Oden Undun

Things fall apart.

That was the first thought that came to my mind upon hearing about Greg Oden’s latest and quite possibly final setback. The chronically injured Portland Trailblazers center required yet another microfracture surgery, bringing the tally of such surgeries to three, two on his left knee and one on his right. His body has fallen apart. His career has fallen apart. The hopes and dreams of a proud franchise have fallen apart right along with them. Continue reading

Retro Review: Get Rich or Die Tryin’

February 2003. It was the hottest month in the warmest winter in hip-hop history. But global warming wasn’t the culprit back then like it is now. Nope, 8 years ago a rapper named 50 Cent a.k.a Curtis Jackson was the cause for the fever pitch that engulfed the hip-hop community (except my homie, Khalid Salaam. He was on his Kanye West fix. Way ahead of his time). 50 Cent and his G-Unit mixtapes sold by the millions and in my hood were actually considered a type of currency. That winter I scored three bags of Purple Haze for the “God’s Plan” and the “No Mercy No Fear” CDs. Lovely! But those mixtapes were only appetizers for his upcoming “debut” album, even though “The Power of The Dollar” was his actual – and overlooked – debut album (Dope joint by the way). Continue reading

Retro Review: College Dropout

 

First time I ever heard of Kanye West was when I copped Beanie Sigel’s “The Truth” back in early 2000. West had produced the title track. At that point, he had already done some tracks for Jermaine Dupri, Goodie Mob and others, but he was still a young producer trying to make a name for himself. When Jay-Z dropped “The Dynasty” and I saw that Kanye did “This Can’t Be Life“, I became a fan.The beat was downright soulful and I was hoping dude would come with more dope productions. He wouldn’t disappoint.

When Jay-Z dropped the classic “The Blueprint”, I was ready to anoint Kanye as the best new producer in the game. He was responsible for the production on “Takeover“, “Ain’t No Love” and others. And yes, that was him on the hook as well as behind the boards on “Never Change“. Continue reading

Chronicle Review

“With great power comes great responsibility.” Those were the famous words came from the immortal Uncle Ben. He gave us a phrase to live by and then later on blessed us with some damn good rice. But his words do ring true… in the comic book world anyway. In real life with great power comes great suffering to the inferior. But in the world where Bob Kane is Yahweh and Stan Lee is Jesus Christ, and where superheros are born through personal tragedy (Superman lost his planet, Batman lost his parents and Spiderman lost his uncle), great power is usually wielded to protect the weak. But this is all inside of a fantasy universe. Continue reading

Remembering Big Punisher

Christopher Rios, better known as Big Punisher, passed away on February 7, 2000.  When Big Pun’s debut album first arrived on the scene in 1998, it was a time when some thought the lyrics had gone away from rap music a bit (little did they know just how MUCH that would be true years later).

Sure, Nas was still around and Jay-Z was beginning to make some noise, but 2Pac and Biggie had been gone for over a year and albums like Puffy’s No Way Out and Ma$e’s Harlem World had dropped, giving the sense that rap was going in a less lyrical and more shiny-suit and extremely sample-heavy direction. Continue reading

Shooting Stars

“For every Rip Hamilton, there’s five Eddie Griffins/ 10 Len Biases/ a hundred Ben Wilsons/ a thousand Will Gates/ daddy always told me that you seal your own fate” – Knaledge, Kidz in the Hall

A shooting star is nothing more than the visible part of a meteor that reaches the Earth’s atmosphere. However, it has come to symbolize other things, such as something you wish upon, or something that’s brilliant for a short amount of time before fleeing our eyesight. It’s that second interpretation of what a shooting star symbolizes that the title of this post alludes to. Continue reading