Snoop Dogg

Sports and celebrities have always been intertwined; all athletes want to be celebrities, and all celebrities want to be athletes.  Most superstars satisfy these desires by following their favorite teams, wearing their jerseys, and cheering at games. From Spike Lee to Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio to President Obama, famous people everywhere bleed their team’s colors.

This holds especially true with rappers. Something about the rap industry brings out the true fandom in these performers, and it often carries over into their work. Here is a list of the top ten rappers who are defined by their teams.

10. Usher – Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)

Although it is unknown to even many Cavs diehards, Usher has been a fan since he became a part owner in 2005. Usher attended nearly every game the first year, but once the initial thrill wore off, fans stopped seeing him at the stadium. Rumors swirled that Usher was unable to pay his $50 million stake in the team, but as of today he remains a minority owner.

9. Drake – Toronto Raptors (NBA)

Although he can be regularly found at the club with NBA stars, from Lebron James to Chris Paul, the Canadian-born Drake is a fan of Canada’s only NBA team, the Raptors.  The rap game’s representative of the Great White North is pretty serious about his dedication to this team. He once said, “I am a Raptors fan to the death.”

8. Snoop Dogg – USC (NCAA Football)

While Snoop has several other professional fan allegiances, his true devotion lies with the cardinal and gold. He can often be found wearing his Trojan jersey at the Coliseum on game day. Athleticism even runs in his family; his son, Cordell Broadus, is a four-star wide receiver recruit with scholarship offers from ten schools, including USC.  If his dad has any say, his decision will be obvious.

7. Eminem – Detroit sports

Eminem grew up in and was molded by Detroit, and he has repaid the city as fan for a while. In the video for his new single Berzerk, Em can be seen rocking a shirt commemorating the late ‘80’s bad boys Pistons teams.

Slim Shady also discussed his Lions fandom in classic Eminem style during this recent bizarre interview during the Michigan vs. Notre Dame football game.

6. 2 Chainz – Atlanta Hawks (NBA)

Born Tauheed Epps in Atlanta, the 6’5” rapper now known as 2 Chainz has an athletic past. He received a scholarship to play D1 ball at Alabama State, where he played one season before he found his calling and joined the rap game. On his dunk at the end of this video, it seems as though 2 Chainz had a sense of flair on the court as well.

In Kanye West’s song The One, Mr. Chainz name-drops his favorite team, describing “sittin’ courtside at the Hawks game” before going on to explain that he is close enough to the action to trip a player with his Louis Vuitton shoes.

We love you, 2 Chainz. Never change.

Stay tuned for the second half of this list, coming next week.

Fun Fun Fun Fest leaked its last round of performers on the east side Tuesday night. The list makes this year’s lineup seem like an all-star cast of past Austin festivals with Slayer, MIA, MGMT and Snoop Dogg headlining. After screening the documentary “Vannin’” by Little Cabin Films at the event, the screen showed artist names on cartoon vans the color of their corresponding stage. Here are those bands and artists separated by stage color:    

BLACK: Slayer, Thee Oh Sees, Cro-Mags, Subhumans, Quicksand, The Locust, Flag (performing Black Flag), Body Count, Ceremony, Cloud Nothings, Death Grips, Judge

BLUE: Big Freedia, Action Bronson, Snoop Dogg (AKA Snoop Lion), Bonobo, Small Black, Lupe Fiasco, Jurassic 5, Big K.R.I.T

ORANGE: MIA, Television, The Walkmen, Cut Copy, Geographer, Dismemberment Plan, King Khan & the Shrines, Deerhunter, Daniel Johnston, Sparks, MGMT, Kurt Vile, Washed Out

The third round of tickets will go on sale and a full lineup will be on the official Fun Fun Fun Fest website 10 a.m. on Wednesday. 

Tunesday

Changing his name, Calvin Broadus Jr. has denounced his former gangster ways and opted to become a reggae musician. 

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

The artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg begins his new album, Reincarnated, by warning listeners in an inexplicably acquired Jamaican accent of the dangers associated with the gangster lifestyle. It’s hard to imagine the old Snoop singing, “I can’t believe I’m out here killin’ my community,” on “Tired of Running.” Keep in mind this is the same artist who glorified pimping and murder for years.

“There’s so much death, there’s so much destruction, and so much mayhem and there’s so much misunderstanding in music. We’re losing so many great musicians ... and we don’t love ‘em while they here. And I want to be loved while I’m here.”

To be reincarnated, as the album name suggests, one has to die first. Let’s be clear: Snoop Dogg’s career was close to death. In the last decade he turned to reality TV with “Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood,” and was banned from performing in Australia, England and Norway. He also received negative ratings on multiple consecutive albums. Following a 2012 trip to Jamaica, Snoop turned heads when he announced a name change after a spiritual awakening and conversion to Rastafarianism. 

Whether the move is solely for money and attention, no one knows.  

That being said, the album is surprisingly good. Executive producer Major Lazer, aka Diplo, does wonders for the reggae sound, handling production on 10 out of 12 tracks. Almost every song features a guest vocalist to add to the communal feel of the album.

Lead single “Ashtrays and Heartbreaks” centralizes the album’s purpose of commemorating Snoop’s deceased musician friends. Miley Cyrus sings the chorus, “Raise a glass to the memories and set ‘em free/and fill up all those ashtrays.” It seems the ubiquitous Jamaican accent is infectious, as Cyrus somehow acquires it as well. The song sounds a tad overproduced and Cyrus’ multitracked vocals are overwhelming. On the other hand, Snoop’s sung verses feel completely natural and genuine, providing a more emotional outlet than his gangster rap. 

When Snoop Lion isn’t promoting social awareness by denouncing his former gangster lifestyle, he reverts to his old favorite lyrical subject: marijuana. Songs like “Smoke The Weed (feat. Collie Budz)” advocate the herb’s benefits in a laid-back style, coupling the state of being high with a raised environmental conscience. 

The worst song, “Fruit Juice,” makes up for its questionable subject matter by being unintentionally comedic. Snoop declares his love for juices of various kinds, happily singing “pineapple, mango/my taste buds tango.” 

Also problematic is “No Guns Allowed.” The annoyingly high-pitched chorus mitigates the song’s intended peaceful message, and by the time Drake comes in the song is already ruined. Drake’s verse sounds like he’s out of breath, proving the difficulty of rapping over a reggae beat.  

After listening to Reincarnated, it’s impossible to hate Snoop Lion. Snoop trades his trademark lines like “Gs up, hoes down while you motherfuckers bounce to this,” and “Fa shizzle, my nizzle” for more socially responsible messages. Excluding his possible commodification of the Rastafarian religion, the album is meant to make you feel good and it mostly succeeds.

Frank Turner's Tape Deck Heart

Artist: Frank Turner
Album: Tape Deck Heart
Label: Interscope
Songs to download: “Plain Sailing Weather,” “Four Simple Words,” “Anymore” 

The English acoustic singer-songwriter packs self-hatred and failed relationships into beautifully crafted songs on Frank Turner’s fifth studio release, Tape Deck Heart. The folkpunk genre sounds like an oxymoron, but he somehow makes it work, switching between tender fingerpicking and aggressive four-chord progressions. 

Michael Buble's To Be Loved

Artist: Michael Buble
Album: To Be Loved

Label: 143, Reprise
Songs to Download: “It’s a Beautiful Day,” “You Make Me Feel So Young”

Continuing his hot streak, Canadian singer Michael Buble returns after his last album, Christmas, sold 7 million copies. On To Be Loved, we see business as usual for Buble, including covers and four original songs. When a singer has nailed the cover scene so well, personal musical evolution is not necessary. Buble’s latest album delivers the sound that helped him become Canada’s biggest star. 

Commercial success in the music industry is a double-edged sword; on the one hand, you’ve made it — hundreds of thousands, even millions of fans are now awaiting your highly anticipated next release. On the other, those very anticipations can have a crippling effect, as all of a sudden your art is created with other people’s expectations in mind rather than your own.

This is the all-too-familiar problem Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa finds himself battling on his sophomore major label release O.N.I.F.C. [Only Nigga in First Class], out Tuesday from Atlantic Records. After generating local interest — which eventually became national — with a series of mixtapes and independent releases, Khalifa rocketed to superstardom with the chart-topping Steelers anthem “Black and Yellow,” followed closely by his critically and commercially successful debut album Rolling Papers.

A motion picture role alongside Snoop Dogg followed, and now the 25-year-old MC must produce another hit on par with “Black and Yellow” in order to maintain his newfound popularity and relevance.

His first attempt is with O.N.I.F.C.’s lead single “Work Hard, Play Hard,” another Pittsburgh-centric anthem that does much to mimic his breakthrough hit. The production is massive and grandiose, with a steel mill drum pattern pounding over an ominous single-note bass line. The verse mostly consists of Khalifa bragging about how rich he is, while the chorus strives for something a little more profound: “The quicker you here, the faster you go / That’s why where I come from the only thing we know is / Work hard, play hard.”

The song works well enough, but ultimately lacks the intangible energy captured in “Black and Yellow” and the rest of Rolling Papers. The same can be said for O.N.I.F.C. as a whole; the production and guest appearances are on the money, but Khalifa lacks anything new to say as well as a new way to say it.

About 90 percent of the lyrics concern either the rapper’s love of smoking weed or his love of his own money. At 17 tracks and more than 73 minutes long, the album quickly begins to drag, with tracks like “It’s Nothin” and “Initiation” adding nothing new or interesting to the sonic portraiture.

A notable exception is “The Bluff,” featuring a guest appearance by NYC rapper Cam’ron. The song features a delicate, ethereal production that glides hazily over a slow jam drum pattern as the MC’s trade off verses. It’s about as close to “sensitive” as a song that revolves entirely around marijuana and hundred-dollar bills can get.

Two of the album’s best tracks are reserved for the very end. “Remember You” features a haunting chorus sung by alternative neo-soul singer the Weeknd, while “Medicated” closes the album out with introspective, reminiscing lyrics that finally reach beyond the shallowness that pervades the rest of the disc.

The delivery and production on O.N.I.F.C. reveal an artist who has just hit the big time and is trying to make it last. In order to do so, Khalifa would be wise to find more substantive subject matter to rap about the next time around.

Printed on Thursday, December 4th, 2012 as: Wiz Khalifa's repetitive lyrics disappoint

Photo Credit: Ploy Buraparate | Daily Texan Staff

From memorable hit singles to important moments in music, 2012 has given us a lot to be thankful for. Here are the top eight music-related things we should be thankful for this Thursday:

8. Snoop Dogg’s “Reincarnation”:

Most fans thought Snoop Dogg renaming himself Snoop Lion was some elaborate joke or publicity stunt when he announced the change back in July. Although the latter is highly plausible, Snoop stated the name change was the result of being rechristened “Snoop Lion” by a Rastafarian priest in Jamaica. Although fans will always remember Calvin Broadus Jr. as Snoop Dogg, Snoop’s reincarnation is an indicator that the hip-hop icon will continue to bring good vibes for years to come.

7. Frank Ocean’s “Courage”:

In July, hip-hop singer and rapper Frank Ocean revealed on his Tumblr that he had a love affair with a man four years ago. The publicity of Ocean’s coming out letter was the result of his place in a genre known for being hypermasculine and homophobic. But once Ocean came out, a handful of rappers (50 Cent, Jay-Z, T.I.) voiced their support for him and brought a conversation about sexuality to the forefront of hip-hop. The genre remains very heteronormative, but Ocean’s courage has
improved that.

6. The Beastie Boys:

Earlier this year, Beastie Boys co-founder Adam “MCA” Yauch died of cancer. With Yauch’s untimely death came praise and remembrance for his long-lasting influence. From Radiohead’s Thom Yorke to rapper Eminem, multiple artists voiced their thankfulness for Yauch’s musical impact. The Beastie Boys’ future is still uncertain: fellow Beastie Boy Michael “Mike D” Diamond stated in an interview with Rolling Stone in May that the group may disband.

5.Thomas Gabel, of Against Me!:

Having dealt with gender dysphoria since childhood, Against Me! frontman (now front-woman) Thomas Gabel, came out as transgender in May. The move was a courageous one for Gabel, now known as Laura Jane Grace. Against Me! will continue to perform with Grace in the lead, and most recently performed at Fun Fun Fun Fest.

4. The birth of Blue Ivy Carter:

Excitement has been brewing since singer Beyonce Knowles revealed her baby bump at the MTV Music Video Awards last year. Blue Ivy Carter was born in January, resulting in many congratulations for Beyonce and rap mogul Jay-Z. The best part of it all? Jay-Z dedicating a song (“Glory”) to his newborn child.

3. “Call Me Maybe”:

Carly Rae Jepsen’s hit single originally dropped last year but did not premiere in the U.S. until February. Whether listeners liked the song or not, its pop cultural relevance was inescapable. From radio stations and YouTube to “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” — Jepsen was everywhere. Jepsen recognized that no human can ignore relatable lyrical content and catchy and upbeat melodies. People can pretend to dislike “Call Me Maybe” as much as they want, but they can’t deny that it’s catchy.

2.“Gangnam Style”:

A memorable beat and an easy-to-learn dance move propelled Korean pop artist PSY to worldwide popularity earlier this year. His song “Gangnam Style” has been called a “force for world peace” by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. And it makes sense: no matter what, whenever “Gangnam Style” comes on, people cannot help but gallop around and simultaneously yell, “Hey, sexy lady!” With its formulated commentary on the dangers of flaunting wealth, “Gangnam Style” is much more than just a catchy pop song.

1. Pussy Riot’s Protest in Moscow:

When several members of Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot staged a protest in opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church, the outcome was catastrophic. Three of the group’s members — Yekaterina Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina — were arrested, with Samutsevich eventually being freed, but Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina will be serving two years in prison. Pussy Riot’s bravery incited activism on a global scale, with people banding together not only for the members’ freedom, but for justice for all.

Printed on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 as: Music moments stand out in 2012

In this Sept. 7, 2011 file photo, rapper Snoop Dogg poses at the premiere of the film “Laugh at My Pain” in Los Angeles. The rapper is facing a minor drug charge in Texas after border agents say they found several joints on his tour bus over the weekend. Hudspeth County sheriff’s office said in a statement that Snoop Dogg, whose name is Calvin Broadus, was arrested Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, at the Sierra Blanca highway checkpoint and cited for possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor typica

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

SIERRA BLANCA, Texas — Nestled among the few remaining businesses that dot a rundown highway in this dusty West Texas town stands what’s become a surprise destination for marijuana-toting celebrities: the Hudspeth County Jail.

Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg and actor Armie Hammer have been among the thousands of people busted for possession at a Border Patrol checkpoint outside town in recent years, bringing a bit of notoriety to one of Texas’ most sparsely populated counties.

“Once I was in Arizona, and when I said where I was from, they said, ‘That’s where Willie Nelson was busted,’” said Louise Barantley, manager at the Coyote Sunset souvenir shop in Sierra Blanca.

Hudspeth County cameos aren’t only for outlaws: action movie star Steven Seagal, who’s already deputized in Louisiana and Arizona for his reality show “Steven Seagal Lawman” on A&E, has signed on to become a county officer.

Locals already have found ways to rub shoulders with their celebrity guests.

Deputies posed for pictures with Snoop Dogg after authorities said they found several joints on his bus earlier this month. When Nelson was busted here in 2010, the county’s lead prosecutor suggested the singer settle his marijuana charges by performing “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” for the court.

The once-thriving town of Sierra Blanca began to shrink to its current 1,000-person population after the construction of nearby Interstate 10 — a main artery linking cities from California to Florida — offered an easy way to bypass the community.

Now the highway is sending thousands of drug bust cases Sierra Blanca’s way, courtesy of a Border Patrol checkpoint just outside of town where drug-sniffing dogs inspect more than 17,000 trucks, travelers — and tour buses — daily for contraband.

Border Patrol agents say people busted with small amounts of pot often say they have medical marijuana licenses from California, Arizona or New Mexico — three states along I-10 that, unlike Texas, allow for medicinal pot prescriptions — and claim to believe the licenses were valid nationwide.

Nelson’s publicists declined to co-County authorities have not yet decided whether to prosecute or issue a citation for Hammer, who starred in the 2010 film “The Social Network.”

Editor's note: The following tracks contain explicit lyrics

Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa, Mac & Devin Go to High School
Released Dec. 13

Hip-hop veteran Snoop Dogg and rising rap superstar Wiz Khalifa will be releasing a collaborative soundtrack to their upcoming film “Mac & Devin Go to High School.” The album, which features the Bruno Mars-assisted single, “Young, Wild & Free,” will also include guest appearances from Jet Life rapper Curren$y and Taylor Gang Records’ very own Juicy J. Similar to Method Man and Redman’s collaborative soundtrack for their 2001 film “How High,” Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa’s soundtrack will feature poppy, upbeat sounds, high school-based narratives and an array of marijuana references from two of hip-hop’s weed connoisseurs. — Eli Watson

Snoop Dogg & Whiz Khalifa — Mac & Devin Go to High School

Common, The Dreamer/The Believer
Available Dec. 20

Although Kanye West’s gorgeous My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy may still cast a long shadow over music and Drake’s Take Care may take all the accolades this year with his own introspective lyrics and meticulous production, Common trailblazed the original path as the thinking man’s rapper. He combined the political with the personal, the warmth with the hard reality. After his turgid attempt to full mainstream pop on his last album, his newest album reunites him with No I.D., who produced Common’s earlier works and contributed to West’s last album. With the catchy second single “Blue Sky,” Common has a bit more positivity about the world around him. — Chris Nguyen

Common — Blue Sky

The Internet, Naked Purple Ladies
Available Dec. 20

Of all the breakout act releases of 2012, The Internet’s Naked Purple Ladies has the chance to have the most substantial impact on music. The group is on the forefront of the new, more accessible movement in R&B with the likes of fellow Odd Future member Frank Ocean and The Weeknd. The Internet is comprised of slightly lesser known Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All members Syd The Kid and Matt Martian. The group has already released two peculiar tracks, “Love Song” and “Cocaine.” The duo has released a video for the latter which resembles more of a low level acid trip than a coke tweak. The tracks simultaneously show promise and reason for concern as Syd’s strange but calming voice almost hits a dissonant tri-tone against Martian’s compelling, warped jazz beats. — Ali Breland

Cocaine — The Internet
Note: From their first, titular EP

Porcelain Raft, Strange Weekend
Available Jan. 24

After the Gone Blind EP and roughly 20 singles released as Porcelain Raft, Mauro Remiddi will debut his 10-track LP. Recently signed under Secretly Canadian, the same label as Nite Jewel, Jens Lekman and Yeasayer, the one-man-band has so far leaked a track on his Facebook page, “Put Me to Sleep.” The song provides listeners a quick glimpse of what they can expect from his full-length debut: a soothing melody and echoing waves of synthesizer diffusion. However, the lyrics are punctuated with irony because Remiddi, as the title indicates, asking the listener to put him to sleep. It will be interesting to see whether the album, recorded in a basement in Brooklyn, will display cohesion, since Mauro is a fan of releasing disassociated segments of music. — Elizabeth Hinojos

Put

Emeli Sandé, Our Version of Events
Available Feb. 6

Scottish R&B songwriter Emeli Sandé’s debut album will shine a light on the dark side of pop. Sandé has written songs for Leona Lewis and Susan Boyle, and opened for Chris Martin, but this album marks her crossover as a recording artist. Her first single, “Daddy,” already unveils two things she will be known for — outstanding vocals and a talent for singing subject matter tainted with heartbreak. Sandé extraordinarily marries cold lyrics with a voice that radiates warmth. Our Version of Events is sure to be the hauntingly relatable breakup playlist that will steal playtime even on a happy day.

Emeli Sandé — Daddy ft. Naughty Boy