Hip-Hop Moves As Strong Force for Michael Brown


Rappers are making their voices heard in song and on the ground in Ferguson, Mo., in the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting death, channeling hip-hop’s earlier roots when the genre worked as a voice for the oppressed and spoke out against injustice.

“It’s really important to see hip-hop’s role of being some grown-ups and doing some really stand-up, grown-up stuff,” Public Enemy‘s Chuck D, one of rap’s most powerful voices, said in a recent interview. “These people have actually stood up … and that has to be saluted.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer said he’s impressed with rappers such as J. Cole, who released a heartaching, tearful song called “Be Free” inspired by Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old who was shot to death by a Ferguson officer on Aug. 9.

Others in rap also have lifted their voices: Talib Kweli, like J. Cole, marched in Ferguson and spoke out about injustice; David Banner appeared on CNN; Nelly started a scholarship for teens in honor of Brown; and Lauryn Hill dedicated her song “Black Rage” — which uses some of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things” — to the Ferguson community.

“When the dogs bite, when the beatings, when I’m feeling sad I simply remember all these kinds of things and then I don’t feel so bad,” she sings.

The largest hip-hop gesture for Brown, who was an aspiring rapper, came Wednesday when the Game released the song “Don’t Shoot,” in which he’s joined by all-stars like Diddy, Rick Ross and 2 Chainz, among others. Sales from the song will benefit the Mike Brown Memorial Fund on GoFundMe, which has raised nearly $300,000 in two weeks.

“I wanted to do my part in bringing awareness to it, so that at the end of the day that I can sleep well knowing that I used my voice correctly,” the Game said in an interview Thursday.

Other black entertainers have spoken out including Kerry Washington, Jesse Williams and Spike Lee, who attended Brown’s funeral on Monday. At a concert last week where he performed Marvin Gaye‘s seminal “What’s Going On?” at the Hollywood Bowl, John Legend wore a shirt that said “don’t shoot.”

While a number of members of the rap community have come out in support of Ferguson — including Russell Simmons, Killer Mike, Young Jeezy and Wiz Khalifa — others have wondered if hip-hop’s most prolific and popular stars will chime in, from Jay Z to Pharrell to Kanye West to Lil Wayne.

“I don’t believe everyone has a role for this, and I also don’t believe quantity takes over as quality. I think we have a quality combination in there,” Chuck D said.

Though hip-hop has been criticized for glorifying sex and violence, its musicians have a history of standing up against perceived injustice, especially in the genre’s early years, with songs like “Fight the Power” and “The Message.” A more recent example came after Trayvon Martin’s death in 2012.

Last week, T.I. released the song “New National Anthem,” which he wrote after the July 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of 17-year-old Martin. He says he hopes to start a dialogue between the community, city leaders and police.

“This is not to divide race, color, generation, region. This is not to incite or encourage people to go against to the police. This is to bring about change by way of creating awareness of the current status in America in these inner city areas for our young black men and young black people,” the rapper said in a recent interview.

T.I. said songs like his and J. Cole’s can serve as a voice for those who don’t have a platform like famous rappers.

“We are the voice for those without a voice,” he said. “Our messages reach the ears of people that most common men in America can’t reach, and I think that has to be used to the advantage and the greater good of the masses.”



Made in America Concert Set to Rock Downtown L.A.


More than 40,000 people are expected to attend the multi-stage show.

Downtown Los Angeles is ready for its inaugural outdoor music festival.

The Budweiser Made in America concert starts at 2 p.m. Saturday in Grand Park. Rap mogul Jay Z launched the two-day festival in Philadelphia in 2012 and announced its West Coast expansion this spring.

More than 40,000 people are expected to attend the multi-stage show near Los Angeles City Hall, marking the first time Grand Park is being used for a large, ticketed event. Police are expected in force and several streets in the area are closed to accommodate the concert.

Dozens of acts are set to perform, including Kanye West, who will headline in Philadelphia on Saturday and Los Angeles on Sunday. Other scheduled performers include Cypress Hill, Iggy Azalea, Weezer, Kendrick Lamar, John Mayer and Imagine Dragons.



Top Ten Excuses For Binge Gaming


Congratulations, you’ve survived the dreaded summer drought of video game releases! Your reward is a deluge of more games than you’ll possibly have time to play. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of ingenious strategies to fool your loved ones into letting you shirk all your responsibilities and game for hours on end.

Excuse #1: The Dutiful Parent
Being a parent comes with an endless amount of responsibilities, but one of those responsibilities provides a clever excuse for playing games. If your spouse asks you why you’re sitting around playing video games all day long, just say you’re testing the game out to see if it’s age-appropriate for your son or daughter. After all, the ESRB ratings are really only a guideline; you need to practice your own parental discretion before you hand over a game to your kid. If the game you want to play is clearly inappropriate – say, giving Assassin’s Creed Unity to a six-year-old – just stop stabbing people in the neck and do boring stuff until your spouse leaves the room. If your spouse asks why it’s taken 18 straight hours of gameplay to determine whether the game you’re playing is appropriate, just say that it’s important to be thorough – for the sake of the children, of course. See, you’re not a selfish jerk who’s neglecting your family; you’re a responsible parent looking out for the well-being of your beloved offspring.

Excuse #2: The Insomnia Defense
This time of year, there aren’t enough hours in the day to play all the games you want to, especially with jobs, chores, and other boring life stuff getting in the way. However, there might just be enough hours in the night – if you can get away with an after-hours gaming marathon. One of the classic mistakes that gamers make when dealing with an impatient loved one is the “five more minutes” excuse. Let’s be honest: No matter what game you’re playing, the task you’re in the middle of is going to take more than five minutes. Your significant other doesn’t have to be a gamer to know that, and is only going to get annoyed when you parrot the plea 10 times in a row. Instead, proactively end your evening session early and suggest you go to bed. Toss and turn for 20 minutes, then promptly tell your partner that you can’t sleep and you’re going to go into the other room for a bit so that you don’t disturb their sleep. Voila! You can now play as long as you want, provided you’re quiet enough not to wake them.

Alternatively, you can try the Escape from Alcatraz approach and create a dummy head of your likeness out of paper mache; just slip that puppy on your pillow while your significant other is snoozing, and you should be scot-free – just make sure you get back to switch it out before sunrise.

Excuse #3: “The Team Needs Me!”
Ignoring your family to play a game by yourself is an inherently selfish act that won’t gain you much favor or sympathy with your loved ones. Instead, turn your gaming session into a selfless deed by playing online multiplayer games. Explain to your annoyed family members that you don’t actually want to play, but you’d be letting down your lifelong friends if you don’t participate. In reality, the people you’re playing with are probably anonymous, prepubescent goons that would make you shudder if you met them in real life, but you can keep that little detail to yourself. If helping out your squadmates still isn’t a compelling reason for your family, tell them that your boss in on your team, and that playing could lead to future promotion opportunities.

Excuse #4: “You Gotta See This!”
Another way to deal with impatient loved ones is to bring them into the fold by promising the game you’re playing contains something they’ll absolutely love. Tell them there’s something they won’t – nay, can’t – miss, and then string them along with more excuses that fit their personality, like “It’s absolutely hilarious,” or “It’s so touching.” Use additional stalling phrases like, “Trust me,” and “It’s totally worth the wait.” Once the credits roll, just act confused and say you must’ve been thinking about a different game. Put in the next title you want to play and see how long you make it until your family walks out on you.

Excuse #5: Clock Control
The best way to balance your gaming with your familial responsibilities is to agree on and then set aside a predetermined block of time to play. The only problem? That time will eventually come to an end. However, a little underhanded ingenuity can keep the good times rolling. Give your significant other a specific and reasonable time that you’re going to play until, such as 4:00 p.m. if you’re starting at 2:00 p.m. Start playing, but every 30 minutes or so, nonchalantly run around to every clock in your house and set the time back. Don’t forget your loved one’s watch and/or cellphone – you can distract them with the classic “What’s that over there?” gag. If the sun starts to set during your artificially extended gaming session, just say that you heard on the radio there was going to be a really slow eclipse today.

Once the façade inevitably comes crashing down, play the technicality card and say that you didn’t specify a time zone, but that you were going by International Date Line West time. That should net you at least another four to six hours – unless you’re one of those unfortunate gamers who lives in Hawaii.

Excuse #6: Wag The Dog
This one takes a bit of planning, but it’s totally worth it. First, set up an isolated gaming haven – say, in your garage or at a friend’s house, or just run an extension cord out to a tent in your backyard. Once you’re set up, tell your family that you’re going to take the dog for a walk – then promptly walk that mutt straight to your new secret refuge. Curb suspicion by returning after an hour or so. After 15 minutes of being back home, remark how the dog looks like it really needs to go to the bathroom again, and repeat the process. Bonus points if you can pull this one off without actually owning a dog.

Excuse #7: Scare Tactics
This excuse works on the premise that your family can’t complain about how much you play games if they’re scared out of their wits. Start off by watching a scary movie with your target family member – something that’s more disturbing and creepy than it has any right to be, like The Shining or The Exorcist. Afterward, set up your game system in the scariest place in your house, such as an unfinished basement or attic, and then game away! If your loved one comes to complain about how long you’ve been gaming, just act possessed and repeat lines from the movie. Croaking “red-rum” at them – or pretty much any line from The Exorcist – should cause them to flee the room in abject terror. Sure, it may cause some long-lasting psychological damage, but you’ve got games to play! Note: This technique works really well with kids, given how gullible and easy to frighten they are.

Excuse #8: Bathroom Break
Even if your loved ones don’t mind you gaming all day long, a busy household can offer numerous distractions that detract from the gaming experience. If you can’t go more than a few minutes without someone interrupting your play time, consider retreating to the one room in your house where your family is guaranteed to leave you alone: the bathroom. It may not be the most luxurious surroundings to play through this fall’s biggest releases, but at least you’ll have some peace and quiet – and you won’t even need to pause the game to answer nature’s call. If your family eventually asks you why you’ve been locked in the bathroom for 10 hours, just tell them that you have diarrhea. If they ask why it sounds like there are explosions and people screaming in there, just tell them it’s really bad diarrhea.

Excuse #9: The Frame Job
The most risqué tactic on the list, this excuse involves setting yourself up with incriminating evidence to make it look like you’ve done something terrible, which comparatively will make sitting around and playing video games all day seem like no big deal. To pull this one off, you’ll need a gallon of pig’s blood, a stolen cadaver from your local morgue – you know what? This is a terrible idea. Let’s move on.

Excuse #10: Support A Charity
Let’s face it: Using any of the excuses on this list would make you a despicable human being. But there is one altruistic way to get in a ton of gaming and help out a good cause at the same time. Join or host a charity gaming marathon! Extra Life raises money for sick children while giving participants an excuse to play video games for 24 hours straight – plenty of time to enjoy at least a few of the big upcoming games. Not only will your family probably think you’re doing a good thing, they may even donate money to your cause, at which point there’s no way they can possibly complain about your gaming. Even better, invite them to join the marathon with you and game together.

Last year, members of the Game Informer community (led by Zach Pligge) raised over $16,000 for Extra Life. If you want to join the cause and sign up with Team Game Informer, check out Zach’s post – it’s a heck of a lot easier than faking a murder, after all.

the author Jeff Marchiafava


Xenoblade Chronicles Shulk Confirmed For Smash Bros.


Earlier in the week, a rumor circulated that Xenoblade Chronicles’ Shulk and Super Mario Bros.’ Bowser Jr. would be joining the Super Smash Bros. roster. At least one of those characters is now confirmed.

Shulk brings his sward, the Monado, into battle and will use it to hit his foes with a beam of energy from a distance. Additionally, when Shulk activates his sword’s Monado Arts, his features and abilities will change, which should make him a very technical but versatile fighter. Check out his reveal trailer below.

Also, check out our dream roster for Super Smash Bros. that will never happen.

[Thanks to Zero for the news tip]

Our Take
I’m not too surprised; the rumor a few days ago looked pretty convincing, but I’ll happily welcome Shulk into the fold. Now what about Bowser Jr.?

 the author Ben Reeves


Pendleton Adds Its Hertiage Quality to a Pair of Shwood Frames


Oregon-based heritage label Pendleton has collaborated with fellow Oregonians Shwood to craft a pair of wooden sunglasses that pays homage to both brand’s roots in the Pacific Northwest.

Shwood is not unfamiliar to the collaborative process, teaming with the likes of even Louisville Slugger to create unique, wood-carved sunglasses. For their collaboration with Pendleton, the label has tapped it’s Canby silhouette, something that boasts the honor of being the company’s original flagship frame. The temples of the frame feature a carving that is seen in some of Pendleton’s signature blanket patternwork. The design is further reflected in a carrying pouch that mirrors the pattern on the sunglasses’ frame—a pouch made entirely in the style and quality of a Pendleton wool blanket.

The exclusive collaboration will be releasing soon, so keep it locked to Pendleton and Shwood to snap up a pair of the shades.



Nike Counters Under Armour’s Offer to Kevin Durant


It looks like Nike is keeping Kevin Durant as early reports are stating that Nike has countered the massive contract offered by Under Armour.

Under Armour’s offer was between $265 million and $285 million which showed just how serious they were in adding KD to their growing roster of NBA talent. Exact details of the Nike deal haven’t been made available yet, but according to ESPN sources, Durant, who is scheduled to make $41.2 million over the next two years, should make more via the Nike deal through base pay and royalties. Based on market retail tracking firm SportsOneSource, Durant’s signature KD model generated $175 million last year. Sources also reported that not only is business on the rise, but by raising the retail price and opening up wider distribution, Nike could justify this deal.

What does this mean for sneakerheads? Fans of Nike’s KD line don’t have to fear the jump to UA. KDs could be made in greater numbers and be more widely available. ‘Heads will probably end up paying more at retail. The current KD model, the VII, retails at $150 so seeing a jump in price for the VIII wouldn’t be surprising.  Stay tuned as details of the deal are sure to emerge.

[via ESPN]



Nipsey Hussle Still Performing at Made in America Despite L.A. Arrest


Nipsey Hussle reportedly posted $13,000 bail.

Rapper Nipsey Hussle was arrested in Los Angeles on Friday night (Aug. 29) prior to his scheduled appearance at this year’s Budweiser Made in America concert.

Hussle was taken in after a raid of a clothing store at around 11:30 p.m., according to NBC Los Angeles. LAPD Lt. Julius Guay said the rapper was “booked on charges of obstructing a peace officer.”

LAPD officers reportedly arrived at the shop because of a probation complaint search. The man suspected of violating probation was taken into custody as well.

I will be at my show in Reno today and also on Sunday

Hussle posted $13,000 bail, NBC reports. The rapper tweeted on Saturday that he’ll still be performing at Jay Z’s Made in America concert in downtown L.A. on Sunday

Hussle’s management team released the following statement to MTV.com.

“Around midnight last night Nipsey Hussle was detained in an unsolicited random police probe near the flagship Marathon Clothing Store on Crenshaw Blvd. Police detained him and several other patrons while picking up food at a local restaurant. He was released Saturday morning with no charge. He will be performing live on the Made In America festival as scheduled on Sunday. Nipsey feels like his detainment was unjust and without cause.”



Nicki Minaj’s ‘Pinkprint’ Release Date Not Yet Determined: Update


UPDATE: Reps for Nicki Minaj tell Billboard that a 2014 release date for The Pinkprint has not yet been determined.

Nicki Minaj plans to release her third studio album, The Pinkprint, on Nov. 28.

The rapper/singer has released two chart hits from the set, “Pills N Potions” and “Anaconda.” Her second single jumped from No. 10 to No. 1 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs after her performances at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, Aug. 24. “Anaconda” is Minaj’s third R&B/Hip-Hop Songs No. 1.

Young Money/Cash Money will also release Lil Wayne‘s Tha Carter V on Oct. 28 and Tyga‘s The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty on Nov. 18.



Play Cloths’ Multi-Capsule Fall 2014 Collection Has Something for Everyone


Play Cloths drew inspiration from a number of different sources for its second delivery of its Fall 2014 collection. The delivery has three separate capsules—Recess, Wise Words and O.G. Killer Clownsin it, each with a separate theme.

Recess is most in-line with what we expect from Play Cloths: an elevated approach to streetwear mixed with sportswear. This capsule includes hockey jerseys, knit baseball jerseys, and cut and sew flannel shirts.

Wise Words, the smallest of the bunch, is comprised of a five-panel cap, knit hat, windbreaker jacket, jogger, and crewneck. These pieces are easily identified with an all-over print of affirmations that represent the brand.

The O.G. Killer Clowns has the most intriguing origin story of the group: Play Cloths was inspired by Hollywood’s use of evil clowns. A face reminiscent of the clowns from It, Mr. Jingles, and Killer Klowns From Outer Space that haunted our nightmares come to life as an oversized graphic on a T-shirt, hoodie, and jacket. The clowns also served as the inspiration for a mélange sweater knit pant.

Motocross, a collection of sportswear pieces with a Freestyle and Off-road racing theme, will be available in a separate release.

The delivery will be available on Play Cloths’ online store on Sept. 2. In the meantime, check out the photos below.


Despite My Love Of The Legacy Of Kain, Nosgoth Won Me Over


If push came to shove and I had to pick only one series to get an HD makeover (or, even better, a full-on reboot), it would be The Legacy of Kain. I’ve adored the vampire tales of Kain, Raziel, and the gnarled Soul Reaver sword since Kain’s fateful transformation into a fanged anti-hero.

When Square Enix first announced the free-to-play, humans-vs-vampire action game Nosgoth, I turned up my nose at it. That’s why I made a point of scheduling time to see it at PAX today.

If you’re as much a Legacy of Kain fan as I am, you should know that Nosgoth is not intended to be canon. It’s a what-if tale based on the core principles of the mythology, and with that understanding, the set-up works.

Each game includes two rounds, so players can take on the role of vampire or human. The two sides play very differently, with vampires able to climb walls and brutalize victims at close range. Humans rely on ranged weapons like crossbows and pistols.

There are currently four classes of each (with multiple skill and loadout options), ranging from accessible to advanced. The asymmetric nature of the game requires players to excel as both races. Playing as vampires allows you to pounce on victims from afar or take flight, lift humans in the air, and drop them.

But the humans can use their own tricks like poison bolas that incapacitate vampires, or sticky grenades that leave bloodstains in their wake. Sticking together as the humans can make it very hard for vampires to get a leg up unless they coordinate well.

Both games I played saw a lot of back and forth, and I had quite a bit of fun. I quickly forgot about the setting (except for clever nods placed in the maps) and enjoyed Nosgoth as a well-paced multiplayer experience.

Developer Psyonix says the game will be heading into open beta later this year. They’ll be adding more maps and classes, but doesn’t want the game to become a champion-filled MOBA. Rather, the studio is attempting to find a sweet spot, similar to Team Fortress 2, and then offer more options within those classes. It’s a thoughtful approach in a time that otherwise gleefully welcomes a proliferation of playable characters.

Nosgoth isn’t the Legacy of Kain game I want. But after playing it today, I realize that it doesn’t need to be. It’s a work-in-progress for sure, but its one that is on track to stand on its own feet.

the author Mike Futter