I’m Back!!!!!

•March 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Yes…..your eyes are not playing tricks on you…this blog is back, baby….after an extended hiatus, The Strongest Word is once again flexing and it feels absolutely fabulous, like I never left, even…..I promise to be real, honest and as funny as I possibly can, much like always….we’re gonna have fun! So, stay tuned, and enjoy…..

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The Rowdee Review: Nas, “Life Is Good

•July 31, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Two albums after delivering a eulogy for hip-hop, Nas resurfaces as a solo artist with his latest album, ‘Life Is Good’, a tight, taut, flow intensive set reflective of an older, wiser MC carving out a niche for himself among the numerous one trick ponies that currently populate hip hop. Over 19 nicely arranged and produced tracks, Nas uses this effort to document his life since we’ve seen and heard him last (his collabo with Damien Marley withstanding), & given the subject matter and intensity of these songs, Nas’ journey has been an eventful one, to say the least. Whether dealing with the trauma of divorce and relationship strife (‘Bye Bye Baby’, ‘Roses’, ‘Stay’), the perils of raising teenagers (‘Daughters’), what’s going on in the world around him (‘World’s An Addiction, ‘Accident Murderers’, ‘Where’s the Love) or even old fashioned nostalgia (‘Back When’, ‘A Queens Story’, ‘Reach Out’ featuring a “411”-era sounding Mary J. Blige), Nas tackles his subject matter with the tools that got him here, namely that trademark verbose flow that manages to be all knowing and truth seeking at the same time. He actually sounds a bit hungry here, and as such, his intensity and lyrical athleticism harken back to the era of his ‘Nasty’ persona, perhaps best reflected in the album’s first single, appropriately titled ‘Nasty’. This is a grown man, making songs about grown folk things, & doing it in a way that should make contemporary MCs reexamine exactly what it is they’re doing as artists (completely wishful thinking on my part). Nas is back & just maybe the trend of skillful artists putting out classics is back, too.

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And The Winner Is……..Mayweather

•September 16, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Okay…..I’ve seen all four episodes of 24/7, including the infamous dust-up between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and his father, I have listened to many expert opinions, watched and read several interviews and stories pertaining to this fight…..and yet, my mind and heart keep coming to the same conclusion: Mayweather is still the best in the game and even at 34 years old, following an extensive layoff, he has enough to defeat the young, hungry, talented Victor Ortiz tomorrow night here in Las Vegas.  Will it even be a fight? Absolutely……Ortiz has the power and talent to make this one a classic, just ask Andre Berto, who lost his WBC welterweight title to Ortiz back in April.  Ortiz seems focused, poised and ready for this huge opportunity, but the problem for him is that his opponent is an undefeated champion in his own right, seeking to cement his legacy as one of the best boxers of all time.  For all the talk of Ortiz’s unusual size and strength for a welterweight, he faces the monumental task that all of Floyd’s opponents face: he has to try and hit what he cannot catch.  Mayweather’s elite-level defensive acumen and expertise will undoubtedly provide a monumental obstruction to Ortiz’ success and ultimately, prove to be the young fighter’s downfall.  This should be a good one tomorrow night….not the fight that all of us who still somehow follow the sport want, but entertaining just the same…..I’m thinking Floyd wins in eight…..

The Rowdee Review: Jay-Z & Kanye West “Watch The Throne”

•September 6, 2011 • 1 Comment

After much contemplation & repeated listens, I can sum up my feelings about this album like this: I liken it to a luxury cruise on an expensive vessel that leaves port and sails in a complete circle; yes, you can enjoy being on the boat because of its sheer opulence and endless amenities and perks, but at the end of the day, you’re not really going anywhere. Watch The Throne suffers under the massive weight of its own expectations; few albums in hip hop history have been as highly anticipated as this one was. Yet, somehow the hype and hysteria surrounding it failed to justify what was put into it and what we are left with are a bunch of experiments in sound and theme that ultimately lack cohesion and distinction. Having said all of that, let me be clear: this is a “luxury cruise”, for sure & as such, some of this material is high quality stuff. ‘No Church In The Wild’, ‘The Joy’, ‘New Day’, ‘Otis’, & ‘Made In America’ all have the potential to be labeled as absolute classics when all is said and done. In particular, the seemingly heartfelt sentiments made towards both artists’ unborn children in ‘New Day’ sound uncompromisingly honest and real. Yet other tracks like ‘Niggas In Paris’, ‘Gotta Have It’, ‘Who Gon Stop Me’ & ‘H.A.M.’ come off as leftovers from ‘Ye’s Dark Twisted Fantasy with Jay’s presence injected into the scrum as an afterthought. This is Jay-Z being talked into making a Kanye West album….experimental, skittish, abstract, & ultimately, kinda empty. Was I expecting too much? Ummm….no. When two of the great pop/hip-hop cultural icons scream at us to pay attention while they collaborate & ultimately don’t deliver, then that’s a ‘you’ problem, not mine….as good as they are, this work does not represent what could be, plain and simple…..

The Rowdee Review: DJ Jazzy Jeff & Ayah “Back For More”

•August 15, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Jazzy Jeff is determined to turn this summer into an inferno. First, he & Mick Boogie dropped the second installment of his Summertime mixtape series, which actually improved on the formula from the first one….and now this, a collaboration with sultry songstress Ayah for the full length banger ‘Back For More’. From the opening track, the Stevie Wonder infused ‘Press Play’ to the mid-tempo burn of ‘Notorious’ and all points beyond and between, this album adds another classic to the Philly neo-soul catalog. Ayah’s crisp and clear vocals blend perfectly with Jeff’s production, and together they deliver repeatedly throughout the whole project. This is the one you’ve been waiting for, a full length release that represents those of us born into hip hop who now dwell in R&B’s neighborhood; think Groove Theory, 20 years later & updated. Pure fiyah, through and through.

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Greetings From Beautiful Rome!!!

•July 9, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Hmmm, where to begin?!? Several things have stood out to me so far, including:

– O’Hare airport is freakin’ huge; that place makes McCarren look like a guest house…..walking from one end to the other, trying to get on an international flight is slightly challenging…..and a pissed off sistah working for the TSA has the potential to delay your progress.
– The airport in Zurich Switzerland is full of glass enclosed ‘smoking rooms’ sponsored by cigarette companies….lots of them all over….and yet, there are also strongly worded disclaimers posted all over as well, i.e. “smoking tobacco is dangerous and unhealty”, etc…..weird….
-Both Zurich and Rome actively court the English speaking tourist….lots of English signage everywhere, and iconic American companies are everywhere as well….the McDonald’s near Rome’s main train station is tucked into an old building, with a nice sized canopy outside for outdoor dining….and I saw a sign pointing out where Burger King was….along with Coca Cola and Starbucks, American corporations are well placed and making nice coin over here.
-Rome is a strange mix of old and new….some of the trains in the train station were covered in graffiti like old school NYC subway cars & the majority of the buildings are old, if not downright ruins….yet, the streets are littered with scooters and Smart cars, and there are curbside gas pumps, literally in the middle of a city block….
-Was not prepared for and frankly am kinda surprised by the local’s rudeness towards us….not to indict a whole city, but we have approached folks for directions and have come away pissed from the response we’ve gotten….not to mention the asses at a local supermarket here, who came close to making the West Philly come outta my wife….as much dough as folks will spend in these establishments, some act like they can’t be bothered to be approached & that’s just all kinds of foul.
-Shout out to the car full of folks that happened to come down the street at the same time that I was on my knees, attempting to take a pic from a different perspective…..they thought I was proposing and burst into applause…..cracks me up every time I think about it….
– the Vatican Museum is a mind blowing experience….from the rooms full of classic statues of early Roman people of influence to the impressive display of Egyptian artifacts that included sarcophaguses of Pharaohs and sculptures & each and everything in between, that place is simply awesome, there is no other way to look at it….and the Sistine Chapel was magical, to see Michaelangelo’s work up close moved me beyond any words I could muster up to put here; the colors, the detail, the scenes….makes you admire and cherish the good that could come from one’s faith…..truly beautiful.
– the memory of Pope John Paul II is alive and well here; the tourist stands and souvenir shops are chock full of items baring his image, and there is a huge banner of him in St. Peter’s square….you have to wonder how that has to effect the current Pope’s ability to rally his parishioners, that can’t be an easy thing to do…..
– Speaking of Pope Benedict XVI, I was not able to holler at him as planned…..wanted to see if he could hook me up with a discount on those uber fly red Prada shoes he’s always sporting….
– this place is massively expensive….not only is the Euro crapping all over the US dollar, but the price on some items here is staggering….for example, we walked past a sidewalk cafe that had a slushee machine outside. The owner of the store came out and asked if we wanted one…..we said yes and he went back inside and returned with two of the smallest plastic cups you’ll ever see and told us that the larger one was 4 euros….this fool was gonna charge us the equivalent of $6.40 US for not much more than an extending swig….hell yeah, we walked away….
– had the best apple I’ve ever eaten in my life yesterday…..damn near the size of a softball, a beautiful deep red color, perfectly ripe, juicy, sweet….really, really good.
-the subway here reminds me so much of Philly’s Broad Street subway; they even have an orange line too….& we were treated to a mini concert by a street musician, who serenaded us with a violin solo, right
on the train…..dude was serious about it, too; he had a portable sound system and everything….and as I thought about it, we could have easily been in North Philly, headed for City Hall…..
– Still haven’t used the bidet in our room…..don’t think I’m ready for all that….that’s a lotta water splashing, not trying to feel like a freakazoid on my trip.

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That Is One Helluva Group…..

•June 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

What do the people on the following list all have in common?

Noted perv and freakazoid Marquis de Sade, actress Sally Kellerman, former Dallas Cowboys team president Tex Schramm, pioneering golf legend Charlie Sifford, director Barry Levinson, Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, actor Stacey Keach, composer Marvin Hamlisch, actor Jerry Mathers (the Beaver!), NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, golfer Craig ‘The Walrus’ Stadler, actor Dennis ‘You’re in Good Hands’ Haysbert, wrestling legend Lex Lugar, pitcher Mike Stanton, rapper B-Real, actor/comedian Wayne Brady, NBA guard Dontae Jones, NBA guard Earl Boykins, actor Zachary Quinto (Spock!), soccer star Freddy Adu, intellectual giant Dr. Cornel West, actor/comedian Dana Carvey, former ‘Tarzan’ actor and Olympian Johnny Weismueller, pioneering gossip columnist Hedda Hopper…..and me!

They all are (or would be) celebrating a birthday today!!! Happy Birthday to them all….me included!

 
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