Fact: I need an ego check from time-to-time

Let’s be real, it’s not that tough being a guy.

If I want to go to the mall, I don’t stop and put on my makeup. I pick up my gym shorts, throw on some Sperry’s and glide right out my front door. Bad hair days(at least what women experience) are non-existent. I’ve never once thought about pregnancy but believe me, I’m counting my blessings every 17 minutes that I don’t have to go through with it. The only time of the month I’m thinking about is which weekend I’m going to spend $15+ at Popeye’s Chicken.

The long-debated double standard does exist. Amongst other men, a guy who can bed different women on a frequent basis is looked at as the man. Vice-versa, a woman who does the same gets the Scarlet Letter treatment. A man can go single for years and he’s “just looking for the right one.” A woman who can’t keep/attract a man probably has a terminal disease.
The one area where we men seem to have more problems with? Our egos.

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If a guy tells you he doesn’t have an ego, he’s a liar. We all do. The biggest test most men face is whenever our manhood is challenged.  I once saw a confrontation in high school where a guy was threatened by a much bigger guy. Knowing he was outmatched, but not wanting to look weak, he attempted some verbal abuse. Paul Bunyan Jr wasn’t having it. He shoved the smaller guy to the ground….where he immediately began screaming in the highest pitch possible. It was like watching Problem Child 2 all over again. The crazy thing is, you see examples everywhere.

Ever met the guy who won’t shut up about his accomplishments in meaningless contests? I know guys who have attended parties and spent an hour arguing their proficiency in playing video games with his hand behind his back. As if that’s tough to do. One of my best friends recently showed me a bruise that looked as if he lost a fight with a hedgehog. How’d he get it? By playing intramural softball on the bruise for three weeks and refusing to treat it. I lost a piece of my pinkie toe trying to show a Michael Jackson dance move to a roommate and refused to sit out an intramural football contest three hours later. If you haven’t gotten the point yet, we can be idiots.

I experienced an ego-check about a month ago when I was challenged to a duel to the death. It was only a basketball game but when you get approached by two 17-year-old kids threatening to destroy you, you’re going to take offense.  I gave my buddy Joe the nod and let him know that I was about to put on my Michael Jordan cape. Here’s the thing though, I don’t have a Michael Jordan cape. In my own mind, I’m all-world on the basketball court and could have been the next Moochie Norris had someone worked on fundamentals when I was a young pup. In reality, I’m a rangy, athletic guy with a mean jump shot who can’t seem to drive the basketball. And while these kids, were no Lebron James & Mo Williams….one of the kids was really good. And a tad to quick for me to care to chase around all day.

After winning the first contest and losing the second, a turning point came in the third game when I realized something: I was counting my stats. Not just making mental notes. Actually counting and playing towards certain stats. The worst level of douchery you could ever hope to achieve as a basketball player.

I had risen the level of such legendary basketball players such as Javale McGee & Andray Blatche.
And of course because I was acting like a loser, Joe and I ended up losing the game and I learned a couple of hard lessons that day.

1.) I learned I’m not a professional basketball player, nor am I getting paid like one.

2.) I can be a selfish asshole sometimes.

As much as guys hate losing, we all need these ego checks. Getting snapped back into reality is how we stay grounded as men. The best move is to accept praise, but never think too deeply about it. Now if we could just figure out women and responsibility….

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Make no mistake about it, Wheelchair Jimmy can rap: The 11 Best Lines from “5 a.m. in Toronto”

 

Man, has Wheelchair Jimmy made a name for himself or what?

Ever since he hit the scene, Aubrey “Drake” Graham has been on a quest for greatness. By his carefully planned tours(notice who he invites on tours and what they have in common,) his methodical approach to his albums and the strategic releases of his singles, it’s easy to see Drake is aiming for more than just critical acclaim – He wants to be great.

Although I may question his behavior and his sometimes monotonous voice, I can’t deny his ability the rap. He’s one of the most lyrical mainstream rappers out, so when he drops a single, most will listen. “Started from the Bottom” is okay and a pretty decent single but it doesn’t do too much for me.

“5 a.m. in Toronto” though? Flames.

Over a nasty Boi-1da instrumental, Drake takes a bushido blade and slices and dices his way through the murky piano loops, taking subtle but vicious jabs at his foes. Rumored lines towards Common(!), Chris Brown(!!) and the Weeknd(!!!) may have the internet buzzing, but what caught my attention is the amount of quotables present in this track. Drake was coming for the crown when he stepped in the booth and recorded this one.

With that said, here are the 11 Best lines from “5 a.m. in Toronto.”

11. “A couple albums dropped those are still on the shelf/I bet them shits would have popped if I was willing to help/ I got a gold trophy from the committee for validation…”

Meaning: Drake’s throwing shots at The Weeknd, allegedly for falling back on signing with Drake’s label. The Weeknd’s “Trilogy” could have done better with some real Drake features, just ask the Grammy committee.

Although it’s another example of the hyper-sensitive nature of rappers, it’s still a vicious statement from Drake. Why? Because if you think about it, he’s right.

10. “Without me, rap is just a bunch of orphans”

Meaning: Drake’s style has birthed a lot of rappers in the game *cough*Kirko Bangz*cough*

I tend to agree with this line as it seems to me that Drake has become a very influential rapper in the game at the moment. There are some rappers who take elements of his gameplan and make it work for them, while there are others…who are clones. Once again, *cou— No I’ll just say it, KIRKO BANGZ.

9. “B*tches loving my drive, I never give it a break”

Meaning: Girls love his ambition and how he never takes a break….Can also mean his sex drive….can also be driving as in a car and braking a car.

Amongst all of the other great lines, you might have missed this gem of a triple entendre. I swear, in between the corny sweaters, poses and public incidents, I forget Drake can rap sometimes.

 

8. “Cuz I show love, never get the same out of n*ggas, guess it’s funny how money can make change out of n*ggas”

Meaning: Once people get a little money and fame, they change. A play on the word, “change.”

Is this the realest statement Drake’s ever wrote? Although I’m quite sure there are some people who will tell you the same thing about young Aubrey.

7. “Wildin, doing sh*t that’s way out of your budget, Owl sweaters inside her luggage you gotta love it”

Meaning: Drake’s treating your girl to things you could never do for her.

I like Drake as a rapper, but he’s a known hater. “Marvin’s Room” was the thirstiest song of all time and he hasn’t changed since. If your girl is so tacky that she’s leaving Drake’s Ovo sweaters in her luggage, you need to drop her immediately. The fact that she’s slipping out on you with a guy who wears Owl sweaters should be the only excuse you need.

6. “I could load every gun with bullets that fire backwards, probably wouldn’t lose a single rapper”

Meaning: No real rappers are taking shots at Drake so he’s not worried.

Drake trying to get philosophical on the fans. Once he figures out how to make bullets that fire backwards, I’m sure the U.S. government will be knocking down his door.

5. “Give these n*ggas the look, the verse and even the hook, that’s why every song sound like Drake featuring Drake”

Meaning: If you listen to most of what’s out now, Drake has had such a hand in the music industry that everything sounds like his song.

He’s got a point, he’s everywhere. Outside of 2Chainz, Drake is everywhere. Which is why I found Drake’s position at #5 on MTV’s Hottest Emcee’s List absurd.

4. “Sinatra lifestyle/ I’m just being frank with you/ I mean, where you think she at when she ain’t with you?

Meaning: Shots at Chris Brown. Frank as in Frank Ocean, another person who dislikes Chris Brown.

Drake’s hurling shots at Chris Brown like fireballs. Another hater line but if there is anyone that deserves everything coming his direction, it’s Chris Shakur himself.

3. “The part I love most is they need me more than they hate me, so they never take shots I got everybody on safety”

Meaning: As much as people hate to admit it, Drake dominates the charts. So no one ever takes real shots at him.
Like him or hate him, check the billboards, he’s EVERYWHERE. “No Lie,” “Pop That,” “Amen,” “Poetic Justice,” “F*ckin Problems”….do I need to go on?

2. “All them boys in my will, All them boys is my Wills, anything happen to pop then I got you like Uncle Phil”

Meaning: Playing on “Will.” If anything happens to Drake, his closest friends will be in his will, he’ll take care of them like Uncle Phil did Will on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

Sure, I’m giving this line more props because I love Fresh Prince. But who doesn’t love Fresh Prince? Plus, the line was actually clever.

1. “You underestimated greatly, most number ones ever how long did it really take me?”

Meaning: People doubted Drake but in 2 years, he’s already achieved the most number one rap songs ever, ahead of Diddy & Jay-Z.

Very impressive. Drake is a sure thing for hit, more so than any artist in recent memory. And more so than his lesser talented boss Lil’ Wayne. The opening line of the track is it’s best line, starting off the song reminding people who really runs the rap game, despite what some people say.

 

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I Hate Sensitive Rappers

 

I hate sensitive rappers. As a fan of rap music ever since I can remember, I can say with full confidence that I like my rappers tough. You don’t need to be the toughest Joe Schmo on the block, you just need to seem like every statement you spit on the microphone could be true. I don’t find people like J. Cole sensitive because he doesn’t rap over hard-hitting Mike Will/Lex Luger/Young Chop beats. Yet I find Kanye West sensitive for crying over MTV’s Hottest Emcee’s list and bringing up how he gave Sway a TV back in the day. :facepalm:

Sad thing is, it took me 10 years to realize that this is what I like most about rappers. I had always thought it was just mainstream radio that bothered me but it turns out I’d just rather not hear Drake talking about “busting a gun out” or “catching a body.”

Which brings me to the topic at hand today..your favorite rapper is sensitive. Super sensitive. A few weeks ago, Lil’ Wayne, upset that while sitting court side at Miami Heat games the players don’t acknowledge him, decided to go postal and dismiss Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He saved his harshest words for Bosh, claiming he slept with Chris’ wife…before they were married.

Now Lil Wayne being sensitive is no surprise. Who cares if you slept with her, you’re a superstar. For someone who claims to be a G, that was definitely not a gangster move.

The bad thing about liking my rappers tough, is that they realize that most people do. And because of this, they feel a need to over-exaggerate their personality. Remember Bow Wow’s “I might be from Atlanta, I might be from Ohio” stage? Chris Brown working hard each and every day to make me like him even less?  Rappers want attention and fame so they act tough, simple as that.

Once you realize this, you’ll be much better off as a rap fan 🙂

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2013…What I’ve liked and disliked (so far)

Personally, 2013 has been a wonderful year for me. New relationships, good times, decent money, new ideas….I can’t complain. So far this year, we’ve seen the Golden Globes, new hip-hop albums from A$ap Rocky and Joe Budden, the National Championship and the Super Bowl.

The news hasn’t disappointed either with interesting and sometimes sad stories filling our television screens.Here’s what I’ve liked so far:

 


 

Artists I support racking up Grammys:
Watching the 2013 Grammy Awards was like one triumphant fist bump after another for me. After an entire year of singing the praises of Frank Ocean, Miguel & The Black Keys, all three collected awards at this year’s show.

 

The actual Super Bowl game:
Although I could care less about either team, I was surprised to see a competitive and hard-fought game. I found myself leaning towards the Ravens but being non-committed to either team, my emotions wavered the entire game. Did Joe Flacco take that invisible next step this game?

 

Beyonce Halftime Performance:
Not the biggest fan of her music as it seems to not be catered towards my demo….but….she killed it. I even enjoyed the Destiny’s Child mini-reunion. If you hate Beyonce at this point, accept your invitation to next year’s Playa Hater’s Ball.

 

ASAP Rocky’s First Week sales:
Normally having your album leak a month before it’s due would be a death curse….not for one of Harlem’s own. Rocky sold around 140k his first week. I even bought the deluxe best buy copy as I’m a sucker for t-shirts.

 

Season Four of Justified:


One of the best shows on television continued it’s fourth season this year. If early action of the first half of the season continue, this could be the best season of the series yet. The acting is as good as you’ll see on television.

 

Watching Sloane Stephens defeat Serena Williams in the Australian Open:
As much as I support Serena, it was good to see her eventual successor as best American female tennis player get her first big victory over such a polarizing figure. More wins will come Sloane.

 

The Silver Linings Playbook; A Haunted House:
I was pleasantly surprised by the The Silver Linings Playbook; great cast, interesting story and even slight and not overbearing humor. I’ll listen more often to movies a special person recommends to me from now on. Meanwhile A Haunted House was exactly what I expected it to be: not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination but gets the job done by making me laugh. That’s all I ask from the Wayans Brothers.

 

Mixtapes keep getting better:
We are all spoiled by the hip-hop mixtape game. Rappers are putting out album quality tapes and because of the quantity of music released in this day and age, most of the music only has replay value for a week or less. Gucci Mane kept pushing with Trap God 2, Pusha T might have reignited his buzz with Wrath of Caine and Kevin Gates threw his name into the Newcomer of the Year hat with the Luca Brasi story.

 

Mike Will Made It Breakfast Club Interview:

 

This interview not only let me get a look into the mind of one of the hottest producers out at the moment, but also showed me that Mike just sees music in a different light than anyone else doing it in hip-hop.

 

JT is back:
When Justin Timberlake announced he was returning to music, I had no idea he meant so soon. He dropped “Suit & Tie” to rave reviews before releasing “Mirrors.” With artists like Frank Ocean, Miguel & The Weeknd, maybe this will be what R&B needs to return to relevance. At best, maybe it will help Trey Songz put more thought and emotion into his music.

 

 

Chris Brown:
Just when you think it’s safe to like Chris Brown, he does something to make you remember why you don’t care for him in the first place. Until further notice, Chris Brown will be referred to as “Chris Shakur” since he seems to think he’s thugging. This year so far has seen Chris Brown get into a fight with Frank Ocean over a parking spot(allegedly) and injure his hand. We don’t know who started the fight but I think I’d rather spew my venom to the woman-beating, gay-slur screaming psycho Chris Shakur.

 

Lupe Fiasco kicked off stage at an Inauguration Party for anti-Obama remarks:
Now even though the real loser in this situation is whoever invited Lupe, Lupe is going to take the blame here. Whether you like President Obama or not, the event was in support of the President. Instead, this idiot comes on stage and starts to preach his alien nonsense before being thrown off stage. Are you really going to trust a man who dressed as Whoopi Goldberg for the Grammy’s?

 

Beef in Hip-Hop:
What a sad day we live in when 2013 beef consists of Meek Mill vs. Cassidy & Drake vs. Chris Brown. Does anyone care about Meek & Cassidy? Instead of focusing so much of his attention on Cassidy, Meek Mill should focus on making a better second album after setting a new standard for mediocrity with Dreams and Nightmares. 

And I can’t be the only one who feels as if Drake vs. Chris Brown is equivalent to Letoya Luckett vs. Kelly Rowland? These are two guys arguing over the affection of Rihanna. RIHANNA. Not a good look for either of them.

 

Steve Francis sneaking into All-Star Weekend looking fresh off a 30-year bid:

 

Let’s see….we’ve got up-and-coming rapper French Montana. NBA Legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving. And what looks like Dr J’s cracked-out older brother…oh wait…that’s just Steve Francis.

I have no desire to see any of my favorite players after a certain age. After watching Mitch Richmond in the celebrity all star game last year,  I was scared for life. Steve Francis is only 35 years old.  And he already resembles a junkie. The years have not been good to Stevie Franchise.

 

Manti Teo: A Catfish Story
Whether Teo was really Catfish’d or not, one thing is clear: the guy has the IQ of a potato. How do you get duped for three years? The worst part of all this? I was all in on Teo winning the Heisman and a big reason for this was what he had to overcome during the season.

 

The Lakers sink to new lows:


Here’s your starting five: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard. How can you be so bad? Old, yes. Slow, definitely. Injury-ridden, of course. But a team with three MVPs and too many all-star appearances to count shouldn’t be this terrible.

 

People complaining and arguing Kaleidoscope Dream over Channel Orange:
Do I prefer MIguel’s album to Frank’s? I do. But do I feel it was a big urban misjustice to see Frank nomimated? Not at all. Both great albums with their  individual flaws, but Frank winning more isn’t a slight to Miguel. It’s a sign of more good things to come from music.

 

Lil’ Wayne finding new lows for lyricism:
“Beat that p**** up like Emmett Till”
This is an actual line from the remix of Future’s “Karate Chop,” an otherwise great, high-energy song featuring Lil’ Wayne. This is the problem with music: too many yes men. I’m sure during the process of recording, someone  heard this lyric and hated it. Yet no one said anything because he’s Lil’ Wayne. Even Stevie Wonder had a problem with this.

 

The existence of Azealia Banks:


She makes headlines for her controversies more so than her music. You forget the chick can actually spit because she just doesn’t know when to shut up. I can’t support artists like this. If you’re going to constantly let trolls such as Perez Hilton continue to bait you, you’re never going to get anywhere.

 

Lost rappers remain lost:
Who told Master P it was a good idea to keep rapping? Oh yeah, someone with an ice cream cone on their face. Master P,trying to rekindle magic from the mid-90’s recruits Alley Boy & Fat Trel for a mixtape titled, “Louie V Mob” and no one checked for it. Kris Kross is apparently considering a comeback. For the last time, would someone let lost rappers know the truth! I’m more surprised Kris Kross are even still in contact with each other, much less considering a comeback.

 

Stay tuned for my next blog post concerning the next artists to blow….

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The 70 Best Hip-Hop Tracks of 2012 (34-1)

The first edition of this list was met with praise and also some scrutiny. Here’s the second and final installment.

34. Game – “Heaven’s Arms

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Game had a big 2012 as he managed to put together an album full of features that actually sounded pretty good. My personal favorite was this track which featured Game putting on a lyrical clinic over a smooth Michael Jackson sample.

Best Line: “He be where the summer be, I be where the winter go”

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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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Come and have a good time with G.O.O.D. Music: “Cruel Summer” Review

After releases from two of the other major camps in Hip-Hop music, Kanye West presents his crew’s offering to the world with: “G.O.O.D. Music: Cruel Summer.”

Weird album covers aside, the 12-track LP actually features some great production, clever lyrics and classy features as well. Opening with Kanye West and a re-energized R. Kelly singing “To the World.” Listening to the first song, you get the impression that Kanye feels as he and his crew are on top of the world and everyone else can only look in admiration. Never short of big boasts, Kanye proclaims himself “the god emcee” while R.Kelly proclaims “The whole world is a couch/B*tch I’m Rick James and I’m not giving a f*ck tonight.” Any Dave Chappelle reference is going to be a hit to me.

Some of the more known songs follow as Big Sean gets a feature with his two idols ‘Ye and Jay-Z. We all know “Mercy” but one of the other standouts is “New God Flow.” The original leak only showcased Pusha T & Kanye. The album cut features the man whom the song samples, Pretty Tony himself Ghostface Killah. Ghost comes through and puts the nail in the coffin with a verse reminiscent of his Supreme Clientele days.

Directly after is “The Morning,” where another legendary Wu-Tang Clan member “The Chef” Raekwon comes through and provides one of the best verses on the entire album.  On a beat that sounds more complex than you would imagine, The Chef spits some of his more hard-hitting rhymes of the past few years. “They yellin’ Chef, kill the plate with the cooks/I said ‘Ye with 2 chainz on, we Common let’s push”…..if you can’t get it, I even spelled the names out in the line.

While “The Morning” is great, it also showcases one of my biggest criticisms of the album: Common has maybe seven bars on the entire album and they’re on this song.  SEVEN BARS ON THE ENTIRE ALBUM. And here’s another shocker: Mos Def has none. How Chief Keef finds his way on the album Mos Def doesn’t is beyond me. Two of the best rappers on the roster need a little more time on the album. Not even a Q-Tip showing! And there was plenty of space for them as the album is only 12 tracks long. On my first listen, I was completely caught off guard when the album ended. If I’m going to continue to buy more albums, I’m going to need a bit more than 12 tracks.

All-in-all, the album is very solid from start to finish. Ma$e shows up with a surprising stand-out verse on “Higher” and John Legend and Teyana Taylor actually sound really good together on “Bliss.” The only artist on the roster to receive a solo track, Kid Cudi gives you another offering of basic Kid Cudi. While I’m a fan of his work and this short hymn was enough to get me excited for future releases, “Creepers” seemed more like an interlude than actual track. I felt as if on a 12-song album with no Mos Def and not enough Common, a 2 minute Kid Cudi hymn could have been left for a mixtape.

The album won’t break any new ground but it’s a nice beginning offering from the G.O.O.D. camp. I don’t think it necessarily places them above or below any other rap crew but it’s a good sign of things to come. As arrogant as Kanye West seems to be, there is no denying that the guy is a genius when it comes to music. Cruel Summer doesn’t disappoint.

4/5

Three Standouts:

Mercy
New God Flow
Bliss

 

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