The Vision Is Blurry

Midweek Thoughts 8/6/14 

The past few days has been crazy but I can manage five topics to give my thoughts on this week. So without further ado…

1. Lil’ Kim Sends Words To Nicki Minaj On “Flawless” Remix: While the Bey Hive and Barbies are still collecting their heads after hearing this ‘remix’, Lil’ Kim decided to add some bars of her own to diss Nicki. Now here’s my problem with Lil’ Kim as of late: She can’t claim to still be the Queen when she hasn’t dropped an album since 2005. Fans may still listen to your older projects but you need new material if you want to hang in this game.

2. Alleged Sidechicks Not Knowing Their Place: Back when I was growing up, sidechicks knew to be seen and not heard. These days, they want to have a voice and also get benefits and 401K. With all the surrounding drama circulating Jay Z and Beyonce, Jay Z’s alleged mistress, LIV dropped a record titled, “Sorry Mrs. Carter“. This whole thing is ridiculous and she’s talking tough on the record.

3. Photos Emerge Of Dallas Cowboys’ Owner Jerry Jones Partying: Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones was shown in some photos partying with young ladies. That’s Old Money still making moves.

4. Becky Hammon Hired As NBA’s First Female Assistant Head Coach: The San Antonio Spurs made waves in the world of sports by hiring Becky Hammon as the first ever female assistant coach for their team. I think this is a great move as Hammon is in her 16th season in the WNBA and plans to retire at season’s end.

5. Teen Loses Basketball Scholarship Due To Theft: Trayvon Reed, who had a scholarship the University of Maryland, lost that opportunity after he was caught stealing an ice cream candy bar. I mean an ice cream candy bar? Losing your scholarship on the account of that? Not so smart.

JAY Z and Beyonce’s “Run” Trailer

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“Unless you’re prepared to do something then don’t ask me no questions.” – JAY Z

If you’re just waking up, JAY Z and Beyonce dropped a mega star filled trailer to their “On The Run” tour which is slated to begin a month from now.

Blake Lively, Emmy Rossum, Sean Penn, Don Cheadle, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rashida Jones, her sister Kidada Jones, and Guillermo Diaz all star in the trailer.

The clip was directed by Melina Matsoukas, who directed “Pretty Hurts” from Mrs. Carter’s visual album.

Once we reach the end, it says “Coming Never”.

00015z06

Anyway, check out the trailer here.

Midweek Thoughts 5/14/14 

1. Fallout From The Solange/Jay Z Altercation: After the everything that we’ve viewed on Monday, here’s what has or allegedly has happened so far: 1. The Standard, the hotel that had the party, is investigating the leak of the video that has set social media ablaze. Rumor has it the security guard sold the tape to TMZ for an undisclosed amount of money. 2. Solange apparently was in an altercation with another party attendee. 3. Some friends of Solange wanted to get into the party and was name dropping Jay Z and he told her not to use his name. We may never get the full details of what happened but whatever the result, it will leave relationships strained. Well according to TMZ, Jay Z and Solange were seen shopping together for jewelry in NYC. So maybe the relationship can be salvage. Unless it’s for show.

2. Gucci Mane To Remain In Jail Until 2016: Can we just rename him to Can’t Get Right? In the latest with his situation, Gucci Mane pleaded guilty to a deal as he pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Well at least it will keep his music from being on the airwaves.

3. Does Sherman Deal Mean Bigger Deal For Other NFL Cornerbacks: The Cardinals Patrick Peterson thinks he’s better than the Seahawks Richard Sherman. There was even talk that Sherman’s new deal could mean new money for the Ravens Jimmy Smith. I think Smith still has a ways to go to get that Sherman money but if he improves his play, he may land a nice pay day.

4. Donald Sterling Claims He’s Not A Racist: Ever since his comments were leaked to the press, Donald Sterling has been trying to play clean up. He dug his hole deeper as he slammed Magic Johnson in an interview with CNN. I mean… Magic Johnson is taking the high road on this one. But Donald Sterling needs to prepare for the lower room. It’s going to be very hot where he’s headed.

5. Daniel Bryan Has Neck Injury; Will Miss Significant Amount Of Time: Just when things were looking up for Daniel Bryan, a neck injury will sideline the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. I thought that Stephanie McMahon was going to strip him of the title but an attack from Kane left Daniel Bryan unconscious. (But it’s to write him off storyline wise.) Hopefully, he’ll have a speedy recovery and will continue his title reign.

Midweek Thoughts 4/16/14 

Five thoughts for the middle of the week. Let’s get this cracking.

1. Jameis Winston Investigation: The New York Times has an article published discussing the failed investigation of a rape allegation involving the Florida State quarterback. The article talks about how the Tallahassee Police Department didn’t conduct a full investigation into the matter and that new key points were found in the NYT investigation. There’s also a detailed outline of events surrounding the allegations. Reading the article, these are some serious allegations made against Winston.

2. Jay-Z and Beyonce Set To Tour This Summer?: Page Six announced that The Carter’s will be embarking on 20 city stadium tour that will kick off in late June. Now while it hasn’t been announced yet, the talk of these two gracing the stage together has fan talking. I’m sure those tickets will run those pockets so start saving.

3. Illmatic Turns Twenty: One of the most celebrated albums in hip-hop history turns twenty this weekend. Nas and his fans have been discussing the impact this album since dropping in ’94. I’ll be sure to have something written up on this album by the weekend.

4. NCAA Approves ‘Unlimited Meals and Snack’ Allowance: When University of Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier stated during the Final Four that some nights he would go to bed without eating because he couldn’t afford meals, the NCAA approved a proposal that would provide unlimited meals and snacks to all Division I athletes, including walk-ons. You would think that with the service that the student athletes provide for the schools, that they would be better taken care of.

5. US Airways Tweets Lewd Photo In Response To A Consumer Complaints: Monday had to be high alert for the social team at US Airways. A photo of a naked woman showing where a toy airplane goes (if you catch my drift) was send out in a tweet. So many jokes were made and US Airways deleted the tweet and said they would be investigating. I just want to know who had the photo and what triggered inside their brain to send out that tweet. Crazy times, I tell you.

2014 Grammy Awards. Well The Rap Categories Anyway.

Macklemore and King Kendrick.

We are in the swing of awards season and this upcoming Sunday is the 56th annual Grammy Awards. Watching the Grammy Awards is quite a field day when you’re logged on to Twitter and your timeline is filled with cheers, boos, jokes and slander. One of the storylines of this year’s Grammy’s is the matchup of Compton CA’s own Kendrick Lamar and Seattle WA’s Macklemore. Kendrick’s the new face of the West Coast who made waves with this 2012 platinum debut album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City and Macklemore’s 2012 debut The Heist, which was released independently and went on to sell a million copies.

Let me start with Kendrick Lamar. Good Kid, M.A.A.D City is still an incredible album to listen to. And to date, he’s sold 1.1 million copies of his sophomore release. (What jinx?) 2013, Kendrick was everywhere. Guest appearances on other hit songs (“Fuckin’ Problems” is nominated for Best Rap Song), magazine covers, SNL musical guest, etc. But here are three things that made Kendrick Lamar stand out last year:

1. His verse on “Control“.

2. The TDE Cypher from the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards.

3. When he dissed Meek Mill at a Brooklyn, NY concert.

There aren’t still many fans of Kendrick but still you can’t deny his 2013 run.

Now Macklemore’s road here is slightly different. Coming via the independent route, The Heist dropped in 2012 and was the number 2 album in its debut week. At first, I wasn’t too thrilled about the press that Macklemore was receiving. “Can’t Hold Us” and “Thrift Shop” got spins but what really had his name coming off the lips of music purists everywhere was his single “Same Love”. The song that stated Macklemore’s stance on legalizing gay marriage really became a hot topic about what was hip hop’s position on it. From what I saw it was mixed views about the song. Lord Jamar of Brand Nubian stated that Macklemore was pushing the ‘gay agenda in hip-hop‘. Was it a smart move for Macklemore to release this as a single? It certainly didn’t hinder his rising popularity.

Competition in these Rap Categories? Let’s take a look.

Best Rap Performance

Drake. Eminem. Jay Z. Kendrick Lamar. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

Now another thing we have to remember is the not so hidden jabs that Drake and Kendrick Lamar took at each other during the latter part of 2013. If either one of them win, I think one will take shots at the other. Jay Z and Eminem are probably not too concerned about winning or not at this stage in their career.

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

J. Cole (feat. Miguel). Jay Z (feat. Beyoncé). Jay Z (feat. Justin Timberlake). Kendrick Lamar (feat. Mary J. Blige). Wiz Khalifa (feat. The Weeknd).

The only song on this list that wasn’t an actually single was the Mary J. Blige featured, “Now or Never” off of Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. “Power Trip” would be my selection but with the Grammy’s, the winners tend to be one sided.

Best Rap Album

Nothing Was The Same. Magna Carta…Holy Grail. Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. The Heist. Yeezus.

In order of albums that I played, it would be Yeezus, GKMC, NWTS, MCHG. The Heist got a few spins because I wanted to see what the hype was about. But Yeezus would win out this group. Unpopular opinion but hey these are my thoughts.

Best Rap Song

Fuckin’ Problems. Holy Grail. New Slaves. Started From The Bottom. Thrift Shop.

I would just want to see “Fuckin’ Problems” win just to see how many cats would be on stage. Haha! Categories

Concert Review: Jay Z & Justin Timberlake’s “Legends Of The Summer” Tour

LOTS

Last night, Jay Z and Justin Timberlake’s “Legends Of The Summer Tour” rolled into Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium for a jam packed show. The rain acted like it wanted to show out but things turned out wonderful anyway. So let’s get into the show, shall we?

Justin Timberlake & Jay Z

There was great chemistry between Jay and Justin on stage. The stadium erupted when the music for “Holy Grail” played from the speakers. Also, Justin filling in for Pharrell on “Just Wanna Love You (Give It 2 Me)” and “Excuse Me Miss”. I was actually surprised that the latter was even performed at the show. I also liked how both artists played hype man to each other during certain songs. Justin singing “New York, New York” which lead into “Empire State of Mind” was fantastic. And no, Lil Mama didn’t wander on stage afterwards. The two artists closed the show with “Suit & Tie” and the Trayvon Martin dedicated “Young Forever”, in which the whole stadium was lit up in remembrance.

Justin Timberlake

This was first time seeing Justin Timberlake in concert and he didn’t fail to disappoint. The crowd was here for his hits/favorites especially “Love Stoned”, “Sexy Back” and “Rock Your Body” as well as new favorites “Tunnel Vision” and “Mirrors”. I was hoping that he performed “Let The Groove Get In” but he didn’t. I probably would have lost it. Haha. He did perform the new single from the second half of The 20/20 Experience, “Take Back The Night” which is sprinkled with Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall”. The highest I heard the crowd get was when “Cry Me A River” came on and we were all sent back to 2002 for a moment there.

Jay Z

Whenever Jay Z comes through to Baltimore, he always puts on memorable show. Jay Z ran through favorites such as “Jigga What, Jigga Who”, “Public Service Announcement”, “99 Problems” and “FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt” and “Tom Ford” from the new album. The sold out M&T Bank Stadium crowd had no problems keeping up with the energy that was being given to them from Jay. I was hoping that we would have gotten to hear “Oceans” since that’s one of the best tracks from MCHG. One thing about Jay Z that I appreciate is whenever he performs “Big Pimpin’”, he always performs Pimp C’s verse.

The Legends Of Summer Tour lived up to its hype because I’m sure that this show will be talked about for years to come. When you have two artists with the achievements that Jay Z and Justin Timberlake have in there careers, attending a concert such as this is a must for fans. One thing that I came away with is that I’ve became more of a fan of Justin Timberlake than I was before.

Midweek Thoughts 08/07/13 

Hump Day

You know what it is, let’s get into!

1. The Evil No Fun League Strikes Again: Roger Goodell is just trying to get on the bad side of fans everywhere. His office just passed down a memo stating they were cracking down on celebrations. Taking away more fun from the game, that’s not good Darth Goodell. I’m sure that the teams will be more creative in getting those celebrations off. But I can see in the future that NFL celebrations are going to consist of this.

2. Ransom Claims Of Ghostwriting For Nicki Minaj: You all remember Ransom? Well if you listened to Joe Budden’s “All Of Me”, then you would have heard of the mentioning that those two had a falling out. Well apparently on Ransom’s new track “Man Alone”, he claims that he did some stuff for Nicki in her early days (“Before Nicki was wearing those crazy wigs, I was doing verses for her just hoping she made it big”) Well Thirty Mile Zone caught up with Nicki and she didn’t take too kindly to those claims.

“How a wack nigga gonna write my shit? I slaughter these niggas. Period.”

3. Hold On, We’re Going Home: Drake dropped this new single yesterday. Wow… he’s singing. This sounds like some late 80′s/early 90′s Pop type shit. I’m just waiting on the album to see if he’s going to hold up to expectations.

4. Johnny Manziel Getting Paid: The media knows they’ve created a monster and now they want to slay the beast. ESPN obtained information from an broker that claims that Manziel was paid $7,500 to sign autographs for a January Walter Camp Football Foundation event. While Manziel wasn’t shown actually receiving any of the money, he was shown on video stating that if the broker told anyone of this deal, that he wouldn’t do business with him in the future. Sneaky individuals do sneaky things. They are really trying to get Johnny Football the fuck out of here.

5. Legends Of The Summer Tour: This concert finally hits Baltimore tomorrow night and those that are attending are buzzing about it. It’ll be my first time seeing Justin Timberlake in concert but I’m sure that he’s going to put on a great show. Jay Z — pssh I’m sure he’s going to do his thing as always.

Miss Me With These Comparisons.

Jay Z & Drake

I see I said, jealousy I said
Got the whole industry mad at me I said
Then B.I. said, Hov remind yourself
Nobody built like you, you designed yourself
I agree I said, my one of a kind self
Get stoned every day like Jesus did

Pardon me dear readers but I have been on a Blueprint 2 kick for the past few days. And if you were to say to me that almost 11 years later that the lyrics Jay-Z spit on “A Dream” would apply to Jay Z today, I wouldn’t have put it past you. But anyway, Drake dropped a new song yesterday titled “All Me” which also features 2 Chainz and Big Sean. The song wasn’t even out a full day and all you saw was statements that Drake is better than Jay Z and Kanye.

I heard your new shit/nigga hated it

Seems like that could be a shot a few individuals but fans could say the same about Drake’s new flow. Seems as if the Drake we all knew back then is a distant memory. This is new song “All Me” is average song and the Toronto, ON is saying ‘Hey look at me! I have an album dropping in the fall! Look at me!!!’

Look, just understand that I’m on a roll like Cottonelle

Bunk

Drake’s about to be on his third album and when Jay-Z got to Vol. 2 Hard Knock Life, that’s when he sold the 5 million. If Drake can make a splash with this album, then he’ll get props.

Oh and by the way, this video from Jay Z premiered. Pitty Pat games are over.

Midweek Thoughts 07/24/13 

Sorry that this getting out late but life happens. Better late than never, huh?

1. Jay Z Interviews: I caught the two interviews that Jay Z did with Zane Lowe and Elliott Wilson and I came away impressed with them both. As an artist, Jay Z is in a different space and the interviews show that. It makes me appreciate this new album even more.

2. Trucker Hats and Shades: If you’ve seen recent photos of me, I’ve taken up a collection of these items. It started out on St. Patrick’s Day and now I’m just having fun with it. I gotta be careful with how it comes across though. Moms caught wind of a photo and I got an earful. Ouch.

3. Developing Feelings: Weird how you just catch strong feelings and you wonder do you put them out there or just allow them to simmer and cook. The gift and the curse.

4. The Killing: One of my co-workers kept hassling me to watch this show and I instantly fell in love with it. Linden and Holder are two dysfunctional partners. Their story is what keeps me tuned in.

5. Bikini Bash 2K13: Third year in a row that Milly Esquire and his YHGM crew is throwing this pool party. I’m excited to see what goes down as last year we turned that shit out. Hopefully we all can come and party in peace.

Album Review: Jay Z – Magna Carta Holy Grail

Jay Z

Listening to Jay Z (Jay-Z or Jaÿ-Z) since his earlier days, I have taken notice of his evolving sound when it comes to his music. After a few listens to MCHG, it’s quite evident that this isn’t your Reasonable Doubt, Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life or The Black Album Jay-Z. With this being his first solo album since 2009′s Blueprint 3, we’ve witnessed a joint album with Kanye (2011′s Watch The Throne), the birth of his daughter, Blue Ivy Carter and just recently, becoming a sports agent. So with that being said, what would Jay Z have to talk about on his solo albums?

“Blue told me remind you niggas/Fuck that shit y’all talking bout/I’m the nigga” Jay Z exclaims right out the gate on the Justin Timberlake featured “Holy Grail”. As the song continues, we hear Jay Z continue to talk about the ups and downs that fame brings.

I got haters in the paper, photo shoots with paparazzi
Can’t even take my daughter for a walk
See em by the corner store, I feel like I’m cornered off
Enough is enough, I’m calling this off
Who the fuck I’m kidding though

Another thing that has made Jay-Z stand out among his peers is his niche for talking that fly shit that we all love to hear. He talks about how he’s never satisfied and how his hustle can’t be knocked on “Picasso Baby”. Then on “Tom Ford”, which is clearly influenced by the sound of his wife’s hometown, Jay speaks of pissing Bordeaux and Burgundies and flushing out a Riesling.

Aside from Jay Z’s collaborations with Justin Timberlake, I’m really digging the Frank Ocean featured “Oceans”. (“I hope my black skin don’t dirt this white tuxedo/Before the Basquiat show and if so/Well fuck it, fuck it/Because this water drown my family/This water mixed my blood/This water tells my story”) I feel in a way, Jay Z is telling his own story of how he made it:

See me in shit you never saw
If it wasn’t for these pictures they wouldn’t see me at all
Aww, whole world’s in awe
I crash through glass ceilings, I break through closed doors
I’m on the ocean, I’m in heaven
Yachting, Ocean 11

And we didn’t need “Somewhereinamerica’ to see that America is still full of ‘cism:

When I was talking Instagram
Last thing you wanted was your picture snapped
Feds still lurking
They see I’m still putting work in

Aside from Jay Z sending shots at Scott Boras (“Scott Boras, you over baby/Robinson Cano, you coming with me/These niggas like rotary phones/It’s a new day, hit up KD”) “Crown” was produced by a 16 year old from Toronto named WondaGurl. I don’t understand why people has been sitting on the Nas featured “BBC”. Soon as I hear that beat drop, I’m up dancing. On the Notorious B.I.G. “Downfall” sampled as well as Mommie Dearest sampled “Jay Z Blue”, he talks about the fear of failing as a parent:

And I know I’m not perfect baby
I been through so much trauma
It gonna be hard to reverse it
With some doctors and some nurses maybe
Teach me on how to treat a lady
Open doors on the ‘Cedes
This relationship shit is complicated

The song that I’m truly fucking with off this album is the final track “Nickels and Dimes”. The second verse is where he really gets into his feels about helping out others:

Can’t lie to myself
I love my niggas more than my own blood
I die for my niggas and I love my cub, hope that’s not fucked up
I got a problem with the handouts, I took the man route
I’ll give an opportunity though, that’s the plan now
No guilt in giving clear a nigga conscience out
No guilt in receiving, every thing within reason
Can’t see it taking food out my little monster’s mouth
That’ll drive me gaga

He also responds to comments directed towards him from Harry Belafonte.

I’m just trying to find common ground
‘fore Mr. Belafonte come and chop a nigga down
Mr. Day O, major fail
Respect these youngins boy, it’s my time now
Hublot homie, two door homie
You don’t know all the shit I do for the homies

There are a few annoyances on this album. First of all, the beat for F.U.T.W. turns me off from the song in a way and “On The Run (Part II) is sandwiched in between two interludes. But overall, MCHG is a great album to listen to. One million sold before the official release date and he made Billboard change their rules. If your favorite rapper can do that, then I will give them props. Until then, ya’ll niggas better respect the King.