converse brand has built a reputation as “America’s Original Sports Company”™ and has been associated with a rich heritage of legendary sneaker such as the Chuck Taylor® All Star® sneaker, the Jack Purcell® sneaker and the One Star® sneaker. Today, Converse offers a diverse portfolio including men's, women's and children’s footwear, apparel and accessories. Converse product is sold globally by retailers in over 160 countries and through 90 company-owned retail locations in the U.S. For more information, please visitmedia.converse.com. ABOUT CONVERSE RUBBER TRACKS
Converse Rubber Tracks is a state-of-the-art recording studio that is located in the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY. The 5,200 square-foot, full-service recording space aims to support emerging artists by providing them access to a top-level recording studio at no cost. Artists and bands of all genres and ages from around the world are encouraged to apply and, upon acceptance, may reserve time in the studio to work alongside a team of experienced engineers. Fully equipped with the best instruments and equipment supplied by Converse Rubber Tracks partner Guitar Center, artists will spend time creating their work and in the end retain all the rights to their music. Through Converse Rubber Tracks, Converse is giving back to the creative community that has embraced the brand throughout its over 100-year history. Converse Rubber Tracks provides a platform for artists to unleash their creative spirit that will change the world. ABOUT CONVERSE RUBBER TRACKS LIVE
Converse Rubber Tracks Live is a concert series that originally launched in 2012 in Brooklyn and has since expanded to support cities with vibrant music communities including Los Angeles, Boston, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Austin, Beijing, Mexico City, São Paulo, and Bogota. The lineups for these shows include previous Converse Rubber Tracks recording artists hand-picked by the headliners. Since launching, the CRT Live series has featured: Washed Out, Action Bronson, Ghostface Killah, A-Trak, King Tuff and Vivian Girls, as well as Converse Rubber Tracks artists We Barbarians, Flatbush Zombies, Heliotropes and more.
Another great video from the Blank on Blank Series from PBS, this video features Jimi Hendrix's final interview, 1 week before he died in September of 1970. Truly a unique individual, this interview illustrates his love and respect that he felt about life, and how we shouldn't always be labeled or categorized into assigned roles. Why not lively up the world with beautiful colors that are mixed together to create their own beauty. I certainly agree with the brotha to some extent. I'm all about the positive vibes, and Jimi definitely was too~
Simply put, I love this video. Not only is this a lesson for track athletes, but this is also a life lesson. From the jump, in Track101 you learn to run through the finish line- so I don't know what Tanguy Pepiot of the University of Oregon was doing?!? Probably watching Usian Bolt way too much lol.
"I thought I was by my self, like, far in front of the second guy," Pepiot said. "I saw [Simon] on the screen, I tried to pick up, he just got me on the line. I'm not proud of myself right now, but it's a good lesson for me, I think, not to do this in the future. Next time I'll just run the whole final stretch and celebrate in the victory lap."
And especially considering this was at the Pepsi Team Invitational, why would you start celebrating that far ahead of the finish line? But as a result of his celebrating, Washington Runner Meron Simon was able to make the most of it and win the race. Evidently Meron was on that Rick Ross "Push It To The Limit" level!
So to any athletes out there, never give up. Whether you are in first, second, or last place, work your hardest until the race is over. And the same can be said on the larger grand scheme of things. Live life and enjoy yourself, but not so much that you forget your mission.
"Seek Up" is such a great record. And Dave Matthews Band is easily one of the best groups when it comes to live performances. So when I saw DMB's live version of this song I was a little fired up. The best version that I've seen is this recording from their performance on June 30th, 2012 at Bethal Woods Center for the Arts in Bethal, NY. I really love how they all truly get into it and are feeling it at that moment in time. Reminds me of old school jazz sessions where they just go with the flow and jam out. You might be familiar with this record from the 'Remember Two Things' album that originally dropped back in 1993, but this live version is on another level. Just press play and enjoy - thank me later~
So here I am, in the process of continuing to deal with college loans (again), while also working to improve my financial situation - and it isn't easy. But when a mistake is made, you are supposed to learn from it, correct it, and move on while knowing that you will never make the same mistake again. So on a personal level for anyone in a similar position, it's time to do the right things to help better position ourselves for the future.
Now by no means am I any kind of financial expert or guru, but instead, I am a Jamerican who is working hard to attain the American Dream. Having financial independence is clearly the goal, but how do we get there in 2015 and 2016? Especially as a young black man, we are essentially born into debt, so how do we get ahead when we started from behind? Well first off, you must understand it will not happen overnight. It's also good to remember that you must actually work at it, and to never give up even when it looks like you have lost the battle.
Moving forward, I don't believe there is a correct path or set of steps that you MUST take. Its different for each and everyone of us. But it is important to take a next step. Personally, one of the most important steps I could take, was a step back. After completing two years of college, I left to further my love for video production. I was incredibly naive to just think that I could easily start a production company. Whether I tried to work independently or with a few others, it ultimately "failed," at least based on the expectations that I had set for myself. But without getting too much into the details, I knew I had to return to college to get my degree. For me, this was clearly the most important thing that I could do to help with attaining financial independence. I felt that having a degree would open up more opportunities, allowing me to make more money... because after all, you can't improve your personal finances if you spend more money than you earn. So although I would be getting more bills and debt for the time being, in the long run, it'll be a good investment that will amount to more money. So have a "next step" and actually follow through with it.
As a full time student who also competed on the college club rugby team in the fall and the Men's Track and Field team during the winter and spring, my schedule was already pretty tight. So finding a means of income was important, but tough since it had to fit into my schedule with classes, studying/ homework and sports. I was lucky to find work on campus. I was a stair sweeper in the mornings in two buildings, and did video production work for the schools media department. Along with this, I had the occasional freelance video gig as well as the occasional check from this blog and youtube videos. So although more money was being spent towards my education, I did have a little money coming in too.
Eventually I made it through my final two years of college and graduated, of course with more debt too. Now as I continue to move forward towards financial independence, I'm seeing how incredibly important it is for me to stay on top of my game. So here are a few steps that I have taken to ensure I reach my goal:
Some Important Steps to Take to Help You Towards Financial Independence:
Evaluate your financial situation. Literally add up all of your bills and debt; college loans, credit cards, utilities, car expenses, rent and everything in between. Create a list of monthly expenses and one with general debt that you have already been hit with. Whether you want to find some sort of app to download such as MINT or create a spreadsheet, you definitely want a list with all of your monthly expenses and debt. By doing this you will be able to actually see where you stand regarding your overall financial position, as well as a potential forecast of what you can expect to pay over the next year. And if you want, feel free to take the next step and jot down your monthly income to determine what is left after your bills. Don't run out on a shopping spree with the remaining money (if any), but instead save it.
Open a savings account. If possible, it is highly recommended that you put at least 10% of your income into a savings account. This is incredibly hard for me, especially since my bills almost add up to my total income, what little money left over can easily be spent at the bar, on clothes or something else. But between a rainy day when you'll need extra money, or for a small trip that you might have in mind for next spring, this savings account will be clutch when you need it most... so try not getting your hand caught in the cookie jar. Even having two separate accounts could be a good idea. One account for rainy days since you never know what unexpected bill will surprise you, and the other account for splurging, which isn't recommended but I get it, we only have one life to live - so have fun, but in a responsible manner while planning ahead.
Open a secure credit card. This will allow you to repair/ build your credit. Personally, I first messed up my credit early on when I was 18. So a secured credit card is ideal for anyone who is trying to repair their credit. I still have two secured credit cards that I have paid on time from day one, and as a result, I have seen an improvement with my credit score. So if you don't have any credit or your credit is bad and you are looking to rebuild it, definitely consider a secure credit card. *And note, don't get fooled by the pre-paid credit cards like NetSpend or the RushCard, they don't help with repairing your credit. The only similarity is that you start off by loading the card with money and they both seem to work like a normal credit card where you can use them anywhere with a MasterCard or Visa logo. They aren't horrible, I actually still have a Netspend card, but clearly I don't use it as much as I used to now that I know about secured credit cards.
Pay bills on time. The only way you can get to financial independence is by paying all of your outstanding and current bills, but especially on time. I had a bunch of small bills that I owed, maybe a phone bill here, or a overdraft fee from a previous bank account... whatever it may be, you need to make some sort of arrangement to work towards paying it off. Some bills were paid in full at once. Other bills were paid on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. And don't ignore the bill collectors when they call, send a letter or email them. Talk to them. They are dealing with hundreds and thousands of other Americans who are also struggling to get by, so they should understand where you are coming from. They just want to see that you making an effort to actually pay off the debt... even if it's $20 a month, its better than nothing.
Also, here is some additional advice with author Dennis Kimbro, who interviewed over 1,000 black millionaires, and wrote the book "The Wealth Choice"
Again, these are some generic steps that you should consider. Often times the most obvious things are over-looked, so just take a step back and re-evaluate your financial position. For now, we'll leave it here. Maybe in another 3-6 months I'll create a list with some additional steps, but first let's see how well things go for me as I continue to implement the steps mentioned above.
And on that note, always keep your goals in mind and never give up... no matter what. Even if you get knocked down, unless that hit kills you, you should still be fighting with the last ounce of your heart. I know there were times where I wanted to give up, and luckily I didn't. Keep the faith and keep it moving, because we will get there~
WHOA! My words can't even begin to speak on the complexity of this record. In "Backwards Rappers" Prince Ea does what Nas does on "Rewind" but even better! He literally wrote a 16 that is split in half and can be rapped both forward and backwards. And not only does it make sense, but the meaning is completely flipped. He goes from being a generic commercial rapper who only spits about popping bottles and getting money to rapping about knowledge and education being the solution. If you appreciate good music, just press play. Thank me later~
So its not everyday that I am really impressed with other rugby players. Even with this video my thought was, 'I wish I could film myself since I'm a professional videographer', I would get nice close up shots like many of the clips from this video. But even if I had the same type of filming, I still don't know if I would look nearly as impressive as Kalyn Ponga, a 16 year old Australian rugby player who just signed to the North Queensland Cowboys in the National Rugby League after playing First XV fullback at Churchie.
Although I have footage of me dancing around opponents, making some great assists and even some nice tackles, which we do not see here, Ponga on the other hand has some sick ball handling skills. My control isn't nearly this good. The other difference is his cutting ability. His elusiveness is crazy. Like I said, I can run, juking other opponents isn't an issue for me, but to do it like this... wow! In 2012, Ponga became the second under-14 player to be chosen for Australia's under-15 league team. He clearly dominated while he attended Churchie.
Now with him signing to the North Queensland Cowboys earlier in the year, we will get to see what he can do in the NRL where he will be facing better opponents who are faster and stronger... because I think I have him on the physicality of his game. I love to hit, whether I have the ball or if I am on defense, and if I made a personal highlight reel there would definitely be some sick plays from both offense AND defense. But whatever, if I could move like this I'd take it! Enjoy this highlight reel of a rugby prodigy! Can't wait to see how he does at the next level~
Some new heat from Boston's own Dutch ReBelle,"Stop It" is for y'all haters out there. Produced by Haywire MusiQ, y'all need to just take it for what it is, she's doing her thing... so just stop it! And with the help of Fred the Godson, its clear women aren't the only people out here hating. This record is off of her new album 'ReBelle Diaries' which just dropped a week ago. I haven't had time to listen to the whole thing but I have heard "Yen" ft. Millyz and "Some Thangs", and as you'd expect if your familiar with Dutch, they're also tight tracks. So for now check out this video which has visuals from Gil Videos, and then the rest of the album here~
One of those classics that I love turning people onto, Bilal dropped the single "Fast Lane" over 10 years ago back in 2001 off of his debut album '1st born second'. Bilal has such a soulful voice that is so destinctive, I think he was perfect for this record. But it still amazes me that this track didn't get more attention, even with Dr. Dre on the production. But the vocals, production and even the message, are all on point. This is good RnB my friends~
Flying Lotus' record "Do The Astral Plane" was released back in 2010 well over a year before I started this blog but after posting his new record "Never Catch Me" featuring Kendrick Lamar, I knew I had to get some more of his music up here. This is such a sick track that has a funky electronic west-coast vibe to it that will definitely put you in the zone. Honestly, there aren't many producers out there like FlyLo... I don't even want to ruin this track by trying to speak about it, so sit back, relax and get enlightened~
Vince Carter is easily one of the BEST dunkers in Basketball... whether your talking during a contest or in-game dunks, Carter has always been among the best. Now some might argue LeBron James, Blake Griffin, Gerald Green or legends like Michael Jordan, Shawn Kemp, Dominique Wilkins or even Julius "Dr. J" Erving are better than Carter, to them I say... good try, but there isn't an NBA player who has a DUNK portfolio as impressive as Carters. Now Dr. J may have actually been a better dunker but being that he played in the ABA prior to entering the NBA, we don't necessarily have access to all of his games, which I'm sure would be one of the best. MJ/ LJ are probably the best over-all players ever, earning tons of brownie points for their dunking skills, but neither of them have that extra kick that Carter has when it comes to straight up banging it.
Others will probably argue that Nate Robinson is the best since he won the Slam Dunk Contest three times. 4 players have won it twice, and then there's VC and 16 others who have only won it once. Isiah Rider and Jason Richardson will clearly be thrown into the mix, along with many others, so by no means am I saying Vince Carter is undoubtedly the best... I'm just saying I would select him as my ultimate favorite. And this is coming from somebody who still have my old Shawn Kemp and Dominique Wilkins basketball cards. So with all of that in mind, you need to at least agree he is among the top 20 All-Time best dunkers in the history of the NBA. Now in all honesty, considering the lack of material on other greats who weren't in the NBA such as Demetrius "Hook" Mitchell, The GOAT, The Professor or Hot Sauce, I can definitely exclude other great dunkers from being worthy of the crown.
I found this video featuring 100 of Vince Carters best dunks and its crazy. Whether your talking about his 2000 Dunk Contest performance or when he literally dunked over a 7ft tall Fredrick Weis in the Olympics, VC is the best to ever do it. Now I'm not necessarily saying he has THE BEST DUNK EVER, that might be a little more of a debate... but even in that discussion, he will clearly be mentioned. If you have time, watch the whole video its only ten minutes. But if not, skip to the seven minute mark and watch the last three minutes. It features 100 of his best dunks throughout his high school, college and professional career. Whether your a new-school rookie or an old-school veteran looking for your dunk-fixture, you've come to the right place. Enjoy~
Such a dope record, Mos Def spitting about keeping it moving. It's one of those life-reflection tracks that reminds me of all the people who have come and gone throughout my life. Whether it was a classmate from elementary school, a co-worker, an ex-girlfriend or mentor, it's kind of strange to think about the paths we take in life. But that is what it is all about, moving through time and space. Enjoy~
Easily one of my favorite Masta Ace records"Beautiful" came out a year after graduating from high school and I was off on a new journey, life was beautiful. Its mind boggling to me that the Youtube view count is less than 1,000,000 hits. This is one of those rap/ hip hop records that many so-called "rap fans" haven't even heard... and its a classic! The hook is dope and his rhymes are on point while he still paints a beautiful picture. And even if you've heard it before, just press play and take it in... life is beautiful~
Ace said, "(I'm wishing on a, on a, on...) the most beautifullest thing ever
And it's here to bring terror to the bling era (yeah)
You can feel it in your inner
It's like Grandma's house, Thanksgiving dinner"
So I'm actually somewhat on top of my game with staying up to date with Ben Howard this time around. Last month he released "End of the Affair" a single off his new album "I Forgot Where We Were" which is actually coming out on my birthday, October 20th. This record is refreshingly natural and authentic. Between the lyrics (at least from what I can make out) and the instruments, this song is beautiful while still kind of sad. It's one of those love-hate situations, I hate it because I've known the feeling which sucks, but I love it because it is such a great piece of music~
Wow, Flying Lotus featuring Kendrick Lamar is a combination that I never expected or really even thought of for that matter, but one that is most definitely overdue."Never Catch Me" is off of Flying Lotus' new album 'You're Dead!' and it will certainly help FlyLo get some well deserved attention since he's been doing his thing for awhile now. He's well known within the underground rap/ experimental scene but hasn't really made it on a mainstream level. I'm not surprised since the commercial rap and hip hop sound is the complete opposite of what you would ever expect to hear from him. So throwing Kendrick Lamar into the mix is a big move. And on that note, enjoy~
One of my favorite RnB groups from back in the day, Jagged Edge is back with their usual smooth sounds. This time they have something a bit more mature, speaking about the time being right and how they're ready to make that commitment and settle down. I'm definitely getting up their with my age, and seeing many of my high school and middle school friends starting to get married, at times, has me thinking that I'm ready to be in love~
Damn after at least 10 years since I've heard any music from MC Lyte, she drops some new heat just as it's starting to get colder up here in the North East. As always, she's spitting some knowledge that needs to be heard by many of y'all brothas out here. And with the help of Common and 10Beats, y'all can relate to the message; Take Care of Yours! And I'm feeling how they used the hook which poses one of Puffy Daddy's signature lines into a question~
"Dear John" is the anthem for #EducateOURMen,
which is the signature scholarship initiative of MC Lyte's Hip Hop
Sisters Foundation, which has presented two $100,000 university
scholarships during the Soul Train Music Awards Red Carpet Pre-Show each
year since the organization's founding. This year, the foundation will
present dozens of scholarships earmarked to send men of color to HBCU's.
Russell Simmons, Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jada Pinkett Smith and Faith
Evans are just of the few celebrities who support the foundation's
New heat from Chilla Jones and a handful of features from other Massachusetts artist including Lisa Bello, Lee Boy and Ea$y Money among others. Surefire holding down the production and DJ2Thirteen still going hard supporting the homie Chilla. Tight all around, in particular I'm feeling "How Things Change" ft. Ben Carew, "How the Game Go" ft. Riznut, "Saint or Sinner" and "DILLIGAF" featuring Courtney Bennett.
Download your free copy~
Since his last solo release, The Juggernaut, Chilla Jones went from killing Youtube cyphers & the booth to the ring and been part of some of the most classic rap battles in recent years. After a 4 year workout he returns with this latest solo release. With features from the likes of Termanology, Mickey Factz, Production from Grammy & BET Award Nominated Surefire Creative Studios, Reckless Dex of the Trackslayerz & More!
Chilla Jones, recently known for his highly regarded Rap Battles on URL, KOTD & other battle leagues, gives local artists from his hometown and chance to show and prove. This video is part 1 of a series of acapella cyphers that went down.
this episode features Ace da Truth, Legit & J Bandit. Presented by Chilla Jones & DJ 2Thirteen~
Chilla Jones is Currently running a contest to win a pair of tickets to the Biggest Rap Battle Event of the year, Total Slaughter. Featuring Joe Budden Vs. Hollow Da Don & The Official Rematch of Murda Mook Vs. Loaded Lux. Just go to http://www.ChillaJones.com and buy any t-shirt. Its pretty simple. Check out the video for more details~
Now that my college track and field career is over as an athlete, I couldn't help to think about how incredibly slow I am, at least compared to the 400 meter world record time set by Michael Johnson. People always say how I am o so fast... but they don't know fast. My fastest 400 meter time was during my freshman year in 2004 at the end of the outdoor track and field season at Bates College. During a 4x400 relay, I ran a sub 48 in the anchor leg. During that same track meet (either NESCAC Championships or New England's D3 championships... google it lol), I ran my fastest open time of 49.09. During my sophomore year I got caught up with rugby and decided not to run track anymore. Looking back, I wish I stuck with it. I wonder how much faster I could have ran. Possibly a school record, 47.04? I don't if I would have ran that fast, but I know I would have been moving.
So I was fast but nothing great. Michael Johnson on the other hand, well he was amazingly fast. And supposedly his running form was awful, but who's to say his form is bad considering the fact that he has the fastest time ever recorded. Even Usain Bolt can't even compete with MJ in the 400, although I think he could if he properly trained for it. When Bolt was about 17 years old, he ran 45 seconds during the second leg of a 4x400 meter relay. CRAZY! But Johnson's world record performance set back at the 1999 Seville World Championships was on another level... he literally left his competitors in his dust. The previous record stood for about 11 years. Johnson's record has stood for 15 years so far... I wonder when it will be broken, if ever?!? But for now, enjoy the unorthodox running of the best to ever do it~
Though I’ve only written a few movies reviews before, I feel
like this movie is simply one of those movies that deserve a special place
somewhere. Even though it’s old and has gotten the credit it very much
deserves, it still just isn’t enough. Yes, you guessed right. I am definitely
talking about the 1998 Steven Speilberg Oscar winner Saving Private Ryan.
Initially, when I started watching the movie I honestly didn’t have high
expectations from it because I have never really been much of a Speilberg fan.
But my love for Tom Hanks’ theatrical ability compelled me to watch the movie.
The first few minutes of the movie are quite slow, stagnant and painstaking
especially when the, “all grown up” private Ryan is walking towards the
graveyard. It might be quite emotional but we don’t know the backstory behind
the emotional breakdown that Private Ryan faces when he is in the graveyard so
we can’t relate to it. As the first few minutes end, we see sort of a cheesy
flashback. I mean, seriously, flashbacks are always cheesy. They have been done
so many times over the history of Hollywood that I can’t tend to them kindly. I
absolutely abhor them. So that took my expectations a little down from the
movie but then I was like, okay, I should give this a chance. I mean, it has
all these Oscars and whatnot. It has to be good, right?
And so I did exactly that. As the soldiers sail through the
waters and we see the fear that is so eloquently elaborated in the eyes of the
actors, I got some of my expectations back. And then, when they finally arrive
at the beach—bullets. That’s it. Out of nowhere. You simply don’t expect things
to happen that fast and I suppose it’s a good thing, right? But that’s not why
it makes Saving Private Ryan one of the best movie to be ever released. It is
the perfect portrayal of emotion. The regret, guilt, fear, hatred,
responsibility and even love we feel for others. There’s one of the scenes that
stuck in my mind and I just can’t let go of it. When the opposing army is
shooting at the US army, we come across a man lying down on his back with his
insides hanging out as he is crying for his mother. I just can’t forget that
scene. There is so much power enthralled within that one moment. We see a brave
soldier who was brave enough to walk into the mouth of death knowing all the
consequences but even then, a man who was prepared to die, could not ignore how
terrible life is when it is snatched away from you and all you can do is become
a little child begging for their mother. It is the portrayal of the power of
life and how weak human beings truly are. There is a strange beauty in the
sadness that I feel when I watch that scene. There are many scenes like that
where Speilberg shows how delicate life is and how irrelevant it becomes in
warfare. As we progress through the movie, I especially got fond of the moments
when everything would slow down in Captain Miller’s (Tom Hanks) mind and all he
can feel is guilt and fear as he watches his men who die in front of his eyes.
He is desperate to save them. In any way he can. A part of him knows that he
will lose a lot of men but that doesn’t matter. He expels all rationality and
simply does his best. He does the right thing. This is seen as he drags one of
his men towards safety but the opposing army bombs that exact place and all
that Captain Miller is left with is the upper body of his soldier. We can see
the disbelief in the eyes of Captain Miller. That is why Tom Hanks is magical.
He can make you flow with emotion without even uttering a single word. Or
sometimes even by uttering a single word (Wilson! Wilson! Wilson!).
Apart from Tom Hanks’ acting, the entire cast is amazing. I
mean seriously. It’s the perfect recipe. The dramatic section of Tom Hanks’
acting ability, Matt Damon’s improvisational skills, Barry Pepper’s attitude,
Vin Diesel’s mere bulk and Giovanni Ribisi’s dramatic acting—it doesn’t get any
better. I must comment on the directing skills of Speilberg. He definitely is
entitled to all the fame and praise that he gets. I may not know much about directing
since I am merely an admirer of movies but as a member of the audience, I can
say that watching that movie actually makes you feel like you’re in there with
them, to hell with these modern 3-D effects. You don’t need 3-D effects if you
have a man like Speilberg directing the film.
Though I do feel that somewhere in the ending of the movie,
it loses its pace that it had in the beginning. Personally, I feel like the
wait for the boss battle at the end of the movie is put off for too long and
not many exciting things happen during that almost making the person lose
interest. Even though I admit that when Captain Miller asks Private Ryan to
remember something he did with his brothers is truly heartbreaking but there is
simply too much time gap to be filled up by that single scene.
Finally, I must commend Jeremy Davies (Corporal Upham) on
perfectly executing his character. The socially awkward bookworm who is put in
a situation he has never been in. Now, in most movies we would expect such a
character to rise above all odds and face his fears but that’s what makes
Saving Private Ryan so good. It is realistic. How is possible for a map making
translator to rise to the level of a war hero? It is not and that’s exactly
what happens in the movie. He tries his best but he has simply never been in a
situation like that. So, he does the only thing he can; save himself.
In all fairness, I think this movie is one of the movies to
watch before you die. And I mean it. I give this particular movie 9 out of 10
Many people are aware of my video production experience but most aren't familiar with the amount of time I have spent covering sports. Primarily high school football and basketball, I have also covered soccer, lacrosse and a few other sporting events on the high school and college level. Hired by contract, I have had the opportunity to meet future (and now current) professional athletes before they make it to the big stage. I have traveled throughout New England to the mid-west and as south as Florida loving every second of it. As you can see in my professional sports reel, I have interviewed and/ or filmed former Celtics and current Clippers Head Coach Doc Rivers, Austin Rivers of the New Orleans Hornets, Boston Celtics star Jared Sullinger, UCONN football commitment Arkeel Newsome, former UCLA basketball star and 2014 NBA Draft prospect Kyle Anderson, Reggie Bullock of the Los Angeles Clippers, Orlando Magic's Tobias Harris, former Florida State University running back and 2014 NFL Draft prospect James Wilder Jr., former Chicago Bears center Edwin Williams and literally hundreds of others. Although I created this sports reel in 2012, it still looks better than most of the professional sports reels that I have stumbled across in 2014. So check it out, and do not hesitate to contact me if your are looking
to hire a talented, hardworking and enthusiastic sports correspondent,
videographer or editor.
Off of Goodie Mob's 1995 debut album, Soul Food featured one of best examples of classic southern rap. The record "Thought Process" touches on issues involving race, violence, drugs and class, like most other rap and hip hop songs. But unlike much of the rap music that is being played on MTV or the mainstream radio stations, they aren't necessarily promoting gang violence or the consumption of drugs, but instead explaining why some men in the black community get engaged with them. And I know some of you youngins might not be familiar with this record or album, but just give it a try. Beat is laid back and smooth but yet fast enough to keep your head rocking to the funky fresh vibe. And featuring Andre 3000 who is part of the Outkast duo and also a fellow Dungen Family member, blesses the track with a verse that probably needs a few listens before you even comprehend half of what he's getting at. Time is flying by way too fast, can't believe it's almost been 20 years since this dropped. I'm just glad I was reminded of it, I wasn't old enough to even appreciate or understand what they were saying. We need more conscious rap and hip hop music like this. Dope track, and one that tends to be overlooked and forgotten... especially with respect to southern rap and hip hop.