Sunday, January 21, 2007

Hip Hop is Dead

As a middle-aged, Caucisian in my sophmore year of college, I come into contact with many issues I feel I must reflect upon. There are of course the givens such as the War on Iraq, Global Warming, and various others. One in particular deals with hip-hop.

As strange as it may sound the music I listen to the most is hip-hop. The hip-hop music I am accustomed to and greatly favor is something that is dying every second.

I generally like to listen to rap music where the artist fills his rhymes with music that touches on a person's personal life. So is not all hip-hop music like that? What is so different about today's music with Tupac's, Nas's, and Emimen's?

I will explain.

The great majority of music made by rappers today deal with nothing more than drugs, sex, and cars. Now I am not here to say Tupac and Nas did not have their share of songs that fell into that generic hole as well.

But I know for certain that Tupac specifically made an effort where a great majority of his songs had a deep meaning behind them. Rapping about how you get all the girls, or how you make so much money is not meaningful. Rapping about the difficult childhood you had, or the pain of not having a father around is.


Lower-class children do not have all the material items we may have. The radio is a child living in the projects world. When he hears Young Joc on the radio rapping about having sex with numerous women, what message does that send?

Every rap musician out there had a difficult life growing up. That's a given. To understand what these people have had to live through is something we, a suburban listener, can not fully understand.

But still as someone who had a rough childhood, would you not want to reach out and help those children who are in the exact situation you use to be in? Would you not want to make their childhood less painful than the one you had?

That's the problem. Musician today are not taking responsibility for the influences they cast upon the youth, so in turn the music suffers and the industry suffers. I have worked with children who lived in low-income housing in New Orleans. I have seen with my own eyes the worshipping they show towards today's musicians. Some of these kids do not listen to their parents, they listen to what Lil Wayne, Young Joc, or Ludacris say in their songs.

I want to one day talk to someone like Lil Wayne and just ask him what he thinks about the 10 year old kid living on the streets who wants to get a gun because his idol has one?

Tupac in turn, made music that provided hope for that child living in the ghetto, the one who just dropped out of school, the one with no father. Various examples are Changes, Still I Rise, The Good Die Young, Dear Mama, and so on. He was someone today's youth could look up. He was someone that in a way was a helping hand.

People recognize the basic rap floating around nowadays. Sure rap music is still everywhere, but it is losing that viewer who listened to it for the content such as me. Rap was intellectual. It was deep.

Just try and tell me "I've got ho's in different area codes" is an intellectual statement Mr. Ludacris? It isn't.

All in all, hip-hop use to be something that was special in it's own unique way...especially to the black community.

It should not have to be like this. But it is. Money is the only thing that matters. Not quality, money. So when Young Joc comes out with a new CD talking about drugs, sex, and money, just shun in shame. This is not what hip-hop was. This is what it's been poisoned into.

Super Bowl XLI is set! (Stream of Thought)

All the hype, all the drama and in 8 hours the finals for the NFL are set...

39 Bears 14 Saints

-Grossman did not play awesome...because he did not need to. Thomas Jones, much like Bryant Westbrook, consistently beat down the Saints D. 19 carries for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns. He helped Chicago get a lead and keep it.

-Turnovers. Too many silly mistakes put the Saints behind in the beginning, and in the end they crushed any hope of a rally.

-Saints lost for a number of reasons, but cornerback Fred Thomas clearly shows to be a soft spot on the defensive side of the ball. I have always liked Thomas, but his spot on the team may change in the coming future. The speed he use to have is gone.

-Quite an incredible season for the Saints. No reason this team should hang their heads. I think this team will be back to the postseason in the future. (Waiting another 6 years for another spot in the playoffs is not something I want to relive.)

-Lovie Smith becomes the first African-American to ever coach a team to the Super Bowl. Impressive how far he has brought this team in only such a short amount of time. From just getting into the playoffs, to reaching the Super Bowl, Smith has this franchise going places. (And with a QB who will only get better.)

38 Colts 34 Patriots

-If I were a Colts' fan and saw the score go to 21-3 NE I would of left. I thought Indy was done. Manning was going to lose to Brady again...but I wrong. (First time that has happened.)

-Down by 18 points against the New England Patriots is not a place anyone would like to be. And somehow the one man who has been criticized for some many years managed to pull it off. I am in shock on how Peyton Manning put it all together against such a big deficit.

-Peyton made the plays as well as the Indy D. Two thumbs up for that squad. Twice they stopped the Pats while on a scoring drive late in the fourth quarter. Instead of giving up 14 points, only 6 were surrendered.

-An African-American has never coached a team to the Super Bowl and today 2 got into the big game. Congratulations to Coach Dungy on silencing critics and getting to the game so many said he could never reach. (Now to only win one more game...)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Divisional Round Thoughts

Colts vs. Ravens

Final Score: 15 Indianapolis 6 Baltimore

-First playoff game since 1979 (fourth overall) that did not have a touchdown scored.

-Incredible how the Indy D has turned themselves around. Every sports critic out there was ripping on that run defense week in and week out.

-Bobby Saunders coming back has been monumental. He clearly is one of the more overlooked D-men in the NFL.

-McNair has been in the league far too long to be throwing the INTs he threw today. Defense did their part, now what the offense, Steve?

-Adam Vinatiera has shown that he still is a clutch kicker. 5 for 5, including a 50 yarder. (Any regrets New England)

-Manning struggled, and made some silly INTs, but he got his team down the field when it was needed most. Running a 13 play, 47 yard drive that was over 7 minutes long showed Manning at his best.

-Speaking of struggling, Manning's arch nemesis Tom Brady will be coming to town next week. Will Peyton finally beat him in the playoffs? (Sorry. I don't see it happening.)

Saints vs. Eagles

Final Score: 27 New Orleans 24 Philadelphia

-I knew Jeff Garcia was doing well with Philly, but I really didn't see how good of a QB he was until Saturday night. He has an incredible ability to scramble when the play is dead, also, Garcia showed numerous times great poise. A defensive end was coming right at him and Garcia still stood in the pocket and threw the perfect ball, while taking a big hit.

-I know this is a stretch, but Reggie Bush is similar to Barry Sanders. Sanders would carry the ball and lose yardage a couple times in a row. Then, he would break out for a huge run. Bush showed this quality several times during the game. With him, Saints either lose yardage or gain a lot of it.

-Saints D looked weak. The cornerbacks were constantly being beaten off the ball and even worse, the safeties seemed out of place. Chicago will carve them up the same way if guys like Fred Thomas can not control their respective opponent.

-Dropped INTs. Saints had a couple of those early in the game. Missing opportunities like that will come back to haunt well as getting 2 FGs and no touchdowns. (Am I wrong about that one?)

-Interesting to see how things will be when McNabb gets back. I know he will be the QB, but you can be sure "Garcia" will be chanted once McNabb starts struggling.

Bears vs. Seahawks

Final Score: 27 Chicago 24 Seattle

-Disappointing how poor the field condition is at Solider Field. Saints will be playing the Bears Sunday, but the field is sure to be equally as frustrating as it was today.

-Grossman gets his criticism, but it seems he performs all right when the critics lash out the hardest. His stats were nothing amazing today. Though they were good enough to get the job done. 21/38 282 yards 1 TD 1 INT

-Alexander seems like he's returned to his old form, not Hasselbeck. Since returning from his injury, his performance on the field has taken a great hit. Because of this the team had to rely a lot more on Alexander as oppose to last year when the plays could be mixed up a bit more.

Patriots vs. Chargers

Final Score: 24 New England 21 San Diego

-He is 6th on the all-time wins list, yet Coach Marty Schottenheimer can not win in the playoffs. 5-13 overall and 0-3 as the #1 seed. It really is a shame. Being fired is something not out of the question for Marty. 0-2 in San Diego come playoff time.

-Pathetic how San Diego let this one slip out of their hands. Missed opportunities, dropped punts, and the worst of them all - fumbling the ball after intercepting it.

-I think the most terrifying thing for a defense to prepare for in the NFL is Tom Brady. In the end, you knew Brady was going to win the game, you knew no matter what was necessary he would put his team in position to be victorious.

-Let's face it Rivers didn't play well. 14/32 230 yards, 1 INT. The loss will not be put on his shoulders, but he for sure didn't prove critics wrong. Inexperience was said to be what would separate the winner (Brady) from the loser (Rivers). It did.


Analysis of LSU/Auburn Men's basketball game

-Defense. Coach Brady's teams always strive off of hard D. I am not seeing a lot of that with this year's squad. The worst thing is opponents are constantly getting second chance points.

-Last year Auburn played the Tigers close both times. They were young then, but now seem to be more in sync. The zone defense Coach Lebo had his Auburn team playing suffocated Big Baby all day. Don't be surprised at all if this Auburn team makes a run in the SEC.

-#24 Quan Powell. Good post player for Auburn who had 12 points and 4 rebounds. So why is he up here? Dress code. This guy had his shorts so far down his crack he looked like an idiot out there. Never mind shorts those where pants! I mean you can have long shorts, but there has to be a line. I almost felt like running out on the court and pulling his "shorts" up to his nose.

-Yes, LSU looks like a struggling team, but remember last year it took a while for the engine to get going. The main thing is consistency. One game Temple shoots lights out; the next borderline terrible. The same can be said for Martin, Rolle, Mason and Minor.

-Magnum Rolle gets a lot of criticism. The player I saw Saturday makes a difference when in. Opponents do not seem to shoot as freely in the paint. Also, the guy has had some tough breaks as far as shots go. Have you ever seen so many shots rim out, especially when it was practically a layup? If only Rolle could just stuff the ball down the hoop things would be okay.

-Tack Minor seemed to have played all right. Again silly turnovers because of a silly way of dribbling. It is getting downright dumb that Minor is still carrying the ball the way he does despite being called for traveling for 3 years.

-I am wondering if Coach Brady ever thought that Terry Martin Jr. could be such a big scorer for the team? (Still lousy at free throws) Some nights he is on, others he is completely off.

UCONN: 0 points
0/5 FGs
0/3 3PTs

Alabama: 2 points
1/9 FGs
0/2 3PTs

Auburn: 23 points
8/16 FGs
5/9 3PTs

Let's hope to see more 20 point games...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Diminishing Line of Morality

I like video games. They are fun and enjoyable and that's all that really matters. No, I do not spend countless hours in my basement playing them, but if a good game comes out I am sure to buy it and play it.

But recently something struck my eye. Something that made me wonder what has happened to the word "morality" in this country. A new game has come out titled Civil War. For most people another war game does not seem all bad considering their have been numerous video games for World War II, the Gulf War, and various others.

Though the Civil War is an entirely different war when compared to those.

If an American person wants to play a World War II game you can be sure he or she will be satisfied with playing the role of an American soldier. I understand some Japanese and German people may be offended, but for the most part the game will not cause any negative thoughts.

The same can not be said for the Civil War.

Now I do not know, but I suppose the game could have the option of fighting for the North or South. That's not the point though.

For me the Civil War was beyond just another war. It was a tragedy. It is the lowest point in American history. Things got so bad in the United States that war broke out. War. The most horrible act mankind can ever perform.

Just think about that. War. Against ourselves. It is a disturbing thought, but even more hurtful to think it actually happened.

If you were to add up all the American casualties of the Revolutionary War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War, you would not get nearly as many casualties as the Civil War.

About 622,000 soldiers were killed during the 5 year war. The goriest battle was the Battle of Gettysburg. In 10 hours of fighting about 53,000 soldiers were killed.

Reread that if you have to. During the duration of the Vietnam War about 53,000 soldiers died. In the Civil War that many casualties occurred in only 10 hours.

Even more chilling is a few years after the war ended in 1865 a couple more hundred-thousand wounded soldiers died.

So in the end about 900,000 soldiers died from the Civil War. American soldiers.

I feel what happened between 1861-1865 is something that should be off limits to all video game developers. It can not be put into words how emotional something like the Civil War was. Everyone in the United States was affected by the Civil War.

As I said earlier World War II was Americans vs. the Germans and Japanese. The Civil War was North vs. South.

A war against each other...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2007 NFL Playoffs: Wildcard

Once again another NFL season has come and gone. This year's field features many new faces, as well as the common visitor. Below are my thoughts on this weekend's Wildcard matchups.

...Don't worry I included my upset pick


New York Jets @ New England Patriots

Why New York May Win: The Jets clinched a playoff spot with a win against Oakland this past week. The amazing season for first year coach Eric Mangini continues to roll on. In Week 2, New England defeated New York 24-17. Week 10 things were different as the Jets beat the Pats in Foxboro 17-14. New York is very familiar with this New England team. Mangini worked under Belichick for 6 years and knows how he thinks. New York can win if they stick to their game plan of running the ball and chewing up lots of clock time. All year the Jets have shut up critics. No reason to think they will not do it again.

Why New England May Win: Tom Brady. As long as the 3 time Super Bowl champion is in Foxboro, the Pats will always be a huge threat in the playoffs. The Pats are still upset after the Week 10 loss to New York. Belichick's team will come out firing on all cylinders. Just remember if New England does run the tables again, it will be 4 Super Bowl wins in 6 years. Now that's a dynasty.

Prediction: The amazing Jets' story has been a great to watch all season long. Sunday that all comes to a crashing halt. When it's playoff time in Foxboro, fear the Pats. New England has been in this situation many times. Not so much for New York. Besides the battle of Brady vs. Pennington is one that greatly favors the Patriots. Pennington has never had much success in the postseason.

34 Patriots 20 Jets

Kansas City Chiefs @ Indianapolis Colts

Why Kansas City May Win: How the Chiefs rallied their season together and made the playoffs is beyond my knowing. Herman Edwards has a running back in Larry Johnson who is a ruthless player. He punishes opponents...and of course scores all the time. To make matters better for this running team, Indy has an awful run defense. That fact alone is enough for KC to pull off the upset.

Why Indianapolis May Win: Yes the run defense is bad, but Peyton Manning is still the QB. Not having a Super Bowl ring kills Manning year in and year out. You don't think he wants to win this game? You don't think that the rest of his team is sick and tired of dealing with the criticism? The defense has trouble, but it is improving. A couple weeks ago against Cincy the D only surrendered 16 points. But I feel the real reason Indy will win, will be the superb play of #18.

Prediction: This is a tough one. Indy has not looked promising in recent weeks. For crying out loud they lost to Houston. Even though they are 9-7, KC can run the ball. That alone, in my thinking, is going to be the decider in this game. Yes, Peyton will play great, but the offense can only do so much.

30 Chiefs 22 Colts UPSET SPECIAL


New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles

Why New York May Win: Giants were on top of the world at 6-2. They finished 8-8 and having been hearing for months how this team is not living up to par. The team is in the playoffs and the NFC is not that strong. Those 2 facts alone are enough for the Giants to run the tables. New York has played Philly twice this year. They know this opponent and I can assure you Coughlin and crew are still hurting from that Week 15 loss at home against Philly 36-22.

Why Philadelphia May Win: Once McNabb went down you could of stuck a fork in Philly. I thought they were toast. Then in came Jeff Garcia. The savior out of San Jose State has transformed the Eagles' season. The defense is one of the best and the offense has a more valiant leader in Garcia as oppose to New York's Eli Manning.

Prediction: Sorry New York, but that amazing playoff run is not happening. Jim Johnson (Philly Defensive Coordinator) is going to have his crew eat the inconsistent Eli Manning alive. Furthermore, Philly is one of the hottest teams in the league. And remember, always choose the hot team over the disappointing, confused, and not-up-to-par team.

28 Eagles 17 Giants

Dallas Cowboys @ Seattle Seahawks

Why Dallas May Win: Parcells's team really ended the season on an awful note. I mean they lost TO THE LIONS! This is a good team, Romo is a good QB, and the defense is an exceptional unit. The Cowboys are not going out how they finished the regular season. Against an uncertain Seattle defense, Dallas will need to stick to what made them so feared earlier in the year to be victorious.

Why Seattle May Win: Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselback have not been playing with each other as much this season as in the years past. Finally, the two have gotten some games into together. More importantly, Seattle has been to the Super Bowl. They know what it takes. Playing with that same swagger Seattle had last postseason is something that will lead this team to victory Saturday.

Prediction: This is the most difficult one to choose. I do not feel Bill Parcells leaves the game of football on a lousy Wildcard loss. Dallas is going to Seattle to play. The D will show up and Hasselback will be forced into a couple critical INTs. That will be enough for Parcells's team to stay alive one more week.

26 Cowboys 21 Seahawks