Archives for category: Op Ed

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Last week, the Thornton brothers, Gene and Terrence a.k.a. No Malice and Pusha T were featured on CNN. The brothers once formed the group, The Clipse. One of the more formidable acts in hip-hop, the pair earned respect from hip-hop purists and novices both.

At the height of the group’s fame, the two decided to go their separate ways. When you hear that a group has broken up, a majority of the time it’s about bad business deals, bad contracts or just bad blood plain and simple. That wasn’t the case with the brothers.

No Malice left his brother because he felt a bigger calling on his life. Like many others in the entertainment industry, the bright lights and fame that came with being a big time rap star began to wear on his mind and body. Rather than lean towards drugs or dig deeper into the music, he decided to open his bible and look toward the Lord.

He changed his name to No Malice, changed the content of his music and set off on a path like no other in hip-hop.

The CNN interview shed light on the group, their relationship with each other and more importantly, No Malice’s faith.

The interview was very enlightening, especially when you look at No Malice. After watching their interview, I came up with a few points that you should take away after watching the two explain their rise from the bottom and their career decisions.

Guess There’s Two Sides To What Substance Abuse Is

The brothers spoke openly on camera about how deep they both were into the drug game in Virginia. Growing up in Boston, I’ve heard many a story of hustlers who took to Virginia in an attempt to set-up shop. The state was a destination spot for many drug dealers back in the day. The Thornton brothers took advantage of the constant flow of homegrown addicts and out-of-town hopefuls.

While they were able to stack tons of money and build their reputations, their time on the streets clearly took a toll on both in different ways, especially No Malice.

Billboard

Billboard

CNN correspondent Bill Weir took Malice back to the apartments where they got their hustling start. As the camera’s rolled, Malice spoke about a particular drug deal that stood out to him. He became overwhelmed with emotion before he recalled the story of a woman giving her last dollars for crack, while neglecting her children.

Rather than justify what he was doing, he spoke about the death and destruction his lifestyle caused on others in his neighborhood. He also pointed out how his lifestyle and the life he was glorifying was nothing more than entertainment to White America. It was those revelations that helped lead him towards the path that he walks proudly now as a man of God.

Mo Money, More Problems

Pusha T revealed that he knew his brother was serious about leaving the rap game when he turned down the opportunity to tour in support of the 10th anniversary of their debut album, Lord Willin.

Their debut opus was a drug dealers diary. The two told cryptic tales of hustling on Virginia streets, endless women, designer brands and of course, death. Their hit, “Hustlin” became a staple in the hip-hop world at the time. A tour in support of the albums anniversary would’ve been huge not just for The Clipse as a group, but for fans. With big money on the table, No Malice said, “no thank you.” It was that moment that Push knew his brother was all the way done with the rap game as he knew it.

Billboard

Billboard

Malice explained to Weir that the pain his life at that time put on his marriage and how it changed his personality wasn’t worth revisiting, not for any amount of money. He went on to speak about how the money, fame and everything that came with it was more of a burden on him than anything. His new life with God was more rewarding to him than going back on stage and doing it all over again.

All That Glitters Aint Gold

One thing that stood out to me the most as I watched his portions of the interview was that what many people believe they need to have in life, aint really all that it’s cracked up to be. When you speak to most young rappers coming up, they’ll speak with passion that their in this for the money, fame, power and all that. Many aren’t truly prepared for that comes with.

To listen to No Malice speak openly about the pain it brought his life once he attained what he thought was success was refreshing to me. I feel that there are far too many ex-drug dealing (and pretend drug dealers) who speak about hustling as if it’s another job. The ease that they rap about selling weight, keeping addicts addicted and spending the spoils of their gain has always disturbed me. Growing up in the inner city, I’ve seen first hand more tragic stories than success stories. Few ever make it out the game and even fewer make it out to become rappers.

Malice’s honesty when it came to addressing his past is what many kids coming up today need to hear. That’s it’s not all making it rain in the strip clubs and trapping off your iPhone. A lot of bad energy comes with living that life. His testimony about the rigors that came with not just living that life, but living off that life was a breath of fresh air for me.

Everbody’s Walk Aint The Same

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I watched their interview about 4 times. It was that good of a piece, but there was another reason why it interested me. Watching No Malice speak and give his testimony made me think about others who have said they were going to turn over a new leaf and try walking with the Lord. Former Bad Boy artist Ma$e came to mind.

I remember when Ma$e left a promising rap career to not just purse God, but to take a life in ministry. Ma$e would relocate to Atlanta and start a church. After a few years playing the background and doing what he felt God was calling him to do, eventually he found himself needing the spotlight again. He dabbled with the idea of signing with G-Unit. He even released a new album under the Bad Boy imprint. Currently Ma$e is still running his church and being a Pastor, all while discussing his new album.

Everybody’s walk isn’t the same. That’s one of the first things you learn when you come to Christianity. But everyone’s walk does require you to remove yourself from the secular world. Not everyone can do what Malice has decided to do. He plans on continuing his rap career, but he wants to do it in a way that reflects this new lifestyle. He doesn’t curse anymore, he doesn’t glorify his past life. Not condemning Ma$e and his waffling between secular life and Christian life, but Malice did shine a light on how difficult it is to really walk away from the spotlight and be happy with it.

Peace Of Mind Comes To Those Who Seek It

I respect all faiths. My faith is what it is, my faith. I don’t always feel the need to speak it out loud. I would like to think that my life overall reflects my beliefs. One thing I totally admired about No Malice was the peace of mind he seemed to have. To turn away from money and attention that comes with being a well-known rap star can be hard to just give up, but he did and he seems at more peace for doing it.

Whatever you believe in, peace of mind is what we all end up trying to find. To see someone who seemingly found it is something to not just admire, but something to hope for.

When he realized that the superficial life he was leading was only giving him surface level peace, he sought out something that could give his soul peace. That’s not something that could be understood by all, but that’s something that comes with peace of mind. How you feel about it doesn’t matter. When you can say that and be happy, that’s peace of mind.

For those who haven’t seen their interview, check it out below

CRWN

Last night veteran journalist Elliott Wilson brought his Myspace backed live interview series, CRWN to the Plaza theater in Atlanta Georgia. Epic records star Future was subject for tonight.

Future’s sophomore album, Honest, hits stores today. The highly anticipated project is supposed to show the growth of Future as an artist. I learned a lot about Future last night and it really had nothing to do with his music.

Here’s 5 things I learned about Future thanks to his interview with Elliott

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1. Don’t call him “Meathead.”

It was truly a family night for Future. He had his children and his mother in the audience last night to watch his interview. With the brood sitting front row, Elliott couldn’t help but ask Future about the importance of his family. After briefly speaking about issues with his kids mother, he spoke about how people who knew him while he was growing up don’t call him Future. No, they call him Meathead.

He doesn’t remember how he got the nickname. What he does know is there are many people in Atlanta who still know him only as that. He recalled an album signing he did at Best Buy earlier in the day where someone who has known him since he was a youngin asked him to sign a t-shirt and to sign it, “from Meathead.” He obliged, but he did say that he hates when people call him that.

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Elliott Wilson introducing Future

2. He’s not into the spotlight 

The average person who has had a hand in making hit records for pop stars like Rihanna and Beyonce would be screaming it from the top of a mountain. They would at least put it in their twitter bio. Not Future.

Future spoke about his vocal contributions to Beyonce’s hit record, “Drunk In Love,” as well as some more behind the scenes work he has done for the likes of Drake and others. Aside from the fact that he’s probably contractually obligated not to speak on many of the projects he has worked on, his humility is something that stops him as well.

He spoke about how if he’d post more on Instagram, then people would see all the artists that he’s in and out of the studio with on a daily basis and people would know.

So, when you hear “Drunk In Love,” or “Started From The Bottom,” you might not hear Future, but know that he was present. He might not be front and center in the videos or on stage when those songs get performed, but I’m sure he was front and center when it came to getting that check.

3. His brother from another mother 

Future also discussed his bromance with Drake. The two hit the road last year for Drake’s “Do You Want A Tour” tour. Before then, the two seemed like the last people who would tour together.

After Drake added his verse to Future’s hit “Tony Montana,” Drake sent shots at Future and his team for wanting Drizzy to trek all the way to Atlanta to shoot a video for the record. Despite that drama, the two would be featured on more records together as Future’s star got bigger. Then, after talk of the two going on tour together broke, a snippet of an interview Future did with Rolling Stone came out. Drake was not too pleased to read the piece and see Future saying that his album will “grab you” more than Drake’s.

Just like that, it was announced that the two were not going on tour together anymore. Cooler heads certainly prevailed, because they did criss-cross North America for the tour.

Elliott couldn’t have said it better after hearing Future break down his up and down relationship with Aubrey. “You two sound like brothers.”

Future speaking about his new album and more

Future speaking about his new album and more

4. He was raised in the Dungeon. 

Future and Rico Wade are cousins. The founder of the legendary Dungeon Family (Outkast, Goodie Mob, Witch Doctor, Sleepy Brown, etc.) played a part in his cousins musical growth by letting him hang around the studio.

When Future wasn’t in the streets getting to it, he would be in the studio watching the legends become legends. He spoke to Elliot briefly about the chills he got when he watched Sleepy Brown record, “Can’t Wait,” or seeing the rest of the crews come from the bottom to the top.

While it wasn’t later that Future would get his start in the game musically, those days hanging around his cousin played a big part.

5. The Future Hendrix sound is always growing

“Move That Dope,” featuring Pusha T and Pharrell has become a certified hit record. You can’t go many places without hearing the infectious beat or the catchy hook. We almost came close to never hearing that song at all.

Future spoke about how initially, when Mike Willmadeit approached him with the track, he was hesitant to record to it.

Future wanted to stay in the pop music lane and he felt the record wasn’t “Future Hendrix,” enough.

Mike would eventually convince him to do the record. The results were another hit record for the duo and a boost in street cred for Future. His next single, “I Won,” is more in line with the pop star stylings of Future Hendrix. Lucky we got the hood version of the superstar first.

Future’s sophomore album, Honest is in stores today!

NY Daily Post

NY Daily Post

Today starts the trial of Ronald “Ra Diggs” Herron. The reputed gang leader allegedly ran a crew of drug dealers out of Gowanus projects in Brooklyn New York is on trial for drug charges and murder. He faces life if he is convicted.

One of the key pieces of evidence that the prosecution is trying to use to convict Diggs are his own tweets. Social media is thought to be a sacred ground where what you say is protected as free speech. As absurd as it sounds, using social media as a way to incriminate somebody is not a new thought.

This case was always interesting to me because of their use of social media to attempt to prove that he had something to do with a crime. How can you determine that someone was complicit or the initiator of a crime without them coming out and saying, “I did this.” Anything else should be considered just conversation. That’s how I feel. It seems like lawyers feel different.

A story posted on the Americanbar.org tackles the issue head on.

In the piece, it says “Twitter describes itself as “a real-time information network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news about what you find interesting.”

More importantly, Twitter users communicate using “tweets,” 140-character bursts of information. For litigators, these tweets can be a gold mine, a minefield or a wild collection of information missing an index. The key, of course, is effectively mining tweets to find the important nuggets.

The piece speaks on how tweets can be a “gold mine” for lawyers. In the story they list ways to search a persons twitter stream and justification for why tweets can be used in a prosecution. You can read their full piece here

Reuters

Reuters

While Diggs story might seem like something new, it’s not. The more I search the net, the more I find stories where tweets are being used to put a defendants back against the wall.

Tweets were provided as evidence is a case against Occupy Wallstreet protestors. The police were contending that the protestors knew they were supposed to move that their twitter timelines would prove it. The protestors believed that it was against the law. The protestors were found to be in the wrong and their tweets were allowed to be used against them.

There is a fine line we have to walk today when it comes to what you post online. While it seems like what you say on your page should be private and subject to free speech, the more lawyers and judges are getting adjusted to social media, the more they’re deciding that’s not the case.

How will this effect how and what rappers post online? Only time will tell. I think it sets an interesting precedent and should be used as a model that publicists, managers and label heads give to their clients as to what to do and not do online.

With so many people watching what you say nowadays, you’d be better to take a page from Ice T and remember that it’s “freedom of speech, just watch what you say.”

We’ll be covering Ra Diggs and his case and how tweets and social media will play in it as it goes.

 

 

 

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It was announced last week that 50 Cent would be taking his talents and his G-Unit imprint from Interscope to indie Caroline distribution. The split between Fif and Interscope was amicable according to 50. The new deal would allow 50 to distribute his 5th studio album on his own without having to go through the Interscope channels.

But where does 50 even fit in today’s music landscape. Since his investment in Vitamin Water turned him in a multi-millionaire, Fif has been more businessman than rapper. We’d see him pushing something like his new headphones before we would hear him say he has new music coming. Steve Stoute pointed out that 50 was no longer relevant in hip-hop and he was right. 50 Cent might not be relevant to the hip-hop world that we know right now.

It’s been a longtime since the whole world was singing “In the Club.” 50 is no longer seen as a multi-platinum artist and go-to guy for a hit record. Fif hasn’t seen that success in music in sometime now. His last two mixtapes came and went without much fanfare and his label, G-Unit seems to be a ferris wheel of talent with a new name coming around every few minutes. Yes, as we speak, 50 cent is an afterthought in the hip-hop word right now.

So what can 50 do to regain the stronghold on the music industry that he once had? Djsdoingwork.com can think of 5 things he might want to do right now to get his fans back

5. Play nice bruh

Going all the way back to his “How to Rob” days, we’ve all known that 50 knows how to make enemies. He has a penchant for calling out whoever is hot at the moment and making them stoop to his level. In a short span of time, he destroyed the career of Ja Rule, took half of the NYC rap scene to war, developed an on-again off again relationship with Diddy, challenged Kanye West, and made enemies with Rick Ross. That’s a lot to do in a short time. All that rap beef made it hard for fans to look at him for anything other than a bully. You never knew who he wasn’t going to like. It came to the point where if you said that you were a fan of his then you must be a hater of sorts as well.

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Fif is going to need to make amends with some of the acts that he dissed in the past. Showing the world that this new 50 cent is going to be one that reaches out to fellow rappers rather than trying to tear them down bar by bar would go far as getting him back in hip-hop’s good graces. He’s made baby steps in that process last year when he teamed up with Fat Joe for a track that would be featured on Dj Kay Slay’s project. More of that and less calling out rappers on Boo-Boo TV will do wonders for him.

4. Go back to square 1.

Some people are good alone, some are better with a team. 50 was great on his own.  With his G-Unit brethren, he was unstoppable.

When 50 hit us with 50 Is the Future, we weren’t just introduced to 50 cent. We met his counterparts, fellow Jamaica Queens natives Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo. The three would go on to make great music and give new school fans the closet glimpse they would get to seeing N.W.A. in the flesh.

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50 got larger and G-Unit became a real label. As all that growth happened, Banks and Yayo were pushed to the back. Yayo would drop a few mixtapes here and there and Banks managed to build a decent solo career for himself. Neither reached the same fame that they had when they were still a group.

Meanwhile, the label that 50 was building would grow into a roster that would include the likes of Mobb Deep, M.O.P, Olivia and more. The problem became that the label got to big and diverse at one time. All those talents fighting for attention was a recipe for disaster. Outside of Mobb Deep, none of the artists who were signed to G-Unit ever put out an album. To this day, 50 has been inserting rapper after rapper onto G-Unit in an attempt to make the label hot again and show that he can find new talent. None of that has panned out.

What Fif might want to do is get back with his original brothers, Banks and Yayo and try to get back that original IDGAF aura that he had when the three were flooding the streets with mixtapes. 50 is missing direction and linking with the two people who held him down when he had 9 bullets in him would be a great start.

3. Apologies are in order

Once upon a time, there was a rapper named Ja Rule. Rule would become the biggest star in the hip-hop universe at one-point. His sing-song flow helped him connect with the hood and the radio. It seemed like he could do no wrong. That was until he ran into 50 Cent. The Queens neighbors would spark up a feud that began on the streets of Queens and would spill over into the music industry. This beef would turn 50 into a megastar and turned Ja into a has been.

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In the process of taking down Ja Rule, 50 seemed to syphon some off his talent. The machine gun flow that 50 once possessed was replaced by a sing-song pattern that mimicked Ja in many ways. You could almost hear Ja’s style in songs like “In The Club.” 50 has never acknowledged that while he was beating up on Ja Rule for becoming a rap-crooner, he was becoming a very succesful one himself.

The say karma is a bitch, and maybe 50 has built up some bad karma thanks to how he handled Ja. A public apology to Ja would make 50 look like the bigger man. Taking to the radio and speaking about his past beef with Ja and leaving a door open for a full resolution between the two would be a huge image boost for a man who people seem to only equate with beef and drama.

2. Find yourself 

Who is 50 Cent right now? We know that he’s the gangster rapper that infiltrated the mainstream and forced us all to yell, “G-G-G-G-G-unit!” Who is 50 Cent right now? Being behind the scenes for the last few years, we rarely got a chance to hear anything new from 50 cent. If he were to drop a new album right now, what would it sound like? I wonder if he thinks the same thing?

Last year alone, we saw J.Cole. Jay Z and Kanye West release new albums and introduce new marketing methods as well for how you sell albums. Watching all this change in the game, has 50 prepared himself for this new environment that he’s going to subject himself to? Fans today are more fickle than ever. Their attention spans come and go with whoever is hot at the time. Fifty needs to take sometime and observe the new world that he’s apart of now and see not only where he can fit in, but how he can stand out.

1. Scratch all that 

Forget all that! 50 cent became 50 cent, by being 5o Cent. He never cared much for how people looked at him as a person or an artist. He never complained about not being named the best rapper in hip-hop, he never tried to be a fan favorite with the media. His music was a cross-over success because they just did, not because he made them that way. His formula was, “do what the fuck I want to,” and it worked over and over again. He’s been cold for a while now, but if anyone can thaw out and heat up the rest of the game its Curtis Jackson.

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If you’re a betting person, then your money should be on 50 right now. The best think for this self-made man to do will be to remake himself into something new by giving us that old thing back. That 50 Cent would be enough to bring people back to the light.

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Most things have gone online these days, or so it seems and there’s certainly very little that you can’t do/see/buy over the internet. While not everybody sees this as a great leap forward (often the case with new technology from the wheel onwards) it’s fair to say that the internet is here to stay. The latest internet revolution (and there’s been a few) is probably the move to online TV, video and film. The silver screen has migrated to the internet thanks to the increase in access to high speed broadband. Renting films online is rapidly replacing the concept of nipping down to the nearest DVD rental store and the ease, convenience and speed with which you can rent films online means that this is no surprise. As in every area of life the internet has also made film rental much cheaper than in the past and this is good news for consumers. The even better news is that there are a number of ways that you can view films for free – and it’s even legal!

Over Your Limit – Avoiding Broadband Excesses

Before moving on to how to view films, video or TV for free online, there’s a few points to consider. Firstly, if you aren’t a great film/TV viewer you may find it’s not worth the time involved. For those who have a fondness for seeing the latest releases, there’s a possibility that DVD rental might be the way to go, even in the increasingly connected world. Release dates vary and studios and broadcasters like to get their money’s worth out of their customers, often leaving online release (the least profitable) till last. If, however you’re a-dyed-in-the-wool film fanatic with an insatiable desire for a constant stream of movies, whatever their age and theme, then online viewing offers the biggest film library (probably) you’ll ever need. The next important factor is to be clear on your download limits; if your contract is unlimited (or very high) you should be fine. However, for those on a lower download limit per month, going over that limit can lead to some unpleasant surprises on your broadband bill. Most providers charge high rates for going over your limit, so if you intend to download a large number of films it’s worth checking the fine print and changing tariffs if necessary.

Viewing TV on… Your TV

Once upon a time viewing films, video, TV online was restricted to viewing on a PC or laptop. That has now, thankfully, changed and you can view on many smart-phones, tables and even, believe it or not, on your TV. If you have a smart TV that is web enabled, then you can stream direct to this. If you don’t have a smart TV yet, most new/modern TVs will connect to your laptop or your PC and the good news is that you’ll only need a cable and extremely limited technical experience. Most TVs today come with a connection port that allows you to connect to your computer; the connection will normally be on the back/side of the set and will be a HDMI, DVI or VGA connection. You’ll need the relevant cable to use with one of these and once connected to your laptop you can view directly on TV (a wireless mouse can be used to act as a remote control).

Now for the Free Stuff

So, isn’t streaming or downloading movies only legal if you pay? Yes and no; there is an ever increasing number of sites offering movies for free. You’ll most likely have heard of the bigger ones, including Netflix, Hulu, Blinkbox, Love Film, Sky and of course, iTunes. These providers charge for rental or purchase of films, music, books and other content. They also have a massive range of free films to view and most offer introductory freebies. In order to make the most of accessing free to view movies you’ll need to sign up with a number of these sites. Different sites offer different free options; some offer time limited free membership, giving you access to any number of films and TV programmes. Others offer a selection of free films or new releases as a reward for signing up. The trick is, as with any free offer, to sign up to different sites over a period of time. The number of online film providers is rapidly growing every year and by staggering your sign ups, you can enjoy many months of perfectly free, perfectly legal viewing. Subscriptions, once your free period is up, range from around £5.00 per month which, for avid viewers, is a relatively small price to pay.

Classic Movies and Niche Viewing

In addition to the mainstream sites there are a number of specialist film sites which offer access to free films and TV. Often these showcase films that are no longer in copyright and have entered the public domain. This simply means that they are legally free to view. For film fanatics, especially in the horror, classic B movie, or other less mainstream niches these sites offer a host of material that free to watch and download. Using a download manager, like Vuze, for this type of copyright free material will be useful for serious enthusiasts and those studying film or drama. Vuze is one of a growing number of download managers that actively promotes the legal variety of free film downloading and has been built to offer a functional, but quality experience.

Photo source: Sony Mobile

George Neal is a tech, music and movie fan. Here he explores how to make the most of free movies on the web – legally.

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YMCMB artist Nicki Minaj was the topic of conversation Thursday. Her controversial use of an iconic Malcolm X picture sparked controversy the second it hit the net that spawned almost 24 hours.

The image, that first appeared in Ebony magazine  was used for the artwork for her single, “Looking Ass Nigga.” Outraged spilled onto social media with many demanding that she remove the artwork immediately.

For those who don’t know, she borrowed the image of  Malcolm X holding a rifle and peaking out of window.

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Many people took offense to the fact that not only did she use the shot to promote her new album, but she put the title, “Looking Ass Nigga” over his head.

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She would eventually take down the artwork and issue an apology in hope of putting that drama to be. In the midst of that chaos, many of us missed something. She actually put out a really good song. Now, she’s had better singles in the past and she has delivered better verses. With “Looking Ass Nigga” a bunch of things just came together for her at the right time. It was a far jump from the pop tracks that she’s become known for. With this song, it’s like she’s making a trip back to the mixtape Nicki Minaj that diehard fans fell in love with. This was a take back to her verse on Kanye’s “Monster,” where she went head to head with Jay Z and Kanye West and came out with the best verse.

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Long story short, Nicki Minaj gave us the track that fans have been requesting for a while now.

What we also missed were possible subtle digs at her one-time associate Gucci Mane. If you remember, a few months ago, Gucci took to twitter to address the members of his Brick Squad team, former friends who he claimed left him when they got big and some bad business deals that he had to deal with in his career. What really got twitter going was when he mentioned the name Nicki Minaj. Saying that Nicki was once his underling, he went on to say that former friend and his former label-mate, Waka Flocka and himself each had sexual relations with Nicki at one time or another.

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Of course, twitter went crazy with the news. She lightly responded to the rumor on twitter, but never really spoke up about the situation. As you listen more and more to the song, the second half of her second verse, it sounds like Nicki uses that to let off some shots.

I would never lie/If that nigga flew me and my bitches all the way to Dubai/pussy you tried/pussy ass nigga you lied/pussy ass nigga you high/bitch I’m me

Listening to her spit those lines, I can’t help but think that she’s talking about Gucci has his claims to knowing her in a personal way. Take a line like “pussy you tried/pussy ass nigga you lied/pussy ass nigga you high.” Right there was like an all in shot to Gucci.

She goes on to spit:

Look at you fake dope dealers/know real niggas that be movin weight in those villas/talking bout keys, say there’s keys in the van/but he really got grams and he share them with his man.”

The more and more I listen to that, the more I feel like that was all she was going to say to Gucci Mane. Right now, I’m just being a fan of music. I still listen to lyrics. I still pay attention to how someone rides the beat. As I listen to this song, what I hear is a a true artists who, while not a back-pack rapper’s definition of a lyricist, holds her own lyrically. I also feel like I got an earful of someone who wanted to address a situation and rather make a fool of themselves on twitter, they took it to the booth. That’s hip-hop.

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Lets get the debate started. Lebron James is hands down the best player in the league. Scratch that, the best player in the world! There’s nothing that Bron can’t do on the court. The second best player and the only person who could truly rival Lebron for the top spot would be OKC Thunder forward Kevin Durant. Durant’s ability to score over anybody and his leadership skills make him the hands down #2, possibly 1b.

But who’s the third best player? As I listen to former Denver Nuggets coach George Karl have this conversation with Colin Cowherd on ESPN radio, it made me think. Who would be the 3rd best player in the game today? Here are 5 possible options

Golden State Warriors v Utah Jazz

Steph Curry: I know that Kyle Korver is currently holding a ridiculous record for the most consecutive three pointers in the history of the NBA, but the best shooter in the game is Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry.

Curry is hands down the best player on his team and the cog that keeps the Warriors going. This season, he’s averaging 24 points per game for the Warriors. What makes him really a great player is his assist totals. He’s averaging 9 dimes a game this season. When he came into the league, the one knock on him was that he wasn’t a real point guard. Well, now that his passing ability is catching up to his scoring prowess, Curry is in position to be one of the games best players overall. I don’t know if you can say he’s the third best in the game currently, but you can make a case for it thanks to his ability to get his teammates involved. If you put him on the Heat, that might team might be un-beatable.

Blake Griffin: I don’t agree with Cowherd or Karl, but they feel like Griffin might be the third best in the game. Most novice fans will know Griffin for his highlight plays, but he has developed into more than that. His offensive game is still a work in progress, but when he’s in the post or on the break, he’s hard to stop.I agree with Cowherd and Karl when they say that Blake has really stepped his passing game up.

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When Paul was out with injuries, a lot of the offense went through Blake which meant that Blake had to become a facilitator in some ways. While he’s not a Tim Duncan type passer, it won’t be long before his ability to see out of a double team will make him even more of a force. I wouldn’t say top 3 yet, but yeah, he’s getting there.

Lamarcus Aldridge. Aldridge is suffering from what many players playing in the Northwest like Clyde Drexler has faced before. No one is up to watch them play. By the time the results from a Trailblazers game hit the East Coast, we’re still in awe over what Lebron did.

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Quiet as it’s kept, Aldridge has quietly become one of the games best and possibly the best power forward. His offensive game is something that Blake Griffin wishes he had. Jumper, check!

Post game, check! Passing ability, check! Can stretch the defense, check! Add to the fact that he can rebound with the best, 11.4 per game, and it’s shocking that Lamarcus isn’t mentioned on everybody’s list. He has the goods offensively. What he lacks is coverage. Until people can watch him on a regular basis, then he’ll still be an underrated commodity.

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Carmello Anthony: If he could just win a few playoff games, Carmello could have an solid argument that he is the  3rd best player in the game. No one outside of Kevin Durant has the ability to put up more points than Melo. He’s been a top-level scorer since he entered the league coming out of Syracuse. What he does lack is leadership.

He reminds me of a tall version of Allen Iverson. Like A.I., no one can hold him under 20 points, but him. Like A.I., he’s not really a leader and it takes building a team around his weaknesses in order for him to be truly effective. His current stint in New York has exposed some major flaws in his game. Right now, he’s looking more like a great second option versus being the lead dog on a championship team. But when he’s on, very few could match what he can bring to a team.

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Paul George: How can you not say that behind Lebron and KD, Paul George isn’t the 3rd best player in the game. The Fresno State product came into the league as an unknown product. Even worse, he was playing in the small market that is Indianapolis. Yet, every season his game rises a new level. Coincidentally, his team does too. George is a leading MVP candidate this year, behind Lebron and Durant. He’s led his Pacers to the top seed in the East, over Bron and the Heat. His team is the only team that can really go head to head with the Heat in a play-off series. Last seasons playoffs, he came close to getting Bron and the Heatles all the way out of here. George can score at will and his play is relentless. His blue-collar mentality matches the city and team he plays for. Averaging 23 points, 3 assists and 6 rebounds, George suits up and plays as hard as possible everyday. The results of that hard work has turned him into an elite player and his team into a legit championship contender.

3-years into the league and he might be the third best in the game.

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Yesterday, Nicki Minaj released a video for his new track, “Lookin Ass Nigga.” The song and the video are a testament to her creativity and lyrical ability, but the artwork for the song leaves a lot to be desired.

Employing a classic picture of Malcolm X looking out the window and holding a rifle, she adds the caption, “Lookin Ass Nigga” above his head. I saw a blog as this question earlier today and it made me think. Do you feel like her using the image of Malcolm to convey her “Lookin Ass Nigga” concept a little too far?

Personally, I don’t think so. In being artistic, I believe she chose the picture of Malcolm holding the M1 carbine rifle was for a reason. At the time this picture was taken, he was trying to protect his life and his family from members of the Nation of Islam who were upset that he was taking up stances that were opposite to what the Nation believed. He knew that the Nation was spying on him and were around him at all times. Thus, he had to protect himself always. The looking out the window, holding a rifle exemplifies the reality of his life at the time.

This is also not the first time an artist has taken on Malcolm’s iconic picture. KRS-One posed as Malcolm for his Criminal Minded album cover. Wearing a BDP jacket, KRS stood by the window with a uzi in his hand.

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I don’t feel like he was being offensive nor do I think Nicki was either. I don’t think Nicki feels that haters and critics are around the corner waiting to take her out. I didn’t feel KRS was really thinking there might be a rival dope crew looking to knock him off. The both took something that picture that they found empowering and strong. They both did for shock value too. In Nicki’s case, it seems more like a good idea that should’ve stayed a good idea.

You be the judge. Do you think this is too far? And check out her new video below

The NBA is about to take a short break as the player’s head to New Orleans for the NBA All-star game. During that time, injured players will rest up injuries and teams will hunt the waiver and trade wires in hopes of bolstering their teams for the second half of the season.

So what should we be looking at for part of the NBA season? Here are 5 storylines that you all fans should be looking forward to.

5. Will Carmello be moved around?

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The New York Knicks aren’t looking like a serious championship contender this season or next. Thanks to cancerous contracts like Amare Stoudamire’s, trades that didn’t fit such as Andreas Bargani and how the players view head coach Mike Woodson, the Knicks are looking like a disaster. How will the team start to re-build? One answer could be moving it’s star player, Carmello Anthony.

Rumors started early in the season that the Knicks were looking to trade Melo during the NBA trade deadline. Melo is up for a new contract next season and there is a chance that he will not re-sign with the team. So rather than let Melo walk in the off-season and get nothing, their best bet would be to try to move him while the time is right.

One team that has been mentioned numerous times when talking about trading for Anthony is the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakeshow are looking as bad as the Knicks have this year. Missing their own star in Kobe Bryant, the team has been exploring the possibilities of moving their center Pau Gasol for some younger pieces with their eyes on rebuilding in the off-season. Whether or not the Knicks and Lakers, or another team can find a way to swap players and contracts before the trade deadline isn’t certain right now. Don’t be shocked if you see the Knicks say goodbye to Mel sometime this season.

4. Will another team step-up in the Eastern Conference?

The Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers are head and shoulders above any other team in their conference this year. The East is really suffering as several key teams like the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia Sixers are in major rebuilding times right now. The other teams in the mix like Brooklyn and Chicago haven’t stepped up to be a serious threat to beating either squad in a 7 game series.

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So who could step-up and possibly give either team a run? Of the obvious teams, Brooklyn looks like the best bet. The team that was supposedly built to compete with the Heat and Pacers in the previous off-season is just now starting to gel. Coach Jason Kidd managed to keep the boat afloat while the veterans (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierece) and the younger core group (Joe Johnson, Deron Williams) figured out how to work together. The loss of center Robin Lopez would hurt the team in the long run when playing either the Pacers or the Heat. How to make up for that loss of height, plus how the bodies of KG and Pierce hold up the rest of season is the real question about the Nets and their chances of possibly giving the top 2 seeds in the conference a run.

Another team that could stun some pundits would be the Atlanta Hawks.

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The young Hawks team looked like it might be one of those squads that were rumored to be tanking the season for a chance to get a top pick in the draft has turned out to be a good team. Coach Budenholzer has managed to bring the defensive toughness that he learned while being an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs to a team of young, C-level players. With Paul Milsap playing at an all-star level and Jeff Teague looking like a top-level point guard, the Hawks could really put a scare into either team.

3. Will Anthony Bennett spend time in the D-league?

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Coming out of UNLV, many thought power forward Anthony Bennett would be the next coming of Larry Johnson. Going #1 to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Bennett has been a total bust so far. Barely getting minutes, he’s been out of shape at times throughout the first part of the season. When he has played, he hasn’t shown the offensive game that got him drafted number 1. Add in the fact that he’s been totally clueless on defense, then you have to wonder when Dan Gilbert will wash his hands with the experiment and send him to the D-league.

That would be a first. No other #1 pick has spent major time in the D-league without recovering from an injury before ever. With his struggles on the court and the teams disappointments overall, maybe letting Bennett gain some confidence on the D-league level could be a bright spot in an other wise dark season.

 2. Can Kevin Durant win the MVP?

For the last 3 seasons, the league MVP award has belonged to Lebron James. This season, it looks like Kevin Durant is ready to really challenge the king for the MVP award. Once again, Durant has put his team on his back after his running mate, Russell Westbrook went down with an injury. Leading the league in scoring, Durant has picked up his game all across the board this season and kept Oklahoma City among the top 3 teams in the West.

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If the voters look carefully, then we might see a new person at the podium this year to receive the MVP award and the name you could hear will be Kevin Durant.

1.Who’s really winning by loosing?

College stars Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker have played so well at times this season that many teams have been rumored to be loosing on purpose in order to get in a better position when the draft comes around.

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Some of the teams we thought were going to pack it in for the season like Boston, Philly and Phoenix have looked way better than we thought they would. Boston and Philly, despite having young teams have put up a good fight at times this season. At one point, both were the number 1 teams in the Atlantic division. Phoenix has been a problem for every team in the West all season and are challenging for a play-off spot in the deep West.

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Combine that with the fact that Wiggins, Parker, Center Joel Embiid, UK’s Julius Randle and OKS guard Marcus Smart, have all show flashes of glory and agony this season. Each player seems good enough for any team to want to reach up for a chance to add their skill sets to their team, but no one seems that much of a stand-out where you would torpedo your whole season.

 

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Since we were children, we’ve all been pushed to play some sport or another. Sports are supposed to build confidence, and team work skills in kids. Occasionally, someone will rise from playing amateur sports to the professional level.  With all the good that can be brought about from participating in organized athletics, is there a dark side of sports that we don’t speak about?

What are some of the reasons why violence can come from athletics?

One reason could be what we call catharsis or exercise.

Catharsis is the process of releasing the frustrations and aggression that builds up inside the body.

One of the frequent causes of violence is the need to release negative emotions in a physical way. While exercise can be a good thing overall, it can also be another form of catharsis, especially in sports that involve a lot of physical contact with a ball or other humans.

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Football is a good example of that. Players often collide with each other while fighting to make plays. It’s also for this reason, athletes in sports like soccer or basketball may actually be less violent outside of the game than other people in similar demographic groups because the sport they play doesn’t require players to actually come in contact with each other.

Encouraging athletes to use sports as a means of catharsis and not just view it as competition could actually be a way to counter violence outside of the game.

Another thing that can lead to violence is testosterone.

Playing sports often brings out large amounts of testosterone, especially in men which could account for some of the violence we see on and off the field.

From this, it would make sense that sports players may become more aggressive in everyday life. However, this would depend on the individual and the overall mix of hormones present in that person’s body. A good example would be that of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. Belcher killed himself inside of the Chiefs training facility after killing his wife. He was a player who was never looked at as being violent or being a troubled person. High levels of testosterone that built up over his time of playing linebacker would’ve assisted in him going over the edge and reacting the way that he did.

We have to note that testosterone does not affect everybody in the same way. It’s hard to say that testosterone levels led a player like Belcher killing himself and others, while other players who played the same position haven’t done the same thing.

Violent images that we see on a regular basis in media and sports could also

There has been research that suggests that violent TV programs and video games can make a person more aggressive. The theory is that the more you view violent images, the more acceptable it becomes.

How this translate to sports hasn’t been determined just yet. Violence in sports isn’t something that’s normally done with malicious intent unless it’s a sport that is combative like MMA or boxing. However, if a player is able to get away with violence in the sport, they may view violence as acceptable when their not playing or participating in their sport.

When you look at it, there are many factors that contribute to aggression in and outside of sports. The examples that we give could either make a person become more or less aggressive from playing sports. At the end of the day, everyone reacts to things in different ways.

Viewing how violence impacts an athlete is really something that has to be examined individually. You have to also include people’s backgrounds and environment. All those things have to be considered when you try to determine why someone would react violently when not playing a sport.

Taking in consideration exercise, violent images, and natural reactions to testosterone levels, it is possible to control whether or not someone will exhibit violence outside the sport that the play.