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Crystal Lynn

Crystal Lynn

10 Reasons Why Fans Were Disappointed With Hot 97 Summer Jam

Hot 97’s Summer Jam XX Recap

On Sunday, June 2, I witnessed my first HOT 97 Summer Jam and please believe me when I say, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Along the 2-mile walk from where the Port Authority bus dropped me off in MetLife Stadium to the press entrance, I walked past a huge parade filled with people from all types of backgrounds.

Hip-hop heads gathered as one in the parking lot, celebrating like it was a major summer holiday--tailgating and barbecuing food; they were really getting ready for a great night.

Summer Jam was too good on paper. It gave us good music and a decent show, but it felt too much like a high school performance—safe, organized and fluent. Don't get me wrong, safety and organization are great attributes for a concert, particularly one the size of Hot 97 Summer Jam. However, we all wanted to see more than the ordinary production; i.e., last-minute surprises and performances outside the box.

It was evident that some fans left Summer Jam XX disappointed and here are 10 reasons why:

1. Joe Budden did a great job kicking off Summer Jam, but bringing out Tank was the highlight of his performance. (Not really a disappointment about Tank, I just love Tank.)

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Joe Budden

2. Miguel performed a relevant performance by bringing out Mariah Carey and J. Cole, but I wanted him to do more like jumping into the crowd to make up for the 2013 Billboard Awards.

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Miguel

J Cole 1 resized 500x333J-Cole

3. Chris Brown's performance was way too long. Although he electrified some of the women in the audience, he shifted the momentum of the crowd starting off his set with Beautiful People. That was a huge mistake! Summer Jam equals Hip Hop, not Pop. We wanted to hear Look At Me Now first. He could've preserved his opening act for the BET Awards coming up in a few weeks. Breezy's vocals were on point though, but he should've just gone before Miguel.

Chris Brown 1 resized 500x333Chris-Brown

4. There was the 'almost' highlight of the night when Fabolous brought Lil Kim onto the stage. At the end of the duo's performance, Fab appeared to have been introducing another female artist, who many rumored to be Foxy Brown, but didn't. Ebro of Hot 97 claimed that Foxy showed up late, while other bloggers said she couldn't find her earpiece. Nonetheless, Foxy should've been on that stage!!!!!

Lil Kim Fabolous 1 resized 500x333Lil-Kim and Fabolous

 

5. Now on to Nicki Minaj. 2 Chainz's performance with Nicki Minaj was way too short. First off, Nicki skipped out on Summer Jam last year, so why not SHUT the stage down this year with a song of your own? Nicki--How can you come out for 1.5 minutes, then just bounce like that?

Nikki Minaj 2 Chainz 1 resized 500x333Nikki-Minaj and 2-Chainz 

 

6. Okay, back to Foxy. All night, Hot 97's DJ's and personalities were teasing who was backstage. Rosenberg alluded to the fact that women were going to dominate Summer Jam, but that never happened. 

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I may have been the only one daydreaming, but I was hoping Foxy, Lil Kim and Nicki would all be on the stage at one time. I'm still dreaming....

 

7. Kendrick Lamar was by far the best performer at Summer Stage, but he should've brought out Jay-Z. When word got around that Beyonce and Jay-Z were in the building, everyone was pretty much convinced that the royal couple was going to hit the stage. Well, that didn't happen either. Seriously, this was the 20th anniversary of Summer Jam, Hov could have rapped his verse to B**** Don't Kill My Vibe?

Kendrick Lamar 1 resized 500x333Kendrick-Lamar

 

8. Everyone seemed to have been upset that Papoose took the stage, but he was actually the highlight of the night. I don't know why he felt the need to say "Free Remy Ma," because no one cared.

 

9. I respect WuTang for their contributions to hip-hop, but for the generation that I witnessed in the crowd, they seemed far less interested. I think they would've been a better closing act.

Wu Tang 1 resized 500x333Wu-Tang 1 resized 500x333

 

10. French Montana, the headliner of Summer Jam closed out the five-hour concert and was probably on stage for less than ten minutes (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, but it was brief.) The highlight of his set was when fellow rap artists Rick Ross and Lil Wayne ran out and performed the hit single, Pop That. The crowd went crazy, of course. But moments later, the lights came on and Summer Jam was over, just like that. Fans exited the stadium in a somber mood, and so did I. Personally, I rode the bus home still wishing that Foxy and Jay would've graced the stage. Maybe it's just the Brooklyn sentimentality in me.

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French Montana, Lil-Wayne, and Rick-Ross

But, until next time...

 

CaLm Apparel NYC Launch 2013: Recognizing Men’s Fashion

Sunday, August 11, I attended the launch of CaLm Apparel NYC, an up-and-coming men's vintage clothing line.

The intimate affair held at Brooklyn Commons in downtown Brooklyn was hosted by the designers Cindy Alcantara and Laquana McNeil.

The ladies who share more than a clothing line are actual friends off-the-books. They attended Syracuse University together and were even college roommates.

The idea of starting a men's clothing line came to them in August 2012, after noticing that women received so much of the attention in fashion.

"Everyone's focusing on women, men need that love too," Laquana said.

It took Cindy and LaQuana a full year to launch CaLm because they wanted to make sure to present the best quality.

Speaking of quality, the hats and shirts are made of 100% embossed ostrich leather.

CaLm is for every age group, but the ladies wouldn't mind if artists like Chris Brown and Kanye West were rocking their stuff.

"We wanted to focus on a men's audience, only because we as women know what we want our men to wear and when you see one, the first thing that comes to you---is their physical appearance," Cindy said.

The year-long road to their official CaLm Apparel Launch was tough for Laquana and Cindy, admitting that they don't always see eye-to-eye on everything.

"Even if we don't sometimes agree, as long as the respect is there and we come with different ideas, we're fine," Laquana said.

NBA All-Star 2015 Meant More To New York City Than Basketball

When it was announced last year that the NBA All-Star 2015 would be held in New York City, fans from across the world were excited that one of the largest basketball events would be coming to the Big Apple. With the new Barclays Center in full effect located downtown Brooklyn, minutes from the Brooklyn Bridge and a new and improved Madison Square Garden, it was no question that the best city in the world could handle three days of NBA festivities. The remaining question that lingered going into NBA All-Star is whether or not Madison Square Garden is still the Mecca of Basketball and, perhaps, by extension, is New York City still the Mecca of Basketball. With the Knicks struggling to win games and the Brooklyn Nets remaining a team of overpriced players with a seemingly disconnected owner, there was only one New York born and partially raised player that made it on the All-Star roster—Carmelo Anthony. Yet despite the politics of basketball, it became evident that the events were more than just basketball.

The city had been recovering and healing after news spread on November 14 that Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old African American man who was shot to death by a NYPD officer in the stairwells in the New York City Housing Authority's Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York, Brooklyn. The rookie officer, Peter Liang who was patrolling the dark, unlit stairwell, fired his gun, resulting in a bullet ricocheting off a wall, striking Gurley in the chest. If that wasn't enough for the city to handle, a grand jury decided on November 24 not to indict Officer Darren Wilson after fatally killing Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. Then two weeks later, here in New York, a Staten Island grand jury cleared an NYPD cop in the chokehold death of Eric Garner after the attack was caught on video. Garner was arrested for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. To top an already bad ending to 2014, two uniformed NYPD officers were shot to death in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn execution style in the line of duty after a gunman's mission revenge for the deaths of Garner and Brown.

The NBA has always been an organization in which players were allowed to express their voices, and due to the protests over the grand jury's decisions in the Brown and Garner cases, players like LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Brooklyn Nets players Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams wore T-shirts that read, "I can't breathe," the final words of Garner before he died in the chokehold. The players were responding to the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture that had been a worldwide slogan due to the deaths of Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. During media day for NBA All-Star, Miami Heat Dwayne Wade spoke about the importance of the NBA coming together during the course of these tragic events.

Dwayne-Wade-at-2015-NBA-All-Star-Media-Day 650x650Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade at the 2015 NBA All-Star Media Day

"I think the individual guys have done a great job of [taking] a stand or getting behind on whatever they believe in. Nowadays it's obviously a lot easier because of social media...for your voices to be heard," he said. "The NBA supports us doing that....When we leave here (New York), we are obviously going to do something in the community."

Additionally, Wade revealed that he constantly talks to his sons about being "aware."

"My kids...are shielded from the real world. This doesn't happen to every kid in America or across the world," he said. "You try to show them as much as possible. I am an open book with my kids. I don't try to hide them from what's going on in the world; I try to educate them and hopefully one day if they get into a situation they know how to or what not to do." Wade's comments made it clear that NBA All-Star came at the perfect time.

New York City is labeled as one of the greatest cities in the world because the people have proven that they can and will always overcome adversity. The city has undoubtedly produced a lot of basketball talent, and the argument is still up in the air on whether or not it's still the Mecca of Basketball. However, what the NBA All-Star 2015 did do was help to unify a broken city, if only for a short while.

Memphis Grizzlies Maul Brooklyn Nets 103-92

Nets Suffer Seventh Straight Loss To Coach Hollins' Former Team

Brooklyn Nets head coach Lionel Hollins faced a beat down against his former team at the Barclays Center Wednesday night. The Memphis Grizzlies, which holds one of the best records in the Western Conference, was led by Zack Randolph who finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds in the 103-92 victory against the Brooklyn Nets. After the game, Randolph reflected on what it was like playing against Hollins, who in-fact holds the record for all-time leader with 214 wins.

"It was different going against your old coach," Randolph said. "(We've) been through a lot. Made history together, did stuff together in Memphis, turned the franchise around, so it was nice to see him out there."

Hollins is still trying to turn the Brooklyn franchise around like he did in Memphis, but he has a long journey ahead of him. A journey that includes rebuilding a team off the court and on. Mason Plumlee, in his second year with Brooklyn has become a more consistent factor of the team.

Mason-Plumlee MG 5957 resized 600x400Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee.

"It's tough, man," Plumlee said, who finished with 15 points and nine rebounds. "No one is feeling sorry for us. We just have to get it together and get a win. Whatever that means — less turnovers, getting to the free throw line, being more aggressive. At the end of the day, you can point at everything, but we have to find a way to win."

The Nets can potentially be in contention for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, but they obviously have to win more games. Before the game, Hollins said he hopes his team can get it together before it's too late.

"We got back to 16-16, and then we lost six in a row," Hollins said. "We've got to somehow find a way to break that six-game losing streak and get back to winning, if we can. Maybe we've maxed out. I don't know. But that's what we're striving for."

Brooklyn Nets Players Missing in Action

Brooklyn played Wednesday's game without Kevin Garnet, who faced a one-game suspension after head butting Dwight Howard in the first quarter in the Nets' loss against Houston this past Monday.

Brooklyn-Nets-Forward-Kevin-Garnett-Addressing-the-media 600x629Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett addressing the media. Photo Credit: What's The 411 Networks

The Nets were also without Deron Williams, who is rehabbing from a cartilage fracture of the 12th rib. There is no word on when the injury-prone player will return.

Deron-Williams Media-Day-PhotoBrooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams on medical leave with a fractured rib. Photo Credit: Alexis Williams/What's The 411Networks

Coming Down The Pipe for the Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets travel to Washington D.C. on Friday to take on the Washington Wizards.

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