Ka(i)ne is in the building
Hillary Clinton’s vice president pick has an unintentionally built-in hip-hop connection
3:30 PMWhen the Hillary Clinton campaign announced that Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine would be her running mate on the Democratic ticket in the 2016 presidential race, you couldn’t help but think of Daniel Johnson. Better known by his stage name Kane Beatz, his popular producer drop “Kane is in the building” has adorned various hits in the past.
Trey Songz and Nicki Minaj’s “Bottoms Up” (triple platinum) and Lupe Fiasco’s “The Show Goes On” (also, triple platinum) are just a couple that you might be familiar with and maybe didn’t even know it. The line is particularly funny because it’s not the sultry voice of a woman a la “Mike Will Made It” or “Maybach Music,” nor is it the innocent voice of a child like say, “Cooking Soul” or “Zaytoven.”
The voice on Beatz’s drop is so cartoonishly robotic that it almost feels like something suited for a politician. And though Beatz, who’s from Orlando, and Kaine, who was born in Minnesota, don’t have a whole lot in common on the surface, they do share a name that sounds the same. It’s time that whomever is in charge of productions for the Clinton campaign gets on that.
If they’re looking for the perfect song for Kaine to hit that Philadelphia stage at the Democratic National Convention with, and make his debut on the ticket, look no further than Cash Money Records. “Right Above It” by Drake and Lil Wayne couldn’t possibly be more perfect for his entrance.
We can make this happen, America. Yes, we can.
Let’s build a wall!
Except, this one around the man whose idea it was?
We all know about Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it. He wants to keep out people trying to immigrate illegally and has no bones about sharing that opinion with the whole world. If you watched last week’s Republican National Convention, you know as much.
However, while the GOP was going at it with each other in Cleveland, an artist by the name of Plastic Jesus was in these Hollywood streets building a wall of his own. Specifically, one around Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Why he has one? Who knows.
This wall is genius, however.
Get familiar with the Milk Squad
Because they’re taking Baltimore by storm
8:00 AMThey call it “Bodymore” for obvious reasons. It’s a term I’ve been hearing for years, and it refers to Baltimore, Maryland’s disastrous crime situation, which unfortunately includes a murder rate that in many ways defines the city. With the unrest of the last year under the national spotlight, stories of hope out of Charm City aren’t necessarily few and far between, but they are at a premium.
Freddie Gray might not be able to get justice, but kids are still skating. And that’s a good thing. A recent Baltimore Sun story highlights a crew called the Milk Squad, which embodies the latest generation of the city’s black skate scene.
“They are from different neighborhoods; many of them are from the parts of Baltimore crippled by violence and poverty, while a few are relatively privileged. Some feel overlooked by the city and the mainstream skating community, while others say their skills aren’t at the level that would earn acknowledgement. But the bond that connects this disparate group is the love of the skateboard, and it’s through the skateboard that their differences are subsumed,” Christiana Amarachi Mbakwe writes.
Skating as a means of urban escape is basically the ethos of the sport and the culture. This feature perfectly embodies why, in many cities, building a skate park probably makes more sense than say, building more jails. And if you want more of the Bodymore Skate Company, you can check them on Instagram here. Also, you might want to spend some time with the homey Jamone Mckenzie.
Riding is a much more fun way to get noticed than rioting.
Dennis Green dies
The charismatic former NFL head coach was 67
12:44 PMDennis Green, the second black head coach in the history of the NFL, died Friday at the age of 67. Green, a colorful character who at his peak led the Minnesota Vikings to a 15-1 record in 1998, died from cardiac arrest. He succeeded at both the college and pro levels, once leading Stanford University to a win on the road against the top-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish in South Bend, Indiana.
Former Vikings and Cardinals coach Dennis Green died at the age of 67. A look at his NFL coaching career: pic.twitter.com/XksjBDEx4p
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 22, 2016
His career record in the NFL was 113-64. He was known as a no-nonsense type of coach, the type of guy who could both resurrect a quarterback like Randall Cunningham’s career at the same time that he was able to maximize the talents of wide receiver Randy Moss as a rookie. And of course, he had his quotables.
Back in 2006, as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, Green let loose in a postgame news conference one of the best tirades you’ll ever hear. It was forceful without being profane, and confident without being arrogant. He made a great point about what it takes to not lose the psychological battle in a league like the NFL. Watch below.
Also, when he decided to leave the Minnesota Vikings in 2001, he made a statement that no one who followed at the time will soon forget. “If you’re looking for Denny Green, look on the high road, because that is where I’ll be,” he said.
He is survived by his wife, Marie, and two sons.
Daily Dose: 7/22/16
Donald Trump lays it all out there
Kevin Durant has a new tattoo
It features a hip-hop legend … and more
We try not to pass judgment on people’s ink choices around here, but we do have some questions. The Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant is freshly done, to the point that he’s still rocking the plastic while at USA Basketball practice. A leg tat, no less.
Number one, why gets a tattoo so close to having to actually play in a tournament in a place where communicable diseases are legit a reason for athletes not to go at all? Forget how it may affect your performance, that just seems rife for some type of infection once you get to Rio.
Secondly, though, props on going with “Brenda’s Got A Baby” Tupac Shakur, and not, say Gridlock’d Tupac. That would not have been good. If you may recall, Tupac was rocking a very dope UNLV Runnin’ Rebels hat/jacket combo in that 1991 video. So, maybe he’s leaving Golden State to play for … nevermind.
KD getting a tattoo of Pac on his leg vaults him up to #3 on my favorite NBA player behind JR Smith and of course, KAT.
— Adam Neuharth (@Adam_Neuharth) July 21, 2016
KD should have went to my tattoo artist not to a cast member of Black Ink
— Call me Rickye (@Under6ftNoBeard) July 21, 2016
The last and most important question is obvious: WHY IS THERE A WU-TANG CLAN LOGO BENEATH TUPAC?! The streets need to know, Mr. Durant.
Lil Yachty’s having a great summer
His brand isn’t going anywhere as long as it’s hot outside
3:33 PMLil Yachty is having a tremendous summer. First, his song “1 Night” took off. His mixtape Lil Boat is fire in the streets and he landed a very wavy Puma campaign with Pink+Dolphin while he was at it. This week, he hit the streets again with his Summer Songs 2 project on Apple Music (“King of Teens” is the banger). Now, along with that great day party soundtrack, he’s dropped an extremely thoughtful, not to mention funny 14-minute short film called Keep Sailing.
To catch you up, Lil Yachty, who often goes by Lil Boat as well, was just a kid in college when he decided that his true passion music is what he wanted to pursue. This movie serves as sort of a dreamy retrospective on what his coming of age was like, completely with mockumentary style clips of his part-time job spliced in with what appears to be real footage of him while a student at Alabama State University. Depressed and derided, he dropped out after just a couple of months.
“I was probably like the popularest kid on campus, in the worst way though,” he says in voiceover. “Man, I was like the laughingstock. A joke, because of my hair. That was the first time that had ever happened to me in my life. Never been laughed at. I was the s—. I knew I was the s—. Mind you, while all this was going, I still had a plan, you know? I knew that this wasn’t forever. I still knew that my hair was going to get me to where I needed to go. … They laughing, they joking, but I’m not cutting my hair. I don’t give a f—.”
While the Atlanta native tells his story, we’re treated with images of him getting his patented red hair done in a salon and regaling us with tales of how he met his homey JBan$2Turnt of his squad The Sailing Team. The scene: guys with barettes, playing Nintendo GameCube and drinking Cheerwine. They’re having a good time.
“He was a good kid, he was a great kid, I can’t complain at all,” his mom “Mama Boat” says in the film. “He would always be back in that room, doing something, with his friends. What he was doing, I never knew. I just, I always knew there were a lot of kids at my house, and they were back there doing something. I had no idea they were doing music.”
Overall, this whimsical look at the short career of an 18-year-old with a birthday coming up in a month is amusing, touching and ultimately just plain entertaining. Just ask his “uncle” Darnell Boat, who is a character we hopefully see more of for many summers to come.
The Last Supper
Like you’ve never seen it before
If you don’t know the homey @WeNotSocks, you will after this. His Twitter bio reads “I can’t give you what you want from me.” His avi is a can of Four Loko and a bowl of ramen with some cheese on it. As far as I can tell, he’s a real one, as the kids say. His steez is in the stead of guys like Desus and Mero (who shoot the moon on Twitter fame) or a guy like @DragonflyJonez.
Earlier this week, the Buttered Noodle Papio unleashed a fire thread of tweets that perfectly parodied what is the most iconic image in the history of Christianity. Leonardo da Vinci’s late 15th century mural is one of the most recognizable in the world. It’s not easy to make fun of The Last Supper with any success, but @WeNotSocks nails it. Check it.
This is a question we’ve asked so many times, in so many situations.
I mean, it’s vital to know before you decide to indulge. Many of us have serious personal policies on this matter.
The only thing funnier than the concept of a Spades game happening among the apostles is the possibility of one of them cheating. And getting caught.
There’s always the one homey who gets too lit at the function, and the reason you know it is because he can’t stop telling everyone about it. Might have been obvious before, but he needs to keep letting people know just in case.
I mean, he right tho.
You never want to be this person at the party, but sometimes you have to. You let fam hold a couple hundred one week, next thing you know they’re splurging on Hennessy and bushels of crabs for the block? Inquiries will be made.
Alright, my dude. Fair enough.
Bartholomew and ’em always showing up empty-handed.
Meanwhile, we’re weeks away from training camp and some Dallas Cowboys fan is still worried about this at the cookout.
Lastly, the most important question of all, from the gawd himself.
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Nike ad celebrates Indian female athletes
It’s the best commercial the company has made in years
12:57 PMRani Rampal, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Shubhlakshmi Sharma, Shweta Hakke, Tanvie Hans, Jyoti Ann Burrett and Ishita Malaviya are not household names in the United States. Deepika Padukone is now known for her acting as much as her badminton skills.
Rampal will be leading the Indian field hockey team in Rio this summer — the first time the women’s team has qualified for the Olympics in 36 years. She burst onto the scene at the age of 15 in the 2010 World Cup, leading the tournament in goals with 7. Kaur has been captain of India’s national women’s cricket team. Mandhana and Sharma play with her on said squad.
Hakke runs track. Hans and Burrett both play soccer. Malaviya is India’s first professional female surfer. Padukone decided to leave her national-level badminton career to pursue modeling. Now she’s a famous Bollywood actress.
This video dropped just over 10 days ago, and I haven’t stopped watching it since it first crossed my desk. Titled “Da Da Ding,” a song by producer Gener8ion (who’s collaborated with musical artist M.I.A. in the past, in a video worth watching, along similar lines) and Los Angeles rapper Gizzle (more on her later), it’s the most visually incredible thing the athletic apparel company has dropped in a very long while.
As of this writing, it’s nearing three million views. The messages sent are so powerful, so fun, so exciting coming from Indian women that are so routinely subjugated to household roles in common society because of traditional values. We’re talking about a place where even after being gang raped, a woman can be forced to undergo “purification rituals,” an obviously barbaric and grotesque measure.
The imagery of female athletes, training, playing, excelling and emoting is just not one we get on a regular basis on this side of the globe. This ad embodies what most women who choose to play sports across the globe have to face, aside from the relatively buoyant land of opportunity that is the Western world of athletics.
“Sport has taught me how to handle failure. It has also taught me how to handle success. It has kept me grounded,” Padukone wrote on her Facebook page when she posted the video, which initially sent it viral. “It has taught me humility.Two years ago, I struggled with depression. I was sinking. I almost gave up. But it was the athlete in me that gave me the strength to fight and never ever give up! And so I want to say to every girl and every boy and every woman and every man … play a sport … because it changed my life … and it will change yours too! Sport has taught me how to survive! It has taught me how to fight! It has made me unstoppable!”
Not to be forgotten is Gizzle, whose lyrics here say it all. “Wake up in the morning all systems on go, ’cause I got goals, and I won’t take no, for an answer, got the grace of a dancer, the heart of a panther, I don’t understand ya” is how she starts off this firecracker of a track. As an openly lesbian rapper, she’s faced her fair share of discrimination in a different male-dominated industry. She’s worked closely with artists like Ty Dolla $ign and Puff Daddy in her career to this point. Her song “BBQ & B——” is one you should definitely check out.
When you combine all that with eye-popping natural colors, tremendous athletes, exciting scenes and zooms, the onlooking faces of dumbfounded guys, grandiose streets and fantastic dancing in one package — you’ve got a serious winner.
Charles Kinsey is the latest black man shot by police
Apparently for reasons that even the officer who did it doesn’t know
— Todd Tongen (@toddtongen) July 20, 2016
“All he has is a toy truck. A toy truck. I’m a behavior therapist at a group home.” Those were the words of Charles Kinsey, while he laid on his back in the street with his hands up next to an autistic man who’d run away from his facility. He goes on to console his patient. “Please be still, Rinaldo,” Kinsey says repeatedly.
Then, a shot rang out. Kinsey was on the other end of a bullet, courtesy of the North Miami Police. According to him, when he asked them why they shot him, an officer replied, “I don’t know.” That officer has not been identified, but was placed on leave.
— Imani Gandy (@AngryBlackLady) July 21, 2016
Kinsey is not dead, nor is his 27-year-old patient, but with the rash of violence that’s been magnified in this country both from and against the police in recent weeks this summer, it’s a stark example of exactly how senseless much of this can be. According to WSVN-TV in Miami, the entire incident began when someone called 911 claiming a man was wandering the streets in a suicidal state.
That then devolved into a caretaker getting shot. Conflict resolution, America-style.
Daily Dose: 7/21/16
Get ready for a deluge of pop culture
10:45 AMIf your morning’s off to a bad start, you should watch first lady Michelle Obama doing Carpool Karaoke with Missy Elliot. I don’t watch James Corden’s show, but this bit has truly become a national treasure.
We’re down to the final day in Cleveland for the Republicans. Wednesday night provided a bizarre heel turn courtesy of the homey Ted Cruz. This man got up on stage at an event ostensibly for Donald Trump, the GOP’s nominee for president, and barely mentioned his name. So, he got booed off stage. The secondary effect of this is that when Trump’s vice president pick Mike Pence took the stage, he became an afterthought. ABC News’ Meghan Keneally breaks down five things to watch as the Republican National Convention wraps things up.
Comic-Con kicks off this weekend in San Diego. The once small-time event that’s grown into the biggest pop culture gathering in the world runs today through Sunday. It’s only a matter of time before this bad boy moves from being a long weekend to a week-long event. Personally, since I’m going to a screening of Suicide Squad next week, I’m interested to see if that cast might show up and bless the people with some gems. There are so many other movies and brands that fall under the Con reach now, so ABC’s Michael Rothman previews the festivities.
If you didn’t see it Wednesday night, Bryce Harper hit a towering blast in Nationals Park. Seriously, my man took a pitch from Bud Norris and launched it 450 feet into the third deck for his 20th bomb of the year. That specific drive aside, this season in the bigs, quite a few players have a relatively robust amount of home runs. Even Bartolo Colon, a 280-pound., 43-year-old pitcher got one out this season. His first ever. FiveThirtyEight’s Ben Lindbergh and Rob Arthur investigate the potential explanation for this juiced ball era, if you will.
No good deed goes unpunished, they say. So when four separate WNBA teams tried to make their mark by speaking up about the gun violence that has been terrorizing the United States, many saw it as a reasonable response from compassionate human beings. Well, the league saw things differently. On Thursday, they fined the players and the teams involved: the New York Liberty, Minnesota Lynx, Phoenix Mercury and Indiana Fever. $5,000 per team, $500 per player. This is bogus on many levels. Here’s the story.
Coffee Break: In a move that’s rattling my ’80s child brain to the core, it appears the Justice Department has cleared the way for Budweiser and Miller to effectively merge. Next thing we know Chevy and Ford will be on the same team.
Snack Time: We’ll have more on this later, but for right now, here’s the latest police shooting video in circulation. This time in Miami.
Are we actually ready for the new Gucci?
Guwop 2.0 is highlighted in a New York Times feature
5:02 PMIf it wasn’t for Gucci, where would we be? That was the question Wednesday, as the hip-hop world discussed exactly what the Atlanta trap god has done for our world in his career. Personally, I’m on record as saying that he is the central tree from which all branches of the rap genres grow, particularly in the South. It became a playlist during the discussion, too. I probably spend too much time talking about him.
But with a fresh New York Times feature titled “Gucci Mane, Buff, Sober, Out of the Pen and Ready to Flow,” (in which he openly admits that he was effectively a drug addict) it’s time to prepare for what we like to refer to as fully weaponized Guwop, who is ready to take over the world and already has the following to do it with a flick of the wrist.
— Mr. 730 (@atopAidan) July 20, 2016
— Troy Sarju (@BiboDL) July 20, 2016
“If it wasn’t for Gucci, a lot of families wouldn’t be so well taken care of,” 2Chainz told Genius, previewing the release of Gucci’s new album on Friday, titled Everybody Looking. “Because, what happens is, you bless an individual artist, and the blessings trickling down, so really, he really need to be looked at as, on some big homey, big bro, unc[le] type of s—, because that’s what he’s done for the community. He put you on. You get money, you make sure your family and your kids eat. It all derived from the Gucci Mane nucleus.”
Yet, the man born Radric Smith is back home at a time when the options for rappers in secondary careers involve far more than just the traditional Hollywood choices. Besides, he’s already tackled that. The next phase of his domination is obvious: Reality Gucci.
If T.I. could do it, and every other artist with a marginally seminal hit in the ’90s and 2000s can find themselves on television (thanks VH1!), there’s no reason that with his sphere of influence and musical output that someone can’t make a show about Gucci Mane a successful vehicle. If you didn’t see his workout video, you need to.
Gucci Mane has also already proven to be a solid pitchman. Just check out his ad with Supreme.
And although I might have joked that Gucci would make a tremendous video game villain, he’d be even better as a motivational speaker of sorts. Not that he isn’t already — his girl is also already somewhat of a fitness guru of sorts. Heck, he could start his own home shopping network and be trapping out of the soundstage. His album will likely do well just off the strength of all this love from his fans.
America loves a comeback story. And with the new body, the new life and the new outlook, his rise could be meteoric. Gucci Industries has decent ring to it.
Yale dishwasher gets his job back
after breaking a stained-glass window at a campus residence
1:00 PMWhen it comes to the concept of town and gown relations, New Haven, Connecticut, is one of the most stratified cities in the United States. Surrounding one of the most prestigious universities in the country is a population and region whose demographic trajectory followed that of many others: After the second World War, black folks flocked to the coastal town for jobs. Then, white people decided to leave.
The last time I was there — to speak to a group of college journalists — the only black folks I saw were cab drivers and school employees. That included everyone on the panel I was participating on and the students in the program. The tension between the school and the city is still apparent and unavoidable.
In the 1960s and ’70s, it was a full-blown political hotbed. In the ’50s, conservative demigod William Buckley lived there. Then came local “urban renewal” — more popularly known as negro removal, in some parts of the world. The fallout from the New Haven Black Panther Party trials served as a window into how race relations were developing on a local and national scale. It also led to Yale’s decision to become a closed campus. By the ’90s, outsiders considered the city a straight-up violent place once you stepped off school grounds.
So, when Corey Menafee, a 38-year-old dishwasher at Yale University decided he was going to destroy some stained-glass windows that depicted slaves carrying cotton on his way home from work, he wasn’t just some randomly fed up dude that popped off. He grew up in New Haven. He’s got a degree from Virginia Union University and is supporting two kids.
“It’s 2016, I shouldn’t have to come to work and see things like that,” Menafee told The New Haven Independent. “I just said, ‘That thing’s coming down today. I’m tired of it.’ ” It’s worth noting that the word “racist” is in quotes for the headline of this story.
The easiest way to understand just how deep the institutional connection to discrimination is at Yale, all you need to know is that these images were featured at the residence hall of Calhoun College, named after John C. Calhoun, the seventh U.S. vice president who believed strongly in slavery.
“The Ivy League in particular is a bastion of Americana and its often troubling idols,” Doreen St. Felix wrote at MTV.com. “It’s a powerful aesthetic, providing an apolitical zone for the patriotic to profess their love of country. And it seems harmless, a quirk of history filtered primarily through art. But Confederate memory can be found throughout Americana, whether the symbol is a flag or the windows in an Ivy League residential college.”
Separately, Yale’s black student body population has been charging the proverbial establishment gate in the past year or so over a range of issues. Here are three stories from The New Journal, a student-run publication that can catch you up on that.
Perhaps most shocking is that it worked. The university announced Tuesday that it is prepared to reinstate Menafee to his position. “We are willing to take these unusual steps given the unique circumstances of this matter, and it is now up to Mr. Menafee whether he wishes to return to Yale,” Karen Peart, director of external communications, said in a statement. Menafee agreed to return.
“There is a bit of regret, because, as a grown adult with a sound mind and able to think, you know, you don’t never want to resort to those type of tactics, as far as bringing change about,” Menafee told the radio program Democracy Now! last week. “You want to sit down, and you want to talk to people, and you want to — you want to use your intellectual skills. You’re not — you don’t want to physically just destroy something. I don’t encourage anybody to just go ahead and destroy another person’s or another entity’s property because you don’t like it. There’s better ways to resolve it. However, the action that I did, obviously, there is a plethora of people who believe the same thing, who felt the same thing. So, in that way, I think my actions were justified, because other people — a lot of other people feel the same way I feel.”
Lux et veritas is the school’s motto, which translates loosely to: truth through enlightenment. “None of this would have been possible without the efforts of the community and the media. I can’t say it enough: Thank you so much,” Menafee said Tuesday.
Sometimes, speaking up makes a difference.
Daily Dose: 7/20/16
Rio will be a redemptive tournament for Paul George
10:52 AMIf you didn’t get a chance to listen to this week’s episode of the All Day Podcast, you can check it out here. We talked about USA Basketball and the Kimye/Taylor Swift feud among other things.
The second day of the Republican National Convention was a tad less chaotic than the first. A guy named Trump took to the stage, but The Donald has yet to his grand speaking appearance. He did officially clinch the nomination, however. Paul Ryan actually had a relatively good showing, considering how much he and the New York real estate magnate do not see eye to eye on much. The Wisconsin congressman actually preached something resembling unity for his party, and not just fear. ABC News’ Benjamin Siegel has the story.
Remember when body cams first became the rage? Everyone thought they’d be a strong psychological check on police officers who would otherwise just be dealing with your words against theirs when it came to resolving disputes that might have involved unnecessary use of force. Now, they’re picking up all sorts of footage, like when some bozo behind a wheel crashes into a parked police vehicle because he’s playing Pokemon Go. This should be punishable by public destruction of your cellphone. The details are ridiculous.
There are thousands of people who have been in jail too long for the wrong reasons. If you’ve lived long enough, you have a personal story about someone who’s seen their life destroyed by a decision or a circumstance that either put them in the wrong place at the wrong time, or was one mistake that they can never take back. Look at the case of Ricky Olds. He’s been in prison since he was 14. But, now that the Supreme Court has reviewed how we handle juvenile sentencing, there’s an off chance he doesn’t die there. VICE‘s Mark Bookman explains.
It’s been a long road back for Paul George. Two years ago, he snapped his leg in an injury that I presumed would basically end his career. He went careening into the base of a basket in Las Vegas during a Team USA game that didn’t even count, which made things particularly sad. It also felt like that injury meant the Indiana Pacers would effectively fall back to irrelevance. Now, he’s back with the U.S. Olympic team in Rio. You’ve got to imagine this is particularly special for him. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin chronicles the journey.
Coffee Break: Some quick entertainment news to catch you up with. Taye Diggs is joining the cast of FOX’s Empire which seems like it’s happening a season too late. Also, they’re trying to remake Cooley High, which might be blasphemous in your world, but it will have Common in it, because of course it will.
Snack Time: GoldLink is a rapper from my hometown who will soon be coming to an awards show near you. In the meantime, check out his new video for “Spectrum,” featuring an epic dance off.