So I recently decided to do #MusicMondays from here on out. It won't just be new music, it will be from all eras and all genres. Whatever I feel like you guys need to listen to, it will pop up here. And if you have good music for me to listen to, please comment with some suggestions!
Kid Cudi - Man on the Moon: The End of Day
Released September 15, 2009
I remember logging into a hip hop blog site that I used to go onto all the time, and seeing Kid Cudi's video for "Day 'N' Nite" and instantly becoming fully engulfed in the instrumentation of the music and how it went perfectly with the poetic flow and stylings of the young artist. I was a junior in high school, so I was in a perfect position in life at the time that allowed me to listen to Cudi's story and find a connection to me and my life. Sure I wasn't smoking any marijuana yet (which the song makes plenty of references too) but I was a young kid who was trying to figure out his true self, and Cudi helped me find that with "Day 'N' Nite"
That first single that he released drew me in, so I was eager to hear what else he had. I listened to a mixtape he released before this album called A Kid Named Cudi which only built the anticipation for the release date. When I finally got it, I never stopped listening. This album is practically the Bible that raised me and got me through a lot of adversity in my life. He tells a story about himself, and individual who was put up against the odds, and had battles within himself to get to his success. He relates to the listener, and the world by showing his true feelings, and explaining his trials and tribulations through music. This was his canvas and he was going to paint it with his soul.
The album is broken down into 5 "Acts." Similar to a play or a movie with how it has different scenes, or how a book has different chapters. Cudi was not only going to make music, he was proving that he was going to make art. In Act I: The End of Day he has a song called "Soundtrack 2 My Life" where he shares some of his life's most troubled moments when he says "I'm super paranoid, like a Sixth Sense. Since my father died, I ain't been right since." In Act II: Rise of the Night Terrors he gets even darker, digging even deeper into his soul on "Solo Dolo (Nightmare)" which sounds like the part in a scary movie where the killer is creeping up behind you. He says "Listen good, I don't need nobody. This is what you feel, all the sounds of insanity." In Act III: Taking a Trip he starts to see that these adversities he has been through are beginning to shape him into a stronger person. From the song that was originally supposed to be the theme song for the first Transformers movie with Shia Lebouf, "Sky Might Fall," he says "The sky might fall, but I'm not worried at all . . ." In Act IV: Stuck he begins to realize his purpose in life and why he was given the talent to be an artist. On the song that is good for any moment in your life "Pursuit of Happiness" he says "I'm on the Pursuit of Happiness and I know everything that shine ain't always gonna be Gold. But I'll be fine once I get it, I'll be good." He ends with Act V: A New Beginning where he learns to use marijuana as a way to help himself break free from his inner demons that have been haunting him throughout his life. The final song "Up, Up, & Away" allows the listener to end on a positive note when he states "I learn, I see the dreams are made, so I'm cooler now. I could take care of my mom and my lil niece Zuri."
This album is a message to anyone out there who thinks they are alone in this world. To anyone who wonders when bad things will ever stop happening to them. To anyone who has ever felt like the world came crashing down on their life and thought they would never make it. Kid Cudi is here to tell you that dreams do come true. If you continue to punch that glass ceiling enough times, you will eventually break it. So don't ever give up, because you never know if you were only one swing away from happiness. Keep fighting.
Here is a video of the greatest song ever made in the history of the Milky Way Galaxy. And Cudi, if you ever read this, I love you. Like seriously dude, I effin love you man. Thank you for guiding me through life through your music.
Dear humanity, you need to stop blaming referees for the outcome of sporting events. I've been hearing so much blame coming from sports fans, athletes, coaches, and sports television programs, about how referees effect games in a way that determines the outcome of the game. Let me tell you right now Referees do not determine the outcome of the game with calls and missed calls. Athletes determine the outcome of the game. I'm sorry to tell you this news, but it is true.
First, lets start off with the fact that its just sports. Like really, its just sports. I love that there are diehard fans, who dedicate their lives to rooting for a specific team and they deserve the right to go through emotions when their team wins and loses. But, fans are not on the team, and what happens in the game shouldn't effect them to the point where they're pointing fingers at referees. These guys have dedicated their lives to the game, and they are not out there officiating games because they want to ridiculed. They are out there so that fans like us get to watch the games. Imagine if referees just said, "Screw this, we aren't doing this anymore" you wouldn't even be able to watch the game because there would be no officiating. And they're out there officiating a sport, so fans need to relax.
When I see athletes and coaches arguing with refs in the games, I get it. They're trying to make their argument heard and manipulate the refs, its great comedy. But when I hear these guys coming out after games and blaming the refs for some missed calls or some bad calls and saying that it had a direct effect on the game, I cringe. Thinking about how many mistakes players and coaches make in games, it is ridiculous to hear them dropping blame on an officiating crew. If you play better in a game than the other team and you win, it wasn't because of the refs, it was because you were better. And vice versa.
I could keep going but I want to keep this message short and sweet. Imagine if every time you had a shift at a job you loved, there were a million people watching. And at the end of your shift, 500,000 of those people told you every mistake you made that day. It wouldn't feel good right? Why have we forgotten what our elders told us when we were 4 years old Treat others the way you want to be treated. That is the simplest, yet most important advice I've probably ever been given. If you wouldn't like people criticizing you as a human being, then why would you do it to someone else? So please, stop blaming referees. Even if your team loses at the last second, and a missed call or bad call effected your team in a negative way, I promise you its not the referees fault. I have never met a perfect human being, so please stop expecting perfection from referees.
I want to take this time to give you guys a quick tour through the journey of my life. My beautiful mother had me when she was 15 years old. She was my mother and my father. I knew my dad, but he was 16 when he had me, and I realized not too long ago that he never quite grew up after having me. I took lessons from family, friends, athletes, teachers, coaches, and even strangers who all gave me advice on this thing called life. Not having a dad to go to and talk about life with only made me have stronger relationships with people who I looked to as father figures. I developed this kind of personality that allowed me to inherit different traits from people who weren't my dad, and as I've gotten older I've found a way to weed out the bad habits (and people) that have slowed me down in life.
I wanted to share a specific moment in my life that changed me, and something that has stuck with me since it happened. I remember telling my dad that I wanted to go to college and graduate so that I can have a career in sports media. I can always remember it so vividly. My dad turned to me and said "That's stupid. You should become a teacher or something better than that." My dream as a kid was always to become a professional athlete, but I'm 5'6" 120 pounds, I'd be lucky to be a professional Ping Pong player. But my passion for sports ran deep, so I always knew what I wanted to be in life. Mind you, my dad never graduated college and never really accomplished anything in life besides having me, and yet he still could never accept me for who I was. I remember thinking to myself like How can I get my dad to approve of me? How can I show him that I will be successful? How can I make him accept me for who I am? But recently I realized that He was the one losing out on our relationship, not me. My father not believing in me only made me stronger, made me hungrier to achieve my dreams even faster.
I had a lot of obstacles in life that I could have easily used as excuses as to why I wouldn't be successful. I was the child of a single teenage parent. I didn't have the father that I always wanted. My family wasn't always financially or emotionally stable. I once drove a Geo Metro for a solid year or two. But everyone goes through some type of adversity in life, and that can't be what you let define you. You create your own story. You knock down those obstacles and you create your own future. People always ask me how I have become such a positive person. I know that life isn't always going to be cotton candy and rainbows, but to strive for a life that great is something that has driven me throughout these last few years. I look back on everything I've been through and I realize that it's not that bad at all. Don't let anybody let you think you aren't good enough, or that you are incapable of making a difference in this world. My own father didn't believe in my dream, and in the end it was a blessing in disguise.
I'm usually not the one to spill my feelings out to the world, but I realize that my story can make a difference. If I can just make an impact on one person's life while I'm here on this earth, I'd feel like I made a difference. Everybody has a story, and some have similar stories or at least understand what adversity feels like. So to everyone out there who has been through some tough shit, keep your head up. They want you to give up, don't let them win.
Check out this video of my friends, family, and me on our road trip to Arizona for my graduation.
So guess what?! I was wrong again! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! . . . Right! Hey we got ONE! But thats ok. This blog is really starting to live up to its name. The great thing about sports is that they're so predictably unpredictable. I've been following my heart throughout these playoffs and it has gotten me no where, its probably time to start going with the facts. Or not. Lets get to it.
Western Conference Finals
(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (3) Oklahoma City Thunder
Talk about a beautiful showcase of basketball. If you have never watched a basketball game in your life, just sit back with a large pizza, kick your feet up and enjoy what could potentially be one of the greatest series in NBA Playoff history.
Let's start it off with the Thunder. How about the resiliency of these guys. Losing the first game of the series to the Spurs in an embarrassing blowout, and then they come back and win 4 of the next 5 games propelling themselves into the Western Conference Finals for the fourth time in the last six years. That is simply amazing. Although no rings have come out of all of their playoff success yet, something huge may potentially be on their horizon. Kevin Durant is looking like the player that led them to the Finals in 2012, only losing to one of the greatest teams ever assembled in the Lebron/Wade/Bosh/Allen-led Miami Heat. Billy Donovan not only beat Gregg Poppovich and the San Antonio Spurs in six games, they ran them out of the gym in an elimination game. These guys are rolling right now, and if Russel Westbrook keeps making these magnificent fashion statements and dancing on the court before games then I see them really giving Golden State a run in this series.
HOWEVER, they are playing the Golden State Warriors with a healthy Steph Curry. The Warriors are coming off of a hard fought 5 game series against the Blazers, which if anything only made them better and more ready for the next round of basketball. They don't care who the opponent is, they are going to play their style of basketball night in and night out. While the Thunder are looking for their first ring, the Warriors are looking to defend theirs and show the world why they are considered one of the greatest teams ever. They are the deepest team I have ever seen and on top of that they have the first ever unanimous MVP on their team, and that dude doesn't look like he's slowing down anytime soon. If Steph steals some of Russel's dance moves and does it in OKC my brain might explode from too much greatness.
Golden State Warriors in 7
Eastern Conference Finals
(1) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (2) Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors are still in the playoffs and I'm running out of Drake related terms to describe these guys. They got past a depleted Miami Heat team, and they have now played 14 games to get to this point. Demar Derozan and Kyle Lowry have found their stroke and have really gotten tough shots to fall over the last few games. Even Bismack Biyambo has found his role on the team and helped carry them to a game 7 victory at home. And they- you know what I really can't do this anymore. Are these guys really Still Here? (I'm glad I was able to find one more Drake reference) Does anybody besides Canadians think these guys have a chance in hell against the Cavs? If they do, please point them out so we can see them.
This series is not about the Toronto Raptors and what they've accomplished this year, its all about the Cleveland Cavaliers. These guys are red hot, and at the perfect time too. They made 77 three-pointers in four games against the Atlanta Hawks, even breaking a single game record for most three pointers in a game with 25.(!!!) Kyrie Irving has been on a tear in these playoffs, and he has taken the challenge of being the Cavs number one option on offense. Kevin Love is still undefeated in his playoff career and I don't see him losing a game in this series either. Lebron James in the Eastern Conference playoffs is Lebron James in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Thats really as simple as I can put it. After a fantastic NBA season, we are headed for a Finals rematch, and I love it.
Cleveland Cavaliers in 4
The first round of the NBA Playoffs are finally over so now I can officially make my picks! I chose underdogs in the first round and it didn't go so well, I went a perfect 4-0 in the Western Conference and a dismal 1-3 in the Eastern Conference. But now I'm here to redeem myself! And with more upsets!
Western Conference Second Round Series'
(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (5) Portland Trail Blazers
The Golden State Warriors handled the Houston Rockets fairly easily in the first round, as expected. But losing Steph Curry to multiple injuries sustained during the series put a big question mark on the future for this Warriors team. In the wake of Steph's absence, Klay Thompson has stepped up and maintained a high level of play for his team. Meanwhile the Blazers got passed the Clippers in 6 games by winning four straight games to close out their series. For the third straight year, Damian Lillard has his team winning games in the playoffs despite the fact that he is the only returning starter from last season. The Warriors won the season series 3-1 at full strength. But now that Steph Curry's play is in doubt, even if he does come back he most likely won't be at 100%. The Blazers played the Warriors well all season, averaging 117 points per game and even dropping 137 points in their win at home. If the Blazers can win one of these first two games against a Steph-less Warriors then I believe they will take the series. I may be crazy, but I #NeverDoubt Rip City as long as they have Dame Dolla. Blazers in 7 games.
(3) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (2) San Antonio Spurs
Russel Westbrook was simply dominant in the first round against the Dallas Mavericks. He averaged 28.8 points per game, 10.8 assists per game, and 6.3 rebounds per game. Putting that next to a healthy Kevin Durant was a beautiful sight to see for any basketball fan. But players like Serge Ibaka and Dion Waiters need to step up if they want to have any chance in this series. The San Antonio Spurs made a joke of the first round, winning every game by double digits. They have continued their great play from the regular season and have carried it over into the playoffs. We could take all the best players from both teams and give them to Billy Donovan and the Thunder and they still wouldn't have a chance against Gregg Popovich and the Spurs. I'm taking coaching in this series. Spurs in 5 games.
Eastern Conference Playoff Series'
(1) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (4) Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks had some extremely tough battles against the Boston Celtics in the first round, but they prevailed in six games. Holding the Celtics to 93.8 points per game made it easier on themselves to score just enough on the offensive end to move on to the second round. Hot shooting by Kent Bazemore, Mike Scott, and Paul Millsap was the story in the wins. The story for the Cavs was much different. They probably had one of the tougher sweeps I've ever seen, but a sweep is a sweep and they beat the Pistons in four games. The majority of the offense come from Kevin Love, JR Smith, and a man with a newfound clutch mode Kyrie Irving. Last year, these two teams met in the Eastern Conference Finals with a chance for a trip to the Finals on the line and the Cavs beat them down in four games. I don't expect this series to be much different because they still have Lebron James. Cavaliers in 4 games.
(2) Toronto Raptors vs. (3) Miami Heat
The #Views from Toronto are looking up, the Raptors won their first playoff series since 2001. It took them seven games to beat a far inferior team in the Indiana Pacers, with the Raptors offense sputtering to the finish line. Scoring 11 points in the final quarter of game seven was enough to propel them to the second round. But scoring is going to have to come in bunches if they want to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, because the Miami Heat have a streaky offense that can blow a team out before halftime. In their four wins in the first round series against the Charlotte Hornets, they averaged 110.2 points per game. But they only averaged 84.3 points per game in their three losses. So we have the Raptors completely underachieving with the roster that they have, and we have the Heat who look like a championship contender half of the time and look like the lottery team they were a year ago the other half of the time. I think the basketball world needs a head-to-head matchup of Lebron James and the Miami Heat. I'm picking Wade to carry his team in this series, and take his talents to Cleveland. Heat in 6 games.
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.