Kanye West is one of the most prolific rappers in modern history modern being 2010 and on. Before that I can only assume people were banging out beats on the back of dinosaurs, mastodons, or other animals and grunting.
In all seriousness though the last mainstream rapper to really address philosophical and political issues died in 1996. Since then we’ve had Mos Def, Common, Lupe Fiasco, and Andre 3000. The only one with real “crossover”, “mainstream” appeal is Andre 3000 and that was only with one of his Outkast albums. Ask anybody who wasn’t black who they were before the love below and you’d get “aren’t they the Scooby Doo guys?” Everybody else who has become millionaires off of merchandising and opportunistic business capitalization have completely sold out any chance they have at making a real statement. Jay-Z actually used to talk about things that mattered, now its all materialistic. Actually today a rapper can garner a huge following talking about the stuff they DON’T have as if they had it. At some point the record labels realized people would pay them to have their rappers put their crap in their lyrics. I was working at a liquor store and I swear Moscato stayed on the shelf until they started saying it in rap songs that they played in the club. Not just black college kids but all races all of a sudden had a taste for this sweet wine meant for desserts. Of course they never drank it in the manner it was supposed to be but alas such is life.
I have long had an issue with the direction rap took. It started off as an amazing way to express an opinion. A way for people to get the word out about what was really going on. Public Enemy, Run DMC, Grandmaster Flash, and I must included The last poets in there as well though they were more than rappers.These rappers realized the type of platform this gave them and utilized it in a way that made people think. I’m not saying club music doesn’t have its place but why is EVERYTHING that comes out meant to objectify women or get you to buy something?
I’ve been upset with it for awhile now but what could I do? I can’t rap, all I can do is write a few thousand words on a blog and join the rest of the league of upset guys on the internet who complain. That’s why when Kanye west debuted his two new songs New slave and Black Skinhead my ears perked up. He debuted New slaves on random walls throughout the world. The next day he performed New slaves and debuted Black Skinhead on SNL. These are two hard hitting songs from his new album.
Immediately I could pick up major influences in the style he chose to get his message across. The musical influences being one that has influenced him in the past, Common. Also The last poets were clearly a major influence.
His blasting of even himself when it comes to materialism and exposure of the crooked system that puts a disproportionate amount of blacks and minorities behind bars is just what people need. He took a stand on SNL where they COULD NOT ignore him. Honestly its people who probably didn’t get it, there are people who think what he did is wrong, that he’s trying to quit, give up.
Kanye West is just get started, if you’d been paying attention you’d have been waiting for this moment. When he’d stop making stuff just to seal up his position, one thing about him if you do your research, Kanye has always been Kanye. Even before he was famous he jumped on tables screaming he was the next Michael Jackson. He’s a little crazy yes but in order to do what you love doing and be great at it, you’ve gotta be crazy.
“I know that we the new slaves…
Meanwhile the DEA, teamed up with the CCA
They tryina lock n—s up, they tryna make new slaves
See that’s the privately owned prison, get your piece today
They prolly all in the Hamptons, braggin ’bout what they made”
With new slaves he aired out the DEA and the CCA which operate over the privately owned prisons. At the same time he spoke on how the actual conspiracy theories that people like to follow and quote about NWO and Illuminati are bull and nothing more than distractions from the real problems. The laws that effectively act as new Jim Crow laws, putting more African-Americans behind bars now than were in slavery in 1850. The private prison owners and boards are raking in profits at rates never before seen while the leaders in the minority communities fight to keep their children from going behind bars. The truth is though, everything right now is set perfectly for this to happen. They (prison owners) don’t want immigrants and minorities out of jail. In recent SEC filings, CCA admitted that drug law reform and reductions in mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent crimes are “risk factors” for them that could hurt their bottom line. Corporations never play about their “bottom line.” Unfortunately for all of America, their bottom line means the destruction of our youth, many missed opportunities. Just one glimpse inside a prison and you will see several extremely intelligent people who perhaps because of this intelligence found themselves looking for ways of expression that may have led them to hang around the wrong people. Maybe they didn’t even do anything, (people are being released after going back through cases and being proven innocent at a growing rate)who knows, the point is when you are living in a system designed to make you fail its going to be hard. Especially when that same system also makes darn sure that you think its completely your fault that you failed. Any mention of unfairness and its “no you have the same chance as everyone else, quit whining and get your act together.” Really? Because when you’re saturated with media telling you to hate yourself because you’re dumb and evil, self worth and will power kind of wanes. Here’s an experiment that’s been done probably a few times every decade with African-Americans, with the same results.
“Y’all throwing contracts at me
You know that n**** can’t read”
The irony and sarcasm in this one line alone from “New Slaves” makes it one of my favorite. In it he is showing how quickly he would turn down a chance to sell out in order to put forth better music and a better image. Anything that can be put into the media to counteract this mess you saw in that last video is a positive thank you Kanye for at least putting forth a strong black image in your music.
Black Skinhead is more geared towards the perception of blacks when they are proud of their race and doing well as well as when they are acting wild. It is also very good and insightful. He’s not afraid to put his own life on the chopping block and this allows for him to put everyone’s mess on display.
I’ve always listened to his music but I’ve never been excited to see a new album drop like I am for this one. He’s got the world listening right now, he’s dropped two amazing singles already, what is he going to do now? More importantly what are we as minorities going to do now?
Thanks for reading, Viva la revolution’ Entertainment Industry!
Brian Bell-Wiseguy Industries
System: Original Xbox
Price: Well when I bought it used it was $2
I remember when I first picked this game up for 2 dollars at a pawn shop in college. My friends and I came back from band practice (all music majors at the time) put it in the Xbox and sat back to see what a crappy game I’d purchased.
Immediately we were blown away by the composition of the music. I mean epic is basically the bare minimum for the term you’d have to use to describe it. It caught us so off guard we actually laughed.
This wasn’t what we expected.
Almost immediately we were thrown into a new world where the stars were no longer the limits and humans were being sent out as ambassadors to meet an entire species that thought of them as holy creatures. Soon after they meet them, the aliens that want to destroy them attack their ship. The main character Gideon uses previously unknown psychic powers to help stop the attack and then he is sucked through a wormhole. That’s where the game really starts.
I’m big on character driven stories. I think everyone subconsciously is, I mean you can’t really care about what’s going on in a story if you don’t care about the characters. In advent rising they really push the dynamics between the characters. Gideon is the younger brother of a hot shot war hero. His brother basically gets him a job just off of his charisma and Gideon is left wondering if he is completely worthless. There are many other characters that add to the drama and feel of this game. Overall this storyline just gets 5 stars from me, this is what I love to see from my video games. Take it seriously, develop those characters and subplots!
Gideon Wyeth (voiced by Will Friedle) — The main character of the game. He is a member of one of the last human outposts.
Ethan Wyeth — Gideon’s hotshot older brother. Because of his celebrity following the Independence Wars, he is assigned the role of pilot for the mission of first contact with the Aurelians. He used his connections to instate Gideon as his co-pilot.
Olivia Morgan (voiced by Vanessa Marshall) — Gideon’s fiancé, a scientist assigned to Luriam space station.
Marin Steel — A decorated pilot from the Independence Wars, she encounters Gideon as he attempts to escape Bahr Han on her ship. She is captured by the Seekers and unsuccessfully imprisoned on the island of Teran, having developed her own psychic powers.
Kelehm Farwaters (voiced by Dwight Schultz) — A ninth-tier Garhgon (an Aurelian religious caste), he has trained himself in the telekinetic arts. Kelehm belongs to “the old faith” which states that the discovery of humans is part of a prophecy and the Aurelians will gain greater psychic power through them.
Enorym Tenspur (voiced by Michael Bell) — Ally to Gideon and the most highly trained of the Aurelian elite fighters, Enorym serves as a commander of the elite Felidic warriors. Enorym leads an assault on a Seeker ship shortly after Gideon learns how to use his psychic powers.
Bud – A troublemaking Marine that starts a bar fight with Gideon and later challenges him and Ethan to a training match. After losing, Bud fires a blaster at Ethan. The player then has the choice of either using a stungun to disable Bud or picking up a blaster and killing him, which determines whether his squadmates help you or abandon you in a later gameplay segment.
K’Chell — A Seeker ambassador who interrupts the planetary ruling council and demands that the Aurelians hand over Gideon and Marin. When Kelehm refuses, K’Chell kills him, then escapes to the ansible to inform the Seeker armada.
Sevan — A council member on Aurelia, he leads a rebellion to give the humans to the Seekers and avoid retaliation. After staging a coup, he co-opts the council, gives Marin to the Seekers, and puts Enorym on trial for treason.
Banath — Originally serving as Enorym’s best warrior, he is revealed to be a double agent for Sevan. Having planted a Seeker ambush inside the ansible, Banath becomes visibly angry after Enorym orders him to escort Marin back to the Aurelian capital. He returns with a dropship manned by other rebels after giving Marin to the Seekers and announces his betrayal by killing one of Enorym’s warriors. Gideon kills Banath shortly after Enorym is put on trial.
As Gideon you’ll be able to utilize his kinetic abilities. One of my favorite parts of this game is the fact that he is just learning them. Now clearly this something many games use in order to make your character weaker in the beginning so the game will be harder. However in Advent rising they really mean he is LEARNING and he doesn’t stop ever. You get new and exciting moves and upgrades all the way through until the last stage. The greatest part of this game is they always throw something new at you and honestly its not even when one thing gets old, they just do it. Oh you’ve got a gun? Here take this Kinetic energy, oh you’ve got kinetic energy? How about SHOOTING FIREBALLS out of your hands? Oh I see you’ve got a Jeep- HOVER CRAFT!
One of the more interesting parts of this game is the control system. They have made use of a “flick targeting” control system that utilizes the second joystick. It’s very cool once you get used to it. Basically you flick the stick in the direction of the offending enemy and all of your attacks then go directly to that foe. This really comes in handy as its a large cartoony looking world. A third person shooter like that would have been a hair pulling experience trying to aim.
The enemies are intelligent and vary in size and abilities. They all have several specialized attacks of their own. While one tries to over power you with its extra limbs, another might try to snipe you from a distance, while yet another will try and Rambo you with automatic weapons. All in all the controls and enemies you fight make for very exciting and fun game-play.
Here are the actual controls for the game.
Left Thumbstick Walk. Run. Click In to Toggle Crouch/Stand
Right Thumbstick Flick Targeting
A Button Jump. Pull Up From Hanging Position.
B Button Melee Attack
X Button Arm Left-Handed Weapon (Hold). Dodge From Hanging Position. Activate.
Y Button Arm Right-Handed Weapon (Hold). Reload Weapon.
White Button Throw Grenade. Toggle Grenade (Hold).
Black Button Select Alt Fire Mode (With Right or Left Trigger)
Left Trigger Fire Left-Handed Weapon
Right Trigger Fire Right-Handed Weapon
Combo #1 X + A = Charge Jump
Combo #2 Any Direction + X = Acrobatic Moves
Also there are vehicles! These are pretty cool
SCYTHE VEHICLE CONTROLS
Directional Pad Enter or Exit Driver Side (From the Left). Enter or Exit Turret Side (From the Right).
Left Thumbstick Up = Forward. Down = Reverse.
Right Thumbstick Turn Left/Right. Aim Turret Chain Gun.
A Button Jump
Right Trigger Turbo. Fire Turret Chain Gun.
Left Thumbstick Forward = Thrusters. Down = Slow.
Right Thumbstick Steering
Right Trigger Thrusters
ANTI-AIRCRAFT TURRET CONTROLS
Right Thumbstick Aim
X Button Activate/Release
Right Trigger Fire
Now the graphics are the only reason why any one would ever doubt this game. The director made the choice to have elongated limbs which made them look more like comic book characters. This is an artist’s choice, however it gave them a weird gangly look (the game was originally supposed to be a comic book which may explain why he wanted this so badly). The frame rate does lag in certain areas doing certain things, however it is never enough to detract from the game as a whole. Plus I mean look at it! It still looks AMAZING for an original Xbox game. It plays well and by well I mean its extremely exciting.
Ok I have to come back to this music because…well it’s part of me! I love music and truthfully a game with poorly composed music will make me put it down just as quickly as bad graphics.
But here are two examples of the total and complete epicness of the music for this game.
Here’s another one which is used a few times during boss battles but they have more themes as well.
The music was composed by Emmanuel Fratianni and Michael Richard Plowman and performed by Laurie Robinson and Tommy Tallarico. Here’s the list of songs for the entire soundtrack.
Advent Rising Original Soundtrack (57:21)
No. Title Length
1. “Muse” 3:08
2. “Poeta” 3:36
3. “Bounty Hunter” 3:05
4. “Aurelia” 3:03
5. “Greater Lights (feat. Charlotte Martin)” 3:52
6. “Glorious Human” 1:46
7. “Stolen Transport” 2:15
8. “Canyon Encounter” 2:04
9. “The Rise Of Aurelia” 2:01
10. “Edumeas Last Stand” 2:04
11. “Aurelian Conflict” 2:04
12. “The Aurelian Movement” 2:21
13. “Luriam Down” 1:04
14. “The Human Movement” 2:09
15. “Human Demise” 1:35
16. “Seeker Assault” 2:05
17. “Midst Of The N’Kul” 0:34
18. “Seeker Horde” 1:04
19. “Fiery Arrival On Aurelia” 0:55
20. “Power Within” 2:11
21. “Fortified Strength” 1:01
22. “Mastery Of Self” 2:20
23. “Return To Humanity” 2:16
24. “The Seeker Movement” 2:09
25. “Seeker Unrest” 2:05
26. “Conquest” 0:36
27. “Greater Lights (Jay-J’s Shifted UP Mix)” 3:58
WHY ISN’T THIS GAME HAILED AS AWESOME?
Well apparently there was a terrible marketing strategy of people being able to win one million dollars if they were able to decipher secret messages in the games various levels. Due to issues with security they had to shut down the contest which cost them quite a lot of money and advertisement. Also the first reviews for this game were way off, giving them five out of ten. Later they went back and fixed that with reviews like 8 out of ten or 7.8 out of 10 (IGN). Without advertising its hard to really get as big as you should be able to. However there is a core community online that knows about this game and they LOVE it. Its getting bigger and bigger by word of mouth, unfortunately it may be a little late for the company that produced it. However there are sites and Facebook pages online dedicated to this game and to creating a sequel.
Will there be one? Who knows, it’s one of those things, teased forever but it’s anybody’s guess. Some things weren’t meant for sequels (Hangover I’m looking at you). However this game clearly was written to be given at least two more entries. Especially taking into account the terrific ending that happens AFTER the credits. Oh and that’s not just a cutscene there is GAMEPLAY after the credits. Yeah I had walked away (like a BOSS) after thinking I had beaten one of the best games ever made.
Suffice to say that last part was the icing on the cake. I mean that really let me know how much one, they respected this genre, and two knew about cinematic qualities being infused with video games. It was an amazing teaser for the next game which unfortunately never came out. Yet there are still those who are pushing for it.
On the plus side they have produced a line of comic books that I haven’t read but apparently they follow up so if you want to check those out here.
If you couldn’t already tell this is getting five out of five stars. The story is excellent, the music is amazing, the gameplay is exciting, fun and always advancing. It does a great job in making you feel what Gideon is feeling and all of these things merge together at the end to make one amazing experience. The replay value is VERY high on this as they’ve included a way to upgrade different abilities. Also if its ever NOT fun to dive through the air and force blast an enemy into a lake of lava please stop the planet because I’ll be getting off.
So the bottom line is, if you haven’t gone out and purchased this game, do it. Seriously it’s like 2 bucks and an original Xbox is like 30 bucks now(because its not backwards compatible sucks I know.)
Thanks for reading everyone! I’ll keep you up to date with new Xbox One news as well as PS4 news when they start delivering it. As always I’ll be bringing you old school reviews!
Brian Bell-Wiseguy Industries
The well-rounded entertainment company.