Hot Takes: Drake’s surprise album, Ruger’s on-stage incidents, Steph’s ring & more
Extra, extra. Read all about it.
Extra, extra. Read all about it.
The first half of this year—which has served a substantial dose of riveting Pop culture topics ranging from the infamous the Will Smith Oscars debacle to the highly discussed ownership change at Twitter— is on its last legs. In a couple of days, the sparkling new second half of the year will be underway. The bells of summer are tolling with unbridled gusto and its aura has started percolating through every inch of the Pop culture landscape.
Instagram is awash with lurid photos of summer-enthusiasts flaunting their summer bodies, fresh vivacious Pop jams have started gaining traction and the typical fiery topics that usually crystallize the zeitgeist of this season have started sprouting. In Nigeria the dawn of the summer also flags off a highly anticipated stint: the infamous 9-month run-up to the general elections. Prominent candidates have begun dallying about to consolidate power, and engaging each other in a profound game of political chess. Patriotic citizens are scurrying about to get their PVCs, fervent supporters have begun singing the paeans of their candidate while online revolutionaries are at their game of trying to change the country solely through the power of fiery tirades on Twitter.
Against the backdrop of these jostling activities, the Pop Culture scene continues to serve sweltering topics of discussion. In this instalment of Hot Takes, we’ll slice through several notable topics of the last week, from the cloud of dust that was raised on social media after Ruger’s salacious stage performance over the weekend, to Steph Curry’s legacy-sealing ring. Sit back as I take you on an exhilarating ride.
Last weekend was surreal for music enthusiasts from this part of the world. There were drops from several prolific artists, including new music from Asake and Drake. Over the past few days I’ve found myself marinating in a cocktail of quality music. The Asake bit is an obvious one, he’s kept the whole nation and our comrades in diaspora in a chokehold since he dropped “PBUY.” I’ve also been bumping Chris Brown and Wizkid’s “Call Me Everyday.” This song leaves me in weightless bliss with every listen and, even though it’s a single ahead of the coming Chris Brown album, something deep within my guts tells me that this song is also a prelude to Wiz’s reported next album, More Love, Less Ego.
I’ve also been listening to Drake’s surprise album, Honestly, Nevermind. I must admit that this album initially left me rattled for so many reasons. For one, it seemingly popped out of pure either. Also, it’s a Dance album. Then, the concise nature of the album is quite unlike Drake. But, for all it’s worth, it’s a stellar album. It was nice to receive a cohesively strung-together project from Drake. His singing has gotten a lot better, a lot of people don’t seem to have clocked this. My favourite cuts off the project are “Texts Go Green”, “Sticky”, “Massive” and “Jimmy Cooks”; the album is great but these cuts are immaculate.
The weight of reality can feel crushing sometimes. Recently, I’ve found reality to be rather bland and lethargic, as a result, I’ve turned to movies for the quaint bliss of escapism. I’ve binged on a not-so-healthy amount of films and series, the bright side to this is that I have enough content to stuff up this column with.
I breezed through an exhilarating Netflix series titled, “The Lincoln Lawyer.” The plot sees a charismatic litigator, Mickey Haller, revive his career, pulling rabbits out of his hats as he wins cases by razor-sharp margins. This all culminates in him winning an almost-impossible case, which sees his most prominent client Trevor Elliott get acquitted of two counts of murder. My description of the plot is drab compared to how spellbinding the actual series is, and of course, there’s a major plot twist.
I also watched an inspirational Basketball film, “Hustle”, which follows the definitive trope that all sports movies follow: work super hard and against all odds you’ll achieve your dreams. I’m not going to dawdle on how idealistic and fantastical these movies are, as idealistic as they are, they hold a poignant and profound message: Hard work and resilience are some of the most prominent attributes that underpin success. Also, I enjoyed the movie because who doesn’t enjoy two hours of escapism that culminates in a happy ending?
I also watched a teen series on Netflix titled “First Kill”. Which is essentially a story about a forbidden love between two teenage high school girls, one of which is a legacy vampire, and the other is a monster hunter. For a heads up, if you get queasy about minuscule details that are not executed properly or you cannot forgive not-so-great CGI, or you’re a vampire aficionado, you will not enjoy this series. This series is for vampire non-experts that just want a breezy watch. The second half of the series however is painfully difficult to watch, the plot gets garbled and the acting is agonizingly bad. Finally, I’ve been watching “Big Mouth”. For those in the dark, it’s the best-animated series ever created by man.
Ruger is a classic heart-throb, and as such he is doted on by ladies from far and wide. Unfortunately, some ladies find it hard to keep their attraction to him at bay and he’s fallen victim to several public sexual assaults this year, with the most prominent event seeing a lady grab his crotch while he was performing a song on stage.
Over the weekend he delivered an electrifyingly titillating performance that saw him engage three ladies in raunchy dancing whilst he performed some songs on stage. This performance sparked a riveting discussion on Twitter and people from certain circles believe that he deserved to be assaulted because he’s comfortable with engaging in consensual salacious dancing with ladies on stage.
To this, I’ll say, stupidity knows no bounds. It’s 2022, and some people still don’t understand the pertinence of consent? As a final note, the fact that a person acts openly sexual doesn’t mean that they want to be sexual with you, consent is key. If you don’t get this in this day and age, that’s frightening.
Ruger ma ti ya weyrey ke 😳 pic.twitter.com/x6mXuuYGmn
— Yom🦟 (@YomYom_) June 19, 2022
Over the past week, Kim Kardashian has come under intense arson for damaging a famous Marilyn Monroe dress, which she wore to this year’s MET Gala. I understand that Kim was out of line to an extent, with regards to donning the dress to the MET Gala. For one, she brazenly stated that she had to lose several pounds in two weeks to fit into the dress, which maybe a bit counterintuitive in today’s body-positivity climate. Full disclosure, she didn’t fit into the dress. A video surfaced which showed a throng of stylists forcefully trying to squish her into the dress. Even with all the effort, the zipper couldn’t go all the way up, and she had to drape a jacket over her back to veil the mess.
But at the end of the day, I still don’t think anything she did warrants the public outrage, it’s still just a dress. Miss me with the “The dress holds so much significance”, it’s still just a dress! As a civilization, we have more pressing issues to tackle. America is facing a gun-violence endemic, and Nigerians are grappling with a dysfunctional society, a damaged dress is the least of our concerns. Furthermore, the havoc that she wreaked on the dress was not in any way substantial, the custodians of the dress put out a statement to this effect. The dress is owned by a private collector from whom Kim rented the dress, he’s not complaining, I see no reason why the public has decided to herald this as the world’s most pressing problem.
Thankfully, and predictably, the fake outrage has given way to a bunch of good jokes on Twitter, which is inarguably the best thing to happen with this situation.
These photos of the damage done to Marilyn Monroe’s dress before and after it was worn by Kim Kardashian at the Met Gala pic.twitter.com/QssUl9EQNh
— Tanner (@T4NN3RINA) June 13, 2022
Last Friday, Drake sent seismic ripples through the Pop Culture space when he dropped his 7th studio album, Honestly, Nevermind with only last minute warning. Following the drop, throngs of self-acclaimed music connoisseurs got to work airing their opinions across social channels. As expected, the project received a lot of criticism, especially on Twitter.
I understand why people are mad at Drake on account of this project. His previous project, Certified Lover Boy, was a bland formulaic album, as such, fans were expecting him to waltz in, rapping with a chip on his shoulders for his follow-up album. Instead, they got a Dance album with no bars, save for one song on the project. Still, this doesn’t change the fact that Honestly, Nevermind is a great project. It’s a trim, cohesive and refreshing LP from a man who is notorious for disturbingly eclectic and lengthy projects. Furthermore, the project is replete with feel-good anthems.
I’m particularly stoked that a good number of Africans were involved in the production of the album. Congolese artist Tresor was heavily involved in the production and recording of the project, he worked on six songs off the project. Grammy award-winning South African artiste Black Koffee was also heavily involved in the project, he boasts of writing and production credits across the project. In addition, he’s also listed as an executive producer on the project. It’s a bummer that the project didn’t sport any Amapiano record, though, especially since industry rumours projected a Drake ‘Piano record with South African twin DJ/producer duo Major League DJz as far back as last summer. Maybe he’ll get around to that sometime soon
Drake also announced that he’s dropping a rap mixtape later this year. Hopefully, that’ll pacify the aggrieved rap heads in Drake’s tent.
Drake been told us how it was gonna be like 🤷🏻♂️ pic.twitter.com/QFtCS9XkdL
— Dody (@vietbrah) June 20, 2022
In the third quarter of game 6 of the just concluded NBA Finals, Steph Curry walked into a 30+ footer 3-point shot, pushing the lead of his Golden State Warriors to 22 points in a closeout game. Seconds later, as the shot forced the Boston Celtics to call a timeout, Steph dismissively glared at the crowd as Boston’s TD Garden while pointing at the ring finger on his right hand, signifying his readiness for a fourth NBA championship ring. Somehow, that was only the second coldest moment of that night.
The Warriors got the job done on that night, winning the game 103-90 and rounding out the finals series with a 4-2 win, behind 34 points from Steph. The baby-faced assassin, as he’s referred to by NBA fans, was easily the best player on the floor throughout the entire series, and he added his first, previously elusive NBA Finals MVP trophy to his latest championship. Prior to last Thursday night, some basketball fans and analysts had pointed to a lack of the FMVP trophy in Steph’s résumé as the weak link in his legacy, as if he wasn’t already a transcendental, game-changing centrepiece of one of the greatest teams in Basketball history.
Competitive and clearly petty, like his Warriors brothers Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, Steph used this year’s finals—and the entire 2022 playoffs run—as an assertion of his greatness, leaving zero rooms for questions about the validity of claims that he’s a top ten basketball player ever.
Night Night pic.twitter.com/fIMwW4eeSk
— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) June 17, 2022