Why To Pimp a Butterfly is So Good

Posted: March 24, 2015 in Home

None of us will be perfect. No matter how much we work toward perfection, we will never achieve it. Whether you’re a lawyer, a gangster, white, black, purple or blue, its impossible. We will always be flawed humans, which begs the question: Why bother?

In To Pimp a Butterfly, Kendrick asks: “Because why not?”

We can spend a lifetime doing incredible things and barely move the needle of humanity progress. Even Kendrick Lamar, one of the most influential artists of his time, isn’t going to stop any wars or pass any bills with some beats and rhymes. But he, like any great musician, can save a kid’s self-destructive perspective on life. He can help someone get through a tough time. He can make someone’s commute shorter or give an outlet from a broken home.

In the grand scheme of things, its a ton of work for essentially no reward. But its worth trying, dammit.

“But iono, I’m not Mortal Man. Maybe I’m just another nigga.”

Kendrick says, at the essential conclusion one of the best albums of the decade. Well over an hour of beats and rhymes that question our everything from his decision to skype his dying friend to Killer Mike’s underrated popularity, all he has to say for himself is “I’m just some guy.”

What makes Lamar different, however, is how conscious he is of his creative beast—his butterfly. As he beautifully summarizes to Tupac:

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The butterfly is caterpillar are separated in how they respond to Lucy (Lucifer). The bulk of TPAB, starting with Wesley’s Theory (referring to Snipes, who succumbed to Lucy), depicts Kendrick’s personal battle with Lucy.

This album, also laced with incredible bars and doused in daring, 70-funk production that would scare most any other artist away, attacks themes and topics from a perspective never really taken from an artist of this prominence—which, to me, makes it one of the best pieces of music made in our generation.

Darrelle Revis Returns

Posted: March 12, 2015 in Home

Where is Alf? ¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Posted: January 21, 2015 in Home

My contract with Bleacher Report will end at the end of this month, as it has every year since in 2011. This time, however, it will not be renewed. I don’t have much of an explanation for you other than B/R is going in another direction with their NFL coverage, which is completely in their right to do.

I would be lying if I said I was totally cool with this, but by the same token, its somewhat of a relief. Since I graduated college and entered the shitty adult world (sorry youngins, enjoy it while it lasts), keeping up the dream of writing about sports for a living, while, you know, making an actual living took a lot of sacrifice. I worked a job where I commuted about 4 hours a day, worked 9 (nights), wrote for 3 or 4 (or more), did some bullshit workout to not get fat and filled in the space with sleep. My days began to build around how I was going to balance getting my writing done that day without falling asleep mid-paragraph.

I developed a bad relationship with a game I used to love. Football got me through some tough times as a youngin. It was becoming a burden through no one’s fault but my own.

I thought I was losing my fanhood because I was becoming more analytical, but it wasn’t just the Jets I didn’t care about. NFL Sundays were becoming a chore, and not because I had to write—just watching the games became work.

It hit me that my relationship with football was changing when I was watching/blogging Jets/Ravens with my brother in 2013. Ed Reed (of course) watched a ball sail over his head to further embarrass the Jets; all I was worried about was the time of the touchdown so I could update it on my blog, completely emotionless as to what had happened.

“You just really don’t give a shit anymore, do you?” My brother asked.

He was right. A younger version of me would have his head buried in a pillow (just as a younger version of Reed would have never let such a thing happen, but that’s another topic).

I was compensated fairly for the work I did put in, but money was just a byproduct of why I put myself through this season after season. I definitely gave a shit—about the product I was putting out every day. Every article with my name on it was my best possible work. I just didn’t give a shit about what makes the NFL so fun.

For most people, football is an escape. For me, it was just a second job—which is the last thing I wanted it to be. I wanted to do something I loved so I would never have to work, not work so much I never got to do anything I loved. Taking out a tough day at work by going into detail about how terrible Stephen Hills’ releases are off the line of scrimmage is not an ideal stress reliever.

So, that’s why I have been keeping away from twitter, taking a step back to re-evaluate what I really want out of this. I’m not sure what the future holds for my writing career, but I do know I still want to write – its a form of communication where, I, a stutterer, am on an equal playing field as everyone else. I have to write.

Eventually I will likely pursue other writing opportunities and return to heat up the TLs with #takes on the reg, but I will probably take the next few weeks to step away from the game. If you’ve followed/read/RTd/favorited/sent me hate mail/made fun of my Revis #lust, thank you – you guys helped keep me going more than you think. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity B/R gave me as a nearly-broke college kid and to have kept me around for as long as they have.

To the next chapter.

Alf

Interview With Eric Decker

Posted: April 26, 2014 in Home

I had the opportunity to interview new Jets wide receiver Eric Decker recently. Read here for my story on Decker’s transition to New York, his thoughts on the Jets and how he made it so far in his football career.

My latest story on B/R that breaks down why the Jets can’t wait around to keep Wilkerson, both from a financial and psychological standpoint.

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I wrote this piece for B/R a few weeks ago. It details how Tebow got to where he is today, from his miraculous birth to being on the back pages of New York tabloids.

I have never been a fan of the attention Tebow gets, but I enjoyed spelling out the complex story of who was the most popular man in American sports.

Click here to give it a read.

I just did an extensive piece about the Jets QB options in 2013. What I found was, no matter what avenue the Jets take, keeping Sanchez as the starter just makes more logical sense.

The only hope for Sanchez to not be the Jets starter is for either a) he plays badly enough over the next month to start one of the backups or b) Mike Tannenbaum is fired. Even if Mr. T is fired, it still makes more fiscal sense for the Jets to keep no. 6.

Here’s why.

Latest at Bleacher Report: 9 New York Jets Who Could Shock the Word in 2012

Taking a look at some sleepers that could surprise for the Jets next season. 

Link  —  Posted: June 5, 2012 in Home

According to Bleacher Report draft guru Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout), many of the top players in this draft have no interest in going to Cleveland.

It comes as no suprise that Cleveland is a team players want to avoid. They don’t win many games, and a lot of good careers have gone unnoticed.

However, Cleveland has a top-five pick. Whoever is picking in the top 5 is going to be a bad team. You could argue that the Rams have had no more success in the past five years or so than the Browns, but no one is avoiding them.

The answer lies in how much money the Browns are spending. At least the Rams are trying, by signing guys like Cortland Finnegan and hiring a proven coach in Jeff Fisher. The Browns seem more interested in bringing back the west coast offense at all costs than winning games.

In a surprising move, the Houston Texans traded ILB DeMeco Ryans to the Eagles for a 4th round pick and a swap of 3rd round picks. Ryans was taking up a fair share of cap room, and he only played about half of defensive snaps last year as his pass coverage skills went South.

He is also a much better fit in a 4-3, and should be an immediate upgrade over anything the Eagles have.

I expect Boston College ILB Luke Kluechly to still be in play in the first round fr the Eagles. He may be a better fit as a WILL backer anyway, and he’s just a damn fine football player to just pass on.

Clearly, the value of veterans is deteriorating, and quickly. The NFL is becoming so much about pure athleticism that age is becoming a bigger factor every year.