Sunday, July 16, 2017

Jay, Kendrick, J Cole are keeping hip hop alive. Nas, you're on deck!

Jay-Z has had quite a revival in his music career since his new album 4:44, dropped just before the 4th of July holiday.

It is just as good as advertised and more. He has grown up more, and addresses many of the things he has faced as a husband and father, including his infidelity with wife Beyonce.

Kendrick Lamar and J Cole have also released albums recently and both are great. It gives hip hop fans hope that the genre isn't dead and giving way to trap music.

Nas has been talking about releasing another album for over a year now. He is needed now more than ever. Yes these great artists have good music for us. But if you're like me, you want to see God's son doing more than just Hennessy commercials. He can still rap, make great music, and his people want to hear him.

Summertime is awesome for great, fresh music. I'm so thankful that we have more of it back. Every song and anthem doesn't have to be for the club or released by Drake, Migos or Future.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

All Eyez On Me Was Actually Good

It's like I said last week, people try to find every reason to tear apart each other,  even in death. They will see a biopic and start tearing it apart, like how comic book fans do a Marvel or DC movie.

All Eyez On Me did get bad reviews and I could see why. However, it was still a good movie, with great acting and even better music. Demetrius Shipp Jr. could seriously be the next great actor, especially since he resembles Pac so much. 16 years ago I predicted this about Tyrese and Tarajii and now look. He did his thing and we should all admire that.

Now for those that are clueless to biopics, I don't recall it saying "based or inspired by a true story." Not having this tagline gives directors a lot more creative freedom. They did consult his sister and Snoop Dogg so many of the stories were dead on. The rest were clearly exaggerated or omitted. Nevertheless, it didn't take away from the movie, only Tupac's story.

This has been a good summer season at the movies. You can steam All Eyez On Me on the Firestick if you like, but I feel it's worth a matinee showing at worst.

Either way, I feel it's a must see. Form your own opinion about the "story" of the hip hop/pop culture icon and then criticize. There have been a lot of Tupac produced movies and appearances. They got the actor right, even if the story was flawed.

Tupac will still live on, just like Elvis Pressley. And is it a coincidence that this movie released a couple of months before Elvis passed 40 years ago? Probably but hey another angle of the story had to be told. There will be more, and possibly better ones

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Kevin Durant and Tupac: A Common Thread

You're reading the title wondering what can an All Star NBA player have in common with one of the best hip hop artists ever? Well for starters, they have both been heavy in the news and on social media lately, for ridiculous reasons.

Around a year ago, the Golden State Warriors already had a super team, built mostly through the draft. Durant, after having individual success as a player with the Oklahoma City Thunder and almost beating the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, decided to make a major change. He wanted a ring and he knew GS would be the best place to get it. They cleared a lot of roster and cap space to get a player they could use on their redemption tour. All season, former OKC teammate Russell Westbrook had negative remarks, even had cupcake shirts made, calling KD soft. Well Durant and the Warriors did as expected, dominated the 2017 NBA playoffs, losing only one game enroute to their fifth championship. After the game, many folks, even LeBron James, had their thoughts. And I have mine also.

This man did what was best for his career. Things didn't seem to be improving in OKC so he did something about it. He didn't wanna have an incomplete legacy, and got his championship. This has not only been happening in pro sports for decades now, this is also a norm in the business world. If there is a better opportunity, even with a rival, you normally take it. I believe KD's star power, along with the fact the NBA is currently a two team league, is what has folks in an uproar.

Speaking of stars and uproars, the late Tupac Shakur still has the hip hop world in a frenzy, nearly 21 years after his murder. His biopic, All Eyez On Me, has mixed reviews, especially from Jada Pinkett Smith. It seems many don't want to let that man be great. He is seriously a top 2 rapper, no lower than 5 in many hip hop circles. Still, many want to find flaws with him and the movie. Now this isn't the only Pac movie that has surfaced and the story is well known. It gives his fans and hip hop fans a sense of nostalgia and a reminder of when rap began evolving.

Let's spend this summer and year doing less bashing and more encouraging. Especially for black folks, it's time to stand together and stop being divided over trivial issues. These are celebs, we need to take pages from their books and improve our own lives.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Black Privilege is Right On Time

Radio and TV personality Charlamagne Da God has really climbed up the ranks in the radio world. He outlines his success in his newest book "Black Privilege".

He speaks of his humble beginnings: growing up in Moncks Corner, SC, interning for Wendy Williams for two years, and then grinding with other studios and shows before landing onto "The Breakfast Club." Charlamagne is definitely not an overnight success.

He delves into serious subjects and techniques he used in his journey. He even references his hustling days, talking about one must put in the proper work or "learn to put the weed in the bag." Charlamagne never bites his tongue on the air, and he is in the same in his book. He even talks about being your true self and having realistic goals. He says "F#$k your dreams." and is not shy about telling others this if he feels they are on the wrong path or journey.

Charlamagne is real, raw, and inspiring. This book is so good, you will want to read it twice, and possibly have a highlighter handy. You will be very motivated after reading this.

It costs around  $18 for a paperback and is available on Amazon and at most bookstores. Do yourself a favor and get this book. You're sure to enjoy Charlamagne's lessons and life experiences.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Tiger, Tiger Woods Nah!

Tiger Woods's life has spiraled out of control since November 2009 when it was discovered he had cheated on his wife with several other women.

His golf career stayed steady at best as he has had five back surgeries, and not as many major wins or even qualifications.

Now unless you've been on Mars, you have seen Tiger's mugshot from his DUI this past Memorial Day weekend. What you may not have seen is the arrest profile. For a number of years now, Woods hasn't wanted to claim the black side of his ethnicity  (think Halle Berry). The police report noted the famous golfer to be black.

Now this brings up another issue. If you claim to be biracial, are you suddenly black when you commit a crime  (or if you do the worst, like OJ)?

In any event, Tiger doesn't have many strikes left in golf and life. Yes we all make mistakes and are human. But now this has become a pattern that needs to be addressed. He needs to get some positive folks in his corner to humble him, realize there is life beyond golf, and to help him enjoy himself in moderation. He cannot afford to be reckless anymore.

Tiger Woods doesn't want his legacy to go down like this. Adultrer. Has-been. Drunk. He's at a crossroads and it's time he get himself straight. It's the least he can do for his children and for the game of golf.

Meanwhile, unless he still has a personal driver, he better keep Uber and Lyft on speed dial for the time being.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Fidget Spinners and it's explotation (yep that's what it is, can't argue)

The latest trend and fad out now are fidget spinners. They're everywhere and are selling like hotcakes. I'm surprised they haven't been bootlegged yet or didn't drop around Christmas.

That said, when I did my research and found out what their purpose is, I was irate as a dragon trying to blow out birthday candles! It's targeted for people, especially children, with autism, ADHD and anxiety.

Now that doesn't mean other people can't buy it, and the inventors and marketers can't get rich from the profits. I'm all for entrepreneurship and business, creating a job and an empire. My problem is it's a low-key method of exploiting the mentally ill and getting rich that way. That's a touch subject for me, especially since myself and others have been affected by mental illness. My mother suffers from anxiety and has panic attacks that bring her down for days. So yeah I'm heated.

I'm more heated that the information is out and the creators and business people behind it aren't giving any proceeds back to mental health foundations. They need help and financial backing, that's the least they could do.

Many have defended them (the same number that obviously do not deal with the same or similar issues) with circular apples/oranges rebuttals. Let me put it for you like this. Suppose you're deaf, and suddenly a once in a lifetime idea comes out that enhances sound everywhere and is like an advanced hearing aid/cure. Folks everywhere, including Apple folks, love it, but the deaf and hard of hearing aren't getting a dime from it. And that's the target audience. Now there's another issue folks.

This isn't the first time in history this has happened and sadly it won't be the last. However, we will continue to have sheep and other followers that bounce at the latest cool thing, even if it is exploiting a condition or a shortcoming. Educate yourself my people.

Or how about those that still aren't getting this: take my mom for a week and make her wait for hours at a place and tell her she can't smoke during that time. Your views may change then..

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

TABLES: Lots of Estrogen

It's been a while since we checked in on Eli. Here's a summary of what's been going on with this young coworker.

He decided to branch out and sit at a table near the rear of the break room near a bunch of ladies, some from the same department they work in, some from another one. He still keeps in touch with the old guys, but he tired of their repetitive whining and negative attitudes.

Eli gets a different vibe at his new table. He has really bonded with another older man, Mr. Moe, a department mate Patricia (who is real and as crazy as they come), and with some other randoms. These various folks realize that it's only a job and they actually talk about other stuff. Imagine that?

Here are some of the things Eli has experienced:

The loud, rude millennial Lala always having her laptop on loudly to Netflix or music, or FaceTiming her daughter. Nice young lady but her cornbread isn't quite done in the middle.

Old cougar Rose Catrina (RC) casually flirting, and even fussing/teasing Eli because one day his butt crack was inadvertently revealing

Being left out of a delicious cake one of the leaders brought by and apparent it was only for a few folks. That was borderline inconsiderate.

The daily attendance or "where is that person" report by Rolanda. It's like why do you care why this or that person is out?

Patricia and Rolanda low key hating on Heather since she's in school to be a paramedic and she's rarely at work due to study and accommodations.

It's definitely a different world for Eli. He even has his eye on a certain gal, and may even try the popular table on a slow day. Time will tell,...