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Preach On, Sermon: Big Sean’s Road To Redemption

Big Sean

Preach On, Sermon: Big Sean’s Road To Redemption

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Break-ups are motivation. Amidst all the heartbreak and depression that comes with it, one thing I’ve learned is to never stop working. There’s never been a day where I’ve felt like I can’t write due to feeling sad. In fact, I take break-ups too seriously in my mind. Those looming questions of why she doesn’t want me or how could she do whatever she did build up the rage inside. A lot of people use that rage as a negative tool, but I seek out the positive from it. Thus, I have been able to put myself into opportunities, because I was fueled to work harder for the sake of my sanity and career.

I’d like to think Big Sean has been feeling this way too. I met and interviewed him in 2012, so I’m not gonna pretend we’re buddies or nothing. His recent output dating back to September 2014 has been a huge step up. Going on his third album, Sean acts like a newcomer with something to prove. He’s coming out swinging like Mayweather in, well, every single fight. There is much to prove. Sean is in an interesting position where he’s not Drake, Kanye, or Kendrick, but hangs around them. Not only that, he has bodied the first two on a couple occasions. Still, his albums haven’t reflected that. The internet despises Hall Of Fame despite it not being that bad of an album. However, considering Sean is not a rookie, the album is underwhelming.

April 2014 was when the media reported that Big Sean and Naya Rivera called off their engagement. Rumors trickled out on both sides. Naya moved on quickly, while Big Sean kept things quiet with Ariana Grande until late August. As mentioned before, Sean dropped a four-song set in September that spawned his now Platinum single, “IDFWU,” which was instantly pointed to as a response to the break-up with Naya. He’s denied that the entire song was, but admitted there was parts of it inspired by it. Across the four songs, there was no weak links. The Key Wane-produced “4th Quarter” was as focused as he’s ever been.

It’s 2015. We’re getting Dark Sky Paradise, his third album, on February 24. Backed by “IDFWU” and now the Drake and Kanye-assisted “Blessings,” Big Sean is two for two. Not only that, he breezed through Meek Mill’s “B Boy” in a similar fashion to their 2012 classic “Burn.” Meek himself has been on fire, so to hear Sean out-spit him is an accomplishment. “I tell a bitch get on my lap and don’t you get on my nerves,” he drops with casual ease. The same fate rested with Drake on “Blessings.” In defense, Drake only had a 16 compared to Sean’s presence on it.

Now, we’ve seen this pattern before. Big Sean gets on a run, then delivers an album that doesn’t reflect it. However, this time feels different. The two singles are good, the guest features and production are looking right, and Sean has more to talk about since HOF. It’s been noted that this album could turn out a lot more darker than previous LPs, which is perfectly fine with me. Those type of songs make for the best listens, because it’s a universal feeling that we all can relate to.

While Justin Charity will put his bid in for Meek Mill running the year, I’m going to toss Big Sean’s name into the Goblet of Fire.

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Preach On, Sermon: The 20th Anniversary Of Spider-Man: TAS

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Preach On, Sermon: The 20th Anniversary Of Spider-Man: TAS

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Spider-Man: The Animated Series turned 20 this week. November 19, 1994 was the date that “Night Of The Lizard” premiered and paved the way for the 65 episodes. Through its four year run, the adventures of Peter Parker spread all across New York city that was never short on villains. Everybody from Venom to Hammerhead were included, many for the first time on TV. It wasn’t until season two that the series picked up story-lines that ran the entire time vs. standalone episodes found in the first season. From there, there were plenty of classic moments. Episodes with Venom and Carnage ranking high, Secret Wars and the Clone Saga being adapted into mini-parts and watching the soap opera lifestyle of Peter were all entertaining.

Perhaps the greatest mystery in Marvel’s animated universe lies in the stellar 1994 series that was unfortunately cancelled before it should have been. The story is Avi Arad (executive producer) had many disagreements with Margaret Loesch (network head at Fox Kids) about the show which led to season five being the end. In the eyes of most, Spidey’s adventure was over once he dealt with the clones, met Stan Lee and went back home with Madame Web. However, the core fans were left with one lingering and burning question: what happened to Mary Jane?

To start off with, Mary Jane isn’t dead (death isn’t something the show could tackle due to censors anyways). Madame Web and Peter were on the verge of searching for her in the final moments of the series. While we’ll never see actually what the plan was, the internet strikes with the once supposed story-line, revealed by story editor John Kemper, that would make up part of season six. Apparently, MJ floated through time back to an era where Jack The Ripper was prominent. This would’ve also placed her in Victorian England. It gets more interesting. Carnage was impersonating Jack as he hunted for Mary Jane, who also suffered from amnesia. Peter and Web would show up, kick Carnage’s butt and go back to modern time. Upon getting her memory back, MJ would reveal she knew Peter’s secret all along. There are plenty of gaps in between that won’t be filled, but that’s about as satisfying as it’ll get.

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Other ideas that got tossed around for the future involved a Ghost Rider team-up and Mysterio being alive. The following is a supposed excerpt of what that would’ve translated into:

“Ghost Rider was scheduled to appear on “Spider-Man” some time in the fifth season of the show. In the story, written by John Semper, it would have been revealed that Mysterio was alive after his off-screen demise in season four’s episode “The Haunting of Mary Jane Watson”, and he would have used a Time Dialation Accelerator device to commit a series of robberies. Mysterio would have been discovered by Baron Mordo, who wanted Mysterio to use the Time Dialation device to free his master, Dormammu, from another dimension. Spider-Man would have teamed-up with Ghost Rider to stop their plans from bringing Dormammu out of his dimension, though it is not known what the fate is of the Time Dialation Accelerator or how there was a new one since the previous was destroyed on-screen in season three’s “Turning Point” episode when the Green Goblin is banished to limbo.”

The reason for this not being in season five was UPN claiming they wanted to do a Ghost Rider series and Fox Kids’ network deciding not to potentially give them promotion. It never happened and to this day a series was never produced.

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Another memory of the series is how much the censors played a role. Blame Power Rangers (and even the early Batman: TAS) for Broadcast Standards & Practices becoming so strict. They didn’t want their shows to get banned or even get sued for something imitable. As a kid, those things get overlooked. You’re watching and not noticing until you actually see what they weren’t allowed to do. There are no guns in the universe, replaced by futuristic laser firing ones. Death, die, kill were unacceptable and often replaced by destroy or hinted at but never said. To signify a passing, the use of interdimensional portals or other creative methods had to be used. Despite being in the final season, Electro and Sandman were off-limits as a potential big screen movie was trying to get off the ground. The origins of Electro and the man behind the mask were changed a significant deal too in the cartoon.

Through all the bad, Spiderman: The Animated Series is often revered as the best cartoon adaptation to date. Some will argue Spectacular Spiderman, but regardless it’s undeniable that those two are the best. For me, the former had more character development and interesting stories. As some of the folks that worked on the show said, part of the beauty of the series was the drama behind the villainy. Watching Peter’s rocky relationship with Mary Jane unfold and his side-chick-esque adventures with Felicia Hardy was sometimes more compelling than, for instance, Hobgoblin kidnapping Harry Osborn. For what the writers and animators had to endure (Marvel was also in financial trouble), they ended up creating an amazing cartoon series with the resources they had. And 20 years later, it still stands up to that.

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