Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Top 10 Party Songs Of All Time

Every wonder what the greatest party songs of all time are? Me too. During my college years, I conducted extensive research as a semi-professional DJ. I am here today to share with you my findings. These songs evoke the most enthusiastic reactions and create the best atmosphere when played at parties. Do not listen to these songs when not at a party, they are to be reserved and used sparingly.

10. Centerfold
The hit song by The J. Geils Band is one of my personal favorites and probably a bit of a shocker to make this list. It has a catchy rift, sing-a-long lyrics and even some chanting. What more could you want? As much as I love rap and new millennium dance music, every party needs some songs from the 70s, 80s and 90s (my list reflects that).

9. Hot Hot Hot
Harry Belafonte made this list? Yes he did; all thanks to the Congo line. Next time you are at this party, throw this song on and start a Congo line. You won't stop smiling for at least four minutes and it will make you feel like you are on a tropical island. I promise.
8. Get Down On It
Kool and The Gang always does it right. This song epitomizes disco music where it is all about dancing. Go to any live oldies cover band and this song will undoubtedly be played because it is a timeless beat. Other songs similar to this one that could have made the list: "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire and "Shout" by the Isley Brothers. I also recommend Pandora station "Funk" if you are in to this genre.
7. Flo Rida
As much as it pains me to put Flo Rida on this list, my research found that his songs are very big hits at parties. They all have great beats, simple lyrics and annoyingly-catchy hooks. Select from the following: "Low", "Club Can't Handle Me", "Right Round", "Wild Ones", "Good Feeling", "Whistle". I gave Flo Rida his own number because not one of his songs deserves to stand alone on this list, but his top hits in culmination deserve to make the cut.
6. Bump N' Grind
My mind told me not to put this song on the list....but my body, MY BODY, was telling me yes. This song is a personal favorite and one that must be played at each and every party from now until the end of time. R. Kelly, you are immortal. Honorable mention: Ignition(remix).
5. Hot in Herre
Remember when Nelly was good? Country Grammar was the only subject I liked in school. This song embodies turn of the century rap - loud bass, party music with very suggestive lyrics. My top five are all classics and are songs that I will show my kids once they come of age. Classic rock is timeless music that people will listen to forever; 2000s hip-hop is music that people will party to forever. Country Grammar 101: Herre = here.
4. Get Low
I was going to say something about this song, but there isn't much to say. It speaks for itself.
3. Shake Ya Tailfeather
Nelly, P. Diddy and Murphy Lee straight from the soundtrack of Bad Boys II, how much better can you get? This song is a high-energy, thought provoking masterpiece. It's also from the album "Murphy's Law". It's fun to think about Murphy Lee sitting around in the studio trying to think of names for his new album. He settles on the old adage that means "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong". Nice play on words, Murph.
2. In Da Club
O, how I love 50 cent from ten years ago. He came out with hit after hit and "In Da Club" was the biggest of them all. Contagious beat and a song that will always bring me back. 50 cent also started the "shawty" phenomenon with this song and it has been a staple pronoun in the rap game since. Thanks Fiddy.
1. Yeah!
Was there any doubt what song was going to be number one? I knew it would be even before I sat down and gave it some thought. Usher brings the heat and Ludacris kills it at the end. The song is called "Yeah!" not "Yeah" and that sums up how I feel when I hear this song at a party. "Yeah!" is the Michael Jordan of party songs with "In Da Club" being the Lebron James. Did I just find a way to say Jordan is better than Lebron in an article about the top ten party songs? Yep, and that is what's wrong with our culture.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Email To Bill Simmons - Ease Up On The Bobcats

My email to Bill Simmons concerning his constant belittling of the Charlotte Bobcats is below. As a fan of the team, I am used to it at this point; I just wanted him to be aware that the team is headed in the right direction and the front office is much more competent that the national media portrays it to be (at least recently).

Is it just too much fun to bash Charlotte? I know they have sucked on an all-time sucky level the last two years, but that was the plan, wasn't it? You are very aware and knowledgeable of big-market teams, but lack a strong understanding of teams like Charlotte. All of Grantland's writers come off this way, with the exception being Zach Lowe.

REMINDER: Charlotte wasn't even the worst team in the league last year, except everyone forgets that. They are a team that got worse in order to get better. Charlotte cannot attract free agents the way larger teams can so they have chosen to collect assets and build through the draft.

 Lets take a look at the moves the Bobcats have made since 2011:

  1. Traded Gerald Wallace for 1st-round pick from Portland (top-12 protected until 2016) - we all know how you feel about Wallace. Very solid trade, collected an asset.
  2. Dumped Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston and the 19th pick on Milwaulkee for Corey Maggette and the 7th pick - Swapped a relatively equal player/salary in Jackson and Maggette to move up 12 spots in the draft to select Bismack. The jury is still out on Biyombo; very limited offensively but still has huge upside at only 20 years old. Good trade
  3. Drafted Kemba Walker 9th overall - only player I would take over Walker at this point is Kawhi (but who knows how he would do in Charlotte). Kemba improved greatly last year and looks to be a quality starting guard. Very solid pick.
  4. Traded Corey Maggette to Pistons for Ben Gordon and 1st round pick (top-8 protected 2014, top-1 protected 2014) - acquired a 1st round pick in a salary dump move by the Pistons. Very solid move picking up an asset.
  5. Drafted MKG second overall in the 2012 NBA Draft - took the consensus second best player in the draft. MKG is still only 19 and needs to develop a better jump shot but has the ability to be an elite defender and rebounder at his position. Good pick that needs more time.
  6. Drafted Cody Zeller 4th overall in the 2013 NBA draft - I really liked what I saw from him in Summer League. He has all the skills to be a really good stretch-4 and really underrated athletically. Love the pick, but a wait-and-see approach is needed.
  7. Signed Al Jefferson in 2013 off season - I know they overpaid for Jefferson. But Charlotte had to start  signing free agents at some point. Now, they have at least a little credibility as a free agent destination because they won't be all-time bad (should be somewhat competitive) and they showed the ability to sign a big-name guy. Hey, you have to start somewhere. They also didn't get good enough to escape another high pick in the loaded 2014 draft.
  8. Changed name from "Bobcats" to "Hornets" - the city will finally rally behind this team. It's all in a name with Charlotte fans. Sad, but true.
  9. Resigned Gerald Henderson - got him for a very fair price, but didn't lock him down long-term. Good for both the Bobcats and Gerald. Solid signing.

In my opinion, Charlotte has done everything right in the last 3 years, except for getting lucky in the lottery of course. Moving forward, they have a really talented, extremely young core with assets to boot (multiple 1st-round draft picks and plenty of cap space). The future is finally bright for the Bobcats. With a little lottery luck and a more competitive squad on the floor next season, things could turn around quickly for the Charlotte Bobcats.

It's time for the Bobcats to stop being the laughing stock of the NBA. Have they been awful the past two seasons? Sure, but no one acknowledges that was the plan and no one cares to notice they have done all the right things. It is lining up perfectly for them to completely change their image in the 2014 season when they once again become the Charlotte Hornets.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Appreciate Dwyane Wade

The 2013 NBA Playoffs concluded with the Miami Heat hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy for a second consecutive year. The overwhelming sentiment during those playoffs was that Dwyane Wade was no longer the player he used to be and he was on the rapid decline. Today's sports fans lack an understanding of scope; people only look at what is right in front of their face. I would argue that Wade is not declining. He has simply been slowed by knee problems in the last two playoffs, yet has still managed to come out with 2 rings and has produced in those playoffs when needed the most. Lets take a look at Dwyane Wade and why you need to stop the hate and appreciate.
Dwyane Wade: "The Clinic"

Does anyone have a better highlight reel than D Wade? You would be hard pressed to find one. His arsenal of moves includes: the spin-around to his left mid-range fader, the pump fake and-1 mid-range jump shot, the euro-step in transition, the behind the back/through the legs split of a double team, the "look the complete opposite way of the basket while falling down" layup, the rip over from the right of the defender to the left in full stride, the block on a player that is much taller than him, the steal to him hitting a buzzer beater, and the spin move to dunk along the left baseline. 

How many people boast that kind of repertoire? Most NBA players have one of those moves, at best. I have watched Dwyane Wade since he came into the league and he has become criminally underrated. Why? Because the average NBA fan only watches the playoffs, where D Wade has "struggled" because of injuries. Yes, he has disappeared at times during the playoffs, but he has still produced 3 rings. He averaged 21, 5, and 5 during the 2012-2013 regular season on 52% shooting, incredibly efficient for a shooting guard. D Wade is not declining; he is merely viewed that way because of the "group think" phenomenon taking place with sports fans. Sports Center rules the sports world and without many other reliable sports media outlets, fans are highly impacted/influenced by Sports Center's agendas. One of those agendas during the 2013 playoffs was that Dwyane Wade was no longer an elite player.

Wade did have a horrible start to the 2013 Playoffs by his standards, that much is true. In the last 4 games of those same playoffs, the games that mattered the most, D Wade averaged 24, 6, and 5. Wade has been slowed by knee injuries in the last two playoffs, but he has still managed 2 rings and produced in clutch time.

Now, lets take a look at the snapshot of Dwyane Wade's career
Looking at his stats, the decline in ppg jumps off the page. That can be directly attributed to Lebron's arrival in Miami. The decline in ppg corresponds with less shot attempts, but he has done more with those shot attempts, given the higher fg%. Examining this table, realizing that D Wade is presently playing with one of the greatest basketball players ever, it is evident that he is not declining; he is simply being asked to be a highly efficient second option that doesn't get the looks he did pre-Lebron.

Dwyane Wade is a top-20 player of all-time (see 2008-2009 season and his 3 rings), so don't trivialize what he has done by a couple of bad playoff games. Appreciate what he and The Heat are doing because we are all witnessing history. And remember, look at the big picture when discussing sports.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Summer of Dwight - It Ain't All About The Benjamins

Yesterday marked the start of NBA free agency. This year's biggest prize comes in the form of a 7' giant with a 13 year-old girl's mentality, Dwight Howard. The Houston Rockets were the first team to court Dwight, and they applied the full court press. The other players in the Dwight Howard Sweepstakes are the Lakers, Hawks, Warriors, and Mavericks. At this point in time and for the purpose of this article, I consider Houston and L.A. to be the front runners in the sweepstakes.

Naturally, the biggest question in all this is who can offer more money? It is commonly perceived that the Lakers can offer Howard $30 million more, based on stipulations in the new CBA. The Lakers can offer Dwight 5 years $119 mil while any other team (Houston in this case) can offer 4 years $88 mil. Those are max deals for players that have been in the league as long as Dwight (he will certainly receive max compensation). However, the extra $30 million comes in the form of that 5th year. The statement "the Lakers can offer $30 million more than the Rockets" is true, but it is foolish to assume because Dwight Howard will not be making $0 after his hypothetical contract with Houston expires. In 4 years, Dwight will be 31 years old and will most likely receive another max deal because of his immense talent and the lack of big men in today's NBA. L.A. can factually offer $30 mil more than Houston, but in reality it does not play out that literally.

Another money issue is taxes. The state of Texas has no income tax while the state of California has  a 10.3% tax on each dollar for individuals who make in excess of $1 mil per year. The table below summarizes the tax implications for Dwight's contract:

 Total Contract
Income Tax/year
Salary/year After Taxes
 $ 88,000,000
$ 22,000,000
 $ 22,000,000
Los Angeles
 $ 119,000,000 
$ 23,800,000
 $ 2,451,400
 $ 21,348,600

As you can see, the government just destroys the top 1%. Dwight would be paying the state roughly $2.5 mil/year to live in L.A.,just in income taxes. On a per year basis after income tax, Howard actually makes more playing for the Rockets. In my mind, the money issue is a wash. Yes, L.A. can offer him one more guaranteed year at the max level, but Dwight will make about $2.6 mil more after tax playing 4 years in Houston compared to 4 years in Los Angeles. And even after the 4th year, I believe Dwight will still be a max level player and this sweepstakes will start all over again. Dwight Howard has got to annoy you if you are a sports fan.

After reviewing the monetary issues in the Dwight Howard Sweepstakes, I think Houston has the edge over L.A  because the Rockets offer young talent, a big-man coach that had every move in the book to mentor him, and a team where he will be the focal point. Dwight's persona makes it hard for him to mesh with Kobe and he needs to be the center of attention. Houston would provide this diva just that.

Final note: Kevin McHale was really damn good at basketball. Dwight has two post moves; McHale had at least 50.