Posts Tagged ‘2013’

Fans of the NBA know that the Clippers/Warriors games are the best basketball competitions that are shown on TV. I’m so happy that they play each other four times because you never know what is going to happen on the court. Well, there is one thing you know, and that is it’s going to be some bad blood and physical play. It reminds me of the 90’s where players could get clotheslined or hit hard when entering the paint, or my favorite, when everyone leaves the bench to get into the mix of a battle. Well, in today’s NBA the closest you are going to get to that is a Clippers/Warriors game. However, the Clippers are crying about the Warriors not being professional on the court and saying they are being cowardly, now that’s funny to me.

The first season Mark Jackson became the Warriors’ coach they were just throwing alley oops and playing around because they were beating them by 20 to 25pts. Who, in their right mind, would not be upset if they were on the other team? So Mark Jackson got the Warriors to play physical and get into their head. It has been working ever since. The Warriors are 8-5 against the Clippers since the beginning of the 2012 season. Looks to me like the Warriors have the Clippers number especially when they are leading 113 to 83 over the past 196 games. The Warriors are going to be able to keep the streak going especially with the Splash Brothers and company going to work.

I hope that both of these teams meet this year in the playoffs because it will be a great seven game series. I know this for a fact because people love physical play, but I might be wrong because half the world are bandwagon Heat fans so I might just be by myself on what’s good basketball.


Written by Camille Michelle Gray

One morning this week I found myself on The Huffington Post, as I most often do to ease myself into the workday. I clicked on an article titled “11 Body Image Heroes of 2013.” This article cataloged all the women in 2013 who spoke out against fat shaming, conducted brave social experiments, and created provocative art, amongst other things.

When I read these women’s stories and quotes my eyes kind of glazed over suspiciously. Starlets like Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley condemned the media’s treatment of famous women.  Plus size supermodel Jennie Runk and pageant queen Elena Raouna spoke out against restrictive norms in the beauty industry. Many others, artists and advocates alike, shared their own stories and projects that aimed to tackle down and suffocate the notion that only skinny women are attractive.

Though I appreciated these brave women for taking a stand through the medium suited best for them, by the time I reached the end of the article I was shaking my head. Only ONE of the “heroes” was a woman of color. How is it that those who promote body image diversity (in this case, the writer of this Huffington Post article) fail to realize that they’re not being diverse at all? You cannot be for body diversity and then only use white bodies. 

Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley are the norm. They are white and thin. Forgive me when I say that I throw up a little when I hear a blonde hair, blue-eyed woman lament beauty culture while simultaneously failing to acknowledge that this beauty culture has deemed her aesthetic to be the most attractive. Most of the women featured as “heroes” were white and while some were heavy, that still doesn’t mean they can speak succinctly or even accurately on what it is to be oppressed by beauty norms. Their pale and ivory skin has shielded them from fully experiencing the short side of the beauty culture stick, yet they speak as though they understand the pain, and are celebrated as martyrs and mavericks.

It reminded me of that Twitter hashtag that went viral: “#solidarityisforwhitewomen.” We can celebrate bodies, but they can only be white bodies. I’m sure the women who play into this seemingly positive meme don’t have exclusionary intentions, but the fact that no one seems to notice the homogenous nature of it all is disturbing. The masses are so used to only digesting white women’s bodies (they appear more in print ads, television ads, television shows and movies than any other type of woman), that the obvious absence of women of color is not a red flag.  The painful irony of being pro body diversity and then, in turn, not being very diverse at all is a great cosmic joke.

Everywhere I turn on the Internet, there is some project or Tumblr page or advocacy group dedicated to honoring larger women, and the pictures are all of white bodies. When I mentioned this discrepancy in the comments section of the Huffington Post article, it was quickly favorited by many, but I had to put up with one retort that I found particularly depressing. A white woman responded:

“I think the body image problem is far more prevalent within the white female community than within other backgrounds. I think females from other ethnic backgrounds are far ahead of white females when it comes to this issue…”

What a dangerous thing to think. So because I am black, I am automatically immune to all societal conditioning, and am a beacon of self-confidence and worth? So because women of color are somehow so much stronger and resilient, our bodies don’t deserve to be celebrated as well?  (On a tragic side note, since it has become a collective misunderstanding that women of color, namely black women, are not vulnerable to body image demons, medical professionals routinely misdiagnose and ignore symptoms of eating disorders in us. We are left untreated and uncared for.)

This is why the #solidarityisforwhitewomen hashtag was created. Some white women actually think (unconsciously or not) that empowerment is a fight to be fought amongst themselves, rather than a journey to be experienced by all, for the uplifting of all.  The body image heroes of 2013 do not look like me and cannot sufficiently make me feel better about myself, speak on my behalf, or be a source of empowerment because they only tell one side of the story. When will my story be told too?

There are many women of color who are hurting when it comes to how they look.  Some of us think we are fat as well. To see ourselves being embraced by body image movements could be such a great point of pride for us. To see body image heroes that not only mirror our size, but also our complexion is a surefire way to expand the story of body diversity, normalize different colors and shapes, and validate ALL of our struggles.

Hear ye, hear ye!

The No-Fi King has an announcement for all to take into consideration. As this is potentially the last post of the year from me (Christmas is next week and the week after that is New Year’s Day), I’d like to first give a huge e-high five to Arteest for allowing me the chance to write on this blog–and reminding me that I can voice witty opinions without four-letter words. My mom can now read some of my thoughts…if she, you know, understood “that damn interwebnets” and/or had a computer.

She was born pre-Korean War.

Anywho, as promised, here are the winners and losers of 2013 (in hip-hop). Some of these choices will be controversial, some will probably get me death stares and/or threats when I walk in the street. But, let me remind you that if I’m thinking it, there are probably many others who are thinking the same doggone thing. Losers and winners are not exactly based off of lyrical content or anything–more so who’s had the worst year (or who had a great 2013, but will probably fail because of their 2013, if that makes sense). Also, my apologies for the male artist-skewed list.



2 Chainz: Say you’re a thirty-something rapper who’s had many setbacks but finally get on to a degree. You achieve success, fame, recognition–even have white people know who you are. And then, you go from being the guy who had a Comeback Season more fawned over than Blake Griffin’s, to a failed comeback by doing the following:
1) Being arrested in Maryland for drugs
2) Being arrested (again) for weed and promethazine
3) Being robbed near a “marijuana dispensary” in San Fran at gunpoint and becoming a laughingstock (note: being robbed itself is not funny, nor is violence. However, the video of this incident is just…sad)
4) Being pulled over for a traffic light–and then being cited for drugs and guns and…
5) Having an album drop and then having said album drop from peoples’ conscious almost a week after its release.
Now, Mr. T*** Two Necklace is still, obviously, doing his thing. But, these actions have most certainly placed him in the loser category.


J. Cole: Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Cole went gold! How did he have a bad year?” Well, let’s see. His “response” to “The Almighty ‘Control’ Verse” was brushed off as being “in-character,” “Let Nas Down” was potentially one of the most pandering songs in the history of modern hip-hop–even though it does touch on absent father syndrome. On top of that, Cole’s album was forgotten about in a similar fashion as Chainz’s. Sure, he outsold Yeezus, for a bit. But, aside from “Crooked Smile,” most people probably couldn’t name a song off of Born Sinner unless they listened to the whole thing and/or were fans of Cole. I enjoyed the album, but I’m just stating facts. Plus, he seems to look like he’s about to break down and cry 9.68 times out of ten. But, I mean, he’s potentially getting married to his college sweetheart. For that, I’d typically move him to the winners’ section. But, overall, he’s taken quite a few L’s this year.


Wale: Mr. Folarin, I want to say this in advance. I don’t think you are a bad person. I actually enjoy a lot of your music. Hell, “Dig Dug” was the first song I heard when I stepped on UMD’s campus, so your music was always a part of my young adulthood…and stuff. I do think, however, that you’ve allowed your ego to surpass your talent. It happens. Kanye is an example of this (we’ll get to him later). But, at least with Kanye, he’s got clout to back up his behaviors. You, at this point, don’t exactly have that same cushion to fall back on. That’s not me being a bitter indie artist or an overly-critical music blogger. Based on your catalog, mixtapes included, you have less room to go all “Phuket, Thailand” every time someone says something that upsets you.

With that said, where do we begin regarding your fails this year? Your hissy fit (and eventual self-depreciation) over the Complex article list where Juicy J’s album was declared better than yours? You (apparently) deactivating your Twitter after Sace f/k/a Southeast Slim got at you on “Forever Hitter Quitter?” The Gifted being, aside from 2-3 songs, inferior compared to Ambition? It seems this year, aside from bringing Fat Trel to MMG, Wale’s wins were supplemented by losses. And, honestly, it’s damn sad–not even because he’s a local dude (who maybe allowed part of his hometown story to be fabricated a bit), though. It’s because he doesn’t seem made for fame, but he still seemingly feels like he’s got an obligation to put out stuff. So, until he leaves the drug of success alone, we’ll have to deal with his antics just like our next loser–unless he grows a thicker skin. It’s imperative, Wale, for you to grow a thicker skin before this game eats you alive. But, before we get to the next on our list, I’ve got to give a giant F*** You to Complex for taking this whole thing and turning it into a “look at this ni black rapper guy, he’s making us scared so we’re going to belittle him even more than we already have” freak-show.

At least when I did it above, I still have hope that Wale could grow as a human (more on that later).


Kanye West: Enough said. Save me the psychobabble, and the “he’s circumventing black thought through embracing white people” crap. The guy lost this year. Yeezus sucked. Nothing he did was profound. Get over it.


The Return of the Hii-Fivver

People Who Thought Kendrick/Drake Would Grow Into A Large Beef: It’s almost 2014, people. Large-scale beefs don’t happen anymore. If they do, they’ll pretty much be limited to Twitter beef and a couple of “it could be a diss if you think about it hard enough” shots.


Gucci Mane: Umm…yeah. Gucci, I’m not a fan of yours, but I hope you’ve gotten your [stuff] together.


Lorde: Now, this is probably going to turn some heads. First of all, I’m listing Lorde because whatever she does after this first album, it’ll forever be compared to the first time we were introduced to her (for most, this was “Royals”). It’s a similar situation with Lady Gaga. Critics (and some fans), however, always seem to go back to The Fame when looking at, for instance, Artpop. Granted, Artpop wasn’t epic, but it wasn’t Born this Way. Lorde will probably suffer from this more because, at seventeen, she was able to talk on some things (most) adult acts shy from–which brings me to my second point.

Secondly, Lorde’s made my list of losers of 2013 because when you really look at her work, it’s not all that profound or deep. It’s simple stuff that doesn’t address a problem, but glosses over it, opting more for catchiness and self-degradation. Let’s focus on the (now-overplayed) “Royals.” It comments on consumerism, the divide of New Zealand’s classes, and so on. But, what some may miss in Lorde is just as much a part of the problem that she’s speaking on as anything. To simply put it, she can sing, but the lyrical “depth” isn’t worth anything. My almost three-year-old was able to, in preschool-speak, decipher the meaning behind it. Put away the pitchforks, people. I’m just stating my opinion on her.

Honorable Mentions: Miley Cyrus (too easy) and R. Kelly (Seriously, Kellz. No one wants to hear you singing about how much you want to marry the…yeah…).

And now, for some winners:


Beyoncé: She’s not exactly hip-hop, but she put out an album that’s–at the time I’m writing this–gold with no promotion, no buzz, and no sort of conventional use of her resources. She went all DIY indie rap artist (DOUBLE shameless plug) and dropped it randomly and told people to go get it. And, well, they did. Now, whether or not you think it’s really the “puppet masters” buying copies or not, the album did numbers that no album has on iTunes. That’s saying something about your win percentage right off the bat.


Wale: How does Wale, a guy who I kind of ripped into earlier get a winner’s sticker as well? Well, rest assured, I wasn’t coerced into it (although I am, however, still waiting on my signed copy of Ambition) or anything crazy like that. He’s starting to, even with his “Wale Moments,” show (tiny increments of) growth, as mentioned above. The “I Got My Tool” Instagram showcases a lot more of the Wale that he doesn’t exactly show in his music. Perhaps if he did allow himself to have more fun musically, he’d be able to get more recognition/media attention. That’s not to say, “Hey Wale, make an album about selling coke and such,” but more a “hey Wale, everything doesn’t need to be so thought-provokingly serious all the time.” I mean, he’s still highly “sensitive,” but there seems to be hope. Plus, Wale has aided a couple DMV cats to gaining more mainstream recognition. Whether or not he could/should do more is another argument entirely, but more people know about, say, Fat Trel than they did last year.


About ten years ago, this delusion would’ve been truth for most underground rappers. For some…it still is. We see you, but we will not say anything.

Indie rap: Call it the Macklemore Effect (ugh…and I say “ugh” because a few years ago, it would’ve been called the “Tech N9ne Effect,” but now “everyone” is heralding Macklemore as their unthreatening rap savior), but more people are starting to look outside the radio for good music. Not all indie rap is good, but at least with a variety, people can choose what works for them. Artists from Tech N9ne to yours truly have dropped projects this year and again, while the quality may sometimes lack the “big dog” feel, the heart’s still there. Gone are the days of the pasty nerdcore rapper and the wannabe thug on dial-up posting songs on Soundclick. Heck, gone are the days where people used Soundclick as their go-to for underground rap, but that’s neither here nor there really. Now? Indie rap is being taken quite seriously. You have indie artists appearing on “Top Ten” lists that aren’t just online.


Big K.R.I.T: Sticking with the indie rap idea, KRIT’s King Remembered in Time album/mixtape was better than a lot of peoples’ albums. I consider it indie because, even though K.R.I.T has a deal with Def Jam and such, he put this one out on his own a la 2010’s K.R.I.T wuz Here and all but delivered a bona-fide sequel to that classic. Plus, K.R.I.T’s been getting around these days, with collaborations, touring with Talib Kweli and Macklemore, and just a slew of other stuff. I’d like to say that the sky’s the limit for Mr. Live from the Underground. If he continues, K.R.I.T could take over that Southern Wise Man spot left open by the departure of Pimp C and the reduced workload of Big Boi and Andre 3000. Either that or he’ll continue to just make good-a** music. Either way, we all win, and that’s what’s important.

[Safe for Work GIF Not Applicable, apparently]

Danny Brown: I’m not a huge fan of the guy, and I’m not really a fan of “let’s do drugs and do crazy [stuff] rap,” but Danny Brown deserves a win based off the fact that this guy’s been through hell (some of which, he admits, he caused himself).

Honorable Mentions: The Weeknd and the DMV music scene

And that, my friends, is how you do an end-of-year list. You take some good, some bad, some meh, and you actually think about what made each thing the way it is/was. Hopefully, I haven’t bored/offended any of you in the past few months I’ve been working with Arteest and the blog. If anything, I hope you’ve learned something, you’ve been entertained, and you’re able to grow from my mistakes, miscues, and thoughts. If I’ve bored or offended you, feel free to contact me on Twitter to rant and rave about it. Barring anything amazing happening, I’ll see you guys on New Year’s Day with my list of Hip-Hop Hopes For 2014. Same #TWIHH time (2PM EST), same #TWIHH station.


Random sidebar: my mom worked at the Baltimore School of the Arts while Pac attended. She, apparently, thought he was headed for great danger if he didn’t change his ways.

In case you missed it the first go ’round–like I did–here is the three-part Drake interview with veteran hip-hop journalist Elliott Wilson. In the interview Drake divulges on why Nothing Was The Same took so long to write, why he didn’t think Take Care was perfect, why his music is so emotional, and much more. Check it out below!

Part 1 of 3: “I tried to tell the story with the music.”

Part 2 of 3: “Pound cake happened while I was writing for Beyonce…”

Part 3 of 3: “Twitter isn’t real…”

I’m going to try to keep this one mostly safe for work.

It’s 2014…well, almost. Do you know where your children are? They’re not in the 1980s, that’s for sure. The kids (and older people) these days are kind of focused on other things aside from the dangers of being arrested for breaking curfew, and/or creepy old men in white vans. Today, they’re probably more likely to be getting into some sort of debauchery a few steps away from you making a Vine, twerk video for YouTube, or attempting to curse some pseudo-celebrity out in 140 characters (or less). But why? Well, in hopes of usurping that pseudo-celebrity and become…(Twitter) famous

Part Three of this series (link highly not safe for work, as it was the last time we posted it here) got me thinking a bit. What if there was another method to Reina’s madness? What if it wasn’t about just making out on camera or teaching the world to be appreciative of themselves, regardless of their makeup (or lack thereof)?


Disregarding that she looks like she’s 12 in this photo, what if this young woman, like many before her, is just trying to “make it” through social media usage. We’ve seen this sort of thing before (Kat Stacks, “Superhead,” the Love and Hip-Hop cast), never ending well and usually playing out as follows:
1) IDGAF attitude with some insults thrown in
2) Giving the masses/the thirst buckets something to salivate over, usually sexually charged
3) Receive hatred/buzz from your actions
4) Still DGAF, but show some sort of remorse/”humanity,” usually through showing yourself without makeup or try to blame your actions on your childhood (whether or not it’s true)
5) Minimal fame
6) Repeat ad nauseum until the world gets tired and moves on to someone else, usually leaving the initial person broken and shaking their head at the disillusion of “what could’ve been”

One has to wonder, if there are so many people who do this sort of thing (in any form) and fail, why repeat the mistakes/actions that put person A into this position?

(I apologize in advance for taking this in another direction, but this is what happens with a complicated topic.)

I think it’s a societal thing that’s exacerbated by social media. Yeah, I know. We always want to blame society. We never want to take blame for our own actions. However, societal values, whether attributed or ascribed, do have an impact on everyday behavior. Sex sells, and in a society where people are often reduced to their genitals and the like, you’ll get a person with that “I’ve gotta use what I got to get what I want. Damn the consequences” type of mentality. Add in social media and we will get people that have body issues because they don’t look like the models (or even the “models”) they are constantly bombarded with on websites, television, and so on. Because of this, they very well could attempt to “correct” their imperfections through surgery, caked-on makeup, and so on. Lastly, because of these societal issues and the explosion of social media, so-called trolling exists as it does because trolling is considered funny (which, I mean, it can be–just not all the time).

I don’t want to go too off-topic, so I’ll leave the trolls for another day. Staying with the issue of body image (and all that entails), Camille brings up some great points in her post “My Body Doesn’t Exist For Your Entertainment.” If you haven’t checked it out, I advise you do. Now, from a male perspective, I agree with a lot of what she’s saying. A woman should have the ability to say “oh, I’m going to be this or that” and not have to worry about what a man–or even another woman has to say about it. That’s all fine and good. I support that, and I try not to shame a woman’s image. It’s not how my mom raised me to be.

A while back, I was dating someone. We’ll call her Kelly. Now, Kelly was a younger white woman from Baltimore County. Stick with me, because this eventually ties back to the “social media and sex” aspect of this post. Now, Kelly? She learned from an early age that, in order to get what you need out of life, you have to show off. She also was “trained” to believe that, in order to keep a black man (as a white woman), she had to whore herself out to him and be his whipping girl–to atone for sins committed in slavery and that sort of thing. This girl was so messed-up from her “truths,” she was unable to have a decent relationship with a guy. I didn’t know this about Kelly until she sent me nude photos and rudimentary “flixxx” of herself (this was before smartphones, so the quality was atrocious–but that’s beside the point). I also didn’t know how deep it went until she started speaking about how she’d cut herself if a guy constantly didn’t say she was pretty enough, or “sexy” enough, or what have you. The last I’d heard from Kelly, she had three or four kids, was unhappy, and wished that she’d someone to teach her something besides what she learned growing up.

This brings me back to Camille’s post and my own issues with body image and sex in the media.

My issue is in addition to the patriarchal set-up of what’s considered “attractive.” My issue appears when it starts to trickle down from “the top” (read: Kardashians, video girls, even Michelle Obama’s scowl face to “That Selfie” to a degree) onto the so-called “rest of us.” And, because of this trickle, you get twelve-year-old girls posting booty shots on Instagram with captions such as “My azz so phat.” My issue is when children are doing these sorts of things trying to get some sort of buzz/notice online because they’re not loved at home. They feel that this is (partly due to social media’s obsession with instant gratification, sex, and so on AND partly due to horrible parenting) the only way that they can get that love, even if it’s a feigned “love.” My issue is, I’ve got a son who’s almost three-years-old who’s going to have to grow up in this society obsessed with instant gratification through, among other things, the sexualization of our young people. But, it goes even deeper than just “oh, society tells me that I need to be ‘sexy’ to be ‘famous.'”

Because of these ascribed traits, we start to not only question our own self-worth, but the (self-)worth of others. That’s how we get memes such as “Light/Darkskin N*ggas Be Like” or “Black B*tches Be Like.” And all the while, while you’re up in your house thinking of memes and so-called funny crap to talk about…they’re just laughing.

Who’re “They,” you ask?

Those that make the “rules,” but never seem to have them broken because people are too damned busy focusing on frivolous stuff and focusing on that perfect booty shot to notice that there’s a war going on outside. A war not for money, or oil…but for our freedom of self and for our minds. And, before you get all “Speed’s being all militant,” I’m not just talking about upper-class white people. This sort of thing goes beyond race. Class, not as much, but definitely beyond race. And as I’ve mentioned, it’s not even (just) a social media issue. However, the use of social media expands the problem to the masses in ways once thought to be impossible.

Until next time, I’m out. Hopefully, this will help guide you along a better path of knowledge and a path to make better decisions in life. If not, at least think on it for a bit.

Yes, you read that title correctly. I recently stumbled upon a documentary about the appropriation of black culture or more specifically black hip-hop culture by white males. Wigger, a term I am not unfamiliar with, is essentially the combination of the word white and the word “n*gger”. And while that may seem a bit jarring to some of you, this is a real term used by real people to describe white men who “act black”. I put the phrase act black in parentheses because that entire phrase insinuates that all black people act one way and that black culture or the black experience can be deduced to a simple two-word phrase. While I do not like the term Wigger any more than I like the N-word, I feel this documentary sheds light on an existing and interesting issue in America: White males who emulate black hip-hop artists and hip-hop culture.

P.S.: I know some of you reading this and seeing the image of the boy with the swastika on his wall are probably cringing, just as I did before the next scene in the film, but before you watch the trailer just know that this image gets flipped in a more positive way in the trailer for the documentary. I have not yet seen this film, but would love to watch it if I am able to procure a copy or if I encounter it online. With that said, check out the trailer below and feel free to comment below and express your opinion on the trailer as long as you establish and maintain a respective tone.

A documentary film on the American cultural stereotype of Wiggers–White rap fans who ‘act Black’. Featuring those whose lives were forever changed by hip hop. [Film Festivals and Indie Films]

So, there are about two weeks until Christmas. And, because of this, you’re probably buried under an insane amount of inane Christmas songs. Some are epic, and some are epic…ally bad. As with the Halloween Version of TWIHH, we’re focusing on the latter. There is no ranking of the sadness/badness of these songs, just a collection of SMH-worthy songs. Since this is hip-hop-related, however, songs such as “The Christmas Shoes” and “Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer” will be spared my wrath. Besides, we’ll have enough earsplits with what we’ve got below. I’ll also (try to) keep from being biased towards bad West Coast Christmas-esque songs.

Before, let’s share this epicness from David Banner. It’s, to me, a great Christmas song in a political/speaking on commercialism and black poverty type of way (Make sure your headphones are in, though. It’s gritty).

Now…let us begin.

Derek B – “Chillin’ With Santa”
Now, I had no idea who Derek B was before this, as he was more of an exclusive to the UK. But, I do know that some of his other songs were less cringeworthy. For “Chillin’ With Santa,” the chorus breakdown was probably the best part of it. The bad? It’s five minutes long. Whenever you think that it’s done, Derek B continues his late-night story time/potentially drunken rambles about the time he was “chillin’ out with Santa.” It’s like “Children’s Story,” if Slick Rick attempted to shill out some holiday-friendly buffoonery in that classic song instead of, you know, cautioning people of the dangers of trying to be a thug. Sadly, Derek B died in 2009 of a heart attack.

Gorilla Zoe – “It’s Christmas”
Ummm, I’m all for dope boy rap. But, not on Christmas. ‘Nuff said.

Jim Jones – “Dipset X-Mas Time”
This comes from the same album as the remix of “Ballin’,” so it has that awesome 2006 rap vibe. But, something about Jim and company shouting out what they bang on a Christmas song just…makes me sad. It’d be like a rapper talking about eating pork on a song about Ramadan. It’s uncalled for and pretty disrespectful. But, the A Dipset Christmas album kind of captures what Christmas has become to some (an exercise in extravagance for no real reason), so maybe Jim Jones was making some sort of covert social commentary?


Jim Jones and JR Writer – “Ballin’ on Xmas”
Jim…please stay away from my holidays! Plus, it just took “Christmas in Hollis” and made it some sort of insanity. Now, part of Dipset’s “genius” was/is the fact that they were able to take the most random samples/beats and make songs that were halfway fire. Cam’ron sampling The Golden Girls theme song on his Ghetto Heaven Vol. 1 mixtape is a prime example. Here, however, it just doesn’t work for me. This song, lyrically, is nice. But, it suffers from the same craziness as the last song.

Tha Dogg Pound – “I Wish”
This song is actually not that bad, compared to some of the other ones. However, with lines like “’cause if I die today I’m going to hell,” it’s not exactly something you want to go around caroling with your kids/family/random work buddies. You’re probably wondering, though, “Speed, why is this one ‘bad,’ but David Banner’s song is ‘good?'” Well, simply put, “I Wish” comes from a similar vein as “Crossroads.” It’s a great song, its message is somewhat kumbayah and “let’s chill on the killing and such.” But, it’s hokey (or has become hokey through its overuse and overplay over the years). Again, that’s not to say that “I Wish” or “Crossroads” aren’t good songs; they’re classics (“Crossroads” especially). But, both songs have that same mid-1990s “Stop the Violence, even though I’m still rapping about it three songs later” vibe.

Ying Yang Twins – “Deck da Club”
If you’re like me, you’re probably not going to be in the booty club for Christmas. The week before, eh, that’s debatable…but not actually on Christmas (I have some morals, people). However, for these brothers, seeing skrippers and seeing them twerk and such seems to be the highlight of the year. Sadly, if you zone out and just listen to the beat–even though it’s typical early-2000s crunk-bounce–it’s not that bad of a song. That is, again, until you remember that this is a song that someone’s probably performed a “Wicked Games” to. And, yes, I did have something a bit less safe-for-work that I wanted to say, but I bit my tongue.

And this concludes another edition of TWIHH. Next week? Winners and Losers of 2013. Don’t get pissed at me if your favorite artist is on the list. Get mad at them for having such a wack year.

You may remember him from his NycRapp video that debuted earlier this year, but Brain Rapp switches it up and showcases his solo flow on the Koja Nc produced single “Shine”. After months of performing and fine tuning his “Feels Good” project which debuted two months ago, Brain Rapp provides a visual for his mellow, laid back single by filming the entire video himself solely on an iPhone. I appreciate this song and the video because it takes us back to the core of what hip-hop is, low-cost artistry that tells an honest story through lyrics and captivating visuals. The fact the video was shot solely on an iPhone illustrates not just how far technology and music has come since the early stages of hip-hop, but also showcases Brain Rapp’s multiple talents as a writer, rapper, director, photographer, and editor. Other up-and-coming artists should take notes from this guy. He is living by the motto, “If you want something done right. Do it yourself.” And one thing is for certain, if Brain Rapp follows that motto throughout his career he will surely “Shine” for many years to come. Be sure to follow Brain Rapp on his social media: Facebook, Twitter, and SoundCloud and check out the video below!

“Shine” was the first single from Feels Good. Soon after its release I got the invite to perform at A3C. I wanted to shoot a video for it but I wanted to do something different. Instead of using the DSLR to shoot, I opted to make it more organic and shoot the whole thing on my iPhone. Using my first experience at A3C to tell the story of “Shine” was fitting because the song is all about gaining exposure, stepping into the spotlight, and letting people know that you belong there. – Brain Rapp

The Portland Trailblazers have come a long way since the early 00’s when they had to get through the Lakers every year to make something of themselves and couldn’t. It was bad enough they had a chance in the early 90’s against the Chicago Bulls and lost. It was a long hard road for the Trailblazers after not making it to the playoffs after 2003. The trailblazers were no longer a house hold name and everyone forgot about that team for years…until now.

It’s the year 2013 and Portland has pieced together a team that will give them a good chance to compete for an NBA title. The Blazers are equipped with LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicholas Batum, Wesley Matthews, Robin Lopez, and Damion Lillard as their starting five and Dorell Wright, Meyers Leonard, and Mo Williams on the bench. They are 15-3 and they just beat the Indiana Pacers who are just as hot as them this season. I have to say the Western Conference has another powerhouse to add. Damion Lillard is playing out of his mind right now at the point guard position and is stroking from behind the 3 point line and the field shooting 40%. Wesley Matthews has found a stroke that he can’t lose shooting 51% from the 3 point line and 54% from the field. Now THAT is a back court that is not getting the recognition they deserve. You can call them the Splash Brothers Junior if you wanted too. LaMarcus Aldridge wanted to leave the team last year and he is playing his best right now letting Damion Lillard do his thing. He is feeding off of his talents and is shooting 47% from the field. No one can say he is not loving every minute of the game with these wins. I am enjoying the time I get to see them get busy on the court. Analysts are not giving them the props just because they just see it’s the Trailblazers. They need to respect the fact they have a Forward in Nicholas Batum who can check any position in the league beside the Center and he is also shooting over 40% from the field and behind the arc. Let’s keep in mind that all it takes is the right seed in the playoffs and they would have just as much of a chance to make it to the Finals as the Clippers, Thunder, Spurs, and Rockets. You have to look at the discipline of this team and see the potential they have to continue to grow since they have improved since last year. When the starting five is shooting a very high percentage and playing decent defense, it is going to be a long season for the other teams who are getting more recognition than the Trailblazers because they are coming for that championship.

In the beginning of the season I did a post about the Knicks having the pieces to have a championship team this year. Man, was I freaking wrong on that one. These dudes are a very big joke and the sad part is it’s only December. What in the world is going on with this team and all this talent? No one in their right mind can blame Mike Woodson because he is a great coach. The players are truly the main reason this season is a big waste. No one on the team is playing for 48 minutes. Yet, they expect to win the game.

Andrea Bargnani is getting paid 11 million dollars and can’t even play defense against anyone in the league. The biggest punk I have ever seen who is scared to get in the paint and get dirty, wants to look around for help, like dude you are 7’0ft tall and can’t even play defense for 48 minutes. I am so disgusted with that dude it makes me want to throw up.

J.R. Smith, Mr. I want to take pictures of players sleeping and post them on Instagram like my team is not on a losing streak. Mr. I can’t even make a jump-shot when I need to help the team but I make 5 million dollars so I don’t care. Man, I don’t want to hear about any excuses on his repaired knee because he is not taking care of his body. Man, please get outta here with that mess. Freaking Iman Shumpert tore his ACL and came back playing like nothing even happened to him. If J.R took care of himself he wouldn’t have to worry about complaining about his knee. I am sick of the crying and complaining and we are going to win a championship this year. Man shut up and get a jumper.

I can’t even be mad at Carmelo Anthony because he is the only player on the team trying to get his team over the hump and win. What can you really say about him? Oh, what? He so-called doesn’t play any defense? Man get off that crap and look at all these other players in the league who do not play any defense at all. This man is carrying a team on his back because the other players act like because they play in New York at Madison Square Garden they are just going to win every game. News flash: Wake up and smell the coffee!

Where is the DEFENSE for the New York Knicks? Tyson Chandler gets injured and all of a sudden they forget what DEFENSE means. Teams in the restricted area are shooting 61 % in the paint and 40% from behind the arc. But teams as a whole are shooting 46% from the field and 36% from the 3 point line and averaging 100 points per game. Hold on, I thought that these were NBA players on the court. Wait, these ARE NBA players on the court and oh yeah, it IS part of the game to play DEFENSE. Isn’t that what they get paid for and what fans come to see along with the wins. Well man, they need to give up some of that money they are making or lower the prices of the seats for fans because they are not playing up to the potential that they can easily have. I didn’t know that you won games just on offense. The Knicks are 3-13 on a 9 game losing streak for the season. It’s not even halfway through the season and they are not going to make the playoffs this year. 1-7 at home and 2-6 on the road. Man, get outta here with that.

Aww, are you sad because Melo said he wants to try free agency this year. I mean can you blame the dude for taking the talent he has and trying to get on a championship team. Trying to be the next superstar to test a free agency that he never had a chance to do during his time in the league. Every player wants to do that in the league, it’s just this man actually came out and said it. I don’t blame that man and yeah, I see him going to LA and playing with The Black Mamba Kobe Bryant because at least he knows that he will have someone on his team that wants that ring as bad as him. If I was a player I would not even want to step foot on the court because of how bad they are playing. You can’t be mad at ‘Melo for trying to better himself to move forward for his family. The Knicks will never get any real players for that team because they are paying Amare too much money and he can’t play more than 12 minutes of a game because of his bad knees, but wants to fuss and say he needs to be on the court. I feel like I am watching a team with a bunch of cry babies who just want to make money instead of wanting a ring. I bet Spike Lee doesn’t even want to show his face at the Garden anymore because he would be wasting valuable time because they suck right now. Man get it together or start trading players for people who want to play at the garden and play with ‘Melo. In all actuality get rid of J.R Smith and Bargnani and get a big man who plays defense and a guard who can score and will think before speaking and then we might have a winning team.