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Thursday is Here….

Been a while (read: forever) since I’ve brought a post here to the UNDGRD hq. I come back bearing late night gifts though. Toronto-based and rising indie R&B singer Abel Tesfaye aka THE WEEKND has released his much anticipated follow up to his previous House of Balloons mixtape, entitled Thursday (<–click the day for link). With a lot of us going back to school in the next week or so, I say this is the perfect album to get ready for the Autumn season. Keep an eye on the horizon for Tesfaye’s next project, the last of this here trilogy: Echoes of Silence….

Movie Magic from Abroad

I haven’t posted much here (read: at all) at the Undgrd headquarters lately, but lately doesn’t equate eternity so I am back from my hiatus, sabbatical, or whatever you want to call it. A lot has happened in the world since I’ve been away on my little vacation, but this is neither the time nor space for me to discuss said happenings. Instead, I’d like to share a movie with you that I saw recently called City of God. The movie is a Brazilian production, first released in 2002, that depicts the lives of various people from a Rio de Janeiro favela (slum) from their youth until adulthood. The favela that serves as the main setting for the film is filled with vice, which is  supplied mainly from the crime lords and bandits that rule it. The film is masterfully shot and every character has an emotional weight and significance that instantly brings you closer to the movie. The acting is spot on, even eerie at times, considering some of the actions that take place during the film. It’s a gripping tale that intertwines the lives of many people, sometimes tragically and sometimes magnificently, but nonetheless, effectively and artfully. The closing scenes are particularly powerful and a fitting ending to such an outstanding piece of cinematic work. Check out the trailer above.

Football Foul Play

Ever since the world cup, I have become quite the football/soccer fan. The only sport I enjoy equally as much or maybe a little bit more is basketball and that’s saying a lot because I love the game of basketball. At this point, I know that when North London’s Arsenal are facing FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou in Barcelona for a chance at a spot in the UEFA Champion’s League quarterfinals, it’s far beyond  a “big game”. Even bigger perhaps are the many stars that battle it out on the pitch for supremacy. One of these stars, Robin van Persie, was questionable for the match, but did end up starting. The start was huge news for the Gunners. van Persie not only scored the first goal in their eventual 2-1 defeat of Barcelona at the Emirates for the first leg of the round, but he arguably increases his team’s level of play greatly whenever he is on the pitch.

So, imagine the horror on Arsene Wenger’s face when van Persie gets a second yellow (first yellow was ticky-tack to begin with) and a sending off for a shot at goal, less than two seconds after the offside whistle was blown and the flag went up. The referee’s excuse? Time wasting. van Persie’s argument? 90,000 plus screaming fans. There is no way that the official is justified in that booking and sending off. van Persie was focused completely on the ball and framing his shot. As soon as he got control, he shot it. He didn’t even dribble the ball. In a battle between 90,00 screaming fans (This is European football. Truly exuberant, screaming fans.) versus a small whistle tens of yards away from a running, focused player, the 90,000 fans have the sonic upper hand. At the point of the sending off, Arsenal was obviously down to 10 men. Barca goes on to score two unanswered goals. there are calls that UEFA is corrupt from pitch to penthouse but I won’t call it that. This was just horrid officiating that caused Arsenal to end their UCL hopes with their heads hung low in Barcelona. Just embarrassing. What do you think? Justifiable red or down right mistake of a call? Feel free to air your opinion in the comments.

Just A Sample

Creative writing classes are usually good fun but they always seem to get off to a slow start. The requisite prompts like “write about your childhood” or “your favorite song” unfortunately seem to always open up the class. These are pretty easy prompts, and I’ve done them a hundred times before, but it’s always fun to switch it up an take a new approach to these familiar prompts. So, this time, for the “favorite song prompt”, I picked De La Soul’s “Me, Myself, and I”, the classic single from their 1989 debut album. After listening to the song, I thought about that funky Funkadelic sample that is so dominant in the song. I had been interested in Funk and P-Funk for a while and acquired a few compilation albums to try to introduce me to the genre. After I had listened to those songs all the way through, I still had a thirst for more Funk music. So, I took my ears to internet radio and,  thankfully, got all the Funk I could ever want. All of this led me to Parliament’s “Sir Nose D’ Voidoffunk” which I instantly recognized being sampled in Aaliyah’s “Come Back in One Piece” (single from the Romeo Must Die soundtrack). The song is also sampled in N.W.A.’s title track for their second album, Niggaz4Life. Check it out below.

Original Sample

Aaliyah’s “Come Back in One Piece”

N.W.A.’s “Niggaz 4 Life”


The Duke Two Step

One of my favorite, I mean favorite, plays to see unfurl on a basketball court is the crossover to defender fall. It is a bittersweet moment of triumph for the victor and shame for the victim. For the crowd, it’s instant comedy. Bad defense should be punished, and the crossover to fall is the harshest sentence. With that prologue out the way, above is footage of JJ Redick being subjected to the deadly crossover dribble of  Randy Foye. A Dukie being left for dead? Not something you see often. Oh, wait, never mind…..

R.I.P. Jun Seba: 02/07/74-02/26/10

Jun Seba AKA Nujabes (new-jah-bes) has been one of my favorite DJ/hip-hop producers of the last few years. Hailing from Japan, he was known for mixing jazz, rap, & hip-hop in his music to much success. If you’ve ever been watching Adult Swim on Cartoon Network late at night, the show “Samurai Champloo” features a lot of music done by Nujabes. Sadly, he passed away after a traffic accident last year. As what would have been his 37th birthday approaches, I decided to share with ya’ll the song that got me hooked on this artist here. May I present “Feather” featuring Cise Starr & Akin. Enjoy.

Oh How the Mighty Have Fallen…Part Deux

I knew this wouldn’t be over. I did an article on Jereme Rogers, skateboard and (allegedly) asshole extraordinaire, a while back concerning his retirement from skateboarding and his entry into the rap game. Since then, I hadn’t heard anything from J. Rog. Admittedly, I wasn’t looking for any new music from him but that’s neither here nor there. Well, he’s back with another awful hip hop song. It seems this time J.Rog is trying to rob some of Lil B’s “swag” to come up. Not a good move young man.

Stick to this son:

Heavy Metal

I reside in a family filled with car enthusiasts and automotive geeks. It is a trait that runs in our bloodline and we are quite proud of this fact. So, whenever I can get a chance to see all of my favorite cars, under one roof, up close and personal, for a small fee, I cordially accept the invitation. For the next week or so at the Washington Convention Center, you too will be able to accept the invitation and experience all of the majesty and grandeur of the 2011 Washington Auto Show. The show runs from January 28th until February 9th and is going to be choc full of special events, giveaways, and guest appearances. If all you care about is the cars, then I suggest you come early (I, for instance, was there at the 10 AM opening on the first day of the show. No funny business.). If you’re all about the entertainment, check the event schedule before you go to plan your trip accordingly.

For the car enthusiast the show provides a consumer angle and a spectator angle. The show is populated with many exotics and classics as well as cup and touring race cars and most major domestic and import makers have their latest year line-ups on the floor for full interaction as well. Going to the booths and interacting with fellow show goers can produce some intriguing conversations and arguments. For example, while at the Volkswagen booth (VW>*insert car maker here*), I struck up a conversation with a former Jetta owner while we both stared at the beautiful 2012 Passat. He told me about how the Jetta was the best car he’s ever owned and I sympathized with him on its untimely and tragic death. Another conversation had me and a man twice my age lamenting at the fact that the new S-Class Mercedes came with a donut instead of a full size spare.  It is always a fun and inviting atmospheres with families checking out potential buys, up-and-coming business men and women scoping out their next sportscar purchase and enthusiast mucking it up about what car is best.

If you’re in the area, check it out. It’s really great fun, especially if you love the automobile. More info here.

Swag 101

You must swag on your enemy before you beat them.

Snoop Dogg ft. Wiz Khalifa- That Good


Wiz and Uncle Snoop