Football is the most militaristic of all sports. I’m not just talking about the violence. It seems to stem directly from war games as a battle for real estate and a lover of the military’s strict hierarchies. It’s understandable that there needs to be a regimented class system within the game because there’s so many highly specialized players moving through so little space and time. There’s 22 men on the field and their movements must be intricately choreographed because one player’s mistake could lead to a blockbuster play for the other team. Mistakes are extremely costly in a world where you’re promised just 16 games a year and within them, Eddie George once told me, the ball is actually in play for a grand total of five minutes. So football coaches necessarily exert more control over everything players do during play than in any other sport. In the narrative of the sport coaches are generals guiding soldiers who are following orders. A few QBs who’ve proven themselves get to call their own plays, but they’re still working from a menu the coaches created. There is little patience in big time football for improvisation. For a power structure that’s spent all week microscoping film in order to determine the most likely path to success it must be absolutely frightening for a player to take the reins in the middle of a play and do whatever comes to mind. But that’s part of why it’s so insanely exciting to watch Michael Vick, who more often gets improvisational—and successfully so—than any other NFL player today and perhaps ever.
Archive for January, 2012
We are in a crippling recession, but listening to hip-hop would you know that? The supposed music of the street has not, to my ears, noticed that the economic reality for most Black people has changed radically over the past few years.
The discussion of insanely expensive never-worn watches must sound crass to people who every day grow less and less hopeful of finding a job.
MCs are still all about spending money like it ain’t a thang. Their major trending topic is the cash. Meanwhile, the discussion of insanely expensive never-worn watches must sound crass to people who every day grow less and less hopeful of finding a job. I love “Niggas In Paris,” even though much of its self-congratulatory bragging feels out of place in today’s climate. The song registers no awareness of how extreme financial brags may turn off some listeners during a prolonged recession. “What’s 50 grand to a nigga like me?” is an honest rhetorical question. Jay’s a multimultimillionaire. But it’s also tone deaf.
“Initiation” is a song pulsing with evil. The Weeknd has lured a naïf into his web of iniquity and is taking her innocence, turning her out, and practically taking her soul.
It starts with an ominous, haunting, dangerously sensual vamp that makes me feel like we’re in a dimly lit, seedy hotel room littered with drugs done and undone, and bottles half-drank, and ashtrays filled with cigarettes, and minds that have long been completely blown.
The Weeknd’s aggressive vocal attack—the way he barrels through the verses, intense and relentless, barely stopping for breath, rhyming as much as singing—adds to the creepiness as it signals his devilishly aggressive assault on this girl, plying her with substances, guiding her past her limits, taking her over.