Category Archives: #FlashbackFriday Videos

#FlashBackFriday Videos: Donovan Bailey Dominates ’96 Olympics


With the Rio Olympics in full swing, and with Track & Field (more importantly, the 100M races, the premier event of the Olympics) about to start, many of us that come from a West Indian background are looking forward to what Usain Bolt is going to do. Bolt is looking to become the first sprinter to ever claim 3 sprint Golds in three consecutive Olympics, which will forever solidify him as the greatest sprinter, if he isn’t already. On top of that, if you’re rooted both in West Indian and Canadian culture, your interest in Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse, to see if he can accomplish a repeat performance of last year’s IAAF World Championships, is paramount. But, as the title dictates, this is #FlashbackFriday Videos, so lemme take you back…….

……to 1988.

To understand the excitement for Donovan Bailey, you have to revisit the excitement Ben Johnson brought to Canada back in the mid-to late 80’s. The Americans, as long as I could remember, were always the big, bad, cocky sprinters. The sprinters that were better than their competitors, and were not afraid to tell you about it. Carl Lewis was by far the worst of them. As great as he was, he always came off as an arrogant asshole that ended up being a villain to us in a lot of ways. There was no competition for him, until Ben Johnson started rising up the ranks in 1986 & ’87, beating Lewis & setting World Record times in the process. Everything came together in the ’88 Seoul Games, when the rivalry between Lewis & Johnson was at an all-time high.

Once the race ended with Ben holding up his index finger to the sky, crossing the finish line with an unheard of time of 9.79s, coupled with the the look of confusion on Lewis’ face, my household, much like others across the country, lost our motherfu**in’ minds. I was still in elementary school those times, so at that moment, Ben Johnson officially qualified as a superhero to me. I put him right alongside Magic Johnson, Mike Tyson, Wayne Gretzky, Optimus Prime, and He-Man. Within three days of those celebrations, well…. you know how the rest of the story goes. Steroid scandal, stripped of medals and records; then the infamous Dubin Inquiry, along with embarrassment, shame, and anger from the rest of Canada. Then the eventual comeback (which I rooted for), followed by another steroid scandal, then a lifetime ban from the sport; then sadly becoming somewhat of a sideshow, to finally then hanging on for dear life of celebrity status by pitching those “Cheetah Power Surge” Energy drinks. Remember that? The, “I Cheetah all the time” TV spots? Sigh. Let’s just say it had the opposite effect of those Robbie Alomar “McCain Punch” commercials. Lord give me strength.

Either way, we never knocked Carl Lewis off his throne. He participated in two more Olympics and staked his claim as one of the greatest Olympians ever. The only karma that came back on him, was his belief that he would knock out the US National Anthem, and the sobering results afterwards. Marvin Gaye he sure as hell wasn’t.

By the time we got to the ’96 Olympic Games in Atlanta, the Americans were as cocky as ever in the 100M. However, much like the ’88 games, Canada had someone in Donovan Bailey, who not only could compete with those US sprinters, but had also won the World Championships the year before. So even though it was new primetime players in the field, the anticipation was at a dizzingly high level. I can even tell you where I was when this race happened. I had come back home to Montreal for the summer, and I was about to start getting ready to head out that night with my friends. Almost all of my siblings returned home that weekend, and we all watched the race in the kitchen where the TV was set up. The memories of Ben Johnson still felt fresh, and we needed some sort of retribution for going through that saga as fans. All I remembered thinking was something to the affect of, “Please Donovan, PLEASE win this race for us. We need this!”, as if his win would wash over everything that happened in ’88. All of our stomachs were in knots. Then a few minutes later, this happened:


……..and by the time he crossed the finish line all amped up, we were celebrating like it was our brother that slayed Goliath. We blasted music throughout the house, and celebrated some more amongst each other. I ended up getting dressed, and headed downtown with my friends to continue the good times at DelRays, one of the best MTL clubs my generation had ever seen. One of those places where the hottest women seemed like they were falling from the rafters like confetti. Had never seen anything like that before or since. But we’ll save that story for another time.



Across the country, Bailey was celebrated like a hero. He was a rock star. He followed that up by running anchor on the Canadian 4x100M Relay Team, that not only put to rest who the baddest boys on the track were, but they annihilated the Americans in a way that had never happened to them before. It was glorious. Did he get love by the media across the border? Of course he did. How did they show love, you ask? After decades and decades of the winner of the 100M Finals in the Olympics being viewed as the world’s fastest man, the media promptly went out and declared Michael Johnson (the star of the ’96 Olympics, and winner of the 200M & 400M events) the fastest man in the world. Unsurprisingly, this pissed off Bailey, & Canada even more.

It led to one of the more underrated events in sports history: A 150M race between Johnson & Bailey at The Skydome in Toronto, to settle once and for all who the fastest man on Earth was. There was something that felt schoolyard-ish about it. They didn’t even need to run it at the Skydome, I think they would have been cool running the race in front of the Eaton Centre, running from Yonge & Dundas & turned left at Yonge & Shuter, with people side betting on the sidewalk. Of course, he ended up beating down Johnson (who ended up pulling his Quad halfway through the race, although Bailey was leading him at the time), and ended up talking endless shit afterwards. It was great, and amazing.

Everything comes back to the Atlanta Olympics 20 years ago. Outside of Muhammad Ali holding the torch, and lighting the Olympic flame during the opening ceremony, that was one of my favorite Olympic moments from those games. Actually, it’s one of my favorite Olympics moments, period. It was such a great time for Canadian Track & Field, with the way Bailey & company dominated the track. It’s almost impossible to clear up all the scars that the Ben Johnson saga left on a nation, but Bailey’s achievements let us heal somewhat. He created a proud moment for us Canadians, and as West Indians. As we lead into this weekend’s 100M Finals (get that medal De Grasse!), here’s some #FlashBackFriday props to Donovan Bailey, for proudly carrying Canada’s hopes & dreams on his back……in 9.84 seconds.


*** Bonus Segment! Bonus Segment! ***

& now……


Ok, before we go, seeing that we’re in the #FlashBackFriday mode right now, let me share a quick and funny story about the time that I met Donovan Bailey. Please, all I ask of you is to read this story in Charlie Murphy’s voice.

So back in the early 2000s, myself, Big Brotha Curt, and some other friends, used to play in a Men’s Basketball League in Mississauga, ON on Saturdays. Back then, it was arguably the best league in the GTA, as many of the best former & current ballers would play in this league that lasted about 6-7 months. Our team was usually one of the top teams in this league, I believe we won the league at least a few times, and was usually competing for the Finals every year. One year, I believe it was either 2002 or 2003, Donovan Bailey had his own team in the league. Now, I never knew Donovan to be a ballplayer, but I can’t lie, I was excited to play his team, just to meet him and to give him props for his Olympic moment. Something I’m sure he’s only heard about 100,000 times from people, but still.

So at some point later in the season, we finally play his team. As both teams are warming up and getting ready for the game to start, I contemplated crossing half court to be a fan for a few seconds just to essentially tell him “Thanks” for that Olympic moment. I flashed back to that night I was celebrating with my family, and how I partied with friends late into the morning after he marked his dominance at the best sprinter in the world. But, I decided against it, and figured if anything, I’ll wait until after the game and tell him.

It was probably a good thing I decided on this option.

Partway through the first half, Bailey gets off the bench and subs into the game. While his team was trying to reorganize who each of them would be guarding, Bailey didn’t even waste time with all that noise. He already knew who he was going to beast, and he let the entire gym know it.


As he basically shouted this out loud for everyone to hear, I couldn’t help but notice…… he was pointing and looking directly at me.

Ummmmm…..what the fu**?!?!

It was such a surreal moment. I actually looked behind me to see if he was talking to someone else. Once I noticed the only person standing behind me was the referee, it clicked like, “Oh shit, he’s talking to me, he’s really talking ’bout me!”

His team had possession on offense. As soon as they inbounded the ball, he proceeded to try to lock me in the post, screaming out, “MISMATCH!! MISMATCH!! GIMME THE ROCK!! MISMATCH!!!”

While he’s screaming out to his team to give him the ball so he can try to Dream Shake me to death like Hakeem Olajuwon, I felt like I was having a near out-of-body experience. I’m guarding him & looking back incredulously at my bench, as my teammates are about 38 seconds away from laughing their asses off at me. All these thoughts start racing through my mind. “Did this guy scout me during the season? Does he think I suck?? Do….do I owe him money?!?! I know this is basketball, and we’re all super competitive, but why is Donovan treating me like I’m Michael Johnson???? Wait, wait….hold up…… DOES HE REALLY THINK I FU**ING SUCK?!?!??!?!?!?”

As soon as he got the ball, he took about 3-4 steps before he shot it. Travel. He looked at me, and the shit didn’t even faze him as we were running back the other way.

“Make sure you come back to me every time. EVERY TIME!! I GOT THIS!!!”, he yelled to his teammates.

As I felt the competitive anger start coursing through my body, and the fandom part of me started packing up a Go Bag to exit out of my mind, I looked back at him with a mixture of shock, confusion, venom, and weirdly, some admiration. I slightly admired the fact that this man truly believed in his mind he was gonna whup my ass all over the floor. And we were on a basketball court, not the starting blocks. So I made sure after that, as long as I guarded him, he would not get a shot off, or even the ball.

I can’t tell you how much I scored, or how much we won the game by (yes, we DID win. What?), all I know is that afterwards, I was thinking there was no way in mothafu**in’ hell I was approaching him after the game now. I was playing the Petty Pendergrass role like I was trying to win a Oscar by the time the buzzer ended. To this day, I still catch jokes about the time Bailey tried to call me out from out of the blue with my brother and other friends who were there that day. We all laugh about it now, shiiit even then. Looking back at it though, who the hell knows where that even came from. Maybe he was trying to psych himself up to play, maybe he thought I was someone else that he didn’t like, maybe he thought I really did owe him money. Whatever the case, I got a glimpse into the competitive spirit that he carried with him, even in a men’s league basketball on some random Saturday afternoon all those years ago.

It was probably that almost irrational confidence and belief that made him think he would be the fastest man alive 20+ years ago, when he was training his ass off to get to Atlanta, and yet again when Michael Johnson started barking up the wrong tree. It’s something that we all need to do from time to time. Don’t be afraid to think of yourself as great, to get on your Kanye shit, and let that confidence spill outside the box sometimes. No matter the platform. You may be better off for it. That’s the point I take from that story. For that, maybe I should have still gave him daps after the game. Or then again, maybe I should have celebrated after we beat his team up. Who knows.

Where was DelRays when I needed it.


Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

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#FlashbackFriday Videos: The Underrated Sketches of Chappelle’s Show

One of the shows that I miss to this day that’s no longer on the air is, Chappelle’s Show. Even though it had a short run (2 seasons, if you include the “Lost Episodes season, than 2 1/4 seasons), it had a ripple effect on how comedy was done on TV, to the point where I’m not entirely sure that it has been matched to this day. Chappelle took what Keenan Ivory Wayans did with In Living Color, & not only updated it, but enhanced the content & pushed the boundaries further (a perk of working on Comedy Central instead of a major network like Fox). It was a classic, classic show that’s remembered fondly because it only lasted two seasons. It never got a chance to lose top writers, change actors, or get stale after a few years like Martin did after Season 3 or what The Real Husbands of Hollywood is going through since Season 3 started. Of course, it was a self-imposed walk off from Dave himself, that unfortunately ended its reign, however, because of the short time it was on the air, the legendary shine never had a chance to have its sheen rubbed off.  

Now, we all remember the classic skits that made the show what it was. From Black-White Supremecist Clayton Bigsby, to the R. Kelly “Piss On You” videos, to Tyrone Biggum and the Mad Real World, to Making the Band, to Rick James & Wayne Brady, the show was immortalized by those legendary skits. But much like a championship team, stars alone does not a team make. You have to have the right set of role players that know their roles & play calling that make everything work. It’s about attention to detail, paying attention to every drill, every word, all the little things that makes anything great. In the case of the Chappelle show, as special as the aforementioned skits were, it was some of the other underrated skits that enhanced the level of the show. Today, on #FlashbackFriday Videos, we’ll show you a scattered collage of the most underrated skits that helped make the Chappelle’s Show one of the most influential shows in TV History.

**** WARNING: Some of these videos contain swearing & course language. ****

“Knee High Park”

This sketch is so, so genius & so, so wrong at the same time. Especially after the 1st puppet takes a hit of heroin & ends his song with foam coming out of his mouth. I think part of why I love this skit so much is that it’s an extension of his bit that he did on his “Killing Them Softly” concert a few years before, when he breaks down the stereotypes of Sesame Street. Back when I first saw this sketch, I knew where the foundation of the idea originated from. If you watch that concert clip hyperlinked two sentences ago, you’ll understand this sketch entirely. Also features Snoop’s voice as “Dangle” and Q-Tip singing a song about STD’s. Favorite lines from that skit are: 

“You don’t understand / Is I make love to my hand / so I don’t need you honey / I beat my **** like it owes me money….” – The “F**k It Song 

“Well hello Dave Chappelle! Haven’t seen you in a while. What’s it been? Two months??” – The end of the Gonorrhea song after Gonorrhea turns around and sees Dave for the first time. 

“When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong”


It’s one thing for the content of this sketch to be a funny as it is, but it goes to another level when you use the narrative voice from the infamous NFL Films to actually narrate it. The ones with David getting his ass kicked in by his girlfriend and some random dude at the club, and the girl who goes nuts when someone calls her by mistake and hangs up are great…… but it’s something about this episode of Dave reacting poorly to his boss giving him a racially awkward high five. I think most black men have been in the position of being turned off when this happens to them at work, when their boss or co-worker wants to be “cool” with you by giving you an awkward handshake or using outdated or similarly awkward slang to try to relate with you (ie. “Hey Cal! How’s it hanging bro? Yeah, I can dig it!). Usually you just say “hello” back and you keep things moving. So it’s interesting to see the flip side of what someone would do in that kind of situation. Of course though, Dave takes it way too far. Bonus points for barking like DMX & throwing up the Ws for Wu-Tang. 

“The Niggar Family”

Part of what made Chappelle’s Show, was the lack of fear to push the racial boundaries & tackle those issues, discussions, and debates through Dave’s comedy. As we found out later, it was also something that he struggled with while doing the show at times. However, above all else, Chappelle, Neal Brennan & his writers would make up these crazy situations, scenarios, mixed in with racial aspects that were as well planned out as they were funny. I think having a sketch based on a white family that happens to be called Niggar is probably a highly qualified example. 

“2Pac is Still Alive?”

After Tupac died in Sept 1996 (damn, it’s almost 20 years already?!), he essentially became the Hip Hop version of Elvis. With all the albums & music that was released after he died, there were many people who thought his death was a hoax & that he was recording tracks either in a hood in Oakland or somewhere in Cuba close to the beach. Some of his lyrics were so ahead of his time that they sounded like he did them the night before (as some people felt anyway). So naturally, Dave touches on this early 2000’s pop culture topic. Based in the club, Dave and the rest of club goers are dancing when Questlove the DJ premieres a new Tupac song. Everyone is hype about that song at first, but then get confused as Tupac touches on topics so relevant, that he’s describing people in the club (which includes scolding Dave for dancing on a woman whose not his wife). 

It’s an underrated/lost sketch because it released after Chappelle left the show & Comedy Central still went on to air 3 episodes worth of new Chappelle material that people barely remember. Comedy Central then went on to package & sell those lost episodes on DVD making sure they squeezed every single last drop of potential Chappelle income they could collect on. Smh…… 

“Player Hater’s Ball”


Dave, Charlie Murphy, Donnell Rawlings, & others dressed up as pimps hating on anything & anyone at a Hater convention? I’m not sure what else needs to be said, but I know you started smiling already. Admittedly, I’m not entirely sure that this one falls under the underrated umbrella. In fact, I think it walks the line between being legendary & being underrated. I only rank this as underrated because it doesn’t get discussed as much as the other legendary ones, but it should absolutely fall alongside with them. It’s the equivalent to Cris Carter getting rejected for years and years from the Football Hall of Fame until finally getting selected. This sketch is knocking at the Legendary Level doors with its measurements in its hand to give to the committee, so that it can be fitted for their Hall of Fame yellow jacket. 

Underrated line of the sketch: 

“Why don’t you click your heels together three times……and go back to Africa?” – Silky Johnson 

“Dancing For Different Cultures”


Another thought-provoking sketch that breaks down each race and culture by which musical instruments make each of them lose control. Conducting the sketch like a social studies project, Dave & Jon Mayer go to different settings to see how influential his guitar riffs are over white people. Once he gets shot down by the Black & Hispanic customers at the local barbershop, he brings out Questlove on the drums and Sanchez on the keyboards to see if they fall under the influence of their instruments as well. Bonus points for Chappelle Harlem-Shaking while a cypher breaks out once Questlove starts drumming, as well as the repeated G-Unit shoutouts.  

Common “The Food” ft. Kanye West

“I walked in the crib / Got two kids / & my baby mamma late / uh oh! uh oh! uh oh!….” 

Based on the friendships Chappelle had with some of the hottest musicians at the time when he was putting his show together, ending the show with live musical performances was probably the most predictable thing to happen from that. With that said, he brought that format to a very unique level. Instead of having them perform in front of the live studio audience or at Club Natalie’s a la New York Undercover, he brought it to venues where the artists felt comfortable. They would shoot you singing or rapping on the street, at the library, in front of a urinal fresh off of using one, didn’t matter. We got a chance to see Mos Def freestyle in the shotgun seat with Dave driving, Wyclef singing “If I Was President” with his guitar at the studio, Kanye, Freeway, and Mos Def rapping “Two Words” on a triple decker bus, and countless other performances. My personal favorite however is Common performing “The Food” with Kanye simply because of where Common’s career was at the time. 

After crawling out of the Knitted Clothing & Crochet Bubble (in other words, dating Erykah Badu and fully embracing her essence), & putting out Electric Circus, his career was at a crossroads. Common needed a win. Badly. His credibility as a rapper was taking some shots, & people thought he was done because of the image changes he made. I never thought to question Common’s abilities as a rapper. In fact, you go back & listen to it, Lyrically, he didn’t really go anywhere. But the knitted hats/shrit combos though….yikes. Then fellow Chicagoan Kanye West fresh off his College Dropout album was starting up his G.O.O.D. record label & needed artists to sign. He convinced Common to hop aboard & gave him a lifeline by producing the majority of the classic comeback album “Be” (save for a couple of J. Dilla beats), which holds up beautifully even 10 years later. While the album was being made, there was a heavy buzz about the collaboration but no one really heard anything from it as yet, so for a lot a people, that performance on Chappelle’s Show was really the first time we got to see “Comeback Common.” It was an unexpected premiere-of-sorts, much like when a rapper nowadays unexpectedly debuts a new song at King of Diamonds, with a stripper twerking on your left shoulder, while you decide whether or not to have the mild or spicy chicken wings. Okay, maybe not so much.  

The Food performance remains so memorable because at the time, a) it was the hottest shit we heard from Common since “Like Water For Chocolate”; b) “College Dropout” era Kanye was joined at the hip regardless of the success of his own album; & c) they were rapping from a makeshift kitchen, with Kanye popping up from behind the counter to spit the chorus. It was the hottest musical performances from that show, & once they ended the song with their fists up, you knew Common was back. Not saying he wouldn’t have gotten there without performing on Chappelle’s Show of course, but it made for a very cool, authentic moment.   

“Law & Order”


Dave presents a bizarro-world scenario where the drug dealers get the fair treatment in court while the white corporate business gets the book thrown at him. It’s another thought-provoking social experiment flip on the idea of how blacks and whites are perceived in the court of law. It’s a hilarious perspective watching “Tron the Drug Dealer” get away with so many infractions of reckless behavior here. 

Underrated moments in order: 

3) When Tron explains why he was more than 6 hours late to his meeting with his lawyers, 

2) When Bill Burr’s character explains what went down during the arrest on the witness stand, 

1) When the judge reads the plaintiff the riot act which ends with him calling him a “Filthy, big lipped beast”, and telling him to go lift weights & convert to Islam.


Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

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#FlashbackFridayVideos – D’Angelo’s Untitled (How Does It Feel)

Welcome to #FlashbackFridayVideos where once a month we will break down classic music videos, classic sports games and general signature sports and pop culture moments from back in the day. We’ll have a quick rundown and explore all the angles that come to our minds. With that said…..

I am a huge fan of D’Angelo’s music. The man plays the piano, the guitar, he produces, he composes, he writes, and most importantly for music lovers, he can sing his ass off. He struck a perfect balance between having ALL the ladies love him, while getting respect from the fellas and the streets when he released his Brown Sugar album almost twenty years ago. Five years later, he released his 2nd album, Voodoo, a timeless masterpiece that pushed his talents into “Revered Superstar” status, and was legitimately being compared to legends like Prince, Marvin Gaye, & Stevie Wonder. If that wasn’t enough, he changed his body to the point that he started making waves as a sex symbol.

Now, most women would tell you, prior to Voodoo they all though he was a great looking guy as he was. Even with the cornrows, the baggy clothes, the fact that he hid behind the piano in most of his videos and award performances, women would still willingly throw themselves at him. When he dropped his “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” video, it was a seismic explosion. ALL women collectively lost, for lack of better words, their mothafu**in’ minds. Us men completely hated on his ass, refusing to watch the video more than once, while throwing up a collective middle finger at the whole experience. Even to this day, you mention this song &/or video to a female that remembers it, & a perverted smile etches their face. On that note, I’ve decided to go a different route on this one. I’ve decided to get an all-female perspective & responses from a collection of my friends, my friend’s wives, relatives, shit….. even “The Wife” threw her 2 cents in like a dodgeball throw. It’s only right that they give you their qualified reactions instead of me. I think the song is great, and it’s a certified baby-maker, but it’s been 15+ years since that video debuted, & I still refuse to look at this video in its face. Anyways, please enjoy…..


So Ladies, how did this video “Make You Feel?”

Dee aka “The WIfe”: Listen, one night whilst sitting on the couch perusing through the tv channels, slightly tipsy from the glass of Reisling I had just enjoyed, up on my screen appears this sexilous specimen of a man! (Yes! I said sexilous). And he wants to ask me with his lips in that infamous curl and penetrating eyes, “How Does It Feel?” Have mercy Jesus, as my heart pulsated, and an incredulous heat invaded my body, with a sly smirk on my face, I was willing to show him how it felt. If only I could miraculously appear on screen with Mr. D’Angelo, but then he would have to release, “Untitled Part Deux”! Because I would have gladly showed him, and the cast and crew would have ran out of film. Please believe me!!! An oldie, but DEFINITELY…a goody.

(Me: I hope you know you sleeping in the guest room tonight. Cuz uh…….)

Cheryl: Well, well, weeeelllll!! That video definitely makes you feel good all over!! What a yummie, yummie man! You just want to reach out and touch him!! Angie Stone (that’s her name right?) was a lucky woman!! LOL!!

Sasha: Well….. Here’s my 2 cents on that vid:

I had to do a quick replay of the vid because it’s been a minute! But after the replay I think I still had the same feeling I did many, many moons ago… HOT DAYUUUM (sigh)!!!  Good Lawd he’s beautiful… in a manly sort of way. Lips, body, muscles, abs (that can qualify under body), skin and he can sing like that….. sweet Jesus.  It was perfection!  I guess the jaw-dropping audacity of someone doing a video like that, to then go along with the sensuality of the song was ground breaking, and had all the ladies dumbfounded in lust!  I found myself mesmerized like I did back then, trying to tilt the screen down to see a lil’ more.  Some guys must have liked the song, then saw the video and probably hated it, Lol! Then again maybe some didn’t but it was never a song for the guys. I have to really commend D’Angelo on putting out a tune like that with a video that is incomparable.  So many years later you ask ladies about that song, it gives us a trip down memory lane, as well as an excuse to watch it after so long. Thanks! Well worth the trip…..

Eboni: I heard the song “Untitled” before I saw the video and loved it. D’Angelo’s work brings me to a place of elevation and peace. But when I saw the video, I don’t think I exhaled nor did I close my mouth until the very last line. I later found out the video was inspired by his grandmother’s cooking. That made me respect the many layers of his artistry, and how his raw talent fused with his musicality and radical religious upbringing created a riveting sound. With his clothes on or off, D’Angelo is still one of my all-time favorites.

Tania: I think I was at Western University with my girls when I first saw the “Untitled (How Does It Feel?)” video.  We were all about that Neo Soul movement and definitely had the Brown Sugar album on repeat for a long time. But I don’t think ANYONE was ready for this video! This video…..Oh this video… I don’t think I even heard the song the first time I watched it.  I don’t think I even knew who was singing the song when I first saw this video.  Let’s just say I certainly gave that body the appreciation and admiration that it deserved!  Untitled didn’t need a title! That body spoke volumes. Did everyone else hear what he was trying to say??? Well…. that’s another issue.

After I shook out my head, wiped the drool off my mouth and watched the video again, I became embarrassed. If you allow yourself to get beyond the hot body and fall into the lyrics of the song, the body language of the close up shots, and the emotion of the video you start to feel like a creeper!  It is such an intimate moment.  Basically this sexy naked man is trying to seduce a woman (maybe all women) into having sex.  This was an open and raw proposal stripped down to just the body and the words.  It was really a unique and creative production. Although, I don’t think it was initially recognized for these artistic reasons. Instead, we all talked about how good D’Angelo looked compared to when we last saw him. He went from a smooth singing, piano playing artist to a full-fledged sex symbol.  There was speculation (lots of inappropriate speculation) as to what was behind that coy smile and lip licking, just a lot of overall focus on all things six-pack.  Ultimately, all this attention and physical infatuation is what drove D’Angelo away from the spotlight and that makes me sad. As time passed, and the novelty of the shocking “Untitled” video wore off, at least we were still left with a provocatively beautiful song.

Marissa: I was like “whoa” (in a very good way) he definitely left a lot to the imagination of anyone watching it. It was a different direction he took and I was amazed, in awe, and drooling. I’m sure like the rest of the female population.

I think that video was naturally artistic. No filters necessary. No video chicks, or material things, he just put himself out there and it “made you feel” sexy just watching him.

I don’t think anyone may have expected him to go there as we all knew and loved his other songs. So I really enjoyed what he displayed musically, and I left the rest to my imagination. **wink-wink**.

Aisha: How does it feel… it feels just about right! If I think back to when I first saw this video, I believe I was in high school. If anyone can appreciate, high school was an awkward time, especially when it came to issues of sex, sexualness (clearly this is not a word but I am using it!) and sexuality. This video was like forbidden fruit…here was this fine ass black man, shiny and smooth singing about how it felt. At that time, I had no idea how it felt, but based on this video and assuming that every grown man looked like that, I certainly wanted to know how it felt! This song, like many songs during this musical era remains etched in my mind. Personally, it was when music was about emotion and not just about twerking, gold and CoCo!

At the mature age of 35, I still get goosebumps when I hear this song. The only difference is that I know your average man does not look like that!

Tricia: It was first in the Black Men United’s video for “You Will Know” off of the Jason’s Lyric soundtrack, when I first set eyes on the cute piano player who I’d later find out went by the name D’Angelo.  Thanks to Da Mix or Xtendamix (or whatever it was called back then) I quickly purchased and fell in love with the instant classic album “Brown Sugar”.  When it came to D’Angelo, I was a huge fan.  The music was great, but those curly lips were up there on the same level as LL Cool J.   Being absolutely boy crazy, I did not even care that word on the street was that he was mad short.  So when I heard that there was another album on its way, I was thrilled.

I heard the first release, “Devil’s Pie” and thought “okay”, but then I started to hear people talk about that D’Angelo video where he is naked.  Say what?  Having to wait for the video to pop up on the TV, I eagerly waited for the Much Music VJ to introduce “Untitled”, and finally it happened.

There was that sexy specimen, singing that sexy song. The boy was cut!  How could you not look at those abs and those muscles that only the really, really cut guys had?  And then there was the way the camera shot him, just high enough to make us think if we just kept looking a little lower we could see more.  Man, was he really naked — like completely butt naked?  If everything was lookin’ all good up there, I am sure as hell, it was all good down there.

Everything stopped when that video came on TV.  No matter how many times I watched it, it got better and better.  I loved waiting for the end of the song as he would crescendo and belt out every “Ya ya!  Wooh!”  while slyly looking down at whoever she was.   I did not even care, the man was just too fine.  Woman across the world wished he was looking at all of us that way.  Want to see a room full of girls break out into a sisterhood of high fives? Just play that video.  “How does it feel” you ask??  It feels greeeeaaaaaaat!!!


Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

To subscribe to The Baseline Blog, click onto the Follow button or by entering your email address. Very special thanks to Dee aka “The Wife”, Cheryl, Sasha, Tricia, Eboni, Marissa, Tania, & Aisha for their generous contributions to this post.  

#FlashbackFridayVideos: Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks”

Ok, here’s the thing…..

……each and every last Friday of each month, we were supposed to be posting #FlashbackFridayVideos, a segment focusing on classic music videos, classic sports games and general signature pop culture moments from back in the day. While the spirit is there, I’ve changed the parameters a little. We will post at least one of these segments, once a month instead of the 4th Friday of each month. So in case the spirit hits me (or us when I tag-team the segment with someone), I don’t want to have to wait until the end of each month to post it. We’ll still have quick rundowns and explore all the angles that come to our minds on each video when it comes to sports moments and videos, cool? Cool. Phew! Now that we got that out the way, let’s walk with Jesus….

Before the spazzing-out episodes about getting deeper into the clothing industry, before the paparrazzi, before the Kardashians, the Yeezy kicks, the Adidas deal, even before Katrina, we had “College Dropout” Kanye. This version of Kanye used his first album to bring out some of the fallacies and pressures of college life, which was completely different from anything that was heard from Roc-A-Fella Records. He sounded different, looked different, dressed different, and acted different. This was a dude that would show up on the scene in a pink polo shirt, a blazer, and a backpack (usually Louis Vitton-affiliated, but still). He was as “clean cut” a rapper, as you were going to get out of the Roc. Kanye didn’t have a drug dealing background like Jay-Z, wasn’t from the Marcy projects like Memphis Bleek, wasn’t a Broad St. Bully like Beanie Sigal (who was the first rapper to use Kanye’s production), wasn’t about the grimy life like Freeway, and wasn’t hustling until the sun came up like State Property’s persona. For all intended purposes, Kanye seemed like a regular (if not cocky) guy that happened to be able to rap and produce. He had insecurities, flaws, & even if he loved to floss, he wasn’t afraid to deal with his issues in his raps. Then on the production side of things, he was building a catalogue that was helping to change the landscape of Hip Hop. Between him and Just Blaze, their production helped to extend the life of the Roc and even Hov in particular, in the early 2000’s.

Once Kanye stepped out, started rapping not with his labelmates, but with guys like Talib Kweli, Yaasin Bay (forever known as Mos Def), Common and Twista, & they co-signed his rhyming skills, he started to become official. He put out the videos to, Through the Wire” & All Falls Down”, but had a song bubbling on the low that was going to change everything in his career up to that point……

“Jesus Walks”, even at that time, was not only one of the most original songs that Roc-A-Fella ever put out, but was one of the more original records that we ever heard from an artist. We never saw someone talk about Jesus as blatantly as Kanye did in Hip Hop. It was thought-provoking, it sounded dope, it shed light on his relationship with the Lord without sounding preachy, it sounded dope, it was hella-artistic, and again, it sounded dope. A Hip Hop record speaking about religious beliefs doesn’t work unless it aces the test sonically. Let’s face it, people may love the Lord, but the masses don’t want to hear about it in 16 bars or more over a boom-bap beat. If that was the case, the Christian rap game would be huge right now. It’s probably one of the reasons why we haven’t heard a song like this since. With that said, this song & video represented the best examples of Kanye as an artist & where he was headed. In the video, he touches on many different kinds of people in different scenarios struggling through their lot in life. The white supremacist/clan member cutting down a tree to carve out a cross; the prisoners in a chain gang; the drug dealers fleeing from the feds with the stripper in the backseat; and the disenfranchised youth skipping, all share the common denominator that the Lord walks with them through thick & thin.

He represented all different facets, while showing his greatest strength, which is to never fear the opportunity to veer left when everyone is heading right. He wasn’t afraid to promote his message (he put out THREE different videos for Jesus Walks for goodness sakes!), wasn’t fearful of challenging the status quo (“So here go my single dog, radio needs this / they say you can rap about anything except for Jesus / That means guns, sex, lies, videotape / But If I talk about God my record won’t get played, huh?”), & it was expensive as hell (1st & 2nd versions costs $1.5M combined). No one in Hip Hop would have dared tried to make this song, much less his labelmates. They might have tried to sautée their Roc-A-Fella chains, & eat it with some pasta before they’d cut a record like this.

It’s a shame though, because personally, I miss “College Dropout” Yeezy. Someone who made his own soulful beats, shared his experiences of his college days & his desires of making it big (even if he was already at the time), & also shockingly holding his own with some of the heavyweight rappers that guest appeared on his album. This album dropped around the time my friends & I were still in University ourselves, so for a lot of us, this album was our personal soundtrack. Shit, one of my boys even had a customized Jesus Walks Blazer back when wearing a Blazer &/or Button-up with a fitted cap was the way to go. Like many of us that have moved on and matured from those days, Kanye has graduated from his talents back then, to be one of the biggest superstars the genre has seen to this day. So much so, that outside of Jesus Walks, he barely performs any of the tracks off the College Dropout in concerts or other live events. Considering some of the controversies that we’ve seen from him since this song dropped (his mom’s passing, fighting the ‘razzi, “Imma let you finish”, etc.), maybe this song was a prophetic affirmation that HE would continue to walk with him through all his trials & tribulations (self-inflicted or not). I mean, how else do you explain the fact that he still remains so hot to the masses, with all of his public missteps and large portions of the public hating his guts because of it? He still hasn’t cracked yet, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Maybe in some way, this song is the one from his debut album that is still relative to his life nowadays, who knows really. All we know is that a song about God sent him on his way. Considering how dark Hip Hop can sometimes get, that’s probably an underrated blessing in itself.


Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

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#FlashbackFridayVideos: Duke upsets UNLV, 1991 Final Four

Each and every last Friday of each month, we here at South Shore Ave will be releasing #FlashbackFridayVideos, a segment focusing on classic music videos, classic sports games and general signature moments from back in the day…..except this month, there will be two of them. We’ll have quick rundown and explore all the angles that comes to our minds.

In the spirit of this basketball season that we call March Madness; my friend Headley Bent & I take you back to the 1991 Final Four, where one of the biggest upsets by one of the most hated teams happens. We chop it up here….. & yes, we’re still bitter 24 years later.

Cee: Before we jump into this game, let me paint the picture first….

1990, National Championship Game. On one side, you had the Duke Blue Devils, who had a prep-boy/great white hype persona to their team, & was led by its poster boy Christian Laettner, its prized freshman Bobby Hurley, Brian Davis and Alaa Abdelnaby. On the other side, you had the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, who had a swagged out/very athletic/very urban/very black team, & was led by Larry Johnson (complete with gold tooth), Stacey Augmon, Greg Anthony, and Anderson Hunt. One team looked like they listened to Bryan Adams & wore their sweaters around their waists, while the other team looked like they could have been extras in one of Ice Cube’s videos. Even though I was still a pre-teen, it really didn’t take long for me to see how this game was being perceived. It went past being about the two schools. It was Preppies vs. Hip Hop, Suburbs vs. Inner City, Whites vs. Blacks. Pick a side. Based on their style of play, the fact that they looked like me, & who I wanted to look like (based on their swagger levels), naturally, I chose to ride with UNLV. Long story short, UNLV beat the blue out of the Blue Devils 103-73, & I’m not even sure the game was that close. It was a complete domination which was only enhanced by the fact that you got to watch Laettner sit there with his dumbfounded smug look on his face while UNLV was running a never ending layup line. It remains to be the most lopsided margin of victory for a National Championship game in NCAA history.

Flash forward a year later. UNLV returned their core players, & ran roughshod over the nation. It was almost like watching an NBA team secretly play D-I basketball. Larry Johnson (who won the John Wooden Award and Naismith College Player of the Year in ’91) demoralized everyone in his path like a dark-skinned Charles Barkley. Stacey Augmon was so athletic with his hops and length (he was called “Plastic Man” after all) he border-lined abused his opponents defensively and in the open court. Greg Anthony & Anderson Hunt, not only provided the team with steadiness, the team fed off their leadership and swagger. The team went 27-0 during the season, averaging a 27 point scoring margin per game. Read that again. It remains to this day, one of the greatest NCAA teams I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. Predictably, the March Madness tourney came along and they ran through everyone on their way to the Final Four. Waiting for them in the Semi’s? Duke, a team they just finished molly-whopping 12 months prior, where both Hunt and Anthony treated Hurley like he was Superhead. These f***in’ Devil bastards wanna do this again? Bring that shit on!!

At the time, I would have bet my Nintendo, and my Double Dribble game, that another blowout was coming. It’s still hard for me to believe what transpired after that ball was tipped.

Headley: Where do I start? Duke vs. UNLV was almost like a race war. Or at the very least, similar to an episode of Games of Thrones, where the Houses of Lannister and Stark were at battle. They just didn’t mix. Let’s be real folks, if a brother back then said they favored Duke over UNLV, you were putting your jacket over the seat next to you in the cafeteria when you saw him exit the lunch line. The Running Rebels were the first team I actually had a hard-on for that wasn’t my home team. I was naturally a Montreal Canadians and Montreal Expos fan because that represented home. I don’t even know back then if I knew where Nevada was, let alone what the acronym meant. On my measly paper route job that I had, I scavenged up enough money to buy a UNLV hat, long sleeved Tee, and my prize possession… a UNLV letterman jacket!! Putting on that letterman jacket was my official flag. I didn’t even rock Expos & Habs gear like this. They were a team you were forced to notice even if you didn’t like them. And let’s be honest, I liked their deceitfulness even though it was only basketball.

Duke was the polar opposite. They were my generation of Hoosiers. Straight-laced.  Played basketball “the right way”, textbook like… just straight proper. One of my best friends Adam (whom I’ve known since we were 6yrs old, and with whom I still communicate with weekly) was the team captain of our high school b-ball team, was voted “most likable” by my senior class year, and could have starred in Saved by The Bell. Well, he was a Duke fan, and it just made sense. So when UNLV big-boy’d them in the Championship Finals the year before, it almost felt like Reparations. And it’s not like they didn’t have brothers on the team either. I mean there was no argument that after Laettner & Hurley, their core guys were black and ran from 3 – 6….. but they also looked like they wore their polo sweaters around their shoulders. To this day, I don’t think I’ve seem a Duke player with a tatted sleeve. I remember being so surprised when Jay Williams signed to Duke. A “one-and-done” type of player going to Duke?!?!? It seemed anti-Blue Devil. Then came along Loul Deng, Kyrie Irving, Jabari Parker, and now Jahlil Okafor in recent years, who have seemed to officially joined the pack. They even had their first release for disciplinary reason this season with the sex scandal respecting Rasheed Sulaimon. Now let be clear: Sex Scandal has nothing to do with race, in case of the event that some wacko reads this & tries to relate the two. Just saying, Duke basketball is not expunged from college controversy like they had been in the past years it seems.

Duke in years past, had always symbolized the Spurs with their play and conduct: professional, somewhat boring, nothing flashy, and always productive. So when UNLV, (the “Fab Five before the Fab Five”) came with their somewhat destructive/bravado/cocky but always productive style, an exact counterpart was formed.  It made the perfect Ying vs. Yang, Day vs. Night, Fast vs. Slow parity. And I was eating it all up.

FYI: For the record, I grew up more Antonio Lang than Stacey Augmon. For those who get it, get it, those that don’t… forget it.

Cee:  Let me be the first person to raise my hand for the “I don’t get it” group. Matter of fact, I want to be the leader of this movement, similar to Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. I want to walk the streets and lead protests & rail against anyone who chooses to be an Antonio Lang fan over Stacey Augmon. Once I’m too old and weary to carry the fight on, I’ll pass the mantle along to my kids & they can lead the next generation. If you said you chose Grant Hill over Stacey Augmon even during this time, I can be okay with that. I’d more than understand. But Antonio Lang?? He was a decent/good role player, got some nice putback dunks, some blocks, but outside of that, he’s kind of forgettable. What the hell did Antonio do that would even warrant this kind of favoring over Augmon? Is he your cousin? You swear you weren’t secretly a fan of Duke?

There’s only a handful of Duke players that I was a fan of in all my years of watching basketball. I loved Elton Brand. I was also a fan of Carlos Boozer, and him somehow falling to the 2nd Round of the 2002 NBA Draft is still a travesty. Out of the one-and-done Dookies, I think Jahlil Okafor might be my favorite right now. Jay Williams made me not miss Duke games when they were on TV (even though I loathed Duke), especially from his sophomore season on. He remains one of the best Duke players I ever saw that I liked. The other one is Grant Hill. Before all the ankle injuries that came after he left Detroit, Hill was one of my favorite players in 90’s. Hill’s all-around game & smooth style was to be awed. I didn’t fully appreciate him until his senior at Duke to be honest. So around this time, my pre-teen self was hating on Grant strictly because he wore Blue and White. But looking back at that game now, even as a Freshman, you can see the talent. He may have been trying to figure it all out still, but you can already see the world-class athleticism, the attacking, slashing (and smooth) skillset on display. He took it to UNLV right away. Duke didn’t have anyone like that the year before to throw at the Rebels, and that was a big difference. Unlike 1990, they weren’t backing down this time. Especially Christian.

I’ll say this about Christian: I may have hated him as much or more than Remy in Higher Learning, but I respected his talents……now. A 6’11 big man that could take you off the dribble with each hand, can shoot out to the 3-pt line, can bang in the post, and rebound, and he exhibited all of those talents in this game. He was so tough to guard and deal with, period. If he went to Syracuse, North Carolina, UCLA, or any other school outside of Duke, he probably may not have been hated on so much.

Man…… who am I kidding? F*** Laettner.

Headley: You don’t get it. I grew up not a Lang fan but with a Lang upbringing. Meaning I had grass on my front lawn. You’d think because of that I’d be more a Duke fan, but hell naw! It was all about the UNLV swag. But to be honest, Lang had one of the more memorable dunks I can remember in that era. Do you remember Acie Earl?!?! Iowa big man that was a 1st round draft pick by the Celtics? Actually ended his NBA career (albeit short one) on the Raptors bench. Well in college he was the block party. Earl was swatting basketballs like they were mosquitoes. So when Lang was leading a break and cut for a driving lane, I naturally thought he was going to try to lay it off glass, and out of nowhere he rose like the falcon and banged all over Acie Earl!! Does a tree make noise if no one is around? Well that was me in my parent’s basement going ballistic. I can’t find any clips of that play but it had to be the single-most impressive play I ever saw him do. Now, this is about 10 lines more than I thought I’d ever write about Lang. Back to the topic at hand.

The Kentucky Wildcats are trying to do what the Running Rebels didn’t do in 1991, and that’s go undefeated for an entire season in Division-1 basketball.  I don’t think people realize how difficult a task this is and how wonderful you need to play to get this done. A staggering stat is that UNLV’s average age was 22.5 years, which would be ancient in college now… which makes it even more impressive that the young Wildcats are on the cusp of going undefeated. But like the Running Rebels were a shoe-in to repeat, it takes only 40 minutes for that to be dashed away in a one-game elimination format which makes it so entertaining. A friend told me Vegas pulled in their highest winnings in the first weekend of March Madness this year. Only the New York Giants’ improbable Super Bowl win against the undefeated New England Patriots back in 2008, was a bigger heist. As the saying goes, “the game isn’t played on paper”. Duke had other plans, and it started unfortunately with Christian Laettner.

It was easy to hate on him, and I did. Clearly I wasn’t alone going with ESPN’s latest 30 in 30 installment which was cheeky entitled, “I Hate Christian Laettner”. He was naturally gifted and never looked like his hair came out of place. Although Shaq would later become a top five all-time NBA scorer, and the no. 1 pick of the NBA draft in front of Laettner, you couldn’t argue his selection to the original Dream Team of the 1992 Summer Olympics. In my opinion, he probably had the most impressive D-1 college basketball careers of all-time. Especially in an era where top players leave early to the pros, it’s a lock that he’ll keep that title. Shocking, his 13-year NBA career resulted in only one single All-Star appearance. Did you know Laettner grew up in Buffalo, New York, and his mother is born in Toronto?!?!? This dude could have played for the Canadian teams during Summer Olympics! I guess the Dream Team does have more caveat. Lol.  To this day, he holds The Christian Laettner Basketball Academy in Muskoka, Ontario annually. Maybe I shouldn’t hate on him so much anymore. However of all the Duke players, Grant Hill by far had the most successful NBA career (and he won off the court with Canadian girl Tamia) of either team. That’s a tall tale considering his career (3rd overall in ’94) ran short and seeing the other high profile players in the game like Johnson (1st overall in ’91), Laettner (3rd, ’92), Hurley (7th, ’93), Augmon (9th, ’91) and Anthony (12th, ’91). That’s incredible! Laettner and Hurley were the first pair of consensus All Americans to play on the same team since Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins. Over half of the starting lineups of either side would end up being lottery picks. What a preview. And it was the least acclaimed NBA Analyst Greg Anthony who was the key to UNLV losing this match. When he fouled out with four minutes left, the curtains were closing on UNLV.

Cee: It’s funny you brought up the Giants shocking the Patriots, because that game, as well as this one, was one of the few times in life when I thought that the favorites were still going to win the game, no matter how close it looked. It shocked me back then just how close that game was, even in the second half. Johnson and Augmon weren’t having their greatest games at that point, but Anthony was still controlling things in the 2nd half (even dropping an And-1 on Hurley & stared him down while Hurley was still on his ass at the 49:30 min mark). Even at that point, you just knew UNLV will still take it. However, here’s the under-rated secret about that Rebel team: they weren’t that deep. Losing someone like Anthony at that point of the game was huge. Hunt could take over the PG duties if he had to, but it took away from his abilities to be unleashed as a scorer, & now he had the added responsibility of running the offense. If it happened at any point of time in the season, you could deal with it. But with the pressure of this game building, this damn Duke team going shot for shot with them, & trying to be the first team to repeat as champs since the UCLA teams of the 70s, you want all your weapons at your disposal at that moment.

Having that full arsenal is what got you there in the first place. Maybe you can win a close game with one of your core players still sitting on the bench, but with everything on the line, you don’t really want to find out that answer if you had to. With less than a minute to go, game tied at 77-77, and Duke milking it down on the last possession, was the official moment when I got that “pit in the bottom of my stomach” feeling. Once Laettner got fouled & was heading to the line, that feeling became way, way worse. Watching that “I’m better than you, & I’m going to shatter your dreams everybody” look on his face (you know, the same look he has in those crappy AT&T commercials he’s in with Shaq, Clyde Drexler and Dr. J, that won’t stop airing these days) while he walked to the line, was disheartening because above all else…… you knew he was making both.

Headley: I have to digress a bit and mention that guys like Johnson and Hurley’s careers were derailed by injuries too. Who knows what their professional careers would have looked like. Hurley was involved in a major car accident his rookie season, and never fully recovered. And as great an athlete Grandmama was, he’s known as much or more for his improbable four point play against the Indiana Pacers, in the 1999 Eastern Conference Finals, than a bruising frontcourt player that would yoke all over your chin. And that’s a shame. A two-time all-star, by the time he left the Charlotte Hornets, was a shell of his old self because of deliberating back problems. Who knows what Johnson and Alonzo Mourning could have been if they stayed together. That frontcourt should have been as great as any. I just had to mention those two key factors, seeing it wasn’t only Hill that lost years to injury at the next level.

As for the game, to say Augmon wasn’t having his best game is an understatement. He was Mr. Butterfingers. I don’t know how many turnovers he committed, but he mangled so many nice passes and assists that I swear I was watching a skinnier version of Kendrick Perkins’ sorry ass in that game.

It was hard to believe the game was even close with how Johnson was gathering up rebounds like he was picking grapes. They must have ruled the 2nd chance points in the first half. It was like a prize fighter giving it all they got in the early rounds. Duke played it like a cagey boxer, just picking its moments and using the ring. It was a brilliant but gutsy move with Duke not covering center George Eckles early on. He was an All-American honorable mention and they treated him like Ben Wallace on offence. Duke basically played five-on-four on defense daring Eckles to shoot, but it more than worked out for them.

To me, Duke did enough trickery to keep the game close and when it came to crunch time, UNLV weren’t use to playing these crucial kinds of minutes in a close game. Not only did they have the pressure to repeat, but also no team had gone undefeated since the ’76 Indiana Hoosiers. More than anything else, the poise of Duke took over.  What’s even crazier is that their average age was 19.5yrs?!?! But with the steadiness of Anthony out of the game to monitor the tempo for UNLV, it became too much. It hurt my heart and crushed my spirit that the Blue Devils were the ones that deserved to win this game.

Cee: I think more than anything, the last possession of UNLV spoke volumes about how much they missed Anthony. They couldn’t even get a good shot off, & looked mired in confusion. After the whole season of success, it was weird watching how the story ended for UNLV. As the saying goes, everything ends badly, otherwise it would never end….and watching Duke beat Kansas two days later in a championship game that no one remembers (outside of Hill’s alley-oop) was as bad as it got. It set off a mini-dynasty that ended off with Duke repeating as champions in ’92, by beating the Fab Five (my other favorite college team). It capped off a four year run for Duke where they played in four straight final fours & anointed Laettner as one of the greatest college players of all time. It still annoys me to this day………. yeah….I’m done here…..

*** pushed out chair from laptop and storms off. ***


Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

To subscribe to The Baseline Blog, click onto the Follow button or by entering your email address. Very special thanks to Headley Bent for his contributions to this posting.


#FlashbackFridayVideos: Kardinal Offishall’s “Bakardi Slang”

Each and every last Friday of each month, we here at South Shore Ave will be releasing  #FlashbackFridayVideos, a segment focusing on music videos from back in the day, to something semi-recent (like a few months ago), & every once in a while, we might review a classic game or sports moment. We’ll have quick overall rundown on what was hot about them, how it helped moved its culture along, the ridiculousness of the videos, and everything else in between.

In our first monthly installment of #FlashbackFridayVideos, Shawn Adonis and I, will take you back to a pre-Drake Toronto where one of the signature artists from the T.Dot educated us on the city’s slang.

Cee: Before Drake & the OVO Team, there was The Circle led by Kardinal Offishall, Choclair, and Saukrates. These guys (along with help from The Rascalz) changed hip hop in Canada, taking it to higher level of respectability, and let’s face it, put out some good quality music (Northern Touch anyone?). When Kardinal dropped “Bakardi Slang“, at the time, it was one of the biggest Canadian hip hop tracks to hit the market & actually gain notoriety outside of this country. This song became Toronto’s version of Big L’s “Ebonics“, giving everyone outside of the Toronto a peek into the West Indian cultural pot that’s been simmering in this city for decades.

For me, as a Canadian who lived & breathed hip hop, I kinda wish this song came out a few years before, when I just moved to Toronto. Believe me when I tell you Shawn, when I moved here, I couldn’t really understand what anyone was saying. They may as well have been speaking Mandarin. You know when someone’s speaking to you in a different language & all you do is smile and nod? That was me the first two years here. In fact, I used to come home from school & with my cousin Brian, we used to try to break down what we learned in T-Dot ebonics like a periodics table. The only thing we were missing was the lab coats & the goggles around our necks. If this song dropped 3-4 years beforehand, I could have at least printed it out & kept the shit in my pocket anytime someone started speaking to me. I could have referred to it like a thesarus. How didn’t I get jacked for my lunch money more often?

Shawn: I hear you Cal, that T Dot slang did leave me scratching my head on a few occasions. When you’d be talking to one of the “gyal dem”, and you’d feel like a total square for not being able to participate in the slang-extravaganza.  The most I could offer to the conversation was a strategical placed “Guy” every few sentences (which Kardinal conveniently left out of the song. Go figure…), as I’d think, “She must think I’m cool, she’s clearly a girl and I’m calling her ‘Guy’. My act of deception is working perfectly”.

You know, thinking about it now, it’s a shame that Kardi didn’t come out with this song in today’s day and age.  He could have packaged the song with a “Bakardi Slang Translator App”, and gotten the honorable mayor Rob Ford to endorse it at the height of his infamous late night drunken patois rants.  You couldn’t dream of better promotion than that, it would be flying out the App Store. Think of how much easier this would make the lives of old white sugar daddies dying to spend their money to get a lil’ taste of chocolate,  and how ground breaking this would be for young gold digging sisters, no?

Cee: That translator app would be awesome. You think the commercial for the app would look as professional as the Game of War App game with Kate Upton in it, or would the quality be more cheesy like the Shamwow guy?

Speaking of “Guy”*, here’s another word he left out: Arms. This was the most confusing word I ever heard by far. It’s basically the equivalent of saying, “That’s messed up”. However, no one ever said that. They’d always say, “That’s arms!” or “That’s arms house!” (which always sounded like “Arms-Zus”) or simply “Arms!!”. During that period when I’d basically black out & start depending on my smile & nod defense mechanisms, in my head, I would have a mental interrogation about what that word meant. I’d be like, “Arms? Arms?? That’s arms??? Who’s arms?????……. ***thinking*** ….. My arms???? The fu**?!?!” If someone took a good look at me at that moment, you could probably see the faint smoke coming out of my ears trying to hold it all together. I even had to bring in my brother-in-law (who’s Jamaican) in on the case & the most he came up with was that it’s supposed to mean “House of Arms (Guns & ammo)”, but was still confused as to why it was used this way. That word still gives me a twitch to this day.

We forget now, but that song back then was huge in Toronto, and Canada overall. I remember it being on heavy rotation, you literally heard it everywhere. The video back then represented Toronto properly, showing off the requisite local stars, the Circle crew (ie. Saukrates), took you through some of the popular areas and streets, Kardi basically checked off a lot of boxes here. In the era where rappers were still proud to sound different from one another, he made a regional song that helped The North get even more awareness to the masses, similar to what the south was doing (especially in New Orleans. See No Limit & Cash Money records). Choclair was the first from The Circle to cross over to the Stateside, now Kardi was next in line. You were rooting for them to make it & put Canada on the map in hip hop just like Vince Carter did for basketball. The buzz from this song eventually made it across the border, & next thing you know 106 & Park was going to launch the video. This was the official “N**** We Made it!!” moment……

…….until AJ & Free stomped out the buzz by calling Kardinal “The Canadian Puffy” after they played the video. It was like hearing fingernails being dragged across a blackboard, but if the fingernails were connected to a microphone & was being scratched over a loud speaker. Listen, Puffy is a GREAT businessman. You may want to be compared to Puffy in a lot of ways. As an executive, an owner, a spokesperson, a marketer, a tastemaker, a baller…..but never a rapper. Not especially if you’re a legitimate one. It’s not like we got our hip hop knowledge from AJ & Free anyway, they weren’t exactly The Source or XXL. Nevertheless, they still had a huge platform, & to be more or less categorized with a guy who would tell you firsthand he’s not a rapper….. I mean, I can’t say for certain if it hurt his record sales in the States, but I’m sure it didn’t help. The only reason why there wasn’t more flack about this (at least from me) was…..well, Free wasn’t exactly hard on the eyes, and I enjoyed watching her, um, host the show (yeah, that’s it) on a daily basis. So for that they got a pass as a whole. But it still wasn’t the greatest of looks in Kardi’s sake.

Shawn: You know, they say that the true measure of a man is his ability to admit when he has made a mistake (According to an inspirational quote I read on a Facebook page, where the profile pic was a chick wearing just enough clothing so that her page doesn’t get shut down….. so basically a very reliable source).  With that said, Cal my good man, it pains me to admit that I may have not been giving the T-Dot slang innovators the full credit they deserve. I’ve said for years that young black Torontonians simply sprinkled bits and pieces of Jamaican patois into their conversations, and tried to pass off as their own lingo, like nobody would notice (which I think is still true 90% of the time).  But this whole use of the word “arms” has me completely flabbergasted.  You and your brother-in-law already spent enough time drinking coffee and chain smoking while you exchange theories, so I’m not gonna spend any more energy on it, that mystery is unsolvable.

After all this time has passed, and the members of the Circle have fallen from the limelight (Did I say fallen? I meant skydived, hit the ground, then put on a wet suit & oxygen mask to continue to descend to the bottom of the sea. Basically as far from the limelight as humanly possible), it’s easy to forget what kind of impact these guys, especially Kardi, had on Canadian hip hop fans as a whole.  Let’s be honest Cee, Canadian rap fans are generally US hip hop dick riders.  A club could be packed with dancing party goers until the DJ threw on some Canadian hip hop, and the crowd would suddenly look like they were waiting in line at the license bureau.  But with Kardi, it was different.  Dudes would drive down the block with the window rolled down and bump tunes from him and The Circle with pride.  I even copped Kardi’s first album (which was the first & last Canadian hip hop album I’ve ever bought. Sorry Drake, I’m a fan but thanks to the internet I can be one for free).  But that Kardi album was legit, that shit was certifiably & undeniably dope.  Call me a product of my “self hip hop hating” environment, but nothing would have made me happier than to say that slang translating rapper was trash…. but the dude was really talented, and forced you to enjoy the music for what it was.  Like you mentioned Cal, the fact that the Americans embraced it actually made us feel like we all made it. Of course to show our gratitude, we turned our backs on him as soon as he became lukewarm, in true Canadian fashion.

Cee: Man….. tell us how you really feel. I feel like I should send you a Hugagram, but upgrade it to the premium package where people group hug you for like 15-20 minutes straight while humming gospel hymns and everyone in the room fights back tears. Like Luscious said to his son in Empire this week (I’m paraphrasing here), it’s your music that’ll live on forever above all else….. & this song/video was evidence of the path that Kardi was taking towards making his mark on Canadian Hip Hop history. The song was innovative, and it shed light on the talent that Toronto (& this country for that matter) has. Bacardi Slang made an impact, otherwise, we wouldn’t be having this #FlashbackFriday moment…..still.

*“Guy” Translation: It’s like using “Yo” at the beginning of the sentence in slang speak. For example, “Guy, you won’t believe what happened to Mikey today”. Or you can use it as a statement if or when someone says something that you agree with. For example: “Did you see that game last night? Yo that shit was crazy!” Then all you have to say is, “GUUUY!” & everything’s understood. I’ve also added the lyrical meanings of this song off of Rap Genius here, so you should be at least 80% more educated on Toronto slang. I hope.


Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

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