“Eyes From The Nineties” Podcast – Episode 2: Karma

In the second episode of the “Eyes From The Nineties” podcast I talk about LeBron James’ dominance over my Chicago Bulls for the last few years and how it compares to Jordan’s dominance in the 1990s, that discussion led me to listing my top 10 NBA players of all-time. I also briefly talk about Da, listvid Letterman’s retirement and the series finale of “Mad Men.”


“Eyes From The Nineties” Podcast – Episode 1: Selfish

In the first episode of my “Eyes From The Nineties” podcast, I discuss Bill Simmons being fired from ESPN and talk about my top 5 TV shows of all-time (“The Wire,” “Chappelle’s Show,” “Seinfeld,” “The Sopranos,” “Game Of Thrones”/”Mad Men”).

I must warn all listeners, this is my first podcast, I stuttered at times but — oh well — practice makes perfect, right?



Six weeks after knee surgery, Bulls’ Derrick Rose to return to lineup tonight

The return after the return after “The Return” is tonight! Bulls fans everywhere rejoice!
I know I am doing some rejoicing. Since Tom Thibodeau has been head coach the Bulls have been in the “contender” conversation. In Thibs’ first season (2010-11), Derrick Rose won MVP, the Bulls had the best record in the entire NBA, and they made all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Despite losing four games to one against the — at the time — new super team, Miami Heat, there was a sense of hope in the air of the Windy City that this Bulls team could be poised to do something special in the near future.

The following season (2011-12), Derrick Rose battled several nagging injuries leading up to the fatal blow of him tearing his ACL in his left knee during the first game of the playoffs against the miserable Philadelphia 76ers. Later in that series Joakim Noah got injured and the Bulls (with the best record in the Eastern Conference) lost to the 76ers (with the worst record among all playoff teams that season).

Derrick Rose went on to sit out for the entire next season (2012-13) despite all of the hype by his sponsor, Adidas, and the public relations disaster made by him, his camp, and the Bulls organization by teasing the fans and the media with a possible return in the 2012-13 season. They all even teased fans with a possible Derrick Rose return in the playoffs — which never happened.

But no need for a Rose return in those 2012-13 playoffs, the Bulls beat the Nets in the first round in a thrilling 7 game series led by Nate Robinson and Joakim Noah. Even though they lost to the Heat again four games to one, there was some rejoice around this Bulls team again for when Rose does eventually return.

All of that rejoice was long gone after just over 10 games in the 2013-14 season, Derrick Rose tore his meniscus in his right knee. The Bulls immediately said Rose was done for the season to prevent anymore public relation mishaps.

All rejoice has since been stripped from Bulls fans, they are left skeptical and bitter. They (we) will always root for Derrick Rose but trusting him to stay healthy would be delusional. But this team the Bulls have put around him (Pau Gasol, an improved Jimmy Butler, and Nikola Mirotic) sparked a little hope back into the hearts of Bulls fans. And soon as the hope began to really grow, Derrick Rose re-injured his right knee with another meniscus tear. This time the doctor removed the meniscus rather than repairing, meaning a speedier recovery time of 4-6 weeks instead of several months.

All signs point to tonight being the night of Derrick Rose’s return. Tom Thibodeau, Bulls players and members of the Bulls organization seem optimistic. The Bulls probably have the best chance out of any Eastern Conference team of beating LeBron James’ new superteam — his home-state’s Cleveland Cavaliers. And while this supporting cast around Derrick Rose is better than any he has player with probably in his life, this team needs him most of all to dethrone the king.

Speaking as a Bulls fan: I am skeptical but still hopeful for the Bulls’ seventh championship banner to be raised in the United Center at the beginning of next season.

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.




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.

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.


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…

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”.