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Monthly Archives: July 2013

With college football only a stones throw away (31 days to be exact!), power rankings and preseason polls are popping up all over the place. This is just lighter fluid to fuel the slow burning embers that are a result of summer sport fatigue. People go bat shit crazy about these polls and rankings as if they actually mean something. This crazy is only a primer for the reactions we can expect when foot meets ball (bear [Bryant] with me – oh, fuck these puns). These reactions serve as great supplements to good games, and sometimes they are talked about more than the match up itself. So I submit to you, deranged college football fanatics, the power rankings of some of the best reactions of the 2012 season.

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“Did 2 Chainz already perform?” my friend asked as we pulled up to the amphitheater gates. He had just checked the time as we got off the bus – it was 9:30. We were worried that we had missed his set; hoping (but not necessarily happy) that we had just missed T.I.

“He just got off stage,” the amphitheater staff member told us. “Wayne’s ’bout to go on next.”

Our spirits sunk. We turned to the rest of our friends who were filing in behind us to tell them the bad news. The look on their faces was that of devastation. Forget the fact that we hadn’t missed the headliner – we missed 2 Chainz. And I think that’s about the point that I realized how weird the landscape of Hip-Hop has become.

Lil’ Tunechi

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I’ve been to a lot of shows in my day. Sometimes, they’ve been in tiny little local venues with not ten other people in the crowd. Sometimes, they’ve been in stadiums—like the Taylor Swift concert I went to on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium. Okay, I’ll give you a few minutes to judge me, musical elitists. But yes, I paid an obscene amount of money to dance and sing along in the pit at the show of America’s most beloved serial dater and I don’t regret it for a second.

A lot of people have a lot of opinions on Taylor Swift. Some of them are violently negative, some of them are violently… positive (actually, though—there are people out there doling out death threats to those that don’t like her, aren’t there?). There are some indisputable facts behind these opinions, like that her album Fearless is the most-awarded album in the history of country music, or that—if you’re into dudes—she’s probably dated your celebrity crush (and you kind of hate her for it #Haylor2012NeverForget). As someone who—reluctantly at first, and then wholeheartedly—enjoys Taylor Swift’s music but enjoys her as a person a bit less enthusiastically, I would like to go on record stating that Taylor Swift is the absolute best at what she does.

Now, I had thought I’d seen it all in terms of teenage hysteria when I saw One Direction at Jones Beach last month. But this was my first Taylor Swift concert, and I don’t know if it was because there was a much larger crowd, or Taylor’s been around a bit longer, but this was a whole different monster. In one group of girls, each had a cardboard letter around her neck and when they stood in order they spelled “T SWIFT,” and they walked in circles around Patriot Place for a solid hour before the stadium began admitting people, just screaming nonsense. There was one girl in a red semi-formal dress who took it upon herself to entertain us with karaoke versions of Taylor’s songs on the stairs next to CBS Scene. One girl literally painted her entire body red. There were parents, there were teenagers, there were young kids, there were girls dressed up as KISS (???), there were bros decked out in homemade TaySwift gear and there was even one creepy middle aged guy dressed as a king at the show alone (you bet we all kept an eye on him). I learned a lot about Taylor and her fans that evening. Here are some of those things:

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Claude Monet - "Morning on the Seine in the Rain"

Claude Monet – “Morning on the Seine in the Rain”

After having finally shown up late to a game, I knew better than to rely solely on my desire to play soccer in order to get myself out of bed on a Sunday morning, take a bus and three different trains and reach a somewhat remote location in time. It was an awakening of sorts, one in which I realized I had paid specifically for the privilege of playing a game I enjoy with a bunch of strangers who chose to name their team after a Prince album and song. Never again, I decided, would I arrive unprepared, whether mentally, physically or otherwise. For the final two regular season games, I would set personal precedents for promptness and diligence on the pitch which I could realize as a standard for my play going into the playoffs. This would be the turning point.  Read More

phish-jones-beach-instagram

On the night of July 12, 2013, four of my friends (I’m not typically one to name names, but for the purposes of this piece and clarity, it seems necessary: Laura, Tommy, Mike and Ray) and I met in Brooklyn, packed into Ray’s black Hyundai and departed the five boroughs. Our destination lay on the South Shore of Long Island, around forty miles and an hour outside of the city. We were to meet another one of my friends, Conor, at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh for what was to be a concert event of the summer, for all the right and wrong reasons. Phish, the legendary genre-disregarding jam band which has been pounding the musical pavement for thirty years, was to perform that night, and if every other Phish show was any indication, it was going to be a night to remember. And so it was.  Read More

Genres of music are being broken down into very specific, micro classifications due to the tags that taste makers, music bloggers, and critics fabricate to identify a certain styling that has yet to be labeled. At times, it can be difficult to keep up with but, at the same time, they are very fun to explore. Each week, I will explore a different sub-genre and try to explain the stains left on my shirt after climbing out of each tedious rabbit hole of musical stylings.

Shabba Ranks, one of Ragga’s biggest toasters

“Mercy”“Crown”, “Blocka”, “Send It Up”, “I’m In It”,“Feds Watching” – besides all being songs that revolve around the nucleus known as Kanye West, they all contain an element of dancehall reggae, specifically Ragga music. While it may seem like a new phenomenon to a younger generation, this infusion of Ragga into Hip-Hop is nothing new. KRS-One, Black Moon, Smif-N-Wessun, Heltah Skeltah, and other East Coast acts of the early ’90s were using the vocal flows of Ragga deejays to formulate boom-bap. Now, Ragga samples are being pumped into trap music and Kanye’s acid house/industrial grind nightmares in a way that seems to clash with the syrupy, pounding production that utilizes it. The closest Ragga comes to a full reincarnation in the current landscape is through artists like Waka Flocka Flame, A$AP Ferg, and Trinidad Jame$ whose high energy, rapid fire delivery, and call and response choruses punctuate their most famous songs. But, what is Ragga and does its stylings have any long time staying power?  Read More