Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Is the journey from underground to mainstream a T.R.U story?

Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz's long awaited debut solo album Based on a T.R.U. Story hits stores nationwide today.

After months of working beside the biggest names in the rap industry on their respective projects, 2 Chainz's own album showcases his ear for spectacular bass-heavy beats and ability to take on the role of main event as fellow industry companions serve as the feature artists. One of the most noticeable pleasantries of the project is the diverse body of featured artists. From soul crooner John Legend to Chicago native Cap 1 whom he has collaborated with on his mixtapes, the collection of tracks are designed to appeal to a larger audience while maintain the trap music tone his music catalog epitomizes.

2 Chainz was believed to be the latest addition to G.O.O.D Music group after appearing on number hit "Mercy" with Big Sean, Pusha T and Kanye West. Chainz has dispelled those rumors but continues to collaborate with members of the clique, particularly label head West who contributes a verse to "Birthday Song".

The relationship between West and he is a recent development but the body of work 2 Chainz has built over the last ten years as a solo artist and one half of duo Playaz Circle make his strong work ethic and reputation of consistency hard to deny.

He appeared on BET's 106 and Park yesterday evening to promote his new album and was surprised by a litany of rappers and singers who stopped by the show to express their support and share stories about 2 Chainz long journey from unknown underdog to inescapable icon of popular rap music.

Expect fans who have been dedicated followers since Codeine Cowboy to cough up ten dollars and buy the project since 2 Chainz represents the rare underground star who successfully transitioned to the mainstream without neglecting the very virtues that catapulted his or herself.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ravens' embarrassing loss makes playoff road much rockier

On the day after the Ravens were annihilated by the San Diego Chargers on Sunday Night Football, critics, fans and commentators remain shocked by what they witnessed and concerned about what lies ahead for the Ravens.

The Ravens entered the game ranked third in total defense, fifth in pass defense and hadn't allowed more than 250 passing yards since facing Andy Dalton and the Bengals four weeks ago. Last night, Phillip Rivers demonstrated pin-point accuracy by hitting large receivers Malcolm Floyd and Vincent Jackson, who accounted for 180 of his 270 passing yards. Floyd and Jackson were matched up against Ravens cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Cary Williams for the majority of the game. Smith and Williams, who only have 18 career starts between the two of them, appeared as inexperienced as they truly were, biting on double moves and giving up multiple deep passes. The defensive backs did not receive much help from the rest of the defense that failed to sack Phillip Rivers and allowed over 150 rushing yards.

Although the Ravens' offense started off the game with a few good runs from Ray Rice and sustained a few first-half drives, they couldn't drive down the field against the two-deep safety, zone defense the Chargers played for the majority of the game. Flacco finished the night 23 of 34 and 224 passing yards but the statistics belie the restraint they wrestled with. Flacco was sacked seven times, four by former Baltimore Ravens Antwan Barnes. He threw two interceptions, both in the center of the field, to linebackers Takeo Spikes and Shaun Phillips. The team's second and final touchdown came on a 36 yard touchdown pass from Flacco to receiver Torrey Smith at the end of the game when victory was out of reach.

Last night's loss knocks the Ravens down to the fifth seed, where they will likely remain unless the Steelers lose to the either the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams or the Cleveland Browns and the Ravens win their final two games. In order for the fifth seed to outlast the playoffs and appear in the Super Bowl, they must visit and defeat their opponents on the road. All of the Ravens' losses have come on the road this season, however, those teams all had losing records. Needless to say, the Ravens must squander their propensity to lose on the road if they want to get anywhere in the playoffs as the fifth seed.

The loss to San Diego shrouds confusion and uncertainty on the Ravens playoff picture. The Steelers, nor anyone else in the league, are guaranteed wins in the NFL. They could lose one of their final three games, regardless of how unlikely that may be. However, the Ravens are no longer in control, they must hope and pray their division rivals slip up somewhere along the way. Next week they play the Cleveland Browns in M&T Bank Stadium for their final home game of the regular season. It need not be said this is a must win game. A ticket to the playoffs is already in hand but the reins to their momentum is not at the moment.

There is a three-letter solution to this problem: w-i-n. Win next Saturday against the Browns and win against anyone else whom they face until they're face-to-face with the Lombardi trophy.

Lloyd- Be the One (Official Video)

Rapid cuts of Lloyd, Jeezy and Trey Songz luring various women into being "the one" for the night. Apparently, Lloyd is the most recent genius to tattoo the sides of his head.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Drake- Make Me Proud featuring Nicki Minaj

If the ingredients make a good product, why change anything? Drake hooks up with producer T-Minus (I'm on One, She Will) again and fellow Young Money labelmate Nicki Minaj for the next single from his sophomore project Take Care.

With "Headlines" currently the number one rap song in the nation and "Make Me Proud" coming to radio soon, Drake is on schedule for his November 15th album release date. 

Miguel- Girls Like You (Official Video)

Has Miguel had an incredible 2011 or what? Album singles "Sure Thing" and "Quickie" raided the radio waves earlier this year keeping him in constant rotation. Girls Like You sounds different than any of the other singles but that's the beauty, it's eclectic.

In the video he sings into his signature microphone while split screen images of he and various women are shown.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Week Five Progress Report

Courtesy of Getty Images
First, allow me to apologize for the barren blog as of the last two months. Other obligations and occupations burned me out. Now that we've gotten that out of the way let's talk Ravens football.

The attitude of satisfaction resides over the purple city. In the fifth week of the regular season, the Ravens are enjoying their bye with 3-1 record. The defense has been strong-arming opposing offenses and the offense has displayed potential to deliver a potent passing attack. Star players expected to succeed like Ray Rice and Terrell Suggs have continued to be daunting forces on their respective sides of the ball. Others like Cary Williams and Ed Dickson have been pleasant surprises becoming dependable position players in lieu of shocking off-season moves and injuries.

To be expected, injuries abound. Cornerback Domonique Foxworth, who spent last season on injured reserve last season for a torn ACL, returned to the same list for the same injury that has not healed properly. The Ravens acquired wide receiver Lee Evans through an off-season trade. After an impressive preseason, Evans has only caught two passes for 45 yards in the first two games, the other two he spent inactive as he nursed his ankle injury. Rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith, whom the Ravens have high hopes for, hurt his ankle on a special teams play in the season opener against the Steelers.

After the Tennessee Titans loss, I was convinced the Titans showed the rest of the league how to exploit the Ravens porous, inexperienced secondary. However, no quarterback has surpassed 200 yards on the defense since week two.

Experts around the league like former head coach Brian Billick and Peter Prisco agree that this Baltimore Ravens team is one of the best. I must agree and last Sunday night's display legitimizes that notion. Even with Joe Flacco putting on a mediocre performance, the team still defeats Rex Ryan's New York Jets convincingly. It's only week five and a lot of things can change but if the Ravens remain as competitive as they are not only in the AFC North division but in the conference, they will have favorable chances of reaching their goal of playing in the Super Bowl.

In the coming weeks look for Torrey Smith, who had an impressive coming out party during week three against the Rams, and 2010 second-round-pick Sergio Kindle to steadily contribute more as the Ravens attempt to infuse young talent while still getting good play from theirehind veterans.

Monday, August 15, 2011

J. Cole- Workout (Official Video)

J. Cole's affinity for basketball and a pretty girl are well represented in the video for this cool summer jam.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Common- Ghetto Dreams featuring Nas (Official Video)

The raw and ever-so-lyrical debut single of Common's new Believer album, "Ghetto Dreams", has now been illustrated with a mostly black-and-white video. I still marvel at how monumental this collaboration truly is.