Rapper-Snoop-Dogg-001

Opinion
By James Pavel

5. 2001

Snoop Dogg, a rapper that has managed the impossible, yet enviable task to somehow appear forever fly, despite being over the age of 40, will go down as maybe the most iconic rapper of all time. Whether it is Snoop Doggy Dogg, The Doggfather, or Snoop Lion, his persona has risen above the importance of any of his music with the exception of his first two albums. His marijuana endorsing lyrics and blunt-blazing escapades rivals the importance of Bob Marley in terms of getting high, and his ability to strike audiences as an authentic gangster has only been matched by Tupac Shakur, and briefly, 50 cent.

Personality conquests aside, as a rapper, the majority of his releases over the past two decades have failed to keep his game as pristine as the way he sounds on the fresh as laundry, ’2001.’ The beat is following Snoop’s lead, hop-scotching to keep up with the Doggfather’s slick word-play, causing a head-bobbin’ reaction more natural than twisting a Philly blunt.

4. B*tch Please

The peak of misogynist hip-hop  is debatable, but regardless of the era, this song remains the Mike Tyson of the ‘g’s up, hoes down’ mentality. Political correctness and sexism aside, no rap joint lends more swagger to a  man desperate for some pizazz upon entry to the dance floor. Xzibit is in peak form, sounding as if he would rather steal your ride than just pimp it, and Nate Dogg’s final warning near the end is classic Dogg Pound representin’.

3. It Ain’t no Fun (If the Homies can’t Have None)

Its the 90’s West-Coast all-star team singing about group sex with the jubilance of children singing about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. The Dogg Pound, along with Snoop’s homie Warren G are one, big, stoned out of their respective trees, happy family and seem in their element when passing around an anonymous groupie/stripper for the whole gang to enjoy. Although everyone has a marvelously perverted verse to add, Snoop’s the lieutenant general when it comes to obscene lyricism.

2. Who am I (What’s My Name?)

Nobody enjoys spelling their name more than Calvin Broadus – it’s outlandish that he wasn’t awarded a guest segment on Sesame Street to encourage children to pronounce their personal syllables with such pride and rigor. Not only has he rapped S-N-double O-P, D-O double G out in every album he’s released, here he devotes a full track to the entirety of his first and last name that the world has come to associate with the 6’4 Long Beach, California resident. Out of all the sing-a-long spelling bees that Snoop has conceived, ‘What’s my Name?’ is the crown jewel. Although he has evolved as a character, his rapping themes have remained remarkably stagnant. Whether he is paired with Katy Perry or Dr. Dre, the subject matter rarely varies. Yet, one when considers other 90s rap titans, perhaps his refusal to evolve into a more reflective version of his former self is a defense mechanism to maintain his indisputable survival as a relevant artist.

 1. Gin & Juice

Despite all the fuss made about the discographies of Eminem and Jay-Z, neither has a song that sets joints on fire or cracks the tops of Colt 45’s faster than this ode to Bombay and OJ. The Snoop Dogg experience can be reached in its entirety through his debut album, “Doggystyle,” when one considers that it features ‘Murder was the Case,’ ‘Ain’t no fun,’ ‘Lodi Dodi,’ and of course, ‘Gin and Juice.’ Snoop now exists as a caricature of Snoop Doggy Dogg. The present Snoopafella is a pop-star diva, a man who shows up four hours late to interviews and will collaborate with anyone willing to dump a quick million into his OG retirement fund. The original Dogg-Father was a thug-life menace, a rapper who feuded with Eazy-E, traded bars with Tupac, and boldly recorded an entire song about murdering the police force.

‘Gin and Juice’ is the defining backyard boogie that horrifies parents with real-life tales of what actually happens when Mom and Dad leave their teenager home alone so they can visit Aunty Betty for the weekend.  Pockets full of rubbers, enough booze to send a choir of students to the emergency room , and enough green in the air to decorate  a St. Patrick’s Day parade and it all started with a lil endo and a few sips of gin and juice.

the killers

Opinion
By James Pavel

5. Shot at the Night

Imperial 80’s magic blazes through the Nevada skies during this triumphant return to glory. It’s a song suitable for the soundtrack of 16 Candles or The Breakfast Club, only arriving 30 years too late. “Shot at the Night” states that The Killers are indeed conscious of what’s trending, demonstrated by the wise recruitment of French wizards, M83 for production value. It’s their most fierce single since the Sam’s Town masterpiece and delivers a sparkle of light to make one wonder if maybe the Killers haven’t completely exhausted their creative mojo.

4. Read my Mind

Besides, “The Stars are blazing like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun” being the most ridiculously awesome line ever, this is the song that every synth-obsessed band drools over constructing.  It’s the American dream condensed into one soothing spectacle seen through the red, white and blue pupils of the ΰbber-patriotic Brandon Flowers.  Music snobs hate to admit that this song engulfs the sky with the same colour of flame that any of Bruce Springsteen’s gems have managed to shower over audiences in the past. It’s as if Springsteen seduced Robert Smith and The Cure with cheap wine and a Las Vegas sunset, and nine months later, out came “Read my Mind.”

3. Mr. Brightside

Morrissey and U2, two of the Killers’ all-time heroes, have longed written as inconspicuously as possible in order to reach the broadest fan base possible. Brandon Flowers decided to do the exact opposite by shredding his personal diary of vulnerable entries and creating one of the defining pop/rock anthems of the 2000s, Mr. Brightside. Crowds erupt like the presence of a King the moment Dave Kneuning’s finger tips brush his electric guitar and gives passage to the world of sick lullabies and temporary persecution. Flowers is as dramatic as a drunken valley girl, but his conviction is real, and the success of this smash hit is his vindication.

2. When You Were Young

‘”When you were Young” made it official that The Killers would never just be remembered for one record. The song is a God-fearing, hurricane-chasing, tsunami of rock n’ roll all in the name of proving that they were not pseudo-Brits, but instead four Americans born and bred in the heart of the desert. The sonic energy of this rattle snake has enough soul surging through its core to transport an audience to the moon and back but they settle for a legacy-shifting moment. “The devil’s water it ain’t so sweet, you don’t have to drink right now,” is the ultimate “feels so good to be bad” lyric and for a brief pause, we really believe Brandon Flowers  is the only rock star that ever mattered.

1. All These Things That I’ve Done

It’s a song that transcends the band and is bigger than the group itself. If nobody remembers the Killers in 20 years, they will still remember this one. It’s profoundly deep for a pop song, as Brandon’s semi-sinister confessions are spoken aloud to the millions that allowed the Hot Fuss album to help define their mid-2000s experience. “I got Soul, but I’m not a Soldier,” is silly, ostentatious, confusing, and yet probably the most addictive and pulsating middle refrain written in pop-rock history.

seven-nation-army-the-white_5l0ut_2hlx44

Opinion
By James Pavel

Soccer stadiums are as rambunctious and boisterous as ever and in 2014 they are roaring a new anthem.

For decades, sports audiences have serenaded the pitch with the classic “Olé, Olé, Olé Olé, Olé, Olé.”

Then at the Euro Cup 2012, we began to hear hints of a Seven Nation revolution.

Now in the summer of 2014, the Brazil World Cup tournament has proven that Jack White’s signature riff has risen and been crowned the new Lord of the salutation universe.

The base riff of the White Stripes defining track “Seven Nation Army,” you know, the chant that rumbles, “O (high note), O, O, O, O, O,” whips from north to south, east to west, in every facility that has hosted a game in this massive tourney.

Quite simply, the “Seven Nation Army” chant has more crunch and venom than the jubilant, but somewhat stale, “Olé, Olé, Olé.”

How did this happen? You’d likely have to drink seven pints in an English pub to find out. My first recollection of this brilliant development was watching an English Premier League match, which is a probable location of this evolution’s birth, as the Queen’s men have always been complimented for their wit and cleverness.

The choice of this song is an obvious one. It is simple for an audience of tone-deaf maniacs to decipher and mimic, and it sounds like a deliciously fun chant to partake in. It’s also in wonderfully good taste, when one considers that Jack White is consistently hailed as a living, modern-rock legend.

White was recently quoted explaining that he was honoured that his work was being sung by nations across the planet.

“As a song writer, it is something impossible to plan. Especially in modern times. I love that most people who are chanting it have no idea where it came from.” (“Seven Nation Army can’t hold back Italian soccer,” artistdirect.com, n.d. July 2013.)

Soccer being the beautiful game and the most popular game, means that other sports are likely to follow suit. Hockey has recently picked up the trend of “Olé, Olé, Olé” and it will be interesting to see if NHL fans across North America will award Jack White with weekly tributes whenever the puck is dropped.

Image

Opinion
By James Pavel

5. Diamonds from Sierra Leone

It could have been just another classic from decades ago with a modern rapper spilling nonsense over it and misleading new music fans to believe that the song is a hip-hop original and not actually a slaughtering of a once stunning epic. No, Yeezus takes James Bonds’ eternal diamonds and somehow makes them shine even brighter. He manages to shed light on the severity of the diamond trade in Africa, while elevating his rapping ability to the top of the pack. The original is often overshadowed by the Jay-Z remix, but Kanye’s two verses sans Hova are as slick as any suit Jigga has ever had tailored.

4. I Wonder

Kanye West is kind of like the Anakin Skywalker of pop music. In the early years, he is the promising young Jedi that we pray will lead rap and pop music into a new realm of substance and innovation. But the culture of celebrity swallowed his wholesome nature and transformed him into the monstrous Darth Vadar, solidified by his recent marriage to the Death Star of nonsensical celebrity worship, Kim Kardashian.

So that is why it feels like a different universe when West was once a humble, back-pack sporting, Polo-rocking, producer turned rapper, dying to shine. His first two albums are bathed in soul music, which is appropriate since it is these first two releases where Yeezy is the most vulnerable and still determining who he wants to be. Kanye’s ability to empathize with women is only equalled by the late Tupac Shakur. “On that independent shit, give it up for a husband and some kids,” is a punch at feminism, but only a light jab because it has likely made thousands of single women weep from its bruising honesty. Kanye’s relationship with his mother is the foundation of this acute female perception and it would be this relationship that would serve as the ultimate clock to dictate when and how the hyper-sensitive ‘Ye’ would eventually transform into the polarizing ‘Yeezus.’

 

3. Runaway

“Runaway” is a modern anthem for the modern d-bag brought to you by the self-proclaimed international asshole. While sexism has quelled in the new millennium, the sexual appetite of men appears to have tripled, leading to rampant adultery, nonstop perverted thoughts and outlandishly stupid ideas like men sending text messages of their penises. While some married men will plead innocence even when handcuffed to the bed frame by their secretary, many fellas are at least aware of their piggish antics. While “Runaway” was a frigid, insensitive dismissal of any women foolish enough to remain close to him, it still showcased the self-awareness that has ultimately come to define, and at times, destroy Kanye West. The repeated hammering of the single piano key at the beginning before a voice yelling “Look at cha!, Look at cha!” is the mirror screaming at Kanye to dwell in self-reflection and discern why it is that he chooses to act like a monster so often.

2. Jesus Walks

It’s ironic that maybe his most defining track is about the pious figure that he would eventually compare himself to six albums later. From some corners of the world, this song is not just over the line, it’s over the equator.

The song is the defining anthem of his career because the initial and eventual interpretation of this song is exactly how to describe the complexity and genius of Kanye West. The naked audacity of West to champion his debut album over a song preaching the power of the son of Joseph, on a disc that blatantly states that many of his primary objectives make the Ten Commandments shiver, was at first blatantly arrogant.

But as you dissect the lyrics and allow the conviction of Mr. West to take hold, you realize that everything he’s spitting, no matter how ridiculous, has some level of merit.

“I’m not here to argue about his facial features, I’m here to turn atheists into believers,” is the slogan door-to-door Christians have been desperate for since Jesus left the building.

1. Black Skinhead

Today’s Kanye West has shredded his cuddly mascot teddy bear like a savage wolf, decorated himself in an aggressive leather uniform and shaved his skull so that his pulsating veins bulge through when he screams the menacing “Black Skinhead.” The backpacks and the teddy bears have been deserted in the locker room of the fictional ghetto university that he dreamed up in his first few albums, in favour of a beautiful, dark prison where it’s so desperately lonely at the top that Kanye is having delusions of divinity.

With his mother and grandmother both passing away and Jay-Z at times behaving as a rival rather than a big brother, Kanye has had no one to turn to except for the mirror that only seems to rev his ego with the power of a fully-fueled 747.

Kanye West simultaneously hates pop culture while completely defining it. He’s married to a woman who is famous and glorified despite having zero talent, while Yeezy is hated and ridiculed despite being one of the most progressive and talented artists of his generation. The dichotomy should make him vomit on repeat, but the pop culture monster that he co-exists in is impossible to destroy when he and his wife act as the central vortex of it all.

22-Jump-Street-2

Opinion
By James Pavel

  1. Channing Tatum’s armpits. Dude, we get that you shave your upper pubes, which is either practical or the second most metrosexual trait you could have next to wearing capris and waxing your eyebrows, but do we need a close-up of your naked under-arms for the final 15 minutes of the movie?
  2. Jonah Hill’s complete indifference. Hill’s material in this movie gives the impression that after emailing his four best comedic bits and antidotes, he decided to get mind-numbingly ripped with Seth Rogan. Stoned out of his skull, he then emailed a fifth strip of half-written, barely legible ideas to the directors of 22 Jump Street who incredibly, decided to green-light his material. He made his pay-day, but surrendered some of the brownie points he received for taking a pay cut to star in the legitimately hilarious, Wolf of Wall Street.
  3. It has no depth. Nor does it have Johnny Depp,  who although has made seven Tim Burton movies too many, would have balked at the idea of a sequel to this dim-witted ploy for money.
  4. Not only robbing the jokes from the first movie, but admitting to doing it repeatedly throughout this clogged dumpster of a film, making me feel like an absolute moron for paying to see this instead of just having a friend download it off of some hell-bound, pirate-ran website.
  5. The dorm room twins. What in the blue heavens do these two add to this project? I don’t think I’ve ever loathed two characters for doing so little. The worst is that they chirp Hill and Tatum for looking older than college students, despite both of them looking like the older brothers of Barack Obama.
  6. Making me wish this suddenly became a college football movie starring Channing Tatum because the scenes where he plays a wide receiver are by far the most exciting and believable of this wasteland, shit storm of a movie.
  7. Ruining the momentum both of these main characters currently have going for them. Hill is hot off of Wolf of Wall Street and Tatum is likely to elevate his game drastically with the release of FoxCatcher.
  8. Making Spring Break in Mexico look fun when every person over the age of 21 knows it’s a penis fiesta, which isn’t good when you’re into bikinis and vaginas.
  9. ‘Suns out, guns out’ tank top. So 2012.
  10. Making college parties look exactly like high school parties.
  11. Suggesting that the main difference between high school and college is this: In high school you don’t know what you want to do with your life except that you want to make money and in college you discover what you want to do, except you know that you will make no money doing it.
  12. The jokes about Hill and Tatum being old. It made me feel old which then made me force the remainder of the 10-pound bag of popcorn down my larynx like I hadn’t eaten since Christmas.
  13. Puka shell necklaces. Don’t even dare to try bringing that atrocity back.
  14. The funniest parts are in the previews.
  15. It’s worse than Anchorman 2 and I thought that would be impossible.
  16. That red mohawk. In what twisted universe would that ever be cool?
  17. The excessive use of the F-bomb. I love to drop the F-bomb, I love to hear the F-bomb and yes, I even enjoy to F-bomb. But when literally every fifth word rhymes with duck, it becomes rapidly trite.
  18. Ice Cube’s one-dimensional acting.
  19. Suggesting that Jonah Hill could sleep with Ice Cube’s fictional, but smoking hot daughter.
  20. The laughing, stoned hyenas in front of me that made me want to strangle them with every ounce of energy in my popcorn-fueled body.
  21. It being incomprehensibly worse than it’s predecessor.
  22. Delivering me not one, solid, red-faced laughter explosion.

Tom Cruise

Opinion
By James Pavel

I saw the latest Tom Cruise movie in an almost empty theatre last night.

The seats were left vacant and cold and not because the film, Edge of Tomorrow received poor reviews. In fact, the film was a futuristic bullet train of entertainment that unfortunately, very few can attest to.

For some time now, audiences no longer view Tom Cruise as the ultimate movie hero, but instead as a psychotic, religious zealot. For the past five years, he has felt the repercussions of this shattered relationship each time he has starred in a new movie.

My dear, fellow movie goers, it is time we make amends.

You know his career and his voice, but you do not know the man himself. You have likely felt as though you have made eye contact with him four dozen times in your life. You have surely seen him dance in his tighty whities. But you do not know him in any manner beyond the silver screen.

Voracious movie audiences need to finally erase what they claim to know about Tom Cruise the person, and start fresh with the mega movie star that we have now neglected since the turn of the decade.

You need to forgive the actor and forget about his bizarre personal life.

In the realm of butter-paved popcorn and 2 litre drums of pop, the entertainment is all that matters and nobody accelerates the human pulse like Tom Cruise.

Edge of Tomorrow, is likely to be yet another flop for Cruise, an unfathomable statistic 15 years ago. And yet the quality of films he chooses has not wavered. His latest choice pursues the same intellectual avenue as Leonardo Dicaprio’s Inception, and Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Looper. All three movies could only exist in the present day because of their blindingly bright concepts and neck-twisting themes that focus on the potential of the mind intertwined with science.

It’s cutting edge cinematography, but audiences can’t be moved to forgive poor Tommy. We loathe Cruise like he slept with our younger sister and never called. We pretend to know him because of the toxic pollution that exists on newsstands with false rumours and outlandish tall tales of his social life.

The man we pretend to know everything about is actually Thomas Cruise Mapother IV and although, he might be two Scientology sermons away from the coo coo house, this shouldn’t matter.

We have become so enamoured with celebrity gossip that we have actually allowed it to cloud the very method that we’ve come to know the name of someone famous in the first place. We do not know who Cruise is because he openly supports one of the most contentious religions in the world, or because he enjoys pouncing up and down on a couch like a Ritalin-needy child.

His name is embedded in the pop culture lexicon because he made Top Gun one of the decade-defining movies of the 80s. His name is synonymous with acting because of his spine-tingling performances in Jerry Maguire, and The Last Samurai. And yet we have held a grudge against him because he might have been a mind-control freak-a-zoid in his relationship with Katie Holmes. We stick our noses up because we don’t agree with his religious beliefs, despite him never actually attempting to persuade any audience member to convert to his preferred union in any role he has chosen.

The person that you do know is the movie/action star, Tom Cruise. He is what should matter. We should judge him by the quality of his craft, and not by the recent US Magazine headline.

Let him back into your life. Let Tom Cruise the movie hero save the world again and again, like he has for the past three decades.

You don’t have to pick up the phone. You don’t need to Facebook him. Just pay to see Tom Cruise’s latest film and gently whisper, “I forgive you.”

Originally posted on James Pavel:

doodle-forever-forever-young-glmr-klls-pen-Favim.com-453318

Opinion
BY JAMES PAVEL

5. Younger Us – Japandroids

Japandroids dump out their disposable camera pictures and reminisce out loud about how fun being free of responsibility really was. It would have sounded like a drunken heart-to-heart in your high school buddy’s garage if it wasn’t for the up-tempo, heart-convulsing guitars shattering through this teenage dream. They don’t write off the trials and tribulations of adulthood, but it may make those who know their best days are behind them plead for a time machine.

4. Young – Keeney Chesney

Chesney demonstrates an uncanny ability to capture the weekend lives of millions of youth with probably one of the best modern country songs of the past 20 years. It’s not all guts and glory, as he alludes to the awkwardness that certainly played a major role in everyone’s younger days to a certain erection-concealing degree. But the typical bad attitudes, the…

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