The Death of an Empire

What the fuck are we doing? Has everyone lost their goddamn mind? What in the hell is wrong with you people? We have people killing eachother over the right to protest, we have a president who should’ve been sent off to pasture years ago, and we have a percentage of the country that just wants to see the world burn.

I want to believe that we’re better than this, I want to believe that we’re still the greatest country on Earth. It’s kind of like being a Browns fan: you see their potential, but they keep fucking it up.

That picture of Minneapolis burning is iconic, it should be someone’s album cover, it speaks to everything that needs to be said right now. I’m not a good mouthpiece for change, I have no idea what I’m doing with my life, so don’t make me delve too deep into the stupid shit I say to give me that momentary serotonin hit that keeps me going.

Are You Fucking Kidding Me?

I don’t like politics, but I feel compelled to talk about the protests and the response by the police.

I’ve definitely gotten out of trouble a few times due to white privilege. I’ve gotten pulled over before, yelled the officer because I’m awkward and don’t handle stress well, and still gotten a verbal warning. If I wasn’t an upper middle-class white person, I’d probably be dead right now.

I don’t like politics, I’m not very informed, but I try to keep up with the deluge of information that flows freely through the Internet. Yes, most of the information we get is probably full of shit, and presented in a way meant to divide us, but is it better to be ignorant, or misinformed?

I know that some people feel differently, that these protests are unnecessary and an excuse to rob businesses and riot, but I disagree. Think of it this way: if you bully someone for years, and prevent them from living a normal life, you don’t get to dictate how they react when they finally stand up to you. Would you apologize for punching someone in the face after they punch you and kick you every day?

I’m torn on whether it’s best to leave this situation alone because of who I am and how I look, but I also think I have a duty to tell people that this is wrong, and we need to change.

I don’t have many suggestions on how we can change, my only halfway decent thought is that police departments need to charge officers for their crimes, and if the public sues them, they should show their full support. Additionally, maybe there could be some system like malpractice insurance that keeps police officers honest and accountable. Maybe that already exists, and I just don’t know about it.

I’ve gotta say: Minneapolis picked the worse possible time to do something shitty. We’re facing a global pandemic that has kept millions scared and unemployed, sports and concerts are canceled, so people have nothing else to keep them entertained, and no job to consider while they protest. It’s literally the dumbest possible time to kill an innocent man on camera.

We’re better than this. I don’t believe in my government, but I believe in the people of my country. We can fix this.

The Luxury of Time

I know that many people are stuck inside, and that they might hate it, but it’s a blessing in disguise. You have time now, and time is the most valuable thing in existence. Everybody dies at some point, but not everyone uses their time wisely. I think that we should use this time to explore ourselves and overcome our issues, I know I am.

As fucked up as it sounds, I love this. I love being stuck in my house, and I love not having to make excuses about why I don’t want to go places. I’m also using this time wisely, but I’m also enjoying myself with it. Time is the most valuable natural resource there is, it’s the only thing we can never get more of. (Almost) everyone gets the same amount of time in their lives, the difference is where we choose to focus our time and effort. Let’s look at some famous people: did Einstein spend his time binging Netflix and chasing girls?  No, he was locked in his room making mathematical discoveries that I still don’t understand to this day. Think about where your life would be if you focused your time and stopped fucking around.

I’ve been spending my time realizing all of the creative ideas I’ve brushed aside these last few years, I’ve spent at least 10 hours making videos on Premier Pro, I’ve transcribed all of the ad ideas I’d written on receipt paper into my idea notebook, I’ve worked out my swing so that I’m not rusty for my first day back golfing, I’ve been crushing my schoolwork to the point where I’m a month ahead on my studying, so life’s pretty good for me right now. I’d be a lot happier if all this didn’t come at the expense of thousands of innocent people.

 

What I Learned From The Professor

I just saw The Professor: a movie where Johnny Depp plays a dying professor living the last days of his life after a cancer diagnosis. It’s got me thinking a lot about mortality, so if you’re not in the mood for a depressing read about accepting death, you should probably go read something else.

I think that Depp’s character’s nonchalance regarding his impending demise is commendable; he doesn’t tell his family until the last possible moment because he doesn’t want to upset them, he lives his life the way he always wanted to, without the constraints of society to hold him back. Yes, he’s a hard-drinking, nihilistic douche, but let’s be real here: you would be too.

I think about death a lot, not in a suicidal sense, but as more of a curiosity. I wonder what happens when the light fades from your eyes and you pass on. I’ve wondered if you’re greeted by someone who loves you, or if you have to make the transition to whatever’s next alone.  I’ve thought so much about it, but I’m not in a rush to find the answer. People die. It happens, you can’t do anything about it, and it’s not up to you to decide who goes when, so just suck it up and accept it. You’re going to die someday, keep that in the back of your mind when you’re killing yourself trying to extend your life.

Johnny Depp, as I will refer to every one of his characters, really spoke to me in this movie. He’s been a tight-knit stiff for the majority of his life, but with the end within spitting distance, he goes off the rails and starts living life the way he always wanted to. I wish I had half the balls his character had. He says everything that people are thinking, but too cowardly to say out loud, and part of me respects that, but the other part of me just sees a scared man making sure that he has no regrets when it’s all over. He burns bridges at work, while still keeping his family intact for as long as he can. He bonds with his daughter and teaches her a valuable lesson on love.  He rebuilds his relationship with his wife a little, before leaving so they don’t have to face his impending doom. This movie is about accepting life the way it is, and not how you want it to be. Your life isn’t going to go as planned, no matter how many fucking smoothies you drink or how many self-help workshops you attend. His sense of apathy is almost commendable, he doesn’t let anything get to him, not his cheating wife, his failing marriage, his shallow job with uninterested students, or his impending death. Late in the movie, Depp offers advice to one of his students, advising her to write the story of her life the way she wants, and that stuck out to me. This might not be the best movie ever made, or even the best movie Johnny Depp has done in the last decade, but I enjoyed it, and would recommend it.

Death probably is the end of your existence, but it doesn’t sound too bad. You won’t be conscious of the nothingness, you won’t get bored of the blackness, you won’t see the effect you leave behind, if there is any, so why are people so scared of dying? I think it’s because we don’t think it’ll happen to us. I’ve long come to terms with my mortality, I know that someday I’m going to drop, and the people who love me are going to be crushed, and I don’t like that, but what am I supposed to do about it?

 

The 10 Greatest Rap Flexes Of The 2010’s

This post has been sitting in my drafts for way too long, so I figured it’s about time I finish it. Every time I hear a ridiculous rap flex, I write it down, because I’m weird like that. Here are my favorites, over-analyzed for your enjoyment.

10) I’m a lord motherfucker, better greet him if you see him- A$AP Rocky

Rocky has never been modest or humble, but let’s face it, he can get away with it. He’s consistently changed his sound, which is something I always love to see, while not compromising his artistic integrity and the attitude that made him successful. I’m actually playing this record as I’m writing this, because I think At.Long.Last.A$AP is his best work, and the song this line is from, LPFJ2, is one of the most confident songs I’ve ever heard. From the booming bass to the sirens, this song is meant to get your attention, and lets the listener know that Rocky isn’t just that weird dude from Harlem who loves UGK.

9) I guess the neighbors think I’m sellin’ dope. Motherfucker I am.- J. Cole

This whole song is a flex, but when I heard the story behind it, and saw the security camera footage, it took on a whole new meaning for me. When J.Cole was making this album, he was staying in a wealthy community not used to rappers, so when Cole and his collaborators came by in fancy cars, smoking weed and making noise in the late hours of the night, his neighbors assumed the worst and called the cops. After watching a SWAT team kick-door J.Cole’s house, I felt a little angry at these racist honkies who couldn’t be bothered to Google their neighbor before assuming he sold drugs. I love that J.Cole used this moment as a teaching experience, and as a sign of his success, rather than an excuse to hate white people. He’s not selling dope, he’s making dope music. There’s no need to worry, unless you’re afraid of great music, in which case you should turn on that Rebecca Black album and shut the fuck up.

8) The only rapper who sold more dope than me is Eazy E- Pusha T

Now, I’m not in the DEA, so I have no way to know if this claim is true, but the way Pusha T delivers this line, you really have no choice but to believe him. Pusha T’s entire discography is basically him bragging about his flourishing cocaine business, so I’d like to believe he knows a thing or two about it. I’m not super into the whole NWA catalog, but I’ve heard enough to know that Eazy E was a cold motherfucker who sold some dope. I’d have to see the total weight breakdown to know for sure, but I think that the top 3 cocaine concierges would have to be Pusha T, Eazy E, and Jay-Z. It’s funny how they all have a single letter at the end of their name, but that’s besides the point.

7) I just updated my old deal, I told Def Jam no less than 20 mil, and they cut that shit- Logic

How the fuck did Def Jam look at Logic’s last 2 albums and be like “Yup, this is something I’d pay 20 million dollars for.” I used to be a fan, and he still gets me excited sometimes, but Logic needs to slow down for awhile. This line was hard as fuck, and as a fan, I like seeing Logic succeed, but if he’s going to use the money Def Jam gave him to make more albums that sound like first drafts, I’m going to have to sit back and wait for something more polished to come from Logic.

6) All I wanted was 100 million and a bad bitch, now I want 200 and Minaj in my palace- Rick Ross

Have you seen Rick Ross’s house? It’s like something out of Scarface, which is probably why he bought it. It’s the largest single-family house in Georgia, and the biggest house I’ve ever seen on Google Earth. I don’t doubt that Rick Ross has a hundred million dollars; he owns a fast-food restaurant, a record label, a champagne brand, and probably a few other businesses, but I’m not sure how he’s gonna get Nicki Minaj in his palace. Maybe in 5 years when her career bottoms out. Rick Ross is the king of saying stupid shit that somehow sounds badass. Maybe it’s his voice, maybe it’s that rapper charisma, maybe he’s actually a badass. The world may never know.

5) I AM a God, so hurry up with my damn massage- Kanye West

What can I say about Kanye West that he hasn’t said himself? This man really listed God as a feature on his song “I am a God” If there really is a God, it’s not Kanye West, but the sheer audacity that he has is commendable.  Even better, he called the album this is on “Yeezus” That’s just the cherry on top of the batshit crazy saga that we call Kanye’s career.  The fact that people still put up with his shit is a testament to how amazing this man’s music used to be. I just hope that “Born Again Christian” Kanye looks back at this time of his life and realizes how crazy it was.

4) I believe there’s a God above me, I’m just the God of everything else- Pusha T

This is Pusha’s second appearance on this list, because it’s such a great line. The fact that Push can back up his claims with bars solidifies this claim for me, don’t forget: this is the guy who broke Drake’s confidence with the best diss song I’ve heard in years. The delivery of this line also makes this a killer, Push is almost sneering at us mere mortals as he looks down on his rap kingdom. Think about the level of confidence it takes to declare yourself a God, while acknowledging there’s still a higher power above you, shit’s incredible.

3) I did it all without a Jay feature- Mac Miller

From a 1.0 Pitchfork score to a Grammy-nominated jack-of-all-trades, Mac Miller deserves the top-3 spot. Not only did he have the first #1 independent album of the last 30 years, not only did he play piano, bass, drums, guitar, sing, rap, and produce, Mac Miller inspired many legendary artists to hone their craft. Usually a humble, quiet person, Here We Go (the song this line comes from) is a triumphant, braggadocios anthem celebrating his success during a dark time in his life. He did all of this by himself, without using more mainstream artists to gain popularity.  The fact that Jay makes an appearance in this list makes this line even better; he doesn’t even need his cosign to be great.

2) Obama say whattado- Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar is such an important part of rap. He’s the first Pulitzer Prize winner who raps, he’s the first rapper to show up on the Presidential Playlist, and he’s definitely the first rapper with an album cover taken at the White House.  He’s this generation’s Tupac, hopefully without the violent end. To Pimp a Butterfly is such an important album, so Kendrick shouting out the first black president in a song about black empowerment is perfect. I can totally see Kendrick and Barack hanging out in some luxurious event with a bunch of Rhodes Scholars, talking about philosophy and politics, and celebrating all their medals and awards together.

1) No such thing as an ugly billionare, I’m cute- Jay-Z

This is the best one. The rap flex 30 years in the making. Jay-Z is rap’s first billionaire, and as the most confident person ever, Jay deserves the top spot. Now, no disrespect to Jay, but he looks like Mr. Potatohead came to life and started selling crack. Nas had some less-than-nice things to say about his appearance, but Jay’s also married to Beyonce, and Nas is still paying child support to the “Milkshake” lady, so who really has the last laugh?  Jay has enough money and success to be able to spout ridiculous shit and get away with it, so the fact that he still comes with amazing lines like this makes me happy.