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by Brandon Boone
Besides people asking me “how do you afford to travel so much?” I often get asked, “why do you travel so much?” I usually give a generic answer like “because I want to see the world” or “because it frees my mind.” Although both of those statements are true, there is also a deeper explanation.
I travel because it opens my mind to new experiences, gives me the opportunity to learn about new cultures, and connects me to humans that I never dreamed of meeting and connecting with. These are the three influential reasons on why I travel. I also believe you will find great influence in my reasoning as well. Let’s take a closer look.
Opens my mind to new experiences
The joy that traveling brings is endless. You create memories that will last a lifetime. You will also step outside your comfort zone, I can almost guarantee it. The more you travel, the more your mind opens up. I know I may sound like a character from Doctor Strange, but it's the truth.
Since I started traveling, I'm doing things I never thought I would do. Horseback riding in foreign countries, swimming in dark caves, or riding a cable car 10,341 feet up a mountain in Colombia are just a few activities I never dreamed of doing. But look at me now. Even my appetite changed since I have been traveling. I use to only eat American food like hamburgers and pizza, but now I'll try just about anything.
Learn new cultures
Experiencing different cultures first hand will definitely change a person and make them more diverse. We live in one of the more diverse countries in the world, yet many of us are not very diverse individuals. Growing up in Louisiana was like binge watching the same season over and over again. I love Louisiana to death, but I didn't understand the true meaning of diversity until I moved to Austin and started traveling.
Diversity is also the key to creativity. As stated by Jeffrey Baumgartner, “Living in a new culture, learning new ways of doing things and, in short, diversifying your life makes you more creative.” Believe it or not, creativity is very important to the human life. Boosting your confidence or giving you new ways to express yourself are just a couple of ways on why creativity is so essential.
Connecting to humans
This is absolutely one of my favorite aspects of traveling. Connecting to humans across the globe is life changing. It provides growth and maturity. It changes the way you see the world. Connecting with a human you never met before who grew up completely different from you will turn you into a better person.
The best part about it is that the connection does not always produce the best outcome. That makes the experience even more valuable. Call me crazy, but you'll understand it once you experience it. For example, my friends and I got hustled out in Cuba. Were we upset? Yes. Was Cuba one of our best experiences yet? Yes! We gained so much insight into Cuba’s culture and learned so much from that experience.
So why do I travel so much?
By now, you should know the answer to that question. Traveling has evolved me and made me into the person I am today. I can only continue to elevate. There are so many more places to see and humans to connect with. The possibilities of growth are endless!
Bio: Brandon Boone is a digital marketer, blogger, creative, travel hacker, community organizer, donut lover, and a University of Louisiana-Monroe Graduate C’12. He is also the founder of the lifestyle brand, The Great Ones. Brandon strives to inspire millennials to become greater people through his website, community outreach, and service projects.
by Joseph Bonney
The King of the Teens has dropped his long awaited Teenage Emotions Album. Lil Boat is known for making fun party tracks as well as the poster child for the new wave of mumble rap. I tried my best to go into this album without a biased view. Listening to this album is like taking a glimpse into Yachty’s soul.
The project opens up with an intro from an uncle of Yachty’s to welcome you to this album. But after a while he comes in with the usual auto-tuned whaling he is known for. The “DN freestyle” takes an unexpected turn into a rapid incoherent rap. He doesn’t let rhymes dictate his thought process, it’s a burst of thoughts spilling onto a song. “Peek A Boo” is the first track that feels planned, if that makes sense. It follows the traditional chorus, verse, chorus that you hear on the radio. The “Blow my dick like a cello” line, which Yachty has addressed, as ridiculous as it sounds doesn’t take away too much considering the track is a euphemism for playing with female genitalia (though not one of Yachty’s people recognizing that a cello isn’t blown is quite disturbing).
The next stand out track of the album “All Around Me”, is something I can see none Yachty fans listening to. It’s catchy, fun and not as absurd as his other tracks. Kamaiyah and YG’s addition to the track also give the track direction and the radio flare we’re looking for. The following four tracks center around his newfound fame at a young age: “Say My Name” wants people to chant for him while in the next track Yachty asks about the lack of attention he gets. After that, the next songs are about living life to the fullest, enjoying oneself, and being free. He dips into a dancehall vibe with “Better”, reminiscent of Drake’s recent sound.
“Running with a Ghost” is the song that hit me the strongest out of the whole album because it’s a generic pop rap track, which isn’t bad at all. I’m not sure how receptive the masses will be to the tune, but this song has heavy potential to blow up. Grace sultry vocals serenading the hook on a bubblegum trap beat with Yachty at the forefront is an algorithm for a hit. Tracks like ”Lady in the Yellow” and “X Men” are straight to the point but they take different directions. Lady in the Yellow is Yachty crooning about a woman he loves, while “X Men” is the the cliche money, cars, clothes, women track. It’s a confident entertaining track.
The last two tracks are a decrescendo to this album. “Made of Glass” discusses unrequited love and being seen through or non existent to his love one. The outro is the closure of his world with the assistance of his mother, who lists how much she loves her son. A sweet touch. It ties up the raw emotion and angst that Yachty feels, as if to say, all over the place. But you’ve done a lot and everything will be okay.
This album isn’t going to convert you into a Yachty fan. This album is like Flo-Rida or Pitbull when they drop an album. It has the radio songs that do what they’re suppose to do; generate a song that people will play at almost every club or house party. But at the end of the day, most are not fiending for this album. You won’t see facebook statuses from your friends claiming how excited or ‘fire’ the album is. Which is fine. This album represents a moment in time, a phase our society is at right now. Boat will gain momentum off this album, but it will really take his future music to decide how to feel about him. Otherwise don’t go into this album expecting to be swayed. Yachty’s entire persona is the basis of this album, what you see is what you get.
Joseph Bonney is a writer, artist, hip-hop enthusiast, and gamer currently living in San Marcos,Texas. A recent English graduate with an Art/Design minor, when he's not working, he's usually doing 1 of the 4, or eating. You can find his Instagram page here.
by Joseph Bonney
“Lollipop” was the first Lil Wayne song that I heard, it was also the first hip-hop song that engraved my love for hip-hop. It captured me in a way that no other song had done before. It had this dirty south/grimey vibe mixed with a pop club sound that resonated with me in a different way than most songs. Since then, Wayne has gone from hip-hop rockstar, to the new underdog: Getting Platinum records and pushing his artist like Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Tyga (who has left the label); to going to prison, having many episodic seizures, and the continous legal battle between former ally Birdman. But as of late I keep asking myself how will Wayne be remembered? Does he deserve more respect then he gets?
“Lil Wayne is still my favorite rapper” Says Chance the Rapper in a tweet to a fan. You can hear Wayne’s influence in most rappers flow, lyricism, style, etc. “ Wayne is still fun.” ASAP Rocky states in an interview, “are we forgetting that Wayne made everybody switch their flow up and start using the E’s and R’s, and ‘I’m ir-regul-ar, seg-ular’? Like, c’mon, are we forgetting that Wayne changed hip-hop, too?”. Wayne is a wordplay juggernaut that put some of the best rappers to shame, and he made it sound fun at the same time. I’ll tell friends about a new Wayne song or verse, and the consensus is usually the same, “he’s was better during Tha Carter 3”, “I can’t get into Wayne”, “*Insert conscious rapper* is way better than Wayne!”. I will admit as a lyricist Wayne is great, but he is not the storytelling, activist that other rappers like Kendrick Lamar and J.Cole are . But Wayne was never that. On songs like “Shooter” off Tha Carter 2 he will share a glimpse of his disgust toward radio stations treatment southern rappers “And to the radio stations/ I'm tired of being patient/ Stop being rapper racists, region-haters”, yet he didn’t dwell on it. He wasn’t a philosopher, he is a wordsmith who knows how choose the right words in the right place which makes him fun!
Though at the same time, Wayne can be irresponsible with his image. There’s the obvious: the eight month jail stint he served in Rikers Island on gun charges, for example, something that many fans championed him for being a true “gangster”. He famously rapped a line about Emmett Till on a Future song that brought so much bad media attention his way, that he lost his sponsorship with Mountain Dew. Even recently (November 2nd 2016) in an interview with CNN he stated “I don't feel connected to a damn thing that ain't got nothin' to do with me” in reference to the Black Lives Matters movement. I have personal qualms with aspects of Black Lives Matter, but to disregard a movement because it doesn’t touch you personally is disrespectful to his own race. I know he didn’t mean it in a malicious sense, but he could’ve handled his response better. Plus, Wayne is trying to be an entrepreneur like his idol Jay-Z, and has started different business ventures like Trukfit clothing, Young Money Sports, and even a mobile game called “Sqvad Up”. He needs to know how to protect his image and brand.
Now back to today, Lil Wayne is having legal troubles with Bryan “Birdman” Williams, CEO of Cash Money Records and a former father figure. Birdman discovered Wayne when he was a child struggling to have a sufficient life with his single mother. Birdman started Cash Money Records in 1991 with his brother Ronald “Slim” Williams. Though they started the label with native New Orleans artists, Lil Wayne took Cash Money Records to new heights. Wayne stayed on when other popular artists, like Juvenile, left Cash Money, and brought it to an unforeseen height with his record Tha Carter 3 (2008).
That album - with songs like “A Milli”, “Got Money”, and “Mrs. Officer” - revived the label like a phoenix and led to the birth of a new era. Things were smooth until 2015, when it came time to drop Wayne’s next album, Tha Carter V. Universal Records and Birdman refused to drop the album, and Wayne never received the advance for the album. In the two years since, things have not improved. Wayne filed a court order against Birdman and Universal Records and severed his connection with his former mentor and Cash Money.
The drawback to this is Wayne has lost funding from his parent label. This has led to dropping mixtapes and touring at festivals and nightclubs instead of the large stadiums, like Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena, that he played at the height of his career. It has people wondering if this is it for Wayne. Rick Ross stated “Us seeing Lil Wayne’s [situation] and suffering from that, I think we kind of all got used to it. I think the culture has fucking accepted that Wayne would not put out another album. And that’s not the way the game [should be]. That’s not the way we designed this. That’s not the way this is supposed to be.”
As a fan of Wayne, I agree with Rozay, Tha Carter V has become the new Detox, but not in a good way. Millions of Wayne’s fans are waiting for a gladiator-style return, when he drops an album that annihilates every other fighter in the arena. For now, however, we get endless features, the occasional project (like Sorry 4 the Wait 2, Dedication 5, and the T-Pain leaked T-Wayne), and endless promises that something will come out soon. Birdman has gone on record multiple times stating that Tha Carter V is coming out at the end of 2017. I would like to think this isn’t the end, and hope he’s able to make the comeback he deserves.
Joseph Bonney is a writer, artist, hip-hop enthusiast, and gamer currently living in San Marcos,Texas. A recent English graduate with an Art/Design minor, when he's not working, he's usually doing 1 of the 4, or eating. Follow him on Instagram: @joebonesart
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