Tag Archives: entertainment

Breaking Bad Showdown: Walt vs. Jesse; Why I choose Jesse

As Breaking Bad nears the middle point of the second half of the final season, the line has been drawn very clearly in the sand: Jesse Pinkman versus Walter White.

Fans of the show are more divided than ever over these two pivotal characters in television history. Who is right? Who is wrong? Is Walt truly evil? Is Jesse really “good?” Some fans are referring to their showdown as reminiscent of Batman versus The Joker. Although I can see a point or two, the more accurate comparison would be Robin versus The Joker. A former sidekick decides to take matters into his own hands against the most evil of the evil. Jesse connecting the dots about the swiped ricin cigarette was the moment in his mind, where Walt was confirmed as the source of Jesse’s emotional pitfalls. Robin is attempting to thwart The Joker’s plans, but will he succeed?

While there are many fans rooting for Jesse to get his revenge, there is a strong contingent of fans rooting for Walt. This group sees Jesse as annoying and ungrateful. Jesse wouldn’t be where he is “without Walt.” While there is some truth in that statement, you could also switch the names around without clouding the meaning. It’s Walt who keeps talking Jesse back into the game. Sure Jesse is weak, he’s supposed to be. There are two types of people in this world, leaders and followers. To understand why Jesse deserves fan sympathy more than Walt, you have to understand the difference between leaders and followers.

Followers always have an excuse…
Leaders always have an idea…
Followers always blame others…
Leaders fix the situation….
Followers make promises…
Leaders keep commitments…
Followers let it happen…
Leaders make it happen…
Followers say, ‘Why don’t THEY do something about it?’
Leaders say ‘Here’s something I can do.’
Followers live in the past…
Leaders live in the here and now.” ~Unknown

When I see Jesse making brash decisions such as throwing millions of dollars out of a moving car, instead of seeing the surface(a guy doing something 95% of people wouldn’t do) I see the interior. What do we know about the character of Jesse Pinkman that has never wavered? He’s emotionally unstable. He doesn’t go through the same process of thought as Walt does when making a decision. He’s been the wild-card since day one that Walt has to help guide along.

Jesse fits no description of what it means to be a leader. When working and dealing with Walt, it is Mr. White who makes the decisions and deals. When Gus Fring wanted to do better business, he tried his hardest to convince Walt to cook without Jesse. Gus saw from the very beginning the weaknesses of Jesse because they’re not hard to find. You would think with the money Jesse has made, he would at the very least be able to put together a decent furniture setup in his home. Instead, calling his home a “pigsty” would be a disgrace to pigs as he’s done nothing but throw parties and listen to elaborate Star Trek theories from his friends. The one time he thinks he’s found an opportunity to escape the game with a girlfriend and a young son, Walt schemes him back in.

So when someone is frustrated by Jesse’s “stupid and ungrateful” behavior, I ask you this, what do you expect from him? He is a representation of most people you will ever meet, weak-willed and easily manipulated. He’s been in a funk because he’s living a life that he doesn’t know how to escape. He realizes his only way out is death. It’s hard for me to dislike someone who is behaving the way their character says that should act. I’ll have a problem with Jesse when he starts behaving out of the ordinary and ordering hits on people. While Aaron Paul has already received two Best Supporting Actor Emmys, I will argue that his work this season should be hard-pressed not to earn him a third statuette.

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Walter White on the other hand, knows very well how his words affect others. He understands the influence he has on Jesse, being his former teacher. Walt casually underestimates the cognitive abilities of Jesse as he has tricked and lied to Jesse on more than one occasion. Walt’s understanding of how to bend the will of those in his way is what makes him closer to evil than good. No matter the situation, Walt has a lie, scheme or a formula to free himself from trouble. What he lacked in street smarts, it seems Walt has gained to go along with his brilliant chemist mind. Watching Walt try and convince Jesse in their desert conversation that he isn’t such a bad guy reminds me of what goes on in many forms across the world. Whether it’s a gang member convincing young kids to join in or the roided-out baseball coaxing another player into doing something to advance his career. A person in a position of power bending the will of a weaker person. It’s sick and it’s a character trait of a bully. You can try and argue that the point of the lily of the valley was to make Brock sick and not kill him, but the fact that he even thinks of that leans towards the evil side of the spectrum.

The beauty of this show lies in creator Vince Gilligan’s ability to create compelling characters who go against the typical story arch of a hero and a villain. In his rise from naive science teacher to meth kingpin, Walter White has transformed from a follower into a leader. He has become every bit of Gustavo Fring the chicken man that he once feared, right down to the car wash cover as his version of Gus’ chicken restaurant. In the progress, he has destroyed every relationship in his life outside of his bond with his son. Once he’s either caught by his brother-in-law Hank or killed and his life is uncovered, he will lose that relationship also. Jesse is hell bent on taking down Walt for poisoning a child however he can, with or without the help of Hank. Will he take down Walt? Ask comic book fans what happened the last time Robin met up with The Joker.

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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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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”

Continue reading

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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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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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HELP! I’m Lost and can’t find my career..Lost Rapper of the Week: 8.22

Denzel as Malcolm X – I’ve been clean for eight years.
Friend – Eight years?
X -Eight years.
F – My trouble is, I love pigs feet and white women too much. So I damn sure can’t be no Muslim.
X – That’s because you’re lost, brother. That’s because you’re lost.

There comes a time in every rapper’s career where he or she has to take a look in a mirror and ask themself…”Am I doing everything I can in order to be successful?”

Sometimes the answer to this question can be hard to figure out and sometimes it can be simple. Busta Rhymes has managed to stay relevant and alive by posting memorable verses and freestyles alongside popular artists of each time period(See DJ Khaled’s “All I Do is Win (Remix)” or ” Chris Brown’s “Look At Me Now”). Call it what you want but I call it an artist finding other ways to reinvent him or herself.

But for every Busta, you have a Juelz Santana. Continue reading

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