Everyone in this world now is go, go, go. The only way to make a living for yourself and your family is to grind 24/7. But sometimes we lose that drive to keep pushing forward, and all we need is a little bit of positive energy to stay the course.
Salted Caramel Almonds in Dark Chocolate
Total THC per package: 100 mg
Approximately 6.25 mg THC per piece
Satori Chocolates are made from the highest quality ingredients, including rich, high-potency cannabis oil that's been safely grown and processed.
The marijuana industry is forever changing. With the legalization of recreational use, the common man can substitute their daily cup of coffee or energizing snacks with cannabis infused products. Satori Chocolates has found a way to give us a boost while allowing us to enjoy a tasty treat.
Satori Chocolates is an organization based out of Santa Rosa, California that has found a way to find the perfect balance for cannabis infused treats. I tried their Salted Caramel Almonds in Dark Chocolate and found inspiration in doing so. Check out all of the other treats they make on their website.
Almonds have always been a key ingredient in a healthy lifestyle. They are good for your heart, hair, skin, brain, teeth, and pretty much everything important in your body. They are a natural source of energy that help us push through the middle of the day.
To be able to combine all of that with cannabis infused chocolate creates a perfect match for the person busy on their grind. We can't all just spark up in the middle of our work day, that's just not always feasible. But this product allows the working person to have the best of both worlds. They can have their weed, and eat it too.
Let's say you're at work, and you hit that mid-afternoon lull. You're starting to doze off and you can't fully focus on the task at hand. Depending on your tolerance level, you can eat a couple of these and get the energy you need from the almonds, and the focus you need from the delicious cannabis infused dark chocolate.
These delicate treats offer the taste of farmer's market almonds covered in the richest chocolate cannabis can create. If you're looking to get stoned, these probably aren't the choice for you. Yes, they will make you feel high, but the energy you gain is far more important for the typical grind of everyday life.
But the best part about all of this; They're delicious! It's a dangerous game because you might find yourself trying to eat more than you can handle! But that's ok, they're good for your mind and your body. Just don't be surprised if you eat one too many and find yourself asking how the Egyptians built the pyramids.
This is for everyone out there who stay Grindin'!
Sometimes in life, we reach points where we feel like we're stationary and not progressing to the future. We're working on our craft but it feels like it's getting us nowhere. Maybe all we need is either a fresh start or a restart. With this first NBA trade of the summer, two teams got their wishes granted.
On June 26th, the Los Angeles Clippers traded Austin Rivers to the Washington Wizards for Marcin Gortat. This is the first domino to fall in what will be one of the craziest off-seasons since the Miami Heat created their Big 3.
If this trade were on the Richter scale it would be a 3.5 which is defined as "Often felt by some people, very rarely causes damage." Now although this trade may not move the needle for interest, it is going to change the future of two teams and shows which direction they are both going. Let's look at this from both sides.
The Clippers: A Restart
Best Case Scenario: Acquiring Marcin Gortat all but guarantees that the Clippers are ready to move on from Deandre Jordan. They are in full tank mode. Jordan opts in and allows the team to trade him to the Dallas Mavericks for some bench players and a future draft pick, basic a salary dump by the Clippers.
The Clippers then have a roster full of young undeveloped players, a coach who's best days are behind him, and an owner who has seemingly made just about every bad move possible since he took over for that racist guy they had before. They are set up perfectly to start their own version of a Sixers-style tank job.
They will lose a lot of games over the next 3-4 years and acquire as many young players and assets as possible which eventually leads to them being good again. This sounds terrible but it would actually be the best way for them to restart, seeing as how they have been a franchise for over 30 years and have never even made it to the Western Conference Finals. A restart is not only an option, but it is necessary.
Worst Case Scenario: Doc Rivers believes he has a roster that can win now, and although he is wrong, he will still try his best to make it happen. Deandre Jordan opts in and decides to try to make it work one more time in LA. The team stays perfectly healthy throughout the season and wins 42 games and still misses the playoffs.
Marcin Gortat and Lou Williams play great off the bench all season and they use it as a ploy to try to get free agents to come play in Los Angeles. Carmelo Anthony still believes he is a top 25 player in the NBA and the Clippers do as well, and they sign him to a huge contract all but sealing their fate in mediocrity over then next 5 years.
They will still lose a lot of games, but will only get mid-level talent in the future NBA drafts. They remain the same team they have been for 30 years and will continue to play in the Lakers shadow.
The Wizards: A Fresh Start
Best Case Scenario: This move is a sneaky good one for the Wizards. It was pretty obvious all season that John Wall and Marcin Gortat didn't like each other, yet they were still able to trade him away and get a player better than him. I think people believe that Austin Rivers isn't a good player for the fact that he played with his dad, and because he was expected to be the guy on a Clippers team that wasn't all that good to begin with.
Austin Rivers played well, and has improved every year of his career. He is a guy that can play on both ends of the floor and has a high motor all the way to the final minutes of every game. John Wall and Bradley Beal need help scoring the basketball, and by putting Austin Rivers at the small forward position, they could improve their offense immensely.
The trio works on both ends of the floor and the Wizards shoot up to the 3 seed next season. They make it to the second round and maybe even the Eastern Conference Finals depending on where Lebron goes. This fresh start trade could essentially be the steal of the summer.
Worst Case Scenario: Scottie Brooks hasn't been known to get the best out of a good trio of scorers, and next season won't be any different. He attempts to make Austin Rivers the backup shooting guard and tries to plug him as the Sixth Man. Either, or both, John Wall and Bradley Beal gets hurt and Rivers steps up and plays well in their absence.
The playoffs roll around and the Wizards are the 6 seed with all of their guys now healthy. Brooks puts Rivers back on the bench and the entire camaraderie of the team is thrown off. Wall and Beal try to play iso ball again and Rivers is stuck trying to pull the team through in crunch time.
They lose in the first round to the Pacers, Brooks gets fired, and Rivers has had enough of this one year experiment. The Wizards are stuck with John Wall and Bradley Beal and an empty list of coaches who want to go there. Marcin Gortat subtweets about the Wizards and petty NBA Twitter wins again.
I can't believe Doc Rivers traded his own son lmaoooo
Quality over Quantity has not always been as appreciated as it should be. Double disc albums get a lot of hype because it seems like we're going to get 30 songs of great music. But typically you'll still only get like 6-7 good songs out of it.
Why haven't artists went the other way and only released those 6-7 good songs and made an album of only unskippable songs? Oh wait, Kanye and Cudi did on Kids See Ghosts? Ok, nevermind. Ok, well if they really wanted Quality over Quantity they would make songs only like 3 minutes long. Oh wait, they did that too with this next track? I give up.
Kids See Ghosts
As performed by Kid Cudi and Kanye West featuring Louis Prima
Produced by Noah Goldstein, Mike Dean, and Kanye West
The roots of jazz music paved the way for hip-hop music. The underground sounds of New Orleans style jazz were played in clubs and dance halls throughout the country in the 1920s and 1930s. Louis Prima was a huge influencer of the art during this time, and his music had everyone "swingin" as they called it. It was basically the OG version of giggin'.
At the height of jazz popularity, it was frowned upon because of how it made the youth act. Kids swingin' and dancing and drinking, how dare they have a good time. The Devil's music, making the youth want to sin. The intro of Louis Prima's strong vocals allows the listener to comprehend the depth of Kanye's historic musical knowledge. Nobody samples like he does, and nobody probably ever will.
Playing off of the sinful sounds of jazz, Kanye spits his verse with many sexual innuendos. This form of jazz carried very little curse words, and Kanye's verse is a nod to that as his clean lyrics can easily be interpreted as not so clean.
It feels so good, it should cost
Bought her alligator, I ain't talkin' Lacoste
Made me say, "Ugh, uh"
Like a mix of Master P and Rick Ross (uh, uh)
She seem to make me always feel like a boss (uh, uh)
She said I'm in the wrong hole, I said I'm lost (uh, uh)
She said I'm goin' too fast, I'm exhausted
Now drop to your knees for the offerin'
This the theme song, oh somethin' wrong
Might need an intervention for this new dimension
That's too new to mention, or fit in a sentence
If I get locked up, I won't finish the sent--
Similar to other songs on this album, you can hear ghost-like or even demonic sounds within the beat. The laughter between the verses sounds demonic, or like a villain plotting his next move. The addition of playing Prima's vocals backwards throughout the song makes the listener feel like they're being spoken to by an evil spirit.
As the listener continues to fall into this new dimension with Kanye and Cudi, they run into the darkness of Cudi's mind. The heavy use of drums and claps keeps makes it feel like a dance song, telling us a completely different side of the story than the lyricists.
Cudi has always been known to have a dark side of his mind that he allows the world to feel. As Kanye's verse was a nod to the old school jazz lyrics, Cudi gives us a history lesson as well. But his history lesson teaches us how his journeys to the deepest darkest corners of his soul helped shape who he is. And how the evils of his past still haunt him everywhere he goes, yet the light continues to guide him through.
Gettin' loose while I'm on the deuce, see me roll out
Watch you surf, hit the coast, and this feelin', I got
Plenty of adventures for the evenin', we go journey, we off
From the light to guide us home, we in the moment, oh-oh
Such a lost boy, caught up in the darkest I had
What's the cost, boy? Losin' everything that I had
She been on me, boy, unless you got somethin' to tell
Sittin', waitin' for me slippin', yeah, I'll see you in hell
Tell the cougar get up off me, no, my soul ain't for sale
All the evils in the world, they keepin' on me for real
I really hope the Lord won't hurt me, we all live in sin
Kids see ghosts off the ropes, Ric Flair on your bitch
Now this the theme song, this the theme song
The put the beams on, get your, get your dream on
But you don't hear me though, drama: we let it go
Watch the guitars roll and let your friends know
Cudi's verse on this song sets the tone for the rest of the album. He admits that he lost everything he had because of the darkness he faced. But this doesn't just go for him, this is for everyone who can relate. Think about the deepest darkest moment of your life. We all can remember that moment where we thought we could have lost it all, but we pushed through. Hopefully.
The light that guides us home can be anything that keeps us focused on the end goal. And although the evils of your past may still haunt and follow you everywhere you go, you can use it as fuel to create a new dimension for yourself.
As the third song on the album, it helps bridge the gap from the darkness to the light that follows in the next few songs. The ability to continue to keep the music and lyrics as transparent as possible keeps the listener engaged and probably puts them in all the feels. All in less than 3 minutes, max.
Being passionate about something isn't always enough to achieve the desired results. There needs to be a foundation that can be built upon. There must be a relentlessness that is unmatched by the competition. A true love within the act that constantly works towards perfection. Sometimes sticking to the roots, and doing it for the love can lead to something greater than the original goal.
825 Roseburg Avenue, Modesto, CA
Hours: Monday - Closed
Tuesday-Saturday - 11am-9pm
Sunday - 11am-8pm
The roots of Divine Swine all goes back to their love for competition barbecue, and boy can you tell. They have created a dining experience that allows the customer to get the true sense of comfort food, while still allowing you to feel fancy. A place where you can enjoy a 1/2 pound burger with your pinky up.
My wife and I had gone here a couple of times in the past, so naturally for Father's Day I had to be there. I know most people like to barbecue on Father's Day, but I figured why not let the professionals do it for me? Their outside seating area is dog friendly, and since we were dog-sitting, we figured we'd take Chloe and Oscar out for a walk and sneak them some french fries.
The service here has always been great. The workers brought out a bowl of water for the dogs that said "Vodka Water," I might've snuck a drink or two. They were very knowledgable about the menu, and their offerings of pairings with wines and beers with our food helped us understand the depth of their love for what they do.
We started off with their take on Pigs in a Blanket. A flour tortilla stuffed with their slow smoked pork and fried to a perfect crisp, served and drizzled beautifully with their Santa Fe sauce. This is how it was always supposed to be, we just didn't know it. The first bite was a whole new experience on these classic appetizers. When they say slow smoked, they mean it. The pork was so tender and juicy that it actually taught me a lesson on how pork is supposed to make me feel; Blissful.
The flour tortilla it was wrapped in had been fried to such a perfect crisp, almost as if the chef knew what they were doing or something. Of course they knew, because they stick to their roots. The Santa Fe sauce wasn't too spicy, but it did pack a punch to let you know it was there for a reason. We were scraping our plate, getting every last drop of sauce we could to hold us over until our entrees arrived.
My wife decided to go with a throwback comfort food in the Pulled Pork Sandwich. That slow smoked pulled pork served with melty provolone cheese, diced red onion, cilantro, and Georgia-style mustard sauce all on a toasted ciabatta bread. I could go on about how the mixture of these ingredients created such a perfect balance that it made me think about how the Earth just so happens to be the perfect distance from the Sun to sustain life. About how it made me realize that we could all live in harmony if we were just like this sandwich. Or about how it made me see the world clearer, if only for a second.
But even with all of that, the greatest part about this sandwich is the pork. Like seriously. No amount of existential thoughts this sandwich gave me can compare to how perfectly their pork is cooked. It makes me wonder if I have ever even had real pork in my life before. The answer is, probably not.
I tried something a little more creative in the Cow Pig Burger. An 80/20 blend of ground beef and slow smoked pork, served with garlic aioli, jack cheese, thick cut bacon, onion strings and A1 steak sauce. I know what you're thinking, it sounds like a lot. But I'm here to tell you that it was. Oh my god it was so huge. I literally had to look at it from like 6 different angles and ask myself where I was going to start. But once I finally found the sweet spot to start from, I couldn't stop.
The combination of meaty, sweet, and spicy hit every taste bud I had and left them all feeling loved. It was like the flavors were giving every last one of my taste buds a hug with every bite. I always knew that cows and pigs on a burger went together because of bacon, but I never could have imagined it could reach another level until I had the addition of slow smoked pork. The garlic aioli had me licking my lips and fingers after every bite. Except for my fancy pinky that was up the whole time.
Comfort food has never felt so good. If you have someone you care about or love, you need to take them here and enjoy a meal together. Put down your phones, and enjoy each others company while also chowing down on some damn good barbecue. But if you want to take a picture of your food first, that's fine. I don't blame you, the presentation and dining experience is flawless.
Existential thoughts not only make us question the world around us, but it makes us think about the bigger picture. And when I say the bigger, I don't mean like what your financial future will look like or who you'll end up spending the rest of your life with. I'm talking way bigger. Like the fact that the Andromeda Galaxy allegedly has two suns. The type of shit that makes you be "Like yo, what the fuck..."
As I'm sitting here watching my son try to read a book by himself (He's only 1 he think he grown) I'm thinking about what it must feel like to be some alien from another galaxy raising their kids. Like what lessons are they trying to teach their kids? What if they're billions of years ahead of us and they have some wise knowledge that we haven't even thought of yet. What are the things that stress them out?
We got crazy shit going on in our country right now, but what if some society on another Earth in another galaxy has the answers. Would we be willing to listen? Or are we too scared to even fathom the existence of another species thousands of lightyears away? We know there's something else out there, it seems nearly impossible that there isn't.
If you've ever been to the ocean, just think about that feeling you get when you look out and you see an endless sight of water. It kinda gives you a weird feeling in your stomach right? Like holy shit, the world is fucking huge and I am so small. My existence is so minuscule in comparison to the Earth, and Earth is one of the smallest planets in the solar system, and our universe is actually small in comparison to other universes. My brain is trippin' right now.
Oh and another thing, how the hell did the brain name itself? Like who's brain was the first brain to look at another brain and be like "I'm gonna call this a brain." The fact that our species is as advanced as it is in comparison to every other animal is crazy. Like I don't see lions inventing math equations. I don't see hogs trying to fly to space. I don't see meerkats studying the greenhouse effect. I don't know why all the animals I'm pondering are characters from The Lion King.
I don't know what the hell I'm talking about honestly. I watched way too many episodes of The X Files in a short amount of time and it messed my perception on life and the world up. But I know I'm not the only one who wonders about all this shit.
Everyday I feel like that "Hits Blunt Once" meme with the hoodie zipped all the way up. And most of the time I'm not even high when I think about this shit. Ok I lied, most of the time it is fueled by nature. Anyways, if there are any aliens reading this, I hope you have a good day and I love you. And technically you humans are aliens to some other species out there, don't forget that.
Thank You Based God for introducing me to martians...
I saw this quote one time that said "The people who barely know you want you to succeed, while those closest to you hope you fail." It's not true about all the people close to you, but it is true for some. Everyone has their own agendas and sometimes you may fit into theirs in a certain way. If you succeed too much or change as a person, you may drift away from the way they want you to fit into their life. Meanwhile, some random person who follows you on social media is constantly supporting you and rooting for you to reach every goal you set for yourself. Watch the fakes, let them hate...
Kids See Ghosts
As performed by Kid Cudi and Kanye West
Produced by E*Vax, Boogz, Andre 3000, Kid Cudi, and Kanye West
This next track "Fire" off of Kids See Ghosts is a throwback to the sounds of the Indicud album from Kid Cudi. The use of more features than ever before, Cudi let his true hip-hop sound be heard. As you listen to this song, you can relate it to "Beez" featuring RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan. As we dig deeper, we can feel the true hip-hop vibe.
The song opens up with Kanye addressing the people who choose to continue to talk about him, "I love all your shit talkin' You want got nothing better to do with yourself." The hate has continued to fuel the art that these artists create. They have both received criticism over the years about their personality traits as well as the stylings of their music. As the others choose to talk, the kids continue to work.
Andre 3000 is one of the most influential hip-hop artists of the past 20 years, and his sound can be felt on the production. The beat uses a heavy amount of drums, similar to those heard in a marching band. Cudi blesses the beat with his humming that is an instrument in and of itself.
The addition of ghost-like screeching and crows chirping makes you feel like you are in the middle of the climax of a horror film. But don't be scared, the world you are in is a safe space for creators. Those who have been doubted before and have the scars to remind them where they came from.
On this road I find
The scars I left behind
Heaven life me up
Heaven lift me up
This road that is taken is not the one less traveled, we all go through ups and downs. The difference they want us to see is how we use the downs to fuel the ups. The heavy use of church themes allows the listener to have faith in the future.
The sounds recorded here could not be duplicated by any other artist. The feeling the art gives you is one of revenge and success. To live in this moment forever would only help those going through the downs to find positivity in the hate.
It's so many days I prayed to God
All this pain, I couldn't seem to find a way
On a mission livin', carry on
Got my family, I'm seein' through by the days
Never late, pull up a seat and come grab a plate
Check the date, let 'em hate
This the type shit that they couldn’t make, watch the fakes
Leave ’em buzzin', thought they wasn’t, huh?
Tell all your kinfolk and cousins, huh?
This is the package you ordered, huh?
We're all here trying to move forward in life, but we have those around us who challenge our way of thinking or even think that what we're choosing to do for ourselves is never going to work. We have to continue to let them hate and remember that we will find our reasoning for our choices. Whether its your family, your mission, or your passion that keeps you going, don't stop.
Your journey will be Beautiful Madness.
It’s 11:30 pm and I’m just getting home from work. My wife and son are on the couch watching Forensic Files and he is dancing to the intro music. He has a bad habit of staying awake until I get home, regardless of what time I’m off. But I don’t complain because seeing him run up to me and shout “Daddy! Daddy!” is one of the best feelings in the world. My life isn’t perfect, but there are so many little things about it that are.
Whenever I run into friends or people I’ve worked with or family I don’t see that often, they all tell me or my wife “You guys are goals.” “You have such a perfect little family.” “I want what you guys have.” I get these a lot, and I know my wife does too. It’s a beautiful thing to have people look at us and see the love. People think it has all just happened by design, and that this comes easy to us. But I can honestly say that maintaining a positive mindset and attitude towards life is one of life’s toughest challenges. Finding the perfections in all of our imperfections is a constant battle.
I constantly think to myself about what I want in my future. A good job, a nice house, to be financially and emotionally stable. And I know that all these things will come in time, but I still find myself fighting within myself trying to figure out what the next steps are. I’m not where I want to be in life right now, but I know I’m blessed because I have a roof over my head, I have food on the table for my family, and I have family and friends who love me and care about my well-being. I’m blessed.
But I still see the world and the people in it struggling with the same things. We feel like we need more to be happier. We feel like if we don’t achieve some financial status or if we don’t have a nice house or a nice car or whatever it may be, that we are failing. The difference that separates the happiest people in the world from those who struggle within their own mind is the mindset itself. If we can break that mental block that is holding us back from thinking that we aren’t happy with where we are in life, then we can achieve that happiness we constantly strive for. For so long we have worked on pursuing happiness, when the whole time we have been living it. We just need to open our minds.
I made an attempt to reach out to old friends the other day just to see how they were doing, and the response was overwhelming. Everyone I text actually sent me a text back and cared to see how I was doing. It felt good. And it made me realize something, my little family really is goals. The love my wife and I share not only makes an impact on our son, but it makes an impact on us. We don’t have everything figured out. We aren’t where we want to be financially. We don’t have the dream jobs we want yet. But you know what, that’s all a part of the process. And Joel Embiid told me to Trust The Process.
My best friend once said “The journey is the dream.” Money, friends, and peoples opinions of you come and go, but your happiness is limitless. How happy do you want to be? Who is important to you? What drives you to keep moving forward? Next time you feel like you’re not where you want to be in life, ask yourself these questions and do what you must do to make your happiness the most important thing in life. Don’t be jealous of what others have, be happy with what you have. Our society has learned how to hate, and it has never been taught how to love, so love more. We are on this earth for 100 years maximum if we’re lucky, don’t spend it worrying about your status to the outside world. That’s my love rant for the week. And if nobody has told you today; I love you.
As some of you may have heard, that loud pack was legalized in California. The access for top shelf marijuana is now available for all herb lovers 21 and over. Some of you may know this about me already, but for those who don't, I love marijuana. I hate the term "Marijuana Advocate." Marijuana lovers are not advocating anything, they are simply choosing to live their lives in a way they believe is healthy. And as many state governments have started to realize, marijuana has many benefits for the people who decide to accept its essence. It's all love.
On a recent trip to Los Angeles, my wife and I were out shopping in Downtown and stopped at the marijuana dispensary MedMen. I heard about their store online and told my wife I really wanted to go there. The place is a safe haven for all who choose to use marijuana for whatever their reasoning is, there is no judgement. With many knowledgable workers, they can cater to any individual's needs.
They had everything from some top shelf flower, to gummie candy, to medicinal care for your cats and dogs. I was able to share with the workers how I choose to have marijuana as a part of my daily life. I let them know how I like my weed, and they were able to relate to me as well as share their array of products. This next product I am going to dive into today is a product that was shared with me by the great staff at MedMen.
Lowell Herb Co.
"Love and respect for the planet." That is a motto we should all live by. Lowell Herb Co. is a group that gets it. They understand how marijuana impacts the world and the community in many positive ways. Their use of only organic fertilizer lets the consumer know exactly where the company stands on it's part in how we treat our world. With all the crazy things going on in this world, it's a blessing that Mother Nature still chooses to treat us so well.
Blend: "The Lively Sativa"
Farms: Emerald Canyon / Rustic Farms
A Curated Mixture of:
35% Extreme Dream (22% THC)
35% Pineapple (12% THC)
20% Sour Diesel (19% THC)
10% Black Lime Reserve (12% THC)
What draws a consumer in at first glance? The beauty of the product, right? Is it appealing to us? The packaging of these 7 All-Flower No Trim-No Shake Pre-Rolled Smokes is love at first sight. The bull on the stamp represents a man named William "Bull" Lowell, a hero they continue to honor by living his tradition. But I don't need to tell you, the inside of the packaging itself will.
When you open the pack, you see your 7 beautifully rolled joints all in a row. Just waiting to be sparked up with the matches they provide for you. The throwback to the matches is a true honor to the tradition of the history of marijuana. And plus, don't we lose lighters all the damn time?
As you light your first joint with your match, you get a sense of nostalgia to a time you may never have even been a part of. You can feel the world sending you the winds of positive change, both big and small. As you take a deep breath, and exhale all of that negativity you have in your life, you realize something. You realize . . . that you're high.
But it's an incredible feeling! The taste of this beautifully curated mixture lives up to it's name as The Lively Sativa. You can smoke a joint of this blend and get all that shit done you had been putting off for weeks. It gets you going. And in this case, it fueled a mind to write this article.
The Earth has been here for billions of years. There isn't any inspirational point I'm trying to make, I'm literally just telling you that because it's crazy to think about how long that really is. Earth ain't tired yet? Earth ain't gave up yet? Shit, I ain't either.
The balance this blend creates between high and alive just reassures you of your purchase. Hell yes, you did the right thing. If you see these in your local marijuana dispensary, you need to buy a pack, find a friend, and share some with them. And when you do, you will realize you need to share it with the rest of the world as well. Don't be stingy, pass.
If it don't make me feel like this I don't want it!
#MusicMondays is on hold temporarily, at least for the next 7 weeks. Usually, I'll break down an entire album or even an artist in general. But with this album, the depth at which the music has reached is far too great to summarize in one article. I will break down each song individually, and allow the listener to understand the message one may receive from the art itself. I may be biased, but this is the single most inspirational album I have ever experienced in my life.
Kids See Ghosts
As performed by Kanye West and Kid Cudi
Album artwork by Takashi Murakami
June 8th, 2018
Ten years ago, Kanye West and Kid Cudi linked up for one of the most polarizing art pieces of Kanye's career with 808s and Heartbreak. Most people were looking for the Kanye they were used to hearing, the one who would come in hard with those bars. They weren't looking for pianos and autotune and vocal solos, they didn't want to understand what he was trying to do. I actually always thought it was the most challenging thing any artist could do in the midst of their prime, going outside of their "box."
That album featured Kid Cudi on songs "Paranoid" and "Heartless." Since that point, many fans of both artists have been waiting for the day that these two would come together for a collaborative album, and a decade later, we got what we asked for. Kids See Ghosts is the duo we have all needed. The wait was incredibly worth it.
The first song of this series is "Feel the Love" produced by Mike Dean, Dot Da Genius, and Kanye West, with lyrics performed by Kids See Ghosts and Pusha T. Dot Da Genius has been producing music for Kid Cudi for over a decade now, and he and Cudi get the best out of each other. Any musical painting Dot has created, Cudi has been able to add the finishing touches too with his vocals. This song is a culmination of everything Cudi and Dot have created, as if fate has brought them to this point. To be able to start the album off with this message puts the listener into the mind state of a champion.
The beat starts out very simple, with no drums or bass coming in until a minute into the piece. The sounds represent the ups and downs that Kanye and Cudi have been through, as the beat fluctuates from smooth to high intensity and back. The production value is nothing short of perfection, which is always demanded by Kanye. His use of random, yet perfectly placed, sounds adds to the beat as a vocal form of drums, coming in hard and getting the listener to get hyped up.
The use of Pusha T as the narrator for what this album is about to bring perfectly aligns with the mood Kanye and Cudi wanted to bring to the table. He spoke the words for them when he said "We not worried 'bout no other niggas, WE them other niggas." This duo has forever been the outsiders, the ones who continuously have challenged the sound of music. Their stylings have left the world bashing them for ever trying anything outside of the lane the world feels they should stay in. People miss "the old Kanye" and "the Man on the Moon Cudi," but everyone forgets that in order to evolve these artists must continue to change.
Besides the sounds that Kanye brings to the beat, he only says one line when he asks "Where the chorus?" Only for Kid Cudi to come in smooth with words from the heart as he tells the world "I can still feel the love!" For those familiar with these two, their careers have been polarizing to say the least. People have called Cudi everything but a rapper or hip-hop artist since his release of Man on the Moon II. And Kanye West, well, he's Kanye West. Unless you have lived under a rock for over a decade, you probably know more opinions of his than you thought you needed to know. You're not alone.
Kanye saying crazy shit should be nothing new to the world by now, but it seems as if everytime he says something, the world cares to listen. But in order to understand his mind state, you must listen to his music to fully understand. One's opinions come and go and change, but the art itself will stand the test of time. To be living in the time when this guy is creating art for the world is inspirational. His use of words that sound like the sounds you made when you were in the middle school cafeteria, trying to sing a drum solo, give us that realization that Kanye is a man with vision. Truly harnessing the kid within himself, and the ghosts he sees are the ones who are helping him bring his vision to life.
Kids See Ghosts can still feel the love radiating from those who have continued to support their art throughout all the bullshit they have been through. These two are the ultimate example of people being able to accept the fact that none of us are perfect. But their ability to share their message and feelings with the world allow us into their world, if only for less than three minutes. This is just the beginning, and the listener is already fully engaged.
The NBA season is now sadly over, but it allows us time for reflection. We can look back on the season as a whole, starting from draft day, to free agency, to trades, to summer league, to preseason, regular season, and the inevitable Finals that was very predictable yet somehow was still not predicted by everyone (@ me). As I have looked back on everything that happened in the 2017-2018 season, there is one thing that stood out to me above all others. This may be the deepest NBA Rookie class we have ever seen.
Ok, now before you guys get all crazy let me clarify that I said deepest not best or most talented. This draft contained a steady level of talent from the first pick to deep into the second round. Yes, the 1984 rookie class had 4 Hall of Famers in Akeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton.
And yes, 2003 may be the best challenger to this debate with the deep level of talent it brought to the NBA including 4 future Hall of Famers in Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Carmelo Anthony. That rookie class also had Mo Williams, Kirk Hinrich, TJ Ford, Mickael Pietrus, Luke Ridnour, David West, Boris Diaw, Kendrick Perkins, Leandro Barbosa, Josh Howard, Steve Blake, Willie Green, Zaza Pachulia, Matt Bonner, Kyle Korver, and Mr. I'm Always in the NBA Finals James Jones. *Takes deep breath* WHEW! Ok 2003 was crazy, but this year will also go down as one of the greatest we've ever seen.
The First Team
By now, I'm sure all of you have seen the votes for First and Second Team All-Rookie for this season. The First Team not only had five great players, but five guys who are looking to change the game completely.
Lauri Markkanen [Chicago Bulls] is a 7-foot center from Finland who broke the NBA record for fastest player to make 100 three-pointers and shot 85% from the free throw line.
Kyle Kuzma [Los Angeles Lakers] was the second leading scorer amongst rookies and put up numbers that no Lakers rookie has since the Black Mamba.
Donovan Mitchell [Utah Jazz] led all rookies in scoring, led his team to 48 wins, went toe-to-toe with Russel Westbrook in round one and won, and broke the record for most three pointers made by a rookie with 187.
Ben Simmons [Philadelphia 76ers] (the redshirt rookie) dominated the floor in every way possible, putting up numbers that have not been reached by a rookie since Oscar Robertson.
And the guy who had the best rookie season from day one all the way until Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals was Jayson Tatum. He stepped up and went shot for shot with Lebron James when his Celtics team was decimated with injuries.
The Second Team
The Second Team could've easily been the First Team for most other seasons.
Dennis Smith Jr. [Dallas Mavericks] was the wild card of this year's rookie class, as he showed flashes of unbelievable athleticism for a point guard, making every night his living highlight reel.
John Collins may be the least sexy name on here, but this guy did all the little things right on a Hawks team that couldn't do anything right.
Lonzo Ball [Los Angeles Lakers] didn't live up to the incredibly high expectations, but he has shown his relentlessness and durability as he played more minutes per game than any other rookie.
Josh Jackson made the Suns fun to watch, which is a very hard thing to do. His strong play towards the end of the season gave us a taste of what we might see next year.
Bogdan Bogdanovic [Sacramento Kings] probably has the best name in the NBA right now. But seriously, this guy was letting it fly from three all season, he is learning how to create his own shot off the dribble, and he won the Rising Stars Challenge MVP.
For all of the occasional NBA watchers out there, you may not know a lot of these names now, but this talented group of guys is built to be franchise players, champions, and journeymen for the rest of their careers. We can't talk about the rookie class without talking about the number one pick in Markelle Fultz. The somewhat disappointing season turned into a not so disappointing one when he finally got to play. He put in some good minutes off the bench, even turning in a triple-double in one of his few games. His upside is still incredibly high, and it'll be interesting to see how he responds after a full NBA offseason.
De'Aaron Fox [Sacramento Kings] is a guy that I got to see in person a few times this year. His explosiveness and ability to get to the rim for a point guard made him hard to guard but fun to watch.
Frank Ntilikina was just picked by the wrong team at the wrong time. The New York Knicks have not done anything for this kid's development so far, but with his size and his ability to shoot the ball efficiently, he can definitely improve under the right coaching.
Zach Collins [Portland Trailblazers] helped lead Gonzaga to their first National Championship game as a freshman. The 7' center has the potential to be Damian Lillard's main big man if he is given more responsibility next season.
Malik Monk [Charlotte Hornets] finished off the season with a strong month of April where he shot 48% from the field. He has the opportunity to be one of the league's most versatile wingmen if he can continue to improve his jump shot.
Bam Adebayo [Miami Heat] came in and took Hassan Whiteside's job for a big portion of the season. His size and strength made it incredibly hard for opposing teams to keep him off the boards, and his nose for the ball made it even more difficult for guys to shoot over him.
Justin Jackson [Sacramento Kings] showed flashes of athleticism when he actually got to play. Just a quarter of his shots came in the form of dunks or lay-ups. At 6'8" if he can improve his driving ability, it will only make it that much harder to guard him.
Terrance Ferguson [Oklahoma City Thunder] is a high flyer from Australia. He made some incredible dunks throughout the season that put him on House of Highlights. If he steps in a couple feet from the three-point line, he could have a very effective mid-range game that could change his career.
Jarret Allen [Brooklyn Nets] came into the league and did exactly what he did in college, rebound and defend. Every team needs a guy like him, and he will find himself on an NBA squad for a very long time.
OG Anunoby [Toronto Raptors] was given a lot of responsibility this season and he delivered all year long. He had the tallest task of them all when he was asked to guard Lebron James in the playoffs, but that will only help him for the future.
Josh Hart [Los Angeles Lakers] was a name that was brought up when discussing Rookie team snubs. He was an extremely efficient shooter all season, as he shot over 43% in 6 out of the 7 months in the season.
Dillon Brooks [Memphis Grizzlies] was the clutchest late game scorer in college when he was at Oregon. With the injury to Mike Conley, he was able to log big minutes and shot 44% from the field and 35% from three-point range.
Sterling Brown [Milwaukee Bucks] isn't just Shannon Brown's brother, he's much more. At 6'5" he was able to get more than half of his shots up from within 16 feet of the basket. And he also was a victim of police brutality, but we'll get into that another day.
Jordan Bell [Golden State Warriors] was a steal, as he was by far the best defender in the draft last season. He showed what he could do on the biggest stage of them all, showcasing the depth of this draft.
That was a lot, huh
This isn't just another rookie class. This isn't just a list of NBA players who played good and even great at times. This is a group of guys that are going to change the game of basketball. Look, I know the Finals sucked, but don't let that distract you from the fact that the season was still incredible and that the NBA is the best league in the world. When it's all said and done, this will be the best rookie class in NBA history, and you are all witnesses to it.
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.