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Books

Drew Magary’s Books

Photo by Christopher Pierznik

I love Drew Magary’s writing. Virtually everyone else online does too.

Categories
Hip-Hop Lessons Life Rap

13 Lessons Learned from Griselda Records

The approach of Westside Gunn and his crew offers valuable wisdom for not only music, but business, writing, and even life

“I really like that whole, like, cliquing up, Griselda shit. It’s just ill to me…I think what they’re doing is great. It just reminds me of a different time and it’s not easy to do. To make that music and just come off wavy and be interesting.”

 — Drake

The 2010s was a decade in which the line between rap and other genres became not only blurred, but largely nonexistent. Referred to by some as the “melodic era,” it was no longer a rarity or even a surprise to see a hip-hop artist transition into harmonizing, and while that had certainly been done in the past, it now became de rigueur as Drake, Young Thug, and many others rode that wave to stardom. 

At the same time, some dudes stepped onto the scene and began flooding the market with their own music that sounded fresh but at the same time reminiscent of projects that had been released in the mid-’90s. No singing, no theatrics, just grim street tales of drugs and violence delivered over grimy, pounding basslines, creating a “gnarly sound inspired by the slimy criminal underbelly of Buffalo, New York.”

Categories
Life NBA Podcast Sports

I Love JJ Redick

The Dukie everyone loved to hate is now a popular — and terrific! — TV analyst and podcaster. No one would have predicted this 15 years ago.

My first regular writing gig was for a website that was based in Baltimore. I transitioned into a contributor after starting as an unlikely reader. I wasn’t from that area and did not know anyone associated with the site. I most likely would never have found it had the site not had such a catchy and memorable name: I Hate JJ Redick. 

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Children Cooking Food In Appreciation of Marriage Parenting

In Appreciation of: Brinner

via Reddit

“It’s not the cooking that is the problem; it’s the deciding of what to cook that’s the problem.”

That is how my wife describes the daily struggle of deciding what to make for dinner every single night.

Categories
NBA

I Love the NBA All-Star Game

I began playing organized basketball at the age of six. As a third grader, I was with the fifth and sixth graders; in fifth grade, I was playing with the middle school kids. I continued playing through my senior year of high school.

Categories
Art Artist Films Greatness Music Pop Culture Wu-Tang Clan

Favorite vs. Best

What is the best film of all time?

Most film scholars (and wanna-be film scholars) proclaim that it’s Citizen Kane, Orson Welles’s 1941 masterpiece that inarguably changed filmmaking forever. CasablancaLawrence of ArabiaThe Godfather, and Gone with the Wind are often in the conversation as well.

Excluding The Godfather, how many times have you heard someone mention one of those films as their absolute favorite? How many are populating a casual filmgoer’s top five? How many Lawrence of Arabia conversations have you experienced in your life?

Categories
Books Reviews

How I Review Books

Yesterday, I posted my review of Dilla Time Dan Charnas.

Today, I thought I’d explain how I review books.

Categories
Books Hip-Hop Rap Reviews

So Much More Than Just a Biography of a Man and a Movement — “Dilla Time” Reviewed

For the most part, whenever I heard a J Dilla (previously known as Jay Dee) beat, it sounded…off, wrong, maybe even sloppy. I couldn’t totally follow it. I wanted to like it, but I couldn’t fully appreciate it. It made me feel a bit discombobulated.

Only much later did I realize that was the intention. Dilla was not only reinventing what was known, he was inventing what was previously unknown.

As Dan Charnas writes, “What Dilla created was a third path of rhythm, juxtaposing those two time-feels [straight time and swing time], even and uneven simultaneously, creating a new, pleasurable, disorienting rhythmic friction and a new time-feel: Dilla Time.”

Categories
Greatness Hip-Hop In Appreciation of

In Appreciation of: Kurupt

What would happen if the lyricism of Rakim was combined with the vivid street tales of Kool G. Rap and the style of a young Snoop Doggy Dogg?

The outcome would be one Ricardo Brown, better known to the world as Kurupt.

Categories
Christmas COVID Fatherhood Health Life Parenting

A Very COVID Christmas

“I ruined Christmas!”

The tears burst from my nine-year-old’s eyes as she blamed herself for the ramifications of a global pandemic that has lasted for three years. All kids go crazy for Christmas, of course, but my daughter is certainly in the highest percentile of Santa fanatics, so having her holiday plans dashed was especially difficult.