I spent last week in Los Angeles and just like I say after every trip there, half of the city is awesome and half is horrible. I’ll spare you the lowlights, but on the positive tip, shout to all the folks I spent time with: at ESPN’s LA office, at the Hard Knock TV annual 3 on 3 basketball tournament, and at the BET Awards functions. Despite losing in the championship game of the hoops tourney, we had a great time and we’re definitely looking forward to the next one. Along with hoops, the other highlight was definitely a trip to Disneyland. I hadn’t been in about 20 years since I was a little kid and it really is the happiest place on earth. Go there, with or without kids. You’ll have a great time.
As for this week’s SNSS, you already know what it is. Dope music from folks like Dom Kennedy, Fiend, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Drake, Kanye, Wale, The Bullitts, Mac Miller, Asher Roth, Bas, Lion Babe, Shad, TiRon & Ayomari, and more. Plus, the young homies, Brothers From Another, joined us in the studio. Be sure to check out their new Tacos On Broadway EP (features include Sol, Dave B, Thaddeus David, and Asher Roth) right here. They’re definitely a group to look out for, not just in Seattle, but on a national level.
Enjoy the show!
Show #420 (6-30-13)
Dom Kennedy – “Never”
Prodigy & Alchemist – “Breeze”
Fiend – “Maria Sharapova”
**INTERVIEW WITH BROTHERS FROM ANOTHER, PT. 1**
Kanye West – “Black Skinhead”
Run The Jewels (Killer Mike & El-P) ft. Big Boi – “Banana Clipper”
Wale – “88”
Schoolboy Q ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Collard Greens”
**INTERVIEW WITH BROTHERS FROM ANOTHER, PT. 2**
Brothers From Another – “Drunk Talk” (Local Music)
**INTERVIEW WITH BROTHERS FROM ANOTHER, PT. 3**
Drake ft. Sampha – “The Motion”
The Bullitts ft. Jay Electronica – “Murder Death Kill”
CharlieRED – “GreenGREED”
J. Cole – “Villuminati”
Romaro Franceswa – “Loyalty” (Local Music)
Mac Miller – “Bird Call”
Asher Roth – “Pop Radio”
Shad & Skratch Bastid – “Clappin’”
Tanya Morgan ft. Exile – “Together”
TiRon & Ayomari – “Haven’t You Heard?”
Common – “Resurrection” (Throwback of the Week)
Tope ft. Grynch & Spaceman – “Family Affair” (Local Music)
If you name your song after the main character in my favorite movie of all time…AND you can rap…the chances are quite good that I’ll post it on TAOD. As I mentioned with his previous set of visuals, my only disappointment with Roddy’s mixtape was that I was hoping for an album over original production. He crushed the verses though.
Ever since I was a kid, one of the first things I’ve done in every city I visit is find the nearest basketball court. Even if I don’t end up getting out on that court, just seeing it instantly gives you a little connection with your new surroundings. For those of us who have played ball our entire lives, I know y’all can relate.
In his new video, Omar Aura shows us a little glimpse of that life in his hometown of Fresno, CA. This track will be available on his upcoming project, Auradon Sessions, dropping March 6th. Seattle people: Omar told me he just did a record with Grynch for the project, so be on the lookout for that. Everything he’s released has been dope so far and with tracks like this one, I’m sure that will continue…
With the NBA lockout looming larger every day, I’ve already convinced myself that there won’t be a season. This way, if any good news breaks, it will be a pleasant surprise since I’ve already accepted disappointment. In its absence, I have a feeling I’ll be following more NHL this season, especially if our closest Pacific Northwest squad, the Canucks, can replicate their (regular) season success again. I’ll also have more interest if Nike keeps creating dope marketing collaborations like this one, highlighting Montreal’s P.K. Subban over a dope track by Canadian legend Saukrates.
If you know me in real life, you know that as much as I live and breathe music, sports has always been far more important to me. With my dad’s British upbringing, soccer logically became my first sport and growing up, I must say, I was pretty talented (and equally modest…or not). As I got older and more immersed in our country’s sports culture, I was drawn to the major US sports and eventually basketball edged out soccer as my top choice. I put the cleats away, laced up the high tops, and ended up playing small college basketball down in Los Angeles. Nothing glamorous, but it kept me busy and shoot, there aren’t THAT many people who can say they’ve made the NCAA tournament! *cough* Division III though *cough*
After graduating, I returned to Seattle and while I’ve enjoyed playing in the Puget Sound Basketball League, I’ve had a lot more fun playing for a few soccer clubs up here. Perhaps it’s a little sad, but the two games I play each week are often highlights that I look forward to when I’m bored with the monotony of my day job and music work. It’s even at the point now where my basketball games are cool…but I’d rather be on the pitch.
Alongside my own playing, I’ve started following professional leagues around the globe, really buying in completely around the 2006 World Cup. Not only does it provide the obvious entertainment, but I find something really important in maintaining a regular connection, albeit fairly superficial, to the rest of the world. It’s sickeningly easy for Americans to forget that societies exist outside our borders (and are comfortably passing us by), so by following leagues in Europe, South America, and Asia, plus the international clubs from the rest of the world, I’m actually exposed to a good bit of culture and news I’d otherwise miss out on. Plus, it provides a nice escape when the sports media (hi friendly employer!) and all my friends talk about the same stories. Trust me, I’m up on all the happenings in basketball, football, and baseball, but watching/playing soccer allows me to follow stories that most people I interact with simply haven’t heard.
Naturally, this leads to the awkward existence of the US soccer fan. There are more of us than ever before. The MLS and US Men’s & Women’s teams are more popular than at any point in history. We are a legitimate player in the soccer world, but admittedly, we are nowhere near the top. Thanks to our size and economy (assuming we still have one in a few years), we have potential to join the top tier, but we have a long fight ahead. Americans are generally either apathetic to the sport or they foster a strangely antagonistic, and not so subtle jingoistic, disdain for it. There’s nothing that angers a non-soccer fan more than hearing how it’s the most popular sport in the world.
What does all this rambling have to do with the video posted above? Well, Francis Coquelin’s excellent performance as a defensive midfielder for Arsenal in their recent loss to Tottenham epitomizes why the average US sports fan doesn’t really like soccer.
Watch the video above. I’ll wait.
Ok, so what did you see?
6 minutes of “nothing special,” right? No thumping headers, athletic bicycle kicks, or Bend It Like Beckham-esque free kicks. Hell, you didn’t even get a goal! Instead, just a great deal of industry, grit, ingenuity, vision, agility, strength, speed, finesse, and calmness that displayed almost everything you want from a player in that position on the pitch. Granted, the youngster made a few poor touches and distributed some loose passes, but overall, it was the lone bright spot in what has become a shockingly poor season for Arsenal. In all fairness, it was far from what a top defensive midfielder is capable of, but it still underscores my point.
If you can’t appreciate a performance like that, you’ll never truly love the sport. If your eye can’t spot the subtle adjustments necessary for a positive first touch or the instinctive movement to create the right passing angle, you’re going to be awfully bored while you wait for the goals to come. If you’ve been brainwashed by our highlight driven society, you’re missing out on the building blocks for those incredible moments in the Top 10 countdown.
I’ll even go one step further, and likely anger some of my soccer loving friends at the same time. If you haven’t played the sport and tried to do what these guys make look effortless, you don’t fully understand the beauty of soccer. Yeah, I know…that’s pretty self-righteous, but I feel it’s true. Fans are quick to jeer when a free kick is ballooned in to the stands, but how many hours have you spent trying to hit the upper 90? If that number is high, you have a better understanding of what the player has attempted. Fact. Trying to curl in kicks from FIFA doesn’t cut it.
I don’t expect this rant to convince any non-soccer fans to give the sport another try and in fact, it may have the opposite result. That’s fine though. I view soccer similarly to how I view hip-hop. Either you’re in it and you live/love/breathe it, or you’re not.
You don’t have to be, but for those of us who are, seeing a young kid like Coquelin deliver such an impressive performance in his 2nd EPL start reminds us of an amateur MC stringing together a few bars brilliantly in the middle of a solid verse. Not enough to blow you away but just enough where everyone in the room felt it at that moment…like “yeah…that part right there?…that was it.”
It can be whatever you want it to be. Just don’t try to tell me what it is to me.
The official visuals for one of my favorite songs of the 2011 summer season finally dropped. Summer, girls, basketball…bet. Be on the look out for Jermaine’s follow up single, “Can’t Get Enough” with Trey Songz, to take over radio and television soon as well. Cole World!
The long awaited video from Mack, Ryan, and Zia Mohajerjasbi for “WINGS” has finally been released and premiered today on XXL. Yet another great look for some of my favorite artists and homies from Seattle. Great job fellas!
I know we’re all starved for basketball now that the playoffs are over and I happened to stumble across this montage of the final time the Lakers played in the Boston Garden earlier today, so I had to throw it up on the blog. It’s not really possible to put in to words how much the mid-90’s Lakers meant to a young Hyphen and Nick The Quick was the centerpiece of it all. I stole his free throw routine (before he started taking 17 foot FT’s, that is) and I’d give anything to find another pair of those Reebok Blasts he used to rock.
Anyway…check out the final shot from the highlights above. That’s what you call a dagger.
I’ve seen a few of these one take videos, but this one might be the best yet. The University of Kentucky athletic teams joined forces for this cover of Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” and it turned out both corny and dope at the same time. LOL @ Terrance Jones though, cot damn.
Shout to the kids who clearly messed up in the video too. “50 grand I get this on one take…Hov!”
(hint: floating left is when I like to pull the most)
As I’ve mentioned on the blog and Twitter, I traveled down to Austin last week for SXSW. In addition to all the incredible shows I saw and artists I chopped it up with, I had the privilege to play in the first annual HoopxHang 3 on 3 tournament. John Gotty of the Smoking Section (my personal favorite blog because of the care they put in their write ups and their excellent musical taste), Nick Huff of Hard Knock TV, and Nike Basketball organized the event and invited about 50 artists, DJ’s, managers, bloggers, record label reps, and other industry folks to take their talents to Doris Miller Auditorium.
Anyone who knows me personally knows that as much as I live and breathe music, sports has always been 329318239128x the passion in my life. I’ll go play any game, anytime, anywhere, so I was just excited to get a little run in during the trip. Also, every time these rappers come through Sound Session, you should hear them go on and on about their skills on the court. After all that talk, I finally got to play with a few of the homies! Topping it all off, Nike came through with free gear from head to toe. #winning!
Special shout to my two teammates: Kenny, a friend of The Smoking Section’s John Gotty, and Chris (pictured below) from Hollyweerd. We didn’t know what squad we would be on before we began, but we meshed pretty nicely.
After winning our first two games (yours truly with the game winners in each…#humblebrag), we were ousted in the semi-finals against the eventual champions…these guys:
That would be Push Montana (who turned into Khalid El-Amin against us), Brock (Diamond Supply), and Dutch (Smokers Club). They had a solid mix of skill, size, and intensity that proved too much for the competition as they knocked off the Pac Div homies (below) in the Championship.
Despite what had to be a logistical nightmare, the event went off without a hitch and everyone had a great time. Hats off to everyone who organized and participated and thanks again to Gotty and Nick for the invitation. Looking forward to it being bigger and better next year…perhaps we could we see a little 5 on 5 action? We need to get these rappers in shape!
Be sure to check out the official recap with more pictures and stories over at The Smoking Section.