I just wish it was shorter…
I just wish it was shorter…
Recently I’ve been doing video reviews (for convenience mostly, it’s really really fast to do) and I’ll just post them here now! I hope you enjoy!
That is me.
I have been on my high horse for too long that I started to annoy myself. I would shun artists like Tyga, Lil Wayne, and 2 Chainz for the fact that they had very shallow lyrics. They don’t have intricate wordplay like other artists like El-P and Eminem (old).
AND IT CLICKED FINALLY.
I would compare the ignorant rappers to action movies. Their purpose is just to entertain. Not to be thought provoking, not to make you ponder life, but to just make you have fun, whether it’s grinding in the club, or jamming it in your car.
I have now embraced the fun of 2 Chainz’ amazing album, Based on a T.R.U. Story. I honestly had so much fun with this album.
“All I want for my birthday is a big booty hoe.”
Quote of the year.
So, I’ve seen a lot of people do projects of watching 100 movies a year, 50 movies a year, etc. I want to get in on this, but with my own twist. I’m going to do it for three forms of entertainment, not one.
DISCLAIMER: I left out books, because I have 20 books to read for school, classics. I left out plays and musicals, because they’re not big in Houston, so not many big theaters.
So, here’s my list!
25 Classic / Critically Acclaimed Movies
Singin’ in the Rain (1952) 9/10
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
The Green Mile (1999)
Citizen Kane (1941) 10/10
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
The Graduate (1967) 9/10
The Chaser (2008)
Annie Hall (1977)
The Good, The Bad, and the Weird (2008)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Blade Runner (1982)
Gran Torino (2008)
On the Waterfront (1954)
Raging Bull (1980)
I Saw The Devil (2011) 9/10 Casablanca (1942) 10/10
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
The Godfather (1972) 10/10
10 Classic / Critically Acclaimed Games
Ratchet & Clank (2002)
Shadow of the Colossus (2005)
Devil May Cry (2001) 9/10
Doom 3 (2004)
Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (2001)
The Walking Dead Series (2012)
Portal (2007) 10/10
25 Classic / Critically Acclaimed Albums
The Beach Boys, “Pet Sounds” 8/10 The Beatles, “Revolver” 10/10 Bob Dylan, “Highway 61 Revisited” 10/10 The Clash, “London Calling” 8/10
The Velvet Underground and Nico, “The Velvet Underground”
The Jimi Hendrix Experience, “Are You Experienced?”
The Eagles, “Hotel California”
Radiohead, “Kid A”
AC/DC, “Back in Black” 8/10
Pink Floyd, “The Wall”
The Notorious B.I.G., “Ready to Die”
Dr. Dre, “The Chronic” 8/10 A Tribe Called Quest, “The Low End Theory” 8/10 Joy Division, “Closer” 8/10 Elvis Costello, “My Aim is True” 10/10 Metallica, “Master of Puppets” 9/10 Nine Inch Nails, “The Downward Spiral” 10/10 Beastie Boys, “License to Ill” 8/10
Talking Heads, “Speaking in Tongues”
Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” 7/10
David Bowie, “Aladdin Sane”
My Bloody Valentine, “Loveless” 8/10 Weezer, “Weezer” 9/10 OutKast, “Stankonia” 8/10
Wish me luck!
I’ll need it…
A$AP Rocky is a New York rapper that gained a lot of attention from his mixtape, LiveLoveA$AP. This mixtape featured very atmospheric, reverb filled beats, and this had not been done in the mainstream before. He brought this production to the forefront, and is now used by many other MC’s. His lyrics and flow were mediocre however, and it was his unique production that kept him afloat.
Fast forward to the end of 2012, where his debut studio album, LongLiveA$AP, was leaked. I didn’t want to review it at that time, as it seems kind of… disrespectful. Nothing against others that did though. So it’s finally the release date, so here are my thoughts!
The first thing I’ll say is that I would split this album into two parts. One part features the slow, atmospheric beats of his previous mixtape. The other half features big name rappers and a fast and furious beat. The way he structures the album, it really works.
He opens with the title track. It’s a very unique beat, with vocal samples and reverb soaked drums. From the outset, you can hear that his flow has gotten a hundred times better. It’s faster, and is much more fluid. When it reaches the hook, it segues into this finger picked, clean guitar, with a falsetto singer. It sounds pretty good, and is on my good list.
After that, it’s his first single, Goldie. The production by Hit-Boy is impeccable. It sounds molded for A$AP Rocky, spitting a fast, swag filled rap. The hook is sung by A$AP, in his deep voice. It’s extremely catchy, with some clever lines too.
Then he has a song featuring ScHoolboy Q titled PMW. This song has decent production, nothing too special though. At this point of the album, it’s apparent that this album is what one would call, “Sophisticated Ignorance”. This song talks about, well, pussy, money, and weed. However, the execution is done expertly, so the lyrical content can be forgiven. Also, ScHoolboy Q spits a really nice verse.
The next three tracks blend together so much that I forget when the tracks change. LVL, Hell, and Pain have very similar production style, and not a good thing either. They aren’t unique enough production wise, as the lyricism cannot stand on its own. However, I will say that if you liked LiveLoveA$AP, you’ll love these three tracks. They just didn’t work for me.
Onto my favorite three tracks on this album.
Fuckin’ Problem ft. 2 Chainz, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar is an amazing track. It’s fast and fun. Sophisticated ignorance at its best. Drake has the best verse, K Dot seems out of place, and 2 Chainz has a catchy hook. What could be better?
Wild for the Night ft. Skrillex. I honestly thought this track was going to be a dud. C’mon, dubstep and rap? However, Skrillex was reserved enough to make an amazing beat (that I understand to be a remix) that A$AP Rocky can rap over. It’s frantic and captures the energy of going willd.
1 Train. This will go down as one of the greatest posse cuts in hip hop history. The beat is immaculate and classic, the features are mind blowing, everything just falls so perfectly into place…except A$AP Rocky’s verse.
After that is the disappointing Fashion Killa. It’s another ignorant track with a decent beat. It’s hook is extremely annoying, at least to me. The lyrics are even more generic, making this track extremely forgettable.
Phoenix and Suddenly are the first introspective songs on the album. Phoenix is over a very subtle, understated beat, allowing A$AP Rocky to really talk about deeper things. Suddenly talks about how he feels about his sudden rise to fame. I love how he digs a little bit deeper, and it’s a great way to end the album.
Overall, it’s a very good album. The way he structures it is a rise and fall of tempo and energy. There are a few skippable tracks, but they’re mostly good. A$AP Rocky has really grown as an artist, and I’d love to see what he does next.
I’ve been listening to Hollywood Undead for a while, since they first dropped their debut, “Swan Songs”. It was a fun gimmick for a while, a bunch of emo boys rapping over rock/rap beats. However, it wore out its welcome very quickly. Songs became annoying, their voices got whinier, and I moved onto to greener pastures.
Their second album, “American Tragedy” was a bit better, but it still suffered from the same faults. Terrible flow, Mediocre lyrics, and lackluster production. There were only a few tracks that shined on that LP, especially “Bullet”‘.
Now let’s move onto the subject at hand: Notes From the Underground.
Let’s just say that getting a new singer hasn’t changed much. He sounds about the same as the previous lead. The hooks are much better than previous outings though, like on the song “Dead Bite”. The hook is really catchy (even if the lyrics make no sense to the song).
The songs I like out of the 11 are as follows: Dead Bite, From the Ground, and the first half of Pigskin.
“Dead Bite” has a pretty cool intro, with distorted guitars that also play throughout. The verses aren’t well rapped, but they are very catchy. The hook is good, as mentioned above.
“From The Ground” has a piano intro that randomly segues into a fast guitar riff. This also happens after the verse, over some screamed vocals. I love the screams at that part, but they last approximately 5 seconds. Then comes a decent, generic hook.
The first half of “Pigskin” is a fun club song that meanders into stupidity. It starts out playful, but then all it does is repeat the same thing over and over. It hurts my brain. Also, it probably has one of the worst lines ever. EVER.
“I’m so icey, I’m like ice cream.”
no. just no.
So the bad tracks. Well, basically everything else. I don’t want to do a track by track review of the other ones. They basically consist of:
1. Terrible production that sounds like they spent about 20 minutes on FL studio.
2. Terrible lyrics that could be written by an 8th grade, wanna-be rapper.
3. A ridiculously bad flow. like. so bad.
4. An incredibly cheesy hook that doesn’t fit in with the band’s image of “oh yeah, we wear masks, we’re so badass.”
I know that they’re trying to blend a sort of pop-rap with a pop-punk style, but they fail so hard. They need to focus on bringing all of the elements together more cohesively, and less amateurish. For example, rap artists usually have songs that are very braggy. However, these braggy raps are usually peppered with very personal things. The personal things don’t have to be depressing, introspective things, just personal things. That’s why rappers have such unique and memorable personas. They rap a certain way, talking about a certain thing, having their fan base get to know them. On the other hand, rock songs have a more general feel to them, allowing for interpretation. Rock songs usually have a deeper, more philosophical sense to them.
What Hollywood Undead does is rap, but with very general lyrics. All of the “punchlines” or brag raps is meaningless if we don’t know anything about them. The rest of the album consists of either “I’m so depressed” or “Man, I’m cool” in the most general way possible. I guess what I’m trying to say is that they should all get a personality. Make the flows different, make the lyrics unique, not just saying “I feel like there is a lion inside of me.” Like. What the hell?
All in all, this album was not a fun listen for me. I wouldn’t say it’s torture though, because torture lasts long. This album is 11 tracks, so it’s a lot quicker, like a bullet to the head.
Before I start this review, let’s just say that I will not be focusing on all of the controversy surrounding this movie. I want to focus on what makes his film good, and not have any outside influences change my opinion.
Zero Dark Thirty is the (supposedly) true retelling of the hunt of Osama Bin Laden. It isn’t a documentary, it’s structured like a film. However, I would label this movie as a fictional documentary, as the characters don’t really have backstory. The sole focus of Zero Dark Thirty is the story of how Osama Bin Laden was captured.
As I said, the characters of this film do not really have a personality. They’re more like pawns used to tell the story. You don’t come to feel for any of them. With that said, the cast is wonderfully acted, despite the wooden writing. The cast is so star studded that I can’t even begin to name them all.
Jessica Chastain is the central protagonist propelling the story. She plays a CIA agent that has hunted Bin Laden almost her entire life. She is headstrong and stubborn. Chastain does a wonderful job, and is completely deserving of her Golden Globe win. She plays the character with such fire that you sympathize with her when she is down on her luck.
Onto the plot. The movie spans ten years, starting from 9/11 to the day Bin Laden is killed. It is structured almost perfectly. It will show how she finds a small clue in 2003, then it’ll jump 3 years to the next clue. The way the movie works is that you can see the common thread. You see how one thing leads to another, and to the eventual downfall of the Al-Queda leader. Even though the first two hours is a lot of talking and searching, it is still very tense and interesting.
The last two hours are intense. The Tier One team moves slowly and quietly, doing their job efficiently. Kathryn Bigelow doesn’t resort to a big action scene. It is very reserved, just like they did in real life.
There’s not much more to say about Zero Dark Thirty. It is perfectly crafted, well acted, despite the lack of character. It might bore the general audience, but if you love movies, you should go see this!
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