Monthly Archives: December 2012

The 70 Best Hip-Hop Tracks of 2012….According to me (70-35)

A common phrase on the internet is “Nas Lost.”  The phrase is usually seen in the comments section of any article about Nas that indicates bad luck for him, and sometimes the news doesn’t even involve him.

Well I think Nas won.

In 2006, Nas’ album Hip-Hop is Dead was released to critical acclaim as well as criticism. The title was thought to be a shot at Southern Hip-Hop and many rappers such as Ludacris, Lil’ Wayne & Young Jeezy spoke out against Nas. Six years later, I think we can say Nas won as I could argue that that album was a landmark in hip-hop music. I’m crediting the release of that album as the moment that hip-hop music began an uphill climb from the fiery pit of snap-rap.

At this point, we should be proud of this past year’s crop of hip-hop songs. The year started off with a excitement and ended with new hope for a better 2013. I’d like to present the 70 best hip-hop songs of the past year according to me.

I ranked these songs according to how much I enjoyed the songs, not lyricism or the quality of the artist. If I thoroughly enjoy a song so much that I expect to be listening to it two years from now, it made this list.

Here we go.

70. Kirko Bangz – “Walk on Green

Labeled a Drake clone by some, this feel-good single for the summer shows Kirko just might be closer to killing all of those comparisons to his Canadian contemporary.

Best line: “Throw about twenty grand in the air / Told her walk up on that green”

69. Action Bronson – “Hookers at the Point

There might not be a better rapper in the game at the moment who could craft together the world of a hooker so effortlessly. A take on the HBO documentary of the same name, the second verse features Bronson doing his best Ghostface Killah impersonation as he raps as the vicious pimp Silk aka Montel.

Best Line: “The name Silk but all my bitches call me Montel / spit the marvel with the soft top not the hard shell.”

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When Quarterbacks and TV Personalities Act Out: My thoughts on the benching of Mark Sanchez & Rob Parker

Rex Ryan didn’t even wait until the team had left Nashville to inform Mark Sanchez that he had lost his job. Never mind the fact that the Jets skipped over Tim Tebow to start Greg McElroy, Jets fans should be rejoicing. The emotional, turnover machine will be taking his talents to the bench, where he should have been two seasons ago. Crazy thing is, the guy is owed $8 million next season. EIGHT MILLION DOLLARS.

Here were my two main issues with Mark Sanchez:

1. I’ve never saw any signs

Signs of what you might ask? Signs of him having potential to be a great quarterback. As a NY Jet fan, how do you watch Andrew Luck, RGIII, Russell Wilson and to some extent Ryan Tannehill and not be disappointed about your quarterback situation. When the ball is released from Sanchez’s hand, sure it looks pretty. But all of those pretty thoughts wash away once you watch it land ten yards away from the nearest receiver. And I’ll admit, he doesn’t have the greatest supporting cast (Shonn Greene is terrible) this season. I’ve also said from the beginning that the signing of Tim Tebow would have an effect on the psyche of Sanchez so him having his worst season as a pro is no surprise to me. But with Mark Sanchez, did anyone expect anything much better than a career game-manager?

2. He turns the ball over at an alarming rate

The guy has 80 turnovers over the past two seasons. EIGHTY. Including one of the worst I’ve ever seen. If I hear the Jets lost a football game, there are two things I always know: He’s thrown an interception and his total passing yards are under 250. It’s like death and taxes, Mark Sanchez turnovers are certain. Rex Ryan warned him after the Cardinals game two weeks ago that turnovers would not be allowed. Since then, Sanchez has had six turnovers….FIVE in last night’s Titans game.

 

Do I think Mark Sanchez’s career as a pro is over? No. But he has a tough, long long way to go before his career is defined by his skill set and not what the rest of his team was able to do for him.

 

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Last week, the world heard Rob Parker talking out of the wrong hole again.

I’m not the biggest fan of ESPN’s First Take. An avid viewer from the Cold Pizza days, the show lost me once they hired Stephen A. Smith full time. I have no serious issue with Stephen A, I just preferred the former format which involved bringing in other opinions to combat Skip Bayless. My favorite guests: The 2 Live Stews. My least favorite? Rob Parker.

I’ve never cared for any of his opinions. He always seemed as if he was coming from left field on any issue for the sole purpose of shock. Last Wednesday was the worst example of this as he described Washington Redskins star Robert Griffin III as maybe being a “cornball brother” and not “down with the cause.”  He also said Griffin doesn’t seem like the type of brother anyone wants to hang with although his jersey sales say otherwise. This is what he says is being discussed in the barbershops. His reasoning? He has a white wife and he THINKS he might be a republican.

 

I‘ve already explained why I don’t listen to anything in barber shops. There is no rich and poor barbershop, there is just the barbershop downtown, everyone goes to the same shops. So all kinds of opinions will come up. As I’m sure some idiot somewhere had this opinion, I’m sure someone else in whatever shop Rob goes to said the opposite.

Now…..Cornball brother?

Stop. For those who didn’t get it, Rob Parker was trying to see if Robert Griffin was an “Uncle Tom” or “sellout.” A black person who has forgotten where they came from and will do anything to support the white man over the black man, essentially putting down his people. It’s a very offensive term as no one wants to be called something with such a deep history behind it without any evidence. This was my main problem with Parker’s comments – He doesn’t know Robert Griffin. One of the main reasons I’ve been a fan of Robert Griffin is because he’s a black quarterback that actually looked like he had potential to be truly great. If he came out and said he didn’t want to be black, it would hurt me. But when did he say this? Not one time did he say he didn’t want to be black. He only said he wants to be recognized for being a great quarterback and not just a great quarterback. Is there something wrong with that? Is there something really wrong with wanting to be compared with Steve Young(who is the best comparison) rather than Warren Moon? When someone compares RG3 to Michael Vick, I just assume they haven’t watched him play football.

Robert Griffin has a white girl by his side. So what, who really cares about that? You should get your mental priorities right if you’re worried about who some man you don’t know is going to bed with. Fact remains is he wants to marry someone who he loves. Much better than some other ball players who can’t seem to keep “it” to themselves and have multiple children by multiple women. And the notion that Robert Griffin is a Republican is ridiculous because he’s specifically said he’ll never comment on his political allegiance, and even if he was, what does that matter? Just because you have different beliefs doesn’t make you an Uncle Tom.

If anything, we should all want to be more like the guy. He seems to have his head on straight, is exceptional on the field and seems to be a great oral communicator. Thankfully most people realized Rob Parker is ridiculous and not an accurate representation of the black community. Sad when you have to see a black man trying to take another black man down.

 

 

R.I.P. to the victims in the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy.

Hopefully we as a nation can come together and figure out why psychotic sociopaths keep slipping through the cracks.

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Do Guys really take 10 minutes to get ready?

Girls take more time to get ready than guys.

Well, most guys at least. Conventional wisdom says girls have to shower. They have to do six different activities all compiled into the blanket statement of “do makeup.” They have their hair to do. They have to spend an extra 45 minutes picking out an outfit. And then another 15 minutes changing their mind and going for the more conservative dress. Meanwhile, guys? Well we just shower, toss on a Polo and call it a night.

Wrong.

At least that isn’t true for about the 40% of men who actually care about looking like a respectable citizen. If you’re between the ages of 22-35 and you’re single, chances are you’ve probably attempted to dress decent on a night out. If you haven’t and don’t care that you haven’t, just go ahead and start picking out cats to prepare for the rest of your life as the single, creepy and possible pedophile neighbor. If you can’t respect yourself and the way you look, what makes you think anyone else will?

So ladies, what d0 we guys do to get ready for a night on the prowl? I’m here to explain. It’s a long process that begins days in advance and doesn’t just take ten minutes. And it starts with the haircut.

A. The Haircut

Most guys plan the haircut at most, two days before. The process is tedious, but must be done. We do two days so we don’t come out looking as if we tried too hard.

B. Picking the outfit

Guys divide their wardrobes into two categories before we go out: “Clothes I’d wear out” and “Clothes I’d wear to check the mail.” I’ve probably got 17 shirts in my closet that I’d wear when I needed to throw on something to go nowhere.  Would I ever wear any of those shirts to the latest nightspot? Not a chance.

Now the shirts we would wear, we’re thinking about the message it sends(Unless it’s a new shirt, in which case we’re wearing regardless). And we also have to iron the shirt. This day and age you can’t just grab the wrinkled Polo in the back without looking like an amateur.

C. The Right Shoes

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Take a look at the dirty Nike’s all of your male friends have sitting in the corner. We love those shoes. They get us through workouts, perfect to grocery shop in and they keep your feet comfortable at the company picnic. But when it’s time to go out, lets leave those in the corner. Hopefully most guys have a decent pair of loafers or nice sneakers. This part of the process doesn’t take as long, but is very important to the night.

D. Shave!!

Black Man shaving!

We have to shave! It’s necessary. Even men like myself with Tommy Pickles syndrome aka The Baby Face have some kind of noticeable hair that we need to shave. The Wolfman gets no love so why even attempt to look like him? This usually comes after the shower but some guys love to skip shaving. And then they get angry when that unsightly neck hair starts itching three hours later.

E. Cologne

man spraying aftershave

Among the basics is selecting the right cologne. Most men I know have at least two bottles of cologne: One for regular nights and One for special nights. You have to smell good anytime you step out the house. You can be dressed like the flyest guy on planet earth but if your breath smells like horse hiccups, no one is going to want to be around you. The conscious man knows this and takes care of his mouth and his body odor. Be aware because other people are.

Now whether this takes you 30 minutes or two hours, guys have to make sure these things are done. Women may have more to get done but don’t underestimate the process that a guy goes through and how much time it might take him. Hopefully this opens women into our world just a bit. Or at any rate, inspires that smelly guy at the end of the bar to hop in the shower once a day.

“I mean, look, dude. You think this, all of this, was an accident?  All of this right here? Premeditated, partner. You gotta highlight your attributes, like a diamond in the rough.” — Romany Malco, The 40-Year-Old Virgin

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What I Hate about the Barber Shop

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Every two weeks, I need a haircut.

A new haircut is a beautiful thing to a man, specifically to a black man such as myself who probably needs his hair cut more often than my brethren of other races. The right hair cut can boost your confidence; you feel like a new, more attractive man. I’ve gotten some haircuts that have made me feel like I should have earned a spot in People Magazine’s Top 10. With some clippers and 30-45 minutes, a barber has the power to make you feel like a million bucks.

 

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But with great power, comes great responsibility.

I hate going into most barbershops. Let me repeat that, I hate going into most barbershops.

I’ve said to myself many times, once I become a millionaire and not a dollanaire, I’ll hire a personal barber. Minus my time up north, I have a so-so experience in barbershops 70% of the time. It all starts when you walk in the door.

1. Getting skipped over on the haircut list

When you enter a barbershop, most of the time you’re supposed to sign a list. The list usually requires your name, time you entered and preference of barber. Sounds like a great system, right? Only problem with this is sometimes, you get skipped over for the homeboy of the barber. After a while, you notice you’ve been sitting down for 45 minutes with no haircut, even though you know you were the only one who signed up for “Teddy.”  To prevent this, what works for me is to come in, sign up and immediately go shake up the barber who I want to cut my hair so that he knows his loyal customer has entered the building. Being assertive in barbershops is key.

 

2. The Lonely Barber

You all know the lonely barber. In a barber shop, usually you have two-three reliable cutters. And then there’s that fourth guy in the corner sitting in his own chair. The high school dropout who the shop owner is doing a favor by giving him a job. The guy who on the busiest day for barbers, Saturday, is reduced to taking lunch orders. You can usually find the lonely barber sweeping hair from yesterday just to feel busy. There is no worse feeling than being in a rush and trying to slide in the shop, only to find the only available barber is The Lonely Barber. Dialogue goes as follows:

(LB looks away from his twitter account on his cell phone and over at you)

LB: I got you over here.
(You pretend you didn’t hear)
LB: Hey you need a haircut?
You: Nah, I’m good.

“I’m good.” Worst words he can hear. Unless you  want to end up with the Andrew Bynum special, I’d stay away.

 

3. Uninformed Barbers

Do I really need to explain what a 1.5 Taper fade is to a barber? Doesn’t barber school teach these things? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to sit in a barber’s chair and explain simple concepts of a haircut to a BARBER. When I’m having to explain to you what “cut it low” means, we have a problem.

 

4. Ridiculous Sports Conversations

Understand, everyone thinks they’re a sports expert in their own right. But trust me on this, you won’t hear more ridiculous sports opinions than in a barber shop.

Examples of things I’ve heard in a barbershop:

“Allen Iverson might be the greatest basketball player of all time.”
Football is a mental game, you have to use your brain and your smarts.”
“Alabama wins National Championships off of their QB play.”
“Tyson Chandler would shut down Patrick Ewing in the post.”

It’s statements like these that keep me silent and zoned out while in a barbershop.

 

Moral of this post: When you find a good barber, keep him or her.

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