Friday, January 29, 2010

Some Dude Hired to Coach Donk's Defense

My thoughts must be relaxed
Be able to maintain
Cause times is changed and life is strange...
One and done isn't just a popular term for college freshmen who play only one year then bolt for the pros, it also applies to the Broncos' defensive coordinators. Five, count em, five DCs over the last five years. Somewhere, George Steinbrenner is sending a shiny gold star to the team.
The newest is Don Martindale, who coached the line backers this past year. Check the resume: only prior DC experience would be Western Kentucky in 03. When you think staunch D, think the Hilltoppers. After that was a short stint in Oakland, the cradle of coaches. Prior stops were 1994 at Notre Dame where he basked in the twilight that was Lou Holtz's career, and also at Cincinnati in the 90s, where he taught the 2-3 zone to Nick Van Exel and Kenyon Martin (seriously, Cincy had football then?)
Don Martindale, Wink Martindale, Don Drysdale, Dale Martinbroncofucker, does it really matter at this point? Ray Rhodes, Larry Coyer, and the rest of the exes are shaking their heads. Is the new DC going to come in and change things and suddenly mold the unit into the 1985 Bears? Oh wait, that was the guy last year.
(Check the resemblance of Martindale to former wrestler Vader. That'll motivate the team, the constant threat of a top rope knock out)
RELATED: Pete Rock & CL Smooth - "Straighten it Out"


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Curious Case of JR Smith

Ate up by vultures, the politicians
In a dog eat dog culture, that'll sick 'em...

DMX once said “I love em, I hate em” and that can be the way that the Nuggets’ execs, fans, and possibly teammates feel about mercurial guard JR Smith right now.

What to do with the conundrum with arguably the team’s best player, who also happens to be the team’s biggest distraction?

Coach Karl has tried everything to rein in JR, from calling him out in public, to benching him, to suspensions, and probably more sitdowns than the Tony Soprano and Johnny Sack. Where can the relationship go from here?

The answer is probably nowhere other than where’s it’s been the last few years, and that’s right here in Our Fair City in the doghouse. The other 29 NBA teams know the Nugs might be looking to move the guard, and will be lying in wait with their castoffs and salary cap clearance players to send to Denver. Some teams won’t even be an option (realistically, could you see JR Smith playing for a no-BS team like San Antonio of Boston?)

The tired cliché is JR needs to grow up. Easy to say, but apparently it isn’t for JR. Think about where you were six years out of high school. That’s when real life starting creeping in for most of us. Job prospects were crystallizing, you might be seeing a little more money, every night wasn’t a party, getting a bit more serious about the life in general. Yet, there were always a few of your crew who weren’t moving in that direction. Years later, they were still going knucklehead and living life like a kid. That is JR. And that is where the Nuggets are with him, and they’re just going to have to live with it at this point.

The Chauncey Nuggets are only 15 months old, so Nugs brass might have to hope the continued exposure to him influences how he handles himself (along with Aron Affalo, and the other polished vets, even the poised Ty Lawson) might be the best road to take with him now.

The last resort might be a permanent seat on the end of the bench. The last two games have shown the Nugs might be capable of hanging without Smith, getting impressive results from Affalo. Think a steady bench player is going to command any takers, or worst yet, at the end of his contract anything more than a vet minimum? The Nugs need to stand pat and JR needs to decide (again) his own path.
RELATED: DMX - "Who We Be"


Monday, January 25, 2010

Public Bieniemy

It's been a long time, I shouldn't have left you...

As an astute CU fan, I saw something encouraging in yesterday's Brett Favre love fest/Vikings - Saints game: Vikings' running back coach Eric Bieniemy was ever present on the broadcast throughout the game.
Eric breaking it down with Brett Favre. Eric coaching up Adrian Peterson. Eric pushing the right buttons and benching AD with an effective Chester Taylor after he fumbled. Eric asking if his name is really "Chester." Eric asking to borrow Favre's Wranglers. Eric flanking head coach Brad Childress throughout the game. Eric asking Coach Childress if that headset gets him deals on Time Life books. Eric out on the field urging the team on. Eric with the defense. Eric hawking hot dogs at half time.
I made a few of those up, but the point is as a astute CU fan, Eric's afternoon reasonates as a possible CU head coach. Many in Buff Nation weren't sold on EB, but just a cursory glance of him working the players and sidelines was impressive. Astute CU fans know Eric could bring a smashmouth mentality, a link to the glory years, and a no BS attitude.
Of course, CU currently has a head coach but astute CU fans (hell, even the non-astute fans) know that he might not be long for the position. Astute athletic directors (paging Mike Bohn) need to turn their attention to Minnesota.
RELATED: Ice Cube - "What Can I Do?"


Monday, January 18, 2010

09 Rhyme: Top Colorado Beer Spots

Buds Bar- On the way to the Springs and got that appetite for some real burgers and that “drinketite” for a smooth bottled beer? Pull off the road at Sedalia to Bud’s Bar, where they have to greatest no-frills burgers in the metro area. No frills also describes the décor and clientele, but your “tites” will thank you.

El Camino- Denver’s Highland area has could be the poster child for gentrification, and while that may be bad in some eyes, it’s good if you get joints like the El Camino out of it. Summer is the time for this place, as the massive windows slide open and you can sip on a fine brew and watch yuppieville go by.

Crown Hill Tap House- Tightly tucked under a bowling alley across the way from the Crown Hill cemetery in Wheat Ridge you’ll find this redone gem. A nice renovation has opened the bar up with a fireplace, some ‘Friends’ style couches, and of course, ice cold beers. Live music and poker and plenty of beers on tap compliment the laid back attitude.

Hilltop Tavern- The forgotten sliver of Denver that resides around Regis University is home to this dive bar. 1960’s wood paneling, Natural Light on tap, and a sign limiting time on the pay phone greets all visitors. Play a game of pool in the hastily done up adjacent room and if you're hungry there’s a wide choice of expired chips and jerky.

C-Level- Sitting on a waterside bar, sipping a summer drink, watching the paddle boats go by while soaking the sun? Must be on some lake or tourist destination. Nope, it’s the C-Level Bar on Arvada’s eastern edge, perched atop Hidden Lake. The food isn’t half bad either, and there are plenty of TVs to catch those lazy Sunday Rockies games.

Waterloo- Downtown Louisville has its fair of eateries and bars to choose from, but the Waterloo along the main drag isn’t one to miss. In the summer get there and score one of the sidewalk tables and enjoy their sandwiches or burgers. Plenty of fine crafted beers on tap and if live music is your thing, this is one of Boulder County’s finest small venues.

Hoke’s- Nothing beats real, down home BBQ, except real BBQ and an icy cold beer. Located in a non-descript strip mall in Arvada near Stanley Lake, Hokes has some of the best Cajun BBQ shrimp a land locked state has to offer. $2 beers set it off, and if you show up during a NASCAR race expect a fuller house, including a miniature toy car tack.

Falling Rock Tap House- This LoDo establishment always seem to capture the main stream press’ ‘Best Of’ honors, and it finally makes an SG appearance. Known for their massive array of fine brews that changes weekly, you instantly feel miles away from the frequent douchebaggery element that runs amok downtown.

Beau Jo’s- I’m aware that there are many of these Colorado Style pizza joints around the state, but still nothing beats the original Idaho Springs’ location. Making a stop in the winter, you get an eyeful of the après ski crown, without the snooty tourist attitudes you find up on the slopes. And yes, the pizza with its mountain crust doused with honey is still the main draw, along with a nice winter brew.

For the Commish, he was able to enjoy a lazy Holiday Saturday chilling at Beau Jo’s with his two favorite girls- Mrs. Commish and our beautiful baby girl. Anywhere I get to go with those two is instantly my favorite place in this great state of Colorado or the entire world. As I try to impress on the SG every year, these type of places are more than just a list of buildings or good eats. They all hold some memory of good times, good stories, and most importantly…good people. Big ups to the SG massive for a healthy and great 2010!

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Melo is the Marrying Type

She says I love you Harold and your name is Will...

Denver's favorite son is tying the knot - in New York - marrying his long time squeeze and baby momma LaLa Vasquez. If you are married there's a good chance you've played the "should we invite this person" game. Are Melo and LaLa going through that with:

--Nate Robinson and/or Mardy Collins
--Chauncey Billups- Will he garner an invite to carry Melo over the first part of the ceremony?
--Commish CH- C'mon Melo, the SG has always been on your side. Will there be an open bar?
--Carson Daly- LaLa's former MTV co-worker. If not him than how about Marc Goodman
--Jerry McNamara
--That dude from Melo's 'Stop Snitchin' video- unless someone snitched on him
--Kenyon Martin's chick, rapper Trina- She can serenade the happy couple with that wack song "My Neck"
--Darko Milicic
--Allen Iverson- At the rehearsal dinner he spouts off about "rehearsal? I mean what are we talkin bout...rehearsal?"
--George Karl- Will he draw up a deep penetration play for post-wedding?
--JR Smith- He will either catch the garter belt in a remarkable 360 move or miss it and the pastor will call him for a dumb foul

RELATED: Slaughterhouse - "The One" - ("I'm mellow, so I'm looking for that lala")


Monday, January 11, 2010

Chasing Ski Bums Away

You got to relax, we got to kick back
Brothers just sit back, enjoy me like a six pack...

Back in my days in Boulder I knew a few kids that desired to be a "ski bum" post-graduation, or even in between years of their schooling. That meant scraping together a few bucks, moving to the Vail Valley, Summit County, Steamboat, or some other mountain locale. They would end up renting a room in some house or run down apartment, getting a job as a waiter or waitress, maybe actually working at a resort complete with a nice name tag (Ashley, Hometown: Huntington Beach, CA.) Of course, they'd still supplement their meager means with Ma and Pa's credit card or cash. They'd still roll around in their nice rig, rocking the latest skis, and drink to their hearts content.

They'd usually last one ski season before heading back down I-70 to join the rest of us in the real world. But they'd wear their year of "ski bum" status like a badge of honor for the rest of their lives. A few made it a year or more, and more than a few made it home, landing a plush job among the tourists, forever shedding their "ski bum" image.

They never quite assumed the "ski bum" life of one Charlie Touts. For 40 years he's been a true ski bum. Sleeping in a Volkswagen, shovelling snow, washing dishes, whatever it took to ski every day. Now the man is coming down on Charlie for living on public land and marijuana charges and they've had in in the pokey for more than a month. He wasn't quite living in George Washington's nose at Rushmore, the 63 year old was living in a gravel parking lot. And he wasn't moving bricks of marijuana, he had a small supply of hippie lettuce in his pocket. Hell, he should've been given a ticket by the ski bum police if he didn't have any green sticky icky on him.

Other bloggers can debate the politics of the situation, but really? Is this what passes for law enforcement in the mountains. If you want him out of the parking lot, just chase him away; tell him there's a outlet sale of used skis in Breck, a hot tub party (too 1980's?) in Vail, or a free Warren Miller screening in Keystone. Let the ski bum be exactly what the name is: a true ski bum.


Friday, January 08, 2010

Vision Quest

Brothers try to pass me, but none could match me
No girl can freak me, I'm just too nasty...

While watching the strung out spate of BCS games, a couple thoughts crossed my mind with regard to my Colorado Buffaloes. Boise State looked tough in handling a damn good TCU team. Coach Hawk left BSU four years ago and since then they have won two BCS bowls, two undefeated seasons, and seemingly have playmakers all over the field. This despite their recruiting rankings have never cracked the Top 50.

“That is what CU is supposed to be, this is the reason we hired Hawk. This high flying offense and sneaky plays are supposed to be in Boulder” is what I kept thinking. However, the CU offense can’t settle on an identity, can’t get a QB close to the signal callers they have in Boulder, and BSU coach Chris Peterson looks like the real brains of Hawk’s Boise ops. The BSU special teams and defense have improved drastically since Hawk left.

Fast forward to the National Championship Game and the team that won: Alabama. Just two years ago, CU faced Bama in a matchup of 6-6 teams. CU made a spirited comeback in that Independence Bowl and had their chances to win. The level of play in the second half seemed even; Bama fans were raving about Cody Hawkins. After the game Hawk went and got the nation’s top high school RB while Bama made due with a three star kid from Flint, Michigan. Just two scant years later, Bama has only lost two games since, the three star kid won a Heisman, and look like a force for years. In Boudler, they’ve only won eight games since, the top RB is gone, and the future is as murky as it’s been in 25 years.

Both thoughts point to one conclusion that we in Buff Nation have come to the realization over the last two years: the Hawk hire wasn’t done with due homework and the man is over his head. If my lame thought balloons are this easy to decipher, Hawk’s boss Mike Bohn should be having full-on visions of his mistake.

RELATED: Jeru The Damaja - "You Can't Stop The Prophet" - ("My vision's still kinda blurry, but I see a clue...")


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Hawk Love

I eliminate punks cut 'em up in chunks
You were souped you heard me and your ego shrunk
I'm devastating I'm so good it's a shame
Cause I eat rappers like a cannibal they call me insane...

1987. Another Summer. Another Number. Sound of the funky drummer. A young Commish had one of those summers where the grass always seemed greener, Dad's barbeques were always tasty, you ran with your crew playing ball, getting into juvenile mischief, and being a kid with what seemed nary a worry. Hip Hop was LL's Bigger and Deffer , Eric B & Rakim's Paid In Full, BDP's Criminal Minded, PE's Yo! Bum Rush the Show.

This was pre-Rockies so most of us kids followed MLB in general. Since WGN was on the cable systems, the Cubs were on full blast during the day all summer long. Chillin, drinkin some cold lemonade after a morning about watching the Cubs in the afternoon. Like alot of folks in the Denver Metro, they kind of became the team to follow.

That year the Cubs brought in Andre Dawson, who had a taste of Denver in the late 70's with the AAA Denver Bears. He was part of a dreadful last place Cubs, but indvidually he was a monster. The Young Commish was enamored. His steely, icy glare while staring down the pitcher was the coolest thing to me. His small fluttering of the bat while in his stance is something I always tried to duplicate in my own stance that summer. He had the curl rocking hard, the fly mustache, the tough guy gait around the bases. Eric Show of the Padres beaned him is the face in what seemed an entire summer filled with cool bean ball fights.

My Pops came back from a business trip to Chicago with a blank Cubs jersey which I tried to affix a number eight on the back. Eight became one of my "numbers" (kids always seemed to have their own "numbers" didn't we?) and to this day I still use an eight when picking lotto.

Years later, Dawson was hobbling around with the Florida Marlins and I finaly got to see him play in person. Lemondae was replaced with Coors and LL was replaced with Raekwon, Dawson's MVP of 87 was replaced with an average below the Mendoza line. Yet, he hit one out of Coors Field that day and a few of us stood up and gave him a hearty cheer. A cheer that was more for the memories, for a part of our lives that seemed more than just eight years prior, for the back in the day moments.

RELATED: Eric B & Rakim - "Move the Crowd"


Saturday, January 02, 2010

09 Rhyme: Top Hip Hop Albums

1-Doom – Born Like This
MF Doom returns after a bizarre stint on the Hip Hop sidelines without the ‘MF’ but toting his signature dark, grimy beats and lyrics. Beats are concocted on the album by the late J-Dilla (check the track “Lightworks” with its nearly cosmic beat), Madlib, Jake One (“Ballskin”), and Doom himself. Old friends pop up, Raekwon on “Yessir” (a track that Doom doesn't even rap on), Ghostface, and M.I.C. partner Kurious makes an appearance on “Supervillianz” (also features Slug of Atmosphere) which pokes fun at the 2009 rap game with an autotuned chorus of “what rhymes with villain?” HIGHLIGHT: The dreary “Cellz” perhaps sets the tone for the entire offering, as a nearly two minute diatribe is read spoken word by poet Charles Bukowski on the Earth and humanity’s destruction before Doom has a chance to spit: "...dried Paraffin, candy corn crap rappers pale by comparison.”

2-Marco Polo and Torae – Double Barrel
Torae is one of the most underrated MCs in the game and when you couple him with a producer of Marco Polo’s caliber, you can really see what he is capable of. This release comes off as just a straight hard core East Coast Hip Hopper’s dream, perfectly fusing Torae’s spit and the Canadian producer’s beats. DJ Revolution makes appearances throughout, with real scratches and cuts you rarely find these days. Being a Duck Down drop, you get the usual Sean Price verse (“Hold Up” which also features Masta Ace), as well as Rock from Heltah Skeltah on “Smoke.” HIGHLIGHT: The track “Party Crashers” takes the old Method Man “industry party crashers” sample on a catchy beat with another indictment of the 09 industry of Hip Hop.

3-Super Chron Flight Brothers – Indonesia
Coming in just after 4-20, the Super Chron Flight Brothers' second album Indonesia veers a bit off from where their stellar 2007 joint Emergency Powers left us. Indonesia features Billy Woods and Privilege rapping over mellower, drawn out beats, many in the Cool Kids or El-P mode or sound. Most of the CD was crafted by Backwoodz Studio affiliate Marmaduke. Lyrically, the MCs hit on everything from Cannondale bikes, top ramen, Gregg Popovich's face (they're rougher than it), and a slew of sex rhymes ("she polished the wood, now she got termites.") One curious track is "SubPop" which incorporates the old Smiths' track "How Soon is Now." HIGHLIGHT: While the album is free, big fans can order the limited edition 2 disc set with remixes and instrumentals, and an ill freestyle.

4-C Rayz Walz – Who the F*ck Are You?
“Clap your weak jaw, and have your girl sip a milk shake through my meat straw” bellows C Rayz Walz on the track “Hot Sauce” lets the listener know this dude ain’t fucking around. But this release isn’t all hard core posturing, as he goes through drug use “Oxy Killer”, shouts out New York (with an ill verse from Vast Aire) on “I Love New York” (which employs a hook about the Big Apple having “rotten milk in her titties”)and takes an entire track to big up Gangstarr on “Family Crest.” Karniege, Swave Sevah, Poison Pen, and other lesser known MCs help complete the track listing. HIGHLIGHT: Slug from Atmosphere joins in on the joint “In Your Soul”, which is a slow, peaceful journey through the inner being. Yeah, sounds corny, but this track is as melodic and soulful as a Hip Hop record gets.

5-Tame One – Acid Tab Vocab
Tame One of Artifacts fame (but who has been ever-present since their salad days in the mid 90s) comes with his best solo offering to date with Acid Tab Vocab. Once you get into the work it is quite evident the album name isn't a play on words. Tame One drops the mad drug references throughout the entire piece, including some hilarious sound bites. Guest spots, mainly Aesop Rock on "Molly" and Del on "Ooops", really shine. But Tame also adds some personal introspection on his past and future on tracks like "Suede Adidas" and goes after Hip Hop fakeness on "Hip Hop Action Figure." Producers Parallel Though and Drum set forth a great blueprint for Tame to go between his different moods throughout. HIGHLIGHT: The initial single “Anxiety Attacks” is just a crazy joint, with Tame claiming he “spit like toothpaste” and ending the track with some “stick icky gizm shit.”

6-Anti Pop Consortium – Fluorescent Black
Anti Pop Consortium returns after a long break in the game with their new release, Fluorescent Black. What immediately grabs this hard-to-the-core-boom bapper with this release is that if you remove the lyrics the beats and music might remind you of a mid-90s rave. But that is a good thing in this case, as APC blends banging drums (the track "Timpani"), synthesizer sounds, and a multi-layered approach by beat-meister Earl Blaize. Yet, you cannot discount the lyrics from M Sayyid and High Priest on standout tracks like "Superunfrontable" and the lead off track "New Jack Exterminator" as both MCs come off with precision. HIGHLIGHT: The track “NY to Tokyo” features a superb cameo from Roots Manuva that helps it be danceable and to get sneakers tapping to the upbeat track.

7-Slaughterhouse – Slaughterhouse
Royce Da 5-9, Joell Ortiz, Crooked I, and Joe Budden form the country wide Hip Hop Voltron with their self titled album, and the lyricists contained within do not disappoint. Even the radio-ready first single “The One” was a hype, up tempo track with on-point lyrics (“Khloe on the car dash, Kourtney on the On Star”.) While Joell Ortiz in my opinion is the most talented, Joe Budden really gets his on this album. Peep “Cuckoo” and “Lyrical Murders” where he comes off. Production is served up by the likes of Alchemist and Mr Porter (Pharoah Monche comes around for a great hook on his production on “Salute”) among a host of others. HIGHLIGHT: “Microphone” is just a sick bananas track with all four MCs going all out. A sparse beat allows each to shine and has become a freestyle staple.

8-Blame One- Days Chasing Days
Producer Exile “presents” this album, but don’t think he is responsible for all the great content it offers. Days Chasing Days gives us great production, including Black Milk on “Perseverance” with its doo-woop sounding baseline, and a steady diet of the aforementioned Exile laced beats. Blame himself shines with his lyrical content ranging from the attack on wack MCs, to some deep personal introspection, to the standard “remember when” track. Great samples and cuts are throughout, with “Saturday Night”, and “Street Astrologist” using some ill scratches. Sean Price highlights the guest tracks with the bouncy “Disturbed” and Blu on the melodic “Wonder Why”. HIGHLIGHT: “Documentarian” might damn well be my track of the year, a journey through Blame One’s life and some heartfelt bars to his daughters, that even has one of them shouting “big ups to my family” at the end.

9-Day Laborers - The Learning Process
When the Day Laborers managed to get the Marvin Berry quote from the movie "Back to the Future" on the leadoff track “Can’t Stop This War” I knew I was in for a treat. The Long Island duo of Aspect and I.N.F. brings it hard, yet fun, throughout the album. Horns, clever samples, and great cohesion mark this release. A few guest appearances from Louis Logic (the track “Confinement”, a banging track slowed down track about being locked up) and Homeboy Sandman highlight the track listing. The hottest collabo is with Mac Lethal (“I move like a walker with tennis balls on the bottom”) on “Burn One.” HIGHLIGHT: Lyrically the team really shines on the horn and piano laden “Paddling Upstream” with lines like “…victims of circumstances dancing on a shattered dreams…count my blessings share the essence that we co-exist.”

10-Sahtyre – High Saht
The West Coast underground MC is part of a Los Angeles-based crew called Swim Team whose whole vibe reminds me of some Hieroglyphics or Freestyle Fellowship from the Cali of the mid 1990s. Sahtyre is set to shine from the LA collective with this release with his comedic raps (check for his rap “Get Down With It” about busting out a deaf girl) and distinctive voice. He flips the old “Summer in the City” song on a track of the same name, weaving a disturbing tale of a young woman in the LA life. The entire crew gets theirs on the massive posse cut “Move” in which they go over seven deep on the mic. HIGHLIGHT: The track “J-O-B” is Hip Hop 2009's version of "Take This Job and Shove It” with Saht going through the monotony, bullshit, and often under-appreciated feeling of working in the modern day world.

11-Raekwon – Only Built Cuban Linx 2
Only Built For Cuban Links 2 sounds like it could've been released in 97 as a true followup to the original (although you could argue Ghostface's Ironman was a followup to OBFCL.) The release’s hype was well deserved, as Rae and Ghost hit right off the bat with "House of Flying Daggers" which is a throwback headnodder complete with Shaolin fighting effects and features Deck and Meth. Other guests as scattered throughout- Jadakiss, Slick Rick, Cappadonna, Styles P, Beanie Sigel, and production from Marley Marl, Erick Sermon, Pete Rock, and the RZA fare (the grimey "Black Mozart".) Lyrically, you're get the coke/crack inspired rhymes that litter the original on tracks like "Pyrex Vision" and an ODB tribute on "Ason Jones." HIGHLIGHT: The leadoff single “Wu Oooh” has that throwback appeal in 09, with a Meth hook and predictable Wu Lyrics, and that’s a good thing.


Rapper Big Pooh – The Delightful Bars
Production from Jake One, Khrysis, and 9th Wonder highlight the North American Pie version of half of Little Brother’s release. Pooh flows all over the album, with a couple party/radio rhymes and a slew of underground gems.

KRS One and Buckshot – Survival Skills
The Teacher and Duck Down hook up on this solid work, with most of the Duck Down crew repping throughout. The single “Robot” was an anti-autotune anthem before Jay-Z went massive with his own version/

Fresh Daily – The Gorgeous Killer
“Untucked Nunchuks” is one of the grittiest singles of the year, with the Brooklyn MC all over the board lyrically, no hook needed. Perhaps the cleverest single in some time is “Two in the Shirt” which is Fresh Daily’s tribute to boobs.

Tash – Control Freak
The formula hasn’t changed much: drinking, fun party rhymes, King Tee guest appearances, and overall smooth production work. The Alkaholik “reunion” might be coming and a taste is given on “Liquor Store Run”

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