Archive for June, 2011


There’s been much anticipation following Beyonce’s latest album, 4 and nobody’s more excited than the energetic pop-star herself. But the unsurprising leak of her entire album before the June 28 release came as a minor disappointment.

“My music was leaked and while this is not how I wanted to present my new songs, I appreciate the positive response from my fans,” according to the superstar.

Still, that didn’t stop critics nationwide from forming their own thoughts about the album 4.

Putting it lightly, the overall census surrounding Beyonce’s latest album is that it feels “different.”

If you were expecting an album full of up-tempo hits like “Single Ladies” or “Crazy in Love,” you wouldn’t find too many of those here. After listening to the whole album, there’s an apparent change of pace from her previous albums. Most of the tracks like “1+1” and “I Miss You” are more of slow burning and low key beats with unusually soft vocals.

Rest assured, Beyonce didn’t leave her eccentric and high-powered style behind. There are still some songs that you can classify as your usual dance hits such as “Countdown” and a buoyant “End of Time while “Party” which has more of a lounge feel to it.

But none of these songs match the energy of Beyonce’s first single “Run the World (Girls).”  It may not live up to her previous smash classics but is a decent radio hit and power-girl anthem. I can even imagine many people posting videos of themselves rocking to it on YouTube.

4 may have received a lot of criticism from deviating from a known formula fans especially are used to but it’s no experiment that went haywire. Beyonce’s studio fourth ensemble is at best an album that went in a fresh direction. It’s definitely not her best work but nothing to be so upset about either. She may completely run the world another day.

 

It all starts with a peaceful and justified revolution when Moammar Gaddafi overthrew a powerful monarchy to become Libya’s main ruler back in 1969. Unfortunately, human beings have a tendency to become the things they hate.

After his takeover, he established a socialist system where he nationalized all businesses under the government.

Since the 1980s, Gaddafi formed a strained relationship with the U.S. after he supported various groups considered terrorist in the West, including the IRA and various radical Palestinian factions.

The Libyan president has either politically assassinated or in the literal sense, anyone who has opposed him. In 42 years of “service,” Col. Gaddafi is now recognized as a tyrant suffocating the freedom of his people under his totalitarian rule.

However, the Libyan people have had enough. With inspiration from political revolutions happening in Tunisia and Egypt, Libyans began to protest but Gaddafi responded with sheer violence and censorship.

Facebook and Twitter, which was used to jumpstart their successful uprisings, has been blocked in Libya. Phone lines have been tapped and blocked including Al-Jazeera, the international television network which is based in the Middle East.

In Feb. 2011, over 140 Libyan protestors were shot by snipers and overrun by tanks under Gaddafi’s orders in Benghazi. It was a ruthless and unnecessary decision on his part.

Fortunately, France with other leading organizations such as the U.N. and NATO ended diplomatic relations with Gaddafi and no longer recognized his rule as representative council of his people. NATO forces have also been deployed to protect civilians from his military regime. Barack Obama has also considered deploying US troops in Libya should the situation escalate any further.

Ultimately, Gaddafi is now a marked man and it is only a matter of time before his rule ends. Given the fall of other tyrants such as Saddam Hussein, you’d think the Libyan oppressor would concede to his people’s wishes. I guess history never fails to repeat itself.

 

Super injuction, my ass

What kind of web site has enough power and influence to end a politician’s career or start a unified movement against oppressing governments in the Middle East? Undoubtedly, Twitter has managed to establish itself as one of the most powerful tools of freedom of expression with 140 characters or less.

But shouldn’t there be regulations? That’s the best part, nothing is off limits. However, people should be ready to deal with whatever results after their use of social media.

A British footballer from Manchester United tried to prevent his extra marital affair from being exposed with a super injuction. Thus the press couldn’t reveal his name but that didn’t stop 75,ooo individuals from tweeting his name in a trending topic. Consequently, ordered another  court order in British High Court to demand Twitter reveal the identities of users who had posted the tweets but that’s where legal system’s reach ends. This is the Internet, any source of informatio is available to any user and at their disposal.

Trying to police the public from posting the truth or facts about a certain matter is virtually impossible and even  an infringement on free expression. You can not censor it.

After Rep. Anthony Weiner posted shameful photos of himself on his Twitter account, much controversy and pressure from the media followed with his resignation soon afterwards. Twitter allows the right to post whatever you want even at your own risk. Thus Weiner’s resignation was his own doing but I’d never have guessed it would come as a result of social-networking.

Social media also serves as a vehicle for people to voicebtheir grievances and protests against oppression. This has also been an increasing trend in Facebook and Twitter in parts of the Middle East. During the revolutions in Egypt and the uprising of people against President Gaddafi in Libya, governments cut access to internet in an attempt to censor activists. However freedom of speech would not be denied. The need for social media rose to 155 million tweets a day on Twitter. “Hacktivists” looked for alternative ways to bypass the government shutdown to access the internet and still voice their protests on Facebook or Twitter.

As a result, their story has been told worldwide through themedia, world leaders President Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton have pleaded with these governments to stop censoring their own people and people have become more aware of the struggles in the Middle East. Because of that social media  should be as free as ever, without regulations to allow people to express whatever they want- whatever the consequences.

They say being at the top can get lonely but for Lil Wayne, that is probably a good thing.

The Young Money CEO shared more of that insight in an interview after his crowd-raising performance on MTV’s Unplugged this June.

“People say it’s lonely at the top. It is lonely.  But all I do is dream about all the people at the bottom that ain’t lonely. Thank God, I am alone.”

It’s an intriguing message that ties into his song “Nightmares of the Bottom,” an upcoming single from his highly anticipated new album, Tha Carter IV.

Although MTV is now a fluff station that airs shows about narcissistic partiers from New Jersey and pregnant teenagers, they still go back to their respectable roots of good music with Unplugged- a show that honors some of music’s most greatest and talented artists (excluding Katy Perry) since 1989. There’s nothing like being unplugged. It’s almost like winning an award.

Unplugged lets artists perform live-band versions of their best or new songs before a small audience and it’s a more intimate experience for both the artist and the listener. Only then can you witness Jay-Z rap with unfeigned authority or Alicia Keys sing out her soul while playing the piano. To be unplugged means that you’ve been recognized for your contribution to good music. Now, Lil Wayne has been added to that list.

Before his scheduled performance, the hype was big and the performance even bigger as he performed some of his biggest hits, including a hard-hitting “A Milli” to his 2009 #1 billboard hit “Lollipop.”

Lil Wayne deserves this recognition. He’s the second rapper in a decade to headline the event since Jay-Z. Plus his music is simply dope. He massively appeals to all fans of hardcore rap, r&b, alternative & rock. He’s one of the most unique rappers out there with his signature style of lyrics that are laden with creative puns, double entendres and crazy wordplay like “Sleeping at the top/nightmares of the bottom/everybody wanna be fly ‘til you swat ‘em.”

Which ties back to his song with the repeated message- it’s better to be on top and stay there. Unrivaled.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgrdwuev2b8

 

Here are a few songs that have created a lot of buzz this year. Some are unique, some individual and the rest mainstream hits. Regardless, The Whatever Blog is feeling the real swag behind each track. Especially this one from my friend and new favorite rapper DuJuan Woods with “Toast 2 Life.” It’s an all time favorite and I’m sure you’ll like his hard yet fun style of delivery on the beat. The playlist also features YC’s break-out joint “Racks”, which knocked off Lady Gaga’s “Judas” to third on iTunes and debuted at #1 on Zune Marketplace.

Most notably, TWB couldn’t enough get of YouTube’s “Shawt Bus Shorty” from Be Your Own Boss Entertainment. Even better they came out with a remix of their viral hit. Their spot-on parodies of big rappers are so creative and dope, the lyrics virtually outshine their real-life counterparts.

Finally, some people may be surprised to find Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now” on here but we all know who he has to thank for making this such a hard-hitting joint. Busta Rhymes undoubtedly takes the helm for ripping this song shreds along with Lil Wayne’s signature style and swagger. So what do you think? Is this a solid playlist or can it be better?

Gamers and tech heads were shocked when DirecTV permanently dropped the best video gaming network G4TV in Nov. 2010. However, DirecTV’s refusal to sign for another extension was G4’s own doing but now the game channel can make a strong comeback on Zuffa- the host network of UFC TV. Zuffa is looking to buy G4 from Comcast and add its tech based shows to its lineup of MMA action.

This presents a great opportunity for G4TV to get back on its feet after suffering from low ratings for so long. After losing out on an extension with DirecTV, they lost a staggering 40 million viewers and it’s been downhill ever since.

In 2009, G4TV cut down its lineup of shows in order to focus more on their two top carriers X-Play and Attack of The Show. Consequently, this also led to layoffs. In an attempt to raise viewer ratings, they discontinued original gamer shows like Cheat, a show on video game tips and cheats and replaced it with a show with a different kind of cheating.

The abrupt changes to the network’s programming unleashed an apocalypse of negativity from faithful G4 fans. Viewers eventually got sick of the mind-numbing reality marathons of COPS and cheating spouses. As ratings went down, it was apparent that the channel strayed from its gaming and technology roots. The sad thing about this is that none of these changes made sense. G4TV made a horrible mistake of fixing something that isn’t broke.

All things considered, the deal will be beneficial for both networks and will add variety to their respective lineups. In addition, the huge following behind MMA will propel G4TV’s miserable ratings.

If all goes well, we’ll be watching nothing but video games and intense caged fights on TV. What more could gamers ask for?

Another sex scandal

Politicians and sex scandals go together like a peanut butter jelly sandwich. Except peanut butter and jelly can do no wrong.

It’s safe to say we can add Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) to the list of powerful men behaving badly. The representative
had been questioned after exposed photos of himself were posted directly from his Twitter account. Weiner, like all other public figures, denied everything. He claimed he had been “hacked” and outright lied to the public.

Weiner eventually buckled. After a long week of avoiding relentless pressing from the media, the political speaker finally admitted and revealed he had online relationships with six women in the past three years- relationships that occurred before and after his marriage.

This is not unprecedented. There have been so many counts of respected public figures who are involved in sexual scandals throughout history. This year alone has its handful including Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 10-year affair with a maid who mothered his child. Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs was also caught up in an eight-year affair with his brother’s wife, which was also exposed via Twitter last May.Frankly, the ability to uphold high moral standards and show ethical excellence has been diminishing with these men for a long time. Thus, I’m not surprised by Weiner’s incident I am rather shocked at the fact that Weiner still wants to retain his position. What makes him think that he isn’t going to resign after such an incident? Having affairs with possibly underage women won’t help him or his party in any upcoming elections for sure.

After declaring that he wouldn’t resign, it’s a good thing Minority House Speaker Nancy Pelosi committed an ethics investigation upon his case. There is no way such behavior should go unpunished. I’m looking forward to his resignation. Now cue some more juvenile headlines and puns around the web.

This will be a rant session. It's my blog damn it!

When I think of Saints Row, I think of some poser Grand Theft Auto clone with over the top stupidity. You probably can't believe I just said that. How's it any different from GTA?

GTA is all about violence. True. both games are full of raunchy content but the difference is that GTA has a certain feel of maturity and satire. It leaves you with the choice to play the game however you want. Saints Row on the other hand is like the juvenile dude in class who laughs at the word "penis." It rewards you for really stupid things and urges you to do things that I just don't see the point of. Don't take my word for it, Producer for Saints Row: The Third, Greg Donovan seems to get a thrill out of his gamers beating pedestrians with baseball-sized dildos.

“We wanted everything the player does to be compelling, satisfying, and also adhere to that unique brand of humor that people have to know in the franchise. Our philosophy is,‘Why just allow players to kick pedestrians when you can have them to groin hits? Why give them a baseball bat if you can give them a giant, purple dildo bat?’ It’s just a lot more fun, a lot more memorable, and just fits the franchise.”

Really? Beating people up with bat dildos is compelling? I don't understand how such elements have led to the "success" of this franchise. Also check out the commercial that tends to glorify violence and the fast life in lamest way possible.

Note: You could also beat up people with a dildo in GTA: San Andreas but that wasn't the unique selling point of the game in the least.

If you can shutdown online commerce, inspire millions of people through music and wacky costumes, or upset Catholic churches you may  probably be an undeniable force in pop culture or Lady Gaga.

Don’t pretend you don’t know who she is because she’s probably all around you from the radio, to the web to that annoying friend of yours who keeps singing “Poker Face.” Whether you love her or can’t stand her, (either as a person or a musician) there are several reasons that explain Gaga’s massive stronghold in general entertainment.

One major factor that contributes to her success is obviously her music. She may be still compared to predecessors such as Madonna that “paved” the way for her but in her own right, Gaga has set a musical standard for today’s recording artists. Her two albums, The Fame and The Fame Monster reached number one in several countries and earned her eight Grammys combined, along with a pool of music videos that have earned her a countless stack of awards. That alone makes her an established artist to date.

In addition, most successful artists not only use their music to sky rocket themselves in media but find other  ways to stay relevant  in which case Lady Gaga has done well and that’s an understatement.

Lady Gaga is undoubtedly a pop culture icon because she’s virtually synchronized her music with the power of social media. According to Music Ally, there are 443 million hits for the term ‘Lady Gaga’ on Google and 360 million views of Bad Romance on YouTube. After releasing her latest album Born This Way on Amazon for only 99 cents last May, the power of Gaga mania brought down its servers due to excessive demand. Google also announced  the pop star would  be their spokesperson of their upcoming web-based Chromebook laptops after launching a commercial of the superstar inspiring millions of her fans on YouTube.

Apart from having such a strong social media presence and a successful music career, Lady Gaga of course revels in a little bit of controversy. Controversy generates interest and brings people closer or keeps them in that iconic status. Thus Lady Gaga is no stranger to that either, in fact her weird lyrics and eccentric costumes are always at the heart of such issues. Her latest single Judas (over 48 million views on YouTube), contain the dark lyrics “Jesus is my virtue and Judas is the demon I cling to,” has angered or rather baited religious groups into an upset frenzy. Which has no doubt yielded more hits on Google and views of the controversial videos on YouTube.

Either way, it’s no wonder people either love or hate her music or can’t  get away from the controversial headlines about Lady Gaga, it’s probably because Lady Gaga is pop culture.