Humans have naturally had a battle between older and younger generations. "Back in my day" is a saying that probably dates back to the beginning of mankind. Time continues to pass, and the disagreements between the youth, the elderly, and everyone in between never stops. As younger generations continue to grow into adults, we are beginning to see that some of them are finding a way to take the torch from the old heads and run with it. And as we dig deeper, we see that a lot of us really have the same goal, which is trying to make a better future for ourselves and the people around us.
The culture of rap music is constantly evolving, yet it is also cyclical. If we go back to the beginning stages of hip-hop, we got the very simple lyrics when Wonder Mike said "I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie to the hip hip hop and you don't stop the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jump the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat." And now in 2018 we've got guys like Lil Pump bringing the simple lyrics back when he says "GUCCI GANG, GUCCI GANG, GUCCI GANG, GUCCI GANG, GUCCI GANG, GUCCI GANG, GUCCI GANG! SPENT THREE RACKS ON A NEW CHAIN (YUH!) MY BITCH LOVE TO DO COCAINE (OOOH!)"
In history we have also been blessed with pure street poetry by guys like RZA, Nas, and Tupac who brought incredible lyricism to rap music. The ups and downs of rap music have been so incredibly drastic that we have seen it die and revive at least once a year since its birth. But that is what makes it beautiful. It is not supposed to be perfect, it's not supposed to be accepted by everyone, it's not even supposed to always have some underlying message. Rap music is a living, breathing organism that is forever changing, and a new young artist is trying to do his part to help it's growth.
YBN Cordae is a 20 year old rapper out of Maryland who is attempting to show the world that there is promise for the future of hip-hop. He dropped his first few tracks in 2016 onto his Soundcloud, which showed just a small preview of what is to come. His first track "About Me" is somewhat of him contemplating what it is going to be like once he blows up, as if he has already envisioned it a million times over and knows it will come to fruition.
Moved to the burbs necessary bettered the living
As I mentioned earlier, guys like Lil Pump are taking heat from the older generations for simply what has been done since the beginning of hip-hop itself. J Cole recently released a diss track to Lil Pump, trying to teach him a lesson on how to carry himself as an artist and how his words impact the youth. And in many ways, he is right. But YBN Cordae told Cole why he should pump the brakes on all the judgement on his track "Old Niggas."
Bridging this gap between generations is going to be extremely difficult. Especially when many of these kids are dressing as crazy as they are, or have tattoos and piercings all over their face, or their hair is in some whacky fashion. But as we look back in time, rappers have always looked stupid, this is nothing new. RUN DMC made it cool to wear tracksuits, Flava Flav wore a clock as a necklace, Busta Rhymes had some of the wildest hair styles in rap history, Nelly wore jerseys ten sizes too big, Soulja Boy wore Yums shoes, New Boyz made it cool to wear tight fitting clothes. Like I said, this is nothing new.
And honestly, my boy J Cole looks like a rich bum right now. So he can't really talk about how any of these kids are looking. But YBN Cordae found a way to respectfully respond to Cole while still dropping major facts. In this video he says "Let's take it back when hip hop originated and old niggas said it was wack, they couldn't take it and called it a little trend, said it wouldn't last now it's the number one genre as the time passed."
But this is just the beginning for the kid. What actually originally put me onto him was his freestyle he did with the LA Leakers. No pen. No notepad. No phone. All off the top of his head. Even if it was bars he had written before, he spit them on the spot over three separate beats just to show his versatility. One of those beats being Lil Pump's banger "Esskeetit."
Someone had posted a one minute clip of the video with your typical "OMG this guy killed this *fire emoji*" caption. Most of the time I won't even click on them because of how often these posts are terrible. But it was early in the morning and my son was still asleep so I decided to click on it and listen to it at a low volume. The caption was right, the kid bodied it. So I watched the video in it's entirety which you can find here.
He is longevity chasing while all of these other artists are out here chasing clout and viral fame. This guy is in it for the long haul, and his most recent single is about him kicking the door down and imposing his presence onto the scene.
Produced by Take a Daytrip, "Kung Fu" could be the first page that is turned onto a new and improved generation of hip-hop. This track is a perfect mix of simplistic rhymes and lyrical bars. The melodies flow smoothly over the beat as if the vocals are a part of the beat itself.
I'm a thief in the night, pray to Jesus to Christ
The story telling ability is one of the rarest traits to find in hip-hop. Guys can really be from the streets and rap about what they've seen and gone through, but if they don't have the vocabulary or linguistics to bring to the track, it becomes hard for us to see their vision. YBN Cordae paints a vivid picture with his lyrics, and considering his age and the small sample size we currently have, it is only right to believe that he is only going to improve as time goes on.
As he attempts to shatter all judgements of this new age of rap, he will have to fight for respect from people of all ages, backgrounds, and musical taste. I have recently come to realize that it is time to stop judging these kids on their musical stylings and how they choose to express themselves through their art. As the world is constantly evolving, music will continue to do the same. And I hope I'm on the right side of history with YBN Cordae.
Play this shit at the highest volume possible...
As we go through life, we start realizing characteristics about ourselves that help define our self-wealth. We begin to reach acceptness of who we are and why we exist. We learn about what it is like to grow within our own mind and use our knowledge to help our future. I have reached acceptness with what has defined me, and I can admit that Yes, I am a real life basketball nerd.
As I sit here and watch NBA Las Vegas Summer League, I realize that I have an addiction. I can’t remove myself from basketball for a single day of my life, it’s fucking annoying how much I love basketball. My wife probably thinks I’m some fucking basketball dweeb.
And it may be so. But I can’t stop. I never could. I have loved basketball my entire life. My mom was very intrigued by the game of basketball, and I learned to watch the game through her eyes. She loved all the legends, but she would get excited over things like guys setting good screens, or a nice give and go, or the energy a guy may bring to the floor.
It was all about the respect for the game. Anyone who played the game, she showed love to if they played the game the right way. Her eye for the little things on the court was passed onto me, and I am thankful for that. I see the game and the impact it has on the world and the opportunities it creates for so many people’s family, and I love it. I enjoy watching others succeed, because honestly I don’t think Mother Earth can sustain any more hate. She might explode.
It all started when my mom put me in a YMCA basketball league, I think I was like 6 or 7. But it’s one of the oldest memories I have that is still so vivid in my mind. My mom is on the sideline watching me play basically recess basketball with 18 year old volunteer coaches. My memory is so clear that I can recite it play by play.
My mom going hard in the paint
My team misses a basket, I retreat back to defense as I have seen Charles Barkley do in my very young life. He was my idol at the time. As far as I was convinced, he was the best player in the world. I tried to emulate the things he did on the court, so I prided myself in guarding my opponent as tight as possible. I wanted to be the “hustle guy.”
The 2018 NBA season has already begun. The NBA Draft has passed, Free Agency is already crazy, and the Las Vegas Summer League is already heading into the second round of their tournament. As the young rookies are now facing NBA level talent, the hot takes are already flying in July. The NBA has essentially become a 12 month a year show, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
The hottest hot take brewing in Las Vegas right now is the imminent failure that is on the horizon for Trae Young. The Atlanta Hawks took a chance on him instead of Luka Doncic who has already proven that he can play professional basketball. This was definitely a risk, there is no discrediting that. But such a risk shows that the Hawks believe in what Young could potentially be, and not what he is right now.
Trae was arguably the best player in college basketball for most of the year. Even with an Oklahoma team that did not have any double digit scorers outside of him, he still managed to average 8.7 assists thanks to his passing ability. His offensive game was incredible, almost unstoppable when he was making his 35 foot pull-up jumpers.
But his shooting percentage and turnover rate are both alarming, but it is to be expected of a guy who was the entire offense for his team. His game will have to improve, there is no doubt about that. But such is true with every player who has ever played the game. This season is definitely going to be rough, but man it will be fun.
The biggest challenge he will have to face is the comparisons he has drawn since high school. Too many people have compared him to Steph Curry, when that is totally unrealistic. Nobody is Steph Curry. Curry himself isn’t even always as good as he could be. So to compare any player to him is just silly. Trae Young is not Steph Curry, and he never will be and I don’t know why anyone ever thought he could be.
But that balloon he has been put in has so much pressure that it is near exploding. Yet all we have seen him do is stay humble and continue to work on his game in just the few Summer League games we have seen. After taking a night off due to soreness, his last two games included a pair of 20+ point performances, 14 total assists, and two wins leading them into the second round of the tournament.
This first season will be all about working to sharpen his game, as the Hawks will be nowhere near a playoff run. This could be the perfect scenario for the kid who may be the second best balding rookie ever according to my best bud Sam. I like the hot takes, I hope they keep coming. The kid is going to be one of the most exciting young players in the league, and if you got the NBA League Pass, you’ll be watching.
Trae Young could be the 4th Migo, they need a light skin anyway...
What happens when you let go of the pain? The thing holding us back from having a sense of feeling something real is our unwillingness to let go of the past. Why do we continue to allow ourselves to feel the pain that once made us reach the furthest depth of our inner evils? Adapting to live in the present and denying the dark thoughts of the past entry into our mind state may allow us to finally feel... Freeee
Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2)
Performed by Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Ty Dolla $ign, Anthony Hamilton
Produced by Scott Mescudi, Kanye West, Russel “Love” Crews, Boogz, Andrew Dawson, Andy C, Dot Da Genius, Jeff Bhasker
How often is a sequel better than the original? Besides in the Toy Story series where they somehow continue to get better every time, sequels usually seem to be a shell of its original creation. But in this particular instance, the sequel outshines its predecessor that was featured on Kanye’s solo album ‘Ye. The ability to obtain freedom feels like a triumphant moment in the life of these two artists.
Releasing the pain of the past feels like somewhat of a superpower. While in the ultimate pit of pain, it is almost unfathomable to think of ever feeling anything but pain. But time continues to go on, and the dedication to allowing oneself to release pain becomes more and more vital to achieve a fulfilling life.
I'm so complete in the mode
As we see multiple times in this album, the gospel is being preached as if the listener is in church listening to the choir. Referring to He as the one who lifts them up in times of hardship and pain. Yet, we have heard Kanye talk about being a God before. Some may view it as the “God Complex,” yet this is something not too far from the truth.
We are in control of our mind, body, soul, and future. Within ourselves, we are the God of our own life. We control our temple, and only we can allow ourselves to set our minds free. So you are technically your own God when you think about it, and feel free to think about it.
When nothing can hurt you anymore, that is the moment when you can feel freedom within yourself. We all have outside influences affecting our “freedom,” but freedom of the mind is something that can’t be taken from us. A true knowledge of ourself can take us a long way.
I don't feel pain anymore
Death has been something man has feared since the beginning of time. More than just losing your life, the thing that may scare us the most is not knowing what is on the other side. If life has taught us anything, it is that when we get through our lowest points in life we are rewarded with bliss when we find a way out. So why wouldn’t the same be thought of when we reach death?
If we can let go of fear, we may be able to channel our inner superpowers. This song allows the listener to understand what it’s like on the other side. Not necessarily after death, but after pain. We all handle it differently, but we can learn something from this piece of art. If we can achieve freedom, we may just find a way to be reborn.
You should quit your job to this...
Following my dreams has been rough. Always trying to push through even in the face of failure has been a challenge. Losing sleep over wondering whether or not I’m making the right decisions in my career. If what I’m doing is right for the future of my family. I’m officially 100 articles in and I hope I can inspire everyone who has read anything I’ve ever written.
Today is Mac Dre’s birthday, and it reminded me of the personality he shared with the world. He was driven. He was unique. He was an inspiration. He was himself. I was only 13 year’s old when he died, so I had no idea who he was until he passed. But his art lived on after his death, and for that I am thankful.
Dre was an artist who never gave in. We’re talking about a guy who made music for over a decade. He was popular enough to become a local legend, and his sudden death sent shockwaves through the Bay Area and the music industry.
I couldn’t fully understand his stature until I got into my early 20's when I really began listening to things he was saying. He always remained true to himself, even if it meant he wasn’t going to make the most popular music. And today, on his birthday, I see his message clearer than ever.
He sent a message in his music that encouraged people to be themselves. Being “real” isn’t about how many times you’ve been locked up or who you’ve robbed or how many drugs you’ve sold. It’s about doing what you gotta do to be a better person for yourself, your loved ones, and your community.
I realized recently that I may have been chasing my dreams for the money, which isn’t a dream at all, its a fantasy. Being able to chase my true dreams is the dream itself. And as Mac Dre chased his dreams to his final breath, I want to do the same.
On my 100th article, I just want to thank you for all of your support. There have been plenty of times where I wouldn't post for a few weeks and someone would tell me "Hey, I haven't seen you post anything in a while." I'm always shocked when people say that because I just can't believe that people actually care to hear what I have to say. And then I'll look at the numbers at the end of a 4 article week and I'll have over 1,000 page views. And it's all because of your guys support, and for that I am extremely grateful.
Here’s to another 100 articles...
Don't Stop. Won't Stop. Wont Quit...
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.