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Bob Manning couldn’t speak for this story. When he stood still shortly before midnight on May 9, 2017 — so did many of the constants around me.

His eight draws of tools inside a rolling shelf. Half of the basement he regularly roamed sits silent, unfinished after a flood destroyed the floor panels we spent one whole New Year’s Eve on top of. A hammer awaits its next pounding. For the pliers, the next wire to slice. Drill batteries sit on their chargers at 100%, quarantined for almost four years now.

Manning Sr. couldn’t speak for this story, nor could he foresee it when a leukemia diagnosis struck him nine months earlier. He would recover and move his boat into the water when the seasons changed. The long-sleeved Polo thermal shirts would slide over his head instead of fitting loosely on his son. One of the two Mustangs Bob drove would’ve carried him to Syracuse yesterday to watch that son’s graduation instead of landing on Craigslist. …


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Artwork by Matthew Madrigal.

Situationson Madlib and Freddie Gibbs’ 2019 Bandana release — ends with the cussing pastor seizing the album. Talking about his idea for a “Fuck You Friday,” the Memphis radio host and pastor Thaddeus Matthews imagines a holiday where he grills ribs and doesn’t “give a shit about what people have to say about you.” That’s probably how someone expressing homophobic views and charged with harassment (posting nude photos of another man) needs to operate.

The cussing pastor is also the perfect figure for the musing of Freddie Gibbs, who stays busy posting the most insane people visible on the internet on his Instagram account — usually with his tag lines, “good crack” or “D’Fuck?” (now available on hats). The posts are curated fully by Gibbs and can run for as many as 25 stories, sometimes at odds with Instagram’s community standards. …


John.

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The hits keep coming. Feels like a test at this point. Uncle John and I weren’t super close and I didn’t know much about his life/challenges, but I’ve realized how much his eyes were on me. He was one of my biggest supporters. Got a kick out of the Bobcast (always brought up the one where I was yelling at my dog to stop barking while Shea Serrano was on the line telling me to lower my voice). Things I did (mysteriously) got back to mom. Never heard the end of the pizza he made that I didn’t like. …


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From the “I Think” music video.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.”

Since May I’ve spewed that infectious refrain everywhere I go, certain Tyler began “I Think” in the most absurd and fitting-for-Tyler way possible.

Was it: “fuck, shit,” or “four, skate?”

Genius and others referenced the entrance to the track as “four, four, four.” The subtle “one, two, three” count Tyler mutters to close “Earfquake” lends more evidence to “four.” It does sound awfully close to “fuck” though — and it would be expected from an artist who drapes himself in profanity as much often his Golf fashion line.

That’s partially why Igor was the best album of 2019, with “I Think” as its watershed moment. Tyler, the Creator began the 2010s a shock jock akin to Eminem, though failing to deliver the elusive technical skill Em complemented his celebrity spats with. …


Note: Conservatives achieved an overwhelming victory in the British elections in December, 2019, clearing the way for Brexit. A year earlier, I studied some of the economic arguments for and against Brexit. There’s little evidence it will help the British economy, regardless of the perceived strain migration creates. Read below and draw your own conclusions.

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Britain will likely leave the UK in another example of international disintegration after nearly 80 years of economic integration in Europe.

According to the OECD, the United Kingdom’s stint in the European Union coincided with its gross domestic product doubling since it joined in 1973 (Kierzenkowskii et al. 6). That era, filled with debate about membership, tentatively scheduled to end on March 29, 2019 when Britain intended to leave the EU following a 2016 referendum. That date passed, an exit plan faltered and Theresa May resigned amidst debate about Brexit’s future. Could another referendum follow? Who carries the torch forward? …


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Patricia Manning, my mom, and Ann Gill, her mom.

Today’s my girlfriend’s 21st birthday. Four days ago, my mother turned another calendar. I won’t mention that age out of respect — and my own forgetfulness. My own ignorance toward these people inspired me to write this. While the jokes fly and my personality flows spontaneously through the days, I don’t show them enough how much I love them.

I constantly think, but always forget. I try and fall short (track-and-field practice vs. race applies here). Any level of self-sufficiency I own still lands me back at the doorstep asking for cash or an ear. As strong and confident as I am, it became possible by pulling from the incredible women in my life. …


Drake pioneered a half-decade of music seeped in distrust. For fake friends, fake sentiments and fake environments.

“That’s when they lie to my face.”

When we hear about liars we speak of an external force. Deceitfulness stems from one party taking advantage of another. But when we speak of an inauthentic world, we ignore our own lies. This week got me thinking — am I always truthful to myself?

How we feel. What we can handle. What we want. I could use the example of how many respond to “how’re you doing?” …


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21 Savage — Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph — was born in London to parents of Dominican and Haitian descent.

Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote about the countless criminal charges that the government can utilize to take someone down. The ginormous US penal code grants the country the same ability that police use while trailing a car, waiting for the most minor of violations to pull over their suspect.

ICE arrested 21 Savage on Feb. 3 in Atlanta on the eve of Super Bowl LIII for being an “unlawfully present United Kingdom national,” per a statement from the organization. He entered the country legally in 2005, they said, before overextending his stay beyond the year he was granted.

Proving that the federal government used his status — which they long knew, according to his team — to score a political victory is nearly impossible. That would require direct connection between his critique of Trump’s separation of families at the border and the government’s attempt to deport him. Racism isn’t always explicit. …


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While much of the student body soured at the announcement of Khalid and Rico Nasty as headliners for Block Party 2019 — University Union quietly secured a gem for earlier in the day.

Normally the MayFest lineup doesn’t generate much buzz. It drops a few days after the Block Party announcement. Vic Mensa skipped out on it in 2017. This year, it features one of the most vulnerable, jazz-inspired, creative rising hip-hop artists before he embarks on tour with another soaring prospect.

JID isn’t coming to Syracuse — he did in the fall to rave reviews — but Saba will take the stage at Walnut Park and perform songs from his first two critically acclaimed albums: Bucket List Project and Care For Me.


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When I Get Home — released March 1, 2019.

The first person I thought of when I heard Solange Knowles’ new album was Earl Sweatshirt.

That didn’t feel right until my dive into the liner notes revealed that the man behind November’s acclaimed Some Rap Songs assisted Solange in producing her fourth studio album — When I Get Home. For an artist that entered music facing the unique shadow of being Beyoncé’s sister, Solange endured a new creative hurdle: following up the classic that lifted her from familial comparisons and Jay Z-beating fame — 2016’s A Seat at the Table.

She did it with jazz, synth and keyboard loops reminiscent of Dilla’s kaleidoscopic production movement. Her vocals and accompanying features blend into the instrumentals in a D’Angelo-esqe manner. But those calls to the past, hallowed grounds of neo-soul don’t make this innovative themselves. …

About

Bobby Manning

Writer, host, music lover and much more. Here’s some life musings, features, music articles and other things you won’t find elsewhere. BMann260@gmail.com

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