02.22.2011 
difran:

Zoe Fine Dining in Athens, OH
Looking at the quick, non-scientific study of people I know around campus; you’d think burritos, subs, and bar food are the only dining options in Uptown Athens. Scott Bradley is trying to change that mindset.
Scott is the chef and owner of Zoe Fine Dining, which is less than a block off Court St. In 2008, they moved to their current location at 24 ½ East State Street; and in 2011 they were voted runner-up in the Best of Athens awards for restaurants. Zoe mixes in dishes that students may be familiar with (Steak Burger, multiple chicken dishes) with ones that diners might not have tried before (Wild Mushroom Crepes, Sauerbraten).
But the entrees that bring in the most repeat customers are the Flatiron Steak and the Roasted Salmon. Both come highly recommended from the wait staff, the chef, and anyone who’s had them. The waiters I talked to said they’d be willing to eat anything that comes out of Scott’s kitchen. That’s one of the best endorsements you can possibly hear from waiters at any restaurant.
KegFly.com’s “Pay $15, Get $35” coupon is a great opportunity to try something new. Remember, the deal’s also good on alcoholic beverages (with the purchase of food). I’d share the cost of the coupon with someone (or take date – Zoe is a great place for that). The two entrees that I’d personally suggest are the Flatiron Steak and the Crispy-Skinned Duck Breast. It’s a combination of something traditional (and their most-ordered dish), and something that many people haven’t ever tried, yet is a favorite among Zoe regulars. After that, you’ll still have a few dollars to order your favorite drinks – all for under $20.
(image from Zoe’s website)

difran:

Zoe Fine Dining in Athens, OH

Looking at the quick, non-scientific study of people I know around campus; you’d think burritos, subs, and bar food are the only dining options in Uptown Athens. Scott Bradley is trying to change that mindset.

Scott is the chef and owner of Zoe Fine Dining, which is less than a block off Court St. In 2008, they moved to their current location at 24 ½ East State Street; and in 2011 they were voted runner-up in the Best of Athens awards for restaurants. Zoe mixes in dishes that students may be familiar with (Steak Burger, multiple chicken dishes) with ones that diners might not have tried before (Wild Mushroom Crepes, Sauerbraten).

But the entrees that bring in the most repeat customers are the Flatiron Steak and the Roasted Salmon. Both come highly recommended from the wait staff, the chef, and anyone who’s had them. The waiters I talked to said they’d be willing to eat anything that comes out of Scott’s kitchen. That’s one of the best endorsements you can possibly hear from waiters at any restaurant.

KegFly.com’s “Pay $15, Get $35” coupon is a great opportunity to try something new. Remember, the deal’s also good on alcoholic beverages (with the purchase of food). I’d share the cost of the coupon with someone (or take date – Zoe is a great place for that). The two entrees that I’d personally suggest are the Flatiron Steak and the Crispy-Skinned Duck Breast. It’s a combination of something traditional (and their most-ordered dish), and something that many people haven’t ever tried, yet is a favorite among Zoe regulars. After that, you’ll still have a few dollars to order your favorite drinks – all for under $20.

(image from Zoe’s website)

Zoe on Urbanspoon

 01.17.2011 
difran:

Carolina-style Pork Sandwich at Kiser’s BBQ Shack in Athens, OH
Tucked away in the shopping center on State Street next to Dunham Sports is one of Athens’ hidden treasures: Kiser’s BBQ Shack. Sure; they have ads in The Post and they even drop coupons from the rafters at Bobcat Basketball games. But I’m still calling Kiser’s a hidden treasure since – not only is it located on State Street – but it’s even farther down than other places you’re probably used to going.
That said, I wouldn’t say it’s a treasure if there weren’t a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In this case, that pot of gold is the finest Southern-style BBQ that you can find in Athens. And the only thing that could possibly beat the tender smoked pork they serve at Kiser’s is the price. The North Carolina-style pork sandwich (topped with creamy coleslaw) seen above is only $4.
Kiser’s is also dedicated to locally-grown ingredients and environmentally sound compostable silverware. Because of this commitment to the environment and in an effort to reduce waste, Kiser’s will only charge you 50 cents for a drink if you bring your own cup. A while that’s a great deal as it is, KegFly.com is currently offering a $10 coupon for only $5.
What I’d order with my $10 KegFly coupon: ½ pound Carolina-style pork sandwich, a side of stewed beans & sausage, a side of three-cheese macaroni, and a drink. (Either that; or you could just by a 1 pound “Grub Tub” of their wonderful pork and have a nice dinner for you and three of your friends!) Total cost to you: $5.80 ($5 KegFly coupon + 80 cents over the $10 limit).

difran:

Carolina-style Pork Sandwich at Kiser’s BBQ Shack in Athens, OH

Tucked away in the shopping center on State Street next to Dunham Sports is one of Athens’ hidden treasures: Kiser’s BBQ Shack. Sure; they have ads in The Post and they even drop coupons from the rafters at Bobcat Basketball games. But I’m still calling Kiser’s a hidden treasure since – not only is it located on State Street – but it’s even farther down than other places you’re probably used to going.

That said, I wouldn’t say it’s a treasure if there weren’t a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In this case, that pot of gold is the finest Southern-style BBQ that you can find in Athens. And the only thing that could possibly beat the tender smoked pork they serve at Kiser’s is the price. The North Carolina-style pork sandwich (topped with creamy coleslaw) seen above is only $4.

Kiser’s is also dedicated to locally-grown ingredients and environmentally sound compostable silverware. Because of this commitment to the environment and in an effort to reduce waste, Kiser’s will only charge you 50 cents for a drink if you bring your own cup. A while that’s a great deal as it is, KegFly.com is currently offering a $10 coupon for only $5.

What I’d order with my $10 KegFly coupon: ½ pound Carolina-style pork sandwich, a side of stewed beans & sausage, a side of three-cheese macaroni, and a drink. (Either that; or you could just by a 1 pound “Grub Tub” of their wonderful pork and have a nice dinner for you and three of your friends!) Total cost to you: $5.80 ($5 KegFly coupon + 80 cents over the $10 limit).

 01.11.2011 

The Best and (Worst) of 2010: Part 3

by CJ Buskey-KegFLY Music Critic

Being back at school is such a great thing.  No longer am I staying up until two in the morning, realizing I’m probably the only one awake in a ten mile radius.  No longer is my PS3 my main source of entertainment.  No longer do I have to deal with the feeling like “I should help out around the house, but hell, I’m not living here anymore, so why bother?”

 

Yes, returning to Ohio University and KegFLY has brought back a multitude of benefits with it.  One thing it doesn’t bring though, is time.  With 18 hours of class, nine more of work, plus whatever meetings and other organizations involve, I’m left with a small window of free time to concentrate on writing.  I wanted to get this post done a week ago, as it probably would have been more appropriate coming on the final day of the year.  But then Athens happened, and needless to say, I spent the remainder of my New Years weekend recovering from the events of the 31st.

 

Regardless, I’m glad that I can finally share my thoughts about the absolute best that 2010 had to offer, even if we’re already into the new year.  Seeing that there hasn’t been much happening in the hip hop world however, (unless you count T.I. getting a little “handy” in prison), I think that this will still be well worth the time.

 

Okay, so in the last post (part 2), I gave a pretty good summary of the good things in 2010.  I didn’t really elaborate though, on what actually happened in the previous year.  The questions that I posed deserve some closure, and I’m ready to provide it.  I’ll start off by saying that I felt 2010 was an above average year for the hip hop genre.  I saw some progress by a lot of artists out there, most of all the younger ones.  I said it before, and I’ll say it again, there were a bunch of mixtape goodies last year.  Young artists such as B.o.B., Mac Miller, Kid Daytona, Big K.R.I.T., Wiz Khalifa, Yelawolf, and J. Cole released some absolute fantastic material in their tapes.  In fact, part of me believes that a few of the mixtapes in 2010 (like K.R.I.T. Wuz Here or Friday Night Lights) were considerably better than albums like Cudi’s Legend of Mr. Rager, T.I.’s No Mercy, or Bun B’s Trill O.G.

 

While there were disappointments in album efforts, like the ones I just mentioned above, there were several albums that absolutely rose above the rest.  Before I reveal which album I thought reigned supreme in 2010 though, let me say this.  As good as the finalists were for this award, not one of them can be considered a classic…yet.  I always think that “classic” is a word tossed around way more than it really should be.  Classic means timeless, and we can’t consider any of these albums for that title until some time has passed.  Some certainly have the makings that I could very well see earning the “classic” label down the road, but it’s still way too early.  Illmatic is one of my most played albums for a good reason; it never grows old.  It’s as fresh in 2011 as it was when Nas first emerged on the New York scene in ‘94.  When I’m blasting “Shutterbug” in 17 years, then I think it will be safe to say it’s “classic”.

 

Enough with my two cents though, it’s time for me to reveal my top tier awards for hip hop in 2010.  Drumroll please…

 

 

Best MC: Big Boi


 

 

 

Why: He won’t get the respect he deserves from the Grammys or other major music publications, but he earned mine.  Big Boi, real name Antwan Patton, accomplished a lot in this past year.  His debut solo album, Sir Lucious Left Foot: Son of Chico Dusty, debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 and sold very well in its first week, selling 62,000 copies.  As of September 26, 2010, Big Boi has managed to sell 176,000 copies in total, with that number still slowly growing.  It was surprising to see Patton succeed so much commercially, as his album was hardly aimed mainstream.

 

What was really special about Big Boi this year, however, was his ability to shed his underrated label, while not changing who he was.  Patton produced possibly the purest hip hop album of the entire year, yet made it sound aware of the time period it was released in.  He was a lyrical monster on his Sir Lucious, especially on songs such as “General Patton”, “Daddy Fat Sax”, and “Night Night”, which brought into question who really was the better member of OutKast (a question that I believe no one would’ve been posing except Patton himself before this year).

 

Big Boi also did something that will give hip hop artists a reason to refer to Sir Lucious frequently when producing albums of their own.  Patton created a blueprint on how to utilize guest appearances to the fullest on his debut album.  Instead of just searching for the big names to help sell, Patton was meticulous in who was featured on his tracks, making absolute certain that their appearance would only improve the overall quality of the song, rather than just add some “celebrity shot” verse.  He was so good at it, that in fact he is the only MC to this date that I know of that was able to use Gucci Mane on a song, and not make it suck.  Other songs such as “Shutterbug ft. Cutty”, “Night Night ft. B.o.B.”, and “Tangerine ft. T.I.” demonstrated Big Boi’s ability to use a guest and make them feel like a natural part of the song.  Kanye did this extremely well on his album as well, but you can’t tell me that ‘Ye didn’t take some points from how Big Boi used his guests either.

 

With two more solo albums and another ‘Kast joint on the way, things are only looking up for the MC once thought as Andre 3K’s sidekick.  Patton, at least for now, earns the role as “general” in OutKast and the rest of southern hip hop.

 

Best Song: “Dear God 2.0” off of How I Got Over - The Roots

 

Why: I’ll be honest, I could have given this award to about ten different other songs.  While there wasn’t an abundance of great hip-hop albums this year, there was a great deal of fabulous, high quality singles.  I gave Murs’ “Vicky Vette” consideration, as well as Nas & Damian Marley’s “My Generation ft. Lil Wayne”, Reflection Eternal’s “Just Begun ft. Jay Electronica, J.Cole, & Mos Def”, and Eminem’s “Going Through Changes”.

 

However, this one really came down to five finalists.  Kanye had two of them, with “So Appalled”, which I gave my “Best Verse of 2010” award to for Jay-Z’s lyrical onslaught, and “Power”, which experienced tremendous success commercially and critically.  Both tracks were terrific, and I wouldn’t have a problem if anyone else gave them this award instead, but the actual meaning from the lyrics didn’t quite match up to The Roots’ “Dear God 2.0”.  This was the same for Lupe Fiasco’s “I’m Beamin’”, even though I felt the song was extremely well written.

 

The only other track that got major consideration was Big Boi’s “Shutterbug ft. Cutty”.  I actually was prepared to give the award to Big Boi, until I really gave “Dear God 2.0” another good listen.  Yes, “Shutterbug” was a top 40 UK hit and has since become the song that defines Patton’s debut album.  However, when I listened to The Roots’ “Dear God 2.0”, it did something for me that doesn’t happen often.  It made me think.  Not many artists are able to do this (2Pac was really good at this) but making the listener actually ponder about what they had listened to and debate its meaning is the sign of musical brilliance.  Black Thought makes a track out of something that happens to billions everyday, by praying.  It wasn’t a mainstream song, but greatness shouldn’t be defined solely by how popular something is (after all, silly bands for example are unbelievably popular, yet I don’t think many will describe them as an invention that is groundbreaking).

 

The Roots with How I Got Over and “Dear God 2.0” cemented themselves, in my opinion, as the best musical group in existence today.  The Black Keys are great, don’t get me wrong, but I challenge anyone to find a band more consistent and intelligent with their lyrics and music than The Roots.  If you ever need a reason to watch Jimmy Fallon, which there aren’t many, The Roots should be at the top of your list.

 

Best Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - Kanye West


 

Why: AHHH how I wanted to give this award to someone else!  Don’t get me wrong, I loved the album from first listen, but I was extremely skeptical at its glowing reviews from every music critic out there.  I wanted to go against the norm and find an album that was better than MBDTF just because I felt there had to be one.  After all, many of these writers are the same ones that flooded Weezy’s trophy room with best album awards for his Carter III in 2008 (which wasn’t even one of the top 5 albums of that year in reality).

 

So I did just that, I searched for an album better than ‘Ye’s, and I was able to find just three that were close: Nas & Damian Marley’s Distant Relatives, The Roots’ How I Got Over, and Big Boi’s Sir Lucious Left Foot: Son of Chico Dusty.  I started with Distant Relatives and felt I had found a winner after just the first three tracks.  Distant Relatives, which I know had to be the most underrated and slept on album by critics this past year, was chalk full of great messages and Nas, as he almost always does, was unbelievable lyrically.  “Strong Will Continue” and “Land of Promise” stuck out immediately and I was also impressed with their risky inclusion of Lil Wayne on “My Generation”.  Wayne, surprisingly (at least for an album like this), did a fantastic job with his verse and the song in general was very moving.  Distant Relatives however, lacked a little in the production department.  Not to say it wasn’t well produced (it was some of the best beats I’ve heard Nas rap over in the past decade), but when compared to Kanye’s work, it didn’t hold up quite as well.  I also noticed that some of the songs lost their replay factor quick, such as “Nah Mean” and “Dispear”.  Again, not to say Kanye didn’t have a few of these either, but it Distant Relatives wasn’t able to make any distance between it and ‘Ye’s album because of this.  I loved the album and I wish more artists would try projects like this.  Unfortunately for Nas & Mr. Marley, I just couldn’t see it as better than ‘Ye’s, so I moved onto the next album on my list.

 

 

Sir Lucious Left Foot, up until November, was my clear runaway for album of the year.  It was extremely surprising to me then, that I was even considering giving this award to West over Big Boi as the year began to draw to a close.  Big Boi finally got this album to see daylight and, lyrically at least, it trumped Kanye’s.  Big Boi, his real name is Antwan Patton, also had what Distant Relatives didn’t, which was a standout single.  “Shutterbug” (you’ll be hearing more about this later in my article) is just plain f-cking awesome and I loved “General Patton”, “Night Night”, and “Shine Blockas”.  There were, however, filler tracks in this album, and maybe one too many.  Songs like “Be Still”, “Fo Yo Sorrows” and “Hustle Blood” were all next to each other and all could be skipped on a regular basis.  Kanye had some filler tracks as well, but not quite as many and certainly not in a single stretch.  While I think Big Boi is actually a better rapper than Kanye (and a LOT more out there), his album was just not quite as complete as Kanye’s was.

 

That brought it down to either How I Got Over or MBDTF for the award.  Now, originally, as I said earlier, I thought Big Boi’s effort was the clear runaway heading into November.  That was before I really gave The Roots’ latest another good, 42 minute listen (that’s the album time in case you were wondering).  You want to talk about complete?  This album seemed to have it all.  It could match up to ‘Ye’s from a musical standpoint with another superb performance from the “best band in late night” and I thought lyrically it had stronger messages than Kanye’s.  It also had some really great guest appearances, such as John Legend on “The Fire” and Dice Raw on “Walk Alone” and “Radio Daze.  How I Got Over didn’t really have any fillers as well and would have won this award, if it weren’t for two things.  The first was that the album didn’t have as much solid content as MBDTF.  I never criticize albums for being short, (I honestly think more albums should be shorter to cut out some of the bullshit filler songs we have to deal with), but compared to Kanye’s, The Roots didn’t offer as big a package.  The Roots also made a huge mistake with their last track, “Web 20/20”.  The song just didn’t fit with the overall theme of the album and left me with a bad taste in my mouth afterward.  Kanye, while making mistakes of his own, ended his album in a much more appropriate way than How I Got Over, with his outro “Who Will Survive in America?”.

In the end, no matter how hard I tried not to give the title of “Best Album” to Kanye, I couldn’t find any reason not to.  ‘Ye, for all his faults as a human being, is an incredibly gifted individual musically.  He thanks God a lot for his success, and maybe that’s fitting.  It can be argued that his talent is purely God-given and that West’s destiny was to be a musician.  Even if that’s not the case though, ‘Ye proved many critics wrong with his latest album, including some of the more cynical ones like myself.  At the end of Kanye’s long and turbulent life, people will not remember him for his VMA or Today Show antics.  Instead, much like how public opinion changed towards Michael Jackson after his death, Kanye will be remembered for his artistic abilities and the impact he made on the hip hop, and musical, world.

CJ Buskey writes about hip-hop, sports and living in our mixed up world at The Spot For Hip-Hop and Everything Else. 

 01.5.2011 

Why You Can’t Hate Tom Brady

by Patrick Dibiasio 

  To be frank, I am sick and tired of hearing people say they hate Tom Brady.  I understand it’s your nature to dislike him if you despise the University of Michigan or the New England Patriots. I respect that argument in certain cases, but believe one has to look past rivalry hatred and recognize what he has accomplished on and off the gridiron. 

   Brady is arguably one of the best, if not THE best, quarterbacks in the NFL.  This year, Brady leads the league in Quarterback Rating (111.0), Touchdown Passes (36), and has thrown just 4 interceptions on just about 500 attempts.  The man has won three of four Super Bowls in ten seasons, and has managed to win Super Bowl MVP two of those times.  Not to mention, he holds the NFL record for most touchdown passes in a regular season, has been selected to seven Pro Bowls (he declined to play in 2006), and has received numerous Sportsman Of The Year awards.  The list just goes on.  

His success doesn’t stop there.  Brady seems to be well connected in Hollywood as he has appeared on television shows such as Entourage, Saturday Night Live, Family Guyand The Simpsons.  On the episode of Entourage, he says his handicap in golf is a 4, and also refers to his supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen.  Bundchen, who is said to be the highest paid model in the world, also serves as an active environmentalist.  Gisele has given her support to many humanitarian causes and charities including Bono’s (RED) campaign and the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  On top of being an NFL superstar, he is married AND has a child with the face of the modeling world.  When it really comes down to it, jealousy is probably what is keeping you from liking Tom Brady.  I didn’t like him at first either, so I know a little bit about what you are going through.  It takes a real sports fan to look past the fact he is on another team, and respect his success both on and off the field.  And that is why you can’t hate Tom Brady.

-Patrick Dibiasio is sophomore studying sports administration at Ohio University in Athens,Ohio

 01.5.2011 

The Best (and Worst) of 2010: Part 2 of 3

KegFLY music critic CJ Buskey rings in the new year by reviewing the highs and lows in hip-hop from 2010. 

by CJ Buskey

Now that I got the worst of what the year had to offer, it’s time to focus much more positively.  This part will key in on basically every award except the really big ones (album, MC, and song of the year).


 

Last post, I asked how bad was 2010.  This time, I think it’s better to ask how good 2010 actually was.  I always think a good measuring stick for this is using the previous year or two to compare to.  It’s unfair to try and make comparisons from today to say, 1995, when hip hop was still in its glory days.  I get that the genre will never be what it used to be and I think a lot of people out there would agree with me.  Just as rock had its late 60’s and 70’s, hip hop will always look to the 90’s when it wants to remember the best of times.  That doesn’t mean that 2010 or any year after will always necessarily be a bad year for hip hop music either, though.

 

So now its time to ask, how high was the bar set for hip hop after 2009?  Well, from most of what I heard in that particular year, not very high.  Yes, Raekwon’s Only Built for Cuban Linx pt. 2 was a major highlight of 2009 and deserves just about every critical acclaim its received.  We also saw the debut of Kid CuDi, which was a good offering, and Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind ft. Alicia Keys” was maybe his best single he ever released.  Drake also made noise with his So Far Gone mixtape, which subsequently turned him into the mega star he is today.  However, take these things out the equation, and you’ll realize pretty quickly that 2009 was a very weak year for hip hop.  This too came after arguably one of hip hop’s best years of the entire first decade in 2008.

 

2010 certainly had a lot of promise at the beginning with albums expected from Lupe Fiasco, Game, Pharoahe Monch, Bun B., Drake, Eminem, Nas & Damian Marley, T.I., Big Boi, KiD CuDi, and Kanye West.  Would the albums live up to the high expectations put on them?  Further, would any of them even see the light of day?  Big Boi’s Sir Lucious Left Foot for instance, had been promised almost every year since OutKast’s last album, Idlewild, in 2006.  Who would emerge as hip hop’s newest stars as well this year?  And what direction would they be taking?

 

I’m saving my final thoughts of 2010 for the next post, but for now, I think it’s time to reveal my year-end awards for just about everything.  3, 2, 1…

 

Best Mixtape: K.R.I.T. Wuz Here - Big K.R.I.T.

 

 

Why: This was honestly one of the hardest awards I had to decide on.  Let me start by saying that 2010 was, in my opinion, an unbelievable year for mixtapes.  I spent more time this year than any previous listening to mixtape material and it wasn’t because I was just trying to get a jump on who the next great one would be, but that the stuff was just so damn good.  I must have changed who I’d give this award to about 50 times in the past few weeks.  Wiz Khalifa’s Kush & Oj was great, as was Royce Da’ 5’9’s Bar Exam III and Wale’s More About Nothing.

 

It ended up though, really coming down to K.R.I.T.’s tape and J. Cole’s Friday Night Lights.  I felt that both tapes were incredibly consistent throughout and that if they were even released as albums, I would still have been impressed.  Both had excellent production throughout and each artist spit probably some of their best verses they’ve done to date.  K.R.I.T. had more guest appearances, but Cole also gets points for being able to carry his tape almost entirely by himself.  What separated the two for me however, was that K.R.I.T. produced his own beats for his tape.  I usually don’t hold that against artists if they don’t produce their material, but in this case, the two tapes were so equally matched that I had to use it as a way to put one ahead of the other.  Regardless, I would download both of these immediately if you haven’t already because they are both great.  K.R.I.T. edges Cole just by a hair, though.

 

*Note: I have seen on multiple websites (Wikipedia for one) that says K.R.I.T.’s tape was actually his debut studio album.  However, I found it highly unlikely for it to be released only by web or iTunes and available for a free LEGAL download.  That is almost always an indication of a mixtape and I’m not the only one to give K.R.I.T. this honor, so in my eyes at least, it was a tape, not an album.

 

Honorable mentions: Kush & Oj - Wiz Khalifa, More About Nothing - Wale, Friday Night Lights - J.Cole, Bar Exam III - Royce Da’ 5’9, Royal Flush - CyHi Da Prince.

 

Best Song from a Mixtape: “Higher” from Friday Night Lights - J.Cole


Why: I think most people would find it hard to argue that Cole didn’t deserve this award for one of his tracks from Friday Night Lights.  However, I noticed that the song that was the most talked about was probably his single “Blow Up”.  It’s a great cut, don’t get me wrong, I felt though, that the next song on the tracklist was even better.  “Higher” is a great song for three reasons.  For one it’s extremely catchy.  The three-set piano chord that was used in the beat is genius.  You can’t help but tap your foot, or whatever you do when you hear something like that, from the beginning of the song.

 

The lyrics here are also very good, which shouldn’t really come as a surprise from Cole.  True, it’s not groundbreaking material here, since the song is about Cole trying to get with a girl.  Still, I was impressed with the wordplay he used, especially the lines, “Had a crush on way back, I wasn’t VIP then/But I was plotting on you, I really wish I had got to know you/Before we grew up and I blew up with these benjamins,” and then later “Well if its phony your only cause I can get you ins/Too late for turning back, f-ck it we continuing/Get your ass in that position i love to bend you in”.  Cole does a terrific job on his delivery on this as well, tailoring his flow to the beat almost perfectly.  One of my favorite songs of the entire year, and for good reason.

 

Honorable mentions: “The Kid Frankie” - Wiz Khalifa, “The Soup” - Wale, “Glass House ft. Wiz Khalifa & Curren$y” - Big K.R.I.T., “On Fire ft. Crooked I” - Royce Da’ 5’9

 

Best Song With a Featured Artist from a Mixtape: “Spotlight ft. Killa Kyleon” from Kush & Oj - Wiz Khalifa

 

Why: Okay, okay so this one could definitely be argued.  My Pittsburgh bias might even show a little here, but screw it, this remains my favorite Wiz song for good reason.  The lyrics aren’t spectacular (Wiz’s best line might be about another dude trying to hack into his twitter) and its not very creative.  That being said, the beat for this is just nasty.  It’s easily one of the best produced songs I’ve ever heard Wiz on and I thought it fit his style extremely well.  Another song that’s really catchy and the hook is also well done.

 

Still, the award is for “Featured Artist” and that’s where “Spotlight” earns the honor I’m giving it.  Killa Kyleon gives his best Rick Ross impression and it sounds terrific.  His delivery also complements the beat, and Wiz’s verse, very well.  This is just one of those songs I couldn’t stop playing when I first heard it.  I still love listening to it today, even six months after Kush & Oj’s release, telling me that it still retains its freshness factor, which is huge.  There’s a lot of reasons to get Kush & Oj, this being one of the biggest.

 

Honorable mentions: “On Fire ft. Crooked I” - Royce Da’ 5’9, “The Cool Breeze ft. Wiz Khalifa” - Wale, “Glass House ft. Curren$y & Wiz Khalifa” - Big K.R.I.T., “Take Aim…Bang! ft. Freddie Gibbs” - The Kid Daytona.

 

Best Verse of 2010: Jay-Z’s verse on “So Appalled”


 

Why: Another award I had a lot of trouble deciding on.  There were some absolutely insane verses this year.  Big Boi, Nas, and Lupe Fiasco all had verses that I considered for this award.  In fact, before Kanye’s album, Nas’s third verse on “Strong Will Continue” remained my favorite for the award.  Key word there was “before”.  ‘Ye’s album was stock full of lyrical goodies. “Dark Fantasy” and “Gorgeous” had some of ‘Ye’s best lyrical content I’ve ever heard from him and Nicki Minaj did a tremendous job on her verse of “Monster” later in the album.

 

Still, as much as Kanye aspires to be as great or better than his mentor, Hova held on and more to his title this year as being one of hip hop’s greatest in the game today.  I personally believe that Jay actually had a better year, at least lyrically, this year than he did in ‘09.  His verses on “Lights Up”, “Power Remix” and “Monster” all got consideration for this award.  If you pick any one of those three, trust me, I won’t call you out for it; they were all better than anything he dropped in the year previous.

However, his verse on “So Appalled” was a little bit above the rest.  I loved his lines “Dark knight feelin’/Die you be a hero/Or live long enough to see yourself become a villan,” and, “went from the favorite/To the most hated/But would you rather be underpaid or overrated?”.  The best line from the entire verse though, had to be his response to MC Hammer.  Hammer had tried to dis on Hova earlier in the year, so Jay responded with, “The hammer went and broke so you know I’m more focused/I lost 30 mill so spent another 30/Cause unlike hammer 30 million can’t hurt me.” Pure genius.

 

Honorable mentions: “Super Lupe Rap” - Lupe Fiasco, “Strong Will Continue” - Nas & Damian Marley, “Monster” - (Nicki Minaj’s verse), “General Patton” - Big Boi.

 

 

Comeback of the Year: Kanye West

 

Why: I’ll keep this short because I think it’s pretty obvious why ‘Ye gets this.  Yes, he had the VMA fiasco a year before, but I give him the award mostly based on his return to rap.  808’s and Heartbreak made me, and a lot of other people, question Kanye’s identity of being an actual rapper and I had serious doubts about his album when ‘Ye announced he’d be back to rapping.  Leave it to ‘Ye though, to release his best work he’s ever done in My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, topping many critic’s year end lists.  Kanye also released a ton of high quality material with his G.O.O.D. Friday series, most of which didn’t even make the album (only three songs actually did if you were wondering).  West made me a believer again of his rapping abilities, and that took a lot.

 

Honorable mentions: Big Boi, Lloyd Banks

 

Artist Who Won’t Win Any Awards from Me, but Still Deserves Props: Eminem

 

Why: Look, Em has enough Grammy nominations and awards already, so I don’t think he’d really care that I won’t give him an award (although if he did, that would be f-cking awesome because he’d know who I was).  When I went over the major awards, I realized that Shady’s Recovery just didn’t have a place there.  It was a good album and the most successful commercially of the year for any music genre, but it wasn’t great.  There were some really bad fillers contained there and I’m still wondering what the old Shady would think of the new one.  I can tell you that Stan wouldn’t be worshiping this version of Eminem.

 

Yet, I still want to give the man some credit.  Eminem surprised me by changing his mentality and somehow finding a way to make it sound pretty good, for the most part.  He also is proving those who believe hip hop is dying as a prevalent form of music, wrong.  His album sold over three million copies and he earned the most Grammy nominations for an artist, ever.  Eminem also didn’t drop off much lyrically on Recovery, letting loose some brilliant verses on “No Love ft. Lil Wayne” and “Going Through Changes”.  Mathers has a chance to reverse his reputation, if he hasn’t already, and still make it something that produces great music.  I also congratulate Mathers for coming clean and making music his focus to try and help his sobriety.  That couldn’t have been easy, and then to come back and continue to write music?  That’s pretty amazing.

CJ Buskey writes about hip-hop, sports and living in our mixed up world at The Spot For Hip-Hop and Everything Else. 

 12.30.2010 

The Best (and Worst) of 2010

by CJ Buskey

I’ve been putting it off for way too long.  It’s my favorite post of the year and damnit, I refuse to let Call of Duty or NHL 11 deprive me from writing this any longer.  Yes folks, it’s time to reveal my year end awards for the great ones and the, well, not so great.

To start, I was going to make this three separate posts spread over the span of, you guessed it, three days.  Due to business I’ve had to attend to, like watching the fourth season of It’s Always Sunny for like the fifth time, I just didn’t get around to putting this up sooner.  The awards will still be in three separate posts, but I’m going to cram this in the next two days instead.

Okay, so with that out of the way, let me introduce the first set of awards.  There are more, actually a lot more, failures than there are successes.  Hip hop is no stranger to this.  We have seen some really bad artists in the last few years and 2010 wasn’t an exception.  I personally think that this list is easier to compile because it’s not uncommon that a scandal or disappointment will be the top story of a year, rather than a work of art.

How bad was 2010?  It really depends on how you look at things.  On one hand, this year had some really stellar mixtapes that hit the web.  I probably listened to more mixtape material this year than I had in the past two or three years combined to be honest.  I also think that, out of most of the albums I heard, there wasn’t many that didn’t meet my expectations.  Hip hop also had a HUGE year when it came to sales.  Eminem’s Recovery was 2010’s highest selling album and had two #1 singles (“Not Afraid” and “I Love the Way You Lie ft. Rihanna”).  Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy has already sold a half-million copies himself and Young Money experienced another tremendous haul with Drake’sThank Me Later and Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday.  Add on that B.o.B.’s debut, The Adventures of Bobby Ray, charted at #1 on the Billboard 200 in its first week and I’d say that any argument that hip hop is irrelevant in today’s music is a bunch of B.S.

Yet, hip hop certainly didn’t have a squeaky clean slate for the first year of the new decade.  In no particular order, here are the artists and other things I found may have wanted to pull an “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (that’s erasing part of their memory in case you haven’t seen the film, which you absolutely should next time you get a chance).  I’m also adding the blackout scale, a scale that ranks how bad they want to get rid of their particular incident(s), with 1 being the least (meaning it won’t really matter in the long run) and 10 being the most (meaning they probably have, or should, make an addition to the ever popular FML website).


- T.I.
What he did: Testing positive for ecstasy on September 1st while still on probation.
Why it matters: T.I. will serve another jail sentence, this time for 11 months and won’t see the day of light again until September 17th next year.
Blackout scale: 10

Might as well start off with the obvious one right? Yes, Mr. Harris maybe made the biggest fuck-up of the entire year for any artist.  The arrest marked T.I.’s third in the past seven years and might be the most costly of them all.

How unbelievably stupid was this one?  Well, consider that he was with his wife, supposedly on their way to the VMA’s that weekend, and wasn’t stopped for speeding or reckless driving, but pulled over at a traffic stop because the car smelled like marijuana.  Dude, really?  You’re giving stoners all around the world a bad name for this one.  You couldn’t have waited to do this in your five-star hotel instead?  What’s funny is that T.I.’s album, No Mercy, was originally supposed to be titled King Uncaged.  I’m sure Harris isn’t finding the irony as amusing as I am, but hey, I’m not the one stuck behind bars and wearing an orange jumpsuit for the next 11 months either, am I?

- Game
What he did: Failed to release his R.E.D. album on the much anticipated date of 8/24 (a tribute to Kobe Bryant) and tried to repair the beef with G-Unit.
Why it matters: Game loses a lot of credibility as a “hardcore gangster” for his peace attempt and, once again, doesn’t come out with an album when he claims.
Blackout scale: 6

For someone with such promise just six years ago, Game has taken every step he can to try and disappoint.  The Doctor’s Advocate was a level below his debut and L.A.X. was even further down.  I was looking for Game  to make a comeback much like Kanye this year, unfortunately though, that wasn’t the case at all.  He wasn’t the only artist to fail to release a promised album in 2010, but when you’re on the slide that Game has been on, it doesn’t help.   

Game also tried to rekindle his relationship with 50 Cent, which I find pathetic.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying rappers should always hold beef with on another, but when you completely separate yourself as much as Game did from 50’s crew, I found that took a lot away from Game’s credibility as someone who was representing the baddest of the bad from the west coast.

 

 Soulja Boy 

 
What he did: Called out Lupe Fiasco and claimed he “didn’t want to be super-Lupe Fiasco lyrical”.
What it means:Does it really matter? I mean c’mon, look at who said it.
Blackout scale:3

I won’t comment much on this one just because I can’t even call this guy an artist.  DeAndre should be excited that Lupe even made a response to the comment.  And not only did he respond, he probably released one of the best songs lyrically of the entire year.  When you stop making shitty music (his latest album, the DeAndre Way, currently has a 1 out of 5 X rating on HipHopDX.com) or calling out LeBron for one-on-one matches, you’ll be making strides Mr. Way.


- Nicki Minaj & Drake
What they did: Posted on their twitter’s that the couple had “tied the knot” and were newlyweds, only to revoke the statement a day later, claiming it was a publicity stunt all along.
What it means: Just another reason why the Young Money stars will probably never be anything truly great.
Blackout scale: 1 for Nicki, 8 for Drake

Call me a Young Money hater.  Do it, because you know what, I’d tend to agree with you.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t give Weezy and his artists a chance.  Not just any cat from the street can sell a million records in a few weeks like these two did, and for that, they certainly deserve some praise.  However, if this is the supposed “future” for hip hop, we are in some serious trouble.

This stunt doesn’t mean much as far as Nicki goes.  She’s developed a reputation for being “out there” with her pink wigs and wild delivery (just listen to her verse on “Monster”).  It annoys the hell out of me to see her steal headlines for trying to dis Lil’ Kim or her other antics, but I can deal for the most part.  Drake, however, is a different story.  I will be the first to say that the man has got some serious skills on the mic and he does have tremendous potential.  Stuff like this though, convinces me that Drake will never live up to it.  C’mon Drake.  You claimed to be the “Greatest Ever” and you’re doing shit like this?  You think Biggie or Pac or Big Daddy Kane would ever do something like this?  If Drake wants to seriously prove that he can stand with the best of them, he needs to stop being a rich asshole and start focusing.  His album, Thank Me Later, may have sold well, but had nothing to give it lasting appeal (except for “Lights Out ft. Jay-Z”, and that’s just because Hova saved it).  Step your game up, Drake.

- Kanye West
What he did: After being asked about his VMA incident on the Today Show, Kanye grew furious with the camera crew for keeping the volume up on a video to accompany the question.  ‘Ye canceled his Today Show performance afterward.
Why it matters: Although Kanye may have a point, it’s still not good publicity, furthering his reputation as a “jackass” (President Obama’s fine words there).
Blackout scale: 5

I was tempted not to include this on the list because it really depends on how you look at the situation.

If you hate everything hip hop stands for and its artists, or haven’t forgiven Kanye for some of the things he’s done, then you would see this as another unnecessary outburst from an artist who appears to be a complete tool.  ‘Ye was experiencing a year without controversy up until this and really could have avoided the incident entirely with a little more composure.  The Today Show does regularly keep sound on clips for its interviews, so to have it come as a surprise to Mr. West was not their fault.  West overreacted and made himself look stupid on national television.  West also went on a rant on his twitter afterward, calling Lauer out for “setting him up”.  Add on that West addressed the situation again in a concert a few weeks after, and the whole fiasco wound up being one Kanye’s worst.


However, if you were on Kanye’s side, you would have seen a different story.  I’m not saying that West should have acted the way he did and that the Today Show is completely in the wrong, but Lauer and his staff’s hands aren’t clean here either.  Watching the tape, I noticed Lauer did phrase the question preceding the VMA one in order to try and exploit the rapper.  In an interview with George Bush, Bush told Lauer that Kanye’s “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” quote was “one of his most disgusting moments of his presidency”.  Notice he didn’t say it was the “most disgusting” but “one” of them.  Lauer asked Kanye though, as if Bush had said the former, which was incorrect.  I also found it very tasteless of Lauer and his crew to bring up the VMA’s again.  When I do something that I know I want to take back the very second I do it, I don’t want to have to talk about it much and I can’t even imagine the regret West feels about his VMA outburst.  He apologized and Swift accepted, that should be the end of it right there.  It doesn’t need to be brought up again, especially on national television over a year after the incident.


The Source
What they did: The magazine gave it’s hallowed “5 Mic” rating to Bun B’s Trill O.G. album, released back in August, which had no business garnering such an honor.
What it means: One of hip hop’s most trusted prints can no longer be taken seriously. 
Blackout scale: 11

For those of you out there who aren’t familiar with The Source, it has remained one of hip hop’s premier magazines since 1988.  It is the second longest running rap magazine in the world today and has garnered a pretty good reputation over the years.  The Sourcehas become notorious for its “Five Mic” rating, something that has been given rarely and only to albums that have become classics of the genre.  Only 5 albums since 2000 had been received the honor, and I think it’d be hard for people to argue that Jay-Z’s The Blueprint or Nas’s Stillmatic aren’t classics today.

The recession must have removed a good majority of The Source’s news staff then before this year, because the magazine name Bun B.’s Trill O.G. a certified “5 Mic” classic in August.  Don’t get me wrong, the album wasn’t bad and I wouldn’t have had any problem with it receiving “4 Mics”.  But 5?  This is for an album that didn’t even receive better than a four-star rating on any other major hip hop publication/website out there.  Not only was this a huge mistake by The Source, but it’s a slap in the face for other albums that it didn’t give the first time around.  You’re going to tell me that LL Cool J’s Radio or Eric B and Rakim’s Paid In Fullshouldn’t have received the “5 Mic” honor on first listen?  While T.I. will have a chance to repair his reputation after his jail sentence or Drake will still be able to change things with another album, The Source will have an extremely hard time recovering from this one.  The rating has ripped almost all credibility it had before, something that The Source will surely want to forget.

CJ Buskey writes about hip-hop, sports and living in our mixed up world at The Spot For Hip-Hop and Everything Else.

 12.17.2010 

Eleven Things To Look for in Hip Hop in 2011

by CJ Buskey

Hard to believe that another year is coming to a close.  In just 16 days, we’ll be watching the ball drop from Times Square and popping champagne. With scant time remaining in 2010, I’ve decided to start navigating the 2011 hip-hop landscape. Call it an early Christmas gift (or a late Chanukah one if that’s your preference).

While 2010 had some terrific releases (My Beautiful Twisted Dark Fantasy, Sir Lucious Left Foot, Distant Relatives to name a few), 2011 is looking like it could be an upgrade.  There’s a lot to be excited for in 2011, so I came up with a list of the eleven things to look for in the upcoming year.  I listed each thing in the order of how anxious you should be for it (hence, the #1 thing on this list is the one you should be the most excited for).  Before reading the list though, remember that 2010 had a tremendous slate at the start of its year as well (just refer to Lupe’s Lasers fiasco).  2011 has a slate as good or better than 2010’s, but it will remain to be seen whether everything will hold up.  So, without further ado, here are the 11 reasons you should be excited for 2011…

11. No More G.O.O.D. Friday’s

Hey, I loved this idea when Kanye first introduced them back in August.  The weekly releases were always pretty well produced and three of them even ended up on Kanye’s album.  They were a cool thing to look forward to, but unfortunately, they also helped spread the idea of a weekly single to other artists.  Artists like Crooked I and Lloyd Banks decided to start their own “G.O.O.D. Friday” knock offs, and the flood gates opened.  They may not completely go away, but don’t expect the idea to be quite as popular in the coming year.  With less singles hitting the hip hop scene, you’ll be able to catch up on just about every one you want to hear without feeling overwhelmed next year.

10. Talib Kweli - Gutter Rainbows

Have to say, this has gotta be one of the more creative titles I’ve seen for an album in a while, but maybe that shouldn’t come as a surprise from one of the most creative lyricists around in hip hop.  Talib teamed up with producer Hi-Tek this past year and released Reflection Eternal’s second album, Revolutions Per Minute.  While the album had its ups and downs, Talib was still very, very good when on the mic.  Kweli hasn’t released a solo album since his 2007 success, Eardrum.  If his “Cold Rain” single is any indicator of what Gutter Rainbows should be like, Kweli fans should be making sure their calender has space on January 25th, when the album hits stores. 

9. Kanye West & Jay-Z - Watch My Throne

If 2010 proved one thing, it’s that ‘Ye still has it.  What many of called, including myself, his album Dark Fantasy to be his magnum opus, Kanye’s return to rap was proved to be long overdue.  But don’t count out Ye’s mentor either.  While Hova didn’t release an album in 2010, his guest appearances on “Monster”, “So Appalled”, “Power (remix), and “Light’s Out” had some pretty strong verses from the Brooklyn MC.  Originally supposed to be an EP, the two decided to make it a full-length album after their success from their G.O.O.D. Friday collaborations.  The album may not be groundbreaking, but it’s guaranteed to have some tracks that you’ll be playing on repeat after its release.  Watch stores around late February for this one.

8. Pharoahe Monch - W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)

Another case of “originally scheduled for one date, pushed back to later date and will definitely be out then…then pushed back again”.  If I had made a list for this year’s “most anticipated”, Monch’s album would’ve been on it.  W.A.R. was supposed to be ready by this past summer, but it got delayed and put down for a fall release.  Once the fall season came around though, Monch claimed that the guest appearances weren’t completely wrapped up, and so he couldn’t release W.A.R. until February.  Don’t get too discouraged however, because Monch’s third studio album will likely be another great one.  The Queens artist has Royce Da 5’9” listed as a guest on the 13 tracklist, with production done by Marco Polo, Exile, and Monch himself.  With Internal Affairs and Desire on his resume, there should be no reason this one passes you by when it’s set to be in stores this February.

7. Damn Good Debuts

What was once the album that usually remained the best in an MC’s career (Nas’s Illmatic, Biggies Ready To Die, Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt) has become somewhat of a disappointment of late.  2010 saw album debuts from B.o.B., Drake, Big Boi, Curren$y, and Nicki Minaj, most of which were pretty average (excluding Big Boi’s).  With the not-so-high standards that this year set for debuts, it’s natural to think that next year’s will be able to surpass them.  Before I was pretty sure of this, and now I’m certain when I saw the artists who will make their first album entries for 2011.  Just look at these names: Pusha T, J. Cole, Chiddy Bang, and Big Sean.  Not to mention Wiz Khalifa’s debut album for Atlantic Records, and you’ve got a pretty good fresh class of MCs to beef up your hip hop sections of your iTune’s libraries next year.

6. Andre 3000 - TBA

If there was more details about this album, you can bet this would’ve been at the top of this list.  As of today though, you can only go by Big Boi’s word that the other half of one of the greatest hip hop duos ever will be ready to drop his solo album debut.  Big Boi has already said he’s featured on the album and that it’s going to be “special”.  ‘Dre was relatively quiet in 2010, but he did release “I Do”, as well as make a great appearance on “Deuces (remix)” and a return to OutKast with “Lookin’ 4 Ya (remix)”.  He’s one of the best MC’s to grace the mic ever, so if there’s even a rumor of a solo album from him, you should be excited.  No release date or title has been announced for the album yet, so keep tabs on this one as 2011 goes on.

5. DJ Premier vs. Pete Rock

I think producers everywhere are salivating over this offering that is expected for the new year.  In case you don’t know who these two already are though, Premier and Rock are considered to be two of the greatest hip hop producers to ever grace the board.  About.com’s Henry Adaso has them ranked #1 and #2 respectively on his “Greatest Producers of All-Time" list, in case you may need more assurance (listen to anything Gang Starr or "The World is Yours" by Nas to really get some insight on how good the pair is if you’re curious).  Premier and Rock did a concert "battling" each other this past May in Tokyo and enjoyed it so much, they made it a priority to make an LP together.  Premier already has Wu-Tang’s lyrical genius, GZA, on his guest list and expect Rock to gather some A-List rappers himself.  Just think of Ocean’s Eleven or Inception in star power, and you’ve got what this album is going to offer.  There’s no release date set for the album for now, but expect for it to get on shelves and to your iPods by the end of the first half of the new year.

4. Nas - The Lost Tapes II/TBA

Hardcore Gucci or Young Money fans may want to skip this section, but for the rest of hip hop lovers, keep on reading.  Nas, real name Nasir Jones, dropped the first Lost Tapes over eight years ago and he’s ready to give us the sequel in 2011.  The Lost Tapes was a collection of select tracks that Nas felt weren’t “album worthy” and proved to still be pretty awesome.  Songs like “Doo Rags” and “No Idea’s Original” that came from the original Lost Tapes have even become considered some of Nas’s best.  It’s obvious Nas thinks that this sequel is going to be as good or better, as he sent a scathing letter earlier this year to his label, Def Jam, that called for the immediate release of Lost Tapes II.  This may not be Jones’s only album to drop in the new year though.  Nas has also stated he is working on a tenth studio album that, in his words, is going to be “magical”.  There’s scheduled production appearances from Kanye, RZA, DJ Premier, and Pete Rock as well (probably enough reason to just buy the album right there).  Nas has failed to disappoint of late too, releasing a strong album with Damian Marley, Distant Relatives, in 2010 and arguably is best album of the 2000’s with Untitled in 2008.  Lost Tapes II will most likely be available by the end of the first quarter of next year, but you’ll probably have to wait a little longer for the studio project.

3. Dr. Dre - Detox

Seriously?  You’re going to put us through another year of this AGAIN Dr. Dre?  Oh wait, it actually looks like it might finally be here.  If you’ve followed hip hop at all for the past five to ten years, you’ll know as well as I do about the almost perpetual delay of Dr. Dre’s third and final studio album.  Dre got to releasing a single this past year in “Kush” and it seems he’s really serious about getting Detox out.  If i didn’t know the guest sheet was for an album before, I would’ve guessed it was for some music convention held once every decade.  Hell, I’m not even sure if the President could get this many stars aligned at the same time.  Names include: Common, Eminem, Xzibit, Ice Cube, Raekwon, T.I., J. Cole, Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg, Game, Akon, Pharrell, and there’s still more!  You know that conversation you have with friends when you talk about the albums that were huge during a particular year?  Like in 2007 when everybody was bumping to Kanye’s Graduation or in 2009 when Blueprint 3 and Man on the Moon were as cool as the other side of the pillow (Courtesy of Stuart Scott)?  Well, Detox will no doubt be one of those albums at the end of 2011.  Expected release date is sometime in February right now.  Don’t hold your breath though for that date though, as it’s likely to be delayed (again) for a later time in the next year.  Just make sure that when it does come out, you get this, because you’ll be just so not “in” without it.

2. Lupe Fiasco - Lasers

A lot of people marked this album down as the “most anticipated” for this year, myself included.  When Lupe released his single “I’m Beamin’” back in February, hip hop lovers could barely hold in their excitement for this.  So it was not a minor, but a major disappointment that Lasers couldn’t make it to our homes, dorm rooms, or whatever you live in during 2010.  I’m a regular viewer of HBO’s new series, Boardwalk Empire, and it’s season finale explained the Lasers situation perfectly.  When the main mobsters tried to kill each other, nothing got done.  Business suffered and no one really benefited.  The top guys were making less money by attempting to whack one another than if they would just settle their differences.  Lupe and Atlantic Record’s feud lasted the first three-fourths of the year, until finally Atlantic caved to Lupe and his petitioners in early October.  Fortunately though, for Lupe and all his fans, Lasers seems to be in full motion since the “Victory!” Lupe tweeted on October 7th.  Fiasco released “The Show Goes On” as his first official single in late October and it’s been very well received so far.  The Chi-town MC also showed that he may be hungrier than ever, when he responded to Soulja Boy’s dis in November with “S.L.R. (Super Lupe Rap)”, a six minute flurry of rhymes that may have been the best set of verses lyrically released all year.  An album that could be the most hyped in recent memory will finally see the light of day on March 8th next year.  Look for Lasers to be something really, really special.

1. Jay Electronica - Act II

Surprised?  Maybe a little, but if you’ve followed Jay in the past few years, you won’t be.  Jay Electronica hails from New Orleans, yet sounds like he’s another one of the NYC prodigies.  Up until this point, he was notorious for making a mixtape that was rapped entirely over the soundtrack of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  His singles “Exhibit A” was very well received and “Exhibit C” was named the top single of 2009 by About.com and he’s been a rising star in hip hop for some time.  The man is the ripe old age of 34, but don’t let that fool you.  Maybe the biggest news story in the hip hop world from 2010 was Electronica’s signing to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation record label on November 13th.  Does signing a deal also mean he’s ready for an album release?  It appears that way as his debut album, Act II, is scheduled for an appearance in 2011.  So why again is Electronica’s work something to be more excited about than Lupe’s Lasers or Nas’s Lost Tapes II?  Well, imagine your career as an artist comes down to one album.  You want to embody everything that you are into just 80 minutes of a record.  That’s Electronica.  Jay may only do one album (his girlfriend Erykah Baduh has even said she didn’t think he’d ever do one), but if that’s the case, that single set of tracks could possibly join the ranks of the greatest hip hop albums, ever.  He’s extremely talented and he has some of the best to ever do it behind him.  For instance, after Jay produced “Queens Get the Money” for Nas’s Untitled in 2008, Nas compared himself to Jay, claiming that Electronica resemble a young Nas because of his incredible drive.  HipHopDX.com has even referred to the man as a “myth” or an “urban legend’.  No date has been set to this point and it’s probable we won’t hear of one until the second half of the year.  However, once it finally drops, expect the hip hop and music world to hear something mind boggling.

-CJ Buskey writes about hip-hop, sports and living in our mixed up world at The Spot For Hip-Hop and Everything Else.

 

 12.15.2010 

Sports Hysteria

KegFLY correspondent Patrick Dibiasio navigates us through the twisted world of professional sports.  

 

  • Late on Tuesday night, Cliff Lee shocked the baseball world by turning down millions of dollars from the NY Yankees and Texas Rangers to return to the Philadelphia Phillies.  Joining an already strong pitching staff, some might claim this years starting rotation to be the best EVER. 
  •      Brett Favre’s NFL record-streak of starting in 297 consecutive regular season games ended on Monday night.   Is it time for Brett to hang up his cleats for good?  Although the Vikings have been eliminated from playoff contention, we still may see Favre on the field this season, possibly as early as next Monday against the Chicago Bears.
  •      The Cleveland Cavaliers take their talents to South Beach, Miami tonight to play against former teammate LeBron James and the rest of the Miami Heat for the second time this season. While the Heat are playing the best basketball they have all season, winning the last 10 of 11 games, the Cavaliers are struggling to win games right now.  Head Coach Byron Scott is still searching to find the right starting lineup and wishes to see more emotion from his players.
  •    For you NBA fans out there, check out an excerpt from Bill Simmons’ latest work, “The Book Of Basketball.”
  •    An interesting story has developed out of New York after Sal Alosi, an assistant coach for the NY Jets, intentionally tripped Miami Dolphins receiver Nolan Carroll during a game on Sunday.  Zach Thomas, a linebacker for the Miami Dolphins, claimed that the coaches made a human wall in order to throw off the receiver.  It will be very interesting to see how the NFL deals with this situation.
 12.14.2010 

Should You Read this Post?



                                                                  

  • Wonder how German soccer star Mesut Oszil felt during this tussle. 
  • Apparently, people besides Frank Costanza observe Festivus
  • These guys are the reason NBC’s The Sing-Off is probably the most entertaining show on TV right now. 
  • Remembering 2010 through YouTube videos.
  • John F. Kennedy inspired New Balance kicks. Can you say awesome!
  • A salute to Teletubbies
 12.8.2010 

Midweek Sports Update

by Patrick DiBiasio

  •     The Cleveland State Men’s basketball team is 11-0 this year, making them the number one team in the Mid-Major Top 25 Poll.  Make way Cavaliers; there is another basketball team in Cleveland!   
  •  Where will Cliff Lee end up Next?  New York? Los Angeles? Only time will tell, or should I say money.  If he does not re-sign with Texas, this will be his fourth team since 2009.
  •   In your lasting Fantasy Football efforts to solidify a playoff spot, make sure you are aware of some of the Week 14 sleepers you may want to add to your team.
  •   Blake Griffin has had quite the start to his rookie NBA Season and not to mention an abundance of ESPN Top Plays.
  •   Which bowl game do you think will be the best?   You may be surprised at just how good the matchups are for a lot of these games.
  •   Almost a week after LeBron’s return to Cleveland, one writer believes the anger of Cleveland fans will shift towards team owner Dan Gilbert.  Earlier this year, Gilbert stated that the Cavaliers would win an NBA Championship before the Heat does, but the Cavs record is saying otherwise.
 12.7.2010 

Tuesday Insights

 Nothing good ever happens on Tuesday. So we thought we would write a blog post to brighten your day. Enjoy!

  • Charlie Sheen is in the news for something other than drinking too much alcohol or doing too much cocaine.
  • Looks like the Princeton Review will have to add " Elite University With Best Drug Ring" to their annual rankings after this latest Ivy League drug fiasco.
  • Would the cashier at Wendy’s accept a dollar bill that looked like this?
  • Shaq playing a lead role in Avatar- in this alternate universe dreams really do come true. 
  • We’ll pay a cool mill to whoever has the guts to paint murals of these pics on their respective campuses (JK but it’d be sweet)
  • Cold Winter days got you feeling down? Fo’get dat! These tips will help you become a champion of Winter. 
  • Flicks worth seeing-Thanks gentlemen of Bro Bible. 
 12.1.2010 

Wednesday Wisdom

The period from Thanksgiving until Christmas is supposedly the best time of the year. You stuff yourself silly with turkey,  score sweet deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, chill with your family and friends around the Hanukkah Menorah, Christmas Tree or Kwanza Kinara and cap it all by popping champaign on New Years. But the period of time in between these events is pretty bleak. Old Man Winter begins reminding us why we hate him and professors torment us with exams and papers. So that’s why we’re here to give you a healthy serving of websites that will make you forget your school problems or shake you from your winter break blues (shoutout to those students on winter break now). 

  • Don’t you wish you could do this when you can’t quite tell your friends your craving another slice of pizza?
  • Longing for the good old days of romance before the 1960’s counter culture made relationships so complicated. 
  • This is why modern pop music sucks
  • You know you’re having a bad day when you are covered in bodily waste deposits.
  • Long live Jersey Shore!
  • Who didn’t have this reaction when they found out their parents were on Facebook?
 11.15.2010 

Becoming Fluent in Social Media

By Gabriel Weinstein

When I first stepped foot on Ohio University’s stucco red bricks last fall I never thought I would become engrossed with social media. I wrote an essay in high school decrying what I deemed social media’s growing, intrusive presence. Until a few months ago, I had never updated my Facebook status or created a Facebook photo album. I only joined the Twittersphere three weeks ago. Now, I check Facebook more than my class syllabi and tweet more often than prolific Twitterer Kanye West. When I’m bored in class, I dream up catchy Facebook statuses and Tweets. (I’m lame, I know.)

My transformation from a conservative social media user to full blown addict began in the crumbling chapter room of a run down fraternity house. That fateful night was my fraternity’s first chapter meeting of the new school year. Two recent alumni from my chapter, OU Campus Partners Maxx Blank and Zac Sebo, were at the meeting making a presentation about a new company they were helping launch‑ KegFLY.com. Before the meeting began, Maxx asked me if I knew anyone from the various local media outlets who might be interested in writing a story about KegFLY. I told him we would talk after the meeting. 

I sat on the rotting carpet floor during Maxx and Zac’s presentation mesmerized by their enthusiasm. A glint of excitement shimmered from their eyes I had never seen before. The crude interjections made by other fraternity brothers during the presentation did not prevent me from digesting Zac and Maxx’s message. The minute they concluded, I knew I wanted to work with KegFLY. After the meeting I went to Maxx and Zac’s house and spent two hours discussing media strategy and their business model. In the span of three hours I went from being a curious observer to the head of KegFLY’s social media operation.

The past ten weeks have been a crash course in social media and marketing strategy.  I have learned how to navigate Facebook and Twitter better than the back roads leading to Athens. I’ve realized KegFLY’s social media is a way to connect with customers and is not an excuse for me to educate a mass audience about my personal interests. The experience of managing other people has been a challenging, yet ultimately rewarding experience. Being part of a fledgling start up company has been filled with periods of turbulence and euphoria.

As Fall Quarter draws to a close, KegFLY at OU is, to quote Cleveland sports radio voice Michael Reghi, “Bringing it strong.” Over twenty OU students are now involved with KegFLY doing everything from shooting promotional videos, running social media, to organizing promotions with other student groups. In two short months, KegFLY has gone from being a funny sounding name to a familiar term in OU student jargon. Two months ago in that musty fraternity house, I never thought I would become a social media maestro or contribute to a rapidly growing company. Now when I look back on this zany ride, I can’t imagine a better way to have spent my Fall Quarter.   

-Gabriel Weinstein is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. When not Tweeting, Facebook Stalking or scouring StumbleUpon he enjoys running on Athens’ many trails, reading and going to the theatre.

 11.8.2010 

What if… Lil Wayne Was President?

by Patrick Dibiasio

Thursday, November 4th marked Hip Hops most anticipated day of 2010 with the release of rapper Lil Wayne from Rikers Island Correctional Facility.  Wayne’s release from jail has gained national attention including support from former president Bill Clinton.  During an interview for his 2009 documentary titled “The Carter”, Lil Wayne was asked what changes he would make if he were elected President. Let’s take a look at what the world would be like IF Weezy took office…See the interview here.

-Price of Gas would be decreased back down to what it was when, “Wayne’s grandma was alive.”  I assume that would have been in the 1940s-50s.

-Cocaine would be put back into Coca-Cola.  I wonder how that would end up…

-Prostitution would be legal in 5 more states.

-Any type of performance enhancing drug would be legal in sports.

-Weed would become nationally legalized.

-Prenuptial Agreements would be completely eliminated and there would be no more child support.

Patrick Dibiasio is a sophomore studying sport administration at Ohio University and is one of KegFLY’s wonderful social media interns. 

 10.17.2010 

RT @AirAfrica11: CHECK IT OUT http://ow.ly/2UUWP… Mad love to @kegflyou