Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

CONCUSSIONS & ACCENTS: Dr. Bennett Omalu, the NFL, Hollywood, and Will Smith

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

by Nwaji Jibunoh

Nwaji Blog





Dr. Bennett Omalu & Will Smith

Dr. Bennett Omalu & Will Smith

Upon reflection, my very first exposure to the NFL aka “American Football” had to be in the 80’s when the Super Bowl became big ticket events in Nigeria because of the halftime performances. I remember at a very early age not understanding the game and also trying to compare it to Rugby. The one thing that stood out was the sheer physical nature of the game and how hard those tackles were. I remember my mother saying “I hope you never plan to play this dangerous sport”.

Fast forward 30 years and sports analysts and NFL enthusiasts are now engrossed in a medical term known as CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), which according to PR newswire is a form of encephalopathy that is a progressive degenerative disease, which can currently only be definitively diagnosed postmortem. In March 2014, researchers announced the discovery of an exosome particle created by the brain which has been shown to contain trace proteins indicating the presence of the disease. The disease was previously called dementia pugilistica (DP), i.e. “punch-drunk”, as it was initially found in those with a history of boxing. CTE has been most commonly found in professional athletes participating in American footballAssociation footballice hockey, professional wrestling, and other contact sports who have experienced repetitive brain trauma. It has also been found in soldiers exposed to a blast or a concussive injury.

One of the pioneers of the research that discovered and named this degenerative disease is Dr. Bennett Omalu, a forensic pathologist who is the Chief Medical Officer of San Joaquin County in California and a Professor in the University of California Davis Department of Medical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Dr. Omalu is of Nigerian origin but has resided in the US for over 30 years. Through his research he discovered this disease and was able to link it to the death of certain NFL athletes such as Mike Webster, after CTE was found in his brain during an autopsy. He wrote a book called “Play Hard, Die Young”.  His story is being adapted into a major motion picture called “Concussion”, and Hollywood Blockbuster icon Will Smith will play the character of Dr. Omalu.

We all know Will Smith. In 2007, Newsweek referred to him as “The most powerful actor in Hollywood”. You ask why? Well, over the last 20 years, where he has done 21 films in a leading role, those movies have earned $6.6 billion. Basically, if you are looking for a big actor to portray your story, there is no actor bigger than Will Smith. The movie Concussion will come out on Christmas day 2015.

Ever since the trailer for the movie came out, there have been a few social media discussions about how authentic Will Smith’s accent was, given that he is playing a Nigerian. Nigerians from all walks of life have made their displeasure known about how the accent sounded more Southern African (Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa) than anything close to West African, and more specifically Nigerian. Such questions as to why a “Nigerian” couldn’t play the role or why Will Smith couldn’t learn a proper Nigerian accent have been circulating all over the place.

The challenge with such perspectives is that it deviates from the purpose of what Will Smith is trying to accomplish. This story is about one of the most profound developments in sports in the last 30 years as it has fundamentally changed the regulations around hitting in the NFL. In addition to that, the NFL on August 30, 2013 reached a $765 million settlement with former NFL players over their head injuries. The settlement created a $675 million compensation fund from which former NFL players can collect depending on the extent of their conditions. Frankly speaking, this was astonishing given that the NFL is behemoth institution that nobody takes on and wins. So why on earth should it matter if “the most powerful actor in Hollywood” gets the accent right or not when there is a bigger mission at hand of letting the word know of this disease and the impact it has on life after sports for several NFL players?

Hollywood has a history of regionalizing accents and they get it wrong a good percentage of the time. Call it creative license or sheer standardization to culturally identify but at the same time ensure that the primary audience (USA) can understand what is being said.

Dr. Omalu is a remarkable human being who has probably saved the lives of hundreds of athletes. He achieved this feat practicing medicine in America and pushing this agenda in a very American game. He just happens to be Nigerian.

In a situation like this, the story is more important than an accent and that story is being told by one of the world’s biggest story tellers.

As a Nigerian, I am extremely proud of Dr. Omalu and I am so excited at the fact that a Hollywood Star such as Will Smith is about to play this role.

Credit to everyone involved in this project and may the lives of NFL athletes be spared as a result of this.


Nwaji Jibunoh, International Correspondent for War Room Sports

Located in Lagos, Nigeria, Nwaji Jibunoh is War Room Sports’ International Soccer Contributor.  Nwaji also contributes commentary on U.S. sports from an international perspective.  He’s an Atlanta Falcons fan, Howard University alum, and former tight end for the North Atlanta High School Warriors.

Ca$his | The County Hound 3 | #AlbumReview #CH3

Friday, April 10th, 2015

by Writing Battle Rap History

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CH3 Cover Art

CH3 Cover Art

Album Rating System 3  out of 5 records

Image    Image Image

The third album in Cashis’ trilogy of The County Hound is The County Hound 3. In the spirit of dank, makeshift, in-home studios, the beat-smiths that make simple productions, the part-time rapper, part-time weed peddler, the codeine sippers, and gangsters, CH3 is hand crafted just for you.

Cashis has quite a past in the music business starting his career in Orange County, California, where he relocated from his native Chicago. He was discovered in the mid-2000s and signed to Shady Records, where his introduction to the world was on Eminem’s 2006, Eminem Presents: The Re-Up, a compilation album featuring 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Bobby Creekwater, and others. From these experiences propelled the career of Cashis and his tenacious hustle that has kept him afloat all these years. Although existing under the surface, he’s been consistent in keeping a buzz in the Internet world, releasing four albums, four EPs, and about thirteen mixtapes.

CH3 falls in between Chicago drill and west coast G-Funk with a tinge of Houston, Texas accented in the pace of the music. The tone of CH3 is defined in the intro where he states, “Real n*ggas only advised to listen. No sucka n*ggas, no soft n*ggas, no squares, no lames, no punks, no frauds.” Cashis’ excessive gangsta talk doesn’t allow for much flexibility in his content, albeit he seems to be at his most comfortable in this position – and not exactly biased about rival gang affiliations, either. This is made clear in Turn Up. “If you Folks you my folks/F*ck a hater n*gga/…My little brother Gucci getting that paper n*gga/and that’s my blood, black, P-Stone Ranger, n*gga.”

(Click here to check out the Writing Battle Rap History Website)

Moving from Chicago to Irvine, California, a suburb in the O.C., is depicted by Cashis as a place that is overlooked for its gang affiliations. A



few years ago gang members and thugs from the outskirts of the inner city would be placed in a wanna-be caste system, but nowadays, because of a falling middle-class, the suburban thug is actually a realization. You wouldn’t be able to tell based on CH3’s gangster narratives that the turf sits in the white picket fences of the American dream. The ambiguity between inner city and suburban life isn’t clarified enough and you begin to wonder, aside from the contrast in population density, are the two really that much different?

The most exciting moments on CH3 are the Young Buck assisted, Kingpin and Work. Buck, a G-Unit veteran, brings much needed energy that kills the monotony of Cashis’ drawn out, codiene-flow. Unfortunately, features that include, Mac Lucci, Project Pat, Sullee, Roscoe, Britizen Kane, and even a producer credit from Eminem on Thug Boydoesn’t do enough to salvage CH3. Cashis’ raps get drowned in melancholies and there isn’t enough variation in his voice or the tracks produced by Rikanatti to combat the album’s overwhelming gloom.

CH3 isn’t for everybody. It was made for Cashis’ core fan base – the people who’ve been there supporting him from the beginning.  There is much to be respected about an emcee who has made their own way and has successfully capitalized off the online market.  Although Cashis’ CH3 falls short it leaves you respecting the hustle, not necessarily the music.

Download CH3 here

© Copyright Eddie Savoy Bailey III, 2015

Written by: Eddie Bailey of The Savoy Media Group

Twitter @SavoyMediaGroup




Wale | The Album About Nothing | #AlbumReview #TAAN

Saturday, April 4th, 2015

by Writing Battle Rap History

Writing Battle Rap History Logo







(Photo via Complex Magazine)

(Photo via Complex Magazine)

Album Rating System 3 1/2 out of 5 records

Image    Image Imagehalf record copy

Listening to Wale rant and rave about how he doesn’t get the respect he deserves can be exhausting and off-putting. Because of that I’ve never cared to listen to a Wale album. I decided to give him a chance after reading an excerpt from his Billboard interview of him talking about being dissed by Katy Perry and how he should be spoken about in the same vain as Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole, after all, when you compare yourself to one of the two best emcees in Hip Hop you have to live up to that comparison.

In his fourth studio album, The Album About Nothing, inspired by the NBC hit sitcom, Seinfeld (the show about nothing), Wale partners with friend and star of the show, Jerry Seinfeld, who serves as a narrator and voice of reason on this accidental concept album. Yes, accidental. I don’t think Wale meant to write a concept album since the album is supposed to be about nothing, and I’m not sold on this being a clever nod to the situational irony in Seinfeld that made the show so popular, but in an ironic twist, TAAN is an album about everything.



Everything in Wale’s world are the powers-that-be opposing his success and how delusional the entertainment world is. If you think of VH1’s Love & Hip-Hop series you can imagine how Hip-Hop has created an illusory world where all of your dreams can come true with little work ethic, little talent, yet have an abundance of good looks and swag. This is Wale’s world, the world he’s disgusted with and addicted to simultaneously. This is apparent in The Glass Egg featuring an uncredited Chrisette Michelle, where he raps, “It’s right, it’ like life is like a glass egg/Tryna maintain what come with the fame and keeping your last friends/Yeah, you know that balance of/Cause who on your back or who got your back/I promise the line is this thin…”

Most of the production on TAAN is from producers I’m not familiar with but who laid out some well-produced tracks for Wale. For example, The Girls On Drugs, produced by No Credit, is an acid-laced track that samples Janet Jackson’s Go Deep and is the perfect illustrator of what the drug-induced, sex-filled nights are in the industry. This is a part of life that he’s all too familiar with. Once the wave of MDMA and lean surfaces, Wale’s ability to navigate between the make-believe extravagancy of the Hip-Hop world and real life solidifies him as a veteran. Reverting back to the classic boom bap sound, The Success is a track that takes samples from The Andrews Chapel United Methodist Young Adult Choir’s 1985 record, Psalms 121. Other songs worth checking out are The One Time In HoustonThe BloomThe White Shoes, and The Need To Know.

Interestingly enough, the song that doesn’t seem to fit on this album is the lead single, The Body, featuring Jeremih. I understand that it’s radio-friendly but how TAAN is structured, The Body as the last song is a mistake. TAAN could’ve ended with The Matrimony, featuring Usher and it would’ve been more befitting of TAAN’s storyline. It’s a better choice because in TAAN Wale confesses, I believe on more than one occasion, that he wants to settle down but has uncertainties, and in The Matrimony he finally comes full circle. Then it ends with The Body where he’s talking about sex with no strings attached. Doesn’t make much sense to me.

Admittedly, the Washington D.C. native has come very far in his career, especially, coming from a town that isn’t known for any top-tier Hip-Hop acts. No slight to emcees like Nonchalant, Question Mark Asylum, Fat Trel, or any other D.C. native, it’s just that historically, D.C. has been a tough market for emcees to breakout. Attending Howard University in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I can attest to the fact that D.C. is an acquired taste – this goes for the layout of the city, Go-Go music, the people, and their sense of fashion. This is no different in the case of Wale. Like the city he reps, he grows on you and you learn to appreciate his quirks for what they are.

My first experience with Wale wasn’t bad at all. Wale is a niche artist that has the potential to have stronger star power if he just stayed in his lane. His angst to be praised as he thinks he should only shadows his appeal. Respectfully, his comparisons to K. Dot and J. Cole are a reach. Unlike To Pimp A Butterfly and 2014 Forest Hills Drive, TAAN lacks courage. TAAN is a solid piece of work but it’s a formulaic album that doesn’t stay etched in your memory bank.  It doesn’t push the limits of what Hip-Hop can be, it’s just a good album, and with an album with that kind of title you have to wow people.  TAAN also loses perspective, mainly, because Wale talks too much about himself. Instead of sticking with the irony of an industry that looks like an oasis only to find that in reality it is a deserted wasteland of hopes and dreams, it’s an album about how this oasis has left him high and dry and it’s the same recycled story that we’ve been hearing from Wale time and time again.

Download TAAN here

© Copyright Eddie Savoy Bailey III, 2015

Written by: Eddie Bailey of The Savoy Media Group

Twitter @SavoyMediaGroup




Kendrick Lamar | #ToPimpAButterfly #AlbumReview

Friday, March 20th, 2015

by Writing Battle Rap History

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To Pimp a Butterfly album cover

To Pimp a Butterfly album cover

Album Rating System:  5 out of 5 records

Image    Image Image ImageImage

This dick ain’t free,” is a gender bending, emphatic statement, that should be the mantra for black male youth growing up in a hyper-sexual society, where Kendrick Lamar redefines black masculinity on “For Free,” the second track on his second studio album, To Pimp A Butterfly. I don’t know if redefining black masculinity is on purpose or if it is by virtue of his conscious subject matter, but in TPAB Kendrick tackles social issues of the hood – manhood, love, sex, religion, mental illness, self-esteem and gang-banging, with a stream of effortless maturity. Either way – damn, this album is a breath of fresh air!

Kendrick’s maturity is not only a by-product of his upbringing but also of his spirituality. If you were to put a mirror up to the new faces of Christianity those faces may have a different look, especially with regard to perspective. It’s a perspective that is as simple as Kendrick talking about self love in “i” but as complicated as loving and hating the same person in “u”, or how he can be enraged and want to unify the black community at the same time in “The Blacker the Berry.” This may seem like truckload of contradictions but it is actually an honest and transparent look at what a human being looks like.

King Kendrick

King Kendrick








I’m sure if we examined Kendrick’s heart among all the brilliant things there would be to study love would stand out. This kid’s heart is massively suffocating. He possesses a true love for black people, especially his Compton family. Though on the outset he abhors his homies’ gangster lifestyle, his affections for them are made clear on his album cover – Kendrick loves his niggas and truly wants to see them do well. The same love and respect he has for his homies he has for women, too. In “Complexion” he raps “Beauty is what you make it, I used to be so mistaken/By different shades of faces/Then wit told me, “A woman is woman, love the creation”/It all came from God then you was my conformation/I came to where you reside/And looked around to see sights for sore eyes/Let the Willie Lynch theory reverse a million times with…”

If I didn’t know any better the production on the TPAB sounded like Dr. Dre was operating in the spirit of Rico Wade, 1/3 of the Atlanta production team Organized Noize who produced albums for OutKast and Goodie Mob. This isn’t a slight to Dre, as I think this is arguably some of his best work to date, but the funk-jazz infused Hip Hop is sonically similar to Aquemini. The main difference in the production is the use of Be Bop jazz interpolations dispersed throughout TPAB in arrythmic patterns that plays up the coffee shop poetry feel. And of course, in Dr. Dre fashion, he tells a lengthy story that connects every song together in perfect succession.

The last song “Mortal Man” sums up the album. “Mortal Man” is riveting because toward the end of the song Kendrick has a conversation with Tupac Shakur, posthumously, of course, but carefully using excerpts of Tupac’s interviews creates a chilling dialogue between the two. After the two share their outlooks on life Kendrick pulls out a poem he wants to read to ‘Pac about the metaphor of the caterpillar and the butterfly. He explains it beautifully and then asks for ’Pac’s perspective, to which Pac doesn’t answer. The album ends with Kendrick saying, “Pac! Pac! Pac!” Some may see this as Kendrick being a Tupac incarnate but I think that Kendrick’s ideas on black emancipation are a bit more mature than Tupac’s. Tupac’s warrior-like passion is rooted in a kill-or-be-killed mentality, whereas Kendrick’s passions are rooted more in his love for God. If anything Kendrick Lamar is an evolved Tupac, and Pac’s silence is a clear indication that the torch has been passed.

TPAB download here —->

© Copyright Eddie Savoy Bailey III, 2015

Written by: Eddie Bailey of The Savoy Media Group

Twitter @SavoyMediaGroup




HipHop Bars 2 Beats 4 Reviews: Rick Ross – Mastermind

Friday, November 14th, 2014

by A. Pierre



It’s the Summer of 2005, and for the first time ever I’m on my way to the airport without any of my family. Now who was with me? Well, a group of friends and a few associates headed down to Miami, FL, straight to South Beach for Memorial Day Weekend for roughly a 7-day stay. A lot of things were seen that week, and fun had, but one of the many things I distinctly remember about the environment outside the obvious, was the parade of cars circling Ocean Drive and Collins Ave, full of drop tops, candy paint, 20+ inch rims, and luxury to Old School souped-up cars that were surely way out of my “fresh out of college” budget. As I stepped out on the scene for the first day what did I hear, and not entirely to my surprise literally every 10 minutes ALL week long blasting throughout Ocean Drive? Rick Ross’s break out single , “Hustlin” off his debut album Port Of Miami, and sprinkled in there was Young Joc’s “Its Goin’ Down” (now where is that guy anyway?), but i digress. As far as “Hustlin” goes I’m not sure if I’ve ever been in an environment where I heard the same song repped so hard over and over and over again. However it’s not too hard to see why, when you factor in that “Hustlin” was arguably the hottest street anthem around that time, encompassing gritty production, with a to the point yet addictive hook, then on top of that we were actually in Miami where Rick Ross repped, it was to be expected.

Now move forward roughly 9 years to date, and it’s safe to say that Rick Ross has gone through his share of ups and downs personally and musically. What started as the new “hot” Southern artist churning out hits from his debut album, went to the negative controversy and backlash from his initial correction officer lies, which then consequently led to talk of fabrication in his rhymes to issues with the real convicted drug trafficker “Freeway” Ricky Ross, to now where Ross is an accomplished pillar in the game. Over the years it seems like somewhere along the line Rick Ross’s backlash from his eventual admitted CO days, along with all the other miscellaneous issues people were nitpicking with Ross about seemed to just go away so to speak. Why? Well, we’ll touch on that later.

On Rick Ross’ Latest offering “Mastermind”, his 6th studio LP it’s actually more of the same from the southern emcee. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, some artist produce their best material by staying in their lane and simply just continuing to do what they do best. Other artists learn how to show advanced progression in their music which can many times take them to another stratosphere musically and/or lyrically, pushing them to the top echelon of MC’s in rap. As far as Ross is concerned, on “Mastermind” he’s done what he usually does on most of his albums; trap music rhymes rapped over good production filtered with some street anthems, a few tracks for the ladies and multiple big name guest appearances.

The first big-name featured guest and stand out track on Mastermind is the Jay-Z assisted “Devil is a Lie”. Needless to say Hov takes over the track with his verse, touching on the shade he’s gotten for his long success as an artist and businessman. On the soulful trunk rattling track Hov raps…

“Is it truth or it’s fiction, is it truth or it’s fiction?
Is Hova atheist? I never fuck with True Religion
Am I down with the devil cuz my roof come up missin’?
Is that Lucifer juice in that two cup he sippin’?
That’s D’usse baby welcome to the dark side
Coulda got black list for the crack shit
White Jesus in my crock pot
I mix the shit with some soda
Now I’m black Jesus turn water to wine
And all I had to do was turn the stove up
Beast Coast, winnin’ at life, nigga, cheat code
The hatin’ is flagrant, hit your free throws
The devil try to hit me with the RICO, them black people
Devil want these niggas hate they own kind
Gotta be Illuminati if a nigga shine
Oh we can’t be a nigga if a nigga rich?
Oh we gotta be the devil that’s some nigga shit
You seen what I did to the stop and frisk
Brooklyn on the Barney’s like we own the bitch
Give the money to the hood, now we all win
Got that Barney’s floor lookin’ like a VIM
Black hoodie, black skully
Bravado like Mavado, boy I’m that gully
Gettin white money but I’m still black
All these niggas claiming king but I’m still that
King Hova, Mansa Musa
From a lie, the devil is a lie, I’m the truth, yeah”

On the track “War Ready” featuring Young Jeezy, Ross continues his long track record and extended string of hard hitting street anthems, this one produced by Mike Will Made It. Jeezy and Rick Ross picked the perfect song to bury their long standing personal issues. “War Ready” is the type of track that you CANNOT play on low volume and truly appreciate the energy. On the 5th track “Nobody” with French Montana on the hook and including additional P. Diddy ad-libs sprinkled throughout the song, Ross initially received a lot of negative feedback.

One thing I’ve noticed in Hip-Hop is whenever one artist touches even the essence of a beloved artist like a 2Pac or in this case an old Biggie Smalls track and attempts to sample, remix, reprise or however you would like to describe it, fans of that artist love to get all up in arms about how blasphemous it is to touch their classic track. Well when you bring some objectivity into the discussion and just relax and enjoy the music, Ross’ “Nobody” is a dope track. The addition of French Montana’s sing-song vocal tone on the hook compliment the track perfectly, and to be quite honest I’m not sure this track could have been done right with anyone else on the hook outside of Ross literally sampling Biggie’s voice from the “Life After Death” original.

Rick Ross does an admirable job mimicking Biggie’s legendary flow on the track in question, rapping…

“I’m from where the streets test you
Niggas mix business and pleasure where the cocaine measure
The narcotics is our product
The by-product, you walk up on me, I cock it
New Mercedes as it peels off
Nothing penetrates the steel doors, gang signs, see ‘em all
I said my prayer as I’m countin’ sheep
Never really athletic, but I play for keeps, do you feel me?
The mortician, the morgue fillin’ with more snitches
We kill ‘em and taking their bitches, R.I.P
Chinchillas on a winter night
Black bottles when I’m feelin’ like, you wanna know what winners like
And I’m never on that tour bus
Just a decoy for niggas, the PJ’s for two of us
Ciroc boys down to die for Diddy
My niggas ride for less, keep it real, homie, made me filthy
Touch mine, until it’s even: kill
Like I’m knowing every heathen will, closed the deal with Steven Hill
We Magic City of the networks
Cut a nigga cast off, how my nigga net worths”

If the intention of this track was to pay homage while attempting to make a dope rendition all in one, Ross did a solid job.

Another one of the stand-out tracks is “Thug Cry” featuring Lil Wayne, unfortunately for Ross this is another circumstance of him being out-rapped on his own song. On the 2nd verse Wayne raps…

“Well, let me light one for my problems
Smokin’ on that loud, pumpin’ up that volume
Get it crackin’ like an eggshell
In this mothafucka make omelettes
Get a bad bitch that posts up like comments
They don’t know what I been through
Don’t know what I’m goin’ through
As long as I get through, that’s what I look forward to
Richer than a bitch but still I can’t afford to
Let these niggas play with me; need to be remorseful
I swear I got that silencer on that Mac 9
And I kill these niggas with silence
My head stay in the clouds, I really feel like a giant
Can’t trust none of these niggas, I murk one of these niggas
Then bury one of these niggas, still got dirt under my fingers
That ain’t a threat, that’s a bet, cause they coming at my neck
Like the best a man can get, but to make a long story short
I need a shoulder cause the devil on one
The other one, I’m lookin’ over

Ross is not flawless on “Mastermind” and far from being considered a lyrical giant on this album; for every “Drug Dealers Dream”, “Devil is a Lie” or “Blk & Wht” banger there’s a “Walking On Air” featuring Meek Mill that sounds like a bland filler track from any number of MMG mixtapes, or “Supreme” which has nice production but is also easily a skipper. Throughout “Mastermind” Ross continues to give what has kept him successful and relevant on the Hip-Hop scene, which is plain ole consistency. There is something to be said for being consistent; you may not break any new ground by creating only consistent solid to good albums with similar content. However there are plenty of artists over the years that have talked about the same topics they have rapped about out since their debuts that have fallen off or consequently began making increasingly stale music while doing a poor of job of keeping old stories fresh to the listener.

So whether we are talking about sports, entertainment, business, or in this case music, when you create product the masses of people enjoy over and over again, they will conveniently “forget” about your past transgressions. Hey it’s life! When you win, the people give you a pass, when your losing in your chosen field they love to pile on all your negative past until you fall off the scene. All in all no one would confuse “Mastermind” as anything transcendent, however it’s still another win for the Rick Ross catalog, and the continuation of Rick Ross’ overall career theme, which is simply being…… Mr. Consistent. #HaitianJack

Rick Ross   –   “Mastemind” (Released March 2014)

Bars: L    Beats: XL    Music: XL       Report Card: B

A. Pierre of HipHop Bars 2 Beats 4 Reviews, for War Room Sports

HipHop Bars 2 Beats 4 Reviews: ScHoolBoy Q – Oxymoron – 2014

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

by A. Pierre


Ever since TDE’s Black Hippy Crew started bubbling right under the national scene in 2010, their rise hasn’t been meteoric but it has been on a gradual upswing. The pinnacle of that hype machine has happened within the last 18-24 months or so with Kendrick Lamar’s critically acclaimed “Good Kid, MAAd City”, then TDE’s BET Cypher exposure last year. For the most part TDE holds the general distinction as a crew of super lyrical MC’s, well that is not necessarily the case. Case and point is Schoolboy Q who is not a bum, but probably the least lyrical of the bunch.

However there’s a reason why SchoolBoy Q’s album was next up and ready with quality singles and a legit buzz before every other artist on the label outside of Kendrick Lamar. The thing about SchoolBoy Q, he is…… for the lack of a better word so to speak, has that “Method Man of Wu-Tang” vibe to him. What do I mean by that? Well, like Method Man, he isn’t the most lyrical MC of the crew nor was he arguably even in the top 4 or 5, however he had that star appeal to him in his music. The ability to mesh the balance between rhymes that connect to the streets with rhymes and music that connect to the club and radio masses.

Not to pigeonhole Q, but with all that being said, the foundation of ScHoolBoy Q as an artist is one of a West Coast gang-related gangsta rapper. On the Sounwave produced “Hoover Street”, ScHoolBoy Q takes us down his memory lane on some of the harsh realities of his childhood. On the track Q raps…

Verse 1:
“Find a nigga realer than me, my socks stink/
Eat so much pussy that my mustache pink/
Strapping, my pants seam, no need for a belt/
Gangsta lean help, hoodie on backwards with the eyes cut out/
My hate felt, my .45 elder, poetry’s deep/
I never fail ya, Schoolboy bust flame/
Orange-yellow, higher than Margielas/
Since a young nigga I admired the crack sellers, seen my uncle steal/
From his mother, now that’s the money that I’m talking ’bout/
Think about it, the smoker ain’t got shit and everyday he still get a hit/
Whether jacking radios or sucking dick/
Sell his kids and chop his wrists and sealing his lips
Cause he don’t want the feds arresting his fix, didn’t take much/
To get me convinced, coincidence that I ain’t fucking with work/
Unless we rewind and answer my church/
Times getting harder than my d*** on a growth spurt/
Around the same time all you niggas was on purp/
My sober ass was snatching her purse, make the ice cream truck freeze/
Give me the keys, extra Fritos, chili and cheese/
Threw some Baby Lucas in his eyes before I leave/
The cops’ll never get the lead, grandma taught me well/
And my uncle gun was the accessories, 211 sipping plus a robbery/
This little piggy went to market, this little piggy carry chrome”

Verse 2:
“Grandma said she loved me, I told her I loved her more/
She always got me things that we couldn’t afford/
The new Js and Tommy Hill in my drawers/
Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64, see Golden Eye was away at war/
We wasn’t thinking of getting money then/
Nor did I wonder why my uncle done sold his Benz/
Cause he been tripping now, he sweats a lot and slimming down/
I also notice moms be locking doors when he around/
But anyways, he wife done left him and now he living with us/
My bike is missing, Grandma like to hide her check every month/
My uncle’s nuts, he used to give me whiskey to piss in cups/
Knocking on the door telling me to hurry up, he in a rush/
I gave it to him then got my ass whipped for doing it/
Moms used to tell me like, nigga, know who you dealing with/
Them was the good days ’til I was raised the older ways/
Rat-Tone my nigga’s brother showed me my first K/
I was amazed, me and Floyd was in the back, he called us over like, hey/
YAWK, YAWK, YAWK, YAWK! We like, damn, nigga/
Then again, YAWK, YAWK! We like, damn, nigga/
Hearing him say cuz turned us to a fan, nigga/
Later on he got locked so know we’re taking his fades/
Continue the chapter from his life, we flipping that page/
Gangbanging was a ritual and Grandma would help/
She should’ve never left her gun on the shelf/
This little piggy went to market, this little piggy carry chrome”

Throughout “Oxymoron”, ScHoolboy Q displays his ability to craft high-energy head nodding tracks. I wouldn’t call the various producers who handled the boards for the album a “super team”, however the production overall is top notch. There’s bangers everywhere on this album, from the opening track “Gangsta”, to “Collard Greens” ft. Kendrick Lamar, to the 2Chainz assisted “What They Want”, to the grooved-out “Studio”, to the melodic backdrop on “Hell Of A Night”, to the trunk-rattling close out track “Man Of The Year”. With all the repeat value on various tracks throughout Oxymoron, it is still far from flawless.

The main thing that holds the album back from manifesting to what it could have been is ScHoolboy Q’s rapping on a majority of the album, ranging from solid to average on more than half of the songs. I think part of that may be due to the subject matter on a third of the songs. Most of the time a club sounding track will not require high level rapping, and can for the most part, unless done right will throw the song off. There’s a reason why you won’t hear or find many great club-banger type tracks from the Canibus, Crooked I, Terminology, Kool G Rap type MC’s of the world. Sometimes the bars and music don’t fit, and there’s an art and science to making that work with superb bars like some of the all-time great MC’s have done, like a Biggie or Jay-Z. Q, similar to Method Man in respect to Wu-Tang, ScHoolboy Q may be in the bottom half of the TDE totem pole as far as bars are concerned, however he arguably has the most star quality and the best single crafting ability that can appeal to different Hip-Hop sectors. Not saying that he will sell a ton of records or will ever become a bigger star than Kendrick, but his ability to craft dope singles that appeal to the masses is on par with K.Dot and above everyone else thus far on TDE. Overall “Oxymoron” has enough standouts and cohesion in its 12 song offering to be considered a solid to good album, and another positive notch for the entire West Coast and TDE in the past few years.  #HaitianJack

Scores:  Oxymoron (2014)

Bars: M         Beats: XL        Music: XL         Report Card: B-

A. Pierre of HipHop Bars 2 Beats 4 Reviews, for War Room Sports

WRS TV Review: ‘Black-ish (The Pilot Episode)

Friday, September 26th, 2014

by Monica Pierce

Monica Blog






I watched the first episode of Black-ish and I like it. This is coming from a person who isn’t a fan of sitcoms. However, I’ve heard some criticisms of the show that I’m confused about.

(1) “It’s too much black this and white that”…So what. Isn’t that the point of the show? He’s talking about preserving what he feels it means to be black while providing your family with things that will often have them in a situations where they are truly the minority.

(2) “I don’t know where the show will go from here”…Huh? It’s a sitcom…SITUATION COMEDY. This means where it will go from here is onto another situation and add comedy to it.

(3) “Anthony Anderson is over the top”…Again, it’s a sitcom. Sitcoms are over the top. Remember when Cliff took everything out of Theo’s room and sold it back to him? Or when Gina got her head stuck in the bed frame on an episode of Martin? How about the time when Fonzie was water skiing and literally jumped a shark? These things are all over the top and the shows I mentioned had very successful runs.

(4) “I hate the name of the show”…Ok, fine, I don’t like the name of the show either, but how is that an opinion of the quality of the comedy or the actors’ ability to make you laugh?

(5) “Laurence Fishburne and Anthony Anderson had a moment at the end that seemed forced”…That’s just ridiculous. Sitcoms, especially family sitcoms always have a movement in the end where there is a message or a teaching moment. And that’s what that moment was between Anthony Anderson and Laurence Fishburne.

I’ve heard some other criticisms but some of them are so ridiculous I don’t want to discuss them. I like this show. It has the formula that we see on family shows like Modern Family and The Goldbergs. It seems that people, black people in particular, are overly critical of this show while they praise the aforementioned shows. And for the non-black people, mainly white people who say Anderson’s character focuses too much on race, you may not relate to it but trust me as black people, we focus on race.

Sometimes shows need time to develop. Remember at one time the Cosbys had four kids until one day they had five.  Theo was called Teddy in the pilot of the Cosby Show and then was never referred to as Teddy again. Some shows get better with time. I will continue to watch the show. I thought it was funny and I related to some the things Anderson’s character was saying and going through in his work place. I hope people give this show a chance to flourish. I’m partially biased because there are few shows with full back casts on TV, but I’m not completely blind to the quality of the show just because the faces are brown. And for the people who won’t watch because of the so-called bad reviews, ask yourself who wrote the review? What’s the reviewer’s perspective?


Monica Pierce, for War Room Sports

Mickey Factz: 740 Park Avenue Album Review

Friday, July 18th, 2014

by Jimmy Williams

JW Blog




740 Cover

There are certain artists that I support every time they release a project.  Mickey Factz makes that list and before you question that, let me explain why.  In my honest opinion he made one of the best projects in the last decade with Mickey Mause, which was released in 2012.  That album IMO is a classic and it was an example of someone painting pictures with their words.  The two albums after Mickey Mause which were #Y, and #Ynot were dope albums but not as great artistically as Mickey Mause.  This leads me to this new project, 740 Park Avenue.


I watched a documentary on Netflix called “Park Avenue” and also read a book by Michael Gross titled “740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building”,so I was wondering where he was going with the title, considering the first song I heard from the project was “Detroit Red”.  The album starts by explaining the address of 740 Park Avenue and its wealth, but then it juxtaposes the residents’ situation to families that live close by as well as the life of the doorman who works at the apartment.  This is where it gets interesting.


I’m the type of Hip-Hop fan that pays attention to not only beats and lyrics, but also the themes, cohesiveness, and the order of tracks on a project.  I love how this album starts with the doorman explaining how he has to make a resident aware of who Malcolm X is, which leads right into Detroit Red.  Factz is a well-rounded emcee who has the ability to make concept songs, just spit crazy bars such as the song “Still Better Than You”, but I think he is at his best when telling a story such as Detroit Red. Other songs that stand out are “7-13-82 – 2-29-14”, “Just This Last Time”, “13th Disciple” and “.14”.


There are many emcees who just spit bars or talk tough and that’s cool, but it gets boring.  One thing I love about this project is that it’s not boring.  There are lighter songs that Factz still spits crazy on, but have an R&B feel to them such as “Smoke Screen”, “Just This Last Time”, and “NeS”.  “NeS” is a dope concept song that I have listened to on repeat.  BTW, I thought I was the only one who noticed how thick Chun Li’s thighs were on Street Fighter.


Another track that stands out is “Huxtables”.  When it comes to appreciating some songs, it’s about how you relate and I completely relate to this song.  I also was heavily influenced by the Cosby Show as well as A Diff’rent World.  In fact I wanted to go to an HBCU just because of A Diff’rent World, and that’s how I ended up at Lincoln University.  Eventually, I had to leave Lincoln University because I was also influenced by Mobb Deep and the Infamous album, but that story is for another day.


This is a dope ass project but there is one song I dislike and that’s “Iont Care”.  I can’t stand the song.  I don’t like the flow or the beat and I don’t get how it fits in with the narrative.  When I’m vibing to the album, this song just confuses me.  It’s like when I look for Netflix these days and I forget they changed the logo to white. (WTF did they do that for?).  I get the same feeling when I hear this song.  It pisses me off but then I realize it’s the only song I dislike and the rest of the content is dope.  The white logo pisses me off but then I realize I still have dope content.


This project is easily the best project from Factz since Mickey Mause and it will be a strong contender to make my list at the end of the year for best projects.  It didn’t move me the way the Mickey Mause project did but then again not too many albums from anyone have, with maybe the exception of Pharoah Monche’s PTSD. (As you can see I love concept albums).  Bar for bar, not too many emcees can deal with Factz in terms of wordplay, metaphors, and storytelling, but what makes his music standout is his ability to use those skills while making great songs (No Canibus).  I also appreciate each project having a theme as opposed to just dropping fifteen songs with someone just rambling about whatever comes to mind.


This project is a must download for my true hip hop fans that appreciate the art.

Download here:


To read my mid-year hip hop project review click here ==>


Jimmy “The Blueprint” Williams of War Room Sports

Best Hip-Hop Albums of 2014…So Far

Monday, July 7th, 2014

by Jimmy Williams

JW Blog





Music Mix


“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

 -Bob Marley


I know many of my friends, family, and people I communicate with on the internet believe Hip-Hop is dead, or it’s nothing but “ignant” music that is used as background sounds for World-Star fight videos.  I beg to differ.  I agree in the mainstream there is no longer a balance and most of the mainstream music stinks more than the earring backs of a homeless woman.  So far in 2014 there are many projects that could have made my top five and I had trouble narrowing it down.  Keep in mind that this is subjective and you may have a different list, but my word is gospel so all of the projects I name will be powerful.  Here is a list of my favorite albums thus far with some short words about each project.


Before I start I want to send a shot-out to the Tissue in the Tape Podcast from WRSPN.Com, who recently did their Mid-Year review. 


5) The Roots: And Then You Shoot Your Cousin











The Roots are the greatest Hip Hop band ever!  Considering I don’t know many “Hip Hop Bands”, I can safely make that assertion.  This album was short and Black Thought wasn’t on the album nearly as much as I wished, but this is still a powerful project.  I love concept albums and The Roots are great in creating these pieces of art.  This isn’t the normal “boom bap” sound I usually gravitate towards but when I sit down and listen to the album, I’m amazed at how cohesive the album is and how the sounds work so well together.  This album sounds like a play and not a wack play like “Carmen: A Hip Hopera” (How wack is the title “A Hip Hopera”?).



4) Freddie Gibbs and Madlib: Piñata

Freddie Gibbs










As much as I love conscious Hip-Hop and “lyrical spiritual” emceeing, I always love a good gangsta album.  I grew up loving the Tribe but also loving the type of Hip-Hop that was so vulgar, nasty, and gangsta, that you wouldn’t dare listen to it with your mother in the car. I know people think that music like this is the reason for all the problems in the world, but FOH.  I’ve heard country songs talk about murder, robbery, rape, and all kinds of crazy things, but that’s none of my business though *Kermit Voice*.  Drake, Jay Cole, and all those sensitive light-skin dudes are cool but sometimes I want to hear something so gangsta that listening makes me feel tougher than I really am.  This album has been that for 2014 so far. I know YG had a dope project that was gangsta but this was better IMO. Gibbs is getting better as an emcee.  He makes gangsta music but it’s not glorifying the lifestyle the way a Rick Ross does.  It reminds me of the way Scarface or Ice Cube made “Gangsta Rap”.  They made gangsta music that discussed the lifestyle but also talked about the repercussions of living that life. That’s heavy praise considering those two are legends.  I’m not saying Gibbs is there but I can see growth in him as an emcee (No Bosh).  Madlib has always been amazing and this collaboration created a powerful project.



3) Slaughterhouse:  House Rules

House Rules








#Barz…………..   Yo I can’t rap to save my life but Slaughterhouse makes me want to pick up a pen and write some barz.  I can only imagine how they motivate each other when recording.  As much as I love the group I thought their second album was underwhelming , but this just reminded me how dope each emcee in the group is.  Listening to this project, I also noticed that Crooked I is murder, death, killing every beat he is on.  He must have also been underwhelmed with the last album or his crib is in the foreclosure process, because he is hungry and it is evident.  He shined the most on this project, even though all four emcees were dope.  And although I can’t rap, I bet none of those Negus can blog like me. IJS.



2) Cyhi Da Prynce: Hystori










I’m not going to lie, I always thought Cyhi was okay, but I assumed he was just the dude who rolled with GOOD music that would never do anything but write dope lyrics that Kanye would take credit for.  Then I heard Hystori and it all changed.  Bottom line is this album is dope AF and I owe Cyhi an apology.  This album has dope production, witty lyrics, and it’s also put in story form.  My only problem with this album is it was a free mixtape.  I don’t know how Cyhi will make anything better for his album.  Then again, I doubted him before so we shall see.



1)      Pharoahe Monch: PTSD










I know many will disagree with this because this is an acquired taste, but I’m a Hip-Hop nerd and I appreciate the art-form as well as great writing.  Pharoahe Monch has created a piece of art with this project.  Yes it’s a concept album, and no it doesn’t have radio singles, and no there are no “club bangers”, but from a pure lyrical standpoint, this is the best album thus far.  This album may not be considered cool and it would make for terrible background music on a World-Star fight video, but it’s powerful.  Monch is a cerebral emcee and it seems to take him years to create a project, but it’s worth it.  He touches on mental health which is something never discussed in the Black community, although we know it’s some crazy Negus in our community. This album made me look at stress and PTSD in particular in a different light.  I always associate PTSD with a soldier coming home from war but I’ve never thought about it from the standpoint of an everyday person dealing with it.   The sequencing on this album is perfect, and the skits fit perfectly as well. Songs like “The Jungle”, where he juxtaposes the literal jungle with the urban jungle, or “Broken Again”, where he talks of a relationship with a woman as a metaphor for heroin, and then there is “Rapid Eye Movement” with Black Thought.  This album should be number one for Rapid Eye Movement alone.  Black Thought >>>>>>>



 (Other Favorites)


Like I said there are so many dope projects thus far and many more on the way.  Here are a couple other standout albums IMO, and they are in no order.


Skyzoo & Torae: Barrel Brothers


 9th wonder: Jamla Is The Squad



Step Brothers: Lord Steppington

Step Bros 


Open Mike Eagle: Dark Comedy

Open Mike 


Army Of The Pharaohs: In Death Reborn

 Army of the Pharoahs


Those five albums could have easily made my top five but it’s just that many dope projects out there.  If you haven’t heard any of these albums, make sure and check them out.  Let me know if you disagree or if there was anything that made your list that didn’t make mine.



Jimmy “The Blueprint” Williams of The War Room, for War Room Sports


Amerigo Gazaway Presents – Yasiin Gaye: The Return (Side Two) #AlbumReview

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

by Writing Battle Rap History

Writing Battle Rap History Logo







YG Side 2 Cover Art

YG Side 2 Cover Art

Album Rating System 4 out of 5 records

Image    Image Image Image

The marquis outside of 10 East 60th street in Manhattan reads “A night at the Copa with Yasiin Gaye.” Out with the Rat Pack crowd, with their black and white tuxes and Mafioso-DAs, and in with the black crowd.   It’s black night at the Copa and they’re here to support brother Yasiin. Conks, fried-dyed-and-laid-to-the-side, old-fashioneds and dirty martinis – impeccably dressed men and women with thick-framed glasses, skinny ties and cocktail dresses fill up the seats to the rafters. The headliner, Yasiin Gaye steps on stage into the spotlight in a midnight blue shark skinned suit and the show begins.

Though Yasiin was never at the Copa – only as I have imagined he would be in this write-up – he effortlessly brings you the elegance of that time period.  Yasiin Bey formerly known as Mos Def brings us Side Two, of his second installment of his mash-up with the late Marvin Gaye. Marvin’s legendary Motown catalogue is reconstructed in an eclectic composition that mixes funk, soul, blues, rock and hip hop. The album itself is an imaginative, cross-generational period piece that meets Marvin Gaye and Yasiin Bey at the crossroads of Bey’s nostalgia and the after life. Yasiin is sort of a Marvin Gaye incarnate.  He brings to life – if but for a moment  – Marvin Gaye and everything in the 60s-70s time capsule, in a surreal way.  Click here to read the full review.