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Dreaming It All Makes Sense Again

Posted by doktakra on December 30, 2011 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Common acts like a movie star.A year-and-a-half ago, after the disaster that was Universal Mind Control and Common's starring role in the perhaps equally awful Just Wright, I criticized Common, my favorite musician growing up, for trying to "become an aspiring Hollywood actor who's now irrelevant in hip-hop and no longer cares about putting out quality music."

Despite the fact that Common was reuniting with producer No I.D. for the first time since 1997's One Day It'll All Make Sense (which was my high school year book quote, by the way), I was still skeptical about buying his ninth album, The Dreamer/The Believer.  U.M.C. was just that bad, a cacophonous mess so poorly considered and executed, which so desperately tried to appeal to the pop charts and accompanying video crossover circuit, that it made me reevaluate Common's place in hip-hop history as one of the most introspective and thought-provoking "conscious" rappers ever.

Still, I couldn't deny the fact the first two singles off Dreamer/Believer, "Ghetto Dreams" and "Sweet" sounded infinitely closer to the Common I used to know.  After a week-and-a-half of debating whether it was worth my $12, I decided to give him another chance.

As the album title would suggest, Common mainly sticks to preaching about (spoiler alert) dreaming and believing, whether it's about the type of woman he wants or about his aspirations to make the world around him a better place.  No I.D.'s production, full of soulful vocal samples and grooves, perfectly accompanies Common's uplifting vibe. The beats do get a little repetitive, and the choruses rarely stand out, but the nostalgic sound is unquestionably a step in the right direction.

On the intro track, “The Dreamer,” Common sets the tone with inspirational and uplifting rhymes over beautiful bass and drum kicks, before a spoken word piece by Dr. Maya Angelou. Common manages to use his own mainstream success as an example of striving to achieve goals in a way that surprisingly comes off as endearing and genuine.

“Kinda took me back to when I first had a dream / To be like the king that sang "Billie Jean" / Now it's gold records, and I'm on silver screens / At the mountaintop, you still gotta dream."

It's not exactly new and unchartered territory for him, but when Common is back to waxing poetic on tracks about love and relationships, such as "Cloth," a touching ode to women, and "Windows," a heartfelt song dedicated to his daughter, few can do it better.  “Lovin’ I Lost,” on which he reminisces about a break-up over a melancholy Curtis Mayfield sample, and "The Believer," which features John Legend, are his two best songs I've heard since Be.

At the same time, it's still hard to take Common all that seriously now when he fires shots at "sing-song" rappers (hi, Drake) on "Sweet," and plays up his street cred by boasting “’You Hollywood’/ Nah, n****, I’m Chicago / So I cracked his head with a motherf***ing bottle" on "Raw." At times, it seems like he's trying too hard to convince the listener to believe, fittingly enough, that he's still an underground legend rather than a commercial star.  The later track also includes two unforgivably bad puns -- “aware of her chest because I stay abreast” and “what’s in front of me is this great behind." Ugh.

Billed as Common’s return to making socially conscious hip-hop, the album as a whole has a familiar '90's style and recognizable flow.  It's not the second coming of Resurrection by any means, but it has enough going for it to at least not make me wish that the gifted MC would become a full-time actor (plus, there's no way I'm watching Just Wright II or even Hell on Wheels).

Common's Wright To Be

Posted by doktakra on May 5, 2010 at 2:03 PM Comments comments (0)

When I heard that Common would be appearing at the NBA Store today to promote his new movie, Just Wright, I called him a sell-out on Twitter.  I immediately received replies from people who disagreed -- including someone who worked on the movie set -- and claimed that he had the right to pursue an acting career.


In retrospect, maybe "sell-out" wasn't the right word. It was just easier than saying, "I can't believe my one-time favorite, underground rapper has become an aspiring Hollywood actor who's now irrelevant in hip-hop and no longer cares about putting out quality music."  That, and "sell out" fit within the 140-character Twitter limit.


I've been with Common (Sense) since the very beginning, and I didn't suddenly turn on him for no reason.  I still remember hearing "I Used to Love H.E.R." and being blown away by the beautifully crafted concept of "Hip Hop in its Essence and Real."  The cool kids in my (mostly white, suburban) middle school who were into rap had no idea who Common even was -- for a while, his lyricism and intellectual wordplay on Resurrection, my all-time favorite album, was almost like my little secret.


I picked up his witty debut, Can I Borrow A Dollar?, found some of his early '90's demo tapes, and bought One Day It'll All Make Sense (1996)a deep and nostalgic trip through his past, on the day it was released.  When Common became more widely known and recognized after Like Water For Chocolate (2000) -- I was shocked that my girlfriend at the time thought he was hot -- I performed his commercial hit, "The Light," at my high school talent show.


As a sophomore in college, I stared at the cover of the poorly-reviewed, electronica and rock-inspired Electric Circus, briefly considering leaving it sealed in the shrink-wrap to preserve the good memories of his past works, before finding the courage to to open it.  My friends and I went to a few of his shows when he toured in New York, and when I talked to Common after a performance, he sounded genuinely proud and excited to take hip-hop into another direction -- one that I, and many others, didn't appreciate.  I thought I'd never hear the same poetic prophet and self-righteous rhyme artist I grew to love.


A few years later, seeing Common and Kanye West perform "The Food" on Chappelle's Show was like hearing from an old friend I thought was long gone.  But while Be, and the subsequent Finding Forever were some of his best and most vibrant albums, Common expressed a growing desire to get into acting.  The writing had been on the wall for a few years, after he'd written jingles and appeared in commercials for conglomerates Coca-Cola and The Gap.


Many of his rap peers had already established themselves in Hollywood: former N.W.A.'er Ice Cube was putting out family comedies; Original Gangster Ice-T went from causing controversy with "Cop Killer" to playing a cop on Law & Order: SVU less than a decade later; LL Cool J had a couple of notable movie roles and would soon do his best David Caruso impression on NCIS: Los Angeles; and Snoop Dogg endorsed every imaginable product by adding "izzle" at the end of its name.


I never thought I'd see the day when Common would be following in their footsteps, but I didnt fault him for earning more money, as long as his music didn't suffer as a result.  Instead, when his long-awaited Invincible Summer came out in December 2008 under the title of Universal Mind Control, my biggest fears were realized.


I would've been okay had Common decided to become a full-time actor and left the rap game entirely, if it spared me from listening to a rushed, 10-track, 39-minute album filed with unclever sexual references and clichéd dance tracks like the gag-worthy "Sex 4 Suga."  Whether it was a conscious decision to appeal to a broader audience by sounding like Ludacris or T.I., or lack of time from filming his parts in American Gangster and Smokin' Aces, Common dumbed down his conscience-provoking style for unimaginative narratives -- “Check my dictionary / That ass is so defined” -- and ditched the smooth, jazzy production of Kanye West, the late J. Dilla, and No ID for the Neptunes’ pop beats.


The man who chastised hip-hop for getting "caught in the Hype Williams" and losing H.E.R. direction on The Roots' -- who casual fans now know as the house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon  -- "Act Too (Love of My Life)," shot a video for Universal's lead single with (who else?) Hype Williams.


On "Announcement," possibly his raunchiest song to date, Common alluded to his past glory in unexpected and heart-breaking fashion -- "I still love H.E.R., she be needing the d*** / When it comes to hip hop it's just me and my b****."  Whoa.  I had to rewind and listen to that part four or five times to make sure I heard him correctly.


Since the album's release, Common's landed a supporting role in Date Night and the lead in Just Wright, a romantic basketball movie with another rapper-turned-actor, Queen Latifah.  Meanwhile, he's promised "raw hip-hop" on his upcoming album, The Believer, which is slated to come out sometime this year.  Until, of course, another script comes his way.  

I really did used to love H.I.M.

R. Kelly: Step in the Name of Lunacy

Posted by doktakra on February 8, 2010 at 11:01 AM Comments comments (0)

Last year, I broke down a small sample of the most ridiculous R. Kelly lyrics I've ever heard, from his profanity-laced "REAL TALK" to his desire to propose to a buttocks.  To be fair, I'm not sure there's a single song in Kellz's extensive catalog that doesn't include some kind of head-scratching, cringe-worthy line...or ten.  The man simply has a gift for penning ill-fated sexual metaphors and similes, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I enjoy them a little too much.  If a recent acquittal on multiple child-pornography charges didn't stop him from bringing the crazy, then clearly, nothing ever will.  Here is Part II of this immensely enjoyable (at least for me) exercise in absurdity.

"Customer (Remix)" (from Raheem DeVaughn's Love Behind the Melody):  As the title suggests, the two singers allow a female customer to order various items from their respective menus.  Perhaps you can overlook Kelly referring to himself as "Chef Boy-R. Kellz" and claiming that that he'll "put that roast in your oven," but he, of all people, wouldn't dare go there, would he?  Yes, yes he would -- "shorty, if you're thirsty, I got some good, good lemonade."  Wow...just wow.

"In the Kitchen," TP.3 Reloaded:  Another song, another masterful display of storytelling:  "Sex in the kitchen over by the stove / Put you on the counter by the buttered rolls / Hands on the table, on your tippy toes / We'll be making love like the restaurant was closed."  Nothing out of the ordinary, really -- until Kellz blurts out, "Girl, I'm rea-dy to toss your sa-lad!!" at the 1:52 mark.  That, even after all of this time, I did not see coming.

"Pregnant," Untitled:  The self-proclaimed sexasaurus cuts to the chase within the first five seconds of this remarkable ode to child-bearing: “Girl I want to get you pregnant -- knock you up!”  You see, when a player find a woman with "an unbelievable booty," who's "more than a mistress," he must "handle [his] business and put that girl in [his] kitchen."  Truer words have never been spoken.  I still can't decide if I find this song to be brilliant, humiliating, uplifting, embarrassing, unreal, and/or genius.  Although, maybe this is just me, but despite Kellz's best intentions to make this a sensual slow jam, I'd be a little hesitant to have this playing in the background if I brought a woman into my bedroom.

Also of note is the unexpected reappearance of Tyrese, who almost outshines Kellz by apparently thinking it's 2001 and telling the object of his affections, "I can have you co-starring and get in one of my new movies ... I can make you famous."  Sure you can, Ty...sure you can.


"Echo," Untitled:  Inexplicably yodeling at the end of 1997's "Can We Get Up On a Room" (R) was obviously not enough, as Kellz decided it was time to bring back the lost art form a dozen years later on the chorus of his latest single.  Like I've said all along, alpine exuberance is exactly what contemporary R&B has been missing:  "Yo-de-lay, yo-de-lay, yo-de-lay hoo-hoo / Got you sounding like you're screaming from a mountain peak."  Only in R. Kelly's universe is yodeling a sexual aphrodisiac, but rest assured, he very clearly explains his reasoning.


"Whole Lotta Kisses," Untitled:  I almost skipped over this generic and relatively boring track, but listened long enough to be treated to one of Kelly's stranger comparisons:  "Bury myself all in you, as if you were my grave."  Wait, what??  I'm no king of R&B, but I can't think of a more guaranteed mood killer during a make-out session than that.

Well, unless you attempt to compare a woman's love to going to church -- she's even "got a n***a waking up extra early on Sunday" (!) -- and then tell her that she reminds you of your mother, both of which Kellz does within a span of a minute on "Religious" (I guess he forgot that he already broached this topic on 1995's "Religious Love").  Sigh, it's like he's not even trying sometimes.

Look, if Kellz is going to remake his own tracks, can Usher (or anyone more relevant than Trey Songz) diss him so we get another version of the indescribable "I'm A Beast?"

The Curious Case of Robert Sylvester Kelly

Posted by doktakra on March 27, 2009 at 10:28 AM Comments comments (11)

I'm fascinated by R., his music, not any of those extracurricular activities.  I remember getting the cassette single for "I Can't Sleep Baby (If I)" after hearing it on MTV Jamz with Bill Bellamy way back in 1996, and getting hooked on Kellz.  But I sometimes wonder if he's in on the joke, or if he really thinks "Trapped in the Closest' is a work of genius and not unfathomably absurd and unintentionally hilarious.  Now, I can just copy and paste the lyrics to the 22 (and counting) chapters and call it a day, but instead, I present to you, the most ridiculous R. Kelly songs I've ever heard that don't involve midgets and nosy neighbors.  Most of these come from his recent albums (Double Up is epic) leading me to believe that he's slowly getting more and more insane in his forties (!).


"Real Talk," Double Up:   I don't think I realized the extent of R. Kelly's insanity before I heard this song and saw the (YouTube exclusive!) video.  He strolls around like a damn fool with his partly-braided hair, while we get to hear his side of a conversation with a woman.  This consists of him cursing her out for three solid minutes (language warning, obviously). He doesn't bother staying on beat or rhyming half the time, and just in case we forget, he keeps reminding us that it's "REAL TALK!"  Sample 'lyrics,' which really need to be heard to get the full experience:

"F*** me? Girl, f*** you! / I dont give a f*** about what you're talking about."

"I'm sick of this bulls*** / Coming home and getting my s*** and gettin' the f*** up out in a Dodge."

"The next time your ass get horny, go f*** one of your funky-ass friends / Hell yeah, you probably doing that s*** anyway."  (note: this might be my favorite R. Kelly line ever)

Um, yeah...I have no words.  And if that's not enough, there's a (clearly staged) fight at the end and he mercifully tells the cameraman to stop filming this mess.

"Sex Planet,''  Double Up:  If you can get past him talking about "getting close to a fine-ass chick," in the intro, you'll get treated to Kellz's best spaceship metaphors.  It's starts out innocently enough, but then he takes it way too far, even by his standards: "I'm about to twinkle and touch your soul / Once I am touring to your black hole," and "Girl, I promise this will be painless / We're gonna make a trip to planet Uranus" are my personal faves.  I mean, I don't think these lines were clever in middle school.

"The Zoo," Double Up:  Kellz saves some of his fanciest come-ons for this one: ''I got you so wet, it's like a rainforest / Like Jurassic Park, except I'm your sexosaurus, babe."  I'm taking furious notes.  And how does he see nothing wrong with having monkey noises in the background?

"I'm a Flirt," Double Up:  It's catchy and became a huge Billboard hit, but I have no idea what he's talking about here:

"Yeah, homey, you say she yo' girlfriend / But when I step up to her I'ma be like, 'cousin'" -- What???

"Just soon as she go to the bathroom, playa I'm gon holla at her"  -- Um...didn't you just face some serious charges for doing that stuff?

"She be callin' me 'daddy,' and I be callin' her 'mommy' / She be callin' you Kelly, when yo' name is Tommy" -- Interesting, but wouldn't she call Tommy, "daddy" if we go by that logic?  Or did I miss the whole point?  Is there a point??

"Ignition (Remix)," Chocolate Factory:  I thought it was a self-parody when I first heard it ("now usually I don't do this"), but now, I'm not so sure.  I could just quote the whole song here, but here are a few choices lyrics. "You must be a football coach / The way you got me playin' the field" has to rank among the worst pick-up lines of all-time, and "Now it's like Murder She Wrote / Once I get you out them clothes," leaves me scratching my head every time.  Is Kellz is a huge Angela Landsury fan?  Somehow, I doubt that...but you know what, let's just move on.

"F*** You Tonight:" This is actually a smooth Notorious B.I.G. track from Life After Death, but I'm mentioning it because it contains the following unfortunately homoerotic line from the Pied Piper himself:  "B.I.G. / bring that ass to me!"  I don't know was he was going for there, and I'm a little frightened.  Also of note is Kellz's guest appearance on T-Pain's "I'm 'N Luv Wit A Stripper (Remix) -- a work of brilliance in its own right -- where he charms a lady with his seductive side.  "I must be the first man to ever fall in love with an ass / gonna bend down on my knees, and ask that ass to marry me ... I wanna stick it, wanna kiss it /  If I could, I'd put my whole damn head in it."  Um, I don't recommend doing either of those things, but that's just me.

"Might Be Mine," 12 Play: 4th Quarter:  Kellz insists "this is a true story," as if there's anything he could say possibly say that I wouldn't believe at this point.  The song is about a call he receives from an attorney representing a stripper who's pregnant with this child.  I don't even know where to begin here.  First of all, in typical Kelly fashion, it sounds like he's just reading a transcript of the phone call ("Then said, "who's this again"  / He took a breath and said, "you heard me the first time").  And second, you'd think a 40-year-old man wouldn't drop gems like, "I went on to tell 'em that I hit it raw."  The chorus confirms that he in fact didn't use protection, and informs us that while "there's a very good chance that it might be [his]", he "[doesn't] even like this girl!"

"Feelin' On Your Booty," TP2:  The subject matter doesn't even phase me and it wouldn't make the list if Kellz didn't start scatting, "booga-booga-boo-tee!" at the end before cracking himself up Jimmy Fallon-style.  He also inexplicably decides to yodel at the 3:40 mark of "Can We Get Up On a Room" (R), which almost ruins an otherwise nice slow jam for me.


"I Like the Crotch on You," 12 Play:  For the name alone...ugh.  I'm sure I missed a few, but I'm starting to talk like R. Kelly in my head, and that can't be a good thing for anyone.

No Stopping Us Now

Posted by doktakra on February 2, 2008 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I downloaded an old Jason Mraz album after two of my co-workers described him as a "cooler John Mayer."  Cooler than Mayer?  I refuse to believe it.  If you sense sarcasm, you're way off base.  I'm not ashamed of my ongoing man-crush....that's right, I went there.  Actually, a reader (and I use this term very loosely) suggested that I create an entire page devoted to this uncontrollable, yet natural phenomenon.  I think she was joking when she said it, but you know what, why not?  Here's a top-10 list off the top of my head, in no specific order.  You'll notice that Mayer doesn't even make the cut.

  1. Dirk Nowitzki
  2. Justin Timberlake
  3. Adrian Grenier
  4. Milo Ventimiglia*
  5. Wentworth Miller
  6. David Lee (Knicks)
  7. Andre 3000 
  8. Patrick Dempsey 
  9. Blair Underwood 
  10. Robin Thicke

     *Season 1 of Heroes only, when he has that fly emo hairstyle

By the way, I know I've mentioned a lot of alternative/pop artists over the last few weeks, but I'm still into hip-hop.  It's just a slow time right now, and I need new tracks to get me through the day...and I can't help it if James Morrison makes me cry.  My one strong recommendation is the debut Blu & Exile album -- some of the most soulful production and sharp, witty lyricism you'll find on the shelves.

And finally, I knew that last Thursday would be good day from the moment I noticed my fly was down...except that it wasn't just down, it was broken.  I was on the train to work at the time, meaning I was forced to spend the entire day walking around with my pants fully unzipped.  Thankfully I remembered to wear underwear and prevented any unintentional Britney moments (sorry, no links -- I try to keep it classy).  Aside from inadvertently exposing myself to everyone in my office, I somehow managed to alienate a co-worker (female, of course).  Normally, this wouldn't be new territory for me, but we've never even met in person.  I feel the sequence of events can best be summarized through my own pathetic rendition of 7 Days

I talked to this girl on Monday
Planned a coffee meeting on Tuesday
She ignored me on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday and Saturday
I cried on Sunday.

*Bows*  I know, I deserve a Grammy for that classic. Or serious therapy -- whichever comes first.

You Give Me Something

Posted by doktakra on January 16, 2008 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (4)

I was half-heartedly watching the late playoff games on Sunday afternoon -- while sleeping and trying not to think of the day's events (hint:  she and I weren't meant to be) -- when I saw a commercial for FX movies.  The only reason it caught my attention was the music playing the background.  Maybe it was my melancholy mood and the self-reflection that came with it, but I've never had a song affect me that much.  I found out it was by James Morrison, a UK singer who released his debut album, aptly titled Undiscovered, in 2006.  I immidiately downloaded it from iTunes, and have now listened to it three times through.  I, right, almost...cried the first time I heard it.  I'm telling you -- and this is coming from someone who primarily listens to hip-hop and R&B -- I only wish I'd known about it sooner.  If you don't have this album, it gets my highest recommendation possible.

If you're wondering, non-Morrison tracks on my official "Depressed and failing to convince myself I don't need her" Mix include, but are certainly not limited to:

1. Ne-Yo "Go On Girl"
2. R. Kelly "I Can't Sleep, Baby" (LP Version & Remix)
3. Craig David "Awkward"
4. Usher "Let It Burn"
5. Maxwell "This Woman's Work"
6. Justin Timberlake "Again"
7.Ben Folds Five "Brick"
8. Jon McLaughlin "Human"
9. Boyz II Men "On Bended Knee"
10. Stevie Wonder "Premonition"

To lighten the mood a little bit, I will now go on a tangent and provide another round of my new favorite commercials.


1.  Subway - Oochie Mama:  It doesn't take much to make me laugh.  As soon as there's talk of photocopying a butt, I'm already smirking.  The rest of this ad takes an odd and unexpected turn, but it's damn funny...nowhere near classic status, but above average.  But the people who made comments in the Youtube link need to chill and keep their homophobic thoughts to themselves.

  Kia Maniac (aka the weird dancing guy):  A common misconception when it comes to ranking an ad in the commercial pantheon is whether it makes sense.  This is simply not true.  I can't get enough of this guy, er, provocatively dancing and then getting a bucket of water thrown on him at the end.  I don't know really know why, but I start nodding my head every time it starts playing.  No, I am not ashamed to admit this.

And on a final note, I caught some of the new American Gladiators show the other night (I don't know why), and I was not impressed in the slightest.  I guess some of the women are semi-attractive...if you're into that masculine, dominatrix look...which I am.  But I gotta say, when I heard that one of the dudes used to be a gay porn star, I was shocked that it wasn't The Wolf.  I mean, come on!

Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta

Posted by doktakra on November 12, 2007 at 4:53 PM Comments comments (0)

I saw American Gangster over the weekend, and came away impressed.  It started off a little slow, and for a second I thought I was getting lost -- which, by the way, is the worst possible feeling in a theater.  But the action picked up at just the right moment, as the rise of Frank Lucas unfolded at a steady pace.  It reminded me of Scarface in some ways, which is the biggest compliment a rapper could give (just ignore that last comment).  I did find a few small things a little odd...none of them ruined the movie or anything, but you know...over-analyzing is my hobby.  **Minor spoiler alert if you haven't seen the movie yet.

1)  The casting of Cuba Gooding, Jr. as the pimp/club owner was the pinnacle of unintentional comedy.  I kept waiting for him to starting yelling, "Hey, Denzel!  I'm wearing your underwear!"   Seriously, whoever decided it was a good idea to put him in that role should never work in Hollywood again.  This singlehandedly ruined one of the pivotal scenes in the movie (the brand discussion).

2)  I loved the trio of rappers (Common, T.I., and The RZA) in supporting roles, as you knew I would.  The problem was that I was distracted by the Wu-Tang Clan tattoo on RZA's shoulder.  They couldn't have him wear a shirt with sleeves, or maybe digitally removed it?  I mean, sure, he doesn't have to be a rapper to have a tattoo like that...except that it's supposed to be the late 1960s, remember?

3)  We're told that Frank makes his female employees work in the nude so they can't steal anything from him.  That actually made me think of a way they still could, especially since the movie is about illegal drug smuggling, but that's besides the point.  Some of the women were clearly wearing bras and/or panties, which made me wonder if those particular actresses refused to be fully nude.  Um, they couldn't find enough extras to appear naked on screen with Denzel Washington?  Hell, I would've done it had they asked me.  You heard me.

On a related note, Jay-Z's new album -- which is based on movie and shares the same title, but is NOT the official soundtrack -- makes much more sense after seeing Gangster.  I was really looking forward to it, but despite the good reviews from just about every trusted source, I'm not feeling it that much.  For the record, I own every Jay-Z album -- save The Dynasty: Roc La Familia (which isn't really a solo album, as much as a Roc-a-Fella collaboration) -- so its not as if I'm a newcomer to his style  Even Kingdom Come, arguably Jay's weakest effort, had a couple of favorites that I are in my steady rotation.  The man himself calls Gangster a "work of genius," and all modesty aside, Jay is as lyrically sharp as ever.  But I just feel like there's something missing --  I find the pace a little monotonous and slow.  Maybe that's because it's a 'concept album' with each song based on a scene in the movie and simultaneously incorporating his own upbringing.  I'll probably give it few more spins to see if it'll grow on me a little more, but after two listens, I'm yet to find a song I really love. 

[Minor Update:  "Roc Boys," "Ignorant Sh*t," and "American Dreamin'" have so far warranted repeat play.]

Still Ballin'

Posted by doktakra on July 14, 2007 at 7:01 PM Comments comments (3)

The last couple of weeks have been even more boring and uneventful that usual for me.  Unless you count my absolutely dominant performance in the company off-site event.  And since you desperately need the details, enjoy:

3 inning pitched, 2 earned runs, 4 strikeouts; 1-2 batting, 1 RBI
0 catches, 1 rush for a first down; 1 defensive interception
1 assist; helped injured teammate get ice and medical assistance

Some News, Notes, & Links from Kra's life
  • I watched the Rock Paper Scissors (RPS) Championship on ESPN last weekend -- like you wouldn't watch if it came on.  I don't think I've seen more unintentional comedy packed into one hour.  I can't even describe how much the contestants were into it, like one dude who called himself "Shears" and wore mittens over his hands.  There were token hot women who both competed and were clearly paid money to pose as 'girlfriends.'  The highlight, however, was an old school expert's tips and tricks of the trade -- like putting down the look-away rock to demoralize your opponent; laying the upside-down paper to signify serving a subpoena; and busting out scissors at a 45-degree tell your opponent, peace-out.  You can't make this stuff up.

  • I'm going against one of my biggest principles here by kind of promoting something that I loathe.  I haven't eaten at McDonald's in at least five or six years -- note that I can't say I haven't stepped foot in one though, since I've used the restrooms on quite a few occasions.  Yes, I felt you needed to know this.  Anyways, back to the point:  the new McNuggets ad is absolute brillance.  It's threatening to crack my top ten best commercial of all time, it's that good.  If this doesn't make you laugh, something is wrong with you.

  • I gave in and picked up the new T-Pain album.  I didn't want to admit it, but that damn "Shorty Snappin'" song has really grown on me.  I was actually pleasantly surprised by the CD, for the most part.  Sure, there are a bunch of skippable tracks -- like one where he lets us know what he'd like to do on a girl's stomach  (um, he's not the only one) -- but there are some good songs that can get stuck in your head.  And isn't that enough to pass for quality nowadays?  Good times!

Alternative Take

Posted by doktakra on May 9, 2007 at 9:26 PM Comments comments (3)

I'm not sure if its the lack of worthy new hip-hop, or (gasp) a slight shift in my musical taste, but I've been listening to more alternative rock lately.  I never really hated the genre even when I was younger and rarely changed the stations in parents' car...but I've also never owned a single albums that falls outside of my niche.  So why have I been downloading -- note that I don't usually condone this method -- random Eric Clapton, Ben Folds, and Maroon Five songs?  Eh, maybe it has to do with my mood or something.  And at least it's a decent conversation topic, especially with the ladies...I mean, it's not often I find one that wants to disect the dopeness of Pharoahe Monch's flow or J.Dilla's timeless production.  I guess I learn can live with this (temporary?) new long as I'm still respected as a player in the game.  Nope, no clue what that means -- I'm probably more suited to be rockin' the suburbs, anyway.  Feel free to give me suggestions on artists/songs/etc.

My Favorite Four Minutes

Posted by doktakra on March 23, 2007 at 6:42 PM Comments comments (0)


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Thought it was time for a little break from my usual ranting for something a little more pleasing the eyes and ears.  How's this for an entertaining video?  Two of my -- and just about everyone's -- favorite women, shaking their hips side by side, and keeping very serious faces in Beautiful Liar.  I'm feeling the song, but I'm not crazy about the video.  I think it comes of a bit corny, but hey, four minutes of Beyonce and Shakira can never be bad.  I think I can watch those two do just about anything: comb their hair, paint their nails, read a book, take a shower...hold on, a need a minute.  I guess this video is the closest we'll get to that, since Eva Longoria killed this dream of a rumor.