Sunday, November 17, 2013

Review of Eminem's MMLP2

Hip hop and music has had a decent year. It appears the lyricists are returning and it's not just ignorant anthems about sex, partying and drinking. Eminem restores our faith once again in hip hop with his newest release, the Marshall Mathers LP 2.

Being a hardcore Eminem fan, I wasn't the least bit skeptical that this album would be successful.  The deluxe edition is 21 tracks, and most every track is worthy of a second listen. You can get the basic CD for about $10 if you don't want to pay the extra $6 for the deluxe.  Even at a $1/song (5 tracks on the 2nd CD), it is still worth giving Slim Shady your hard earned money.

He has his usual bizarre and scary lyrics, with an ill rhyming style almost hard to emulate. He mixes his cameos and samples well with the varying styles of songs.  The cameos include Rihanna, Nate Reuss, Kendrick Lamar, and newcomer Skylar Grey who kills it on probably the best track on the entire album "***Hole". Renowned producer Rick Rubin produced most of the album and was criticized, especially for his incessant sampling on tracks such as "Rhyme Or Reason" "So Far" and "Love Game" . However, I believe his beats and samples blended well with Eminem's. It's just different with Dr. Dre, that's all.

While "***Hole" may again be the best song, the released singles are nice "Berserk, Rap God, and Monster". Em's slow melodies were also a winner, especially "Legacy" and "Headlights"  I feel "Bad Guy" was too long and drawn out though.

Nevertheless, this is another timeless, four and a half mic classic for Shady. You can let it play and not be easily tempted to skip songs. Some of his verses are worthy of repeating, just so you can get the full meaning of his cypher.

Eminem has definitely matured over the past couple of decades, but is still an artist at heart. I would definitely suggest picking up either version of MMLP2. Real hip hop and Eminem fans should not be disappointed. 

Locker Room Culture Throughout Sports

There are just a few weeks left in football at all levels. The NFL, and the Miami Dolphins has a locker room hazing and bullying scandal so extreme it would take Olivia Pope to fix.

Many out there are familiar with this Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin saga that continues to develop and unfold daily.  There are many schools of thought, suggestions, excuses, and remedies.

My question is this: why are we not looking at the locker room of the Miami Dolphins?

Often when something like this happens on a sports team, especially a professional one, there's a lot of dysfunction and a lack of leadership in the locker room.

I have played sports, and I will tell you the locker room encompasses a variety of things.  Confidentiality.  Teamwork. Unity. Fun. Game planning. Harmless playing around and bantering occurs at every level in every team sport. Usually when it gets out of hand, it's up to the team leaders and captains to settle it on site.  The objective is not to let anyone outside of the team find out what is going on: no coaches, no family members, and definitely no media.  The unwritten rule is to go to the coaches only when it is at such a dangerous and harmful magnitude.

It appears the Miami Dolphins failed on all of these counts.

Now the coaches I had were in tune with their locker rooms. That was mostly because of careful observation and good leadership.  The Phins are going to have to develop these traits in order to repair this mess.

I saw a nearby high school team become ruined recently due to extreme hazing in the locker room. It leaked to parents and the outside media and the fallout equaled that of an earthquake. Nearly a dozen guys were thrown off the team, and the jayvee squad was dissolved and promoted to varsity.  A year later, the head coach left. Up until late this football season, this team had a losing streak dating before that debacle. 

Will the Dolphins have something similar happen? Yes many can agree that Martin could and should have handled it better. Incognito should never been allowed on the team again. However, it starts from the bottom up. The proper leadership must be developed to prevent this behavior going forward.  Incognito has had a horrible disciplinary record since his college days. He would not survive in a stable, functional locker room.

Many athletes know how locker rooms can and should be. The consensus is you want peace, comfort and tranquility. This is how you build a winner, and keep the media from reporting on you, night and day.

Let's hope sports teams everywhere learn from the Dolphins, especially in this anti-bullying era.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Succubus: Don't Be A Victim!

This is not intended to be masogonetic or to slam women. Rather this is to inform my fellow man about the dangers of the woman that is a succubus.

A succubus has many monikers and images, like that of a beauty queen or a  whore. A prominiscious personality like a trollop, scrumpet, or demon. She is plain evil and controlling. Succubus literally suck the lives out of unsuspecting men. They prey on their generosity and kind nature through manipulation and sex. The man is often so drawn in he cannot see straight.  She has him under her spell.

Now there are women that will go to dirty lengths to win the man they want, including tricking and harming the man. They almost brainwash fellas. They no longer associate with friends and family anymore. It's as if the man is different, as he is completely under the evil influence of this she-devil.

Gentlemen and ladies, do your part and do not let the good men fall prey to a succubus. If you sense the man is in harm's way, it may be best to intervene right away. However, this can harbor resentment from the guy, and this demonic female. An intervention may be in order. 

Now you can't control the lives of others, like a succubus does. However, you should protect and love whenever and wherever is appropriate.  Stand tall against any demon that makes all females look bad, and destroys the few good men left.

Kevin Hart's Secrets Behind His Success

Many of you already know how I feel about comedian/actor Kevin Hart. He's annoying, obnoxious, overrated, and seemingly everywhere. There are not only folks in the urban comedy scene, but in comedy period that are way funnier than him. This was the subject of a blog from last year.

Nevertheless, Kevin's tours, shows and specials sell out like hotcakes, he does a lot of hosting gigs, and now he will be in two movies in the next two months. He has honestly worked his butt off and did what others aren't willing to do to be successful.

Yeah I realize a lot of entertainers work hard and have a good set of people around them. But what makes Kevin different?

1. Separation of personal and professional life

Kevin embraces his struggles, dealing with marriage then a divorce, and being diminutive.  He uses his weaknesses on stage as his strengths. He also doesn't do anything to have TMZ, MediaTakeout, or the tabloids talking.  He is hustling period.

2. Goes the extra mile by taking corny and major roles alike.

He does not mind being the lead man or the straight man. He simply wants to work and act and has a thick skin. He saw what Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock did, and is following that blueprint. He may be selling out, especially in Dave Chapelle's eyes (who gave up 50 million plus because he wasn't going to be Comedy Central's puppet).  Like it or not, Kevin continues to get work due to this attitude.

3. He is familiar and derivative.

Many critics, myself included, accuse Hart of being unoriginal and derivative of comedians from the past such as Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, and even Chris Tucker. Audiences and fans like that though and Kevin and his management were smart enough to see that. That what turns him from the annoying cousin to an elite entertainer in the eyes of many.

4. He is very professional.

He shows on time for performances, shows and rehearsals and rarely, if ever, cancels. That is a strong trait to have and he is basically someone you can trust to do the job you pay him for.

5. He has no major challengers.

I named seven that could give Kevin a run for his money. However, even those seven, plus Katt Williams, Vince Morris, and Christopher Titus have other things distracting and hindering them. Ten years ago, things may be different.  Present day, Kevin is head and shoulders above all in the comedy game.

Some will agree, some will disagree with all or part of this blurb. But when I realized it, Kevin has earned his fame. It does not make me one of his millions of fans, but I can't knock the little man's hustle. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Nap Time Is A Good Time

Uncle Si from the hit reality show Duck Dynasty may be onto something. Among other traits, he is known for his frequent nap, even during work. Based on my personal experience, naps can be great, refreshing, and healthy.

Research and studies have indicated that proper naps daily can refresh you, make you more alert, and even lower blood pressure. A good 30 minute-1 hour nap can make you into a new person. Power naps of about 15-20 minutes are also effective.  I have been a heavy napper like Si since I can remember.  Therefore, these studies intrigued me.

The value of napping has caught on so that many companies and corporations have incorporated naptime into the workday. Many of these places even have beds.

Now you can nap too much, or nap ignorantly. For example, a two hour nap on a workday may not be ideal. This could make for a long night. Also, many folks get sleepy after a huge meal. It's not good to nap then either because of potential weight gain.

However, it's hard to go wrong with a good nap. I know it always refreshes and recharges me. It's nice to see there are healthy benefits from simply resting your eyes and lying down.

Think about this the next time you second guess taking a nap. It could be just what the doctor ordered

Top 10 Signs You May Be A Scandal Addict

It seems two of my more popular topics in the past year have dealt with addiction and Scandal. Yes the show has grown more in popularity in its third season, gaining more and more fans. Shonda Rhimes and Kerry Washington are simply on top of the world right now.

There are many signs that you may be a Scandal addict or fanatic and here are a few right here. 

1. You talk about it constantly on social media, especially during the episodes, every single moment. #Scandal has become one of the more popular topics on Thursday nights.

2. You write blogs, notes, blurbs about the show. Guilty as charged.

3. Your Halloween costume was Olivia Pope and you were immediately recognized by her trademark white coat.

4. You collect every print media piece (People, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, and Ebony) regarding Scandal and/or Kerry Washington. 

5. Olivia Pope isn't the only character you know and dissect like a biology frog.

6. You and your circle of friends have formed your own team of "gladiators"

7. You watch all the old episodes on Netflix and your DVR, repeatedly, so not to miss anything.

8. Not only are the main characters discussed but also plots, storylines, potential characters, and such. It's a new type of social media/barbershop chatter.

9. Your career ambition has suddenly become being a political fixer. 

10. You begin to talk and act overly dramatic like the cast, with accompanying background music.

So are you a self-admitted Scandal addict as well?