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Hip Hop x Basketball -- The Future

Okay, so we have talked about the past, we have brought things up into the present.  The very natural next question is “well what does the future hold?”

As much as I would love to say that I have the answer to that question, the fact remains simply that I cannot have such information.
     This coming year, the NBA Commissioner of the hip hop era is retiring and one of his understudies will take his position.  It will remain to be seen whether that means that he will continue the non hip hop friendly approach that Stern attempted within the past ten or so years or if he will simply let things fall to the way of profitability of the time just before those years.  What we DO know is that kids are still playing ball, even if not outdoors as much as they did when those around my own age did.  What is known is that rappers are still dropping basketball metaphors and are still seen courtside at games.  I cannot imagine that last fact changing as long as the prohibitive-to-regular-people…

In the kitchen with Phlip – Pastramă, chicken breast style

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Call it dumb luck, call it a blessing in disguise, call it what you will call it.
My initial plans were to have done this with a duck breast, but after trips to four different grocery stores in the more affluent parts of town and three DIFFERENT health food stores; I had no duck breast in my possession (Whole Foods, Earthfare, Fresh Market... you have failed me).  My refusal to drive to BFE to the farmer’s market on the chance of STILL returning empty-handed, I trashed the idea and changed gears.
            Please forgive me for the low number of images in this one, as I didn’t think about blogging it until it was already actively cooking (two days after the initial start). Start with a package of boneless/skinless chicken breasts, my package had four of them in it.  In a container large enough for all of them, put a half-cup of salt, a third-cup of brown sugar and various seasonings of your choosing.  I chose garlic powder, onion powder, curry powder, ground ginger, cayenn…

Hip Hop x Basketball -- 9: Renaissance(s)

9:Renaissance(s)      The concept that a sport or a genre of music, especially one often marginalized as “not music” like hip hop has often been through its years seems foreign to some.  The fact, however, is still that each has had an almost consistently generational window of change that can be expected to take place.  In basketball, the change can be usually marked to include a “generation” lasting about the length of the careers of the most prominent players of that time.  Often times, you hear them discussed/named in terms of the most prominent players/combinations of those particular times.  Examples include the “Celtics dynasty,” the “NBA vs ABA,” of course the vaunted “Magic vs Bird” era, the “Jordan era,” and then the shared “Shaq/Kobe era” and “Spurs dynasty” years.  Based upon the best players playing 11-15 years, those five great periods have bridged the time from professional basketball’s days of infancy in the late-40s and 50s until the present.
     Similarly, and based c…

Hip Hop x Basketball -- 8: Detractors Abound

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8:Detractors Abound Despite the very much displayed facts supporting that hip hop and basketball are blood brothers, there still happens to be groups who’d sooner have it otherwise. 
Following the infamous “brawl at the palace,” NBA Commissioner David Stern reverted back to his pre-Air-Jordan-days and implemented changes that specifically blackballed things that had always been openly embraced by hip hop at large; specifically the players were forbidden from “street” clothes – no jeans/athletic wear, specifically only “dressy” clothes – and big visible necklace/medallion combinations as they entered and exited the arenas in which they played.  It seemed to matter not that they were to be infrequently seen by anyone other than cameras already tasked and properly compensated with being there to cover them, instead of fans or civilian paparazzi – both of whom would lack credentials to gain that kind of access. 
This approach played best into the most lucrative of buyers and investors into h…

Hip Hop x Basketball -- 7: The Spirit of Competition

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7: The Spirit of Competition      It is no secret that basketball, like any sport, is competitive in nature.  The fact that score is kept and a winner is declared at the end of the competition defines that.  What may or may not be up for debate is just how similarly appointed as a competitive medium that hip hop is.
On the surface, Billboard releases their Top 200 and Rap/R&B-specific charts once weekly to outline who sold the most copies of their songs/albums each week.  In a 2012 economic climate, every album or song sale is a hard-fought-for sale, and it stands to reason that artists and executives are cognizant of this and work hard at either bending tastes of their audience to the enjoyment of their work or bending their work to the will and tastes of their desired listening public.
     With these things in mind, the heat of the battle has the tendencies to cause the participants to become a bit testy while competing in their craft.  Night in and night out, obscenities are yel…

Phlip - 1, Black Friday - 0

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So it’s 4:30pm on Black Friday.  I had successfully managed to not have to leave my house to do anything other than pay a couple of bills as I might do on any payday Friday I should so happen to not have to work.  Hell, it is what I would do if I HAD to work.  Stops also include also payday standards Food Lion and ABC (grocery and liquor for those who don’t live here) for the items I would normally acquire to get me through a weekend.
            As my child is still only one year and four months old, she does not yet have the tastes that even MIGHT require that I stand out in the ball-chillingly 25º morning before a store opened to buy her anything.  Responsible adulthood has unlearned me the habit of really wanting many things for myself that aren’t directly tied to the experiences of holding down my house for Ava and my wife.  About noon, coming in from taking my mother with me to the grocery store for a second time and returning back after dropping her off and returning…

Hip Hop x Basketball -- 6: "Who Can I Trust"

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6: “Who Can I Trust?”      It has been said that when you reach a certain income/exposure level, you can never date a “regular” person – at least not one who didn’t know you before you had anything.
The same is to be said for the people you will have in your circle.      What remains in application is the exhibited fact that the only person/people you can trust to understand your situation and problems are the ones who have been through similar circumstances themselves.  When, as we have discussed, NBA players and rappers more often than not come up through the same ills we understand the connection that they come to have.  As nothing is ever perfect, we’ve seen even these situations go sour and end ugly – usually just with the loss of a friendship and hopefully not the loss of a friend.  To that ends, the “bosses” of both camps spend major time and resources on educating and guiding them to the building of healthy interpersonal relationships, and even THEN it falls on deaf ears.  They …

2012 Election, The Aftermath pt IV

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Trump:  “Okay, Governor Christie, are you with us or are you against us?”

Christie:  “I never said I was against you.  I questioned who stands to benefit from being WITH you?”

Trump:  “AMERICA stands to benefit.  It is high time we take back America!”

West:  “Yeah!!! Take back America!”

Christie:  “’Take back America’ from who?”

Mitt:  “From the moochers.  From the people in America who are only here for liberal handouts.  From those people who want to take, take, take but can never be bothered with putting back into the system themselves via working for a paycheck and paying taxed, from the people who--…”

Christie:  “From the people who watched their houses washed away from a hurricane and genuinely NEED FEMA?  And let us not go talking about taxes, buddy!  Right now, I am apparently a hot commodity in the party.  The President came up and spoke with me, he spoke civilly and we got stuff done in the interest of doing right by those who needed it most desperately while YOU tried to play it…

2012 Election, The Aftermath pt III

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We resume with the same cast of characters sitting at the meeting room table.  Romney still seated at the head of the table and Chris Christie, Donald Trump, Allen West, and Todd Akin flanking him.  Paul Ryan is still in the hallway with Ron Paul and does not appear to have left for the day.  Karl Rove is nowhere to be found and no one has bothered checking the basement to see if he stayed there or simply left on his own.
Trump:  “Paul, if you promise to shut up until addressed, you may rejoin the group.”
Paul Ryan:  “Thank you”
And with that, he rejoined the conversation.
Mitt:  “Okay… our problem here is that the American people are beginning to see a divide between ourselves and the other party.  They have apparently tired of being kicked and insulted.  The numbers of the gays, women and minorities are matching those of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant males in numbers well enough to dictate that we appear to stop pandering to the richest among us.”
Christie:  “Appear?”
Mitt:  “Yes, app…

2012 Election, The Aftermath pt II

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With all eyes on the door to the room, in walks New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie.
Chris Christie: “Hi guys!”

Mitt: “You sonofabitch! Why the hell did you have to give that--… *looks at Allen West*  Why did you give him a damned reacharound on national TV?”
Christie: “Easy, Mittens… I am a sitting Governor, and I have PEOPLE to govern.  If my PEOPLE are in need of help after a natural disaster a week before it gets cold, it serves my own best interest to not be the only house in the state with electricity  Election year politics be damned.”
Romney: “But, but… you made him look like a GOOD president!”
Christie: “Unfortunate timing I know, but at that moment he WAS doing what good Presidents do.  By the way… I figured you guys might be a little hungry since it IS 4 in the morning, so I brought some donuts.  5 of them are gone, but I only ate 4 myself.  Ron Paul looked pitiful out there, so I gave him the strawberry one out in the hallway.”
West: “SHIT!  Strawberry is my favorite!”
Trump: “Cu…