Posts in Reflections
SURRENDER TO THE AIR

It sucks that Professor Morrison’s passing was the spark I needed to write for myself again, but I’d be a hypocrite considering her a role model and mentor while continuing to be so passive about my truest passion. I know I’m a damn good writer, because I wouldn’t have launched this project if I didn’t. That’s partially why I chose that picture of Professor Morrison for the August homepage. It’s definitely eerie but in the best possible way, like she’s staring directly into my soul, demanding I snatch control of my destiny. I can’t be a writer if I, er, don’t write. The plainest truths are often redundant that way.

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Rhy Speaks: On The Playa Haters' Ball

The Playa Haters’ Ball is easily one of the best in show history. I cannot understand how fans of Chappelle fail to discuss this sketch when talking about its most memorable moments. The skit’s humor is rooted in how natural it all feels, the chemistry between these friends and just naturally funny people fueling the bulk of it. Based on nothing but my personal speculation, the totality of that episode isn’t quite as memorable as others and that precludes it from consideration. Or even more simply, maybe people just don’t appreciate true comedians and pure Black comedy.

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The Philosopher & the Preacher

With vivid detail, enthusiastic candor, and — frankly — better philosophical fluidity than most of today’s elected officials, their bars provide a genuinely sound logic for everybody: for teenagers seeking their purpose, students struggling with academia, politicians trying to make the world a better place, and parents simply hoping to connect with their children. The broad approach of their art makes the similarities clear, but make no mistake: J. Cole and Big KRIT will teach you vastly different things about yourself.

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Takeaways from Game 1

I think Golden State got a tad bit lucky. It’s insane LeBron continues to play these 48-minute games in Season 15, but I have no reason to believe he’ll slow down, either. And, to his credit, he has a short memory: for better or worse, he’ll be kicking the ball to Earl for open 3s on Sunday as if nothing happened tonight. He doesn’t really have a choice, no. But I’m not doubting the guy again. He’s in every game he wants to be in. If he can find that little bit of help, he can absolutely positively steal this ring. And I am very excited to see him try.

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Lórenzo J’s Mid-Aughts Music Review, Week 2

Ironically — or maybe not — their beef came at the apex of each rappers’ career: Paper Trail is T.I.’s last #1 album on the Billboard Hot 100, and Shawty Lo never saw that kind of mainstream attention on his music again. I might’ve found Tip’s responses petty, but he probably saw a guy he knew and respected and, most importantly, wanted his spot; this guy from down the block might’ve never held T.I.’s universal appeal, but he could threaten his neighborhood status, and that was enough to merit comebacks that were, frankly, mean. It never got violent, and everything ended well enough, but it was a juicy rap storyline in 2008 for sure.

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Lórenzo J’s Mid-Aughts Music Review, Week 1

I adore way too many Wayne verses to name from this specific period, but this particular "6 Minutes" verse always impresses. This beat is intentionally aggressive, and you can actually hear Wayne taking on the challenge of taming it. Hitting lead-off, that instrumental could've easily swallowed Wayne whole, but you can tell he's eager to prove his technical skill, a proposition I'm sure many rap pundits never considered when Wayne was a true neophyte. Released in the interim between Tha Carters I & II, I hadn't paid much attention to the album series' first installation and therefore had no idea Wayne was even intelligible now — let alone elite. I’d always fight Derrick to rap Wayne's verse; sometimes I’d relent and play Fabolous, but neither of us wanted a thing to do with Cassidy’s part. And Cassidy wasn’t even that bad! It’s just tough having the B+ verse when the guys before you definitely scored much higher than that. I mean, it’s truly a matter of preference: I’ve recently seen folks say they prefer JAY-Z’s “Renegade” verses to Eminem’s. That is an extremely contrarian stance to take, but I’d understand if a rap fan were able to find beauty in how Cass delivers his bars on "6 Minutes." But make no mistake, this is Wayne’s song. You want to see the exact moment Lil Wayne becomes a supernova? Here it is, right here.

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I Hate Sam Presti (aka Death of a Dynasty II)

#THUNDERUP was the gang: my guys made the NBA Finals in 2012, giving LeBron and the Heatles a (semi-) competitive series. In the closing seconds of Game 5, ABC’s cameras cut over to Russy, Kevin, and James — arms draped around each other, clearly disappointed but still youthfully exuberant, aware their trio would absolutely positively return to the championship round. James was due a contract extension, but *clutches pearls* we’d never play with the future of the franchise! I’ve never been more certain of a basketball fiefdom — at least not since Jordan’s Bulls.

On October 27, 2012, around 6PM London time, I learned the Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets. The Thunder vaguely claimed they were unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension; James was seeking a maximum contract of $60 million over 4 years, which the Thunder countered by asking him to take a $4.5 million discount. The Thunder traded away their third head over a mid-level exception.

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Rhy Speaks: On The Boondocks

I have come to appreciate The Boondocks as a cultural time capsule that has somehow remained relevant despite the fact a great deal of these episodes are over a decade old. I may be aging but the show hasn’t at all, and every time I re-watch them I appreciate the show just a little bit more, especially as I learn more about the world. Now into my mid-20s, it’s clear The Boondocks might always remain culturally and socially relevant, or at least until I’m older. Disagree? "The Trial of Robert Kelly" is the second episode the show ever produced; 12 years later, R. Kelly is still free and was recently accused of holding teenage girls captive in an Atlanta compound. Still relevant.

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Hypocrite(?!): Black Authenticity in the Age of Social Media

We’re each playing a version of ourselves on the internet; the majority of us have officially been around long enough to have earned some sort of cyber-reputation, one we’ve either carefully crafted for ourselves or one we unwittingly wear — or sometimes both. Oftentimes, the truth about our character lies somewhere in the middle, between the perception we’d like to see accepted as truth and the actual reality of our lives. I totally understand it. I’ve been crafting my personal brand around the aesthetic that I’d like WSH to exude — clean, refined, much cooler and over everything than you’d believe — and while it can be fun to play that character on Twitter and Instagram, it’s a weird feeling to consider how detached our two personalities can be. Not entirely disparate, mind you; I’d never accuse anyone of faking for likes and retweets. But we’ve all now become curators of our personal running diaries, for better or worse. Can’t blame a curator for exercising creative control, can you? That's precisely why my Twitter drafts folder is pouring over at the moment. Creative control.

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Rhy's Black History Month Series: Coming to America

I often struggle with picking a definitive list of my favorite movies, but on today, here’s the shortlist: Silence of the Lambs, The Godfather, and Coming to America. I could easily write an argument for the greatness of Silence of the Lambs or The Godfather, but the clear underdog in my top-three is Coming to America. This is completely unfair, however, and thus why I want to discuss why Coming to America is an undeniable masterpiece that doesn’t get nearly enough credit.

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The Third Annual WSH (Not Very) Highly Scientific Ranking of the Year's Best Songs, Day Five

“Family Feud” is a piece of a larger tapestry, of course, but, similar to “LUST.” on Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN., "Family Feud" is 4:44’s axis; feuding with others — and most crucially, himself — led to this album’s creation in the first place. It’s not so difficult to live a decent life; if we all treated others with the care and consideration we'd like to experience ourselves, we’d live in a much happier world. But our lustful, self-serving impulses tend to handicap us in the worst possible ways, and until we recognize these impulses as more detrimental to the collective good than as beneficial to our personal individual goals, we’ll continue to see the same negative results.

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