As the years go on new trends come and go. But what remains the same is the impact a creator or artist can have on a piece. In recent years the trend of DIY jewelry has taken the world by storm. From earrings to chains this so called “fake jewelry” is popping up in vending machines in Portland to going on tour with artist J.Balvin. The latter is the case for Chicago based artist and creator of imakefskejewelry.com Kristopher Kites whose chains have been seen on some of the biggest acts in the game.
With pieces ranging from anime to wrestling fans of all genres can appreciate the work Kites is doing. My personal favorites are the Sting chain and the various Naruto chains that were available on the site. The regular chains can go for around $300-$600 depending on the character and size. My favorite part about the Kites chains are the big links that surround each centerpiece.
In the past it was all about how much bling you had but now it’s about the artistry of the piece your wearing. Not only does each piece represent a character or something pop culture related but you know it was hand crafted by Mr.Kites himself making it even more special. Over the past few years Kites has held pop ups at various Complex Cons with Complex Con Long Beach 2019 featuring is most challenging pieces to date.
For me the two Kites Cases are the next evolution in Kites career. I could easily see a Goku or Akira Kites Case coming in the future. These pieces make a statement without having to be flashy. These pieces are a little pricier than the regular chains Kites offers but definitely worth it. As of now the only available Kites Case is the Sailor Moon one going for $4,000.
At the moment I do not have a Kris Kites chain of my own but I am working on it. I unfortunately missed out on the Black Friday sale he had which sold out pretty much all of his stock, which just means more pieces will be coming soon. Hopefully he blesses me with that Gigantor chain I’ve been bugging him about on IG.
Candy is a huge part of the Holiday season and this year was no exception. As I began to ravage my loot from this year I noticed one small detail while eating my box of “Nerds”, all of the Willy Wonka branding is gone and it’s just Nestle. After further investigation I was saddened to learn that Nestle discontinued the Wonka Company in 2015. I feel this is a perfect opportunity five years later to bring back the man himself Willy Wonka.
As a child I could remember my dad showing me the original 1971 film starring the immortal Gene Wilder. After the film we went to Walgreens in search for the holy grail, a “Wonka Bar” containing a golden ticket. Soon after it was all about the new stuff like the underrated “Nerds Rope”. I can still remember seeing a cartoon Wonka in commercials for the new Wonka candy.
Not only could the Candy be rebooted bringing back the coveted “Wonka Bars” and “Ever Lasting Gobstoppers” but production studios could also create a new film or series to tie in with this new reboot. This new reboot I feel could be a big hit if done right. I would like to see Eric Andre cast as the new Wonka, making the series a bit more crazy it would take place in the factory with Wonka creating a new confectionary treat for the world to enjoy.
To go even further the series could tie in a golden ticket contest that would send some lucky winners to either a newly built Wonka factory or just rebrand the “Toothsome Chocolate Emporium” found at Universal Studios. All the original characters like the Oompa Loompa’s will be there because who else is gonna run the factory. Maybe even some new characters or creatures could be added for some new flare.
With that being said now is a perfect time to capitalize on nostalgia. That Tim Burton reboot from 2005 really hurt the franchise. Hopefully in the upcoming years their will be another chance for a poor boy from a small town to get a golden ticket.
These are my Top 15 songs of 2019. Pretty much the songs I listened to the most this year. Honorable mentions are “Sanguine Paradise” and “Futsal Shuffle” by Lil Uzi Vert.
15. Da$h and V Don feat Meechy Darko- Fangs
Da$h has always been one of the most underrated rappers out of the NY scene. From his days with Bluroc to his Caveman Files mixtape Da$h has always managed to have one or two bangers per project and “Fangs” is no different. With eerie production by V Don showing off his NY grit and a standout feature from Flatbush Zombies own Meechy Darko this might be one of Da$h’s best songs ever.
14. Pouya & Xavier Wulf- Whatever Mane
Sometimes you just need a banger from two of the underground’s best. The legend Xavier Wulf and Florida’s own Pouya go bar for bar over a Purrpdogg style beat. Xavier Wulf is the best when he comes up with his own words, like when he says “don’t get your girl tookin”.
13. Westside Gunn feat Estee Nack- Banana Yacht
The first but not last Griselda song to make the list, Banana Yacht just brings you back to a time period. The track reminds me of an extended interlude that could have been on any classic boom bap album. It’s not about what they are saying it’s how they say it. I had never heard of Estee Nack but after his bilingual bars on this track I became an instant fan. Westside pretty much delivers the intro and hook and the verse are provided by Estee who’s talk of gunplay matches up perfect with Westside.
12. Trippie Redd feat DaBaby- Death
“Death” is just a throwback Memphis banger and that’s all it really needs to be. With a insane Dj Paul beat which samples his original Three 6 Mafia track “Push a Muthafucka” this one is the mosh track. Kinda feel like the Da Baby’s feature was kinda week but he’s one of the biggest artists from this year so I get why Trippie had him on it.
This track is just smooth. Gibbs and Pusha T go bar for bar and it’s pretty hard to say who won. Pusha T is able to paint pictures with his lyrics with one of my favorite bars being “My coke hand is still sketchin out my memoirs What I did to doot panels on them Windstars”. Another stand out line from Pusha was “We all break bread like going Dutch on a dinner date. It would have been nice for Killer Mike to get a verse but I think he does just enough on the hook. Somehow Madlib is able to give the beat a warped scratchy sound giving the track a retro vibe.
10. Travis Scott- Highest In The Room
Being his first follow up single to “Astroworld” I felt this track was pretty solid. That new Jack Boys album he dropped for it is kinda trash but that’s more like his label album so I’ll let it slide. Pretty much any time La Flame has a fire beat and a sick flow he can pretty much say whatever and I’ll be down.
9. Roddy Ricch- The Box
My only West coast track on the list but from one of my favorite new artists. After hearing him on the hook of Nipsey Hussle’s “Racks In The Middle” I knew he would be the next to come out of the west. His radio sing songy flow and catchy hooks are just the best in the game right now. Everything he did right on Mustard’s “Ballin” he just did the same formula on his own song making it better.
8. Griselda- Dr. Bird’s
Just a grimey NY boom bap banger. It was the first single from the new Griselda album, showing fans that just because the album was on Shady Records the bars and beats would be on point. For me Westside and Benny had the best verses but Conway still slides. Production by Daringer is on point as always. Standout lines where “ Amiris filled with cash, I’m in the fashion district Shoot your momma house just for a half a bicken” spits Westside. This track definitely has one of the best hooks of the year “Told Virgil write “Brick” on my brick.
7. Roc Marciano- Richard Gear
Roc Marciano has been bringing the boom bap NY raps was have wanted for at least a decade now but for some reason he is still slept on. Sometimes when his beats don’t have enough drums his bars sort of fall flat basically he is what Jay-z would have been if he didn’t go mainstream. His flow is just so smooth. This track is filled with quotable lines but maybe my favorite back to back lines of the year is when Marci spits “My aura glisten, I shot the bull with the stick from long distance and went off the grid to chill just like a baller with a torn meniscus.” Roc then goes onto say “ I still never slip with all this water dripping, knocked the game up, it was more than just morning sickness.”
6. Conway the Machine feat Westside Gunn & Benny The Butcher- Tito’s Back
This track is just straight fire. Conway and Benny go bar for bar with quotables and some of the best word play I’ve ever heard. The beat from Daringer is just a simple piano loop but that’s all you need when you got some off the best spitters on your beat. Every bar could be considered quotable but my favorite is when Conway says “My number retired you can’t wear my jersey” when referencing his street life. My favorite bar from Benny is when he says “ I went from playing ninas and click-clackin then llamas To walkin out of Neiman’s, mix matching designer” he then goes on to say “I whip crack I brought a brick back to my mamma’s On a crash course, I wore a chin strap in the Honda” Westside pretty much just talks shit at then end but that’s all you really needed. “Doo Doo Doo Dooo!”
5. The Weeknd- Heartless
I cannot get the hook of this song out of my head! Even though it’s just a single it’s already one of my favorite Weeknd songs. I love when he just talks shit about being the man like on the opening line “Never need a bitch, I’m what a bitch need.” This is the only RNB track on the list but for the most part The Weeknd takes a more Hip Hop approach except for the hook. Definitely can’t wait for his new album.
4. Young Thug feat Gunna- Hot
Definitely one of the best bangers of the year. Between the ear worm hook by Gunna and the solid verse from Thug it was nice to see him have a single catch on. This song was meant to play at sporting events, and should definitely be played at every Viper game. The beat by Wheezy has flickering 808 drums and a flute sample that adds a lot to the body of the beat. The Sponge Bob halftime meme just made this one of the best songs in awhile. Slat!!!!
3. Benny The Butcher feat .38 Spesh and Jadakiss- Sunday School
Pretty sure I listened to this track everyday since it came out. Everyone goes hard but I think .38 Spesh had my favorite lines like “I got a lamb and a stick like I’m fresh out the Bible.” And “I brought my own stick like I’m bout to come play pool.” I had never heard of .38 Spesh until this track but I would definitely recommend his back catalog. Again Daringer lays down a simple piano beat but this time with some hard hitting boom bap drums making you feel as if you are in the streets of Buffalo with Benny. Benny’s best line was “ Niggas ain’t see what I saw, a brick turn into a pot of gold, over that I spent my daughter’s first birthday locked in the hole, Plot full of holes came back stronger I’m in control, soft white from my block to the stove not in a cone.” This is the track that made Benny my favorite in the game right now.
2. Trippie Redd feat Juice WRLD & YNW Melly- 6 Kiss
This track just hits different now that Juice is gone. Each artist is able to bring their own to what is probably the best beat of the year. Juice brings that melodic shit, Melly brings the street shit, and Trippie pretty much does both together. The production is handled by Nick Mira & Taz Taylor. It sounds like a Cloud Rap beat mixed with Sega sound effects. The title “6 Kiss” is a reference to the legendary Lil B album title, which is considered the first Cloud Rap album.
1. Lil Uzi Vert- That’s a Rack
Ever since I heard this song I knew it was gonna be number one and nothing has passed it. The bars by Uzi, the catchy hook, and the insane beat by the always on point Oogiemane just works so well. All the singles Uzi released this year could have been on this list but even though “Sanguine Paradise” got more love than this one “That’s a Rack” is still better. I might be biased cause we are both Leo’s and he says “I’m a Leo like lion I’m Simba”. Uzi might get flack for being a so called “mumble rapper” but his strong structures are so different from other people. Like when he sings the part “I could never change gotta stick to my routine, Imma hit it once, then you know I gotta leave.” If this is just a taste of my most anticipated album of 2020 “Eternal Atake” it might be worth the wait.
With the popularity of exotic sodas on the rise, Exotic POP has taken over the game bringing “unique beverage boutiques” to every location that has one of their machines. Sodas ranging from brands Old Tyme, C&C, and even Coca-Cola products with new flavors Coca-Cola Vanilla Float and Fanta White Peach. from foreign lands. The price range on the various pop goes from $5-$30. These sodas are for the true soda connoisseur. With different boutique soda shops opening up in the DT St. Pete area, the time is right for Exotic POP to have an official location in the area.
The brand first gained notoriety from TMZ covering the custom Exotic POP machine made for rapper Lil Pump. The brand also made custom machine and soda for Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival. Drake and Lil Wayne have also shown love to the brand, with the former regularly being seen with a Exotic POP double cup in hand.
With over twenty locations around the country, most notably the Busy Bee store and Screwed Up Records both located in the brands hometown Houston,Texas. The former is the record store of the late Chopped and Screwed Pioneer DJ Screw, who even has his own cotton candy soda as a part of the exclusive hip hop legends Exotic POP soda collection. The collection features a Pimp C “Sweet Jones Strawberry”, Fat Pat’s “Ghetto Dreams Pineapple” and my personal favorite the Big Moe Bar Yar “Purple Drank”.
Founder Charleston Wilson started Exotic POP with one goal to make hard to find sodas for accessible to consumers. After scouring the south for obscure local brands, Wilson decided to create the first Exotic POP machine. Not only does the brand now feature exotic sodas from across the globe, different “Exotic Snaxs” are now a part of the brand.
I personally feel that the city is ready to be apart of the Exoitc Pop family due to the rise in popularity of exotic drinks. Many fake locations have popped up in the area, but until a true Exotic POP ambassador for St.Pete brings a machine to the area we are only able to use the official Exotic Pop app. few locations popping up around Florida I think now is the perfect time to introduce the St.Petersburg/Tampa Bay Area to the real “Unique Beverage Boutique”.
With their up coming film “Uncut Gems” coming out this weekend I decided to go back and check out the Safdie Bro’s previous films. The duo is one of studio A24s stable of talented directors. Bringing us some of the best original films of the decade.
Their first feature “Heaven Knows What” gave off a NY DIY feel that really gave the film so reality, taking the audience into the the heroin filled underbelly of NY.
With good time the Safdie Bro’s amped up the tension with a fast paced style similar to Michael Mann’s “Thief” a story dealing with the crime filled underbelly of NY. The electronic score is very similar to the Tangerine Dream score from “Thief” as well. The bail bond sequences really gave off that Michael Mann vibe.
The film really was bringing me along at first but once Connie played by Robert Pattinson in his best film role to date, takes the wrong person thinking it’s his brother the film sort of goes off the rails. I don’t think we needed that whole acid sprite bottle sequence at Adventure Land, like I get it he needs money but by then his brother is already in the hospital. Benny Safdie’s performance as Nick could have gone down hill but the way Safdie plays it you really feel bad for the brother and can see that Connie is a selfish person just looking for another person to use like he did with Jennifer Jason Leigh.
The acting in this film is def an upgrade from their previous, keeping that sort of Cassavetes esque improv style dialogue but the actors are more polished in this film which puts it over those generic NY mumble core films of the early 2010s.
The Safidie Bro’s are def worth following and with the big buzz of “Uncut Gems” they have moved their self from indie NY directors to actual Oscar contenders. I would say definitely check out good time if your look for a modern day NY crime thriller.
A great follow up to one of my favorite films of last year “Hereditary”.
The improvements in world building from Aster’s first feature allows for repeat viewings. Once you know the lore behind some of the villages traditions. Not sure if the demons in this film have a correlation to the one in his previous film but time will tell.
I found the characters lacked like ability and just felt like devices to further along the plot. I found Will Poulter of “Breaking Bad” fame to be the most amusing of the bunch. The crew that portrayed all the villagers did a fantastic job and really made you feel like you where living on their compound.
The trippy feel the film gives off has the characters being experimenting with mushrooms and various magic teas is something very seen in other films that try to take the psychedelic approach. Often films add in unrealistic elements like wacky unicorns or talking plants. Aster’s approach gives off the sense that the plant life is a living breathing thing, in some cases even becoming one with the humans.
The set design for the film is top notch. The shots all have a flat perfect look to them, that blend well with the sets capturing a Kubrickian esthetic.
The gore elements of the film are what will bring me back for a rewatch. I enjoyed how Aster didn’t hold back, giving us one of the most shocking scenes on the year.
If your a fan of modern horror I would definitely suggest this. The run time is a little longer than it needs to be but definitely one of my favs from this years.
A yearly Christmas tradition for me is to watch the old Rankin Bass Christmas specials. Mostly known for their stop motion portrayals of Rudolph and Santa, the technique called “animagic” was created by Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass during the seventies and eighties. For me the evil doers in these Christmas tales interest me more then the hero’s. Whether it be jealousy of Santa or just trying to survive the fact that each one of these villains tries to end Christmas makes them the worst of the worst. This is my Top 5 Rankin Bass holiday villains.
Note: Characters like the Heat and Snow miser didn’t make the list because they eventually turn good, all of these picks are pure evil.
Honorable Mentions: The Cat and Fox from Pinchocios Christmas do some mischievous stuff but not enough to make the list. The Dukes servant they sell Pinchocio to has one of the best songs in the Rankin Bass films. The Agwahs from “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus” are pretty evil looking but the film lacks as a whole for them to make it on the list.
5. Old Mag the Banshee. (Leprechaun Christmas Gold 1981)
One of my favorite underrated movies from the Rankin/Bass series of films is “Leprechaun Christmas Gold” due to the wacky Banshee that is released from the pine tree. If she does not secure the Leprechaun’s gold by Christmas she will turn to tears. In order to do this she uses various disguises to trick the various inhabitants of the island.
4. Eon The Terrible (Rudolph’s Shiny New Year 1975)
This giant bird doesn’t necessarily try to ruin Christmas but rather the New Year instead. In order for Eon to go on ruling over The Island of No Name found in the Archipelago of Last Years were old years go to retire. The only way for Eon to survive from turning into snow and ice is to capture the baby New Year Happy who if not returned to Father Time by the twelfth bong on New Years Eve, time will stop preserving Eon.
3. Burgermeister Meisterburger (Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 1970)
Not only is he the first person to try and stop Santa from giving out toys but he also sends him to jail. After slipping on a toy breaking his leg Meisterburger bans all the toys in the town, making Santa an outlaw. Eventually Santa is able to change is heart with the power of Christmas by giving him his Childhood favorite toy a yoyo.
2. Kubla Kraus (Jack Frost 1979)
The top two spots could have gone either way but Kubla landed second due to his inability to really hurt anyone. His band of Keh-Nights and his iron horse Klang Stomper are pretty dope and his King of the Cossacks song is definitely a mood. His friend and right hand man Domy is the comic relief really adding to Kublas evilness. He rules over January Junction with an iron fist forcing them to rely on Jack Frost’s ice coins instead of Kaputnicks.
1.Winterbolt (Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July 1979)
The ice wizard who is pretty much responsible for this list getting made. Whether it’s his magic ice septor that he uses to extinguish Rudolph’s Nose, or his fog breathing snakes that keep Santa from flying his sleigh.Winterbolt is the epitome of Christmas evil, he even has his own ice genie. After Lady Boreal, Queen of the Northern Lights sends Winterbolt into a deep sleep Santa is able to take over the North Pole restoring the wild life and the Kringles to the area. After he awakens Winterbolt seeks to claim his throne back as king of the north “making the world his own personal snow ball.” In order to do this he tricks Rudolph and Frosty into helping out the Circus By The Sea which puts Frosty and his family in danger of melting. So basically Winterbolt kills Frosty and his family. He also recruits the evil reindeer Scratcher from The Cave of Lost Rejections featuring a rogues gallery of evil North Pole wildlife. Winterbolt definitely has the best death of all the villains, with him turning into a meth addict tree after Ethel Merman breaks his magic spetor. Winterbolt takes on the holy trinity of Christmas hero’s and almost succeeded making him the number one Rankin/Bass Christmas Special Villan.