The Top 15 of 2011…

throne

Not on the List; Impressive Nonetheless

With 2011 in the books, I think it’s time to look back on what was an extremely productive year for hip-hop music. Of course we had some memorable releases from the best in rap, from Game to Rick Ross to Weezy and Drake, the rap scene was NOT short on stars. The brightest of the stars being an historical release from arguably the two biggest in the game: Kanye West and Jay-Z.

While Watch the Throne is NOT on my list of the 15 best releases of the year, nor would it be on the list for my 20 or 30 best releases of 2011, I still don’t think you can make a list without mentioning the album. In my lifetime, I don’t think there’s ever been as successful of a collaboration of two superstars since WTT, and it’s hard to see there ever being one again. While the quality of music that resulted was less than desirable for my taste, it didn’t suck. Which is more than you can say about Best of Both Worlds, and almost every other high-profile collaboration release to date. Not only did it not suck, but it was pretty damn good.

Filled with quality songs, and even a few classics, WTT was good. Not great, and far from the best for either party involved, but certainly worth a mention as a footnote on this list.

Now, to the real list. It’s just hip-hop at this time, and I’m debating on letting out another mini-list for non-hip-hop related albums but we shall see. I based my decisions on two factors. First, obviously overall quality was one of the biggest factors. From lyrical content to beats to playability, it all factors into how good the release was. Second, I looked at how long the said release was in my rotation. Even the greatest album of all time can’t stay on repeat forever, but it can have a damn good run, so I took that into account- how long was it before I retired this? I know, there’s nothing mathematical about my decisions, nothing out of this world as far as calculations go. It pretty much all came down to what was the dopest of the dope?

 

#15 - Bad Meets Evil - Hell: The Sequel

So, I say all that business about collaborations above, and then the first release I highlight on my list is a collaboration from two major artists. This guy’s a fuckin hypocrite huh? Not so fast. I know Eminem is as big as they come in the rap game and arguably with more worldwide notoriety than Jigga and ‘Ye combined, but Royce Da 5’9″? Not so much. While I love Royce, and I’ve been a fan since the first “Bad Meets Evil” song off the Slim Shady LP, I’m definitely in the minority.

A Detroit legend, Royce does not back down from Em in anyway on this album. I know it’s ballsy to say, but I’d argue that Em even gets overshadowed by Royce on this release, and that’s not a slight towards Slim in anyway, it’s just an acknowledgement of how serious Royce is on the mic.

Tracks to listen to: “Welcome 2 Hell”, “Im on Everything”, “Lighters”

#14- Kendrick Lamar - Section.80

Kendrick’s first release since gracing the cover of XXL’s Freshman Class of 2011 issue, Section.80 is fucking GREAT. I wish I could push this up into my top 5, but I never got to dedicate the time to this album as I should have. In another couple of months, come back to me, and I might tell you this is top 5 of the year. Check my favorite song from the album below, “ADHD”:

 

Tracks to listen to: “No Make Up”, “Poe Mans Dreams”, “Keisha’s Song”

 

#13- Classified - Handshakes

Classified is an artist that I’ve long been aware of, but never really listened to…until now. I obtained Handshakes and Middle Fingers and just kind of sat on it. Never threw it into my whip until early summer, when I wanted to give something new a shot. So I put the CD into my rotation, and there it sat for about a month on repeat. Dude’s got some serious lyrical talent, and you can definitely hear and feel his passion in his delivery. My favorite line of the entire album comes in the intro “Ups and Downs” when Classified rhymes “I ain’t as quick thinkin as I once was, I guess that’s what smokin J’s and blunts does”.

If you can, do yourself a favor and check out this album from the Canadian rapper, and all you Madden 2012 players, you might even recognize “That Ain’t Classy” from the game’s soundtrack.

Tracks to listen to: “Ups and Downs”, “Unusual”, “Desensitized”

#12- Lupe Fiasco - LASERS

I’m going to let you know right now- Lupe Fiasco is my favorite rapper ever. Not only is he my favorite, but I 100% think he’s the greatest rapper to ever live, and that’s me trying my best to be unbiased. I just don’t think anybody can match Lupe’s wordplay, flow, intelligence and just plain knowledge on the mic.

That being said, yes, L.A.S.E.R.S. is only at #12 on my list. While the album was almost near the top as far as rotation play for me, the overall quality was slightly lacking for something that’s coming from the friend of the people. I’m still trying to think of a reason that this album was shelved for so long, because it’s really a record label’s DREAM. Every song is catchy and radio friendly (for the most part), and while there is some small political posturing, nothing is offensive to the point to stymie record sales.

Great release, but see his Friend of the People mixtape for something a little better, lyrically.

Tracks to listen to: “Till I Get There”, “Beautiful Lasers”, “Never Forget You”

#11- The Weeknd - House of Balloons

Just outside of my top 10 is the release from Toronto’s own The Weeknd. My first and last R&B inclusion on the list, House of Balloons plays more like a soulful rap album than it does a lame R&B mixtape. See “Glass Table Girls” below for the best track on the album.

 

Tracks to listen to: “High to This”, “The Morning”, “Coming Down”

 

THE TOP 10

For my top 10, I’m going to avoid any write-ups and just stick to the script: the music. I don’t think these 10 releases from 2011 need any opinionated explanations from me at all. They simply should be allowed to let their own quality speak for itself.

#10- Hoodie Allen - Leap Year

 

 

Tracks to listen to: “James Franco”, “Song for an Actress”, “Moon Bounce”

 

#9- Tyler, the Creator - Goblin

 

Tracks to listen to: “Her”, “Goblin”, “Golden”

 

 

 

#8- Dom Kennedy - From the Westside with Love 2

 

Tracks to listen to: “O.P.M.”, “I Love Dom”, “When I Come Around”

 

#7- J.Cole - The Sideline Story

 

 

Tracks to listen to: “Lights Out”, “Dollar and a Dream III”, “Nobody’s Perfect”

 

#6- Grieves - Together/Apart

 

Tracks to listen to: “Falling From You”, “Heartbreak Hotel”, “Sunny Side of Hell”

 

#5- OnCue - Can't Wait

 

Tracks to listen to: “Feel Tall”, “Running”, “Cigarettes and Perfume”

#4 - A$AP Rocky - Live, Love, A$AP

 

 

Tracks to listen to: “Palace”, “Peso”, “Trilla”

#3- Logic - Young Sinatra

 

 

Tracks to listen to: “Shine On”, “Live on the Air”, “One” ALL OF THEM!

 

#2- Atmosphere - The Family Sign

 

 

Tracks to listen to: All of Them!

 

#1- Big K.R.I.T. - Return of 4Eva

 

 

Tracks to listen to: Seriously, ALL of THEM!

 

 

Just a word on my top two. Atmosphere’s album is amazing, front to back, every song hits like a fucking jackhammer and it easily sat in my rotation for the longest. The same reason I love Atmosphere is the same reason I can’t put them at #1- variety. If you can listen to The Family Sign and not FEEL anything, then you’re not a human being. So powerful, so emotional, the entire album is like poetry and tragedy on wax.

But, I need something more if you’re my album of the year. I need some BANGERS, I need something to play if, hypothetically, I were to be lighting up a FAT spliff to go alongside the heartfelt crooning. So, while Family Sign is probably my favorite album, I have to give the best release of 2011 to Big K.R.I.T. for his effort on Retun of 4Eva, which is by the way, not a major album release, it’s merely an independent studio album, something akin to most rapper’s mixtapes.

Needless to say, I’m beyond pumped to see what comes from Krizzle in the new year, as he stole 2011 in my opinion, with an album that was released early and still hasn’t come out of my rotation. It’s got serious bangers (Time Machine, Rotation), bluesy tales (Rise and Shine, Dreamin’), and funky rhymes (Get Right, R4 Theme Song) and like any good sports team it has its superstar, or what I consider the best song of 2011 – “The Vent”.

I’ll leave you with a part of Krit’s fucking CLASSIC first verse from “The Vent”, an expression of his approach towards music, a validation of his talent, and at times I feel like he took some of these words right out of my own thoughts:

I do this for the love, and it’s free of charge
I don’t need jail to be behind bars
This is purely art, in my Grandma’s household this was surely taught
Don’t be naive, yea these time’s is hard. In the midst of all the glamor, hope you find god
I never wished to be the burden bearer
But souls need saving and it’s now or never
Shock value is all they wanna see
It’s us against them, and it’s just you and me
Try to take heed what I say in my songs
Forgive me if I ever ever steered you wrong
Most people stop for signs, but I’ve driven through it
If it don’t touch my soul, then I can’t listen to it
The radio don’t play the shit I used to love
Or maybe I’m just growing up
I never seen a star on a red rug
If I wanna see stars I just look above
To the Heavens…

 

Advertisements

Some Music Quickies…

Picking up again after a prolonged absence, this time I only have my own laziness and Red Sox anguish to blame. My prediction for my boy Jacoby to win the MVP soured as soon as the Sox underwent the biggest act of crumbling since the Yankees in the ’04 ALCS. Yes, the Braves September collapse was damn near worse this year, but they’re the Braves. They made like 36 World Series in the ’90’s and only won once, what do you want from them?

Anyways, Tiger finally won a tournament again. Maybe now the golf fan base will once again reach beyond the stone-laiden driveways and boxwood borders of the upper-middle class.

Miguel Cotto just beat Antonio Margarito as if Cotto was Puerto Rican and Margarito was Mexican, oh wait. Side note: the hatred between Puerto Rican and Mexican athletes is funny to me. Mainly because very few people outside of those countries A) care and B) can even distinguish the difference. Also, the PR/Mexico rivalry finishes a distant second in the “People we know want to kill each other, but we can’t tell who is who” list behind the timeless China vs. Japan. Some say USA vs. Britian is up there too, but I just don’t see it.

And if you don’t read another single word I scribe today, do yourself a favor and click here to see “The 45 Most Powerful Images of 2011”. Powerful stuff to say the least. The broad in #7, however, needs to look into a career in the adult films industry after taking a facial of that magnitude.

Coming shortly is my look at the NFL season to date, complete with a recap of my bold predictions regarding the draft and FA’s. An apology to Cam Newton will be included following my harsh criticism of the Panthers for taking him #1.

_____________________________________________________

There’s been a lot of good music over the past couple of months to hit my ear lobes. None of it should be mentioned before this guy though- OnCue.

Cuey

Cuey's Submission for Tape of the Year

OnCue is a rapper who was born and raised in Connecticut, but over the past couple of years relocated to Brooklyn, NY to focus on making his music. Being a Connecticutian, obviously I’m going to do what I can to rep for my state when I deem necessary. I even met the kid when Red Bull sponsored a party at my boy’s house @ UConn and invited Cuey to perform Guerilla-style in the basement (By the way, unfamiliar with him at the time I called him soft and whined aloud about Red Bull bringing in a nobody. Damn, I wish I could take that back). But this plug has nothing to do with Connecticut, or any personal connections at all. This kid can simply make great fucking music and Can’t Wait, his 5th career mixtape, is no exception.

He’s got a style I can best describe as a more talented Kid Cudi. Not to say Cudder isn’t talented, he just can’t rap like Cuey. On Can’t Wait, Cuey brings in his usual life experiences to influence his music. Essentially left to support himself and his mother by his drug addicted father and brother, the dude’s got plenty of emotional gasoline to fuel his fire. The most powerful rhyme of the album comes on the final track, “Alive” and it’s directed at his parents: “Yeah Mommy I fuckin love you/ no one gonna hurt you anymore, Angels above you/ Dad, I forgive you I pray you remain clean/ I’m just glad you’re alive to see me live out this dream”

It’s not all sad raps, though. Cuey brings in a big name in Mike Posner on “Kinda Late”, an ode to all the ladies throwing themselves at the two up and comers, and he dedicates another one to the ladies in “Cigarettes and Perfume”. And then there’s my personal favorite “Feel Tall” which is more about his struggle with success than his struggle to succed.

The bottom line is this: Can’t Wait transcends genres, it’s a complete album front to back, it’s powerful and moving, and it’s free. It’s fucking free, so download it and let it play from beginning to end. I guarantee you won’t be able to stop after that one time through, but hell, if you don’t like it who cares. Just set your alarm clock to wake you up a minute early for 60 days to get a refund on those 60 minutes you spent on the album. Check out “Feel Tall” below, and under that is “Your Own Supply” from his Leftovers mixtape.

 

_________________________________________

Now, for the rest of the music scene right now in order of how quickly you should go get this sheeeiiitt (Clay Davis):

ASAP RockyLive Love ASAP

Born in Harlem but heavily influenced by Houston, ASAP Rocky is what’s great about hip-hop. Common sense tells us that a chopped and screwed style rapper cannot bring serious lyrics, and serious lyricists cannot present their product in a chopped and screwed style. ASAP Rocky says fuck common sense.

I guess this dude’s been opening up for Drake on Drizzy’s national tour and he’s been blowing up big time as a result. Haven’t seen his (Drake) show, nor do I plan to, but this is another free gem over on DatPiff. I recommend listening to this CD at an extremely loud volume, preferably on an excellent sound system in a dope whip. Or a 2005 Chevy Malibu if you don’t have the dope whip. Check the thugged out video for “Peso” on YouTube, and one of my favorites from the album “Trilla” below:

___________________________________________

Yelawolf – Radioactive

A favorite of The Universe and the pride of Gadsden, Alabama unleashed his first retail album November 21st. One of the few retail albums I’m ever going to plug, this one is a product of Shady Records and is certainly worth the 9$ price tag.

I first saw this guy open up for B.O.B. in Boston and I slowly became a fan throughout his set. Not universally known until his appearance on the now legendary Shady 2.0 BET awards cypher, Yela brings an extremely unique style to the game. Definitely check out “Write Your Name” and “Throw It Up”

___________________________________________

Childish GambinoCamp

Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover, aka Troy from NBC’s Community brings my next retail album suggestion. Again, well worth the $9, Gambino is a ridiculous talent that brings SERIOUS heat on the lyrical front. Think Kanye West when he was still hungry. Check out “Sunrise” below:

___________________________________________

MacklemoreThe Unplanned Mixtape

Not gonna lie about this one, this is not a new release but I just got turned on to the Seattle MC within the past couple of months. Macklemore routinely teams up with producer Ryan Lewis to make seriously good music. Introspective, thoughtful and unique to say the least, check out the hilarious video for “And We Danced”. Apparently Mack had some serious drug addiction issues in his past but personally I’m glad he got it sorted out because he makes some great music. My personal favorite is below, “Wings”, which is a dedication to America’s fascination and obsession with Nike and Jordan kicks.

___________________________________________

B.O.B.EPIC & Lupe FiascoFriend of the People

Probably my two favorite artists out right now and certainly two of my favorite of all time just so happen to drop two brand new mixtapes. EPIC is Bob’s effort and is probably more listenable to for the average music fan. Filled with ridiculous beats and always hard rhymes, Bob picks up right where The Adventures of Bobby Ray left off.

Lupe’s Friend of the People is highly political, and continuing with Lupe’s garage music themed mixtape output, very raw. The beats are more bluesy and melodic than they are hip-hop as most of the samples are from emo-rock bands such as M83.

Nevertheless, both tapes are must-downloads.

___________________________________________

Casey VeggiesSleeping in Class

My final retail album suggestion comes from LA’s own Casey Veggies. An affilitate of OFWGKTA, Veggies has been a veteran of the rap game since he dropped Customized Greatly Volume 1 as a 16-year old. That mixtape was a CLASSIC, and this album surely doesn’t disappoint either. If you don’t want to buy the album, head over to Datpiff and download some of his mixtapes. They don’t disappoint. Below is “Ridin Round Town” from Sleeping in Class.

___________________________________________

Th@ Kid – Ratboy

Lastly, go check out Cali-native Th@ Kid. I don’t know too much about this dude outside of his Facebook information but he puts in serious work to make his music. Check out his website here, and look into following him on Facebook and Twitter. A self-proclaimed “Night Rat”, Th@ Kid is young and hungry. Think Mac Miller mixed with Kendrick Lamar. My favorite song of his “New White Kicks” is below.

Some Quickies…

The past week has been quite eventful, full of little stories all over the Universe. First, the debt ceiling finally got raised, and then…our credit rating was downgraded by S&P from AAA to AA+. Not a big deal, until the Dow plummeted, signaling that I guess it was a big deal according to those Wall StrWeebs. I could really care less, sure, that’s our lowest credit rating since S&P has been around, but this is also the same S&P that gave a AAA rating to loads of sub prime credit default swaps. Now, if that sounds like a bunch of jibberish in that previous sentence, all you really need to know is that those credit default swaps served as the Darth Vader of our economy crisis, and S&P was essentially the Sith Lord, pumping Darth full of evil moral support in the form of AAA ratings for these walking debt builders.

Stevie Will

Tiger's Latest Divorce-Victim; Guess Which One Is Sadder?

The world of sports saw Tiger Woods dump his caddie, then saw said caddie turn around and win this past weekend’s World Golf Championship with his new beau, Adam Scott. Again, I could really care less. Caddies are important, and Stevie Williams (Woods’ ex-Caddie) is the best caddie there is. But, I’d say at best, a caddie has a 5% influence over a golfer’s performance, which is less than the 8-10% I give to NBA coaches. Simply, if Erik Spoelstra can coach a team to the NBA Finals, well, Woods can win again without Stevie Williams. Side note: Is it just me or does the name Stevie Williams not conjure up images of the slowest kid in your elementary school classes? Not the slow, separated from the rest of us kid, but the kid who, I don’t know, maybe never showered before coming to school. His hair was always fucked up, and he wore sweats tucked into his socks. Not the kid who shit his pants, but probably the next worst kid, the one who your parents never want you hanging with. Not because he’s setting fires, but, well “I don’t want that Stevie Williams coming over here, you know that. He’s just weird, and I don’t want him teaching you bad habits,”. Some of those bad habits include eating boogers, not wiping properly, not liking boobs, and…pissing off Tiger Woods.

The NFL saw the Eagles continuing to add to their Jew Hoard of talent; now with DeSean Jackson showing his face around camp. We also saw Tim Tebow create a controversy by doing his hardest not to create a controversy. Now, as the #2 QB (where he rightly belongs at this moment) Tebow can get back to worrying about pumping Baby Jesus and Jockey tees.  In baseball we saw the Sox take 2 out of 3 from the Evil Empire over the weekend, Yesssir! But, the Phillies keep fucking ROLLING, and I think the Giants already regret dealing for Carlos Beltran.

____________________________________

And then…there is music. I talked briefly about the big release of this week, last week, and now I’m going to touch on it a little more as Kanye West & Jay-Z dropped their highly anticipated collaboration, Watch the Throne (WTT) on ITunes yesterday. I bought it, I will not lie. And, since I decided to buy the album, I fed right into the corporate mega-beast monopoly that the pair hoped to create upon release of this album. The music industry typically goes with a solid release date, usually on a Tuesday, when consumers can head to their local record shop and purchase a hard copy of the album on the first day it hits the shelves. At the same time it releases in stores, it is usually made available for download on ITunes (when ITunes was around, anyway). Well, the thing with getting the hard copies to the stores is that somewhere along that huge manufacturing line which goes: from studio, to label, to distributor, to brick and mortar store, to your hands; somebody snags a copy for themselves. Because the process from studio to store is so long, a lot of times record stores have the physical copies of an album several days before it is to be released, so you can see how somebody grabbing a copy say, in the warehouse where they make them, could cause problems. And, this usually leads to an album leaking out to the public in advance and making it a pirate’s dream.

Kanye & Jigga decided to get around that by changing the entire system. Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music label is notoriously difficult to pirate no matter the release, so of course its president is going to make his albums THE hardest. Instead of opting for a traditional release, the pair went with an ITunes only release on August 8th, and the in-store release on August 12th. This lets them ship out the hard copies pretty much at the same time they release the digital copy. As a result of this, a couple of things will without a doubt happen.

splice

Kanye/Jay Morphed Face: No, This is Not the Head Monkey in Rise of the Planet of the Apes

First, album sales will shoot up. No more pirating will more than likely lead to better album sales, especially for the big names and especially for WTT. Second, expect this release method to become a trend. This will without a doubt become the standard method of delivery for any and all big name musical acts from here on out. It simply works too well in the anti-pirating category. Finally, it will shut down music stores…for good. By pushing back the hard copy release, musicians in effect give the digital market a serious head start on the consumer demand. Shit, WTT is already on track to sell 400-500K in its first week, according to Billboard, and record stores will only be able to get about 2 days worth of that week-long sales figure. This release method ultimately does one thing: it makes the rich, richer and the poor, obsolete. An already struggling record store industry will undoubtedly receive the finishing blow from a surging ITunes monster, and we can expect to see more boarded up retail spaces throughout our country.

But, after giving a listen to this album, that is just as Kanye & Jay seem to want it. Arguably, the two biggest/richest names in hip-hop got together to make a super album. It just seems like…well…the hip-hip got lost in translation. Kanye is easily one of my favorite hip-hop artists there is. His beats are beastly and his rhymes used to be more backpack than Kat Stacks. But, there’s something about this album that as a middle-class, college loan paying, 9-5 working American, pisses me the fuck off.

Excess. It’s all over this album. From the release method, to the hideous cover art I could have shit out but is “groundbreaking” because some dude named Tisci designed it, to the pillowy content: this album is exactly what hip-hop shouldn’t be. Every song is filled with references to blowing coke off model broads or having more power than Obama, but still I listen. It feels good, in my ears, the music is beautiful. The flow is remarkable, it has the makings of a classic. But, when I really listen, I’m hearing mid-90’s Puff Daddy shiny suit raps. Two MCs who have lyrical capability for DAYS fall short because they can’t walk away from all the things they have.

hoodie

Mr. Hoodie Allen

It’s sad, honestly, when the most introspective, real rhyme on the entire album is a blatant rip-off of the amazingly talented Andre 3000 when Jay spits on “Welcome to the Junle”: (I asked her where she wanna be when she 25/ She turned around and looked at me and said ‘alive’). Sorry, Jay, Andre already perfected that on Outkast’s “Da Art of Storytellin Pt.1” (Talkin bout what we wanna be when we grow up/ I said what you wanna be, she said ‘Alive’), and the HMMMMM that Andre adds to the end of that line is exactly what I’m thinking as I listen to this album, HMMMMM.

So, in the end, did I purchase this album? Yes. Did I throw it onto a CD, and do I now bump it in the whip? Yes. Did I feel a bit used as I bought this album for $14.99 on ITunes? Yes. Did I get an eerie sense of guilt as I paired this purchase with a simultaneous free download of 5 albums by the unsigned NYC MC Hoodie Allen (@HoodieAllen)? Yes. Do I feel like hip-hop is dead after this ordeal? No. Hip-hop is alive and well…you merely have to look for it…not on the radio, though. When it comes to the radio, it’s kinda like, when you stop looking you will find. You don’t go to the club to find a wife, and you don’t go to the radio to find hip-hop.

Some Quickies…

Though I gave the MLB deadline its own post, I will not give the same repect to the NFL “deadline”. It definitely deserves it given the amount of movement and drama, but I just, well…fuck you for locking us out for so long. I will touch on some of my favorite moves, though.

da eagles

Say Hello to the Man Who Won the NFC East

The Eagles are my early pick for SB Champs. They grab Nnamdi, trade for Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2nd-round pick in a deal that had Rodgers Syndrome written all over it (a new disease that afflicts desperate teams targeting back-ups in the hopes of finding the next Aaron Rodgers; next afflicted team’s target= Matt Flynn). They also grab DT Cullen Jenkins from the World Champs, and DE Jason Babin. Oh yeah, and since they dumped their unproven, 1-2 career record backup, Andy Reid inked Vince Young. That of the 26-13 career record Vince Young, who then proclaimed the Eagles a “Dream Team”. How’s this for personnel moves, Eagles use Mike Vick as a starter this year, then trade him for peak value and instill Vince Young as the starter? I can see it happening.

The other CB out there who I proclaimed one of my biggest impact FAs, Jonathan Joseph, signed with the Texans as I expected. The Texans grab the best value at the CB position this year, but I do question the fact that they let Dunta Robinson walk last year when he wanted very similar contractual numbers. I like Joseph, but Robinson showed that he should be just as liked with his performance in Atlanta last season. Paul Posluszny and Barrett Ruud, my other 2 picks for biggest impact FAs on the defensive side of the ball, inked deals with the Jaguars and Titans respectively. The Poz goes to a Jaguars team that desperately needs a tackle-machine like him in the middle and I see that Defense being a top-10 squad, maybe even top-5 if their young D-Line keeps developing. Ruud, however, got stuck in a bad spot. The Titans are devoid on defense, and he’s going to have a hard time making that squad better. I like what he did, however. Signed a one-year deal on a team he can easily produce huge numbers on, and then he gets to be a FA in a non-fluke off-season next year.

The Patriots got much better this offseason as well, as they grab two All-Pros in Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco for next to nothing. Ocho is going to put up top-3 WR numbers with Tom Brady, and if Haynesworth shows any type of enthusiasm he instantly turns that defense back into an elite squad. Eagles vs. Pats in the SB.

The Seahawks are the last topic I’m going to cover in the NFL, as they’re making a nice little run into contender status with Pete Carroll at the helm. They sign Sidney Rice, an undervalued WR who will be loved by his QB in Seattle, whomever that ends up being. Also, they’re making a hard run at the only offensive player on my biggest impact lists, Zach Miller. If they end up landing Miller along with Rice, this offense will be something fierce and will more than make up for the defensive loss of Lofa Tatupu who was more bark than bite for the D out there.

___________________________________

If you don’t know already, go check out Nikki Jean’s album Pennies in a Jar. This chick can sing, and she has some serious backing in the industry. Also, Game just dropped a new mixtape, Hoodmorning. I have yet to give it a full listen, but anytime that Game and DJ Skee get together, quality music is never far behind. J.Cole also released a little 5-song EP just to keep his fans fiending for his upcoming album. I did listen to this, and it is no doubt GOOD music.

jigga n ye

Kanye West & Jay-Z: Watch the Throne; the Wait is On

On a future release to look out for note, Kanye West & Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne collabo is dropping on August 8th on ITunes. The physical copy will be coming out a couple of days later. The pair have coined their duo “The Throne” and, I won’t lie, this is the first mainstream big market, big label release I’m going to be buying since 50’s first album (no, I don’t count Lupe’s LASERS under this category because, well, we had to get a fucking petition going to get the fucking thing released!). The end of summer is typically a firestorm for album releases and Ye and Jigga will be kicking off a period that will see retail album releases from J.Cole, Lil Wayne, Game, Drake, Rick Ross, Method Man & Redman, and, dare I say… Dr. Dre?! Keep your eyes peeled!

Some Quickies…

Here we go, another week another dollar or whatever they say. Little piece on the U.S. Women’s soccer team here. Yes, it’s titled One Hell of a Choke Job, so if you’re sensitive to violence against women… it’s safe to read I promise, no violence just criticism.

__________________

weezy

Weezy's Consolation to the Fans for Pushing Tha Carter 4 Back

Moving on, a couple of new music releases worth noting. First, those who were anticipating Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV dropping this month, sorry it’s been pushed back to August 29th. Don’t be too upset, however, as Weezy does look out for his fans. Sorry 4 The Wait is out now on datpiff.com for free download. Anybody familiar with Weezy’s official mixtape past knows that this is a must download. Shit, I’d say that Weezy’s 2006 mixtape The Dedication 2 is still the best mixtape I have ever listened to. That mixtape can rival a lot of retail album releases in regards to the quantity and quality of its content.

That’s the thing about Weezy that I love. I would never say he’s one of my favorite rappers, and he does a lot of shit that I can’t fucking STAND (i.e. the voice decoder, “Lollipop”, that bullshit rock album), but he’s easily the biggest name doing it since 50 was on his grind. Thing is, Wayne is a whole different beast because he consistently and unfailingly delivers quality rap music. 50 fell off HARD, even Jigga had some issues (Blueprint 3, Kingdom Come anybody?), but Wayne has arguably been at the highest level for the longest, and this mixtape certainly continues that trend.

__________________

cool kids album

When Fish Ride Bicycles - That New Shit From The Cool Kids

Another new release comes outta Chi-Town and the super original group, The Cool Kids (comprised of Mikey Rocks and Chuck). I first got turned onto this group in like 2006 by their dope track “88”, which sampled Nas’ “Do the smurf, do the wop, baseball bat, Rooftop like we bringin’ ’88 back” line from “Made You Look”. That song was serious, and I downloaded all their shit (out there for free at the time). They soon became one of my favorite groups because of how raw their production was. Not raw in the form of being done in a basement, because their quality was on point. But raw in the sense that for an entire song the bass-line was in the form of the word “bass” being repeated in the background. Their beats are ridiculous, but at the same time not like anything you’ve ever heard.

From what I’ve heard of their newest album release, When Fish Ride Bicycles, the kids pick up where I would expect them to- Funky beats, simple rhymes about girls, parties, and Chicago summers. Nothing groundbreaking in their lyrics, but if I’m going to listen to funky party time shit, I’d much rather it be these two rhyming than that clown OJ Da Juiceman. With guest spots from Bun B, Asher Roth, and Chip Tha Ripper, definitely go out and cop this SHIIIIIIIT!

That classic “88” shit:

 

From the new album:

Some Quickies…

Trying to get back on the regular grind here, it’s too tough to do with this beautiful weather occurring on the regular though! I’m watching the US women’s world cup team battle Brazil right now, as I type. Women’s sports is usually a joke to me, and I could care less. But, when it comes to the USA playing, I’m on that shit all day. I still remember the Women’s cup in 1999, with the infamous Brandi Chastain ripping her shirt off celebration. I was going nuts! Just finished 6th grade, and the United States dominate on the worldwide level?! If only I could’ve popped my cherry that summer too, that woulda been a summer for the ages. Moving on…

They’re up 1-0 right now at the half, and I’m cheerin’ hard. ***UPDATE*** Hope Solo JUST stopped a PK, and then the FUCKING REFS just fucked her over. WOW, rekick and Marta banged it home. SCREWJOB!!!!!!!!

_________________________

CC

12-4, 2.90 ERA and CC Still Can't Get Any Love?!

All-Star break coming up for MLB. A lot of shit gets made about the snubs for this game, every year, and I don’t really understand it. Granted, nine out of ten fans are completely retarded and should not be allowed to vote, so we do get omissions to the game such as….CC SABATHIA! But, until we make the voting a players/managers only thing, this is always going to happen.

And again, don’t worry about it. There are always so many players who can’t play each year for some reason or another, that all worthy All-Stars eventually get named to the team. Sabathia, on the team. Andrew McCutchen, on the team. Paul Konerko, on the team. These dudes were serious omissions to begin with, but they were eventually rewarded justly.

Also, CC was at one time a valued member of The Refrijerators, my storied fantasy baseball team. I swung a deal that sent him, Derek Low and Pedro Alvarez to my former HS gym teacher’s team for Shin-Soo Choo and Adrian Beltre. IF you ask me, I still think I won that deal, but WOW, I thought CC would fall off his torrid start a bit…I was wrong!

_________________________

Cyhi Da Prince - Royal Flush 2New fire on the mixtape scene right now. CYHI DA PRINCE! The G.O.O.D. Music label member dropped his second mixtape entitled Royal Flush 2 last week, and it’s definitely worth the download. He’s got some good features from the likes of B.O.B., Yelawolf (two Universe favorites), Pusha T, and Big Sean. Speaking of Yelawolf, Shady, can we PLEASE get an album drop SOON?! Hell, I’d even settle for a new mixtape, anything, PLEASE!!!

Cyhi’s definitely a Southern-styled rapper, with a very GRIZZLED tone and a delivery that’s part Jeezy, part Bun-B. I read a review somewhere that said Cyhi has more intelligent rhymes and conscious lines in his left pinky than Gucci Mane has in his entire body. While I certainly agree that Gucci Mane has some sort of down syndrome and has absolutely no lyrical content, I wouldn’t start making Cyhi out to be the Southern Common quite yet. He’s got substance, no doubt, but his lyrics never really overshadow the beat or flow in my mind. Maybe the real deep shit is coming on the album, but I have yet to really feel it. That being said, he still goes HARD on the track!

Also, I’m gonna plug the kid Dom Kennedy’s mixtape AGAIN! 2: From the Westside with Love is a serious collection of dope beats and laid-back Cali rhymes. DopeItsDom.com check ’em out, buy the album (it’s only 6.99 for Baby Jesus’ sake!) and I definitely suggest buying some gear from the homie Dom here. I bought that West$ide II tee a couple months back and it came in a package clearly packed by Dom’s manager or somebody pullin double duty, with two free decal stickers and on the back of one of the stickers, handwritten in sharpie it said “Thanks 4 the support”. You can’t beat that kind of dedication and graciousness. Not many are grindin’ as hard as Dom right now, #dopeitsdom, keep it up!

_________________________

Latchkey Kids

Latchkey Kids

So we have a lockout in the NBA, and I don’t see a full season happening this year. Maybe they do 50 games ala ’99, maybe they cancel it altogether, whatever the case, the league is gonna SUFFER! Arguably, it’s at an all-time high in popularity (yes sadly, thank you Lebron) and it could have really benefited from the NFL lockout and possibly jumped into the drivers seat as America’s favorite sport.

One person who doesn’t seem to be too mad about the lockout is NJ Nets guard Deron Williams. Kid is READY to ball in Turkey this year if the season becomes delayed in any way. Now, I understand the motives behind going to Europe during the lockout: it puts some serious bargaining power behind the Players Association, because it gets the owners thinking that they need the players more than the players need them. Not only that, but it puts money in players’ pockets, and provides them with professional-level play, and healthcare. I think people forget about the latter perk right there, because not only are the Lakers paying Kobe Bryant top dollar, but they’re also providing him with the BEST medical facilities and doctors that money can buy. As part of the lockout, the players are completely cut off from these luxuries. Playing pickup at the local gym keeps you conditioned, but it doesn’t come with a top of the line physical trainer to work on your sprained ankle or muscle pulls.

So, I understand the view point of Deron Williams, but I don’t want to see this becoming a trend. I do respect the fact that D-Will loves playing so much that he’ll go to a foreign country just to play top-tier basketball, and I also think its funny that he hates playing for the Nets so much that he’d run away to Turkey to get away! (No, he’s said he’ll be back the second the season starts, but still…) There’s a part of me that thinks David Stern likes this. It’s in-person publicity and advertisement for his league. He’s globalizing the league in a way that commercials and camps could never do, all the while he’s hard at work trying to get more money for himself and the owners.

Personally, I don’t want to see my favorite players playing in foreign countries in a jersey that doesn’t have USA scrawled across the front. My heart skipped a beat when I saw Amare and Carmelo’s names connected to this idea. Injuries don’t concern me, but the whole experience of it does. It’s a whole separate beast playing over there. New culture, language, and just a whole new lifestyle. I don’t want to see an established superstar go over there and face the difficulties that Brandon Jennings did and then come back to the NBA a different player. There’s obviously a chance they come back a BETTER player, but I don’t want to take the risk of Amare coming back without his ferociousness or ‘Melo coming back without his killer appetite for scoring. I don’t want another country getting to witness the best players in the world via some labor issue loophole BS. I want the best product in the world to be right here, exclusively in the best country in the world.

 

I’ll leave you with some Cyhi Da Prince featuring B.O.B., tough ass beat!

It’s Been a Long Time…

I know I’ve been missed. Shit, it’s been months since my last update here, but I’ve been a busy dude. Made a trip to Miami, copped a new job, finished up the school year…and really, I’ve just been hella lazy. I know I’ve missed SOOOOO god damn much, but I’m gonna try to fast forward back to the now in this one single post.

First off, we got BIN LADEN!!!! I’m not one to celebrate the death of anybody, but I like this and I like it a lot. Reason being, this sends the message that if you plan on hurting innocent Americans, you can count on us hunting you down and serving justice on a delicious plate of left-eye destruction.

Mavs won the NBA chip, and the Bruins won the CUP! I like it, I like it a lot. Dirk, my blonde-haired blue-eyed brother from another finally gets the chip he had stolen from him back in Donaghy-gate. This without a doubt cements Dirk as an all-time great. Boston is now officially titletown, and since its about an hour and change from me, I dig that. While we’re on the subject, however, bring back the WHALERS!!!!!

A lot of quality music has dropped since my last visit, I’ll run through a quick list here and add some of my favorites at the bottom. Dom Kennedy- 2: From the Westside with Love, Chris Webby- Webster’s Laboratory, Grives- Together/Apart, Classified- Handshakes and Middle Fingers, Curren$y- Weekend at Burnie’s, Big Sean- Finally Famous, Bad Meets Evil (Royce & Eminem)- Hell, just to rattle off a quick list. I love summer time mayyynnneee!!!!