Saturday, November 24, 2007

Unfortunately, tonight was probably the only meaningful game that will be played in Arrowhead Stadium all year. My beloved Jayhawks could not overcome two missed field goals and two interceptions and fell to Mizzou in the biggest football game our two states have seen in quite some time. But even though my team lost, I decided the game ended in a victory for all who call Kansas City home. We got to put Arrowhead Stadium, the loudest stadium in the NFL, on display for the entire nation to see in primetime. As I sat there, I couldn't help but notice the Kansas City crowd drowning out the announcers. The stadium was so loud I couldn't even hear Brent Musburger (did I spell that right?) make his seemingly obvious observations from the booth. It made me proud to call myself a sports fan from Kansas City. We are the most tortured fans in the nation - KU's many Elite Eight and Final Four NCAA losses, three Chiefs' playoff losses to Indianapolis, numerous 100-loss seasons for the Royals - yet we still cheer louder than anyone else. Why? Because we are the best. So tonight, whether you are lamenting a loss or celebrating a victory, tip your cap to Kansas City and those of us who will always cheer for our teams because they are OUR teams.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Why Clipse has ruined rap music

Last year, Clipse ruined rap music for me. I didn't know it at the time, but today, a little over a year after the release of Hell Hath No Fury, I realized my life will never be the same. Let me explain myself...

In "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs," Chuck Klosterman details why John Cusack has ruined love for the rest of us. It isn't so much Cusack that ruined love but Cusack's character Lloyd Dobler, from the 1980's teenage romance Say Anything. (I had never even heard of this movie before reading this book. For some reason, though I was born in 1983, the entire decade didn't take for me.) In Klosterman's experience, so many women were ultimately dissatisfied with him as a partner because he could never stack up to Lloyd Dobler. The problem was Lloyd Dobler was fake and Chuck Klosterman was real. Real love will never match the "ideal" love we see in movies, because real love is human and humans are flawed. Lloyd Dobler, aka John Cusack, became a standard that no man could match.

I feel the same way about Clipse and rap music. I love rap music, but I don't see myself ever being as satisfied with the medium again. Hell Hath No Fury is the best rap album I have ever heard. Pusha spits verses in fashion superior to all other MC's, including the self-proclaimed Mike Jordan of recordin' Jay-Z. From beginning to end, The Neptunes deliver beats on Hell Hath No Fury unmatched by any other producers. They are rare, grimy, and hard-hitting. The album matches producers and MC's at the top of their game in perfect harmony. Since its release, Hell Hath No Fury has been the standard against which I have measured every subsequent rap album.

Over the last year, even the best albums have left me wanting. Hova, Kanye, Wheezy...they just don't withstand the tour de force that is Clipse. Today, I was relistening to Clipse, and it dawned on me, "Nothing beats this." No matter how hard I try to enjoy American Gangster, Graduation, Da Drought III, or any other release, I will always be disappointed because I'm hoping they will engage me in a way achieved only by Pusha and Malice. The albums don't create the powerful experience I have come to know each time I listen to Hell Hath No Fury.

I love rap music. And no matter what other MC's release, I will continue to return to the Mecca that is Hell Hath No Fury.

~ Joel