Archive | April, 2010

Steppin’ Lasers

18 Apr

On Saturday (4/10)  I had the privlege to see one of my favorite hip-hop artists out right now, Lupe Fiasco. The show was nothing short of amazing as the 2 albums he has put out are masterpieces.  The new up and coming artist B.O.B. opened up for him and put on a good set.  The only suprising aspect of the show was the amount of Rock infused band instrumental sets he chose as opposed to the traiditonal DJ sound.  He weaved between track’s from “The Cool” & “Food & Liquor” seemlessly & held a crowd the whole the night.  The last time I saw Lupe was on the Kanye West “Glow In the Dark Tour” and he has certainly grown as an entertainer since that point in time.  My personal highlight from that evening was the imprmoptu 9 minute freestyle at the end of the show (I’ve included the youtube video below).

Here are some moments from the night:

Live Freestyle at the end of the show:

Kobe & Ben

14 Apr

Now that the DA in Georgia has decided against prosecuting Ben Roethlisberger with criminal sexual assault charges, Kobe Bryant’s case has been in mind all the while. Back in 2003 when Kobe was accused of sexual assault he was immediately presumed guilty in the court of public opinion & arrested by the police.  Now in comparison to Bryant, the Roethlisberger allegations were coddled by the media and the level of outrage was mild at best . What’s most disturbing is that this 2nd time Ben was accused of abusive sexual behavior.

Law enforcement also treated these two athletes differently: Case and point, once the allegations were levied against Bryant he was arrested with in 24 hours (see his mug shot below), DA pressed charges, and he had to go on trail.

Once the police were notified about sexual misconduct against Ben, before writing the report the officer took pictures & received an autograph. Furthermore, he was merely interviewed by the police and never formally arrested.  The DA using better judgement decided against taking this case to trail.

It’s obvious and apparent that both of the situations were handled differently. Why did the media treat Kobe & Ben differently?  Why was the public so quick to condemn Bryant but hesitant with Roethlisberger?  I have my natural assumptions but I’m going to spare you & challenge you to give me a reasonable explanation.  I’m not condoning either one of their actions, but I am calling out the self-righteous hyprocisy and selective moral stances of many people who judge. I will say, it’s 2010 and we still can’t get equal treatment from law enforcement, and the media clearly saves vitriol for certain persons of interest. Will this ever change, Lord knows?

Janelle Monae is coming…

12 Apr

Sorry this post is long past delayed but I have had an eventful past few days.  Thursday evening (4/8) I got to see a new artist, Janelle Monae, perform live at the Highline Ballroom with a childhood friend.  I have never seen a show like this before! She represented  and weaved together a mix of “afro” soul, funk, alternative rock, new wave, pop, & pure energy. It was quite the entertaining experience & she is certainly not in the mold today’s traditional urban artists.  She brought an energy from start to finish that left everyone there feeling a certain kind of way.

If you get the chance, I’d encourage you to go see her perform live because it is that good.  The band was impressive, the video visuals added another element, & theatrics only drove home the she really is unique.  It refreshing to see artists who still bring 100% to a shows & rewardtheir fans for coming out.  Get familiar with her music because she is going to take the music industry by storm.  Let me clear there is no one else in her lane right now!  I’m just glad I had the opportunity to witness another star in the making.  When I’m asked to describe her, I say think, a female James Brown combined with Erykah Badu’s musical prowess and you got this remarkably eclectic artist, Janelle Monae.  Here are some photos & videos I was able to capture & find on the net.

Here are some videos which put it all together:

$200 Jeans …

9 Apr

A week or so ago, Rock & Republic announced they were filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection and it only got the wheels in my head turning. My sarcastic rhetorical thought was, “so the $200 pair of jeans company lost its appeal during a recession/economic downturn” but then I considered True Religion & some of the other premium denim companies that are still having retail success. Why is True Religion able to sell jeans at $300 price tag, but Rock & Republic struggles at $220? Perhaps the branding, demand, and design was not that strong after all.

Let’s be honest though, Rock & Republic was late to the premium denim game, furthermore, their downfall has concurrently been in line with Levi’s surge in popularity. Maybe just maybe, people actually do exercise better judgment in discretionary spending in economic tough times. Maybe the hispters, fashionistas, & trendy individuals have opted for $70 denim instead of $200. But then again, denim quality to me at this point in my life is not something I compromise with as it has become common place to wear them to all functions.

As I do own a few pair of their jeans, I can say the lack of consistency in their cut and denim quality definitely did not help their cause; but I do like their jeans. At this point I’m curious to see if all high-end denim can make a comeback & if Levi’s shelf space will decrease.

Usher – “OMG”

6 Apr

Usher is back… this will get lots of video & club play.

Izzo

5 Apr

In a day when college basketball programs are constantly looking for Top 100 recruits & McDonald’s All American’s, Tom Izzo has done remarkable feats while at Mich St.. Year in and year out he finds a way to lead his teams deep into the tournament. Over the past decade, I think the Mich. St. Spartans have produced the best program.

One NCAA Division 1 Championship: (2000)
Six Regional Championships (Final Four’s): (1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2010)

I know other programs have yielded more NBA talent & have won one more championship but this program has been the most consistent regardless of talent level, which is a testament to the coach.  He is running the best program in America! UNC, Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, UConn, and UCLA can not match this kind of consistency!  One could argue Tom Izzo is the best coach in the NCAA basketball today.

Who’s Next Live: J. Cole

4 Apr

I was introduced to him through:

The Come Up

The Warm Up

This past week on Tuesday evening I had the opportunity to see a new and much hyped artist at SOB’s, by the name of J. Cole.  I’m familiar of his music through his mixtapes and guest appearances on other artists records.  Much like Drake, he is a “buzz” artist who has made his was way visa vie the mixtape circuit and heavily relies on his lyrical prowess.  I was skeptical initially about his ability to entertain and perform, but I left SOB’s impressed.  Far too often there are artists who are merely rappers with the inability to entertain & move a crowd; J. Cole does not fall in this bunch.

The show did have a few minor glitches & waiting in the rain/cold for 30 minutes outside wasn’t fun.  Minor un-pleasantries aside, he proved to be a star who is clearly on his way.  Most of the show’s material came from his mixtape “The Warm Up” and he relished in the benefit of a friendly crowd.  The crowd loved his rendition of “Dead President’s II”,  “Grown Simba”, ladies loved “Lights Please”, & everyone was surprised when he introduced a new record “Who Dat”.

It went something like:

In addition to his own music we were treated to other hip-hop luminaries such as Young Chris of  the Young Gunz, Talib Kewli & Hi-Tek.  We got to see Talib Kweli perform “Get By” which was preceded by J. Cole’s mixtape version.  I will not go as far as some; who have called the show a “coronation” but let me be clear, Jay-Z knew he was onto something  when he signed the artist & perhaps another “star is born”.  If you’re unfamiliar with this hip-hop artist I would highly recommend you download his mixtape “The Warm Up”.

I was a part of:

J. Cole

Young Chris

Talib Kweli, J. Cole, & Hi-Tek