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SMFH: Everything about Kawhi Leonard’s injury sucks so much

Kawhi Leonard is one of the NBA’s best players. Kawhi was a leading favorite to win MVP in the preseason but to this point of the season he’s only played 9 games.

Now, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that although the San Antonio Spurs have cleared Kawhi to play, he’s choosing to stay off the court.

Kawhi is battling a quadricep tendon injury that has kept him sidelined for most of the season. The injury is such that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich claimed he had “never” seen an injury like it before. That doesn’t sound good.

Back in January, Wojnarowski first reported on the fraying relationship between Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs over the handling of the injury:

“Under president and coach Gregg Popovich and general manager RC Buford, the Spurs have a two-decades-long history of strong relationships with star players, but multiple sources describe Leonard and his camp as ‘distant’ and ‘disconnected’ from the organization.”

Kawhi is signed through the 2020 season after penning a 5-year $95 million contract in 2015, but the forward has an opt-out clause to become a free agent in the summer of 2019. It benefits all parties to figure out a solution as soon as possible.

The Spurs are the golden standard for how to run a sports organization, you’d think they’d find a way to make Kawhi happy again.

But a month after that report, it appears that things have only gotten worse, and weirder, between the Spurs and Leonard. According to Woj, the Spurs have cleared Leonard to play, but the All-Star forward is choosing not to take the court.

“Leonard has been medically cleared to return from the right quad tendinopathy injury, but since shutting down a nine-game return to the San Antonio Spurs that ended Jan. 13, he has elected against returning to the active roster, sources said. If Leonard returns, it will be because he has decided he can manage the discomfort of the injury, according to the sources.”

Leonard is clearly dealing with a tough injury and his frustration is such that he no longer really trusts the Spurs, or his body, right now. Woj wrote about the growing discord between player and team and how with Leonard’s possible free agency in 2019, there’s a “palpable stress” around the Spurs organization:

“The injury, rehabilitation and timetable for a return has complicated the Spurs’ and Leonard’s relationship, causing tension and fraying the fabric of what was once a strong partnership, league sources told ESPN. The uncertainty surrounding this season — and Leonard’s future, which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 — has inspired a palpable stress around the organization, league sources said.”

Yesterday, Gregg Popovich told reporters that it seems unlikely that Kawhi will return at all this season,

“We only have X number of games left in the season, and he’s still not ready to go. If by some chance he is, it’s gonna be pretty late into the season, and it’s going to be a pretty tough decision — how late to bring somebody back. So that’s why I’m just trying to be honest and logical. I’ll be surprised if he gets back this year.”

Some were hesitant to take Popovich at his word here. He’s notoriously cagey and tongue-in-cheek with the media and maybe this was just another Pop misdirection.

That doesn’t seem likely in this case, but it’s possible that Pop is just trying to catch other teams off guard when they bring back a 100% Kawhi Leonard back for the playoffs.

Honestly, I really hope that is the case. Kawhi Leonard is one of the most enjoyable and exciting players in the NBA when he’s on. Not only is he arguably the best defensive player in the entire league, he’s refined his game to become a dangerous and efficient scorer, putting up 25/6/2 last season.

The NBA is a lot more fun with Kawhi Leonard involved. With him, the Spurs could mount a serious challenge to the Warriors and the Rockets in the West. And while it’s quite literally insane that the Spurs sit 3rd in the West despite not having a healthy Kawhi all season, they have no chance without him.

The current situation is kind of unbelievable. How the Spurs let it get to his point is hard to understand. Hopefully Kawhi can regain his health and confidence and get back on the floor soon.

This season of NBA injuries has been so trash, I just miss Kawhi.

Stormzy puts UK Prime Minister Theresa May on blast during Brits Awards

British rapper Stormzy stole the show at the Brit Awards last night, bringing home two awards and going after UK Prime Minister Theresa May for her handling of the Grenfell Tower fire last summer.

At around midnight on June 14th 2017, Grenfell Tower, which housed mostly lower-income families, caught fire and burned for 24 hours.

The fire displaced residents and took the lives of 71. The resulting investigation into the fire revealed certain government oversight allowed the tower to be built with flammable materials and the building wasn’t up to safety standards.

Fingers were pointed at Theresa May’s handling of the situation, both before and after the fire.

Stormzy spoke up for the victims of the fire, calling Theresa May and her government “criminals.”

“What, you thought we just forgot about Grenfell? You criminals, and you’ve got the cheek to call us savages, you should do some jail time, you should pay some damages, you should burn your house down and see if you can manage this.”

Stormzy went on:

“MPs sniff coke, we just smoke a bit of cannabis, they’ll get me for this so be woke.”

Downing Street has responded to Stormzy’s comments (perhaps demonstrating the power of the rapper’s voice), saying that Theresa May is “absolutely committed” to helping victims of the Grenfell fire. May’s spokesperson released a statement:

“[May is] determined that the public inquiry will discover not just what went wrong but why the voices of the people of Grenfell were ignored over so many years. In terms of support for the people affected by this tragedy, more than £58m has been committed.”

Elsewhere in British politics, Stormzy was praised in the Commons today for his performance. MP Valerie Vaz called the rapper’s performance a “tour de force” and was happy to see Stormzy encouraging young Britons to become involved politically.

“(Stormzy) encouraged everyone to vote, pray and speak out about mental health issues.”

Stormzy took home two awards last night for Best Male Solo Artist and Best British British Album for last year’s Gang Signs & Prayer.

Shoutout Stormzy for using his platform to give a voice to the voiceless.

These teens fried Marco Rubio’s spineless ass all over national television

Florida Senator Marco Rubio got shamed by badass teens in a nationally-televised town hall on gun control after 17 people were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week.

Rubio was accompanied by NRA spokeswoman and blood-sucking ghoul Dana Loesch to stand up to students and parents and advocate for the second amendment or whatever.

We’ve all known that Marco Rubio is completely spineless and amoral, bending over backwards to advance his own political career whenever possible, but this particular town hall exposed his utter inauthenticity to a new degree.

I suppose Rubio and Loesch deserve some level of credit (not really though) for actually showing up to the town hall that they knew would not be a good look for them. Florida governor Rick Scott and Donald Trump both turned down an invitation to appear.

Here were the highlights of last night’s town hall.

Grieving father calls Rubio “pathetically weak”

The father of shooting victim Jaime Gutenberg addressed Rubio, who had offered general platitudinous ‘thoughts and prayers’ after the shooting, and emotionally urged Rubio to stand for gun control:

“Sen. Rubio, my daughter running down the hallway at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas was shot in the back with an assault weapon. The weapon of choice. It is too easy to get; it is a weapon of war. The fact that you can’t stand with everybody in this building and say that, I’m sorry.”

Marjory Stoneman senior asks Rubio why teenagers are leading the way

As cool as it is to see teenagers around the country moved to action by repeated attacks on schools, it also reveals how absolutely broken and pathetic our political system is.

A senior from Marjory Stoneman Douglas asked Rubio why the hell high schoolers are the ones advocating for change and effectively doing Rubio’s job for him:

“We would like to know why do we have to be the ones to do this? Why do we have to speak out to the [state] Capitol? Why do we have to march on Washington, just to save innocent lives?”

Student asks Rubio if he’ll continue taking NRA money

In what was probably the climax of the entire evening, student Cameron Kasy asked Marco Rubio directly to his face if he would pledge to stop taking donations from the NRA.

Rubio’s face really says it all.

His answer to the question also reveals so much about Rubio as a politician:

“The answer is people buy into my agenda. And I do support the Second Amendment, and I support the things.”

People buy into my agenda! The things are good!

Once again, it’s great to see a high school student put Rubio on the spot like this, but the fact that it feels so rare or extraordinary to see a politician grilled in this manner also begs the question as to why we’re not generally more demanding of our politicians.

Rubio stumbles to the solution

At one point Rubio seemed to misjudge the tenor of the room when he tried to make a point as he responded to calls for semi-automatic rifle bans by saying, “You would literally have to ban every semi-automatic rifle….” Surprisingly to Marco, the crowd erupted in cheers.

You figured it out Marco!

This morning, conservatives have cooked up conspiracy theories, calling high school students far-left crisis actors and claiming that CNN scripted the entire thing. I won’t link any of that horseshit here, but you can easily go out there and find it and become deeply depressed about the state of our nation.

But the teens are undeniably very good. It’s hard to feel to positive about gun control or rifle bans, especially as our president is advocating for arming teachers and school employees with weapons.

But seeing the movement of teenagers across the country fighting for change is a beautiful thing. At a time when hope and positivity feels like naïveté, the teens are inspiring as hell.

Nigerian Afrobeats, led by stars Burna Boy and WizKid, is poised for a world takeover

While it’s easy to label Drake’s More Life playlist, which featured production and features from the entire African diaspora, as “wave riding” or culture vulturism, it’s clear that the OVO impresario was on to something. At a time when music has never been more globalized and genre less important, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more interesting and influential scene than Nigerian Afrobeats.

A derivative of Afrobeat (sans the s), the West African mix of jazz, funk, and African melody popularized by titans like Fela Kuti and William Onyeabor, contemporary Afrobeats artists have fashioned a cultural and sonic mash of dancehall, hip-hop, R&B, and African rhythm.

After dominating the African music scene for years, Nigerian Afrobeats artists like Burna Boy, Davido, and WizKid are taking over the global music scene.

The handprints of Afrobeats are all over contemporary music. Besides Drake’s More Life, Calvin Harris’ Funk Wav Bounces was basically a collection of Afrobeats production without any actual Afrobeats artists, The Weeknd adopted WizKid’s ‘Starboy’ moniker for his most recent release.

Drake allegedly took the More Life title directly from an interaction with Burna Boy, who gave Drake 5 songs for the playlist, only to get a small part on “Get It Together”. WizKid and Drake linked up for the ubiquitous “One Dance” off 2016’s Views. Nigerian-British grime artist Skepta apparently introduced Wiz and Drake back in 2014.

Perhaps as a way to emphasize his exclusion from Drake’s album, the first song off Outside, Burna Boy’s new album, is titled “More Life”, a smooth, simmering track where Burna Boy wonders what else there is to do with his full-ass life.

Outside spans the Afrobeats landscape, taking elements of Afropop, reggae, American rap, and R&B and wrapping it up in a wildly impressive project. Burna has coined his mix of different genres as “Afrofusion,” basically a selection of Black music from across the globe.

“Ph City Vibration” pulsates with steel drums as Burna Boy recounts his childhood. It’s a nod to his roots that have made him the artist, and man, he is now, but it wasn’t always the case.

Burna Boy had to leave Nigeria to truly appreciate his heritage and culture. He went to university in London, but dropped out after two years and rediscovered his roots and his lineage that includes an uncle that was once Fela Kuti’s manager.

He told The Fader last summer about growing into his African and Nigerian pride:

“When you’re young, it’s not something that you’re proud of. We watch TV and the only thing you really see about Africa is ‘Help a child’ or some shit like that. I just wanted to listen to DMX. I didn’t really appreciate Africanisms like that.”

But he began to examine his personal history more:

“I started knowing more about who I was, where I come from, and where my father’s father comes from. When people are singing my lyrics, you can see the emotion because they can relate to what I’m saying — ‘no money, no life, no water.’”

Early in his career, Burna Boy made the decision to spurn trying to get accepted in America or England and instead turned his attention toward dominating Africa. He frequently toured across the continent, collaborated with African artists, and never charged American or British artists more than his African contemporaries for a verse or hook.

The evidence of his emphasis on Africanism is all over Outside. The guitar production on “Koni Baje” sounds like it could’ve been lifted straight from the Malian folk of Ali Farka Touré.

“Sekkle Down” with J Hus, one of the rising artists in UK grime and another product of the thriving musical diaspora of Africa, is a dancehall ballad that’s simultaneously romantic, bouncy, and fun as hell.

Burna Boy’s Outside is notable in its lack of American involvement, something that has been an issue in Afrobeats circles.

When fellow Nigeria star, in fact the original Starboy, Wizkid dropped Sounds From The Other Side last summer, he was criticized for the amount of American features and production. With Drake, Major Lazer, Chris Brown, Ty Dolla $ign, and Trey Songz, WizKid’s album wasn’t ‘African’ enough to some.

Another Nigerian Afrobeats star Davido labeled Sounds as ‘pon pon,’ claiming that WizKid was trying to appeal to international listeners too much.

Regardless of the Africanism of Sounds From The Other Side, an issue which, as a white American, I have very little to contribute to, the album is pretty fucking fun.

WizKid is much less contemplative and reflective than Burna Boy, even less musical. Sounds is a collection of irresistible, throbbing dance music. The chorus of “Daddy Yo”, on which a woman implores Wiz to “make me dance” feels less like a command than a statement of intent from the Nigerian artist.

The multiple collaborations with Ty Dolla $ign also reveal a formidable partnership of thirst fostering and beat riding.

Some dancehall traditionalists may take issue with how WizKid incorporates American themes into his music, but every genre is a sort of scale, and if Wiz is a sell out, he’s damn good at it.

As for Davido, the artist that outwardly criticized WizKid as ‘pon pon,’ he’s been a sort of standard-bearer for the genre since his boastful album Omo Baba Olowo, “Son of a Rich Man” in Yoruba, dropped in 2012.

For his part, Davido has his own American features, including a song with Rae Sremmurd and Young Thug, which is a banger but it kind of raises the question as to what qualifies as “pon pon” or music overly catered to international audiences.

Because of the African diaspora, and the fact that the roots of African music dominate virtually every popular genre in world music whether it’s hip-hop, pop, dance music, or  bossa nova, actual birthplace can’t disqualify an Afrobeats artist.

Maleek Berry, a British-born Nigerian artist, is making some damn good music that could qualify as Afrobeats. Davido himself was born in Atlanta before moving to Lagos as a kid.

When you start worrying about the qualifications of a certain genre, you’re just doing a disservice to good music.

The influence of Africapop and Afrobeats on contemporary popular music is immeasurably intense and vast. It appears that African artists are finally getting the worlwide shine they deserve, even if that comes with subsequent, Americanized, wave riding.

Burna Boy and WizKid have been stars in Africa for years, now they’re poised for worldwide domination.

New report details workplace harassment within Dallas Mavericks organization

A bombshell report in Sports Illustrated describes a culture of harassment, abuse, and workplace misconduct at the Dallas Mavericks.

Reported by Jon Wertheim and Jessica Luther, the story interviews numerous former and current Mavs employees who relayed their experiences at the organization.

A former staffer who had common interactions with players compared the environment in the locker room to the office,

“I dealt with players all the time. I had hundreds of interactions with players and never once had an issue…they always knew how to treat people. Then I’d go to the office and it was this zoo, this complete shitshow. My anxiety would go down dealing with players; it would go up when I got to my desk.”

Ironically, sources described the Mavs’ workplace as having a “locker room culture,” despite the fact that the actual locker room was a much more inclusive and normal working environment than the office.

Another woman who used to work for the Mavs told SI about the conditions of the organization:

“You don’t feel safe going to work and it’s not long before you look for another job. And then you wonder why there aren’t more women working in sports. Really?”

One main culprit of the alleged misconduct is former Mavs CEO and President Terdema Ussery, a Princeton graduate with a masters from Harvard and a law degree from Cal-Berkeley, who was the subject of numerous complaints.

“Ussery was polished, well-connected and, colleagues say, a marketing whiz who could sell with evangelical conviction. But those same colleagues say that Ussery routinely transgressed workplace boundaries. In the summer of 1998, the Mavericks conducted an internal investigation of Ussery after several female employees made complaints of inappropriate workplace behavior.”

In a statement, Ussery denied any wrongdoing and claimed that he actually raised concerns of other employees who “had engaged in highly inappropriate” conduct.

“During my nearly 20 year tenure with the Mavericks, I am not aware of any sexual harassment complaints about me or any findings by the organization that I engaged in inappropriate conduct. In fact, on multiple occasions I and other senior executives at the organization raised concerns—both in person and in emails—about other Mavericks employees who had engaged in highly inappropriate—and in some cases, threatening—sexual conduct. The organization refused to address these concerns, and I believe these misleading claims about me are part of an attempt to shift blame for the failure to remove employees who created an uncomfortable and hostile work environment within the Mavericks organization.”

SI also documents the case of a Mavericks beat writer who was allowed to stay on the job despite domestic violence charges, and then later abused a fellow employee who he had begun a relationship with, as well as an HR head that was outspoken about his conservative religious beliefs on gay marriage and abortion.

Needless to say, the Mavericks have a problem. Naturally this begs the question of Mavs owner Mark Cuban’s knowledge of the situation. Cuban’s hands-on approach to ownership, often attending games and sitting courtside, and place on the popular TV show Shark Tank, has made him a media and fan darling since he purchased the Mavericks in 2000.

While most sources SI interviewed were adamant that Cuban was not himself inappropriate or abusive in the workplace, many find it hard to believe that he didn’t have knowledge of the situation.

“To a person, they make clear that, to their knowledge, Cuban was never a perpetrator, never involved in sexual harassment himself. Yet, most also find it hard to imagine that Cuban is unaware of the corrosive culture in some corners of his organization. ‘Trust me, Mark knows everything that goes on,’ says one longtime former Mavericks employee. ‘Of course Mark knew [about the instances of harassment and assault]. Everyone knew.'”

When SI reached out for comment, Cuban was quick to claim that this was all revelatory for him,

“This is all new to me. The only awareness I have is because I heard you guys were looking into some things…. Based off of what I’ve read here, we just fired our HR person. I don’t have any tolerance for what I’ve read.”

And asked how he could be unaware of the situation despite his reputation of involving himself in all the minutiae of the organization, Cuban explained:

“It’s wrong. It’s abhorrent. It’s not a situation we condone. I can’t tell you how many times, particularly since all this [#MeToo] stuff has been coming out recently I asked our HR director, ‘Do we have a problem? Do we have any issues I have to be aware of?’ And the answer was no… I deferred to the CEO, who at the time was Terdema, and to HR… I was involved in basketball operations, but other than getting the financials and reports, I was not involved in the day to day [of the business side] at all. That’s why I just deferred. I let people do their jobs. And if there were anything like this at all I was supposed to be made aware, obviously I was not.”

Cuban conceded that there was a “problem” with his franchise,

“I want to deal with this issue. I mean, this is, obviously there’s a problem in the Mavericks organization and we’ve got to fix it. That’s it. And we’re going to take every step. It’s not something we tolerate. I don’t want it. It’s not something that’s acceptable. I’m embarrassed, to be honest with you, that it happened under my ownership, and it needs to be fixed. Period. End of story.”

Surely this isn’t the last we’ll be hearing of this story. It’ll be interesting to watch the general reaction around the NBA over the next couple days.

Rejjie Snow’s ‘Dear Annie’ is the rap record you need in your life right now

In 2013, Irish rapper Rejjie Snow dropped his debut mixtape Rejovich. The 90s-influenced, soul-sampling project, with highlights like “1992” immediately caught the ears of the rap underground and Snow quickly amassed a cultish fanbase on both sides of the pond.

When listening to songs like “1992”, it’s obvious why Rejjie Snow gained such a following. The musical and lyrical qualities of his music recall a bygone era of hip-hop that more retrophilic fans of the genre crave.

Rejjie Snow emerged at the same time as Joey Bada$$ and the whole Pro Era conglomerate, helping bring back that New York-centric hip-hop sound. Snow  collaborated with Bada$$ on the Dublin native’s “Purple Tuesday”.

Since the release of that debut mixtape in 2013, Snow, born Alex Anyaegbunam, signed to 300 Entertainment, released a mixtape The Moon & You, and dropped the occasional loosie, but fans had to wait patiently for his debut studio album.

Then, that studio album finally came in the form of Dear Annie. An ambitious and expansive musical collection that signifies an exciting potential in an artist whose path to hip-hop has been pretty unorthodox.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, Snow is hardly from a typical hip-hop hotbed. As the son of a Nigerian father and a Jamaican-Irish mother, Snow is accustomed to being an outsider, but as he told NPR, this perspective has helped his music once he stopped worrying about trying to sound American:

“I had a different outlook growing up where I grew up ’cause, as you say, I grew up listening to techno music. With making hip-hop I’ve got a different perspective and experience. When I first started making music I was just trying to be super American and nothing about that was like myself.”

While he may have consciously moved away from trying to imitate his American contemporaries, Snow’s album is still clearly affected by American influence. The Irishman came to the States on a soccer scholarship for college and has been in the country for a large part of his adult life.

Musically, the influence of N.E.R.D., Tyler, The Creator, and early Pro Era are all over Dear Annie and Snow’s own accent is an interesting mix of American slang and Irish annunciation.

But Snow’s outsider’s approach to music, especially hip-hop, makes Dear Annie a truly unique-sounding project. With jazz samples, melodic sing-rapping (not like Trippie Redd sing-rapping, like actual singing), verses in different languages, and unabashed emotion, Snow has crafted an impressively individual album at a time when a lot of popular hip-hop can sound repetitive.

“23”, a melodic duet between Snow and Caroline Smith, recounts a relationship that has grown slightly antagonistic. Despite Snow and Smith’s affection for their partners, they still wonder “Why you gotta say mean things about me?”

It’s dope to see a rap artist sing about love and loss from a songwriting perspective that’s more typical outside of the genre. On much of Dear Annie, Snow is examining and recounting a relationship that he abandoned to move to Paris.

This is the subject of “Mon Amour”, but don’t let those friendly, floaty chords fool you, Rejjie isn’t so happy about this specific Amour. Snow raps in a whispery, PM Dawn-inflected tone about growing to hate someone that you once cared about:

“I hate feeling like I don’t know how to love you
Now I gotta watch you make love to the same dude”

“Egyptian Luvr”, featuring Amine and Dana Williams, with production from the great Kaytranada, envisions the final moments of life or a relationship.

The bouncy production once again sort of masks the emotionality of the song, in which Rejjie goes back and forth about leaving his partner, “She be like cancer, she be like dancing.”

“Egyptian Luvr” is much closer to experimental electronic music than the popular trapified hip-hop of today. Snow told NPR about how those different sounds crept onto the album and his different set of influences.

“I’ve just always been more into the geeky kind of stuff, people like MF Doom and the samples he uses that were jazz samples and stuff. For me, I’ve always been more into jazz and stuff like that ’cause that’s kind of the first music that I heard growing up and it’s the one that inspired me the most.”

“The Ends”, with its Toro Y Moi synths and metronomic drums, sounds more like Odd Future-esque American hip-hop. And it’s notable that when the London-based MC Jesse James Solomon appears on “The Ends”, his London accent and slang is kind of startling.

Rejjie Snow may be from Ireland, but his accent and style make it difficult to label him a ‘UK Rapper’ like Solomon and the myriad grime rappers making waves recently.

Dear Annie isn’t a grime album, it may hardly even be a hip-hop album. “LMFAO” sounds more like 80s dance music than rap.

On “LMFAO”, Rejjie is now post-breakup living in Paris and enjoying himself with new Parisian love interests.

Charting that love story from beginning to end throughout Dear Annie infects the project with a sort of cinematic quality. You follow this narrative, riding along with Rejjie as he navigates multiple moods and sounds, to emerge after an hour in a new emotional world.

For Snow, who studied film in college, this isn’t a coincidence. He explained how film influences his art and Dear Annie to NPR:

“I really tried to make it like a movie. I guess I’m really inspired by movies. I studied film in college, so that’s something that’s a passion of mine and I always tried to mix both worlds — the music and film ideas and that visual side. I think if you marry those two worlds, it makes the music so much better, I think. When you make an album that should be what it is, an experience and something that can obviously be enjoyed as well through music, but also visually as well.”

Dear Annie is indeed a visual and musical journey. It isn’t a perfect album, some of Snow’s ideas fall flat, but there’s an exciting potential in the 24-year-old from Dublin.

If you’re looking for some hip-hop that will make you think way outside the box, take the Dear Annie journey.

Jordan Peele talks difficulty of following up ‘Get Out’, his unique creative process

In a long Q&A with The Hollywood Reporter, Jordan Peele outlined his plans for what’s next in his career, his origins as an artist, and the thrills (and discontents) of comedy.

Many have been waiting for news on Peele’s next post-Get Out move, but much of the difficulty for the filmmaker is trying to replicate the success of the canonical thriller.

When asked about what’s next, Peele said he’s working on something, he’s just trying to figure out how the hell to follow up Get Out:

“I mean, you nailed it. What do I do next? How do I top this? And you know, and I think it’s important to focus on stories that are true to me. I go, when writing Get Out, my sort of mantra is or was, let’s write my favorite film I haven’t seen yet. So I think it’s easy to get sort of bogged down in how does this compare to the first one, how does that compare.”

The idea that Peele is trying to make his favorite film that he hasn’t seen yet is pretty interesting and it gives us a little glance as to what makes Peele such a great artist. He gave THR more details of his next film:

“When all is said and done, my next film, I am currently writing it and I’ll direct for Universal this year, I’m just trying to entertain myself again.”

Entertaining yourself is a pretty solid barometer for making good, or at least self-satisfactory, art. Peele went on to explain that he’s found his creative comfort zone in this unique realm where thriller, horror, action, and comedy come together and that his follow up will resemble Get Out thusly:

“One thing I know is that this is genre; and playing around with the thriller, horror, action, fun genre of intrigue is my favorite. That’s my sweet spot. So I think tonally it should resemble Get Out. That said, I want to make a completely different movie. I want to address something different than race in the next one. So yeah, every choice has really either pretty big ramifications because it is the second.”

Peele also spoke about his beginnings in improv comedy, he honed his craft at an improv group in Amsterdam, which is the most random shit ever. But Peele’s start in improv means that he has a democratic approach to art, he wants to “get everybody” in the room to like his work.

Peele explained that while he has “a ton of respect for many artists, many directors who, it almost feels like they kind of couldn’t care less what the audience feels like,” he approaches it from a different perspective.

“My sensibility is ‘Let’s get everybody.’ And so the way I kind of counteract that in not making bland material for the masses is I take huge risk in the conception. So if I can take this movie that is a horror movie about race, which is, impossible or supposed to be impossible, the greatest feat would be if I can sell this to everybody in the audience.”

You can see this creative philosophy tangibly in Get Out. Despite the film’s subversive elements, it was massively well-received. In this sense, Peele accomplished his goal of reaching everyone, but damn sure took some risks in its conception.

Read the full interview over at THR.

Presidential scholars say Trump is already the worst president ever… after 1 year

According to presidential scholars, Donald Trump’s one year in office is enough to make him the worst president in the history of the country.

The New York Times surveyed 170 presidential scholars from the American Political Science Association’s President and and Executive Politics section and asked them to rank the United States Presidents, from 1 to 45.

Things don’t look so great for old Donny as he ranks dead last amongst the entire group, 45th out of 45.

Trump unseated James Buchanan, the president whose policies led the country directly into the Civil War, as the worst president ever. He also ranks under William Henry Harrison, who died only a month after taking office.

Credit: New York Times

The Times’ survey, which was the first since 2014, also reveals some interesting trends about the legacy of other presidents. After all, these things are fluid and changes in attitudes or reexamination of policies can alter how presidents are analyzed.

Receiving the biggest bump in legacy was Barack Obama, who jumped from 18th to 8th in the last four years (it’s lit). Ulysses S. Grant, Union Army General and then kind of lukewarm president, also saw his rank improve 7 spots, as The Times points out, this was probably aided by the recent Ron Chernow biography on Grant.

George W. Bush also got a little boost, +5 points up from 35th on the list, mostly because everyone just kinda forgot about all the dumbass shit he did.

Presidents who saw their legacy get worse over the last four years can blame changing attitudes or increased scrutiny for their rankings. Bill Clinton and Andrew Jackson’s legacies took the biggest blows of late, due to Clinton’s treatment of women and Jackson’s crusade against Native Americans.

One of the most interesting aspects of the survey is how Democrat, Republican, and Independent scholars see presidents differently. Although this isn’t a surprise at all, seeing that play out in hard data is cool.

The two presidents whose rankings were affected most by partisan lines were Reagan and Obama, arguably the two modern personifications of those parties, as Democrats ranked Reagan 9 places lower than Republicans and Obama 10 places higher.

Credit: New York Times

Also, Republicans are super into some dude named William McKinley, who was assassinated while in office and led the country through the Spanish-American War. Learn something new every day!

As for those weird Independents, they fuck with the elder Bush very heavy, ranking George H.W. Bush 11th overall (1 spot above Obama), but rank the younger Bush (G.W.) 31st overall (Democrats ranked G.W. Bush 30th). I don’t really know why Independents would view George H.W. Bush so highly, but it’s all the more hilarious that they see his son with more contempt than even the Democrats.

Most of these scholars agree on the starting 5 of Presidents as: Washington, Lincoln, F.D. Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, and Jefferson (Republican scholars really tried to squeeze Ronald Reagan’s crusty ass in the top 5, fuck outttta here).


Asked who should be the fifth face on Mt. Rushmore, respondents of the survey big-upped Franklin Delano Roosevelt to be the next dude up. Even Republicans agreed that FDR deserves the clout.

All of this begs the question as to whether Trump is truly the worst president ever. Nate Silver of number-crunching fame took some issue with the survey claiming that, “It speaks poorly to the field of presidential scholarship that political scientists have Trump ranked as the worst president of all time **after only one year on the job**.”

Silver made the astute point that presidents who had directly led us into the Great Depression and Civil War may be worse than Trump after a year BUT I politely disagree, Nate.

This dude is utter trash. He makes every single person’s life in this country worse every day. Even if you’re one of the lucky few that aren’t directly targeted by Trump’s policies and actually support what he does, you still have to deal with the emotional stress of supporting this dude.

Like, the most intense Trump supporters just spend their entire days arguing that Trump is actually good as opposed to just living their lives.

Worst president ever. Presidential scholars don’t lie.

Cannabis industry took on over $1 billion in investments during January alone

The cannabis industry keeps glowing on up, taking $1.2 billion in investments in January 2018 alone. Benzinga, a platform that follows financial markets and investments, reported on the trend:

“Over the first five weeks of 2018, the Viridian Cannabis Deal Tracker registered $1.23 billion in investments in the cannabis industry, Viridian Capital President Scott Greiper told Benzinga. This compares to $178 million for the first five weeks of 2017, implying a growth in investments of almost 600 percent. Even more interestingly, the amount of money that came into the industry in January alone is pretty close to that seen over the entirety of 2016, when investments totaled $1.29 billion.”

Basically, weed companies took on as much money in the first month of 2018 that they took in all of 2016. Them some numbers.

Obviously there’s a bunch of money in cannabis from a purchasing standpoint, people are buying all the pot. The cannabis industry is so strong that it’s estimated to be worth $21 billion by 2020.

Now, it appears that investors are starting to get hip to pot, putting millions into cannabis businesses.

Harrison Phillips, Vice President at Viridian Capital Advisors, a cannabis-dedicated financial advisory firm, told Benzinga about the recent trend:

“We are seeing a steady maturation of the capital markets around the cannabis industry. Early on, it was almost entirely high net worth individuals — and maybe a few family offices — investing in the cannabis space. Now, we are seeing more family offices getting involved, more high net worth individuals, more professional investors getting involved.”

But as we’ve seen throughout the cannabis industry, people are still hesitant to fully get into the space with regulatory and legal issues floating around. Phillips went on to explain that investors are putting personal money into the space as opposed to using their firms’ bread.

“They are not necessarily investing in behalf of the firms they work with. We also know several private equity and venture capital groups that are out of the cannabis space, but actively looking for ways to play. And there are other big financial groups that are highly interested.”

Cannabis might be the safest financial play out right now. It’s lit.

Peep all of the flyest non-basketball moments from All-Star Weekend

The NBA All-Star weekend came and went with all the predicted hilarity and drama.

Between celebrities making fools of themselves in Los Angeles and ridiculous moments during the actual game, the All-Star festivities did not disappoint.

Obviously social media was following along the whole time, flaming those who needed to be flamed and keeping the timeline juicy.

Fergie’s National Anthem

By now, I assume everyone in the world has seen Fergie’s rendition of our nation’s proud anthem, which she absolutely did justice too.

Fergie took some creative liberty with the anthem, adding some of her own sauce to the song, awakening the patriot in all of us.

It was the national anthem that we deserve.

Uncle Snoop putting up buckets

Snoop Dogg, our country’s preeminent piffed-out power forward, took the floor in 2 Chainz’s celebrity game and threw up a wild stat-line.

Snoop registered 15 points, 25 rebounds, and 5 blocks in a vintage big man performance.

After the game, Snoop entertained fans with his old head dance moves.

Snoop remains one of the greatest living Americans.

Chris Brown and The Game smoke blunt at charity game

Chris Breezy and Game thought they were lowkey, shmoking one on the sidelines during 2 Chainz’s game. It’s honestly kind of inspiring to see Game try to do the subtle hold the blunt down move, we’ve all been there. Rappers, they’re just like us!

Twista makes some dude “Overnight Celebrity” after brawl

Chicago rapper Twista was caught doling out a headlock to a fellow patron of Michael Jordan’s All-Star party this weekend. Twista wasn’t throwing any bows, but he did place the victim in a very effective chokehold as an associate threw the hooks.

Quavo wins Celebrity Game MVP, shoots postgame shot

Quavo of Migos was a late addition to the Celebrity Game, but he made his presence count, winning MVP honors and showing off his sleek lefty game.

He also blocked the living shit out of NBA 2K host Rachel DeMita…

And then shot his shot in true MVP fashion.

Inspiring stuff.

ChaCha the Wave/Jamie Foxx star-studded charity game

Los Angeles-based clothing brand ChaCha the Wave and Jamie Foxx put on a charity game over the weekend with the wildest list of celebrities turning out.

Anytime you have Smokepurpp, Johnny Manziel, Terrell Owens, Trinidad James, and Tyga in the same place, you know it’s lit. Peep the jerseys too.

Warriors take group photo 45 minutes after Klay Thompson ate edible

The Golden State Warriors are great and have many All-Stars. Naturally they took a picture together for All-Star weekend.

The only issue is that Klay Thompson was clearly smacked as hell and forgot how to stand like a normal person.

What is this stance, Klay? We demand answers. Also, Dray, stop flexing so hard.

John Wall lookin’ like a drug dealer/preacher

John Wall is injured and couldn’t play last night but he still captured the eyes and hearts of NBA fans with his rather flashy get up.

That is a fit and a damn half.

Jimmy Butler… didn’t play… in the All-Star Game

Jimmy Butler got too fucked up in Los Angeles and couldn’t play in the All-Star Game.

Lou Williams couldn’t believe it.

“LA nightlife undefeated.”

In fact, Jimmy wasn’t the only one suffering….

LeBron and Kyrie, friends again