Intro / Preface / Extra Words
Slept a little late this morning so didn't get this issue finished when I wanted to. We've got a lengthy one this time. Hope it made it to your inbox as you're getting ready to head to the pool, or to the beach, or to your patio with a fresh cup of coffee (or something stronger, depending on how your Friday night went).
Intro to Kendrick Lamar
I was talking to a couple of friends earlier this week and mentioned that I had written up a step-by-step guide to introduce yourself to the music of Kendrick Lamar. I know he's not for everybody – and neither is rap. But I like rap, and I like K-Dot. If you want to give it a go, here's how I would start.
- good kid, m.A.A.d city - this album is still my favorite. It's a coming of age story, told both through the lyrics and in short skits in between songs. You'll want to listen to this one several times through before moving on (something even Kendrick says about this album is that it needs repeated listens to really get a feel for how all the pieces fit together).
- Section.80 - it's an OK album, nowhere near as cohesive or interesting as good kid. It's got a theme, but it's a little scattered overall. Some highlights that are worth listening to (and are good segue to later albums) are: Ronald Reagan Era, Poe Mans Dreams, Rigamortus (just a badass song in general), Ab-Souls Outro, HiiPower
- To Pimp A Butterfly - this album is much less accessible than the first two, but it's indicative of the path his sound is taking; the latest album, DAMN, makes more sense after listening to this one. It's brutally honest and has some songs that are really intense (u, How Much A Dollar Cost) and there's a confessional-ish style poem woven throughout the entire album.
- untitled unmastered. - I like it, it's super weird, skip it for now. You can play this album after you've listened to all the other ones for like, a year.
- DAMN. - This one has the artistic integrity of Butterfly in the delivery but the beats are more accessible. I think I've listened to DNA, HUMBLE, and LOVE about a million times each. I think this album highlights his skill more than others; it's not for those with slow ears.
Alright, that's a lot. Here's a link to his artist page on Spotify.
Colombia’s New Cocaine Problem
This is a hopeful story of a troubled city on the rise, but the author acknowledges that as far as Medellín has come, it still can't shake the hold that a particular powder from the recent past has on its citizens. The "War on Drugs" was obviously lost years ago (though some are pretending it's still going on), so what's next? What is the role of government in this situation? Make vices less enticing with regulation? Taxes? Deregulate everything? Legalize it all? If you think you have the answer you should run for some kind of office somewhere.
Greats - The Royale - Summer Vintage Nero Mesh
I have three pairs of Greats now, and one is the original Royale Cuoio. Basically every shoe Greats sells is super dope, as in random compliments from strangers on my shoes kind of dope. This is their latest release, and I'm tempted to grab a pair despite knowing I would wear these way too much and ruin them in a month.
The Grocery Store America Loves Most
Not to spoil it, but it's Kroger. Surprising. And the article has a bunch of links to the original report, which for data nerds like me is pretty fun to read (especially the beer part, which is where that link goes). Somehow Bud Light is edging out Coors Light in the battle for most favorable terrible beer.
Why Amazon Bought Whole Foods for $13.7 Billion
You've probably heard about Amazon's big purchase already, but a casual observation at the end made me nervous. The author says she hopes that Amazon makes Whole Foods cheaper; if Amazon starts aggressively driving down costs to destroy competition like it usually does, it could become even more unlikely that small-time farmers can earn a living. As if I wasn't already feeling guilty enough buying stuff from Amazon... Also, thanks to my Mom for the link.
Work / Productivity
How I Filter the Advice I Get About Business and Life
Obviously this is advice about advice, but the author acknowledges as much so just read it anyway. These are really practical tips, and easy to remember. I think they apply just as much to business as they do life, but I need a link for this category so I parked the article here. I'm going to be re-reading this article often.
Sports (Disc Golf)
Chris Vernon vs. Deyonta Davis
I feel like Deyonta has huge potential this year, but that's not why I'm sharing this video. Deyonta is perhaps the most deadpan player I've ever heard interviewed. I also like watching Chris Vernon's shots be repeatedly swatted into oblivion.
I love technology (and science)
Three new discoveries in a month rock our African origins
I'm an archeology hobbyist, I think (if that's a thing). By that I mean if someone shares a link about dinosaurs or ancient humans on the Internet I'm gonna click it 92% of the time. This is a good primer on how archaeologists try to map the path of our genetic origins and the author's writing style keeps it from being too dry and science-y. I learned a lot of new words and took a pretty harrowing dive into the Wikipedia rabbit hole after I got done reading this.
Husband After God: Drawing Closer To God And Your Wife by Aaron & Jennifer Smith
This is a 30-day devotional challenge, and there's also an accompanying book titled (unsurprisingly) Wife After God. My buddy Michael J. highly recommended this book, and he even purchased a copy of Wife After God for my wife and his wife; I guess he's assuming I'll just borrow his copy of Husband After God.