Frank Martin: “I’ve got issues…”

Franky

Heeeere’s Franky

ESPN-“I screwed up,” Martin said Friday, a day after the school suspended him for Saturday’s regular-season finale at Mississippi State. “I’m not perfect. I’ve got issues and I’ve got to work through them.”

Would have never, EVER guessed that Frank Martin had personal issues he needed to work through. Sure, I’ve seen more diversity inside of a Springfield check cashing bodega than I have on Frank Martin’s google image page but I didn’t think his perpetual loaf pinching face meant he was potentially unstable. Really makes me question my own sanity…

In other surprising news this week a 6’10”, 210 lb. 19-year old black dude has the most potential upside of all NBA rookies, Asians are as bad at flying as they are at driving, and I dropped at 45-wiper this morning.

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Richie Incognito Is A Nut…

Richie...owning the devil on his shoulder

Richie…owning the devil on his shoulder

Richie Incognito is undergoing treatment at a psych ward…honestly. I really can hardly believe it myself.

In other surprising news Russia is taking military action on a former Soviet Republic, the Knicks are an embarrassment to the NBA, Chris Bosh supports a ban on homosexual slurs (such a queer), Jonathan Martin is a pussy, and I took a sloppy dump this morning.

Cowards…

Two years later I’m back and I ‘d be hesitant to say “better than ever…” I’m now a home owner being compensated (semi-well to well) by a great company for doing a job that I thoroughly enjoy yet I’m more poor than ever. I literally just collected sticks and pine needles in my backyard to burn for heat so I can just for a brief moment delay the never-ending waterfall of heating oil. I really need to get a sugar mama up in this bitch.

Sob story aside, I’ve got a little bit of free time these days so let’s see what we can do here.

Gold chains & dicky-do's

Gold chains & dicky-do’s

Some Quickies…

cp3

The Most Prized Piece in the NBA

This week’s Quickie Edition is headlined by the one and only Chris Paul. There’s been some serious squabbling going on in the NBA since last week when David Stern vetoed a deal that would have sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers for a pack of over-aged, over-priced stars (Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Lamar Odom). Everyone in the league and media were up in arms about the Angel of Stern flexing power he shouldn’t have.

I’m not going to debate about the correctness of the veto. The bottom line about the veto is this: the NBA owns the Hornets, so Stern has every right to veto this trade as part-owner. Whether or not it was right, it was fully within Stern’s rights. Complicated, but not really.

Now, Stern claims hit was vetoed due to “basketball reasons”, and while it seemed every member of the media was crying that this was as fair as a trade as the Hornets could ever get. It was said that the rebuilding effort was perfectly set-up by acquiring the talent listed above (all near or above 30), and that Stern robbed GM Dell Demps of a deal that the Hornets CLEARLY came out ahead in.

Well, another trade proposal has come to light that proves that all these “experts” are retarded. All it took was an extra couple of days and the Hornets seem to have transitioned from 3 elderly talents and a #1 pick, to grabbing 2 young studs, 1 HUGE expiring contract and another #1 pick. Word on the street is the Clips have offered Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman and a #1 pick for Paul. This was exactly why Stern HAD to veto the Lakers trade- CP3 is a SUPER MEGA STAR, and he was 100% worth more than the lot of good players that the Hornets were originally set to receive.

In Gordon, the Hornets are set to receive a young star that is BETTER than all the players involved in the Lakers deal NOW. And at 23, the kid’s got a ceiling that’s about as high as any 2-guard in the league. The owners may still have a beef becuase Paul’s still going to a large-market, but there’s absolutely NO reason this deal should be vetoed. Throw in Aminu who’s a 21 year-old oozing potential, and Kaman’s expiring contract, this deal is proof that not only COULD the Hornets do better, but that Stern’s veto had some legitimate merit to it.

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 Next, The Roots just dropped their latest studio effort Undun, and from the first listen, it’s a must get. The Roots crew is one of my favorite hip-hop acts of all time. I love their style which always features live instruments, and Black Thought is easily one of the 10 best rappers of all time. Undun is a concept album along the lines of Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool,  following a fictional character Redford Stephens from birth to death in a story of the streets.

The storyline of this album is so well-developed and so deep that Black Thought has already touched on the possibility of a movie: “It’s definitely a set-up for there to be something cinematic or theatrical,”. That’s a high expectation for a rap album, but it’s been up to par thus far.

Check out my favorite song from the album below, “Make My” featuring a Universe favorite Big K.R.I.T.

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.

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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.

 

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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:

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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”

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

First, rest in peace to Dan Uggla’s bid for Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak. Uggla went 0-for on Sunday against the Cubs to halt his season long 33 game hit streak. Uggla’s been awful this year so far, and it would have been comical if we had a man of Uggla’s resume coming close to the greatest record in all of sports.

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Some NBA stuff:

Josh “Jorts” Harrellson made the news, and not for his Bill Wenningtonesque skills. The New York Knicks draftee (whom I strongly disapproved of here) spent his Sunday night out in Lexington getting sauced up at a local watering hole…and the simple fact that this story does not end with Jorts getting arrested is proof enough to me that he will never be in the NBA. I guess Jorts and some redneck homies were just hanging out by their truck just like rednecks do (you know, go to a bar, get drunk, but hang outside of the bar gathered around the rigs) when some drunk bastard comes stumbling out of the bar, jumps in his hemi, and punches it in reverse right at Jorts and his crew. Assuming that this was not a rabid Knicks fan, that was a hell of a scare for Jorts, I believe that.

jh

Jorts

Anyway, Jorts clears house of his friends, lets his truck get smashed and then proceeds to disable the driver and his trucklike some 7 foot, 350-pound, ogre-ish, Steve Segal….wait….Jorts proceeds to disable the driver and his truck like Steve Segal. Noticed some redundancy there. So, shit, Jorts is already warming himself up to the media…maybe I’m wrong about this guy’s chances in the league.

Onto another subject, it looks like the NBA players are going to do everything they can to prove me wrong when I called their overseas bluff. With there being talks of everyone from Kobe to Metta World Peace playing in every league but the NBA, it’s not looking so good for my prediction of the Pros staying home. That being said, I’m still holding on to that prediction, I think a lot of this is a smoke show to add to the Union’s leverage. If the players show they don’t need the owners, the owners may turn in to that slightly better looking boyfriend who never appreciated his younger girlfriend until he saw her on the arm of the nerdy kid from their neighborhood, which caused the better looking boyfriend to fall into a tailspin of “Pleaaaaaaaase take me backkkkk”.

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.

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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.