Drake Releases New Album “More Life”

Rapper Drake released his latest album entitled “More Life” on March 18, 2017 internationally through many music sharing websites.

The album was released by OVO Sound, Cash Money Records, and Young Money Entertainment. Drake described the album as a playlist.

There are a total of 22 songs on the album with a few different rappers featured on some songs. According to Spotify, “More Life” gained a total of 61.3 million streams in a single day.

Responses ranged from bad to good when several students were asked about the album and if it was over-hyped.

“I think the album did live up to the hype. The album overall was amazing. Most of the 22 songs were all fire. I am talking straight fire, too. It’s hard to put one song over another,” senior Jalen Milton said.

“‘Do Not Disturb’, ‘Passion Fruit’ and ‘4422’ were all the best songs. They are the best because he implements his more emotional side which gets you in your feelings while also adding some rap lyrics. It is a good balance,” Milton added.

“Drake’s album might’ve been his best album he’s put out so far. His lyrical greatness is a gift, and his album sounded more like a playlist because of the different genres he covered throughout,” junior Jaylin Andrews said.

“‘Since Way Back’ and ‘Teenage Fever’ were the songs I listened to for my emotional side because the songs have a sound that puts me in my feelings. ‘Gyalchester’, ‘Free Smoke’, ‘Can’t Have Everything’, and ‘Do Not Disturb’ are his rap songs which I enjoyed but not as much as the two emotional songs,” Andrews confessed.

“Drake’s recent album is possibly his greatest album he’s made. Each of his songs on the album flow into each other. People can listen to this full album the whole way through,” senior Logan McWilliams said.

Some people did not like the album and others were indifferent.

“I think “More Life” was okay. I just think the album got too hyped up and didn’t live up to its standards. I did like a couple songs on his album, but I personally think that he’s done better. I just didn’t like the beats and moods of the songs on this album,” senior Jordan Douglas said.

“More Life” was a disappointment because he tried to produce too many songs at one time. There are about four good songs on his album,” sophomore Noah Queen said, who was not in favor of the album.

Green Day Takes the Stage at the Verizon Center

Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Green Day performed at the Verizon Center on March 13th, 2017, and I was lucky enough to see them.

Their performance started off with the song “Know Your Enemy” which is off of their 2009 album “21st Century Breakdown.” This song was a great opener, getting the crowd and the band pumped up.

The band then moved forward with two songs off of their new album, “Revolution Radio” (album), “Bang Bang”, and “Revolution Radio” (song). These two songs work perfectly together to introduce the audience to the new material while simultaneously pumping up the crowd even more.

The band then proceeded to play some hits off of their 2004 album “American Idiot.” These songs were “Holiday,” “Letterbomb,” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”

“Boulevard of Broken Dreams” really stood out to me among the set not only because it is one of my favorites by the band, but also because they played the first verse and chorus acoustically letting the audience sing.

The band then spent most of the rest of the show playing hits from the 90s such as: “Longview,” “When I Come Around,” “Basket Case,” and “She” with a couple of newer tracks riddled throughout.

Another standout moment of the concert was when the band brought up a 16-year-old girl to play guitar with the band to a cover of Operation Ivy’s song, “Knowledge.” After she finished the song, the band let her keep the guitar.

The band finished off the main set with two songs from their new album called “Still Breathing” and “Forever Now.”

“Still Breathing” is my personal favorite song from “Revolution Radio” and had the entire audience shouting along with Billie Joe Armstrong as he sang.

“Forever Now” is a six-minute long track that wasn’t my favorite when listening to the album; however, listening to it live was a completely different experience. Green Day pulled off the transitions into the different movements perfectly and really made me appreciate the epic song.

The band then came on for an encore and played “American Idiot” and fan favorite “Jesus of Suburbia.” “American Idiot” was awesome, but “Jesus of Suburbia” was unreal.

“Jesus of Suburbia” is a nine-minute long song with five different movements that the band transitions through perfectly. The only way I can do this song justice is to tell you to find a live performance on YouTube and you will get half of the experience I had seeing it live.

Armstrong then came out with an acoustic guitar and played the songs “Ordinary World” off of Revolution Radio and “Good Riddance (time of your life)” off of 1997’s “Nimrod.”

“Good Riddance” happens to be my favorite song and is always the last song at a Green Day concert. The experience I had watching my favorite band play my favorite song will probably not be matched ever again.

The concert was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and I recommend that if you are into rock music, it is a must to go see this band perform because it is something special.

“Get Out” Stuns Theaters in First Two Weeks

“Get Out,” a movie about a girl bringing her boyfriend to meet her parents for a weekend that “he will never forget,” hit movie theaters across the United States on February 24th and has been the talk of the country since.

This movie was Jordan Peele’s directorial debut and first huge movie success. Jordan Peele is a comedian who is most known for his “Key & Peele” skits with his partner Keegan-Michael Key. Many people were shocked and confused that he was directing a movie in a genre outside of his comedic background.

The first weekend that this movie came out was when it really accumulated all of its recognition.

“Jordan Peele, age 38, ‘Shocks the World’; his directorial debut movie ‘Get Out’ earns an incredible $30.5 million dollars, in just three days! On top of that, it only cost $4.5 million dollars to make. Movie critics and analysts were shocked by a novice black director with relatively unknown lead characters is the current number one movie at the box office,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“The same night ‘Moonlight’ won Best Picture, ‘Get Out’ ended its fruitful theatrical debut with $33.4 million in North American grosses, surpassing forecasts that estimated a $28 million opening. Jordan Peele’s horror film is expected to net another $26 million this go around, remarkable for a genre known for steep second-weekend revenue declines,” according to Matthew Jacobs, a lead writer for the Huffington Post.

On top of the fact that Peele’s movie made so much of a profit on its first weekend, it also had no well-recognized actors. The main characters named Chris and Rose are played by Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams. These two actors were only in supporting actor roles, if that, in the previous movies they had appeared in.

“My favorite character is Rodney because he doesn’t give in. He is not as dumb as Chris. Rodney does not give in to her [Rose] advances,” said Will Alokones, a Boys’ Latin freshman who saw the movie.

In the movie, Rodney is played by actor Lil Rel Howery who, besides the “Carmichael Show”, had never really played a significant role in anything else. The internet has been raving about Rodney as a character and this being a breakout role for Howery.

The movie even got a 99% on “Rotten Tomatoes,” which is one of the most trusted movie critic websites on the Internet. That means “Get Out” was liked by more movie critics than movies like “Up,” “King Kong,” “Toy Story,” “La la Land,” “ET,” and some other award-winning  films.

“Blending race-savvy satire with horror to especially potent effect, this bombshell social critique from first-time director Jordan Peele proves positively fearless,” wrote Peter Debruge, the Chief International Film Critic for Variety.com.

Movie critics are normally always sticklers. The movie critiqued normally has to be the creme de la crop. This is another sign that this movie is a must see.

“I would rate the movie about a 10; one of the best movies I have ever seen in my life. There was a lot of comedy even though it was a horror movie. On top of that, the audience I saw it with was funny too because they would yell and scream and stuff,” said Alokones.

Is “Rouge One: a Star Wars Story” any good?

“Rogue One: a Star Wars Story” is the “Star Wars” anthology film meant to fill in the gaps between Episode III, the final film of the prequel trilogy, and Episode IV, the first film of the original trilogy, and it has become a box office sensation further confirming that Disney knows what they are doing with the property.

“The Rebel Alliance makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow,” summarizes IMDB before the movie was released. This, coupled with the extensive reshoots that “Rouge One” had over the summer, made many fans worry about the quality of the film. This did not disturb me though because it added an extra mystery to the film that made me want to see it even more.

The movie starts off a little slow deciding to introduce you to all of the characters instead of throwing you right into the action. This may have been my only issue with the film because after it picks up, this is quite an amazing movie.

One of the great things about “Rouge One” are the characters. The story is centered around Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones. Jyn is likable, tough, and kicks some major butt while she is on her mission.

The standout character has to be K-2SO, who is played by Alan Tudyk. K-2 is a reprogrammed Imperial Droid that is the main comedic relief of the movie. Tudyk not only pulls off the sass that the droid possesses but also makes him the character you end up caring about the most.

The new characters aren’t the only ones who stand out because characters you know and love from the original trilogy also make their return. The stand out among the returning characters is of course Darth Vader who does not disappoint. In fact, Darth Vader is the center point of not only the best scene in the movie, but also one of the best scenes in the franchise.

While some of the pacing in the beginning is really slow, the third act of the movie makes up for it in spades with an ending that will make any fan cry. The action in this act of the movie is very similar to the opening of “Saving Private Ryan” where the U.S. troops are storming Normandy beach and getting gunned down one by one, which is definitely a compliment.  

Certain scenes involving the Death Star personally left my mouth wide open with the power and raw evil of the Empire. I couldn’t believe what the Empire had done, and I had to sit there for a minute to comprehend what had happened.

Another great thing “Rouge One” does is it brings back shots from “A New Hope” and throws them in to make it feel like it happened right before it. The movie stylistically also feels like “A New Hope,” obviously nicer but still like it.

“Rouge One” also has a darker tone than the other movies being only the third movie in the franchise to earn a PG-13 rating. This works to the movie’s benefit as the creators are allowed to show how much was sacrificed to get to when “A New Hope” starts.

The goal of “Rouge One” (besides making money) was to show that Disney knows what they are doing with the anthology films that they are creating and to get everyone on board for more of them to come. Not only is the film a critical success with an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but a commercial success as well, making $914,373,354 worldwide as of January 9th, according to Box Office Mojo.

I am now 100% on board with the anthology movies and anything else Disney wants to do, so long as Jar-Jar is not involved.

“Rouge One” hits all the right notes. While the pacing might be a little bad sometimes, the characters, action, and many other things lead “Rouge One: a Star Wars Story” to be an overwhelming success. I give it a 9/10 and say it is a must watch for any fan of “Star Wars,” or a fan of action in general.

Featured image from:https://twitter.com/istinyepark/status/809364795019431936

What’s Wrong With Pro Athletes?

Professional athletes are some of the most athletically gifted people on the planet. They literally get paid millions of dollars to be really good at one thing in their respective sport.

They don’t have to worry about taxes or bills as they probably have financial advisors, and they don’t have to do any analysis or manage accounts. I’m not saying they don’t work hard, but they probably work their bodies more than their minds. 

Whenever there is a pro player getting in trouble with the law over something totally avoidable, it bothers me. I’m sorry, but if you’re getting paid over $30 million a year to catch a football, why are you even giving yourself the chance to get in trouble?

Josh Gordon, considered one of the best wide receivers in the league three years ago, hasn’t been able to play because of his continued failed drug tests for the use of marijuana. This last failed drug test may negate him from ever playing in the league again. 

Ray Rice, one of the league’s best running backs, made an almost career-ending mistake with the whole elevator incident. 

Johnny Manziel has had a plethora of off the field issues that have left him without an agent, sponsors, and a team. A great talent has gone to waste because of his distractions from partying, and now most recently, a domestic violence issue. 

Ravens’ cornerback Trey Walker and Bengals’ wide receiver Chris Henry both unfortunately died because of decisions they made off the field. Walker crashed on a motorbike without a helmet, and Henry fell out of the back of a pickup truck.  

Adrian Peterson beat his son with a switch, leading to a league suspension and a loss of reputation among the league. 

Ricky Williams hasn’t played well in the NFL for almost a decade. Once considered the best talent in the league, Williams chose marijuana over the celebrity life. In a 30 for 30, Williams claimed that his drug choices made him feel better and playing in the NFL wasn’t as important to him.

There is a 2% chance of a college athlete making it to the pros according to Pro Sport Odds. According to USA Today, over eight NFL players have been arrested in 2016, mostly for drug-related charges and abuse charges; eight players that will likely be disciplined by the team and the league due to their actions. All their hard work and overcoming 2% chances to make it may be coming to an end because of one mistake.

I’m not saying the life of a pro athlete is easy, but I think they should be smart enough to not do a small list of things that can potentially ruin their careers. It baffles me how someone can work so hard at something and throw it all away for one night of partying and one decision.

Is the UK Leaving the European Union?

The United Kingdom is going to be voting on a referendum on whether or not to leave the European Union on June 23rd. This is a hot topic in global news because it is widely debated among the UK’s citizens.

The referendum ballot will look like this:

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This is the extent of the vote: yes or no. The country is pretty much divided 50/50 on this issue according to recent polling conducted by the Telegraph, a British news company. It is of the UK’s best interest to really think about their choice because either way it has some large ramifications.

If the UK decides to stay in the European Union it could render them more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. This is because of the EU’s open border policy. This policy basically states that members of the EU must allow citizens of the other members to pass through with minimal to no restriction.

This idea that everyone can come and go as they please leaves the EU  more susceptible to homegrown terrorists or other followers to wage an attack against them. This policy is simply irresponsible and doltish. People against the referendum do not seem to be able to support this in all of the recent articles by Time.com, The Telegraph, and the BBC.

Supporters of this referendum say that the vote is about letting the UK be able to make its own decisions. In a recent article written by the BBC, Peter Bone, founder of Grassroots Out (an organization dedicated to getting the UK out of the EU), said: “We look forward to working closely and productively with all those who want to see the UK set free to determine its own destiny.”

Bone’s point is in correlation with the pro-referendum constituency.  Besides the obvious security benefits, the ability to be independent is of great value to Brittan.

The UK would be free to set its own travel restrictions and trade agreements with each individual member of the EU. Also, since Brittian does not use the Euro, it would not even need to rely on the European Central Bank for currency. The UK could be completely free in no time.

Caffeine Consumption Proves Vital Around Campus

Coffee has become so synonymous with waking up that it is very hard for certain people to go without it in the early hours of the day. Even our own campus has quite a unique trend on caffeine consumption in the mornings.

The trend seems to be that most students actually do not even drink a single cup of coffee throughout the day based on a recent Facebook poll. Only 18 students, out of the 50 that responded, noted drinking coffee at least once a day. Senior and coffee admirer Jeremy Greenberg noted: “I only ever get coffee from Dunkin Donuts, and I can see the prices affecting some people.”

According to USnews, the average American spends $2.70 on a cup of coffee in the morning. And while this rejuvenating ritual may not seem to cost so much, it certainly adds up given how many times it is consumed and where it can be purchased.

Some students note that coffee is definitely a staple in morning habits as they drink roughly three cups a day. Such an interesting case is junior Trey’lonte Gaither, who noted that his excessive amount of caffeine is “crucial to his academic success.” It certainly seems to be helping him as his grades have gone up significantly.

On the faculty side of the spectrum, coffee seems to run more rampant as a higher percentage of faculty drink it in the morning compared to students. This is displayed by their constant visits to Chambers for refills or their loud slurping from coffee cups during class.

Mr. Whitehair noted that he switches from decaffeinated coffee to caffeinated and that its use is “absolutely necessary in a long, tiring day.” He’s even got his own coffee maker in his room to avoid long voyages down to Chambers.

Likewise, Mr. Sergeant noted with a laugh that “[coffee] is absolutely necessary.” He can be seen roaming the hallways with his travel mug of joe. Often times he must leave class to refill on his coveted coffee.

Overall, most coffee drinkers prefer a warm brew year round, which may seem shocking to some given the humid weather in Baltimore for most of the year. Another trend seems to be that students prefer to buy their coffee in the morning at a drive-thru, such as Dunkin Donuts. Teachers seem to prefer making their own coffee and simply refilling in Chambers.

It seems that the older majority is a little less frugal in their spending, which doesn’t seem so surprising. Whichever way the students and faculty obtain their coffee in the morning, it is nonetheless  a necessity for most of the community.