NEW MUSIC – “Antisocial” by: MFnMelo featuring FatBoi (produced by: Saba)

 
“Burn like peroxide, I lie in the cut”
 

MFnMelo from Chicago’s Pivot Gang dropped this new track featuring fellow-Chicago rapper FatBoi and MFnMelo continues to make a name for himself while preparing to release his first solo project, Melodramatics. With a smooth beat and a chopped-and-screwed hook, this song is as potential to be a hit. MFnMelo did not hold back on his lyricism either, despite only spitting one verse MFnMelo makes his presence felt. The concept of being antisocial is very relatable, especially in the way FatBoi and MFnMelo approached it as being independent and being carefree.

I cannot wait to see this song performed live and/or be made into a music video.

MfnMelo

 

[h/t]

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Being a Fantasy Football Owner in the midst of the Adrian Peterson Fiasco

Going into the 2014-15 NFL season, Adrian Peterson was guaranteed to be one of the top 5 picks in most Fantasy Football leagues. Adrian Peterson is the only running back in a long time who has been able to sustain an elite level of play for almost 7 years. There was a little skepticism about drafting Adrian Peterson over some other high-profile running backs because AP is now 29 years old and had a slightly down year last year compared to his 2012 season. In 2012, Adrian Peterson had one the greatest seasons of any NFL player ever by racking up 2,097 yards and averaging 6 yards per carry. It is hard not to take the risk of drafting a guy with such phenomenal capabilities as soon as possible.

Adrian Peterson started the 2014-15 NFL season to a pretty decent start, in ESPN’s Fantasy Football leagues he scored 11.3 points by rushing for a respectable 75 yards. AP was many Fantasy Football owners first overall pick and a few days after a decent performance the news broke of Adrian Peterson being arrested for child abuse. Now, this can be a very conflicting 0913-adrian-peterson-mug-shot-6situation for many Fantasy Football owners because this is a heinous crime that AP is being charged with but the way the NFL has been mishandling such situations as of recent there was a chance AP wouldn’t be punished by the league. So, what priority: your morals or winning? It could be hard for some people to root for a man who abusive children just to fatten their pockets. Shortly after the reports came out, the Minnesota Vikings deactivated AP for week 2 but Fantasy Football owners had to fight the temptation of releasing Adrian Peterson from their teams because Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, had yet to give his judgment.

Week 3 was now approaching, still no word from Goodell and there were rumors of Adrian Peterson possibly playing against the New Orleans Saints. Those rumors were confirmed after the Vikings were annihilated by the New England Patriots and Vikings general manager, Rick Spielman, called a press conference announcing the reinstatement of Adrian Peterson to the team. Moments later, Vikings owner, Zygi Wilf released a statement on the Vikings’ website saying: “We will continue to monitor the situation closely and support Adrian’s fulfillment of his legal responsibilities throughout this process”. Fantasy Football owners everywhere rejoiced!

Oh, but wait, what is more important to the Vikings: money or wins?

Sponsors started releasing statements left-and-right against the Vikings’ decision to reinstate Adrian Peterson with the team in the midst of these child abuse charges. Fantasy Football owners should have been running to the waiver wire because there was no way Adrian Peterson was playing now. Best case scenario you pick-up a Trent Richardson (I hope no one picked up Jonathan Dwyer during all of this). After two days of uproars by sponsors, fans, and Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton, the Minnesota Vikings put Adrian Peterson on the never-before-heard-of Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission List. Being placed on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission List removes AP from all team activities while he is being charged with child abuse.

This has almost been as much of a stressful couple of weeks for Fantasy Football owners as it has been embarrassing for the NFL. Fantasy Football owners are used to dealing with players battling injuries like: Doug Martin and Roddy White, but Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, and Jonathan Dwyer are bringing on a new type of stress and uncertainty. Fantasy Football owners could have been relieved of some stress if the NFL weren’t so hesitant on making decisions. I would be surprised if Roger Goodell lasts another year as commissioner of the NFL, but that’s a subject for another day.

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Why Did the Baltimore Ravens Release Ray Rice?

In February, a video surfaced of the Baltimore Ravens’ Pro-Bowl running back, Ray Rice, dragging his unconscious girlfriend off of an elevator. It was common knowledge that Ray Rice assaulted his girlfriend, causing her to be unconscious. These are facts that we have known for 7 months now. In August, Roger Goodell–the poor excuse for a commissioner that he is–suspended Ray Rice for just 2 regular season games because of his offense. That slap-on-the-wrist of a suspension caused an uproar by the public. After being scrutinized for weeks, Roger Goodell decided that for now on any NFL player who assaults a woman or child will be suspended 6 games after the first offense and will get a lifetime ban from the NFL after the second offense.That all sounds good for the future but it damn sure did not right the wrong of only suspending Rice for 2 games.

Not only did Roger Goodell give Ray Rice an unbelievably lenient suspension but he and the Ravens organization allowed  Rice to play the sympathy card. Ray Rice sat down for this long press conference and he seemed sincere in his apologies but he never apologized to his wife and he made a lot of half-ass promises to change. When Roger Goodell privately interviewed Ray Rice about to what happened that night he also questioned Janay Palmer. Who questions the victim in front of her attacker? That’s just immoral! The NFL looked real insensitive throughout this entire fiasco towards Janay Palmer and all victims of domestic abuse.

I have heard people say Janay probably provoked Ray Rice’s reaction and that is just silly, what Ray Rice did to Janay Palmer was not self-defense by any means. I have heard people even criticize her for marrying Ray Rice, what she wants to do with her life is her right but a league that banned a player for an entire year because of smoking marijuana should not have any tolerance for domestic abuse, especially after Jovan Belcher.

Goodell’s excuse for only suspending Rice for 2 games was because no one knew what happened in the elevator between Rice and Palmer, as if that matters since Rice admitted to the assault. Anyway, there have been reports saying Goodell and other NFL officials saw the video from inside the elevator. Today, TMZ released the videotape of what happened inside that elevator. The videotape showed what we already knew, Ray Rice violently struck Janay Palmer and knocked her unconscious. Following the video hitting the internet and even more uproar from the public the Baltimore Ravens terminated Ray Rice’s contract and the NFL decided to suspend Ray Rice indefinitely.

I agree with this ruling but I don’t understand what has changed from last month to now. We all knew of the heinous act that Ray Rice committed. Did seeing the act change our perspectives? If so, why? I saw the video and I was not shocked. It is like the movie ‘Titanic’, I never understood the hype around that film, was any surprised when the ship sunk? The only thing about the video that startled me a bit was how nonchalant Ray Rice was about it, that was disturbing Ray Rice should have at least got an 8 game suspension soon as he admitted to committing an act of domestic violence and if the Ravens really have no tolerance for domestic abusers on their team, his contract should have been terminated a long time ago.

The NFL is lucky to be selling a product that everyone loves because this is a PR nightmare that would make most corporations crumble.

Ray-Rice-Body

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Album Review: ‘Comfort Zone’ by: Saba

saba-r-ravenAt 20 years old Saba as already proven he knows how to consistently release high-quality music and elevate the quality of music each release. Every music critic nowadays wants to compare up-and-coming artists to established artists to give the listeners a better understanding of what they will be getting themselves into by listening to the artist. I hate that philosophy. I have heard people compare Saba to Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper, I couldn’t disagree more. Those comparisons only exist because Saba is one of the few rappers of this generation not talking about the glamorized ambitions of a gangster. ‘Comfort Zone‘ begins with “TimeZone” where Saba appropriately says “since a shorty I been showing how I’m different” in the intro. 

Saba has shown his ability to harmonize and use his voice in very unique ways in previous projects but on this project he really mastered how jump between flows, harmonies, and tones in a very natural way. I’m sure he had to punch in during the recording process occasionally to pull this off but the sound is just so smooth, it is damn-near impossible to tell. The flow he uses on “Butter” is just one example of how unique is sound is. He rides that beat in such a precise manner but he finds a way to jump back-and-forth from practically singing to abrasively rapping. I have always admired how he can be so aggressive on such smooth beats.

Saba definitely stepped up his song making abilities for ‘Comfort Zone’. My favorite songs on the project are probably “401K”, “Whip (Areyoudown?)”, and “Scum” because the messages attached are so powerful and you can feel the passion in Saba’s voice and in the production. These songs are also very relatable is many ways, “Whip (Areyoudown?)” is relatable to anyone who has been 17 and suffered from anxiety of wanting the freedom of your own car. “401K” is relatable to students–especially from lower class communities–who are aggravated from busting their asses in school when they could probably make more money hustling on the streets. “Scum” should be an anthem for Chicago kids, all we here about Chicago in the news is what these Chicago kids are doing to themselves but no one is talking about the powers-that-be who set these kids up to fail by closing down the schools and completely demolishing the communities.

I cannot recommend this album enough. I just loved it, I’ve been listening to it regularly since it dropped mid-July. If you love lyricism, production, and hip-hop in general, you will love this project. Guaranteed.

The Issue of Racism in America and America’s Fear to discuss it

Today, I had the pleasure–I’m not really pleased by it–of reading an Op-Ed on Time.com about “America’s fear of black people”. The writer went as far as to call this “fear”; “Negrophobia”. “Negrophobia”? OK. I am lucky to say this is my first encounter with this term but unfortunately I did have to eventually encounter it. Last I checked, a fear of a particular race  is called “racism”. I believe I was taught this in elementary school, the writer of this piece is a Stanford student so I assume he’s heard of “racism” at some point in his lifetime. But maybe he is racist, I mean, he did compare the tragic murders of Eric Garner and Michael Brown to his arachnophobia within the first paragraph.

As of recently, it seems America is becoming afraid to call a racist, a racist. Especially the media. During the coverage of Trayvon Martin’s murder, it seem like no one would just call George Zimmerman a hateful racist. Zimmerman saw a black man in a hoodie and saw him as a threat, this is a fact! Even if Zimmerman never murdered Trayvon Martin, that initial judgement is racist. And no one will call the police who are responsible for the recent, tragic deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, John Crawford, and Ezell Ford racists. Even though they are obviously racists.

The NBA had a racism issue over the summer regarding former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Sterling’s girlfriend recorded a conversation she was having with Sterling, in which he ridiculed her for taking a picture with Magic Johnson and posting it on social media because Johnson is a black man. Sterling went from berating his girlfriend, to going on a racial tirade. The NBA acted quickly, banning Donald Sterling from the NBA and eventually stripping him of his ownership. But many in the media defended him, saying he should not be punished because he was unknowingly and illegally recorded having a private conversation.

I was not surprised of Donald  Sterling’s remarks because of his reputation and there was evidence of bigotry in his past. But I was shocked when another NBA owner spoke out in, what I took to be, defense of bigotry. Now, I agree we all have prejudices and use stereotypes from time to time. But Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s  Dallas Mavericks, talked about how he would cross the street if he saw “a black kid in a hoodie late at night” approaching him and if he saw “a white guy with tattoos” all over his body he would walk back to the other side of the street. Maybe I am looking to deep into his remarks but the second example he gave seemed like bullshit. A  piece of clothing on a black kid does not equate tattoos all over another guy. I can almost understand a prejudice about guys with tattoos all over their bodies of any race being threatening but why is a hoodie only threatening when a “black kid” is wearing it? Now, maybe again I am over-analyzing his comments but “black kid“? Really? After this interview, in which he talks about his own personal bigotry and how he believes we should all conceal ours, he did the right thing and reached out and apologized to the family of Trayvon Martin. Trayvon was killed just over a year before Cuban made these remarks because a guy with the same mindset as Cuban saw a “black kid in a hoodie”, felt threatened by him, and killed him.

eric-ganrerIt seems like unarmed black people are being killed by cops routinely nowadays. This year in particular–hell, this summer! Michael Brown was shot down like an animal in the streets of Ferguson, MO. for a reason that is still unknown after a month of investigation. Eric Garner was just minding  his business in Staten Island, NY, the police started harassing Garner, so he pleaded to be left alone, indicating this harassment was routine to him. Garner had been caught selling loose, untaxed cigarettes in the past. After refusing to get down because he had not done anything wrong, an officer put Garner in a headlock despite Garner screaming “I can’t breathe”, the officer refused to let go until he was silent. John Crawford was a young black man from Dayton, OH. was just playing with a toy gun in a local Wal-Mart and was killed by the police without hesitation. Crawford was on the phone with his girlfriend when he was gunned down and she said the last thing he said before being shot was “it’s not real”.

The issue of “black-on’black crime” has been brought up, particularly by the ignorant, to combat the outrage over the police killing these innocent Black Americans. My response to those people is simple: All Americans pay the police to serve and protect them. So, as a Black American, I would like not to be killed by someone who is supposed to protect me. But maybe I’m wrong for expecting the officers of the law to actually uphold the law…

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Here Is A Mash-Up of Closeups from Edgar Wright films

I have never thought Edgar Wright gets the credit he deserves, he has consistently directed, produced, or wrote for fantastic films for years now and has still seemingly flown under-the -radar. His résumé is superb, it consists of ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’ and the entire Cornetto Trilogy. His direction really adds to the flow to the films. There are few dull moments in his films, if any. 

Focusing solely on the Cornetto Trilogy– ‘Shaun of the Dead’, ‘Hot Fuzz’, and ‘The World’s End’, they are all basically spoofs of a specific genre but are all capable of just being another movie in said genres. Edgar Wright’s directorial approach emphasizes the comedy in such a witty way and he uses the closeup as a tool to do so. Anyone can film someone being funny but the way Edgar Wright films, he creates comedy–visual comedy.

LeBron James Is Done Competing With Ghosts

Let’s finally put to bed all of these debates and conversations about whether or not LeBron James is an all-time great. He is there, he is one of “them”. Who is “them”? Jordan, Magic, Kareem, Bird, Kobe; those “them”. The elites. LeBron is an all-time great, a legend, an icon.  Last season he reached the peak of his prime and he should have about 2 or 3 more years at the peak of his prime. So, we should just book him for at least 2 more fittings with a jeweler for at least 2 more NBA Championship rings.

lebron-james-game-7-pacers-595x415It pains me to have to be the one to bring the rest of the world to this realization since I am a die hard Bulls fan and not only do I hope my Bulls dethrone LeBron and the Miami Heat but I do not like the idea of LeBron (or anyone for that matter) being in the discussion of being “the greatest of all-time” with Michael Jeffrey Jordan. But LeBron is. LeBron is very much so in that discussion, he is 29 years old with 2 rings, 4 MVPs, and he’s the biggest freak of nature in American sports since Jackie Robinson.

It is silly to compare Michael Jordan and LeBron James, they play different positions, they have different styles, and they are from two completely different eras. The league was more physical in Michael Jordan’s era because he faced some of the greatest centers of all-time. LeBron’s era is faster, some of the greatest point guards of all-time are in this era.. LeBron didn’t have to worry about being met at rim by Patrick Ewing or Hakeem Olajuwon and Jordan didn’t have to worry about keeping up with Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook. LeBron’s legacy is still being written, so let’s not compare his legacy to Michael Jordan’s until the ink dries.

LeBron has come a long way and has battled through a lot of adversity in the past 3 years. He went from being somewhat immature and nonchalant to being dominant and determined. He left Cleveland to go to Miami and everyone thought he had given up pursuing all-time greatness and had gone to Miami to defer to Dwyane Wade. The first year, that is exactly what he did. He deferred to Dwyane Wade despite still having a MVP-caliber season statistically. After failing in the NBA Finals for the 2nd time in his career a switch flipped, and now 2 years and 2 championships later, here we are. It is the eve of the 2013-14 NBA season opener and the Miami Heat will receive their championship rings in front of their rival Chicago Bulls. But this season feels different. For the first time in LeBron’s career, this is his league without question.

LeBron has reached his comfort zone, he is liked by the masses once again, he’s a winner, and he “ain’t got no worries”.

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NEW MUSIC – “Juvenile” by: MFnMelo

“Spark the loud and a thought at the same damn time”

MFnMelo makes the listeners take notice as he begins promoting his debut solo project, MeloDramatics, which will likely drop late-2013 or early-2014. MFnMelo is a member of the Chicago-based hip-hop collective, Pivot Gang, but on this track he proved he is capable of carrying a song on his own. I have been long awaiting a solo project from MFnMelo because of the way he stands out on songs with his playful rhyme schemes and witty punchlines.

On the song “Juvenile”, MFnMelo is talking about the slow grind that goes into getting your music heard but you cannot quit and you must be confident in your music. MFnMelo conveys determination and confidence throughout the song; he also shows signs of a possible addiction to marijuana (if that’s possible). I am definitely looking forward to hearing more from MFnMelo.

Pivot Gang is set to release their debut group project, JIMMY, in September 2013.

mfnmelo

[Contact MFnMelo on Facebook and Twitter]

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‘Breaking Bad’ Returns As Strong As Ever

“Tread lightly.”

Maybe it was just me but last night was bittersweet. It was obviously sweet because we were finally able to witness the confrontation between Hank and Walt. But it was bitter because when the episode ended I immediately realized there are only 7 more episodes of this great show.

The second half of season 5 began just like the season 5 premiere with a flash-forward to a rugged, sickly, and paranoid Walter White. In the season 5 premiere Walter White is celebrating his 52nd birthday alone at a Denny’s and purchases some pretty lethal weaponry. The beginning of the second half of season 5 is set in the same flash-forward but this time Walter White arrives at his abandoned home that is covered in graffiti and has a group of kids skateboarding in the pool. He goes in the vacant home to retrieve some ricin he hid behind an outlet cover. Because of those 2 flash-forwards, I am even more excited to see where this season goes.

I am sure most of us can agree that Walter White’s death is the only way this show can end. But how? I have always thought it would be at the hands of Jesse Pinkman or cancer but now because of those flash-forwards I am beginning to think Walter White may have pissed off some people that he can not outsmart.

The finale of the first half of season 5 gave us the biggest cliffhanger in the series’ history and it was epic. So, the second half of the season was believed to be based on Hank finally finding out who Heisenberg was and that Heisenberg is his brother-in-law. I was expecting the writers to make us wait for the confrontation between Hank and Walt until closer to the end of the season but they gave it to us immediately.

The second half of season 5 kicks off with Hank not knowing how to approach this knew information and fakes sick to leave Walt’s house. Hank then has a anxiety attack while driving home and crashes his car. Hank took off of work and had all of the files he had on Heisenberg sent to his home and began searching for a way to connect Walter White to Heisenberg. Walt comes over Hank’s house to check up on him and make sure Hank is feeling alright. Hank tries to act normal towards Walt but Walt tells Hank that he found a tracking device on his car that resembles the one they put on Gus Fring’s car. Hank dropped the act and was ready to expose Walt.

Walt and Hank had one of the best confrontations in this series’ history, Hank was pissed and you could just feel how much hate he had for Walt at that moment. But my favorite part of that confrontation was Walter White being vintage Heisenberg. Although Walt knew he was caught, he was still cocky and without admitting anything he pretty much told Hank that he was untouchable.

This show is about a good guy gone bad but a part of the show that is often forgotten is the transformation of Jesse Pinkman; a troubled kid who has grown tired of crime. Jesse has gone from being some idiot who put chili powder in crystal meth to being a millionaire–thanks to Walter White–who hates everything about how he became a millionaire. Jesse has been trying to disassociate himself from Walter White for sometime now but Walter White has been like a father to him and now it seems that Jesse fears that Walt may kill him at this point if he tries to leave.

BB-S5-Walt-Jesse-Couch-760

Some possibly interesting minor developments:

  • What is going to happen with the always frantic Lydia? I don’t like her character but I am curious to see if she is always so worried for a reason.
  • Will Jesse find out the Walt indeed killed Mike?
  • How will Walt Jr. react if he finds out about his dad’s life of crime?
  • Will Skyler encourage Walt to continue cooking meth in order to build their car wash franchise?

NEW MUSIC VIDEO – “36” Chain” by: Killer Mike & El-P

In April 2013 Killer Mike and El-P formed a duo known as: Run The Jewels. “36” Chain” is my personal favorite song on the group’s great self-titled album. The album Run The Jewels was released June 26th, 2013 for free digitally. The rapping skills the exist between these two artists separately is unquestioned. But together they are even more powerful. They both very aggressive on the mic, they are socially consciousness, but what is really appealing they are really creative and are never afraid to step outside of the box. The political awareness and the intellect that both El-P and Killer Mike use in the raps separates them from most rappers in today’s hip-hop scene.

“36” Chain” was truly one of the standout songs from the the Run The Jewels album because it gave me everything I love about both artists as they go back-and-forth aggressively–almost like they are competing–while adding several witty punchlines throughout the song. This video really shows the creativity of the two as they go on a mission to rescue their kidnapped friend. This music video tells a story; something that is unfortunately become uncommon.

killer-mike-elp

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