Categories
Culture Music

Music of the Month: 6 Standout Songs from December

Music is nearing its final day of not just the year but the decade as well. Just before 2019 is a wrap, some of our favorite artists have debuted projects with new sounds and unexpected collaborations. Harry Styles blessed fans with a highly anticipated new album, and hip-hop artists like Russ and Lil Uzi Vert released some pretty banging singles after a year of waiting and predicting. With so much great new music to look back on, we picked our six favorite and most heavily rotated tracks from December. And as we do every month here at ONE37pm, we’ve curated and list of them all, just for you!

1. ‘Treat People with Kindness’ by Harry Styles

“Treat People with Kindness” is the 11th track on Harry Styles’s second studio album, Fine Line. The song opens with a theatrical chorus sung by a choir and then leads into warm-hearted verses about doing good and feeling good. The tune is individual in its own sense, sounding completely different from any other track on the album. “Treat people with Kindness” has become a commonly used catchphrase by Styles since 2017 and is featured on several of his merchandise pieces, resulting in a slogan adopted by his fan base.

2. ‘Mind Is a Prison’ by Alec Benjamin

In this slow-paced, reflective song, Alec Benjamin sings about overthinking and struggling to let go of his thoughts. “Mind Is a Prison” will be featured on his upcoming sophomore album, and a music video is set to follow shortly after its debut this month. Similar to his other songs, the Phoenix-born singer, who music critics have also described as a storyteller, effectively paints a picture through relatable lyrics and emotionally rich vocals for pop music consumption.   

3. ‘Futsal Shuffle 2020’ by Lil Uzi Vert

Lil Uzi is back-back, and this time for good. “Futsal Shuffle 2020” debuted this month as the first official single for his long-awaited second album, Eternal Atake. The catchy boastful track is accompanied by a dance that Uzi released the choreography himself. The track was the third release from the Philadelphia-born artist this year, following “Sanguine Paradise” and “That’s a Rack.”

4. ‘Future Nostalgia’ by Dua Lipa

“Future Nostalgia” is the title track on Dua Lipa’s new upcoming album, Future Nostalgia. The track opens with a futuristic beat and quickly leads into verses packed with empowering and feminist lyrics. The U.K. singer told Rolling Stone that the song is “playful and fun” and produced by “not taking ourselves too seriously,” but fans collected a pop tune that undeniably showcases the artist’s strengths. Dua’s unmatched vocals blended with self-assured wordplay create the perfect female alpha anthem.

5. ‘The Worst in Me’ by KAYTRANADA ft. Tinashe

In “The Worst in Me” KAYTRANADA and Tinashe join forces for the first time to create a bass-heavy chilled-out tune. A work of instrumental genius, the track is rich in texture, blending R&B vocals with Haitian-Canadian production. From start to finish, “The Worst in Me” is a total finely calibrated song, that only gets better with repeated play.

6. ‘Nighttime (Interlude)’ by Russ

In the chill, heartfelt “Nighttime (Interlude),” Russ dives into relationship issues that have gotten worse with time. “Nighttime (Interlude)” marks the third track off the New Jersey-born artist’s upcoming third studio album, Shake the Snow Globe. Written and sung with emotion, the track’s slow beat and reasoning lyrics, set a dark, late evening mood no matter what time of the day the song is played. 

Categories
Gaming New Releases

29 Best Multiplayer PS4 Games to Play with Friends

One of the best ways to enjoy video games is with a friend. Whether that entails joining them in an effort to complete a co-op campaign or handing them a few devastating losses in a competitive multiplayer environment, playing a game with your closest chums is always a good time. 

Sony’s PlayStation 4 console has been around for a long time now and has amassed an impressive slate of must-play titles. And several of the best ones just so happen to be the types of games that allow for two players or more to enjoy some fun times together. There’s a wealth of genres to find a great multiplayer experience within—fighters, racers, sports games, third- and first-person shooters, puzzlers, etc. Digging into the PS4’s massive library of games and making an effort to find the best ones with multiplayer features can be a long, arduous task. But it doesn’t have to be if you want our expert gaming assistance.

Since we’re always here to help (you’re welcome for putting you onto a bunch of games that are like Overwatch, by the way), we’ve decided to lend PS4 owners a hand in finding 29 of the top multiplayer games that need to be on their playlist. Prepare to laugh, shed a few tears and scream uncontrollably as you play each and every one of these awesome PS4 multiplayer experiences.

1. ‘Overcooked! 2’

A game that’s all about preparing and cooking food is more fun than you’d think. Overcooked! 2 presents this seemingly regular activity and turns it on its head with some whacky elements. Up to four players have to work together and produce a number of delicious meals while trying to brave the elements across a variety of stages. One minute, you’ll be asked to cook up baked goods in a frosty environment; the next minute, you’ll find yourself and your fellow cooks crafting all sorts of hot delicacies while riding atop neighboring boats. Overcooked! 2 is a fun online four-player game, but it’s even better when experienced in a local co-op setting. 

2. ‘A Way Out’

Leo and Vincent are two convicted prison mates who want to retrieve their freedom. Both men have legit reasons as to why they want to get out of their current predicament. A Way Out lets you and another player take on the roles of both characters as they go on a dangerous trek on the road to redemption. The story is told within this third-person adventure is enthralling, which is the main reason why you’ll want to see it through till the very end. A Way Out is jam-packed with all sorts of minigames that present fun co-op/competitive situations that are all worth delving into.

3. ‘Rocket League’

The combination of soccer and rocket-powered cars has morphed into one of the hottest multiplayer games in recent memory. In Rocket League, each player hops into their favorite ride for some exciting matches in massive arenas. The moment-to-moment gameplay makes for some nail-biting player exchanges and successful plays. Cars flip all over the place, boost up to ridiculous speeds and crash into a massive ball in an effort to nab that important extra point during a heated game. Rocket League lets you link up with a team of fellow speed freaks against the AI and enjoy even more hype-inducing online matches against human players.

4. ‘Castle Crashers Remastered’

Anyone old enough to remember the golden age of Xbox Live Arcade definitely has some love in their heart for this beat ‘em up. The Behemoth’s signature animation style was popularized once Castle Crashers landed on the Xbox 360 in 2008. The remastered rendition of this four-player medieval masher arrived on PS4 in 2019, and it’s still as addictive as it was during its last-gen run. Each color-coded knight has access to their own weapon of choice, magic spells and an oh-so-cute pet to take with them into battle. Get the crew together so you can all run roughshod over the evil wizard’s army.

5. ‘Fortnite’

Epic’s world-renowned battle royale extravaganza seems like it’ll never die. And that’s the perfect reason to hop online and fight for survival with your band of animated scavengers. The main pull of Fortnite is its marquee battle royale mode, which lets you squad up with your people across different gaming platforms. Battle Royale isn’t the only reason to give this third-person shooter a spin, though–you can also hop into the game’s horde mode known as “Save the World.” You can spend hours just mastering your building skills and attempting to become the last man standing or keeping those zombie “husks” from taking down your beloved fort.

6. ‘Tekken 7’

Now what we have here is one of the best fighting games ever made. Tekken as a franchise has been going strong since 1994 and has consistently evolved into a complex yet still approachable 3D fighter. The release of Tekken 7 brought with it a bunch of evolutionary mechanics that made it as much fun to play, as it is to watch in action. There are super hype slow-motion camera shots that activate during big moves, flashy super moves to dish out and a fast-paced combat system that will keep you for months/years to come. Tekken 7 features a massive roster full of fan favorites, series newbies and several surprising guest characters to play around with. So there are plenty of character choices to go around when you’re ready to play an intense set of matches with your local/online rivals. Akuma from Street Fighter vs. Negan from The Walking Dead is entirely possible thanks to Tekken 7.

7. ‘Soulcalibur VI’

It took far too long to get another entry in the Soulcalibur series after the disappointment that was Soulcalibur V. Once 2018 rolled around, Bandai Namco Entertainment revived the weapons-fighter and sent fans into a frenzy. Soulcalibur VI brings the band of historical weapons masters back together again, plus the newbies lend themselves well to the long-running franchise’s legacy. The combat is as fast and fluid as ever, plus the added Reversal Edge mechanic provides a fun rock-paper-scissors maneuver that can change the tide of every battle. Soulcalibur VI has the power to make you utter the phrase “just one more” after every battle and force you sharpen your skills before you hop online to take on the world.

8. ‘Borderlands 3’

It’s time to go vault hunting and planet-hopping in Borderlands 3. And for anyone who’s been attached to the series since its inception, you already know what you’re getting into with this sequel. Varied character classes, beautiful cel-shaded visuals, a wealth of main/side missions and an overwhelming amount of guns to arm your Vault Hunter with. From a local standpoint, two players can go running and gunning together. But if you’d rather hop online and go all guns blazing, you can link up with three other players and rack up some incredible loot during your travels. The world of Pandora is home to all sorts of locales and hazardous situations. You can brave all of those dangers alongside your most trusted Vault Hunters and finally put an end to the Calypso Twins’ reign of terror.

9. ‘Warframe’

Everyone has that one gamer friend that always sends them random invites to a game they don’t even own, right? Have you ever been knee-deep in a whole other game and spotted an invitation from your friend who’s addicted to Warframe, for instance? We have. And it was definitely annoying at first…until we finally took the plunge on Digital Extremes’ incredible third-person shooter/action RPG. Warframe is all about countless space ninjas traveling around the galaxy and eliminating anyone unlucky enough to test their mettle. Four players can group up with their leveled-up melee/ranged weapons wielders and save the day. Or you can enter the PvP Conclave and go to war with everyone else’s Tenno warriors.

10. ‘Destiny 2’

Once Bungie’s online multiplayer first-person shooter gets its claws in you, they won’t let go. It’s actually a nice problem to have if you ask us. Destiny 2’s strong gunplay, ever-expanding sci-fi universe and rewarding sense of exploration are just some of the best elements that make it such a pleasant experience. Tackling the game’s array of story campaign missions is accomplished by hooking up with two other Guardians. That number increases to five when you get the strength to run into tough Raids with your friends. As for the PvP portion of Destiny 2, it’s just as addictive as the co-op adventures you’ll find your Guardian in. The added campaign missions and a healthy dose of events keep the community more than satisfied. This means you and your Guardians will always be willing to take on new challenges on a daily basis.

11. ‘Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2’

There’s going to come a moment where the younger gamer in your household may want to go gallivanting with you in a digital world. And if you’re a respectful gamer, you won’t leave them out in the cold with a controller that’s not even working and make them think that they’re really playing with you. One of the safest multiplayer games you and a child can enjoy together is the Lego line of action/adventure games. If that kid happens to be addicted to the MCU, then this choice should please them. Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 lets you and a local partner hop and bop around iconic Marvel destinations as some of your favorite superheroes. Kang the Conqueror must be stopped and the best way to do that is with your little brother/sister by your side. 

12. ‘Lego DC Super Villains’

Now if you and that kid are more inclined to go exploring the DC Universe, then this other local co-op option is a better option. Lego DC Super-Villains features the same slapstick humor, helpful offering of playable characters and fun puzzle solving mechanics the Lego games are known for. And the best part about this entry is that you can do all of those activities while running around with members of DC’s infamous rogues gallery. But the cool twist comes in in the form of a villain creation system that feeds into the young creative minds of your little gamer buddy. The expansive world of Lego DC Super-Villains allows for plenty of anarchy and laughs, which makes it a worthy option on our list.

13. ‘Monster Hunter: World’

Capcom’s monster-bashing series has had a high barrier of entry since its inception. Monster Hunter: World does a fantastic job of streamlining the franchise’s more difficult mechanics and makes it far more approachable than ever before. When the time comes for you to take down an enormous beast, you can choose to go it alone or align yourself with three other powerful hunters to do the job. Let that SOS Flare fly and you’ll be ready for anything once your four-man army goes to work. Slaying massive Elder Dragons with a squad, then heading back to base camp to build new gear from your last successful hunt is always better with a friend.

14. ‘Overwatch’

Blizzard’s 6v6 online multiplayer shooter has maintained its pull of players ever since it launched in 2016. And ever since then, Overwatch has constantly been updated with new heroes, maps and character skins. Along with those awesome updates, the game’s meta has changed in major ways and given the community new methods of attaining victory. When you’re ready to hop into a Control or Escort match, you can choose to work out the kinks in your team play within AI practice matches and hop into a live online match soon after. Teamwork most definitely makes the dream work in Overwatch—choose your online friends wisely if you want to see the victory screen pop up more than usual.

15. ‘Apex Legends’

Survival is the name of the game in Apex Legends. Like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite, Respawn Entertainment’s FPS is purely a battle royale experience. You and two other players must choose their respective class-based characters and then rocket down onto a map filled with plenty of other competing three-person squads. Scavenging for weapons and other essential items is key as you work together with your online friends and try to claim the top spot during heated matches. The gunplay feels amazing (which comes as no surprise since it comes from the studio behind the Titanfall games) and the seasonal updates/balance adjustments keep Apex Legends alive and well.

16. ‘Mortal Kombat 11’

FINISH HIM! FINISH HER! Those extremely loud phrases always signal the arrival of a painful Fatality within the Mortal Kombat games. NetherRealm Studios went above and beyond on the gruesome scale with the 11th official entry in their long-running fighting game series. Mortal Kombat 11 brings back a ton of beloved roster members, throws in a few awesome newcomers and also includes a fun collection of surprising guest characters. Hopping online to show off your custom variations of each character is just part of the fun. You can link up with other players to take on special tower challenges, get into some hard-fought King of the Hill battles and even compete in some private matches with your most competitive rivals.

17. ‘Everybody’s Golf’

Don’t sleep on golf games, people. The simulation-based golf games may be a bore, but there are a few arcade golfing titles that are more fun than you’d initially think. One of those games is the PS4 exclusive, Everybody’s Golf. This selection should be familiar to fans of the Hot Shots Golf series since it’s inexplicably tied to those games. You can put your golfing superiority on display in local/online multiplayer matches and enjoy the game’s standout Turf War mode with a few friends. Driving golf carts around each course, picking your spot and trying to get a hole in one can be replicated in a local/online setting with this addictive digital golfer.

18. ‘Dragon Ball FighterZ’

Arc System Works knows a thing or two about crafting amazing anime fighters. When Bandai Namco Entertainment approached the studio in hopes of them making one for Dragon Ball, they made sure to rise to the occasion. One of the most visually explosive fighters on the market today is none other than the 3v3 hypefest known as Dragon Ball FighterZ. Super Saiyans, androids, human martial artists, a God of Destruction and several other Dragon Ball archetypes come together to send out beam attacks and blow up mountains. Hours upon hours of heated gaming sessions with this amazing anime fighter are to be expected. Simply put, Dragon Ball FighterZ is a manga/anime fan’s dream.

19. ‘Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition’

The Street Fighter V you see today is miles ahead of the one that launched back in 2016. The Arcade Edition update that arrived in 2018 helped the fledgling fighter rise from mediocrity and introduce the type of updates that fans had been requesting for ages. Nowadays, the game’s roster is massive—familiar faces like Ryu and Sagat are on hand, as well as fresh faces such as Ed and Laura. The combat mechanics allow for some fun matches full of double-digit combos, epic comebacks and flashy uses of each character’s V-Trigger special. Throwing a local tournament in your basement or hopping online to increase your rank are both possible with Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition.

20. ‘Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled’

Crash Bandicoot’s comeback to modern-day gaming has been joyous, to say the least. His first three platforming adventures got the remake treatment and now his kart racing ventures have been revived with an HD coat of paint. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled acts as best-of collection that compiles the most memorable characters and standout tracks from the original Crash Team Racing, Crash Nitro Kart and Crash Tag Team Racing. The game’s Grand Prix updates regularly provide it with even more characters and additional tracks, so you’ll always have a wealth of content to race through with your friends. You can also hop into the game’s battle mode for some explosive mischief, which just adds on to the high replay value this remake thrives on.

21. ‘Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle’

Capcom’s library of IPs has a few dope beat ‘em ups littered among them. In an effort to showcase a few of them to a new audience and reintroduce them to longtime fans, the Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle was unleashed. There’s no need to drop $20 in quarters here to continue on after getting squashed by a cheap boss—this treasure trove of brawlers allows for free drop-in/drop-out co-op play on your PS4. You can bash in the brains of Mad Gear Gang members in Final Fight, take down robotic goons in Armored Warriors and beat up all sorts of other baddies in Capcom’s 7-game beat ‘em up compilation.

22. ‘SEGA Genesis Classics’

If you’re an old head who came up during the days of “SEGA Does What Nintendon’t,” then you probably have an affinity for classic 16-bit games. Sitting on your living room carpet while you and your crew of neighborhood friends go wild as Sonic the Hedgehog hits top speeds brings back warm memories, doesn’t it? It’s possible to relive those retro days by copping the SEGA Genesis Classics compilation. Fifty games come included with this throwback collection, plus a number of them have co-op and competitive multiplayer modes for you to enjoy. Feel free to compete in head-to-head races in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, beat down some baddies with a friend in Streets of Rage & Golden Axe and even pull off a few risky co-op heists in Bonanza Bros. Local and online multiplayer can be accessed here, so you can go either way if you want to step back into a bygone era of 16-bit gaming.

23: ‘Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout’

In short, Fall Guys is amazing. Released in August of 2020, the last man standing style game provides gamers with a much-needed spin on the ubiquitous battle royale. Up to 60 players participate in a series of mini games in a quest to be the last man standing. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, vividly colorful and new, then look no further than Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout

24: ‘GTA Online’

We could catch a little flak for putting this game so low on the list, but the ranking is mostly due to its antiquity. That said, GTA V’s massive appeal 7 years out from its release is merely a testament to the game’s unbelievable playability and Rockstar’s unwavering commitment to constantly updating and remastering the game. It’s just as fun as it was in 2013, and the online mode still provides gamers with one of the greatest outlets for playing with friends that you could ask for.

25: ‘Titanfall 2’

Titanfall 2 is one of the older games on this list, but still packs a punch. Although Respawn Entertainment may be better known in 2020 for Apex Legends (number 15 on the list), the Titanfall series was previously one of their most successful titles. The game allows you to take on the role of a titan pilot, operating a dynamic exoskeleton in fast paced first person shooter setting. For lovers of Apex who want to mix it up, Titanfall is definitely worth returning to.

26: ‘Injustice 2’

Fighting games rule and everyone knows it. Injustice 2 is a great iteration of the tried and true fighting game format, employing characters from the DC Universe in the sequel to 2013’s Injustice: Gods Among Us. The game is more customizable than its predecessor, and the franchise’s invocation of a slew of iconic superheroes makes it a great activity for comic book aficionados and fighting-game fanatics alike. 

27: ‘Dead by Daylight’

Although Dead by Daylight came out three years ago, it remains one of the best asymmetric survival horror video games ever released. For those who have never played, the game takes on a one versus four online multiplayer mode, where one player takes on the role of savage killer. The other four play as survivors, attempting to escape the killer, making it a perfect game for playing with a group of friends. 

28: ‘FIFA 20’

Ultimately, all the FIFA games of the last five or so years are pretty interchangeable. Aside from minor tweaks in controls and graphics, the games have remained fairly static in their playability and massive popularity. We’d be remiss to not include such a legendary game on the list, and it is still one of the greatest multiplayer PS4 games of all time for gamers and soccer fans alike.

29: ‘Call of Duty: Warzone’

Where would this list be without Warzone? Although the franchise’s battle Royale iteration has certainly pumped new blood into the iconic series, Call of Duty has long been one of the most played, most culturally relevant games across all platforms. PS4 is no different. Touting a massive battle royale mode (and constant updates and tweaks, with new modes to keep you busy), Call of Duty: Warzone is a must-play for those looking for a good PS4 game to jump into with friends.

Categories
Style What To Buy

How Japanese Cartoons Have Influenced Streetwear Brands

With the advent of streaming services, channel surfing has become a lost art form. Children stuck at home on sick days or before bedtime don’t scan the airwaves looking for stimulation, as they’re now privy to endless on-demand content of any genre or style. Although the plethora of choices available at a moment’s notice is certainly an embarrassment of riches, there was something magical about the discovery of a new, unexpected television show—stumbled upon in moments of bored desperation.

Back in the early ’00s, Cartoon Network began broadcasting Japanese animation in the Toonami scheduling block and airing adult-oriented cartoons during the late-night [adult swim] block, providing a sharp contrast to the usual colorful kids’ media. These series were often darkly apocalyptic, deeply surreal or comically hypersexual. While we’ve come to expect certain kinds of highbrow twists on the small screen in the current Golden Age of prestige TV, this kind of cerebral entertainment was somewhat unheard of at the time, especially when packaged as hand-drawn artworks.

[adult swim] and Toonami were how many Americans discovered the existence of anime—the genuinely bizarre aesthetics of post-modern Japanese cinema were suddenly shown to teens and tweens acting as their first exposure to avant-gardism. While some shows were silly adventure capers with motifs of existential woe (like Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Inuyasha and Big O), others explored Y2K-era fears of technology and the emergence of cyberspace (like Paranoia Agent, Serial Experiments Lain, Neon Genesis Evangelion, FLCL and Ghost in the Shell). The artistic statements behind these works were far more dense and inaccessible than American sci-fi at the time—the latter favored big-budget special effects and celebrity name power over intellectual exploration.

Entire subcultures began forming around young people obsessed with Japanese media, sometimes called otakus (taken from a quite derogatory Japanese term for perverted nerds)—or, more recently, called weeaboos. Because more obscure and hardcore content wasn’t available on TV, communities began to form and share their wares, not so dissimilar from the tape traders of pro wrestling culture.

“At the time it felt niche—it was a secret that made you feel seen,” said Katie Rose Leon, who runs the Ballin’ Out SUPER podcast that covers nostalgic anime faves from a distinctly feminist and leftist political viewpoint. “You had to know where to find it. Communities and friendships were built around it. It also offered a visual alternative to Western cartoons during the late ’90s and early aughts, which were largely angular and masculine. Good aesthetics go a long way.”

For LGBTQ audiences, anime was particularly meaningful in that it was many young queers’ first exposure to sexuality that wasn’t strictly heterosexual—outside of pornography. Although these days, Japan remains somewhat behind the times when it comes to LGBTQ politics (same-sex marriage is not legal in Japan), queer and queer-coded characters frequently popped up in anime of that era. Although a lot of the overt LGBTQ stories were heavily censored, fans could see through the veil. These sexual minority characters were often three-dimensional and fully realized. Sometimes, they were even the protagonists, which was unfathomable, given the more significant cultural landscape. No wonder millennial LGBTQs have such an affection for anime—and why cosplay drag (sometimes called crossplay) has become its subcategory of queer performance art.

“Most anime protagonists (especially in the shonen genre) are underdogs who usually have to fight against the odds for survival,” says Blvck Laé D., a Brooklyn-based drag performer whose looks are heavily inspired by Japanese sci-fi. “I think the theme of surviving resonates with a lot of queer babes.”

And now, everything old is new again. “Retro” fashion always works in entirely predictable 20-year cycles, and as we dip into 2020, our favorite niche hobbies from the beginning of the new millennium are coming back. The current cultural fixation on cyberpunk was foreseeable for these reasons. One of the biggest influences on cyberpunk? Anime.

“Shows like Yu Yu Hakusho and movies like Akira set the tone for a lot of the trends we see today,” Laé added.

Tumblr fashionistas have long been observing the similarities between couture designs and anime fashions, but in 2019 and beyond, there’s an increasing parallel between the fantasy looks of anime and readily available streetwear. What once was a sort of shameful hobby has now fully entered the domain of cutting edge style. Anime-influenced design now takes both the tropes of the late ’90s and early ‘00s Japan or directly lifts imagery from the most beloved cartoons. Streetwear designers are taking cues from the characters in animated psychodramas, who sometimes donned normcore clothing (lots of school uniforms, loose-fitting button-downs and pleated skirts), but would transform into superheroes, clad in sexy fantasy gear.

“The demographics who dictate fashion trends are usually hip POC or LGBTQs,” Leon says. “These groups were specifically influenced by anime because it offered representation in an entertainment void where they otherwise couldn’t see themselves at all. The internet has sped up nostalgia, and it’s super profitable. That’s Disney+’s whole model; people no longer watch cable TV, but it’s easier to find anime to watch than ever [on demand]. It’s no longer relegated to nerds. The best rappers sample anime; Goku is all over streetwear. Everyone can easily access it, and the gatekeeping is gone.”

Ironically, it’s mostly non-Japanese designers who are interested in resurrecting anime classics for the sake of fashion—although the genre has gotten “cool” in the United States, anime is still a shameful hobby in the country where it was invented. Takashi Murakami’s designs for Louis Vuitton and Kanye West are perhaps the notable exception to the rule, although Murakami’s so-called superflatist visual style was created to critique the affective deadness of easily consumable luxury objects. Instead, it’s usually Western urban populations that find themselves fixated on the visual imagery of anime. The reach goes well into Latin America, where anime characters quite frequently populate the T-shirts and accessories of the hippest trendsetters. 

The rise of anime in streetwear is also politically prescient: Although every genre of anime exists (horror, romance, sci-fi and drama), it was specifically the dystopian and apocalyptic cartoons that attracted a bulk of viewers. Although the predictions of doomsday wound up being wrong, it’s no surprise that people are drawn to end-of-the-world scenarios like those posed in Angel Sanctuary or X/1999 as we approach an impending climate crisis and tumble headfirst toward fascism. 

Below, we’ve gathered ten streetwear brands that mine the visual language of anime as inspiration for their cutting edge styles. From high-end to DIY, these brands are bringing our darkest Y2K fantasies into the future. Take a look.

1. Supreme x Akira

Katsuhiro Otomo’s 6,000-page sprawling manga imagined the devastation of Japan following the awakening of the eponymous mysterious entity, Akira. Playing on post-nuclear anxieties and satirizing the fatality of the nation’s youth culture, the books were adapted into a 1988 animated film, which is universally considered to be an absolute masterpiece. During its long production, every animation studio in Japan had worked on the movie, meaning that the work was literally a national endeavor.


Although Supreme has become synonymous with desperate hypebeasts and con artists, the capsule collection, featuring isolated frames of the devastatingly violent series, was a stark departure from their more playful pop art.

2. Mishka

A longtime staple of the indie rap world, streetwear brand Miska has always flirted with anime-influenced designs. Still, some of their more recent collections lift the imagery of both obscure and well-known video games and cartoons. Their designs have featured box art from PlayStation classics like Final Fantasy 7 and Silent Hill, with their logo slapped on top. Who needs subtlety when the media their referring to is so profoundly beloved?

3. Public Space

Public Space came to prominence during vaporwave’s most influential moments and has waned in popularity a bit since. Still, their nostalgic clothing celebrating the look and feel of Web 1.0 remains lovable as ever. The evocative and moody Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh designs are a step above what you’d get at the Nintendo World store and come in color gradients reminiscent of the MS Paint and Word Art era of computing. There’s a strange melancholy to some of these looks, but then again—there’s this campy Kool-Aid onesie.

4. HVY BLK

HVY BLK reimagines the cherished characters of series like Sailor Moon as superheroic BDSM bank robbers, totally reinterpreting the kid-friendly program as a kind of message on women’s liberation. The anti-fascist imagery makes sense, given the overtly feminist themes of many of the original shows that the designs inspired.

5. Sotogang

Tattoo artist Manuela Soto’s drawings of curvaceous anime women became her calling card as she rose to prominence on Instagram. Her unique style takes heavy cues from hentai (animated Japanese pornography) graffiti, nu-metal, skater and raver culture. Now, she’s selling some of her signature drawings printed on a plethora of hoodies, shirts and sweatpants. You’ve probably seen her work on at least one social media influencer—either in ink or as apparel.

6. Adidas x Dragon Ball

The sci-fantasy series Dragon Ball is widely considered an original of the shonen sub-genre, having influenced almost every series that came after it. The show told the story of magical fighters defending the earth from alien invaders while making lifelong friends—and enemies—on the way. Adidas issued a series of sneakers inspired by the color palettes of the main characters in a smartly understated nod to the classic cartoon, which had sparked interest in so many young anime fans.

7. Kikillo

Takashi Murakami’s genius was in his abstracting of anime tropes into surrealist art, and Kikillo continues this tradition on their crewnecks, sweatpants and pillowcases. They warp and distort familiar characters into glitchy and melting messes. There’s a sort of Warholian sensibility in the repeated imagery, and the clothes are as dizzying as they are stylish.

8. BAPE x One Piece

The expansive anime series One Piece tells the story of a mischievous shape-shifting pirate on an endless search for whimsical treasure. Super-deformed and chibi styles were present in anime long before the same kinds of cutesy artists and icons became abundant in the United States, and BAPE’s take on the series turns the colorful cast of fantastical marauders into simple miniatures.

9. Wet

Far more understated than much of the bombastic and colorful brands elsewhere on this list, designer Lee Kobayashi’s minimalist designs have whiffs of the eroticism and grotesquery characteristic on display in most anime. The medical-themed looks are a bold statement, but the soft and boyish Akira designs sort of sidestep the overt violence of its source material.

10. Dumbgood

Dumbgood has spammed Instagram and Facebook with an endless slew of sponsored posts, making their ’90s and ’00s pop culture-inspired apparel essentially unavoidable. Their design ethos isn’t exactly sophisticated: They’re normally just slapping a screenshot on a T-shirt and calling it a day. But the pangs of nostalgia are undeniable, and there’s a certain unapologetic brashness in the lazy pandering that’s almost admirable. Although much of their clothes are inspired by horror, they’ve debuted capsule collections featuring artwork from Neon Genesis Evangelion and Cowboy Bebop.

Categories
Culture Music

Talking the Miami Music Scene and Global Expansion with Josh Montana

On this week’s episode of our podcast Monday to Monday, host Mike Boyd sits down with manager Josh Montana. Montana started his independent Latin record label Rich Music LTD with his father Rich. He’s also president of the Social Hive Agency, a collective/creative agency “designed to help clients integrate into a connected world,” according to the company’s website. Boyd speaks with Montana about his introduction to management, the burgeoning Miami music scene, meeting Sech, expanding globally and his practice of documenting everything. 

Montana calls Miami his home base. In the podcast, he emphasizes the importance of Miami for Latin music right now: “It just became this like, mini Hollywood of music.” Having Miami as a hub for Latin music provides an opportunity for collaborations with other artists, creating a community centered on making amazing music. 

Montana also addresses his process of identifying talent: “For us, what matters is the tones and the melodies, and if it catches and makes us feel something.” It’s all about the way the music makes people feel. But he also emphasizes the importance of finding artists with a good work ethic, telling Boyd that artists have to be “ready to freaking work. This shit is not easy. They gotta have that commitment and dedication too.”

Josh Montana

Artists have to be ready to freaking work. This shit is not easy. They gotta have that commitment and dedication too.

Boyd and Montana discuss how artists and managers can work to bring music to their fans. Montana echoes Gary Vee himself, telling Boyd, “Just create content. Create the best content possible. And if you do that, you’ll get people watching. It’s just inevitable.” This commitment to posting on social platforms and creating valuable media drives the machine for Montana, informing his company’s major success and growth.

So what’s next for Montana? He tells Boyd that his team plans to work on expanding to different territories, producing content for people globally. Between Sech, Dalex, Justin Quiles and more, Rich Music LTD represents a lot of massive artists ready to take their international reach even farther.

Episode 4: Josh Montana
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/josh-montana/id1489043136?i=1000461108079

If you liked this episode and want to hear even more of Boyd chopping it up with artists and managers, make sure to check out last week’s episode, when he sat down with TisaKorean and his manager Marcus Ecby.

Categories
Style What To Buy

7 Plus-Size Influencers Owning Street Style

Though womenswear has progressively become more size-inclusive over the years, menswear falls far behind. As someone who is actively engaged in this community—and who has been plus-size all my life—I’m well aware of the struggles and obstacles that come with falling outside fashion’s outdated beauty norms. Yet, despite the limited options available for guys who wear above a large or size 36, a rising number of plus-size/big and tall influencers have been joining the game. They’re figuring out how to do the most with the least, and their killer style is undeniable. 

While models like Zach Miko are leading the big and tall modeling movement, others have taken to Instagram to inspire a new generation of men to break out of their comfort zone and start experimenting with fashion. We found seven plus-size male influencers who are owning street style, proving that fashion is for everybody, regardless of size.

1. Ben James, @ben_jjames

There’s something genuinely refreshing about Ben James’ style. Amid the noise of Instagram, the U.K. and LA-based model offers a simplistic but elevated style. Mixing basic pieces with great photography and location shots—in addition to a killer smile—James gives men common ways that they can take their simple looks up a notch. This simple look combines a loud print with ripped white jeans and a tan fedora, letting the shirt—and background—speak for itself.

2. Michael-Anthony, @thebigfashionguy

Michael-Anthony is the king of suits. He’s never afraid to mix colors, patterns, fabrics or prints, and that spirit is what sets him apart. Michael-Anthony—also known within the community as The Big Fashion Guy—always rocks a mean hat game time. He constantly styles classic pieces in new ways, and his inventiveness with suits is what lands him a spot on our list. This look is perfect for the holidays, mixing multiple prints and textures into one cohesive statement.

3. Tee J. Nichols, @teejkeys

Bringing his style to New York, Philly and New Jersey, Tee J. Nichols, like Michael-Anthony, plays a lot with hats and suits. But he also mixes his street style with more classic looks, making an intriguing fashion cocktail. This outfit’s pop of color combined with fall essentials is doable for any guy.

4. Adriel, @stayhomme

Adriel, based in San Francisco, has one of the most unique personal styles in the plus-size menswear community. Often favoring black and white, he is a pro at adding a pop of color and luxury. This outfit is a favorite for many reasons, but primarily because of the simple, cohesive add-ons, like this combination of chunky sneakers, ripped black jeans, a loud shirt and a black side bag.

5. Kelvin Davis, @kelvindavis

Kelvin Davis is one of the leading big and tall models, and he delivers his style and smile to a vast audience. While his aesthetic is usually quite simple, this look stands out. The colors work perfectly together, and the fit is impeccable.

7. Denzel Alexander, @denzeljalexander

Denzel Alexander commands attention. Playing with blacks and leather, he continuously comes up with looks that range from tough to playful. This outfit, in particular, shows off his street style skills. The all-black with a single pop of color and snakeskin boots makes for an automatic win.

7. David Fadd, @david_fadd

David Fadd is the king of plus-size street style, hands down. Not only is he an incredible model, but his style pushes the limits on plus-size menswear, showing that style is genuinely size-less. This one outfit stands out as a favorite, and it represents Fadd well. The layering and color combination is a surefire win.

Gianluca Russo is a plus-size fashion and culture writer published in GQ, Glamour, Teen Vogue, NYLON, InStyle, Fashionista and more. Check out his work at RussoG.com.

Categories
Careers Grind

Here’s an In-Depth Look at Drake’s Resume

Whether you love him or hate him, it would be difficult for anyone to deny that Aubrey Drake Graham is a force. He’s broken records previously held by The Beatles. He owns a Boeing 767 jet. He popularized the phrase “YOLO,” and he made Toronto a place that people now visit. According to DJ Akademiks, Drake has spent 509 out of 520 weeks in a decade having a song in the Top 10. 

That’s some résumé.

Drake’s life story might be better than the stories they’re telling about him, but behind all of his success has been years of grinding, relentless energy and faith, an obsessive work ethic, a crew of dedicated and loyal friends and quite a few side hustles. While Drake might be instantly recognizable for relatable lyrics and countless hits, a majority of his wealth comes from other revenue streams. 

You may know him as a ‘Cris bottle sender and a check picker-upper, but Aubrey has done quite a few other jobs since he came on the scene.

2001-2005 // Aubrey “Drake” Graham stars on ‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’
Scott Gries/Getty Images

“It was the first time I ever got to showcase rap on television. I think they gave me the opportunity after that to write a real song myself.”

Before Drake was runnin’ through the 6 with his woes (yes! I brought back this lyric! Remember when everyone was saying this? Whaddup, 2015?!), Aubrey Graham was on the Canadian teen soap Degrassi: The Next Generation. Playing popular athlete Jimmy Brooks, his basketball career gets cut short when he gets shot by an unhinged classmate. 

If you’re wondering how Drake transitioned into rap, look no further than season 7, episode 4: “It’s Tricky.”  

April 2008 // Drake and friend Oliver El-Khatib start a blog, October’s Very Own
OVO Blog

“Thank you, Thank you. This note will be consisting of things that I personally co-sign and or find of interest. Please enjoy and feel free to comment.”—Peace, O.

Before becoming OVO’s unofficial brand curator, Oliver El-Khatib was working at a Toronto clothing store called Lounge and living with Noah “40” Shebib, Drake’s future engineer. In need of a platform to release new music and post pre-Pinterest mood boards, they set up October’s Very Own, a blog whose namesake would later lend itself to a record label, an Apple Beats station and those cool ass owl hoodies

February 2010 // Drake lands an endorsement deal from Sprite

“I avoided the Coke game and went with Sprite instead.”

When Sprite needed a face to represent their first global brand campaign, Spark Music Project, they had many options, but none more perfect than Drake. The commercial, which aired during the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, depicts the frustrated rapper struggling with writer’s block in the studio with frequent collaborators Matthew “Boi-1da” Samuels and Noah “40” Shebib. We see Drake drink a Sprite and turn into an animatronic version of himself; finally focused, he spits out the lyrics that launched a million Instagram captions: “Last name Ever, first name Greatest.”

August 2010 // Drake and the OVO conglomerate launch OVO FEST

“Tonight is me trying my best to pay you back for all the years of support and love and loyalty. Tonight is me trying to give you the greatest party in the f**king world because you deserve it.” 

Putting together a music festival is hard (see Hulu’s documentary, Fyre Fraud.) Putting together a successful music festival is even harder (see Netflix’s documentary, Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.) OVO Fest, Drake’s annual love letter to the city that raised him, however, is sold out year after year.  Whether it’s the consistently impressive roster of headliners—he’s had Meek Mill, Cardi B, Chris Brown, Offset, Rick Ross, Eminem, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, among many others— or just being in the presence of the 6 God himself, OVO Fest has joined the ranks of can’t-miss concerts. 

2011 // Drake releases the first line of OVO-branded clothing

“With our brand, it really is something we started just for us. The owl being bootleg to the point where I see people walking around with owl sweatshirts—it blows my mind. And me and Oliver talk about it all the time like, ‘Man, what should we do? Should we just make these sweaters and sell them?’”

The first iteration of the partnership of OVO and popular jacket brand Canada Goose was released Nov. 13, 2010—300 all-black-everything “Chilliwack” bombers. Earlier this month, they dropped a new two-piece collection in black and “sunset orange,” the ninth time OVO and CG have collaborated. In true Drake fashion of keepin’ it in the family, OVO member Niko and baby mama Coco are featured as brand models

The overall clothing brand has proven wildly successful, with Business of Fashion reporting the retail company has garnered $4.3 million in sales. Drake has managed to do something many of his peers have failed at when entering retail: conveying a sense of authenticity. Every design looks like something Drake and his crew would rock, and they do. Marrying streetwear, luxury and reasonable-ish prices (hats are $48, T-shirts are $58, hoodies $158), Drake has managed to not only create a clothing line that’s coveted and cool, but last year he also opened up a store in Tokyo, his ninth brick-and-mortar location.

2012 // Drake uses the OVO collective to start up OVO Sound
OVO Sound

What does PARTYNEXTDOOR, Majid Jordan, dvsn, Roy Woods, OB O’Brien and Baka Not Nice all have in common? Besides being, I can only assume, delightfully polite, all of these artists are represented by the OVO Sound record label. Launched as a platform to drop his own music as well as spotlight other rising talents, the Drake/40/Oliver triad founded this record label in 2011 and became a subsidiary of Warner Music Group’s Warner Records a year later.

July 2012 // Drake voices “Ethan” on ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’

“I get to be this over-the-top mammoth in Ice Age, and a lot of capturing these characters is going as far as you can because you have to realize that [the viewers are] not going to see your face. They’re not going to see you look awkward and screaming.” 

Drake joined an all-star cast when signing on to play Ethan, a cool, athletic wooly mammoth in the movie Ice Age: Continental Drift. Working alongside Aziz Ansari, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, John Leguizamo, Jennifer Lopez, Denis Leary, Patrick Stewart and Nicki Minaj, Drake returned to his acting roots, yet…ya know, in animated form.

September 2013 // Drake becomes the global ambassador for his hometown team, the Toronto Raptors
Instagram/@champangepapi

“Today’s probably one of the best days of my life. I got to throw on the suit and be announced as the global ambassador of the Toronto Raptors.”

If there’s one thing Aubrey enjoys, it’s athletic endeavors.  

Whether it’s cheering on the Miami Heat, Houston Astros or literally any soccer team that exists* (do we have time to get into all the college sports? No?), Drake has faced criticism for supporting too many teams from too many places.  Through it all, his most ardent fandom has been placed behind the Toronto Raptors. Apparently, they’re fans right back. In 2013, Drake became the global ambassador for the franchise, essential in their rebranding efforts.

Earlier this year, the Raptors’ practice facility was renamed the OVO Athletic Center because of course, it was. 

*See him rocking jerseys of Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona, and teams from Italy, Australia, and Mexico

July 2015 // Drake launches OVO Sound Radio on Beats 1
Apple Music

“I got me a deal with Apple and I still feel entitled.”

First premiering in July 2015 on Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio station, OVO Sound Radio featured a medley of music from OVO artists and affiliates. A biweekly show hosted by co-host Oliver with frequent enough appearances by Drake, OVO Sound has been used to introduce rising artists as well as release new music. Drake has been the face of Apple ever since he signed a $19 million deal with the music platform.

June 2016 // Drake launches Virginia Black Whiskey with Brent Hocking
Instagram

How many times have you asked yourself, “Isn’t it about time that someone launched a whiskey that everyone could enjoy?” Countless times? In 2016, Drake teamed up with ex-banker Brent Hocking to launch Virginia Black, a whiskey brand with what the kids call an Instagrammable bottle. Drake took guerilla marketing to new heights to make sure the beverage was a success. He brought it on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to drink on-air and on stage at the Billboard Music Awards to take 13 shots for his 13 wins. VIP Virginia Black lounges and branded merch were also available for the Summer Sixteen tour because Drake is nothing if not thorough. This is probably what he was referencing when he said he was tired of being subtle.

June 2019 // Drake is credited as an executive producer of the hit show ‘Euphoria’
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Side effects include #EUPHORIA. coming soon @Zendaya @A24 @HBO

Tired of this guy making so many right moves? Your favorite could never (did I do that right?). 

Earlier this year, Drake signed on as an executive producer to HBO’s Euphoria. Starring Zendaya and some truly fabulous eye makeup, this show has been renewed for season 2.

September 2019 // Drake uses his star power to bring back canceled British drama
John Phillips/Getty Images

“I became really attached to the characters. There’s a lot of parallels between Toronto and London. It reminded me of people I grew up with and guys that I know. I really just felt super connected right away, but then it disappeared on me. I did my research and found out it had been ultimately canceled.”

Drake has done a lot of dope things, but the biggest baller move he’s managed to pull off is bringing back a canceled TV show just because he liked it. 

After the British crime show Top Boy was canceled in 2013, Drake’s dedication to getting this show back on the air got him in front of Netflix, where he made a pitch for its revival. In November 2017, it was announced that Netflix had picked it up. Drake, along with his partner Adel “Future” Nur, would go on to executive produce, and the new season would air September 2019. The soundtrack, presented by none other than OVO Sound, is also available now.

Categories
Entrepreneurs Grind

8 Side Hustles to Try in 2020

Maybe your job already fulfills your passions. Maybe you’ve already found your purpose. 

Maybe you just make too much money and you’re looking for ways to actually get paid less.

Then again, maybe not.

There are plenty of reasons why people get side hustles. For most, you can make your own hours, work from home and earn extra money. You’ve been saying that you need to get a side hustle for some time now, so make 2020 the year you finally do it.

1. Transcribe and Caption Videos

If you’re a fast typer, transcribing and captioning videos might be a viable and easy option. While many people want to create online videos, not nearly enough want to take the time to write out the closed captioning. You usually don’t need any experience, and most companies like TranscribeMe, Rev and 3 Play Media just require you have to have access to a computer and WiFi. You know you do.

2. Give Walking Tours of Your City

Who knows your city better than you? Probably tons of people. Who at least knows their city a moderate amount? You do! Companies like Urban Oyster and Wanderlust will train you (and there’s even fun, genre-specific ones like Underground Donut Tour) on how to show off everything your town has to offer while getting paid for it. This gig will allow you to meet new people, get fresh air and exercise and shamelessly brag about the best city in the world, [Insert The Name of Your City Here]. You’re basically a rapper.

3. Deliver for UberEats, Postmates, etc.

If you have a driver’s license and a form of transportation (car, bike, motorcycle, lawnmower), you can make money by driving around and dropping off food. From Grubhub to UberEats to Postmates to Doordash, the options are endless.  ​​​

4. Teach a Course (That You Created!)

Do you have a special skill set or a hobby that you love? Why not share your gift while making some extra cash? Using a platform like Teachable or Click4Course or the ever-popular Udemy, you can educate others on nearly any topic while still wearing PJs. Want to teach people how to play the piano? Create a course. How to pair the right cheese with the right wine? Create a course. How to create courses? Create a course. 

5. Answer a Question

Humans will never run out of questions, and if you can answer some of them, you can cash out. Whether you’re an expert in your field or just know a lot of random information, you can earn anywhere from 20 cents to $20 for a single reply. Try sites like JustAnswer to answer questions related to your profession, FixYa for electronics-related queries, StudyPool and Chegg Study for the realm of academia and Maven if you fancy yourself more of a consultant. Knowledge is power, but now it’s also money.

6. Become a Virtual Assistant

If you find yourself bored with doing the same tasks over and over again and crave new challenges, being a virtual assistant might be your (side hustle) calling. Depending on who you work for, your day-to-day responsibilities will vary. You can be tasked with providing administrative support to creating websites for buying groceries to curating online meal plans.  Being organized is also a huge plus; Belay looks for college-educated applicants for executive assistant positions, Time Etc seeks to hire full-time assistants and those who prefer to be task-based, while VaVa Virtual Assistants wants people who have special skill sets like graphic design, social media, and digital marketing, and web design.

7. Get Paid for Your Photography

Remember all those skyline pictures you took over the summer? Now you can post them somewhere other than Instagram. Sites like 500pxPrime, iStockphoto, Shutterstock and even Etsy will let you sell your photos. Do some recon first by looking to see what sells—some of these sites pay $100 or more per image.

8. Become a Doula

Hear me out: A doula isn’t a midwife or a doctor—they’re professionals who are trained to provide emotional and physical support to women during labor, as well as be their advocates. Your main goal would be to help the mother have a memorable and comforting child birthing experience. According to Natural Healers, you would need seven to 12 hours of childbirth education, 16 hours of birth doula training and attend two to five births. That’s a small price to pay for a job that pays $250 to $1,000 per hour.

Categories
Sports Strength

WWE Still Has Too Many Wrestlers

Can you have too much talent on a professional wrestling roster? On Dec. 8, WWE finally granted Luke Harper his long-awaited release, along with rarely used jobbers The Ascension (Konor and Viktor) and Sin Cara. Batches of releases have been commonplace in WWE over the years, as contracts run out and wrestlers request freedom from the biggest wrestling company in the world, so the Dec. 8 bloodbath was not a surprise. All four men had their various moments of wildly different relevance—Luke Harper was an Intercontinental Champion, remember that?—but their common thread was that they were not being used consistently. Unfortunately for a big swath of the WWE roster, that still remains true.

The list of under- or misused talent in WWE is vast. For every Seth Rollins, there’s an Apollo Crews, a former NXT standout who might as well not exist in the current main roster landscape. Or, worse, a Rusev, a hyper-talented performer stuck doing cuckolding storylines with his real-life wife (at WWE’s TLC pay-per-view, Rusev lost to his wife’s new lover, Bobby Lashley, in a tables match—just another indignity). Aleister Black, who was as sure a star as you could bank on, has been hiding in a closet for months, only now finally getting a feud with Buddy Murphy, another skilled wrestler stuck doing comedy bits. The list could and does go on, and it’s only getting larger.

Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

A couple of weeks ago, news broke that former WWE wrestler (and independent stalwart) John Morrison was returning to the mothership. While he was never the most-loved performer, Morrison is a fantastic wrestler in his own right, with a fun-if-purposefully-douchey gimmick as a Hollywoodesque celebrity. And yet, returning to WWE at this moment, without the name recognition of, say, Brock Lesnar, or Batista, or Goldberg, feels like a mistake. There are simply too many good wrestlers in the company, wrestlers that fans would pay to see, to make room for one more whose biggest claim to fame is Lucha Underground, an underwatched wrestling telenovela of sorts.

Typically, this could all be easily excused from both sides. For wrestlers, WWE provides a national stage whenever they do get onscreen, as well as more financial security than the indies ever could provide. And for WWE, every great wrestler on the roster is one fewer great wrestler that can go to a competitor. But that’s the thing: With All Elite Wrestling popping up as a viable competitor with a sizable TV audience, why bury yourself amongst the talented dregs of WWE? And even if you don’t go to AEW, there has likely never been a better time to test the independent circuit.

That’s what Harper’s release, specifically, signals: There is life outside of being in the machine. Harper is a mobile, skillful big man with a great look and interesting promo chops. He should have been, at worst, a mid-tier star in WWE. Instead, after years of toiling in various tag teams and under-card roles, with that one title run thrown in, he decided that national obscurity was worth less than carving out something more. Not every WWE wrestler can afford to bail out and try, as Harper seemingly will, but plenty have the talent and fit to work elsewhere. Is taking that risk better than sitting in catering and collecting a paycheck? Maybe, maybe not. But the WWE product is in many ways a huge disappointment because of problems like this, where talented wrestlers are forgotten simply because there are too many of them. The future outside of the company is foggier, but bursting through that and trying to make it elsewhere has never been more of a viable option than it is right now.

Categories
Careers Grind

How to Turn Your Internship into a Full-time Job

Despite what you may have seen depicted in movies and TV shows, most internships are about way more than just fetching coffee and slaving away in a file room (although, sorry, sometimes those tasks are on the to-do list). The fact is, internships are one of the best ways to land your dream job thanks to everything from real-world experience to networking opportunities in the industry. And if you’re interning at a company you’d love to work for, you’re already one step ahead. 

Countless studies have shown a positive correlation between internship experience and full-time employment, and one 2012 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) revealed that more than 40 percent of new hires were expected to come from a company’s internship program. Clearly, it’s possible to turn that college requirement into an actual career. The tricky part is how, or more specifically, how to stand out in a sea of fellow interns and applicants gunning for the same potential position. Doing your internship duties (really well) is a start, but we’ve compiled a list of practical ways to graduate from intern to employee, using both our own experience and words of wisdom from hiring managers.

1. Save the Best for Last

If you’re interning while in school, it’s a good idea to pad your resume with some relevant experience before applying for the *big* one. You know, the internship in your ideal field, at your dream company? This coincides with some of the best advice I was given while in college, which resulted in my eventual hire: Intern at the place you want to work during your last semester, and you’ll be immediately eligible for that full-time position when you leave school. Of course, this doesn’t guarantee a job offer, but it boosts the chances.

2. Do Your Research

You should be knowledgeable and well-versed in the company and your department’s role before even applying for the internship, but once you’re in, show interest and investment by asking questions and learning even more about the inner-workings. You might not be called upon to make improvements or suggestions, but if the moment arises, you’ll be fully prepared to impress.

3. Solve Problems on Your Own

You can also apply that knowledge to troubleshoot any issues you run into without constantly checking in with your manager. According to Andrea Uku, the national editor of Net-a-Porter, interns who “have the confidence to solve problems without hand-holding or running every step by their manager show that they’re ready to take on more responsibility.”

4. Be Flexible and Willing to Help

Like we said before, sometimes interns *are* asked to do a coffee run or a tedious data entry project. Hey, we all started from the bottom at some point, and it’s important not to treat any task like it’s below you (as long as you’re not being taken advantage of). In my personal experience hiring and recommending interns for full-time positions, people who always offered to help with an extra task and were willing to be flexible with their everyday duties struck me as team players I would want to work alongside.

5. Treat Your Internship Like It’s Already Your Job

What better way to show you’d be a great employee than by actually being a great employee? Show up on time, be professional and care about your work. Even if your internship comes with an expiration date (and without a salary) take the advice of Taylor Boozan, a public relations manager, and treat it like it’s already a job: “The interns I’ve hired for full-time positions have been invested in their work and the success of the company. I saw that they weren’t just here for a school requirement—they saw a future here, and then they got it!”

6. Socialize and Insert Yourself into the Office Culture

So you’ve been excelling at your duties—now it’s time to socialize! Managers are more likely to endorse someone for a position on their team if they actually like having them around, so don’t be afraid to make connections and insert yourself in the company culture. Be friendly! Be yourself! Talk about your hobbies and see what interests you share with your potential coworkers. “An intern stands out to me when they’re more interesting than their resume,” says Michael Tommasiello, a senior director at a New York ad agency. “I want to hear about what they’re doing outside of school and the office. Could I have an interesting conversation with them about something outside of work? That’s what I’m looking for when hiring.”

7. Illustrate Exactly How Valuable You Are

From the first day of your internship, you should be recording any analytics that tracks your success and contributions to the company. That way, when it’s time to step up to the plate and talk to your employer about staying on full-time, you’ll be able to show—not just tell—them why you’re valuable to the company. You can’t argue with hard data.

Categories
Grind Productivity

7 Books That Teach You the Art of the Hustle

Whether you’re thinking about launching your own business or are striving to climb the corporate ladder in your field, one thing’s for sure: You’ve got to hustle to make it happen. Don’t know where to start? Pick up one (or all) of these practical, inspiring and educational books, filled with everything you need to know about the art of the hustle. From the secrets of successful entrepreneurs to straightforward ways to work smarter, these reads are sure to provide the kick-in-the-butt motivation you’ve been waiting for.

‘Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning and Momentum’ by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits and Jonas Koffler
Amazon

This 2016 bestseller by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits and Jonas Koffler—three of the nation’s top entrepreneurs and consultants—provides real-world advice on achieving success on your own terms. Within its three-part framework, “Heart, Head and Habits,” Hustle teaches readers how to monetize their passions, create their own luck and fuel their full potential.

Buy Now
https://www.amazon.com/Hustle-Power-Charge-Meaning-Momentum/dp/1623367166/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471623746&sr=8-1&keywords=neil+patel
‘Hustle Believe Receive: An 8-Step Plan to Changing Your Life and Living Your Dream’ by Sarah Centrella
Amazon

Life-transformation coach, in-demand keynote speaker and author Sarah Centrella went from a single mother in poverty to an executive at a software company and a person living her dreams in just 18 months. In Hustle Believe Receive, Centrella shares her eight-step success plan called the #HBRMethod, along with over 50 stories of success from everyone from NFL and NBA stars to CEOs and banking execs. If you’ve ever looked at someone at the top of their game and wondered, “How did they do that?” this book is for you.

Buy Now
https://www.amazon.com/Hustle-Believe-Receive-8-Step-Changing-ebook/dp/B019WQU81S/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=%E2%80%98Hustle+Believe+Receive%3A+An+8-Step+Plan+to+Changing+Your+Life+and+Living+Your+Dream%E2%80%99+By+Sarah+Centrella&qid=1576783026&sr=8-1
‘Mastery’ by Robert Greene
Amazon

Want to become a master in your field and surge past your competitors? Bestselling author Robert Greene will tell you how. Gleaning insight from the lives of historical greats like Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci and even Napoleon, then turning their tactics into useful tips, Mastery is a no-nonsense guide on how to work hard and unlock your greatness.

Buy Now
https://www.amazon.com/Mastery-Robert-Greene/dp/014312417X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1576783181&sr=1-2
‘Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days’ by Chris Guillebeau
Amazon

If you’ve been sitting on a business idea but have been too afraid to take the leap, read this book ASAP. Author, founder and podcaster Chris Guillebeau provides the step-by-step methodology and practical strategies to give you the confidence to launch that side hustle and make serious cash in as little as 27 days. According to him, anyone can do it.

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https://www.amazon.com/Side-Hustle-Idea-Income-Days/dp/1524758841/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=%E2%80%98Side+Hustle%3A+From+Idea+to+Income+in+27+Days%E2%80%99+By+Chris+Guillebeau&qid=1576783377&s=books&sr=1-1
‘Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time’ By Jeff Sutherland
Amazon

“Scrum,” a management method adopted by the world’s leading tech companies, has been reimagined for the broader business world by co-creator Jeff Sutherland. In this book, he provides unparalleled wisdom for leaders and hustlers in all fields, teaching readers how to rev up their productivity, solve complex problems with efficiency and totally transform their approach to work and life.

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https://www.amazon.com/Scrum-Doing-Twice-Work-Half/dp/038534645X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=%E2%80%98Scrum%3A+The+Art+of+Doing+Twice+the+Work+in+Half+the+Time%E2%80%99+By+Jeff+Sutherland&qid=1576783550&s=books&sr=1-1
‘H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle.’ by Brad Lomenick
Amazon

With 20 years of experience working alongside Fortune 500 CEOs, startup entrepreneurs and thought-leaders, including Malcolm Gladwell, Brad Lomenick has pinpointed 20 essential habits of highly successful people and categorizes them into “the 3 Hs”: Humble (Who am I?), Hungry (Where do I want to go?) and Hustle (How will I get there?). This simple and straightforward guide will inspire you to embrace these habits in your own life in order to achieve success.

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https://www.amazon.com/H3-Leadership-Humble-Hungry-Hustle/dp/0718088506/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=%E2%80%98H3+Leadership%3A+Be+Humble.+Stay+Hungry.+Always+Hustle.%E2%80%99+By+Brad+Lomenick&qid=1576783994&s=books&sr=1-1
‘Great at Work: The Hidden Habits of Top Performers’ by Morten T. Hansen
Amazon

When it comes to the art of the hustle, working smarter, not harder, is the key. After conducting a unique study of more than 5,000 managers and employees, Morten T. Hansen explores the secrets of top performers and turns them into seven actionable “work smarter practices” for anyone looking to maximize their time and productivity.

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https://www.amazon.com/Great-Work-Hidden-Habits-Performers/dp/1476765820/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=%E2%80%98Great+at+Work%3A+The+Hidden+Habits+of+Top+Performers%E2%80%99+By+Morten+T.+Hansen&qid=1576784384&s=books&sr=1-1