XXXTentacion Shot and Killed in South Florida

Posted: June 18, 2018 by Ismael AbduSalaam in Music News
Tags: , , ,

XXXTentacion

XXXTentacion, who garnered devoted fans for his eclectic music influences and controversy for alleged incidents of domestic violence, was shot and killed in South Florida today after leaving a motorcycle dealership. He was 20 years old.

Witnesses claim to have heard several shots around 4:35 p.m. in Broward County. XXXTentacion, real name Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, was found comatose in his vehicle at an undisclosed intersection. Several witnesses claim he didn’t have a pulse when transported to a nearby hospital as a level one trauma patient.

According to dispatch audio obtained by TMZ, police are looking for a black Dodge Journey. Two males in hoodies with red ski masks opened fire on XXXTentacion at point blank range. A Louis Vuitton bag belonging to the rapper was missing, adding to speculation the murder may have been a botched robbery.

XXXTentacion’s last album, simply titled ?, was released in March and his first #1 album on Billboard. Known for his explicit lyrics detailing his struggles with depression, drug abuse and suicide, XXXTentacion also garnered infamy for several allegations of violence against women. A trial was pending for a 2017 incident where he allegedly assaulted a pregnant woman.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Spence_Ocampo_knockout

Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott/Showtime

FRISCO, TX — It was a short homecoming. IBF welterweight titlist Errol Spence took the fight out of Carlos Ocampo with two body shots to score a first-round knockout at the Ford Center at The Star.

Ocampo looked to be a formidable challenger early in the round by timing Spence’s aggression with right hands. But Spence was undeterred, walking through the offense in a dogged effort to work the body. That singular determination paid dividends when Spence caught Ocampo on the ropes and thudded home a corking southpaw left followed by a right hook to the body.

Ocampo immediately doubled over on the canvas for over two minutes.

“I was a little disappointed. I wanted to give the crowd their money’s worth,” said Spence afterward. “I wanted him to sustain a bit and give him some punishment, but the body shot got him and I dropped him… called me the body snatcher.”

The win comes just one week after WBO welterweight title-holder Terence Crawford scored a dominant late stoppage over Jeff Horn. While public rumblings for that cross-promotional showdown are still in their infancy, Spence is targeting fellow PBC fighters.

“I want to fight the best,” Spence promised. “Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter are fighting each other (for the WBC title) and I definitely want to make that a unifying fight. We both have the same management, we both fight on SHOWTIME. Why not make that happen? I definitely want that fight whenever it’s available.”

****

With Keith Thurman inactive, you have to view Errol Spence as the consensus #1 at welterweight. I rate the Kell Brook win high and the destroying Lamont Peterson, a solid contender, is better than anything the other champs and contenders have done recently. Crawford passes the eye test, but his resume has yet to be established at this weight. I’d favor the naturally bigger Spence over him.

Going by the weigh-in pictures, I don’t see weight being an issue for Spence though the end of 2019. That leaves enough time for a decent chance at unifying all the belts.

Time for your guys to chime in — where do you rate Spence and who has the best chance to beat him at 147?

 

[Video] High Art: The Carters Go ‘Apesh*t’

Posted: June 16, 2018 by Ismael AbduSalaam in Music News
Tags: , ,

The Carters

Live from the Louvre Museum in Paris, The Carters indulge in high art extravagance in this surprise video drop for “Apeshit.”

The visuals serve as the opening salvo for the power couple’s first joint album, aptly titled Everything Is Love and streaming exclusively (for now) on TIDAL. What will immediately grab you on “Apeshit” is Bey’s flow. Yes, an artist of her stature will only get the best writers, but having a competent flow is not something writers can bestow on you (see Cardi B’s latest project). Here she rides the beat better than Jay (at times).

Everything Is Love is your appetizer for the On the Run II tour that hits the States on July 25.

[Review] Superfly: Mastering the Chessboard

Posted: June 15, 2018 by Ismael AbduSalaam in Concert/Film/TV Reviews
Tags: , ,

Superfly

When you view life as a chessboard, everyone in your circle becomes a pawn in your end game. You can argue its Grade-A psychopathic behavior. But when your trade is the drug game, it’s a trait that’s essential to keeping you breathing. Enter Superfly, the slick and glossy remake of the 1972 blaxpoitation classic. Gone are the pimp suits and 70s slang in favor of a trendy soundtrack (courtesy of Future) and the Mecca of urban entertainment, Atlanta, serving as the landscape. But under all the glamour, is this a story worth retelling?

We begin by being introduced to Priest (Trevor Jackson), a young shot-caller who immediately shows us his presence by talking down a rowdy rapper and two goons that owe him money. The prevailing message, which is hinted at several times over the course of the film, is that Priest’s street success comes from his intellect and foresight over relying on brute strength. Although Jackson doesn’t have the charisma of the original Superfly (Ron O’Neal), he exudes a low-key confidence which shines through whenever he puts someone in check (most notably a unruly gambler at the crap table).

Priest’s motivation is to exit the game while he’s ahead, meaning he needs “one last score” to set him up for life.  Problem is, Priest’s the only one in his circle who feels that way. Eddie, his second in command and played by Jason Mitchell, is a jovial hustler who doesn’t hesitate to use violence when the gang is threatened. And it’s that hair-trigger temper that caused him to sanction an ill-advised hit on a rival crew (Snow Patrol), igniting a street war and putting Priest on the run. Priest’s mentor and coke supplier, the secretive Scatter (Mike K. Williams), is also not interested in financing an exit strategy. That leaves Priest to play the dangerous game of trying to find a direct connect with the Mexican cartel.

Superfly_Q

The antagonists of Superfly are a plenty and give the plot a brisk pace. The aforementioned Snow Patrol, who you can see coming a mile away in their matching white outfits, are mostly just a nuisance. The bigger danger comes from the Mexican cartel, who don’t take kindly to Priest’s retirement idea. The most devious antagonists are Detective Morrison and Officer Turk, two white corrupt cops looking to extort Priest’s crew.

With all this going on, we spend little time with Priest himself. We only get a brief glimpse, via voiceovers, of what drove him to crime. Perhaps the most striking aspect of his lifestyle is being openly polygamous and having the ladies play prominent roles in his organization. Unfortunately, the dynamic between the three will likely mostly be remembered for the awkward shower sex scene.

His actions and motivations also lack consistency. In the opening, you get the impression we’re dealing with a master tactician who keeps his emotions in check. We see that later when he makes his case to the cartel to be their main supplier (even as they threaten to throw him out a plane). But later, he’s in near tears at the death of Scatter, as if he didn’t foresee the inevitable outcome of betraying his mentor and making him expendable to the cartel.

Action-wise, Director X does well with the shootout sequences. They come suddenly with visceral close-ups of the carnage. The problems come with the martial arts sequences – the slow-motion effects are more suited for super-hero films and pull you out of the film (especially when Priest dodges a point-blank gunshot matrix style early on).

Although this Superfly isn’t as unique a character as the hair might lead you to believe, the storyline and characters surrounding him are entertaining enough to hold your attention.

stars-2.5

Errol Spence Jr and Carlos Ocampo

IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. defends his title Saturday night (June 16) against mandatory opponent Carolos Ocampo. But before the fight, the boxers meet for their final pre-fight ritual with today’s weigh-in. The live stream opens at 2 p.m. ET.

Drake_scorpion_cover

How’s this for a high school reunion glowup? Drake reunites with the cast from Degrassi: The Next Generation for a hilarious rendition of “I’m Upset.” There’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek moments for those who grew up on the show, most notably Drake’s entourage chasing the kid who shot and paralyzed him. Jay and Silent Bob also make their presence known (these two must be immortal!).

Drake also took this occasion to unveil the cover art and release date for Scorpion (June 29). This is the first musical output from Drake since receiving a lyrical spanking from Pusha T two weeks ago. Although the beef is allegedly squashed, it’ll be interesting to hear if Drake will address any of the accusations on the new project.

CaneloGGG2

After weeks of social media banter and threats to end negotiations, Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin will now do their talking in the ring once again. The middleweight rivals have announced a deal to rematch on September 15 at the T-Mobile Arena.

Today was the supposed final deadline set by Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya for Golovkin to agree to a 57.5-42.5% split in Canelo’s favor. As late as 2:45 p.m. PT, reports were circulated on ESPN and other websites that Golovkin had rejected the deal and the fight was “dead.”

It was then that Golden Boy allegedly blinked.

Company president Eric Gomez came back with another offer — less than the 45% Golovkin had settled on but more than the previous 42%. It was enough to get the deal done.

“The deal was dead at noon,” Golovkin manager Tom Loeffler told the L.A. Times. “He came back with a solution that satisfied both sides. Purse percentage was a main factor… (GGG) stuck to his principles. It wasn’t about money. We had the deal lined up with Saunders to unify the titles in the fall. Luckily, Golden Boy and Canelo accepted that.”

The rematch, originally scheduled for May 5, was canceled after Canelo tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol, earning a six-month suspension. Golovkin subsequently accused Canelo of cheating in their first bout, causing a rift between the camps as negotiations resumed for September 15. Golovkin still took an interim bout on May 5, earning a second-round KO of Vanes Martirosyan. The move prompted the IBF to strip him of their belt for failing to face mandatory opponent Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

Canelo vs. Golovkin II will be for the latter’s WBA and WBC middleweight titles.

****

Over the last few weeks, we watched fans and some of the media slowly talk themselves out of this fight happening. They began to believe the faux pas deadlines De La Hoya was setting on Twitter and Golovkin’s alleged refusal to budge from a 50/50 split.

In short order, everyone became experts on how to negotiate multi-million dollar deals. Folks who wouldn’t even know how to negotiate their job salary were bellowing that GGG needed to accept a 60/40 split. Keep in mind, those same people could be found a few months earlier saying Canelo was a drug cheat and needed to be banned for life.

In other words, it was the usual circus that accompanies any superfight negotiation.

But when you sift through the smoke and mirrors, there was one reality that everyone should’ve never lost sight of — there was no other option this lucrative. Canelo could threaten to fight Jacobs. GGG could do the same with Saunders. But the name of the game in prize-fighting is to fight for the biggest prize. Neither man was about to squander a proven money-maker to possibly get upset by talented but lesser-known fighters.

GGG isn’t the “A-side” but knew his worth after the million-plus numbers they generated from last year. And Canelo was smart enough to relent a few more percentage points to get a shot at redemption and cementing his legacy.

Only one of their hands will be raised the night of September 15. But for today, they can both count themselves as winners on the financial end.