Quickie: APESHIT-The Carters

Ay ok, so I’m on this train on my way to the beach. Kids behind me, gf laid out. I have a playlist for this.

2018 has been a pretty dope year for music only recently stunted by Drake’s middling offering (I’m throwing shots whenever I can). Earlier in June, Beyonce and Jay Z released a couples album that was just them flexing about how rich they are.

It was awesome.

The lead single is the vulgarly titled and annoyingly capitalized “APESHIT”. The video was shot in The Louvre and was just beautiful. Ok we get it, you’re rich and happy together again. Well unsurprisingly, the song KNOCKS. The track, like the album, features a ton of rapping from Queen Bey with ad libs from various members of the Migos. I’m inclined to believe the Atlanta based hip hop group write Beyonce’s bars but who cares. The lyrics are about opulence and how they can control a crowd which is why they deserve to get paid. Can’t argue with facts.

The highlight for me is the production. This beat is so good. The tight uptempo trap drums are accentuated by a glorious descending bass drum triplet. This song is a certified banger and I can’t stop.

Go listen to it:

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Drake-Scorpion

So I wake up, full of life, ready to take on the day. It’s Friday, work is going to be easy and I’m about to listen to a whole bunch of new music. “Babe, wanna listen to the new Drake album?”

“What? No,” she sneers as she punches me in the face and rolls back to sleep. Unperturbed, I get dressed and jog to the bus I almost miss and excitedly turn on Scorpion.

Image result for drake scorpion album cover

Drake has released yet another bloated, mediocre project. Scorpion is 25 tracks of nothing you haven’t heard before. The only new thing is acknowledgement of his son. Outside of “Survival”, “God’s Plan,” a verse on “Emotionless,” and Jay Z’s verse on “Talk Up,” the whole first disc is forgettable. Usually Drake’s bravado is carried by stellar production but so many of the songs sound the same. The homogeneous beat selection kind of blurs everything together if you’re not paying super close attention. I guess there wasn’t a trend significant enough for him to dickride. Plus, it’s not like Aubrey is dropping super duper knowledge. A few standout bars like in the middle of “Emotionless”:

I know a girl whose one goal was to visit Rome
Then she finally got to Rome
And all she did was post pictures for people at home
‘Cause all that mattered was impressin’ everybody she’s known
I know another girl that’s cryin’ out for help
But her latest caption is “Leave me alone”
I know a girl happily married ’til she puts down her phone
I know a girl that saves pictures from places she’s flown
To post later and make it look like she still on the go

…..OK go off

Also during the intro track he says: “My Mount Rushmore is me with four different expressions,” which is just dripping with swag which I love and on the first song, I was buttered up for an over the top cocky Drake. Then there’s Jay Z’s verse on “Talk Up” which is good but has a line that is right in line with celebrities trying to make me feel bad about XXXtentacion (may he rest in peace). Other than that, the production does not do much to make we want to listen to most of the album.

Disc 2 is slower but there are definite standouts that deserved a second listen. Much more singing and I feel like I enjoyed this half much more. “Summer Games” grabbed me immediately with its repetitive, pulsing synths and rhythmic percussion. I like this one a lot but unfortunately it is sandwiched between “Peak” and “Jaded” both of which are just boring. Like “God’s Plan” I skipped “Nice For What” because I’ve heard it a billion times by now. Its placement on the project is a departure from the low energy that surrounds it. I’m assuming he wanted to wake listeners back up after putting them to sleep for 15 minutes. “Ratchet Happy Birthday” is a dumb title but is definitely a highlight on this half of the album. The piano in the background and drums keep me interested while Drake sings about someones “fucking birthday” (that’s mad disrespectful, celebrate me). It’s not groundbreaking but I like it. This is followed up by “That’s How I Feel” whose wavy, Blade Runner-like synths and muted hihats make for a really nice instrumental. I like the vocal performance on this song as Drake rides the beat really well both singing and rapping. The uncredited Nicki Minaj (I think) part is a little aggressive but serves as a nice counter to the relaxed nature of the beat.

Dead af Micheal Jackson is featured on “Don’t Matter To Me” and it sounds great. I’m sure I could look up where they got this sample from but I don’t care. MJ elevates this song and thinking about it now….HOW DARE DRAKE THINK HE CAN SING WITH THE G.O.A.T.? Kidding, it’s not that big of a deal but the chorus is cool.

I don’t care about the rest.

I’ll wait until the Drake stans tell me what to care about or what singles are released that I will be Stockholmed into liking. I’ve said this in a previous review, if you released 20 something songs and I only like 40%…your album is MEDIOCRE. Here I am mad that I keep getting my expectations up only to be let down AGAIN.

Here is a preferred tracklist:

  1. Survival-It’s the intro
  2. Emotionless
  3. God’s Plan-*Sigh* It’s a good song
  4. I’m Upset-I really hate this song but it was released as a single so it can’t be…unreleased?
  5. Talk Up
  6. Is There More-Why not, I like the beat
  7. Summer Games
  8. Nice For What (See #3)
  9. Ratchet Happy Birthday
  10. Don’t Matter To Me

10 of 25…That’s bullshit and I even gave him a song. This could be 9. His flow is the same, his singing is the same. There has been no growth.

If you wanna listen to the whole thing, check it out here:

Protest and Chill

As I sit down, sweaty after a last minute change of plans that had me walking in 90 degree weather, I contemplate why I’m suddenly in a bad mood. It’s the kind that has me dead silent with a heaviness in my chest. I can feel the anger in my eyes. Is it the heat or the fact that SEPTA is detouring and I have to find out how to get to work? Nope. I’m angry that I feel bad for not having any desire to protest.

As I type this, many are in Rittenhouse Square protesting our abhorrent administration and the recent news that children are being ripped away from their parents. We’re imprisoning kids at the border. This is bad bad baaaaaad. The protesting makes sense but why am I at home instead of out there?

When it comes to politics, I’m paralyzingly pessimistic. I see all the things people are doing to try to make this country better. Money is being raised, people are out marching, members of the community are running for office, we’re encouraging people to vote for candidates that better align with our morals. Yet school shootings are still happening, black people are still being victimized, women are still being mistreated by everyone, and WE’RE IMPRISONING CHILDREN. My feelings are that a lot of things people are putting energy into are ineffective and there is nothing I hate more than doing things I (just ME, Justin Mark Davis) deem useless. Like will I have a sense of accomplishment after we’re done? Who is reading my sign that I spent hours on? Who am I yelling at?

No seriously, who?

The event that people are at is happening because VP fuck nugget, Mike Pence, is in the city for a GOP fundraiser. There will be thousands of people around that hotel with clever signs, screaming their lungs out about what’s happening to those kids. The goal of the protest is to make him aware that people are unhappy with the immigration policy, stop separating children from their parents and eventually get Trump out of office. They’re doing “Shame” chants like this is an episode Game of Thrones. Mike doesn’t give a shit. If he did, he would be working on the problem in Washington or better yet, Texas…not raising money for a gubernatorial candidate. This protest will not change anything, it will not set in motion anything to change what is happening. I wish I could just roll down to Texas, burst in with the Walnut St militia, gun down a few soldiers and reunite kids with their parents but that is unrealistic. You know what? Maybe people are just mad and need to unleash their righteous indignation in a nondestructive manner. I’m actually totally fine with that, we need outlets. I eat ice cream and play the drums when things piss me off. Anyway, SOMETHING has to be done.

This is where my frustration comes in. I don’t know what that something is. If we get to a point where these protests actually start to work, I will be out there. If donations turn out to be the way, here is part of my paycheck. “Justin, if you moon Trump, he will resign,” my pants are already down. I feel bad that in the traumatic state of this country I haven’t been to a single protest. I feel bad that I always question people’s personal motivation when they are out there. Despite whatever I think though, they are out there trying. An example I think of is if I donate a million dollars to a school system but only to make myself look good, the school still got that money. I just sit in the comfort (relatively, it’s hot) of my own home and complain about how they might as well save their energy. They are doing more than I am. I fully understand the possible weight of my inaction. Does this mean that I am complicit in the goings on of my government? Nope and fuck anyone who thinks that. I just feel powerless in a country that allowed this to happen. 

That’s why I’m upset.

 

I could be wrong though.

 

 

But I might as well do something so I’ll most likely be out somewhere soon. Walking and holding a sign thinking about how dude behind me smells like stale fruit and how I definitely should have worn better shoes. But I will be out there and I guess that counts for something.

Writing Stand up?

I’ve always wanted to do stand up but I don’t think I’m funny enough or have the life experience to come up with good material. Well today I looked up how to write stand up jokes and found a decent guide with an outline. 


Step 1: Establish a funny concept

My mom loved my white (ex) girlfriend.

Step 2: Make a list

-Mom was the only woman in a house of four sons and her husband. They did stuff together like cook, shop, gossip

-First girl I brought home

-would she be like this if she was black?

Step 3: Write your first draft

JOKE 1-

Establishing the Concept: So I was thinking about how my mother really loved my white ex-girlfriend. 

Emphasizing concept + creating a build up: I grew up in a pretty religious family and it was the first time I had brought a girl home. I have a lisp too…they probably thought I was gay.

Punch: Nope, I just wanted to avoid conversations about God spying on my sex life. Which by the way, can think of all the stuff God has seen? He’s probably like, “I did not think they would do that with the horses.”

JOKE 2-

Build up: So something was coming up and I was like “Mom, I’m bringing this girl home.” Cool, obviously she had to sleep in the guest bedroom because God forbid we sleep together after dating for 4 months. We get there and immediately they are bonding. I have NEVER seen her act like this. They’re shopping together, laughing together, my ex had damn near extracted the secret ingredient of my mom’s pound cake out of her.

Punch: Wonder if she would act like this if she was black…?

Emphasis: Maybe she just found it as an opportunity to teach a white person how to season food. Just kidding…that girl didn’t cook. 

Bonus tip: Create opportunities to pivot

I’m with this girl now and my Mom pretty much dismissed Mexico’s glorious contribution to food. You won’t eat a burrito but all of a sudden, Mom is on Duolingo learning Spanish because “they” are everywhere? …..Shit. My mom might be a racist. 

 

I liked this and I think I could flesh this joke out even more by exploring some more areas. I may continue to do this when I think of funny stuff. Here’s the link that I used: http://www.goldcomedy.com/resources/write-stand-up-comedy/

SPOILERS: Infinity War Thoughts

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS ALL THROUGHOUT THIS. LEAVE NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE.

YOU. HAVE. BEEN. WARNED.


This isn’t a full review because I don’t want to do one but here are some quick thoughts. Thanos was such a good villain. Even though there were a billion main characters we got a villain with decent character development. He’s a psychopath but at least the reasoning for his actions aren’t just “I wanna rule the world” and he believes in his goals. He’s also strong as shit. Now there’s a part where a couple of the Avengers meet him on his planet and hatch a plan to deglove our purple antagonist. They get so close but then Peter Quill gets all in his feeling cuz his booty call got killed. Like bruh…you got half the universe murdered because you can’t control emotions? It’s your fault, Starlord. I hope you feel bad.

Actually, that’s all I wanted to say.  The movie was good, I’m sure we’ll see everyone back in the part 2.

Love you, bye.

 

Daily Prompt: Parallel

Back in college I was in this band called Chocolate Milk. At one point we thought we were about to be famous so we had to change our name. Turns out Chocolate Milk was a funk band from the 70s:

 

We couldn’t compete with that so started the arduous process of a name change. We finally settled on Halfro but we came up with many possibilities. One of those was Parallel Parks. I voted for this because I really liked the double meaning. One being the vehicular maneuver to place one’s car near a curb and the other of just having two public spaces adjacent to each other.

In the end I’m glad we didn’t go with it. So many letters.

If you care, this is what we sounded like:

https://halfromusic.bandcamp.com/releases

 

via Daily Prompt: Parallel

Wrinkle

I guess this was meant to be. 


A Wrinkle In Time was G A R B A G E.

Let me clarify, I mean the movie. The book holds a very important place in my heart. Seventh grade was one of the turning points in my life and I remember this book making a significant impact. So when the movie was announced and I saw the cast, I was appropriately excited. I liked the casting of the Misses, Gugu, and the best Chris. They also had a chunky budget, it should have worked.

But it didn’t.

It sucked.

My biggest gripe was that it was straight up boring. I don’t know how much of this is nostalgia but there was a sense of wonder, adventure, and tension in the book. None of that translated to the screen. Interesting things were taken out or changed for whatever reason. There were continuity issues that got annoying to me. Giant flying cabbage. OD bullying. Being LAUNCHED onto a mountain in a tree and SURVIVING?!? Sure, I’m nitpicking at this point but seriously this was not good. So I’m thinking, is this a worse adaption that The Last Airbender? Surely it can’t be but…

Positives:

-It was pretty
-Reese Witherspoon was fun
– Kid who played CW was good at being creepy and evil but that’s probably because he’s child. Every other time he was horrifically annoying.
-Zach Galifianakis had the funniest line in the movie but I can’t remember it because it was surrounded by doo doo.

Ugh

Pro-tip for every single person that dates: Don’t go to the movies on the first date. It’s dumb. We believe this was happening right next to us and it’s just doesn’t make any sense.

 

via Daily Prompt: Wrinkle