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July 30, 2014

Janelle Monáe’s very amazing latest album, The Electric Lady, may have already come out almost a year ago, but that isn’t stopping her from still promoting the album.  As Janelle takes it back to her university days in the jamming new video for the title track, Electric Lady featuring Solange, which celebrates all the ‘Electric Ladies’ in her life at a somewhat-futuristic house party.  As on the upbeat record, the very brilliant Ms. Monáe shows why she’s one of the most talented and beautifully flawless artists within the last decade across any genre.  The very amazingly captured feel-good Alan Ferguson-directed visuals is a coming out of fellow ATLiens too, as Janelle has cameos from everyone to her mother, T-Boz, Estelle, Esperanza Spalding, Monica and T.I.  With how much Janelle and Alan really bring the record to life in the video and make you want to actually get up to dance and have a good time yourself,  it’s by far the best music video I have not only seen this year, but in several years. 

July 29, 2014   1 note   

Tia London - Historical single cover

    It has been a minute since we have heard from the duo of my fellow Chicago natives Tia London and The Legendary Traxster with just both of them on the record.  So earlier today they returned with what should be another sure hit between the two on Tia’s latest single Historical.  Ms. London may mostly be known for her singing, but over the triumphant horns and trumpets of the Traxster-produced and featured track she shows she can also spit, as well as rhyme with the best of them.  As Tia tells us what it takes to make history and become historical, while Traxster with his real solid vicious closing verse that makes you go, “Whoa!,” after hearing it tells us why he’s a king and gives us a brief rundown of his history in Chicago Hip-Hop, as well as Hip-Hop period and why he’s already historical.

July 29, 2014

Hip-Hip legend and the true King of the South, Scarface, has been a veteran of the genre for nearly twenty-plus years. So it should come as no surprise that the H-Town vet is teaching the youngins the proper way to hustle in the streets and have an exit plan out of the game in the very poignant new visuals for his very raw, real and appropriately titled latest single, The Exit Plan featuring Akon. As on the Cardiak-produced lead single, off his upcoming 10th solo album, Deeply Rooted, which is slated for an unknown release date later this year, Face cruises the streets of the 5th Ward in a late 60s Cadillac and kicks that real reality rap to actual youth eye-to-eye to really sincerely deliver his message in the Michael Artis-directed video.

July 28, 2014

Frank Thomas Delivers One Of Most Memorable, Touching Speeches Ever In Historic Hall of Fame Induction!

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     Being from the Chicago area and growing up a fan of the Chicago White Sox, many may say I’m biased, but all bias aside Frank Thomas was by far the best pure right-handed hitter I ever seen play baseball.  Living up to his nickname the “Big Hurt” throughout his career by the way he put, “The fear of God,” into pitcher’s almost everytime he stepped up to the plate, Thomas Hall of Fame speech was by far one of the most moving and touching speeches I’ve ever heard from any player and almost moved me to tears with how emotional it was.

     Even showing us from the very beginning of his near 18-minute speech Sunday at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, a side of the big fella that many of us except family and close friends never really seen by being nearly buckled to his knees the way he did to many opposing pitchers throughout his career after seeing his mom, Charlie Mae, after receiving his plaque.

     “It hit me in right in the heart because my mom hadn’t left Columbus, Ga., in 15 years, and she was here today, so just started crying right away,” Thomas said.  “It was a huge day for me and my family, and I feel really blessed.”

     It truly was too, as Thomas always said from the beginning of his career that his goal and the reason he played baseball was to make it into the Hall of Fame.  With how much he was truly invested into the game and humbled with humility, as well as tears from the very beginning of his speech and unending gratitude to everyone, but himself throughout his speech you could see why baseball was more then just a game to him.  

     Especially when he talked about his late great father and having this to say, “Frank Sr., I know you are watching and smiling from heaven.  Without you, I know, 100 percent, I wouldn’t be here in Cooperstown today.”  Moved to tears, the big crowd of 48,000 applauded Thomas before he finished thanking his father, for pushing him and always preaching to him, “You can be someone special if you really work at it.  I took that to heart, Pops.  Look at us today.  We are a long way from Columbus, Ga.”

     Thomas, thanked many throughout his speech from his 19 years in Major League Baseball with the White Sox, Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays organizations that came to a total of 138 former teammates, general managers, managers, and many coaches, trainers and front-office and clubhouse personnel among the many.  Which showed how classy and unselfish of a player he was throughout his career by giving credit to others always before he did himself.

     A few other touching moments from Thomas’ speech that went over the prescribed time it was supposed to by several minutes, but no one seemed to care where when he thanked his late agent, Robert Fraley, who tragically passed in a plane accident in October 1999 that also took the life of golfing great Payne Stewart.

     Thomas was once again moved to tears as he thanked Fraley for launching his career and giving him professional guidance.  “It’s priceless,” Thomas said.  “Robert, you once said to me, ‘Life is not fair.  You have to work hard to earn your respect.’  You were so right.  I thank you for being honest with me.  I know you are somewhere in heaven directing traffic, because that’s what true leaders do.”

     That’s obviously why Thomas worked so hard and why so many of us White Sox fans like myself, who grew up in the Chicago area and even other Sox fans worldwide where so proud to have seen him put on that Sox uniform year in and year out for 16 of his 19 Hall of Fame years. 

     A few other special shoutouts that Thomas gave throughout his speech to those in the White Sox organization.  All of which where very well deserved and included former teammate and manager Ozzie Guillen, who helped give Thomas his only World Series championship in 2005 in his second of two years managing his former teammate, Sox play-by-play announcer Ken “Hawk” Harrelson and hitting coach Walk Hriniak, whom he credited with making him the hitter he was.

     “We had that special bond for many years,” Thomas said of Guillen in his speech.  “I thank you, Ozzie.  I thank you very much.”

     Another very memorable moment is when Thomas thanked very colorful White Sox television play-by-play announcer “Hawk” Harrelson, who was unable to attend the ceremony due to a personal matter.  Saying how much Hawk penning him the Big Hurt really helped him throughout his career.  “Your nickname for me really changed my life forever,” Thomas said.

     The way Thomas capped off his speech by saying, “To all you kids out there, just remember one thing from today.  There are no shortcuts to success.  Hard work, dedication, commitment.  Stay true to who you are,” was by far one of the best ways to cap off such an amazing Hall of Fame speech too.  Not just because of the way it was delivered by Thomas, but because it holds true for nearly every career in life in whatever you do and so many can relate to it.

     How Thomas was so relatable like that to so many of us growing up and even still is till this day, is why not only other fans of Thomas, or even the White Sox growing up loved and appreciated the way he played and approached the game the right way in an era where not many did.  If you weren’t a fan of his already, his Hall of Fame speech with how much of a roll he delivered it and with the utmost class is why you are now sure to be a fan of the man known and feared by many pitchers for so long as the “Big Hurt.”

July 25, 2014   2 notes   

With his light shining as bright as ever like diamonds on everything in his career from music to movies and everything in between, Hip-Hop legend Common decides to give us the very artsy performance-based new video to his latest single, Diamonds featuring his former G.O.O.D. Music, but now Def Jam labelmate Big Sean. As the Chicago and ARTium Records emcee looks to cap the release week of his latest album, Nobody’s Smiling, with longtime collaborator, friend, producer, fellow Chicago native and Hip-Hop legend No I.D. by giving us the black-and-white Jerome D. directed visuals. If you’re in the Chicago area too be sure to stop by Leaders 1354 tomorrow July 26th from 2-4 pm, while Com is back in our hometown and signing autographs of the new album.

July 25, 2014

Lakers Re-Sign Guard Xavier Henry After Career Year!

     The Los Angeles Lakers may not have landed any big name free agents like they had planned to going into this offseason, but they are now bringing back quite a few of the players they had last season playing on one-year contracts, that had career years with the team.

     One of those players is guard Xavier Henry, whom the team announced they re-signed once again coming of a season in which he had career-highs of 10 points per game, 2.7 rebounds per game, 1.2 assists per game and 1 steal per game in 21.1 minutes per game.

     In otherwise dismal season for the Lakers, general manager Mitch Kupchak put Henry’s efforts best by saying, “Xavier earned a spot on our team last season after being a training camp invitee, and we hope he continues the dedication to improving he has displayed for us thus far.  When healthy, Xavier provided our team with an offensive punch, and we expect he’ll strive to add to his skillset and become a well-rounded player.”

     The 23-year-old showed this by leading the team in scoring seven times and hitting double-figures in scoring in 16 of his last 27 games before undergoing season-ending surgeries on his left wrist and right knee on April 11.  Even scoring a career-best 27 points versus Portland on December 1, 2013.

     Now with Kobe Bryant supposedly back healthy and Henry signing another reported one-year contract it will be real interesting to see how he and a lot of the other Lakers players play with Bryant and a chip on their shoulder after last year’s dismal season.

July 23, 2014

Still riding off the success of his sophomore album, G I R L, which dropped earlier this year and it’s latest hit single “Come Get It Bae,” which was released all the way back in May, Pharrell finally drops the official video for the Miley Cyrus featured record. As he declares that, “Beauty has no expiration date” and shows the diversity of all the different races and ethnicities with all the different women he has in the very fun Luis Cerveró directed visuals for the funk inspired song.

July 21, 2014   1 note   

Chicago Bulls Re-Sign Veteran Guard Kirk Hinrich!

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     The Chicago Bulls went into this offseason looking to land one of the big free agents that where available on the market and another superstar to compliment Derrick Rose.  As the team tries to build together all the final pieces they felt they where missing to compete for an NBA championship with Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks name coming up the most.

     And while the Bulls where not able to land Anthony despite what was said to be a strong pitch from the team, they where able to add depth up front with the signings of veteran center/power forward Pau Gasol and power forward Nikola Mirotic, who came over from Real Madrid.

     Something the Bulls didn’t want to change though despite all the changes they made was bringing back veteran guard Kirk Hinrich, who has spent nine of his 11 seasons with the team and been a real key leader on the team throughout the majority of his career.  

     Which is why the team announced today his re-signing with the Bulls and general manager Gar Forman putting Hinrich’s contribution to the team best with this statement he released about the signing.

     ”Kirk has always been a big part of creating the professional culture we want day in, day out surrounding our club.  He helps our team in so many ways and Kirk had other opportunities elsewhere, but we are very happy he chose to remain in a Bulls uniform.”

     Hinrich’s signing was a real key piece for the team too because he’s not only a reliable veteran who knows coach Tom Thibodeau’s demanding defensive system and can defend some of the best players in the league, but he can also fill in capably when starters go down.  With Rose hopefully finally being healthy this year though, Hinrich can be a real key anchor that runs the second unit well and even play at times with Rose on the floor and take Rose off the ball with Hinrich running plays.

     A real great signing by the Bulls though that gives the team a lot of that much needed depth they where missing and brings them that much closer to capturing their first Eastern Conference crown since the MJ/Pippen era in the 90’s and the team their first real possible shot at a title since than if they can stay healthy and perform to their capabilities.  It will definitely help make for what’s sure to be a real anticipated and sure to be exciting season for the team.

July 21, 2014

Cormega - Mega Philosophy album cover

     With his new album Mega Philosophy dropping tomorrow that’s produced entirely by the legendary Large Professor, Queens emcee Cormega teams up with fellow The Firm alum AZ, as well as fellow Eastcoast vets Redman and Styles P for one of the more anticipated tracks from the album with M.A.R.S. (Dream Team).  As all four emcees bring that usual great street poetry speaking on real issues we come to expect from them all over the great boom-bap production from Large Pro behind the boards and is any true street rap fan’s wet dream with such an incredible line-up that brings such a dope and sick track together. 

(Source: Spotify)

July 21, 2014

Get More: B.o.B, So What feat. Mila J, Music, More Music Videos

With his recent mix tape, No Genre 2 out now on the inter webs and the streets ATL and Grand Hustle’s own B.o.B shows he doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon as he hits us with another new set of videos from said mixtape.  Here is one of those 3 videos he dropped yesterday, which is a personal favorite of mine from the mixtape and features the very lovely Mila J.  As with a few scantly-clad women, director Isaac Klotz captures what a private mansion party affair would be like from B.o.B., Mila and company.  Mila isn’t the only Los Angeles native in the visuals too, as Watts, California emcee Glasses Malone makes several appearances throughout the video.  PS - If you haven’t yet go check out my recent dual interview with Mila for both TheHipHopDemocrat and here for SportsHop.

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