Thursday, November 14, 2013

The State of (Hip-Hop) New York

See that witty ass title I just gave ya!? Lol

Now first and foremost (again) music reviews and my feeling towards Hip-Hop are not necessarily what I do here on my blog, however, my blog is just that. My Blog! My own personal journal that I choose to share with you, my reader. So please bare with me as I rant and vent for the next couple of minutes.

Just the other day I was driving home from who knows where when I thought to myself: "Thank God for my iPod cause I damn sure don't wanna hear anything on this radio!"

Raise your hand if you've felt like me on this one.
Doesn't it seem like its the same 7 songs playing on the radio all day every day? Granted, there's more than just 2 stations on the dial, but damn, seems like if I don't wanna listen to Drake I have to settle for Katy Perry! No disrespect to Katy Perry. And correct me if I'm wrong, during the golden years of Hip-Hop, all you'd hear on New York radio is New York rappers, from Wu-Tang to Mobb Deep, Jay-Z to LL Cool J, Busta, to DMX and etc. etc. etc. But today it seems like down south artist and people from anywhere get more play! Now I know this topic went out with Lil Jon and snap music in 2007, but it's still relevant. Especially with kendrick Lamar stating he's the king of New York (which I loved) and we all know that he's from Compton, LA.
But now, this morning on 'The Breakfast Club' I heard Trinidad James saying something along the lines of
"New York Used to be the Mecca of Hip-Hop, we used to look up to ya and think, 'well damn' and just do our own thing. But these days, any rapper who's from New York, you might as well say he's from Atlanta. That's how I feel. And if anybody wanna do something about it, then we can do something about it."
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllright! That's enough, somebody cut his mic! Again those might not have been his exact words but that was the message he was sending, and he's not important enough to me or the Hip-Hop community for me to actually go and research his exact words.

Now, here's my problem. I'm more mad at New York for it's complacent ways than I am at Trinidad James for his blasphemy!
Here me out here. It all starts with the fans! It's ya fault. Hip-Hop fans are so fickle that they allow any and everything to fly. Trends come and go and New Yorkers get on any and everyones surf boards to ride the waves! When snap music was out, every DJ in New York was bumping' D4L and Ying Yang Twins and any other fuckin gimmick rapper that was out at the time and you would see any and all niggas in the party, snapping they fingers, bending their knees and doing whatever the fuck Soulja Boy would tell em to do! Hip-Hop might as well have been a segment on Barney or Sesame St. with all it's sing and dance along songs. If I'm lying tell me I'm lying! It was disgusting and anyone who knows me, knows that I hated it and in no way shape or form supported it. In fact I would literally cringe and my blood would boil when I would ride in the car and someone else would be playing it. Til this day I hate that music and feel that it should not be accepted in the Boom-Cap genre that we call Hip-Hop. Glad to say most of it is gone. But that's not to say that there still isn't any trash left.
Trinidad James arrived on the scene sometime last year, I think. He had a single called "All Gold Everything" The ghetto, ignorant anthem of the world! I thought Soulja Boy was bad, but man this nigga sucks! I hated, hate and always will hate the song, but it seemed as if I was alone on that one. Seemed like everyone around me, loved it, had it as their ringtone, and went crazy when it went off in the club.

Have you ever felt like you're standing in the middle of a crowded room, and you're the only one who doesn't understand what's going on? You're the only one who's not in on the joke, the only one who feels "This is stupid, why is everyone so jolly and happy-go-lucky about this" whatever "this" may be. Well that's how I feel about Hip-Hop today! Thank God for Kendrick Lamar and Thank God for Pusha T and all the other rappers who are still doing it and sticking true to the craft. Because without them we'd be left with trash and it doesn't seem like sanitation is coming by any time soon!
But back to the fans and New York. I'm more mad at ya than I am mad of this clown boy. Because at a Hip-Hop show in New York, this man dissed New York and got away with it. Lol, really? Had this been the early to mid 90's I swear the news on the radio would have been more like
"Atlanta Rapper, Trinidad James insults New York at a recent Hip-Hop show and is now in critical condition due to various gunshot wounds and stabs to multiple areas of his body!"
Again, if I'm wrong, tell me I'm wrong. Had that beed a Wu-Tang show in 94, or a Public Enemy show in 84, or even a 50 Cent show in 04 there would have been some sort of serious consequences paid by Mr. James. More than just 3 weak ass "Boo's"
Where does this comfort for blasphemy stem from? I'll tell you where. It comes from NY rappers in recent years going down south and elsewhere in the country to find fame and success (which is perfectly okay) but then forget where they came from and rep any and every other place harder than they do their own home.
I'm from the Bronx, nothin made me prouder as a fan of Hip-Hop in my earlier years than listening to  Big Pun slaughter any and everyone by way of dope, fast, hard hitin lyrics whenever he got on the Mic. Who didn't love The Notorious B.I.G. given us stories of robbin trains, shooting daughter in their calf muscle and slapping babies at their christening!? Who didn't love Big L, and envisioned themselves in a dice game gone wrong when he gave us these vivid images that he rapped about. Who didn't love Jay-Z then and still loves him now?
However it seems like all of that is out the window for the exception of a few names. These guys didnt move to Miami like Fat Joe did to find success. And had they done it they would have still repped NY. They didn't go become popular in Atlanta and come back to NY as Novelty acts.
So yeah, why wouldn't someone on the outside looking in feel that New York's prime years are behind it? If I were from Atlanta and I were making my own music and saw how many NY Niggas were movin into my city to pursue their music careers I would think that New York fell off too. Rather than thinking "If I wanna make it, I gotta go to New York or LA because that's where stars are born," Like every other struggling artist feels; I would think "Shit New York aint pippin no more. Might as well stay my ass here and grind to make it!"  So let's dig just a little deeper. Why does a New York Rapper leave New York to go rap somewhere else? Good question. How many of you who are into Hip-Hop have left New York? I have, I've been to Atlanta, I've been to Ohio and I've seen the difference. Here in New York, the radio does not support "Underground" artist or any up and coming artist. In fact they only play commercial records and artists who are signed. Whereas in Atlanta all you'll here is Atlanta artist, signed unsigned, hyped or underground. In Ohio, the Hip-Hop movement is strong. In both you see the family aspect. Artist tend to support each other, when one makes it, they all make it. Whereas here in New York, every nigga rappin bout the same shit want the spotlight for his or herself and is not willing to bring up anyone else with them to the top.

It's like fighting a nigga on your team, while you're losing a game by a large margin. The lack of unity is a problem. I hate cliches but if nothing else it shows you that indeed "United we stand Divided we fall!"So why is there no unity amongst New York Artist? Now that I don't know, but I do know that if it continues this way it won't be long before NYC is just another city tryna get on. If the DJ's at the major stations don't start going against the PD (Program Directors) we're gonna lose a battle in a war that shouldn't be going on in the first place.
The only battle should be on wax! Let's go back to the essence of it all. Stop worrying about who's dating who, who's fuckin who, who bought the new Bugatti and who wore the best sneakers to La Marina.... Ya making Hip-Hop sound like the gossip section of a High School newspaper. I'm waiting to hear about a rapper taking a random bitch to prom making big news headlines. Let's take it back to that real, hard beat, head bopping, meaningful lyrics that make you wanna rob the corner store (not saying you would or should do it but it makes you feel that way) Let's take it back to a time where if a man from LA said he was king of New York he wouldn't be able to come to New York. Back to a time when a man Dissed New York IN New York he wouldn't make it out of New York! Can we do that New York?

I guess that's all I have to say. I din't even have a good way to close this off. I just know that New York got me feel in glad I'm not a rapper. cause I wouldn't find where to hide my face from the shame of the state of the rap game!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Nike Lebron XI's (Sneaker Review)

What's going on Bull Penners?!
Today I'm doing something I've never done before here on my blog or anywhere else for that matter.
This is my first ever sneaker review. I know most people prefer video blogs for this, but I'm an old school dude.

About 4 or 5 months ago I came across the picture of the new Nike Lebron XI's (11).
Initially I didn't care for them, and possibly it was just the picture that I didn't care for. But a few weeks ago, right before the release I saw them in person and still wasn't too fond of em, but I did like them more in person than I did in pictures. However even in person they weren't attractive enough to pay the $275.00 price tag that the guy was trying to get for them on a pre-release early date.

Some time passed and for the first time ever I realized that this was one of those sneakers that was going to grow on me way after the retail price tripled. So being wise to the fact I decided to go and look for them and see if I get lucky before its too late. Last weekend I went out to brunch and shortly after found myself in the 'Foot Action' in Bay Plaza here in the Bronx. And of course they were sold out. I was prepared to leave the mall that day empty handed and thought to myself "I might have missed them and I'm not paying any more than retail." But before walking away defeated I decided to check the 'Jimmy Jazz' right down the sidewalk.

I walked in, and to my surprise there was still a pair on display. If you know anything about this 'Sneaker Game' as we call it, then you know finding a pair of recently released Lebrons on a shelf on display is kind of a big deal. So I asked to see a size 10 or 10.5. I wear a size 9.5 but for some reason Lebrons and Foamposites run small for me so I size up one or one and a half sizes up. Maybe it's because I have flat feet. Ahh well. They didn't have either of the sizes I asked for, but they did have a 9.5 left, my size. I figured I'd try them on although worried that they'd be too small. Like they say "You'll never know until you try" and when my foot slid into the shoe I was shocked to find out they fit like a glove! I stood up, walked a few feet to the mirror and immediately knew that they'd be coming home with me! Instantly they went from "They're Okay" to "Holy Crap!"

So I took out my debit card and swiped! Retail on these bad boys is $200.00 so the final price of $217 and change wasn't necessarily something I was thrilled about, but lets be honest, I've paid more for a pair of sneakers so....... Yeah. Lol. But after reviewing the sneaker it seemed to make more sense.

Let's be honest, we all know that I didn't pay what I paid to go play basketball in them, but I do know that if I did, I'd be in good hands... Or feet I suppose! Lol.
The sneaker is both light weight and durable. The ankle support is just as good as Lebrons that I've worn and played in before. Also the Foamposite material is enough Nike Technology to help you understand the price tag. If that isn't enough for you, Nikes latest technology (at least to my knowledge) Flywire is also featured in these. Flywire is... just what it sounds like I guess, it's a lightweight wire made of nylon or vectran and it's purpose is to provide more support and still remain light. It also serves as a cool aesthetic twist to replace plain eyelets on the shoe.

Although I've never been a fan of the actual word 'FLYWIRE' being printed on the shoe, I guess it's no different than the word 'Hybrid' on a the trunk lid of a car. And the flywire does look extremely dope through the holes though out the upper portion of the shoes all the way out to the eyelets to holding the laces. Good work on the design of these Nike.
Also the insole to these sneakers is thicker than any pair I've ever seen. It its literally the size of a Nike Air Force 1 midsole! I have no doubt that my grandparents can wear these and walk a mile in em and feel the comfort that is the Nike Lebron XI.

And of course, what attracts most people in the first place, the dope ass colorway! The "Kings Pride" colorway is definitely dope! Its the best of the ones that I've seen that are set to release. The green sort of holographic color on the foam material with the accompanying olive colored suede kind of upper makes it look like something the green goblin would wear. Remember when he wore Flightposites? The black of course is fitting on anything and the red is just the right amount to pop out at the eye. The lining brings it all together and puts it over the top. The added 'LJ Crown' logo on both the tongue and lace tips is always a good look. Finally the mint green sole might as well be a big red bow. The perfect contrast to wrap this shoe up.  All together its such an attractive sneaker that I am sure I will Un-DS (wear for the first time for those of you not familiar with the lingo) very soon! After all, it's the only shoe that I've ever done a sneaker review on. Lol

All in all, in my opinion this is one of the best Lebrons to release since the "Pre-Heat" Lebron VIII's. Another pair that I initially did not like and am now kicking myself for not buying when they were sold for retail! Makes me wonder where they'll go with the XII. But of course, there's no need to jump the gun, there's still a lot of enjoyment to be had with these. If you're like me, and you tend to pass up on things that don't initially catch you, but end up liking them later when its too late, then you should definitely cop these. Don't walk into Flight Club 6 months from today and live with that $450.00 price tag. If you have flat feet, or even if you don't, know that they run true to size. Buy the size you normally wear. So tell me how you feel about my first sneaker review, and what you feel about the sneaker.

Quick Announcement:
I recently got invited to a meeting with my boy AJ and he pitched an idea to me about a new sneaker site/online shop. We went over a few points and came up with the name "Kick'd In" which will serve as a new member of the ever growing Sneaker Community to provide everything from information and forums to consignment retail. Stay Tuned for more info on where you can find the site.

Stay Up and Stay Tuned!