Friday, July 30, 2010

Freestyle Friday (7/30)



Hey people, it's Friday and that means nothing other than freestyles. Today, I'm posting up a guy who I've seen floating around the blogosphere but never got a chance to listen either through my own disinterest or just because there are too many rappers out there. Either way, Rain, hailing from North Carolina, is nice with it. He visited Tony Touch's radio show this week and dropped off a long freestyle about where he's from and where he wants to go in this industry. The beat he goes over is really good too. Anyone got the title for me? The second freestyle is by Joell Ortiz, whose YAOWA movement is gaining steam by the day. This freestyle, over DJ Premier's 'Sing Like Bilal', is somewhat of a subliminal diss track, coming at all of the 'new' rappers on the scene now. Not that I agree completely with Joell's stance, but you've got to admit, the man does spit some truth about the way labels act towards them. Not to mention, Joell is actually a monster and could go toe to toe with most of the cats coming out now. Whether YAOWA will put the bullseye on some backs has yet to be seen, but with verses like this, it's looking like the summer's going to end on a high note for Joell. Check out both freestyles and keep it locked to Dear Whoever...

Nike Air Force 1 - Borough Pack & Block Party

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From top to bottom: The Bronx (*shots lick off*), Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island & Brooklyn

If there ever was an iconic sneaker in the culture of New York City, it's the Nike Air Force 1. Uptowns, as we call them were one of the first kicks to have a cult following (aside from Shelltoes), and that's before Nelly made the world go ape shit for them with his track 'Air Force Ones'. Overexposure aside, it seems only right that the Air Force 1 get some colorways specifically about New York. That's why Nike and DJ Clark Kent combined their forces to create the Borough Pack. The pack gives a different style for every borough in the fair city of New York, each with a fabric and tumbled leather upper to mimic a varsity jacket, and gum bottoms for the old school sneakerhead in us all.

The best part about this release is that Nike is also sponsoring a block party at their 21 Mercer Street location in New York to commemorate the release, as well as the World Basketball Festival going on. All boroughs are invited as an initiative to bring New Yorkers together under one banner. I love what Nike's doing here. They're making every effort to appeal to people, and it's a great look for sneakerheads, basketball fans and everyone else in between. The block party is tomorrow, July 31, starting at 6. To top it off, DJ Clark Kent, along with DJ King Solomon and Miss Banks will be hosting the party. This might very well be the spot to be at in NYC tomorrow. Hopefully you can make it. Check out some flicks of the 'Borough Pack' as well as a flyer for Nike's All-Borough Block Party...

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J. Cole - Problems (Unfinished)

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J. Cole - Problems (Unfinished)

I hate (to the upteenth power) posting unfinished songs and leaks. Not only does it lessen the value of the track when it does come out, the track usually has a lot of rough stuff on there. In this case, J. Cole's latest track to hit the interwebs doesn't even have a chorus (there's supposed to be a singer on it), and there's a random screeching sound where the chorus should be. That doesn't erase the fact that the song is incredible even unfinished. 'Problems' talks about just that, problems. From bill collectors, to drugs to the police, to Tiger Woods'plight, Cole hits all the bases in a (hopeful) ballad about everyday struggle. The track sounds very endearing. Supposedly, 'Problems' isn't even the name, though that's what most people are calling it. I guess that's the price you pay when a track is unfinished. I'm not complaining, though. Good music is good music. Check out Cole's first leak, and quickly, because it's not guaranteed this'll see the light of day again...

Dear Delusional Cavaliers Fans



The LeBron-athon, and it's subsequent wake is OVER. Let me repeat. The LeBron-athon is OVER. LeBron James is a Miami Heat (they need to work on their subject-verb agreement in the NBA), and is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier. It's over. Cavs fans, it's time you started preparing for a new season without he-who-shall-not-be-named-anymore. The fact that a man can't show up at a Cleveland Indians game (a completely different sport, mind you) donning a different jersey without catching shade is a terrible. You should feel ashamed for trying to kick the guy out of the stadium, when he wasn't even trying to start trouble. Whatever the case from some random Indians game (they're not making the playoffs anyway), it stands to say that you guys still haven't recovered from the LeBron fallout. Mo Williams is going to be your best player going into the season. I don't know whether to feel bad for this season or really good because you'll have a good lottery pick this season. All signs are pointing to a long, long, long season in Cleveland, which makes your anger understandable. What that doesn't do is allow you guys to turn into the stereotypical sports fans you look like in these videos. A guy really can't wear a LeBron Heat jersey to a baseball game without being harassed? It's not even the same sport!!! I could see the ire if he showed up for Cavs opening night decked out in heat gear. Otherwise it just comes off as petty. You mad? (Cam'ron voice) If so, you'd better get used to frustration coming from the basketball court, because it's not going away until you get the #1 pick again. And guess what? No amount of peanuts and beers thrown, LeBron jerseys burned or angry open letters will ever get LeBron James back. He's moved on to bigger and (hopefully) better things. Deal with it, and just watch the damn game...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shawn Caliber - 24 Hours to Live Freestyle

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A logo to most.. A banner for a genre


S-Cal - 24 Hours to Live Freestyle

Two days ago, I had somewhat (I say somewhat because I kind of already knew) of a revelation: NYC hip-hop, while starting to have somewhat of a resurgence, isn't making moves. Our region has fallen by the wayside either due to silly beefs, bad albums or just general inactivity. Besides Jay-Z, I can't see any NYC rappers out here getting the numbers or press that they should. It's almost as if NYC has grown complacent with it's hip-hop, content to rest on the laurels of its innovators, rather than carry on tradition. I question whether the likes of Big L, Biggie and Big Pun (RIP) would be pleased to see the city that they left and the music that came from it. I'm not too sure if they would be, so I started tweeting, airing my grievances with NYC hip-hop and it's latency. From those tweets, a challenge was issued:

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Shawn Caliber answered that call, and with the quickness. I shot him over the instrumental of the classic featuring Ma$e, DMX and the Lox, and he came up with a freestyle detailing what he would do with his last 24 on this planet. I'm not going out on a limb and saying NYC rap will be back tomorrow (it's far from that). Yet, with artists like S-Cal on the come-up, it's hard to see the city being down on its luck for much longer. Check out the homie Shawn Caliber ripping up '24 Hours to Live' with a nice 16...

PS: Be on the lookout for #NewYorkTimes... Don't say I never told you

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tron: Legacy x adidas

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Seriously, I'm signing up for 2011 Comic Con tickets TODAY. The San Diego Comic Convention has become something of a cultural experience, where movies, music, games, television, graphic novels, and of course, comics mash together to keep our inner nerds occupied for four days straight. Add that to the fact that the divide between different media interests has become parchment-thing, and you have my heaven. This go around, we've got adidas collaborating with the people behind Tron: Legacy to create a new line of Tron-themed, futuristic apparel. The first pieces we'll see drop are two pairs of the adidas Heat Check, the company's new signature shoe. Both feature reflective stripes, along with screen-printed graphics on the upper and toebox, reminiscent of the glitzy, high-tech feel in the of Tron. The hoodie below will be self-illuminated, just like the movie. Oh, and in case you were wondering, this collab is set to hit shelves in December, right on time for Tron: Legacy's release. Check out some flicktures of adidas x Tron: Legacy, as well as a new trailer for the movie, which is starting to look sicker and sicker by the day...



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Neighborhood Newsletter (7/28)

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Reason #574.396 why I think reading and writing will die out this century...

When She Says Man Up, She Has No Idea What She’s Talking About

Anybody out there? 140 'Earths' found

Pentagon can't account for how it spent $2.6 billion in Iraqi funds, audit finds

Goldman reveals where bailout cash went - overseas banks

Didn't Run a Marathon? You Don't Need Gatorade

Cops Shut Down Kids' Lemonade Stand

7 Weirdest Ice Cream Flavors

The Science Behind "Having a Bad Day" (and How to Solve It)

Wyclef Jean for President of Haiti?

Batman Bat-Pod Replica

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Sometimes fanaticism doesn't have to be about weird costumes and camping out all night to get into Comic-Con. In fact, sometimes the biggest fans have other, more palatable interests that actually turn out to be useful for the fan. I guess you could say that's the case with this California man (all the random, cool stuff is always in freaking Cali, isn't it?) who took his love for Batman, and made his own custom Bat-Pod replica to cruise around on. The chopper is fully functioning, aside from the machine guns, and other classified gadgets only Bruce Wayne's rich behind can access. I'm not really sure how fast the replica can go (not that it matters; we can't disobey traffic laws like Batman), but it definitely looks like it can haul ass on a straightaway. Check out some closer flicks, and a video of the Bat-Pod in action...

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Red (2010)



Sooo, now that Mel Gibson has racist and sexist-ranted his way out of Lethal Weapon 5, we've got to find other older actors to run wild in action movies. Fortunately, Bruce Willis is still on the scene, and Morgan Freeman has always been a sleeper in the genre. This particular offering has a predictable plot, but reeks of entertainment value, considering the host of explosions, guns, high-tech gear, and one-liners in the trailer. Plus, the interactions look hilarious!! Check out the trailer from Comic Con...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dear Pentagon

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PROLOGUE (if you can call it that): Before you get into the letter, make sure to check out 'The War Logs', a series of previously-classified military documents outlining many inconsistencies in what the government has told us, and what is really going on in Afghanistan and Iraq. - via The New York Times

Wait, wait, wait, wait.... Let me get this straight. We've been at war in Afghanistan for almost 10 years now, fighting off not only Al-Quaeda and the Taliban, thinking that the $1 billion in aid we sent to Pakistan was to help us against militants. Now, we find out that the Pakistani government has been underhandedly helping out those same insurgents we were trying to fight??? C'mon son... Something about this war has seemed fishier than Neffe's nether regions. I've thought that since 2001, and the leaks from Wikileaks proved my suspicions right.

Pentagon, can you FINALLY admit, that this 'War on Terrorism' isn't working?
SIDENOTE: Anyone notice that when America goes to war against something that isn't a specific country or entity of countries, it doesn't work?? (see: war on drugs, war on terrorism, Prohibition)
Since 2001, after the September 11th attacks, over $3 TRILLION have been spent on defense and military intelligence, operations and planning. That's right: over $3,000,000,000,000 for these specific purposes (if my knowledge and research is correct):

1) To find weapons of mass destruction.
2) To find Osama bin Laden, his weapons of mass destruction, and figure out his role in 9/11.
3) To completely destroy the infrastructure and governments of Afghanistan and Iraq under the facade of democracy building, while embarking on a monumental oil rush.
4) To finish George H.W. Bush's beef with Saddam Hussein.

Okay, so 3 and 4 get scratched because that's not what 'good' Americans do, and because a federal agent would snipe me in my apartment window otherwise. Pentagon, what does that leave as our goals from this decade-long endeavor? To find WMD's and Osama bin Laden. Hmmmmm... The last time I checked, we still haven't found as much as a tommy-gun we didn't know about in Afghanistan or Iraq. In fact, most of the weapons in those countries, we brought in. Also, the last I checked, bin Laden was still shacked up, chilling, in some region we don't know exists. The last guy who got close to him wasn't even with you guys, and you arrested him! What do those facts, along with the recent unearthing of these 'secret' military reports tell me, Pentagon? They tell me that the administrative systems in place to regulate our military spending SUCK. They tell me that military spending in general is too great compared to the returns. They tell me that our troops are over in the Middle East fighting for things that might not exist, and to find people who can't be found. They tell me that George Dubya had his head up his ass when he was planning this with his people. But most of all, they show ridiculous inefficiency and huge divides in our military systems, including the Armed Forces and CIA.

Why is it that our military was so naive entering this war? I mean, did you really think you'd be able to simply storm these countries, take down their leaders, convince their people that your way was best, convert them to democracy, and then everything be peachy? I can tell you one thing: no country is going to embrace your ideals, much less if you're killing civilians and causing complete social upheaval. You're like the dumb bear who smacks up the beehive hoping to get honey, not realizing those bees aren't just going to fall asleep and let you get your fill, Winnie. This isn't the playground, where you can pick on the little guy and not expect repercussions on your side. This is war... and a severely underestimated one, at that. That we're finding out about so many inaccuracies on your side isn't as much a surprise as the biggest one: the whole Pakistani spies aiding insurgents thing. That's just sad... $9 billion worth of sadness. And to think, we've been in a recession this whole time. So much for war profiteering helping the nation stabilize. Word to the Great Depression and World War II...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dear Lupe Fiasco

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You hear that, Lupe? The industry called.. It wants to know when you're handing your manhood over...


Lupe Fiasco - BMF (Building Minds Faster)

Let me get this off my chest first Lupe: That BMF freestyle was WEAK!!! Now that we've gotten that out of the way, here goes:

It's a sad day in music when a person has to finally admit that their favorite artist, contrary to popular belief, CAN do some wrong. Lupe, You've been my favorite rapper for the latter half of the decade, replacing whatever crap I was listening to previously. For those years of fanhood, I've had to sit through countless hip-hop arguments with people who thought you were lame, convoluted, whiny, overrated, too nerdy, not hood enough, and whatever other knocks they could find on you. For those years of fanhood, I toiled scouring lyrics and songs for instances that you shined. For every Weezy punchline, I had an entire verse that trumped it. For every Jay-Z song that became an earworm, I had a track bumped harder. Yet, for every album you released, I had a complaint. Yes, a complaint, Lu. You see, for an artist as talented as yourself, there always has to be a catch, and with that catch, a complaint from fans:

Your first album, while good, was NOTHING compared to the original, leaked version. From beginning (Theme Music to a Drive-by is one of the best intro's I've ever heard) through the middle ('Trials & Tribulations' and 'Real Recognize Real' still are in rotation) to the end, the ORIGINAL Food and Liquor was damn near a classic. Pulling it, then re-releasing it with wacker versions of original songs and throwaway tracks was a mistake. Your second album 'Lupe Fiasco's The Cool' was also good, but was riddled with tracks that probably should've been B-sides rather than album cuts. I'm not going to lie and say I didn't bump both of them into the ground due to my immense fanhood, but 3 years without a release makes for a rough time as a fan.

It is now 2010, three years since a Lupe Fiasco album, and 6 months since an official Lupe Fiasco mixtape. In today's industry, and to today's fan, that's entirely too long. Your name is out of the loop, people forget about you, and then give you the 'huh?' look when you claim you're the best. As much as it sucks to admit, promotion is EVERYTHING, and you've been lacking in that department for a while now. Now that Lasers is supposedly done, and you're being held from releasing it by Atlantic, you want to whine and complain about label woes and how their not pushing it for you. Lupe, you've got to remember that the industry owes you NOTHING!!! You hear that? NOTHING. The amount of artists who've had their careers chewed up and spat out within the course of a few months is constantly rising. And here you are, signed to a major labor, sporting a large and dedicated fanbase, getting mad because your stuff gets leaked and the label won't do anything about it? Lupe, grow up!

You ever take note of Wayne or Gucci when they went to jail?? No one really missed their presence in hip-hop because they constantly have stuff coming out, whether it's throwaway tracks, mixtape features, or just mixtapes in general. Lupe, in the last year, I think I've heard a total of 10 tracks from you. That's sad. No artist can put out less than a track per month and expect a label to be behind them (except Jay Electronica). Lu, going back to the fans (myself being one of them), there's been a #WeWantLASERS trending topic and petition on Twitter for about a week. Is it just me, or does it look like these fans are going to be tweeting and petitioning for naught? I know you'd like to say no, just so it sounds like you're trying, but we know that the Lupe we love on wax may never find his way back. It's not that you've lost your talent. It's that you got caught up in trying not to be 'the Cool' and stopped putting out what made you in the first place: the music. It's not enough to just sit there complaining about what people aren't doing for you or are doing to you. If you don't try to overcome it by doing what you do best, they win; labels, leakers et. al. Please Lupe, put us fans out of our misery and put out music that's worthy of your imprint, not random freestyles complaining about why you've got no buzz. If you're ever going to 'blow' you'll need a lot more than a subpar freestyle to a Rick Ross track...

Greetings From: London, UK

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Maybe a river of chocolate is possible...

via The New York Times:
To some, he is a real-life Willy Wonka. To others, he is a Bond-style villain bent on taking over the world’s supply of chocolate. In a stroke, a hedge fund manager here named Anthony Ward has all but cornered the market in cocoa. By one estimate, he has bought enough to make more than five billion chocolate bars. Chocolate lovers here are crying into their Cadbury wrappers — and rival traders are crying foul, saying Mr. Ward is stockpiling cocoa in a bid to drive up already high prices so he can sell later at a big profit. His activities have helped drive cocoa prices on the London market to a 30-year high.

Mr. Ward, 50, is not some rabid chocoholic, former employees say. He simply has a head for cocoa. And, through his private investment firm, Armajaro, he now controls a cache equal to 7 percent of annual cocoa production worldwide, a big enough chunk to sway prices.

“Globally, he is unmatched in his knowledge of cocoa,” said Tim Spencer, a former Armajaro executive.

Armajaro maintains offices in West Africa, helping Mr. Ward keep tabs on major cocoa crops. “We even have our own weather stations — our very own that no one else has in some parts of the world,” Mr. Ward, soft-spoken and tan, said in a video interview this year with a financial news service. Now, traders here are buzzing that Mr. Ward has placed an audacious $1 billion bet in the London market for cocoa futures. This month, he bought 241,100 metric tons of beans, they say. His play has some people up in arms. While some see it as a simple bet that cocoa prices will rise on falling supply, others say Mr. Ward has created a shortage of cocoa simply to drive up the price himself.

Greetings from London, England, where a local entrepreneur has apparently rediscovered his love for the children's story, 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'. Anthony Ward has bought over $1 billion worth of cocoa beans from Africa, virtually turning the chocolate industry into his industry. On the London market, his purchase has raised the price of chocolates to a 30-year high. My question is, how much chocolate is he going to buy before he realizes one of two things?:

A) People like chocolate, but not enough to pay ridiculous prices for it. As people's wallets shrink, so do their appetites for luxury products and non-essential food items like (you guessed it) chocolate. He's probably not going to be able to sell it for another 10 years.

or

B) Candy producers have entire regions dedicated to cocoa production. In fact, England doesn't have so much as a foothold in the chocolate industry, as say Italy or France. His acquisition is meaningless unless he has a producer handcuffed already. Looks like he's just going to be sitting on chocolate...

Is this what the recession has brought people to? Making binge investments and trying to buy up the market in the hopes that one day they can sell it off? Obviously, we've yet to see what the investments will hold for the future, but there have got to be more lucrative industries out there. I suppose that's what happens when your country's infrastructure is failing and your government is fighting itself: you buy chocolate and hope for the best. On that note, I'm going to get back to my Everlasting Gobstopper. Word to Gene Wilder...

Nike Air Max 97 - Metallic Gold/Black/Red

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I've never been one for gold sneakers. They either stand out TOO much or they come off as looking tacky. These, however, I can mess with. The Nike Air Max 97 is one of those shoes that gets lost in the shuffle behind 95's and 90's, but always seems to have really simple, yet fresh colorways. Nike's come back hard with retro's this summer especially in the Air Max department, and this is one of the shoes that was resurrected. These 97's feature a metallic gold upper with white stripes for contrast, as well as a red swoosh on the tongue, and the 97 Air bubble that can't be missed. These kicks are an international release and should've already touched down at your local spot. Hopefully you jumped on them...

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Freestyle Friday (7/23)



Hey people!!!! Friday means Freestyles, if you didn't know. We've got two up-and-comers this week, spitting flames over hot instrumentals. The first one is by Skewby, over Dirty Money's 'Angels'. Honestly, Skewby might have one of the most underrated repertoires in the underground right now. He rips every song or cipher I hear him in, and his content is always on point. The Tennessee native has to be on your radar now. The second one is from another guy who should be on your radar, Laws. I wasn't too keen on Laws after listening to his 4:57 mixtape, but here, in this freestyle over Outkast's 'ATLiens', he makes a fan of me. The concept behind his past work has been just that: work. This freestyle is about his last days of working a 9-5 and the wackness that ensues in such a job. His new mixtape, 5:01, is definitely getting a listen now. Check out both dope freestyles and keep it locked to Dear Whoever....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

America's Emotions via Twitter



If you want to see how someone's day is going, chances are you can check their Twitter and get a pretty good idea. That said, aside from your own personal friends, it's really impossible to get a serious feel for the rest of the world's affect (look it up) at any given time... Until now. Computer scientist Alan Mislove from Northeastern University and his colleauges in Boston have done a study that finds that the west coast is happier than the east coast, and across the country happiness peaks each Sunday morning, and hits a low on Thursday evenings. The study is called 'Pulse of the Nation'.

Mislove took all public tweets between September 2006 and August 2009, filtered out users from outside the US (and those with no location listed), then filtered them against a psychological word-rating system called Affective Norms for English Words. ANEW ranks lower scoring words as negative and higher ones as positive. Positive words like 'love', 'diamond', and 'paradise' have higher scores, while negative words like 'funeral', 'rape', and 'suicide' have lower ones. He then took those scores, calculated the average mood of all the users in a state hour by hour, and plotted the scores on a 'mood map'. The mood map transforms every hour based on how many users in a state are tweeting, and how that state is tweeting (happy or sad). The result was the video above, a 24-hour map of the emotional ups and downs of Twitter.

The dope part about this study is that you can see where you fit in as a regular Twitter user. Weekends are usually fairly happy, while the middle of the week is pure drudgery. Also, the West Coast's overall happiness compared to that of the East Coast is dumbfounding. Even crazier is the fact that the Midwest seems to always be somewhat unhappy (sorry Detroit). It's interesting to see such a wide base of data being portrayed so simply. If you want to see an extended write-up with more infographics, click here. Other wise, check out the video and see how your mood fits into the pulse of the nation...

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Dear Floyd Mayweather

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Talk is cheap when you're the only one doing it...

I hate when people whine, b*tch and moan about what someone else isn't doing, and then do the same thing themselves, and to a greater degree. When one asks, or better yet demands something in return for their blessing, it's a given that if that thing is received, the person had better be willing to make good on their word. That's just common integrity at work. You don't throw out ultimatums, or better yet, your word if you know you won't be able to back it up. That's why I'm so disappointed in you, Fraud Floyd. For almost two years the biggest story in boxing has been a fight that hasn't and may never happen! Floyd, we get it, you think you're the best boxer in the world... Yet and still, there's a wiry Filipino across the pond who thinks he's better. Pacquiao's been willing to settle the score and prove who's better for years, but every which way we turn, you're coming up with some wacky stipulation for him.

Whether it was $10 million per pound over the weight class (that's unheard of), or systemic blood testing leading up to the fight, you seem like you're finding every possible way to duck this fight. Pacquiao originally declined the latter requirement, but because you constantly were talking out of your mouth, with your camp ridiculing Pacquiao at every chance they got. You're uncle called him a b*tch and a f*ggot on camera! Seriously, Floyd?? That's what you and your folks have stooped to? Name-calling?



Consider this... Manny's a boxer. Sooner or later, wouldn't you think that he'd get tired of the talk, and want to settle it in the ring? I'd think so. Pacquiao said to hell with his training regimen and decided to go along with your blood testing. To me, that's the sign of a boxer who's not scared of anything... to completely revamp his training methods to suit another boxer's demands, is brave, almost to a fault. Pac Man was ready to take you out, and you sat silent, not even considering the contract put forth by his camp.

You're scared. Just admit it, Floyd. Now that Pacquiao has made sacrifices and is still ready to rumble, you realized you can't talk shit to the top. The funny thing is, you should've seen this coming. Pacuiao's eaten alive the past 5 boxers (all but one in a KO, and that was a unanimous decision against Clottey) he's faced, and hasn't lost since Morales in 2005. Judging from your last fight, where Mosley was able to hit you up a few times, Pac might do some damage, and you know it. Floyd, for someone who named himself 'Money', you need to put it where your mouth is. Stop finding little loopholes and BS ways to duck Pacquiao. If Manny can compromise (he's bending over backwards now) to fight you, you can sign the damn contract and give boxing fans what they've wanted to see for three years: the two best boxers in the world duke it out for the title of the best pound-for-pound fighter. If you're so sure you're the best, put that undefeated record on the line and fight, instead of talking about fighting...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Neighborhood Newsletter (7/21)

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That's the only way I'm watching a Twilight movie...

Teacher Fakes Brain Cancer to Skip Work

Bad Connection: Inside the iPhone Network Meltdown

Sex and the City fan has sex with 1,000 men

Poachers kill last female rhino in South African park

What if the Tea Party was Black?

AIDS breakthrough: Gel helps prevent infection

10 products to never buy generic

Love Addiction: Tough to Kick

4 Job Search Techniques That Can Shift Odds In Your Favor

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dear Racial Ambiguity



In about 200 years (pending the End of Days, 2012 and any catastrophic world disasters), when we look back on the cultural and biological makeup of humanity, this will be considered the beginning of a society of homogeneous people. This letter is weird to write, for two reasons:

A) How easily skin pigmentation fragments us. No matter how much people want to say that they are color blind, the skin (and it's color) are the first thing that one sees. People take skin color to indicate much more than it should, even in today's 'post-racial society'. That a newborn child has more or less broken every rule we knew about genetics, and skin color, is a shock to most people nor an easy pill to swallow. The birth of this 'white' baby to these 'black' parents (note the quotation marks) is the beginning a new era in human genetics: that of racial ambiguity. Because of you, the entire notion of skin color will die in a matter of centuries. People won't be too happy about that either. For many, skin color is a delineating mark. With your advent, there is one less marker for people to judge with.

B) As a black person, proud of my heritage, it's exciting, yet disconcerting to think that race may die out. Where will the culture and folklore I've grown to know end up? Will they be celebrated as a part of your new hold on humanity, or will some cultures scatter like dust in the wind? Will some parts of your 'new race's' culture hold still, while other parts get discarded as useless or classless or outmoded? How can we be sure that in 200 years black or Hispanic or Asian culture won't die out or that one won't be held up over another?

Both A) and B) are legitimate concerns, but this birth signals a pivotal time in humanity. Racial ambiguity, you've long been a heralded black sheep in genetics. Your tendency to make people 'universally beautiful' is lauded, yet people chafe at the racial issues that come into play. I can only imagine the kind of internal strife that this child will experience in it's post-latent years. From taunts to questions to weird looks, that baby's blond hair may be as much a bane as it is a blessed surprise. Then again, in this post-racial society, where your presence is heralded, she may very well be a golden child. Who's really to know at this point? What we do know is that somehow two black parents, with two black children, birthed a child who would be considered traditionally white. Racial ambiguity, it stands to say that your shroud will still be appreciated in a post-racial society, though it still may not hide you from criticism. You're something that people fear but secretly lust after. That this child achieved it through natural birth is incredible. Hopefully by the time she's old enough to write, her racial identity will be solid and understood to her, but really won't even matter any more...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dear Michael Jordan (re: The Decision)



When an innovator, originator or all-time great speaks on the current state of their field of expertise, you listen. Point. Blank. Period. No matter how sick you are of hearing about the event, that great's words matter, not because they'll have any bearing on the situation. Those words matter because it's essentially a view from the top. It's like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Eric Schmidt speaking on the state of computing, or Joe Montana speaking on football, or Jimmie Dean (RIP) speaking on breakfast meats. That's why I don't get why people are so up in arms about your comments regarding the LeBron-athon and the free agency free-for-all over the past few weeks. Michael, simply put, you are the best to ever play the game of basketball (readers, let's not get into the debate; Kobe is still playing). That said, I think you'd know a thing or two about the game and how differences in generations would change the game.

Michael, your comments make perfect sense. While one can't not respect LeBron and company for hopping onto the Dwyane Wade bandwagon in Miami, you've got to question the cojones on some of these guys. You're right!! Back in your day (sad that we can say that now) you wouldn't have had Larry Bird and Magic Johnson hitting you up to form a New World Order. Patrick Ewing wouldn't have based his free agent signing on wherever you were going. Charles Barkley would've laughed you out of town had you suggested that you guys team up. I suppose what the NBA is losing with these multi-million dollar deals and hour-long free agent specials, is simple: competition. Think about it MJ.. When you were playing, did the term 'contract year' even exist? Players didn't lounge for 3 years and then decide to turn it on the year their contract was up. They proved their worth on a night-to-night basis. Players went up and at each other. There were rivalries... REAL rivalries, with bad blood, heated words and hard fouls to prove it. Players might have been friends off the court, but their pride wouldn't allow them to make nice on the court. In your day, there wouldn't have been 'Three Kings' in Miami. Those three guys would have had to make their own ways in their respective cities. The advent of free agency took the heart right out of the NBA.

Much like your comments, Mike, this isn't a shot at LeBron. This is just a basketball fan fearing the worst: that the underdog will become a dying breed... that the powers that be (ie: David Stern, the shareholders, and their wallets) will prevail over the game and art of basketball... Even more I fear that competition, true competition between great players will dwindle because they'll all be on the same team. Where's the fun in that? LeBron and his personal dream team will be fun to watch. Yet, the best basketball experiences involve NOT knowing who was going to be in the big dance come May. Your era was the last to exhibit raw, unadulterated, bitter competition. The way it's looking, the NBA Champs will be one of 4 teams for the next 10 years. If that doesn't make you as a basketball fan a little salty, Mike, I don't know what does. Then again, I suppose running the Charlotte Bobcats (as futile as it may become soon) is all the competition you need. Good luck fighting the power, Mike. You'll need it...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dear J. Cole



Today I got the chance to go to a concert in Philadelphia. Philly doesn't have many concerts, or at least many good hip-hop ones. So with that in mind, any good accessible concert needed to be attended with the quickness. Cole, as soon as I heard you were performing in Philly, and for free at that, I had to attend. I copped the tickets that day, and waited patiently to see if your performances live up to your music. That's a hard feat in today's rap game. Not every rapper can perform. You've got guys who just stand there waving their hand (coughcoughDrakecoughcough) and rapping. You've got guys who can't keep up with their own lyrics. The only good performers I can see today are Jay-Z, Lupe, The Clipse and Kanye. The rest just don't entertain as well. You came on stage to 'We On', and got the crowd pumped, even though most of them didn't know the lyrics. Then you made a great move by bringing Freeway out, especially because we're in Philly. The crowd started pulsating, they were screaming so loud. I swear you could hear it on my camera. Free made everyone get rowdy with 'Roc the Mic' and 'What We Do', and then you moved on to 'Who Dat' and had everyone involved. Closing out the show with 'Young Simba' was a good move, too. One thing, though... Why was your set only 27 minutes long? There were definitely more tracks you could've performed, instead we got a little under a half an hour of performance compared to an 45-minute Jazzy Jeff and Skills set. Not that I'm complaining (after all, it was free), but heads were standing there for 4 hours waiting for you. Regardless, 'twas a good show. You could've been utterly robotic with everything, but turned out a good performance. Now, if only Philly can get some more marquee shows out here...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Neighborhood Newsletter (7/15)



How Do I Win Rock Paper Scissors Every Time?

RIAA paid its lawyers more than $16,000,000 in 2008 to recover only $391,000

Michael Jackson's Neverland to Become California State Park

Linda McMahon's Senate Run Brings Wrestling's Dark Side to Light

Grades Don't Drop for College Facebook Fiends

2010 is the Hottest Year. EVER. And it's only halfway done.

Who Owns America's Debt? (Infographic)

Scientists Create A Mosquito That's Malaria-Proof

15 Signs You'll End Up Cheating

John Legend & The Roots – Wake Up Everybody (ft. Common & Melanie Fiona)

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John Legend & The Roots – Wake Up Everybody (ft. Common & Melanie Fiona)

The Roots and John Legend are two of the best at their respective crafts, with John belting out the smoothest tunes in R&B and The Roots pretty much being the last (if only) hip-hop band out right now. It's only right that the two entities would collab for an album, much less a track honoring the great Teddy Pendergrass. The interpolation is done ridiculously well, to my surprise. Melanie Fiona is officially on my radar for R&B. She kills the vocals on her part. I wasn't so sure Common needed to be on the track, but he does it justice. The album is called 'Wake Up' and from that title we can gather that this is going to be an inspiring production, to say the least. I'm keeping my eyes open, as should you. Wake up and check out the change, people...

Friday, July 16, 2010

J. Cole - Premeditated Murder

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J. Cole - Premeditated Murder

Is it too early to say that I'm otherworldly hyped for J. Cole's album? I don't think so.. So I'll say it now: I AM RIDICULOUSLY, OTHERWORLDLY, OUTLANDISHLY HYPED FOR COLE WORLD!!!! (breathes) Now that we've got that out of the way, I must say that it's crazy how good J. Cole is. Cole goes by the quality over quantity standpoint when it comes to his music, and it works perfectly. His music never sounds rushed, it never sounds like he's half-assing it, nor is it ever under the standard that we're used to. Cole is so methodical. It's never 'I'm going to flood the market so people think I'm the best'. It's ALWAYS 'I'm going to deliver the best and most consistent product so people know I'm the best'. That mindset is clear on this new track 'Premeditated Murder,' where Cole states he knew he was going to kill the game, hence the title. Lyrically and musically, the track is pifftastic, in case you didn't gather that. Did I mention I'm hyped for Cole World? Check the loosie out and maybe you will be too..

Dear Bill Nye



Why is it that when a supposedly foolproof solution comes about, even the most elementary of minds can figure out why that solution sucks? British Petroleum has been loafing hard at work trying to find a way to stop the massive oil leak that threatens to destroy the Gulf of Mexico. 87 days and 178 million barrels of oil later, they've finally figured out a way to stop the oil from flowing: a cap. A freaking cap! Something to put over the top of the leak to stop it from leaking... That's the best BP can do? Apparently not, because immediately after hearing of this solution, CNN brought you, Bill Nye, in to discuss the situation.

Bill, you've long been a premier authority on science, in my book. Any person that can explain Newton's Laws to 4th graders or the extended water cycle to 2nd graders has to be a genius. Your show added to the plethora of stimuli that made me into the knowledge-sucking nerd I am today. It probably still would be if PBS wasn't so bent on replacing real education with furry anthropomorphic creatures who speak in babbles. I guess it's only right that CNN bring you in to simplify the 'cap solution' for its viewers. The only problem is how easily you refuted the solution... using a water bottle, a long tube and a flat piece of rock nonetheless. Bill, it's incredible how something that scientists and engineers and marine biologists and oil tycoons agreed on, can be disproved so easily. The worst part is, you did it in that trademark Bill Nye voice, enthralling and captivating me completely. I shouldn't be so excited about the potential downfall of BP's cap solution, but you've got to admit that they probably feel really silly, especially after watching this. Maybe for the next environmental disaster, or geological phenomenon, or catastrophic happening, you should be the one headlining the search for answers. You probably have more knowledge in your theme song than BP has in its entire organization...

The Social Network (2010)



Ever wonder how exactly Facebook got to take over everyone and their mom's internet time? Or about the creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerbeg? Well, maybe not the 2nd one... But the first one is a question on everyone's mind. Facebook has become a second life for some people, while others detest it. Now, we get to see it in cinema form. 'The Social Network' is Hollywood's take on the internet phenomenon, complete with dramatized conflict between the creators, the people that get involved and everyone in between. It seems like a typical geek's rags to riches story, yet juxtaposed with the fact that Facebook still exists and people are using it every millisecond of every day, makes it all the more interesting. They couldn't have picked a better actor for Mark Zuckerberg, either. Jesse Eisenberg oozes nerdy swagger and insecurity, and takes the traditional 'awkward moment' to levels only seen by Michael Cera (those two should just do an awkward movie together). 'The Social Network' comes out in October. Keep your eyes peeled for more trailers or a Mark Zuckerberg suicide watch, as all of his dirty little secrets come to life...

EDIT: What the hell happened to Tom from Myspace?? If there was a crackhouse for social networking innovators who fell off, my guess is he'd be there... RIP Myspace!!!

Freestyle Friday (7/16)



Last week, I left you guys high and dry with the Freestyle Friday post. This week, I've got three fresh ciphers for you to sink your teeth (ears) into. The first one is by Curren$y, as an exclusive for HardKnocks TV. I must say, Spitta is on another level right now. His flow and wordplay are entirely too tight, and I know he's surprising a lot of cats out there. Pilot Talk is in stores now, so he's probably still riding high off that. The second one is by AC, who's 'buzztape,' Send the Scouts Out, dropped yesterday (review on the way). It's on Crack Distributors Radio, so you've got to listen closely to drown out the background noise and hear all of the punchlines this guy has got. I think his style is a little corny, but he still has lines for days. The third one is by Laws, who raps over The Pharcyde's "Passing Me By" about his last day of working a 9-5 office job. I couldn't help but sympathize with the brother, though he actually quit his. The story is almost too real to be true. #shoutout to office blues that make everything else seem that much hotter. Whatever your employment status, check all the freestyles and keep it locked to Dear Whoever...



Thursday, July 15, 2010

Star Wars on the 6 Train



If you find yourself dozing off during your morning commute, I implore you to stay awake! Tom foolery tends to occur when we least expect it, and often in the most ridiculous ways. Improv Everywhere is a group of improv actors based in New York City that started off doing flash mobs (real flash mobs, not the BS they're calling rioting teenagers in Philly), and now has toned their act down for smaller settings, like the 6 train. In this video, they re-enact the scene in Star Wars with Princess Leia and Darth Vader's first meeting. The reactions from the other commuters are priceless, and the book Leia is reading is next on my reader's list. Just goes to show you that the Force can be used for good, evil and comedy. Check the video out...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Machete (2010)



Machete is a Robert Rodriguez-directed film about an ex-Federale (Mexican policeman) who gets put up as a hired gun to fight against a corrupt US Senator sending illegal immigrants out of the country. The movie features Danny Trejo (didn't know he had so many films under his belt; Wiki this man) in the lead as Machete, and a hell of a lot of swordplay, given the title. It's funny this movie is coming out right now. The racial, cultural and sociological undertones in this movie are going to be ridiculous, considering the way immigration is being handled by our friends in Arizona. As opposed to the much more peaceful solution of protests and lobbying and voting, Machete's premise is a sick little fantasy of mine: a rogue warrior fighting for the rights of the people with huge guns and unreal explosions. Whether you're watching for the action or the story, this looks like it's going to be a doozy. Check the trailer...

XV - Gettin' BiZZy

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XV - Gettin' BiZZy

There's something about XV that intrigues me. Maybe it's that he's lyrically gifted. Maybe it's that he's from Kansas (never seen an artist come out of there). Maybe it's that I hated his first mixtape Everybody's Nobody. Hell, maybe I'm just in ViZZy Zone. Whatever the case, XV is back on the interwebs, with a new track off his highly-anticipated mixtape ViZZy Zone. I'm really not sure where he's going to go with this mixtape, since the previous one, 30 Minute Layover was a lot of punchlines, metaphors and wordplay. It'll be interesting to see if this time around, Vizzy gets a little more introspective and truly takes us into this place he calls ViZZy Zone. To be honest, parallel universes usually don't work in hip-hop, though I'm sure heads will be jumping on this one in... ehh, give or take 2-3 more leaks. Regardless, the first track is dope sauce. Check it out, and be on the lookout for ViZZy Zone...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dear Curren$y (re: Pilot Talk)

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It's a great day in music when, as an artist, you see your wildest dreams come to fruition and your music take on a life of its own. Curren$y, your album 'Pilot Talk' is the fruits of your labor growing into a mysterious garden of fresh rhymes, incredible production, and a strange stench of well-tended herbs. Spitta, you've come a long way. From proclaiming 'Where the Cash At' behind the ego of Lil' Wayne, to destroying a mixtape circuit where few are well-equipped and fewer make it out alive, to becoming the underground's green thumb, you've circled the block so many times, you might as well live there. Pilot Talk, though only your third album (with more on the way), is a culmination of sorts. Rather than digital releases and blog leaks, this work has a much more professional and personal touch to it, right down to the cover (see above). Damon Dash's reincarnation of Roc-A-Fella Records has breathed life into your already vibrant career, and I for one couldn't be more excited.

Around this time last year, I was fresh off listening to your juggernaut of a mixtape with Wiz Khalifa, 'How Fly'. Now, that was damn near a classic (by today's standards; don't get it twisted), but one thing stuck out to me: how juvenile, or better yet, unrefined it sounded. If a person wasn't a fan of you or Wiz, they heard this:

Weed, cars, sneakers, weed, girls, weed, flight metaphors, weed, random video game/sports/movie/music reference, weed, cars, weed, sneakers, girls, weed

That's a lot of marijuana references for someone who, I hope, doesn't wish to be classified as a stoner rapper. You and Wiz reek of excellence, but I doubt you want to be the next Cheech and Chong. You needed to step your game up, in a real way. You needed to show the world that the Hot Spitta is a pro at this, not just a good amateur with connections. In other words you needed to rise above the smoke. Pilot Talk is the work that, when we go back and look at your career, will be recognized as your turning point, or the takeoff point. The album is ridiculously well produced. Every beat sounds masterful, especially Breakfast (probably my favorite song of the past 3 months), whose horns and new guitar melody (it's a much deeper beat than the one I posted a while back) will put the most restless soul at ease. Your lyrics sounded effortless there, with more subliminal wordplay than most would know what to do with. Tracks like Prioritize, Roasted, The Hangover and Address show you haven't lost the edge that got you to this point. When you said you spit vicious, you weren't lying.

There's a supreme cockiness that I can hear in your voice, yet you rap about having your head on straight, investing your money wisely and being a workaholic. I guess Dame Dash has rubbed off on you, and his DD172 collective have done you well. There's tenable growth that people who haven't been listening might not see. Curren$y, there weren't any moments during the album that made me want to press skip. It was simply a good listen. The features were a highlight too. Mikey Rocks ripped his verse, Big KRIT and Smoke DZA surprised me again on Skybourne, and Devin the Dude played the perfect sidekick to your only truly weed-inspired song, Chilled Coughee. Spitta, I'm genuinely impressed and happy with this release. Blog rappers don't usually make albums that translate well outside of those blogs. Good to see something going right. Keep flying, Spitta.

#dopetracks:
Address
Prioritize
Breakfast
Example
Audio Dope

Loosies:
Curren$y - The Day (ft. Mos Def & Jay Electronica)
Rick Ross - Super High (Remix) (ft. Curren$y & Wiz Khalifa)



The Kid Daytona - Over the Hill (Prod. by 6th Sense)

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The Kid Daytona - Over the Hill (Prod. by 6th Sense)

I've been telling heads about the Kid Daytona since... actually since I started this blog. There's no reason to lie. I'm pretty excited about where Daytona's been and where he's going in the future. That future includes a new mixtape in collaboration with LRG, entitled The Interlude LP., slated to drop later this summer. For now, I guess we're stuck with the first leak from the new LP, 'Over the Hill'. It's produced by 6th Sense, so you know there are going to be a lot of acoustics and a vintage sound to it. The snare drum does soooo much for the beat. As for the lyrics, to say that Daytona ripped the track would be an understatement:
My ego could, fill the hole at Ground Zero
Roll around, windows down, 10-20 deelow
Psshhh!! They still sweatin' me though
These niggas whole style resemble the fro on Tito... SQUARES
And I'm the heir to the chair that's golden
Velvet rope on, softer than Greg Oden
It's just punchline city on this track. Daytona hasn't released any new music in a while, so I'd suppose this is verbal backup coming from the Bronx MC. I'm interested to see what other producers and features this LP is going to have on board. Regardless, the Kid Daytona is making moves, and good ones. Check out the first leak from The Interlude LP...

adidas Summer Deck Shoe

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Summer is more than halfway over. That still doesn't mean you can't carry over some hotter apparel into the school year. adidas has really been impressing me as of late with some of their releases. This one is no different. Taking a unique spin on the traditional boat shoe, adidas used a very lightweight black canvas material for the upper, a white midsole and a very funky red-striped interior. The Summer Deck shoe is perfect for late summer/early fall and looks great with damn near everything. And at $60, you can't go wrong. Check out some more choice flicktures. Props to Ronnie Fieg...

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Lloyd Banks - Light Up Freestyle

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Lloyd Banks - Light Up Freestyle

Is it safe to say that Lloyd Banks is one of the most underrated cats in the game? It seems like every time we count the man out, either due to 50's ego blotting out the sun or label woes (that should be a trending topic for rappers #labelwoes), Banks finds a way to jump start his career all over again. 'Beemer, Benz or Bentley' became an earworm this summer and now we're waiting on "The Hunger for More 2," which promises to be a hell of an album. Banks released this freestyle to Drake's 'Light Up' via ThisIs50 yesterday, and I'm in awe. Lloyd speaks on the state of the hip-hop game, his own personal issues and does some amazing work with his flow on the track. Hope we hear more heat from this man, because NYC rap is back on the way up from what I can tell...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pusha T - Bidding War (The Ghost Of Christoper Wallace Freestyle)

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Check your pulse if you're not compelled to say EUGHCK! at least once daily...


Pusha T - Bidding War (The Ghost Of Christoper Wallace Freestyle)

Pusha T is releasing a solo mixtape. Go ahead, let that one marinate. In fact, I'll say it again... Pusha T is releasing a solo mixtape (recovers from heart attack) on September 14th, the same day as Kanye, CuDi and Big Sean. Not that the elder Thornton brother doesn't deserve his own showcase, but Pusha's always been my favorite. EUGHCK has become a mainstay in my vocabulary, and Pusha's rhymes don't disappoint either. Whatever the case, Miss Info hinted (not so subtly) that Kanye was going to be on board for Pusha's project. It sounds almost too good to be true, just like Pusha's freestyle over Jay Electronica's 'The Ghost of Christopher Wallace'. It's called 'Bidding War,' which may be an apt title if the younger Thornton's solo foray goes like I think it should. Check the new track...

Dear BART Police



Why is it that the justice system tends to work against those it was designed to protect? Or better yet, since when are a taser and a handgun so similar, that one can be mistaken for the other? These are both questions begging to be answered as we reel in the aftermath of the Oscar Grant murder trial. Grant was shot in the back during an altercation with your kind, brutal police, after being accosted for a fight on San Francisco's BART. Now, from the video, it would seem as if this incident didn't occur during the wee hours of the night. In fact, if it wasn't clearly at night, I'd be sure it was around 3 PM when kids were getting out of school. That said, wouldn't it be smarter to not engage in unwarranted police violence elsewhere? As a matter of fact, wouldn't it have been smarter to just accost the young men and make your way to the squad car, rather than play the scene out for much longer? #imjustsaying

You see, in this day and age, where everything except the cameras themselves have cameras, it's not smart to say or do anything that you don't want 500,000 Youtube hits for. Officer Mehserle seemed more like he was putting on a show than attempting an arrest. That's right... a TV show. A new episode of Police vs. N*ggers. Next week Mel Gibson might make an appearance. Jokes aside, Office Mehserle did what he did. He shot a young man in the back for a fact that we will never know. What we do know is that he was charged with involuntary manslaughter. How is that possible? Involuntary manslaughter means that that the killer acted without malicious intent, yet it's inherently impossible to uncover one's intent after the fact. Also, lack of intent isn't synonymous with lack of malice. Office Mehserle could have been intensely malicious in his act, without intending to kill Grant. Therein lies the problem with police today: for those who are supposed to be enforcing the law, too many times they're asked to be interpreters of the law and bastions of morality.

Neither of those titles should be apt when dealing with police. You guys are usually so muddled in the wrong things that when an opportunity to do right arises, you're too busy watching your colleague shoot a kid in the back. Just imagine, all of this could have been avoided had you trained Mehserle not to confuse his taser and handgun. BART Police, I'm not from the Bay Area, nor will I be, but I (along with any sentient being over 18) can tell when an act has gone too far. Officer Mehserle got off easy and you know it. Had the shots gone the other way, Lord knows Oscar Grant would be losing his life in prison rather than at the hands of a dumbfounded policeman...

Neighborhood Newsletter (7/12)



WSJ.com - Antibody Kills 91% of HIV Strains

Russian sub 'could stop oil leak'

Study: Marijuana Prices to Plummet If Legalized

Judge Slams RIAA, $675k Fine Ruled Unconstitutional

Night Owls are smarter than other people

Sign of the times: 10-story-tall mural of LeBron James being taken down in Cleveland

How to Write About Tweets Without Saying 'Tweet'

Wall St. Hiring in Anticipation of an Economic Recovery

In Haiti, the Displaced Are Left Clinging to the Edge

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dear Dan Gilbert

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Caption: Am I f*cking up??

via The New York Times:
Cleveland fans, you can still hold your heads high: The curse has been lifted! Or so the Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert asserts, in an open letter to “Cleveland, all of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers supporters wherever you may be tonight.”

While some in the city and state that once hailed LeBron James as “king” burned his jerseys, Gilbert promised a much brighter future while simultaneously chastising and berating James for his “cowardly betrayal” of his hometown fans.

“But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called ‘curse’ on Cleveland, Ohio,” Gilbert wrote, noting that the “self-titled former ‘king” will be taking the bad luck and karma with him to South Beach. With the “curse” on its way to Miami, Cleveland is now primed to win a championship, in Gilbert’s eyes. In all capital letters, in the middle of the letter, Gilbert made a vow to Cavaliers fans everywhere:

“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE.”

Cleveland, Gilbert says, won’t just live on, it will prosper. Its children won’t have the image of a selfish role model draped over their arenas, and its front offices will be working harder than ever to win a championship against James.

As everyone is sitting there hating LeBron on the Heat, and raising their blood pressure over a deal that sealed basketball future, it would be easy to write about LeBron. However, the media firestorm, combined with the entire experience of the LeBronathon sickened me, so I'm not writing a part 2 to the previous letter. Instead we're going to take a look at you, Dan Gilbert. The owner that gave up the best player in the NBA.

I can't think of ANY time in the NBA when a team would allow, not only their best player to walk in free agency, but the best player in the NBA, and the world! Dan, you really dropped the ball on this one. The Cavaliers have had 7 (count em; 7) seasons to win an NBA Championship with LeBron James. That's 7 different seasons and 7 different chances to win. In NBA years, that's a long time. Dynasties are forged within 2-3 years. We're watching the end of one (sorry Lakers) and the beginning of a dynasty of endless epic proportions. The fact that you had well over twice that time to build a championship-caliber team around LeBron is sad. In those 7 years, I can't think of one season where James had a legitimate 2nd option on the team. Signing Larry Hughes was a joke and Mo Williams can't produce in the postseason. Not to mention, Antawn Jamison never can cut it in crunch time. Everytime your team won, it was because LeBron did something extraordinarily skilled or inhumanly athletic, not because someone else contributed consistently. Therefore, you can't ever be mad that he left to get some support (I think he went for broke for no reason, but that's another letter) around him. LeBron might have taken the easy way out, but can you blame him?

Your letter to the fans sounded like an angry ex-girlfriend who's ex-boyfriend upgraded significantly. It sounded like you were trying to find any conceivable way to speak ill of that person, regardless of whether you did right by them or not. What's worse is that you guaranteed a title before the Heat. You can't promise that!! What crystal ball were you looking into? Dan, you do realize that the your team, the Cavs have NOBODY on the squad. You guys won't be competing in the Eastern Conference for a long time. The Heat are a juggernaut, and they only have 4 players on their roster. The Celtics just re-upped with Jermaine O'Neal, the Bulls got better with Boozer and the Magic are still the Magic. Not to mention, the rest of the East is getting better. All that, combined with the fact that LeBron tried to smooth his move to Miami over with apologies, made you flip. That doesn't mean you should write angry letters to fans bashing the man. Seriously... Who tries to put a hex on a player leaving his team? Did you sit there at home and prick your LeBron James voodoo doll? Had you simply expressed remorse, or sounded optimistic (neither would truly make a difference, anyway), you wouldn't look like an ass now or have to start from square one with the Cavaliers and with Cleveland. Hope your wallets will be okay as Cleveland's economy rapidly declines and the Cavs don't make the playoffs for another 15 years...

First this, and now LeBron leaves?? Maybe Cleveland just isn't meant to win...