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Culture Music

2020 Hip Hop Albums: Your Guide to The Most Hyped Releases

2020 is shaping up to be a massive year for hip hop. With projects from Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Wayne already in the bank, and albums from Playboi Carti, Future, Kid Cudi (and tons more) still on the horizon, rap fans have a lot on their plates for 2020. We compiled a list of the most hyped releases of the year—including those still TBD—so you don’t have to. Check it out below. 

What dropped so far:
January: ‘Funeral’ – Lil Wayne

Release Date: January 31, 2020

Coming off his wildly successful 2018 Tha Carter V, Lil Wayne’s next project (and thirteenth studio album) was bound for greatness. And, despite mixed reviews (mixed to positive), Funeral lives up to the hype. 


The Hollygrove rapper traditionally uses Tha Carter series titles for his most prepared, focused albums, while other projects have been arenas for experimentation and lower pressure releases. Many of the reviews of Funeral have emphasized its pseudo-mixtape sound. Rather than acting as a totally cohesive project, Wayne put together a more disparate 24 song album featuring a slew of different sounds and styles. As with many of Wayne’s projects, this album finds its footing most clearly in the moments when he dives into the more technical aspects of his lyricism. As with all of Wayne’s projects, the album is certainly worth a listen. Whether or not it lived up to the hype is up to you.

January: ‘Untrapped’ – Yo Gotti

Release Date: January 31, 2020

Yo Gotti’s tenth studio album debuted at the end of January (on the same day as Funeral) and was immediately met with positive reviews. Untrapped chronicles the Memphis rapper’s mentality and commitment to the hustle, all delivered over a wide array of beats, from soulful sleepers to up-beat dance hits. And although Gotti’s enough on his own, the project includes features from a swath of superstars including Lil Uzi Vert, Megan Thee Stallion, a Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and more.

February: ‘My Turn’ – Lil Baby

Release Date: February 28, 2020

My Turn dropped at the end of February and quickly became Lil Baby’s first Billboard number one album. Although the excessive length of the rapper’s sophomore studio album received some criticism, the project features some of Baby’s hottest tracks yet. With features from the likes of Gunna, Future, Lil Wayne and Young Thug, My Turn is a welcome addition to Lil Baby’s quickly burgeoning discography. 

March: ‘Eternal Atake’ – Lil Uzi Vert

Release Date: March 6, 2020

I don’t need to tell y’all about Eternal Atake. Widely considered to be the most hyped release of the year, Lil Uzi Vert’s second studio album was a monumental milestone in the Philly rapper’s career. Since the release of the album’s lead single, “Futsal Shuffle 2020” back in December 2019, fans have been clamoring for more futuristic sounds from Uzi Vert. This album was unbelievably hyped, and somehow, against all odds, has lived up to the massive expectations set by the rapper’s record and persona. 

Critics almost unanimously agree that this is Uzi Vert’s best project yet, and the reverberations of the album’s futuristic sound are already seeping into hip hop globally. I don’t need to tell you more about this one, just go listen for yourself.

March: ‘Suga’ – Megan Thee Stallion,

Release Date: March 6, 2020

This project isn’t technically an album (it’s an EP), but the “Hot Girl Summer” rapper has actually never released a true studio album. Her 2019 project Fever was a mixtape, and her other projects have all been extended plays. Despite its meager 24 minute runtime, Suga includes plenty of hits (like “Savage”) and certainly gives Megan fans something to chew on while we continue to await her first-ever true studio album.

March: ‘3.15.20’ – Childish Gambino

Release Date: March 15, 2020

3.15.20 is Donald Glover’s (AKA Childish Gambino’s) first musical release since his game-changing single “This Is America” debuted in 2018 (although it is not featured on the album). The prolific singer/writer/rapper/comedian’s follow up to his critically acclaimed 2016 album Awaken, My Love! was surprise-released on donaldgloverpresents.com on March 15th before becoming widely available on March 22nd under the title, 3.15.2020. 

The album (and its associated visuals) emphasize minimalism. With no identifiable cover art, album title or song titles, the project’s release was certainly unorthodox. It’s a complicated, weaving opus that unfolds over the course of the album’s 58-minute runtime. The album was met with widespread acclaim, but you’ll have to listen for yourself to determine your take.

March: ‘PARTYMOBILE’ – PARTYNEXTDOOR

Release Date: March 27, 2020

PartyNextDoor, who rose to fame as the first artist signed to Drake’s OVO label in 2013, released his third studio album PARTYMOBILE at the end of March. With features from Drake himself, Rihanna and Bad Bunny, the album is jam-packed with bangers reminiscent of some of the singer’s biggest hits of all from projects like PARTYNEXTDOOR and PARTYNEXTDOOR TWO. Although the album drags at times, if you loved the Canadian singer’s earlier work, there are certainly tracks you’ll love on PARTYMOBILE.

April: ‘Pray for Paris’ – Westside Gunn

Release Date: April 17, 2020

This album is fire. There’s very little else to say. Featuring verses from stars like Joey Badass, Freddie Gibbs and Tyler, the Creator, this project gets better upon every listen. With Gunn’s trademark raspy flows overlaid on a series of soulful, leaned back beats, this album is shaping up to be one of the best of the year. The Buffalo rapper is still expected to release a project with Madlib at some point later this year, but we have something truly incredible to focus on while we wait.

April: ‘BLAME IT ON BABY’ – DaBaby

Release Date: April 17, 2020

The third studio album from Charlotte, NC rapper DaBaby dropped on April 17. With a short 33 minute runtime and features from the likes of Future, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, and Megan Thee Stallion, the project delivers a lot of what fans have come to expect from DaBaby. Although the album was critiqued a bit for its similarity to previous DaBaby projects, there are certainly a multitude of tracks on there for fans to get into. 

May: ‘Dark Lane Demo Tapes’ – Drake

Release Date: May 1, 2020

With the release of Dark Lane Demo Tapes on May 1st, Drake gave his fans something to tide them over until the release of his still-awaited sixth studio album, set to release this summer. The mixtape, which includes features from the likes of Young Thug, Future and Playboi Carti, is a departure from some of the Toronto rapper’s previous albums. It’s less of an entirely cohesive project, with more influence from the UK and Brooklyn drill scenes than any of his previous work. Nonetheless, it’s a super interesting project, and definitely worth listening to—especially for those who have longed for Drake to venture into uncharted territory. If one thing is for sure, we’re excited for his upcoming studio album. 

May: ‘High Off Life’ – Future

Release Date: May 15, 2020

When “Life is Good” featuring Drake released back in January, it was initially thought to be the lead single off of a joint mixtape between the two rappers. However, Future later confirmed that the song would actually be the title track off of his upcoming 8th studio album. The title was changed from Life is Good to High Off Life, and the project was released on May 15th. In an interview with XXL from before the album’s release, Future revealed, “It’s about life and being good and just enjoying life. So many tragedies and catastrophes and everything is going on in the world. And you want to enjoy life, as long as you have it. Waking up, breathing, well, you want to be able to soak it all up and be appreciative of every moment on this earth, every moment that you’re living.” With features from Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, Travis Scott and more, the album is absolutely worth a listen for anyone into hip hop in 2020. 

What we’re most excited for:

There are an unbelievable number of anticipated projects coming out throughout the rest of 2020. From Cardi B to Frank Ocean, we compiled a list of the rumored releases below. Although a lot of these albums don’t yet have a release date (or title for that matter), we’re remaining hopeful that we’ll have a ton to listen to for the rest of 2020. See the full list of coming releases below:

Drake, TBD

Release Date: TBD

Drake already dropped ‘Dark Lane Demo Tapes,’ but claims there’s still another project on the way. It’s rumored to release this summer, but there’s still no specific release date or title available. Based on the bangers off of ‘DLDT’ and his long record of hit-heavy studio albums, it’s safe to say we’re in for something pretty great from the Toronto superstar. 

J Cole, The Fall Off

Release Date: TBD

J. Cole’s sixth studio album has been long-awaited, and although there’s no release date yet, the project is titled The Fall Off. It’s rumored to release in 2020 and will be the rapper’s first release since his 2018 project KOD

Kid Cudi, Entergalactic

Release Date: TBD

Since Cudi’s 2018 release of the joint critically acclaimed project KIDS SEE GHOSTS with Kanye West, the Man on the Moon rapper/singer has been quiet. But hopefully, we’ll be getting something big from the king before the year ends. 

Kanye West, Jesus is King 2

Release Date: TBD

Of course, we have to take all release announcements from Kanye with a grain of salt. Jesus is King 2 was originally rumored to come out immediately following the original Jesus is King, but it now looks like it’ll come out sometime in 2020. There still aren’t a lot of details surrounding the elusive project, but it seems it will probably follow in the footsteps of West’s previous album, emphasizing the rapper’s spirituality through a gospel-inspired sound. 

Frank Ocean, TBD

Release Date: TBD

Let’s just say we’ve been hurt before by a rumored Frank Ocean release (Blonde’s release got pushed back too many times to count). With any luck though, the king of contemporary R&B will deliver us a project sometime before the dawn of 2021. Fingers crossed. 

Rihanna, R9

Release Date: TBD

There’s obviously not a lot to say about this one. When Rihanna drops an album, it’s a hit. There’s no way around it. The singer has been focused on her humanitarian efforts as of late though, so the release may be pushed back. All we can do is hope. 

Westside Gunn and Madlib, TBD

Release Date: TBD

Westside Gunn is a ONE37pm favorite, and when you pair him with arguably the greatest hip hop producer of the 21st century, well then you’ve got yourself a hyped album. Gunn confirmed this collab on his IG back in December 2019, but there are still very few details floating around. We can’t wait to see what they cook up. 

Everything else set to release:

Cardi B, TBD 

Release Date: TBD

Migos, Culture III

Release Date: TBD

Young Thug, Punk

Release Date: TBD

Playboi Carti, Whole Lotta Red

Release Date: TBD

Kendrick Lamar, TBD

Release Date: TBD

Meek Mill, TBD

Release Date: TBD

Pusha T, TBD

Release Date: TBD

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Artist 2.0

Release Date: TBD

Lil Yachty, Lil Boat 3

Release Date: TBD

JuiceWrld, TBD

Release Date: TBD

Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels 4

Release Date: TBD

Noname, Factory Baby

Release Date: TBD

Tierra Whack, TBD

Release Date: TBD

SZA, TBD

Release Date: TBD

The Weeknd, TBD

Release Date: TBD

Rico Nasty, Nightmare Vacation

Release Date: TBD

Black Star, TBD

Release Date: TBD

Ski Mask The Slump God, TBD

Release Date: TBD

Big Sean, TBD

Release Date: TBD

DJ Khaled, TBD

Release Date: TBD

Vince Staples, TBD

Release Date: TBD

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The 25 Best Documentaries on Hulu to Stream Right Now

This exhaustive list of documentary films now available for your viewing pleasure will keep you occupied for some time. From adventure and romance to thrillers and killers, there’s a wide array of subject matters covered in Hulu’s current selection of documentaries, and here are the 25 best you should check out.

‘Fyre Fraud’

There was once an event called Fyre Festival which was to have taken place early 2017 but that didn’t happen. The epitome of ‘epic fail’ transpired courtesy lack of planning on the part of the organizers to accommodate the audience they eventually attracted all the way on an island in the Bahamas. Listen to the con man behind this master of a con as well as victims and insiders on what happened. Comedy or crime? You decide.

‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’

An intimate peek into the lives of Jiro Ono, considered a master sushi legend by many, and his son who is heir to the small but mighty empire his father has built that has earned the understated 10-seat Tokyo eatery a 3-star Michelin review alongside fame and fond reviews from fans around the world. Even if you don’t enjoy sushi, this documentary reveals more to the art of sushi making than the painstaking years spent perfecting it. 

‘Cartel Land’

A different take on the drug problems along the American and Mexican borders, this is an on-the-ground insider view of the work of two vigilante groups on each side that is fighting the notorious drug cartels in their own way. El Doctor and Nailer take you into an unseen world in this Sundance winner, where the lines between right and wrong blur as each group delivers its own version of justice in an ongoing battle.

‘Free Solo’

Adrenaline rush guaranteed as you follow every breath and blink of solo free climber Alex Hannold as he makes his way up the 3,200-foot El Capitan Rock in Yosemite National Park—without any rope to break his fall. The documentary works its way to the final climb from ahead of time as he prepares for the feat, and the crew gears up to join him for the climb, fully aware of the possibility that one wrong move could mean the worst.

‘Life Itself’

A poignant walk down memory lane celebrating the life and body of work of film critic and Pulitzer Prize-winner Roger Ebert who passed away in 2013. Hear from industry insiders and people closest to Ebert on the man behind the byline for some of the best movie reviews ever written. Includes a glimpse of his fight with cancer and resulting physical disability toward the end. A must watch for movie lovers everywhere. 

‘Crime and Punishment’

A documentary about the legal system that turns the cameras around on the law itself and the victims within the corrupt system fighting for change. Black and Latino police in New York City’s Police Department are the inspiration behind this historic class-action lawsuit that brought attention to unfair and illegal policing amidst minority populations. Known as the NYPD12, they not only exposed wrongdoing but also shed light on a broken system. 

‘Jane’

Jane Goodall’s name is synonymous with primate research and this 2017 documentary seeks to take a deeper look at the enigma that brought us closer to understanding chimpanzees and their behavior. Her scientific research over the past few decades has contributed tremendously to animal conservation in particular and protection of our natural world overall. Get a behind the scenes look of more than 100 hours of footage in this National Geographic film.  

‘RBG’

Powerhouse lawyer and popular icon Ruth Bader Ginsberg is the subject of this tasteful tribute to her legacy of paving the way for women’s rights, gender equality and civil liberties as she quietly charted her course to the highest court in the United States. Now well into her 80s and despite several bouts of ill-health, her sharp wit and strong stances render her a force to reckon with. Peruse her life and work in this visual biography.

‘Minding the Gap’

More than a decade of footage goes into shaping the narrative of this film that former U.S. President Barack Obama listed as one of his favorites for 2018. What appears on the surface to be a simple exploration of the bond between three boys with a love for skateboarding translates to a lot more than that. Addressing class, race, masculinity, relationships, and more, this is a powerful take on society and identity.   

‘Whose Streets?’

One defining moment in history, one shocking act of violence, brings to the surface decades of underlying tension and an unprecedented community uprising in the fight for justice. The death of an unarmed teenager at the hands of the police was the last resort for the people that came together in what became a global movement for the right to live. The tragedy united activists, leaders, and everyday civilians in what we now call the Ferguson Uprising.  

‘Apollo 11’

No matter how many movies are made about it, the landing on the moon will remain an awe-inspiring moment in history for as long as we live and beyond. Journey back via archival footage and snapshots of that first mission to the moon, from just before launch till after the team safely lands back on Earth. The documentary commemorates the 50thanniversary of the mission and includes never-before-seen NASA footage of the event that brought the world together as one.

‘The Cage Fighter’

Shadow the life of a mixed martial arts fighter as he heads back into the ring for another bout with the sport, this time as a father of four trying to maintain his match with a new crew of younger talent while also coming to terms with mounting health issues. The filmmaker gets direct access to the family at all times giving viewers an inside take on the demons they all have to battle with way from the ring as well.

‘Three Identical Strangers’

Think of all the movies about children separated at birth. Then realize that for some that story is real life and they live it. Three strangers discover in their late teens that they were triplets that were separated at birth and celebrate their paths crossing. But the more they delve into the past to understand what occurred, the deeper they dig into the sinister circumstances of their separation–an undisclosed scientific study on genetically identical siblings.

‘Honeyland’

The importance of balance and imbalance could not be portrayed any more effectively than through this visually stunning expression of both the power and the vulnerability of nature. One of the last practitioners of ancient wild bee keeping traditions living in a remote region in Macedonia is the subject of this film that addresses several larger environmental topics while also narrating the trials of the individuals involved. 

‘The Beatles: Eight Days a Week’

Can never really get enough of the Fab four and Beatlemania so here’s a documentary to satiate that yearning for the music of the ‘60s and the boy band that still has us moved with nostalgia every time one of their tunes plays. Newly found footage, video, archival material all share what went on with the band members on and off the stage as they toured the world contributing to the global cultural phenomenon they continue to be to this day.

‘School Life’

An observational documentary on the last remaining boarding school for primary education in Ireland. A feel-good story of the couple that managed the institution in their own way and built a fortress of learning behind the Hogwarts-style structure. A place where you might want to enroll yourself if you could, but too late. They closed last month and now this movie remains an ode to its glory days.  

‘Hillary’

This Hulu original offers an intimate look at Hillary Rodham Clinton and her 2016 presidential campaign, featuring interviews with husband Bill and daughter Chelsea as well as several friends and journalists. The four episodes cover her time as the First Lady of Arkansas and then the United States, and then as a senator and presidential nominee, while she is recognized as a female icon globally.

‘Love, Gilda’

Previously unseen footage and material from journals are the crux of this sometimes joyful, sometimes tearful homage to comic Gilda Radner, whom many know from her time on Saturday Night Live and the many memorable characters she created while there. Told in her own words, trace her childhood, comedic career, professional and personal relationships, and fight with cancer via personal audio and video tapes.  

‘Iris’

Be inspired by the 98-year-old fashion maven and global ‘accidental icon’ that is Iris Apfel whom you will get to know even better thanks to this fantastic documentary that sheds light on her creativity and zest for style, art, people and life itself. Bringing her own sense of glamour to the New York cultural scene for decades, she was signed on as a model last year with the International Management Group.

‘Shut up and Play the Hits’

Music lovers can revel in this poetic sojourn that reflects on the creations of rock band LCD Soundsystem and the run up to their grand finale at Madison Square Garden before disbanding at the height of their fame and popularity in 2011. The band ultimately regrouped in 2015 but the documentary addresses just the 48-hour window around the epic ‘last’ show and frontman James Murphy’s decision to quit while still at the top.

‘Ballet 422’

Head backstage with the New York City Ballet and learn the ins and outs of crafting a new piece with a young choreographer in his 20s. The first time such access has been allowed to the inner workings of the artistic behemoth. If you ever wondered what it took to be part of a professional ballet team then here’s your chance. And the 422? This is the 422nd original piece created for NYCB. Gives you renewed appreciation for the art form.

‘Dina’

This Sundance grand jury prize-winner is the sweet romance you need right now. Starring, as the title suggests, Dina, her boyfriend Scott, their families, and the lives they are bringing together as they plan for their wedding. But Scott has Asperger Syndrome and Dina brings her own fair share of mental disabilities to the table, recovering from past relationships that didn’t all end well. A special love story with its own moving twists.

‘The Queen of Versailles’

All the riches in the world may not necessarily be the answer to your troubles as this documentary proves when it opens the curtains to the lives of a billionaire couple that are planning to build a monumental home inspired by the Palace of Versailles but cannot follow through to fruition when the 2008 recession hits and their luxurious lifestyle comes to a screeching halt. Watch to see what transpires next. 

‘Zero Days’

In most cases, going above and beyond in your efforts is considered a good virtue. But not when that applies to self-replicating malware that does more than it was intended to. For any nonbelievers to the fact that cyberwarfare exists, this documentary will lay to rest any doubts. The closest you will get to hearing how politics, technology and cyberspace intersect, and not necessarily bearing the best results.  

‘Page One: Inside the New York Times’

A deep dive into the belly of the media giant that is The New York Times newsroom right at the cusp of digital overtaking print as the primary source of news. The filmmaker follows journalists from the paper for a year during this transformative phase where changes bring along both apprehension and opportunity. In a way, a lead into a topic we still grapple with today, of how print journalism can sustain itself.

Categories
Sneakers Style

20 Best High Top Sneakers

Whether you’ve cleaned your apartment to within an inch of its life or smoked all of your weed in the first week, the walls are certainly starting to close in as quarantine goes full tilt. And despite all of the Zoom virtual happy hours that help you cling to your sanity, keep in mind that maybe for the first time ever, shopping from your couch has you in the running to be a quarantine hero. 

Use this time to stock up on incense, wear your sweatpants to “work” and finally pull the trigger on some excellent high top sneakers. From once-in-a-lifetime grails to standard picks for any rotation, ONE37pm took the liberty of assembling the 20 best high top sneakers and where you can buy them right now (from the couch, pajama bottoms optional).

1. Air Jordan 1
Fight Club

Surrounded in folklore, there’s hardly a high top sneaker, even a sneaker in general, with greater cultural importance than the Air Jordan 1. The genesis of Nike’s most legendary footwear line, the AJ1’s long lineage from its athletic beginnings to its transcendence in modern culture, skateboarding and footwear in general has cemented the high top silhouette as not only an on-court staple but a streetwear icon regaled by top athletes and influencers alike. The sneaker is one of the most recognizable designs ever and one of the only models to continually be retro-ed on an almost yearly basis since its original debut in 1985.  Best colorways include the Chicago, first Off-White collab, Pine Green and All-Star 2017.

Buy Now
https://www.flightclub.com/air-jordan-1-retro-white-black-varsity-red-011677
2. Supra Skytop
Supra

Of high top sneakers to make this list, I think the Supra Skytop is one of my favorites, with the potential to be top five. Based on pure historical context, the Supra Skytop was the ugly sneaker sweeping the nation before the phrase “Triple S” or “Arclight” meant anything to Balenciaga or LV. Straight from the IG mood boards of 2008, a bygone era of horrendous style, the Supra Skytop was one of the forefathers of the hyperbolically designed high top fashion-forward sneakers of the current era. Designed partially by Chad Muska, (famous for his stash pocket on other skate sneakers), the model is a living testament to the duality of footwear. Just athletic and functional enough to be passed off as a skate silhouette but easy enough to moonlight as a glossy, fancy shoe fit for a celebrity on the red carpet.

Buy Now
https://suprafootwear.com/collections/skytop
3. Converse Chuck Taylor
StockX

Whether you’re an ancient basketball player, streetwear enthusiast, or scene kid from 2010, the Converse Chuck Taylor probably holds a special place in your heart. The sneaker’s simple canvas upper and rubber midsole was fascinating technology for turn-of-the-century athletics but the simply designed high top has created a near-perfect template to open the door for collaborations. With an unmistakable silhouette, the brand can introduce and highlight almost any fabric restructuring and colorways due to the strength of the sneaker’s simple shape. With plain canvas and mostly tonal color schemes the sneaker also inadvertently invites the personal modification and collaboration with the wearer, just ask someone shopping for an “Asking Alexandria” t-shirt in Hot Topic. My favorite collaborations: Brain Dead, J.W. Anderson, Kith, and my sister during her goth phase.

Buy Now
https://stockx.com/converse-chuck-taylor-all-star-70s-hi-brain-dead
4. Nike SB Dunk High
Fight Club

Nike’s foray into the world of skateboarding was nothing short of controversial and iconoclastic, but no matter how you feel about the Swoosh’s place in skating, most skaters would show love to the Nike SB Dunk High. Almost as famous as its low counterpart, the Nike SB Dunk is high on the list of Nike’s best silhouettes. As circumstances would have it, a sneaker that was originally rejected by its target demographic took on a secondary role as a coveted commodity for sneakerheads looking to collect different colorways of their favorite dunk models. The most famous moment in all of sneaker history even had to do with a dunk sneaker: the “Pigeon” dunk release which landed sneakerheads on the cover of the NY Post and the Nike Dunk at the forefront of sneakerhead’s minds. Best colorways: Sea Crystal, California, Skunk and De La Soul.

Buy Now
https://www.flightclub.com/nike/nike-skateboarding/dunk-sb-high
5. Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi 2
Bodega

Hoka One One (look up the pronunciation) has been on the up and up since the end of 2019, producing eye-catching silhouettes with a high emphasis on materials and functionality. Their utilitarian vibe corresponds with current styles as hiking and outdoorsy silhouettes from brands like Salomon have been enjoying a long stride as a footwear favorite with everyone from actual hikers to SoHo socialites. Hoka One One’s Tor Ultra Hi 2, like most of the brand’s sneakers, features a bulky and built out silhouette with a neutral set of colors, giving off the aesthetic of a military boot. Despite their obtuse shape, the sneaker is incredibly light. Hoka must-haves: collaboration with Engineered Garments.

Buy Now
https://bdgastore.com/products/tor-ultra-hi-2-wp-1?variant=31084694503498
6. Vans Sk8-Hi
Vans

It’s the Air Jordan 1, but for skateboarders. A confirmed classic, timeless, iconic and evergreen. The Vans Sk8-Hi originally debuted in 1978, and ever since it’s been an iconic silhouette for skating performance as well as lifestyle. The sneaker features a matchup of both suede and leather overlays with a padded ankle collar and staple rubber waffle print outsole. Skaters were originally drawn to the added protection of the high collar as well as the all-over stylish design and jazz stripe, a white banner that now graces most Vans styles was first seen on the Sk8-Hi. Classic colorway: Stick with the OG black/white colorway for a vintage dash of timeless style and performance.

Buy Now
https://www.vans.com/shop/sk8-hi-black-black-white
7. Adidas Rivalry Hi
Adidas

The brand with the Three Stripes is not necessarily known for its relevance or prevalence on the basketball court, but the time-tested brand does have some heat still tucked away in the archives. The Adidas Rivalry Hi launched initially to some hype thanks to Patrick Ewing and features its most notable “Knicks” colorway which sees the silhouette in a mostly white colorway with blue and orange accents throughout. Since then, the sneaker has had some help from the likes of Eric Emmanuel and Keith Haring, two recent drops that have brought some attention to the archival silhouette. Three Stripes for the court: Keith Haring or Eric Emmanuel.

Buy Now
https://www.adidas.com/us/rivalry-high_tops
8. Nike AF1 High
Nike

The Nike Air Force 1 High features one of the brand’s best selling sneakers in a high top format. The low silhouette has garnered a reputation as a sneakerhead’s ultimate go-to, a “buy one pair every six months” type of sneaker which speaks to the reliability sneakerheads have come to enjoy over the years since the sneaker’s late ‘80s debut on the court for Nike. The high top iteration of the silhouette includes a high ankle collar with an adjustable strap that crosses in front of the tongue. Best colorway: All except for all-black, collaborations with OBJ, and yours—make your own in NikeID.

Buy Now
https://www.nike.com/w/air-force-1-high-top-shoes-5sj3yz6lqy0zy7ok
9. Balenciaga Speed Trainer
Balenciaga

As easy as it might be to stay away from high-end designer sneakers, it’s time to give the Balenciaga Speed Trainer its due. As a high top sneaker, the sock-like design separated it from other sneakers—sock-like design seemed to rule sneakers for a moment, most notably the Reebok x Vetements sock sneakers…which I still see in my nightmares. In short, Balenciaga, for all of their lack of sneaker savvy or sneaker cultural relevance, did a good job capitalizing on the sock sneaker moment and created one of the better high tops from that weird moment in sneaker history. Best of Balenci: Keep it classic in the black/white colorway and, for the love of God, stay away from the ones with the laces.

Buy Now
https://www.balenciaga.com/us/speed-sneakers_cod11153244ma.html
10. Nike Air Yeezy
StockX

Straight out of the mythology of Nike is their uber-famous time spent with Kanye West, who is proving to be, perhaps, the most interesting designer of the last decade. Whether you remember Ye’s work with the Swoosh or if you can only recall the 350 Turtle Dove (probably depends on your age), the product of Nike x Kanye was the stuff of instant legend. The Nike Air Yeezy was a confirmed classic when it dropped in 2009 and only went on to more fame and circumstance with the fans when the Nike Air Yeezy 2 dropped in 2012, continuing to stroke the flame of Ye’s popularity at Nike. Want to feel like Pablo? Pick up the “Red Octobers.”

Buy Now
https://stockx.com/air-yeezy-2-red-october
11. Adidas Yeezy 750
StockX

Starting out hot from his switch to Adidas, Kanye blessed us with the Yeezy 750—the first of countless numbers of silhouettes and versions to come from the collaborative efforts of West and members of the brand with the three stripes. Hyped up off the anticipation of West’s first move since Nike, the 750 was hailed for its high top style and its high top price point, coming in at around $220. The drop was an expensive but accurate representation of what the two had cooking. Return to the start of West x Adidas with the “Grey” 750 that launched the partnership.

Buy Now
https://stockx.com/adidas-yeezy-boost-750-light-brown
12. Common Projects Tournament Leather High Top
Neiman Marcus

No matter your feelings about the brand Common Projects, their ability to produce a clean, high-end silhouette is far from arguable. Their simple design mixed with super high-quality materials has made them the clean and classic go-to of the designer sneaker world. (A similar case might be made for Golden Goose, but that’s for another time.) Common Projects takes a super basic sneaker design and elevates it past the point of functionality by adding a serving of extra luxe to make it something worth bragging about. The Tournament Leather sees a classic high top sneaker in a variety of simple colorways with gold foil accenting and high-quality grade leather which covers the upper. A nice detail is a zipper on the heel with both stylistic and functional design. Sometimes all-white or black isn’t a bad thing.

Buy Now
https://www.neimanmarcus.com/p/common-projects-tournament-leather-high-top-sneakers-prod190790035
13. Nike Air Mowabb
StockX

At the heart of Nike is one of their lesser-known lines, All Conditions Gear—better known as ACG. Among these outdoorsy and hiking-focused silhouettes is the Nike Air Mowabb, a sleeper pick from deep in the archives that carries the energy of an @organic.zip IG story and some of the biggest IYKYK vibes ever. The sneaker is bulky, busy, and features a variety of design components like a huarache ankle collar, sock liner and upper with premium materials. The Air Mowabb stands out for a couple of reasons, primarily it looks the best in the colorway of “RATTAN/BRIGHT MANDARIN-BIRCH” which is now widely referred to as “Mowabb.” Additionally the Air Mowabb clashed with the creative designers from Comme des Garcons, another three-lettered acronym brand that subtly replaced the “ACG” branding hit on ankle collar of the Mowabb with “CDG” a perfect detail that makes the simple black and white collab all that better. Outdoors and high fashion. Who would’ve thought?

Buy Now
https://stockx.com/air-mowabb-acg-rattan-birch-2015
14. 11 by Boris Bidjan Saberi x Salomon Edition Bamba 3
SSENSE

If you’re tickled fancy by outdoorsy sneakers, trail-running, and super treaded outsoles then Salomon is a brand you’re probably familiar with. If not, it’s probably worth warming up to—with recent collaborations with streetwear juggernaut Palace, the brand’s Xt-6 and S-Lab sneakers are some of the hottest streetwear accessories right now. The high top versions of the Salomons are just as high-tech, incredibly durable, and somehow incredibly attractive to non-hiking sneakerheads looking to give their style a more technical edge without shelling out for ACRONYM and other brands hawking high tech for a high price. Get extra dirty with Salomon’s collaboration with 11 by Boris Sidjan Saberi.

Buy Now
https://www.ssense.com/en-us/men/product/11-by-boris-bidjan-saberi/grey-salomon-edition-bamba-3-sneakers/4785791?gclid=Cj0KCQjwybD0BRDyARIsACyS8mv6pqR7p3V15lfesJxUKL0XsQkQbbhaA8DuQf0XlgPu1gv7Kv9b4CwaAjToEALw_wcB
15. Reebok Shaqnosis
Reebok

The Reebok Shaqnosis was a no-brainer. The brand doesn’t have much to offer in terms of palatable high top sneakers, but this wavy design from ‘96 plus the cosign from the big man is certainly enough for real heads to recognize the legitimacy and impact of the Shaqnosis. Taking an interesting concept to fruition and using a simple black and white color scheme are just some of the attributes that make this sneaker a winner. The seamless transition of the graphic from the upper to the midsole and also considering that 1996 was the first year of Shaq’s long-reigning tenure as a Los Angeles Laker are just a few additional details that round out the shoe as a successful concept. Yes, they’re still available, you just need to know where to look.

Buy Now
https://www.reebok.com/gr/shaqnosis-shoes/EF3069.html
16. John Geiger 002 High
John Geiger

Maybe the only non-major brand high top sneaker to be included in the list, the John Geiger 002 is a clean and classic high top sneaker that features a unique lacing system to help the silhouette stand out from other minimalistic, designer sneakers out there. If you haven’t heard about John Geiger, well now’s your chance to tune in—the Pittsburgh creative has had “big things coming” for the past few years and has yet to fail in delivering a well thought out and fantastically designed project. Gieger has some hot colorways out there but opt for the “Bred” version—that is, if you can track one down for a reasonable price.

Buy Now
https://johngeigerco.com/products/002-by-john-geiger-black-black-red
17. Dior B23
Dior

All prejudice from the Dior x Air Jordan 1 collaboration aside, the Dior B23 high top sneaker is not only a good model but a successful execution of repeating patterns and the use of translucent materials on footwear. The sneaker looks like the Off-White x Converse Chuck Taylor but less translucent (smart) and more high end (something Off-White also failed to do), so let’s hear it for Dior one time. The sneaker features a Dior logo repeating pattern with other versions featuring floral arrangements and even dinosaurs. The price is a little too spicy but if you got it like that then this is the sneaker to spend it on.

Buy Now
https://www.dior.com/en_us/products/couture-3SH118YJP_H069-b23-high-top-sneakers-in-dior-oblique
18. Tom Sachs x Nike Mars Yard Overshoe
StockX

Quite possibly the weirdest high top sneaker of the last decade has been the Tom Sachs x Nike Mars Yard Overshoe. As a follow up to the equally expensive and hard to get Mars Yard 2.0 sneakers from 2017, Tom went overboard, taking the sneaker and affixing it with a large white bag and new outsole made from thick rubber with two lockdown straps over the forefoot. Drawing style inspiration from space, the price followed suit, the sneaker sits around the $500 mark on reselling platform StockX.com. The best thing about this sneaker is what creatives did once they bought it, slashing away the white plastic covering the sneaker, a Mars Yard 2.0 can be found at the core of the silhouette. Get DIY with it and slash away until the Tom Sachs Mars Yard 2.0 (or some version of it) is finally yours.

Buy Now
https://stockx.com/nike-mars-yard-overshoe-tom-sachs
19. Yeezy 500 High
StockX

The Yeezy line has a lot going on at the current moment, but don’t worry about trying to keep up with the avalanche of 350 releases. Turn your focus to the 500—undoubtedly a top Yeezy of all time. From the clash of neoprene, suede, and leather, the silhouette seems to channel comfort on every twist and turn of the sneaker. The 500 recently saw a high top iteration of the model and overall it looks great. The sneaker is an excellent go-between having to opt for a Yeezy boot (900, I think) or return to the 750 to get a high top style from the YZY line. The 500 high only came out in 2019, but with no new colorways to speak of, perhaps the creative team has moved onto other models and colorways. Either way, the 500 High is a sleeper pick from the oversaturated world of Adidas x Yeezy and offers the incredible comfort of the 500 plus the added lockdown and feel of an athletic high top sneaker. Personal advice: Don’t sleep too hard on these.

Buy Now
https://stockx.com/adidas-yeezy-500-high-slate
20. Nike Mag
StockX

The Nike Mag (famously mislabeled as Nike Air Mag) is the granddaddy of maybe all sneakers but most certainly high tops. A futuristic spin on what “sneakers are supposed to look like in the future” courtesy of Back to the Future Pt. II, the sneaker saw an initial release in 2011. Following up in 2016 Nike reintroduced the silhouette, this time with self-lacing, an opportunity to bring the sneaker from the film to life and for Nike to introduce their E.A.R.L. (Electro Adaptive Reactive Lacing) technology to the sneaker world. For most, the Mag is the grail of grails and if it isn’t then you probably don’t care about sneakers too much. If you’re going to take the dive, go all the way in and get the self-lacing iteration which included a super limited release of 89 pairs.

Buy Now
https://stockx.com/nike-air-mag-back-to-the-future-bttf-2016
Categories
Culture Music

The 20 Best Rappers from Atlanta According to Me, a Rap Fanatic

When André 3000 declared over boos that “the south got something to say” at The Source Awards in 1995, there was a shift in Hip-Hop. The region had just been added to what had been an exclusively east coast vs. west coast genre at the time. With that special focus put upon them, along with expectations that they really took off with, the south was now a viable powerhouse in hip hop.

Today, when we talking about the south in Hip-Hop, no region has had quite as big of an impact like Atlanta.

The best rappers from Atlanta are also some of the best rappers in the world, so figuring out who does and doesn’t make the cut is an excruciatingly difficult, task. I thought long and hard about it, and in my opinion, below in alphabetical order, are some of the best rappers to come out of Atlanta.

1. André 3000
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

3 Stacks is widely regarded as not just one of the best rappers that Atlanta has ever birthed, but one of the best to ever do it, period. The only debate about having André on a list like this is whether or not he should be there due to his lack of a solo album, which is fair. I’ve always believed that he has one in The Love Below, but admittedly it’s more an R&B album than anything else. But at the end of the day, Dré doesn’t need his own album to prove his skill as an MC. If you’re listing the best from Atlanta and 3 Stacks doesn’t come up, you’re doing it wrong.

2. Big Boi
Don Arnold/Getty Images

Big Boi only comes right after André 3000 on this list coincidentally because it’s in alphabetical order, but it couldn’t be more perfect. All of his career, he’s been considered second fiddle to Dré which is completely unfair. It’s hard to recall Sir Lucious L. Leftfoot ever being completely washed and outclassed on an OutKast record, and many a time he got the better of his Rap partner. His solo career also speaks for itself.

3. B.o.B
Paras Griffin/Getty Images

The expression of some of his beliefs over the past few years has left Bobby Ray in a weird space with fans, but to me, his rapping has never been up for debate. At one point in that blog/backpack era, he was one of the key MCs to watch and he proved it with his May 25th mixtape. He also crossed over successfully to the mainstream with his singles. Remember Airplanes?! Fans are just cruel sometimes and the culture is unforgiving. But at the end of the day, there are many Hustle Gang posse cuts where B.o.B gets the best of some of our favorites and we should acknowledge him for that.

4. CeeLo Green
Roger Kisby/Getty Images for Range Rover Evoque

It should be some sort of crime to talk about Atlanta Hip-Hop for more than 10 minutes without a member of the Dungeon Family coming up. Goodie Mob was a key piece of that puzzle and its youngest member CeeLo Green is ATL royalty. CeeLo is far superior to what his radio hits “Crazy” and “Fuck You” suggest, with the artist having a hand in collaborations with a who’s who of music. Large scale diversity is a trait we’re seeing less and less of right now, but that’s where Green shines.

Childish Gambino
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

I remember first hearing Childish Gambino’s “Bonfire” from his Camp album and being blown away. He wasn’t the type of rapper I expected would give listeners punchline after punchline Lil Wayne style, but he did it very well. The same thing happened a few times after that with a freestyle at HOT 97 and some of his mixtape songs and to me, it was clear that the world was sleeping on Donald Glover. His show Atlanta and the “This Is America” video have helped change that, but his new album 3.15.20 is far from a “Rap” album and might have fans confused about his ability as a rapper. But, I assure you, he is one of ATL’s finest.

6. CyHi The Prynce
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW

It’s unfortunate that many reading CyHi’s name on this list will only know him for his collaborations with Kanye West, most of which happened 10 long years ago during the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy era. Even during that period, he was going toe to toe on songs with the likes of J. Cole, Pusha T, Big Sean and more and doing more than pulling his weight, coming out with standout verses on numerous records. But please respect CyHi’s solo work and go and listen to Black Hystori Project at the very least. The man is one of Atlanta’s best, bar for bar.

7. Future
Scott Legato/Getty Images

Like a few artists on this list, you can view Future’s career in two halves. The rapper was caught up in Hollywood in the early 2010s, arguably getting stale, but then he went through a public breakup and really reinvented himself with his Monster mixtape in October of 2014. From then, he went on a run worthy of being in the Hall Of Fame with Beast Mode, 56 Nights and DS2, all in the span of under nine months. He could make it on this list just off the strength of those four projects. His ear for melody and writing for Beyoncé and Rihanna also puts him in a space of his own and proves his worth beyond that toxic and painful music that fans love him for.

8. Gucci Mane
Mark Horton/Getty Images

There was a point in time when a lot of Atlanta artists (dubbed by many as The New Atlanta) were blowing up one after another, and almost all of them had some sort of connection to Gucci Mane. Guwop has had his hand in so many careers that it’s unbelievable and fans of his will tell you that his mixtape discography is one of the best out there. Gucci might be a legend based on work ethic alone. I remember him releasing three EPs in one day, all while behind bars.

9. Jeezy
Prince Williams/WireImage

T.I. might have been the one to name and really bring in the trap era and genre in music, but Jeezy took it and ran with it like no-one else. His 2005 mixtape Trap Or Die is an influential classic, as are a few of his albums. Hip-Hop fans have not been kind to Jeezy in terms of support for a few years now, and I understand and agree with the sentiment that his music feels a little uninspired and “samey” these days, but to not put him on a list like this considering his entire career would be a travesty.

10. J.I.D.
Josh Brasted/FilmMagic

The first time most of the world was introduced to J.I.D. was The Never Story, which we clicked play on because we knew he was J. Cole’s latest signee. But we stayed for his infectious flows and charisma, two things J.I.D. really continues to pull off effortlessly. When he raps, you just want to hear what he has to say next, because you have no idea what it could be. It’s still early days for him, but the future is bright for Dreamville’s J.I.D. and he just might be Atlanta’s latest greatest best up-and-coming MC.

11. Killer Mike
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Killer Mike’s resumé both inside and outside of Hip-Hop is nothing to turn your nose up at. Along with El-P, he’s made some of the more respected Rap albums of the past decade with the Run The Jewels series and his activism is unrivaled. A lot of young RTJ fans also don’t know that he’s been around since the early 2000s. Like Kendrick said, “critics want to mention that they miss when Hip-Hop was rapping, motherfucker, if you did, then Killer Mike’d be platinum”.

12. Lil Baby
Prince Williams/Wireimage

This social media era means that not all rappers have to go through a grind for years and years before they get their big break anymore. Some people blow up off of their first batch of songs, and some have one foot in with rapping and become huge. That’s Lil Baby’s story. Becoming a rapper wasn’t some passion of his and for many, that is enough to exclude him from any Hip-Hop lists, but it shouldn’t be. His ability to capture your attention on a record is absurd and he makes anthemic-sounding songs. Baby already has some unforgettable moments in the bag (“Freestyle”, “Yes Indeed”) and it’ll be fun to see where he goes next.

13. Ludacris
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

I remember being 12 or 13-years-old and swearing by Ludacris being a top-five rapper out, in around 2010. To be fair, this was almost entirely off the strength of him holding his own against my favorite rapper at the time, Lil Wayne, on ‘Last Of A Dying Breed’, but either way, I got laughed at back then just like I would now. It’s easy to dismiss him as an actor if you’re only familiar with this later stage of his career but go back and check the catalog, Luda is a legend.

14. Offset
Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

For a long while, Quavo was considered the leading member of Migos, but “Bad And Boujee” changed some things. I haven’t been the biggest fan of Migos’ rapping style, but when Offset shows up the way I know he can, he shows out. On the first song on his album FATHER OF 4, he pours his heart out in a way extremely unfamiliar to fans of Migos’ club records. Another one of my favorite verses from him is on 6LACK’s “Balenciaga Challenge”.

15. Quavo
Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Melody wasn’t always the thing in Hip-Hop. Mobb Deep’s The Infamous is one of my favorite albums of all time, but on it, Prodigy and Havoc don’t do anything close to what you might call singing, holding a note, or even changing pitch that much. Kanye West, Drake and more helped the transition take place and Quavo is better off because of it. Along with Offset and Takeoff, Quavo was at the forefront of the New Atlanta movement and his musical ear is to be respected.

16. T.I.
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Pandora

When you think of ATL in Hip-Hop culture, there’s a good chance that T.I. is the first person that comes to mind. If he doesn’t go to jail at the height of his popularity in 2008 (and then again soon after), maybe we’re having a completely different conversation about him in terms of being a mainstream artist, but Tip has had his fair share of commercial success regardless. As a rapper, he held his own with JAY-Z, Kanye West and Lil Wayne on the same song, which speaks for itself. He boasts classic Atlanta songs and last but not least, he helped usher in the trap era. Forget a list, put him on Atlanta’s Mount Rushmore.

17. Young Thug
Suzi Pratt/WireImage

Thugger had an entry into Hip-Hop like no other with ‘Stoner’ and ‘Danny Glover’. For a while, the gimmick of not being able to understand what he said and his fashion sense was keeping him going, but more than half a decade later, it’s clear that he’s here to stay for a lot more than that. Thug has been more influential in his short career than many would care to admit, plus when he really raps (see Swizz Beatz’s ’25 Soldiers’ and Drake’s ‘Sacrifices’), the way he captures your attention and his unpredictability is undeniable.

18. 2 Chainz
Paras Griffin/Getty Images

If 2 Chainz doesn’t make the bold decision to reinvent himself and come with the music to prove that we should care about his career again, he probably doesn’t make this list. If he’s still Tity Boi, unfortunately, he’s probably remembered for being one of the other rappers on ‘Duffle Bag Boy’. But he’s not, so he isn’t. Instead, Chainz is the perfect example of why being young in Hip-Hop is overrated, hitting his stride decades into his career.

19. 21 Savage
Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photobank

I’ll be the first one to admit that I was skeptical about 21 Savage when his name first started buzzing with Savage Mode in the summer of 2016. Like others, I heard snippets here and there, saw the reception to him, then wrote him off as just another rapper rapping about nothing new. But then I actually hit play on the project and I was humbled, slapped back into reality. At the end of the day, there’s more to rapping than metaphors and double entendre and 21 is the embodiment of that.

20. 6LACK
Tabatha Fireman/Getty Images

Yes, 6LACK is a singer, but what a lot of people don’t know is that he started off as a battle rapper. On the internet, there’s even footage of him battling Young Thug back in the day. One of my favorite displays of his rapping is on ‘Nonchalant’ from his last album East Atlanta Love Letter. The world ran with the “I’m somewhere between humble and ‘Hell Nah’” line, but the entire song is a goldmine of witty bars. I love his unique fusion of Hip-Hop and R&B, but I’d be intrigued to hear how a 6LACK pure Rap album sounds.

Categories
Consoles Gaming

18 Games Like ‘The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’

In 2015, CD Projekt put out the third installment in their ‘Witcher’ series and were showered with praise by fans and critics alike. The game is not only considered to be the best in the series and one of the best of that year, but it often gets mentioned in the best games of all time conversation.

In ‘The Witcher 3,’ players take the role of Geralt Of Rivia, a monster hunter. While the story is great, it’s not what fans have been drawn to the game for. The game is an action-styled RPG set in an open world, but not just any open world. It boasts one of the more immersive and realistic worlds in a game to date. It’s a one of a kind gaming experience, but after logging tens of hours onto the game and feeling complete, you might have this emptiness in you about what to do next.

Not to worry because we’ve got you covered. Below is an alphabetical list of 18 games that can help fill the hole that ‘The Witcher 3’ left inside you.

1. ‘Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’

Ubisoft kicked off the Assassin’s Creed series in the 2000s with incredible games back to back, but somewhere along the line fans complained of things feeling stale and repetitive. The company eventually gave in and updated the mechanics of the game with Origins. With fans responding positively, they really kicked things up a gear with Odyssey, a game that certainly borrows from The Witcher 3 in parts. It has a loot system and skill points system and gives players more control of events in the game than usual.

Buy Now
https://www.amazon.com/Assassins-Creed-Odyssey-PS4-PlayStation4/dp/B07DJ1PVJG/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Assassin%E2%80%99s+Creed+Odyssey&qid=1588022859&sr=8-1
2. ‘Dark Souls III’

‘Dark Souls’ games have a reputation in the gaming community for being somewhat difficult beyond the point of enjoyment, but that’s not totally fair. The games are indeed challenging, but the reward makes things worth it. The challenge of hard enemies gives you a real feeling of suspense and danger in boss fights. For this one, in particular, you’ll also have to go slightly out of your way to really appreciate the story, mostly through NPC dialogue and item pick-ups, but finding your way with Dark Souls III is absolutely a gratifying experience.

Buy Now
https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Souls-III-Fire-Fades-PlayStation/dp/B06XTJMF4B/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Dark+Souls+III&qid=1588024054&sr=8-1
3. ‘Divinity Original Sin 2’

Where ‘Divinity Original Sin 2’ really shines is its writing and the depth to its combat and strategy. There is a learning curve to the game but if you figure it out, you’ll be more than satisfied. Just like ‘The Witcher 3,’ the narrative is long, but it never feels too long or like you’re going along with events for the sake of it. If you can convince a few friends to play it, there’s a great co-op mode too.

Buy Now
https://store.steampowered.com/app/435150/Divinity_Original_Sin_2__Definitive_Edition/
4. ‘Dragon Age: Inquisition’

‘The Dragon Age’ series is lengthy and ‘Origins’ is widely considered to be the best game, but certain elements of ‘Inquisition’ mean that it’s better suited for this list. You can skip straight to Inquisition, but a little context never hurts anyone. The Inquisition combat system will give you strong flashbacks to ‘The Witcher 3,’ along with its leveling system and general depth. You can easily clock in one hundred hours on the game and still have things left to do.

Buy Now
https://www.ea.com/en-gb/games/dragon-age/dragon-age-inquisition/buy
5. ‘Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen’

Some fans will argue that in most key aspects of the game (like voice acting, plot, level design, etc.), ‘Dragon’s Dogma’ falls far short of being what ‘The Witcher 3’ is, but most games do. If you’re looking for something that can replicate ‘The Witcher 3,’ you’re out of luck, but if you’re searching for the same feel, ‘Dragon’s Dogma’ is well worth a try. The character creation process is special and where this game really shines is the fighting aspect. Hits just feel meatier than most other games, making combat more immersive and impactful. Plus at the end, you get to fight a chimera, i.e. a multiple headed animal. That’s always fun.

Buy Now
https://store.steampowered.com/agecheck/app/367500/
6. ‘Fable III’

Before we get into why this game might be right for you, it has to be mentioned that this is an Xbox 360 and PC exclusive. For those that this suits, you’re in for a treat. The Fable series by Lionheart Studios has been built on choice from its inception. In a nutshell, you decide whether you want to be good or bad in their simplest forms and you watch the world around you change because of it. NPCs will react accordingly based on your reputation and there are many of them to meet. Side quests don’t quite match the depth of The Witcher 3, but there are enough of them to help fill the void.

Buy Now
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/fable-iii/br46km4d5b9l?activetab=pivot:overviewtab
7. ‘Fallout 4’

With the fourth installment in the ‘Fallout’ series, players will experience the height of being free and able to customize in a game. There are dozens of guns in the game with hundreds of attachments that you can craft to your own preference. Players can even craft buildings, which will help in filling in the emptiness of the post-apocalyptic world. Without spoiling too much, the storyline might also give you ‘Witcher 3’ flashbacks.

Buy Now
https://store.steampowered.com/agecheck/app/377160/
8. ‘Final Fantasy XV’

If you’re looking for a vast open-world, characters with layers to them, a central protagonist that you can get behind, a range of special side quests, a fun combat system and a plot with twists and turns like what ‘The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’ provides, look no further than ‘Final Fantasy XV’. The best part is, while it being the fifteenth game in the series might look daunting to those who have never touched a ‘Final Fantasy’ game, it’s standalone, meaning you can jump right into it without playing anything that came before it and still gets the full experience.

Buy Now
https://store.eu.square-enix-games.com/en_GB/games/franchises/final-fantasy-xv?_ga=2.153941297.869970779.1586739065-947274828.1586739065
9. ‘Horizon Zero Dawn’

Before we get into this one, ‘Horizon Zero Dawn’ is indeed exclusive to the PS4 so if you’re an Xbox One or PC gamer, you’re out of luck here. ‘Horizon Zero Dawn,’ though set in quite a different world than ‘The Witcher 3,’ is just as unique in its own right. Instead of monsters, you’ll go toe to toe against machines, trying to exploit their weak points to win battles. The world itself is not as large but looks just as incredible, if not better. The combat is not the same but is just as dynamic. Plus, the main character Aloy just has a similar feel to Geralt in a way that’s indescribable.

Buy Now
https://www.playstation.com/en-gb/games/horizon-zero-dawn-ps4/buy-now/
10. ‘Kingdom Come: Deliverance’

On a list with some of the best games ever made, ‘Kingdom Come: Deliverance’ probably goes under the radar and is maybe the least popular game of the bunch. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t give you an experience reminiscent of your time with ‘The Witcher 3’. It is set in medieval times, 1403 in Bohemia to be exact, and you’ll take the role of Henry, whose goal is to battle an invasion. Warhorse Studios took their time with this with specific attention to realism and it really comes through in the gameplay.

Buy Now
https://store.steampowered.com/agecheck/app/379430/
11. ‘Mass Effect 3’

Just like ‘Dragon Age’, although we’re only putting one game on this list, truthfully, the entire series could be here. There are some key differences with ‘The Witcher 3,’ but in terms of storytelling, character progression, and making decisions that impact the entire game, this might be one of the closest comparisons to the epic nature of that game. The world isn’t quite as open and it’s less an RPG than a shooter, but think of it as a science-fiction version of ‘Wild Hunt’ and you can’t go wrong.

Buy Now
https://www.ea.com/games/mass-effect/mass-effect-3?isLocalized=true
12. ‘Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War’

If you appreciated ‘The Witcher 3’s’ combat system above any other aspect of it, trying out ‘Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War’ is a must. You’ll play as Talion, who has sword skills beyond belief, utilizing them when defeating anyone that the game’s Nemesis System spawns. Defeating Sauron’s Army is very rewarding because of it. Outside of that, there is an abundance of loot to pick up and of course, the environment was created by J.R.R. Tolkien, so that should let you know about the level of atmosphere we’re dealing with.

Buy Now
https://www.shadowofwar.com/purchase/
13. ‘Monster Hunter: World’

If you hadn’t already guessed by the name, this is another game that is a good choice for people that enjoyed the monster hunting aspect of ‘The Witcher 3’. There are a bunch of complex fighting mechanics to learn. If you’re skeptical, in 2019 there was an official crossover with the games, and Geralt Of Rivia was made available to play in ‘Monster Hunter: World’. Geralt has his own quest and it’s one of the more complex ones in the game with some great rewards.

Buy Now
https://store.steampowered.com/app/582010/MONSTER_HUNTER_WORLD/
14. ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’

One thing about ‘The Witcher 3’ that fans loved was the side quests in the game that impacted the experience so much. If you’re looking for the unpredictability of running into strangers and not knowing where conversations will take you, the second ‘Red Dead Redemption’ game is for you. The stranger missions in that game often rival missions in the main story. Plus, the open-world experience is really second to none, maybe not even the Northern Kingdoms. Landscapes are breath-taking and in my own playthrough, I often stopped on a mountain top just to take things in and appreciate the realism. The game allows you to make big decisions but also carry out remedial tasks on your own.

Buy Now
https://www.rockstargames.com/reddeadredemption2/restricted-content/agegate/form?redirect=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rockstargames.com%2Freddeadredemption2%2Forder&options=&locale=en_us
15. ‘The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’

‘Skyrim’ was the talk of the gaming world for so many years and not just because of the ‘arrow to the knee’ meme. It received extremely favorable reviews upon release and all kinds of gamers worldwide put dozens, if not hundreds of hours into it. The open-world, unique quests, third-person combat and more will restore that feeling that ‘The Witcher 3’ gave you. If you’re planning to put some work into ‘Skyrim,’ you might as well go all out and get the special edition for its DLC too. When you’re done, you can join the many that still play modded versions of it today.

Buy Now
https://www.g2a.com/the-elder-scrolls-v-skyrim-special-edition-steam-key-global-i10000029090004?adid=dsa-cpc-GB-en-non-c-411347734781&id=43&gclid=CjwKCAjw7LX0BRBiEiwA__gNw4rzBm9HaJXOEWSh6gNi4cV_nIMNoYfOdGThJiX7CgG4sx3k5Q1_dRoCNPwQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
16. ‘The Last Of Us’

If you’ve never played through ‘The Last Of Us,’ you’re in for one of the better gaming experiences of your life. While its sequel continues to suffer from delays, I’m contemplating playing it through for the third time. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world and is filled with action, adventure, horror, and more. Being Joel is like being a part of one of the best movies you’ve ever seen. There’s nothing like watching characters you feel close to develop and build relationships and comparisons can be drawn between Joel and Ellie’s and Geralt and Ciri’s. Unfortunately, just like a few other games on this list, it is a PlayStation 4 exclusive.

Buy Now
https://www.playstation.com/en-us/games/the-last-of-us-remastered-ps4/
17. ‘The Witcher 2: Assassin Of Kings’

Although ‘The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’ was most people’s introduction point to the series, there is a hell of a lot of character development that takes place before it which is well worth the time and will give you a newfound respect for ‘Wild Hunt’. The second in the series is by no means just an older version of the third, but it’s also technically as close to ‘The Witcher 3’ as you’re going to get. It has more of an old school RPG feel to it with some key differences. Unfortunately, CD Projekt couldn’t make this one for PS3 because they ran out of time, so you’ll need a 360 or PC to play it.

Buy Now
https://buy.thewitcher.com/en_us/#buy_w2
18. ‘Vampyr’

Contrary to most other vampire games, Vampyr lets you play as the vampire, giving you a unique experience. Throughout the game’s plot, you decide whether you want to feed on the people of 1918 London to level up quicker or spare them their lives. Taking both paths give you alternate endings. For those that enjoyed Witcher Sense, there is a similar mechanic here due to your vampire senses. The game naturally lives in the Fantasy genre and gives you the same feel as ‘The Witcher 3’.

Buy Now
https://store.steampowered.com/app/427290/Vampyr/
Categories
Sports Strength

MLS Salaries: The 20 Highest Paid Players

MLS—Major League Soccer—is looking to establish itself as a top-notch professional soccer league that can compete with the likes of English Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga. The league has made some inroads, like agreeing to a new five-year collective bargaining agreement with the players. In the new CBA, players will receive raises in the minimum salary and will be given increased benefits. 

With two new teams this season and four more teams arriving in the next two years, MLS is looking toward expansion and is showing a commitment towards acquiring some of the top soccer talents from around the world. As MLS teams have acquired more high-profile players from overseas, individual player salaries have risen, leading to a collection of heavy hitters raking in the dough. From Jozy Altidore to Chicharito, here are the highest-paid players in the MLS.

20. Johnny Russell, Sporting KC – Base Salary: $1.45 million

After signing a three-year contract in 2018 with Sporting Kansas City, Russell has amassed 19 career goals in two seasons. The Scotsman is the highest-paid player on the team and it makes sense, as he has come up big in crucial moments for Kansas City.

19. Valeri “Vako” Qazaishvili, San Jose Earthquakes – Base Salary: $1.47 million

Though he’s had his ups and downs with San Jose, Vako has found his groove with the club. Benched in the middle of last season, he figured out how to get back on the field and ran off a stretch of six goals in eight games. The highest-paid player on the Earthquakes, a lot is expected of the midfielder.

18. Felipe Gutierrez, Sporting KC – Base Salary: $1.60 million

The 29-year old Gutierrez had 12 goals and three assists last season. Acquired as a designated player by Sporting Kansas City in 2018, Gutierrez is signed through 2020 with an option in 2021. The Chilean-born Midfielder could be a highly sought after player in the near future.

17. Darwin Quintero, Houston Dynamo – Base Salary: $1.75 million

Known as El Científico del Gol or the Goal Scientist, Darwin Quintero is one of the best goal scorers in MLS. Now with the Houston Dynamo, Quintero is looking to help Houston make the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. In the past two years, Quintero scored 21 goals and contributed 20 assists for Minnesota United. He was responsible for 40 percent of Minnesota’s goals in that stretch.

16. Albert Rusnak, Real Salt Lake – Base Salary: $1.80 million

The Slovakian Rusnak is an integral part of Real Salt Lake. With 27 career goals through three years in MLS play, Rusnak has shown what value he provides. He’s also tough as nails. Last season, Rusnak scored two goals in a game against FC Cincinnati after he dislocated his left ring finger early in the match.

15. Maxi Moralez, New York City FC – Base Salary: $2.00 million

Standing just 5’3”, Maxi Moralez might lack the height of his peers, but he compensates for his stature with elite soccer skills. Last season, Moralez led the entire MLS with 20 assists. Born and raised in Argentina, Moralez is staying in the Big Apple after he signed a two-year contract extension. With the way he cuts hair, Moralez might need a raise.

14. Jonathan dos Santos, LA Galaxy – Base Salary: $2.00 million

After a strong career overseas that saw him play well for Villareal CF and FC Barcelona, Jonathan dos Santos was acquired in 2017 by the Los Angeles Galaxy. A Midfielder, dos Santos is a two-time All-Star with a versatile skill set.

13. Nicolas Lodeiro, Seattle Sounders FC – Base Salary: $2.00 million

An attacking Midfielder, Lodeiro has been a success in the MLS since he won Newcomer of the Year in 2016. From Uruguay, Lodeiro has been an important factor in two MLS Cup Championships for Seattle. An All-Star this past season, the 31-year old Lodeiro has 26 goals in his regular-season career.

12. Raul Ruidiaz, Seattle Sounders FC – Base Salary: $2.00 million

Acquired as a Designated Player in a transfer, Ruidiaz came up clutch in the playoffs as he scored four goals in Seattle’s run to the MLS Cup. One of the top forwards in MLS, Ruidiaz has had a definitive role and impact in Seattle’s success.

11. Gustavo Bou, New England Revolution – Base Salary: $2.10 million

Signed by the Revolution in the Second Transfer Window in the middle of last season, Gustavo Bou has been a key addition to the Revolution’s recent success. A versatile player, Bou had nine goals in just 14 games as the Revolution qualified for the MLS playoffs for the first time in four seasons.

10. Carles Gil, New England Revolution – Base Salary: $2.10 million

The captain of the Revolution, Carles Gil immediately stepped into a prominent role in his first MLS season. After time spent in Spain and England, the 27-year old was named MLS Newcomer of the Year last season. A dynamic force for the Revolution, Gil led the club in goals (ten) and assists (14).

9. Diego Valeri, Portland Timbers – Base Salary: $2.32 million

Valeri has had a really strong seven-year run with the Timbers franchise. A top-ten player in terms of base salary, Valeri has accumulated numerous awards and accomplishments. A former MLS MVP, Valeri famously led the Timbers to an MLS Cup victory in 2015, where he scored the fastest goal in MLS Cup history.

8. Nani, Orlando City SC – Base Salary: $2.33 million

An OG in the MLS, the 33-year old Nani is in his second season in MLS. An All-Star in his first season, Nani got the job done, leading Orlando both in goals (ten) and assists (12). Famous for his time with Manchester United, Orlando is hoping that the signing of Nani can elevate the franchise to its first playoff appearance.

7. Sebastian Blanco, Portland Timbers – Base Salary: $2.74 million

A central cog in Portland’s offense, Blanco has recorded 11 assists in back-to-back seasons. His skills in the kitchen aren’t too shabby either. The Midfielder owns a pizzeria back in his native Argentina.

6. Josef Martinez, Atlanta United – Base Salary: $3.00 million

Martinez’s season ended abruptly after he tore his ACL in Atlanta United’s season opener. His presence will be sorely missed. Martinez scored 58 combined goals in the past two seasons and was the first MLS player to win All-Star, regular season and MLS Cup MVP honors in the same season. Though his season is likely over, the 26-year old Martinez still has a long career ahead of him. One thing we do know is that Martinez’ unorthodox penalty kicks will be missed.

5. Alejandro Pozuelo, Toronto FC – Base Salary: $3.80 million

Toronto FC signed Pozuelo last year after he transferred from KRC Genk. Pozuelo hit the ground running, scoring two goals in his MLS debut. Overall, he scored 12 goals in 30 games last season as Toronto made it all the way to the MLS Cup game before falling to the Seattle Sounders. Expected to be a legitimate MVP candidate this season, Pozuelo might need to renegotiate his contract.

4. Carlos Vela, LAFC – Base Salary: $4.50 million

The 2019 MLS Most Valuable Player, Vela is one of the best goal scorers that MLS has to offer. He earned the Golden Boot last year after recording an MLS record 34 goals. A two-time All-Star in MLS, Vela led LAFC to the best mark in the MLS regular season and helped the team get all the way to the Western Conference Finals.

3. Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC – Base Salary: $4.89 million

A two-time All-Star and MLS champion, Altidore is one of the most decorated players in the MLS. Altidore is a key part of the lethal Toronto FC attack. Using a mixture of strength and quickness, he’s managed to reach top-30 all-time in total goals scored in MLS history and is not stopping any time soon.

2. Michael Bradley, Toronto FC – Base Salary: $6.00 million

Bradley could miss up to four months after having surgery on his right ankle. Though he will have some time to recuperate after the MLS season was put on pause, It’s a major loss for Toronto. The captain of Toronto’s squad and an MLS champion, Bradley has been a constant for a team that has made the playoffs in four of the six seasons he’s been with the club.

1. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, LA Galaxy – Base Salary: $7.20 million

After Zlatan Ibrahimovic left the LA Galaxy to join AC Milan, the Galaxy responded by bringing in the ultimate goalscorer, Chicharito. The Galaxy reportedly paid a fee of $10 million to acquire the elite striker. The highest-paid player in MLS, Chicharito faces some pressure to live up to Zlatan’s reputation, but he should be up to the task. Through a 14-year career, he has recorded 156 career goals and amassed awards like the CONCACAF Gold Cup Golden Boot and MVP in 2011.

Categories
Culture Music

Legendary DJ OG Ron C Talks Working with Drake and His Advice for Emerging Talent

On this week’s episode of our podcast Monday to Monday, host Mike Boyd chats with legendary producer / DJ / radio personality OG Ron C. Ron C’s been in the game since the late 80s, but his chopped and screwed remixes remain immensely relevant to this day. The Houston producer is Drake’s official Chop DJ and recently worked with Don Toliver and Dvsn. Ron C is charismatic, cool and unbelievably knowledgeable, dropping helpful advice left and right. This podcast is a must-listen for not just hip-hop aficionados, but for anyone trying to make it in the game today.

Mike and OG Ron C begin the interview discussing how the DJ has managed to stay relevant for so long. He’s still the most notorious chop DJ in the game, and so even younger artists continue to seek him out for their desired mixes. “I’m here to provide it for them, make sure they get it done the right way,” he says, before adding: “They gotta go to the kings, man. Me and the Chopstars.”

Ron tells a funny story about linking up with Don Toliver years ago, long before the rapper had risen to his current level of fame. “One time, he just gave us a whole folder of songs. And he said, ‘Man, y’all do whatever y’all want to with them, man just keep me in the rotation,’” he says of Toliver. His keen eye for spotting undiscovered talent is tried and true, and he has a really interesting way of putting it. “That’s what we do. We down before the car moving. We down to push the car,” he says. 

In typical Monday to Monday fashion, OG Ron C offers up some advice for emerging artists and producers. His advice is succinct and widely applicable: “Check your attitude at the door. And when I mean, ‘at the door,’ I mean right now.” Humility and an ability to check yourself is paramount to Ron. “Learn how to check yourself before somebody else check you,” he jokes. 

He also has some more specific advice for producers: “If you really wanna be the best at that, you need to learn music theory. Learn the theory of music. Meaning that you have to learn what a four-bar count is, you have to learn what notes are placed in those four bars. That is the theory of music, because if you learn that then it makes everything [easier].” This key advice is often left out of the discussion, and it’s important to hear it from one of the greats.

OG Ron C and Mike spend a lot of the rest of the interview discussing the DJ’s relationships with some bigtime MCs. He’s worked closely with Drake, and has a lot of funny stories to share about the Toronto superstar. “When I’m around Drake, man, it’s a beautiful thing. Because Drake treats you like family. Like he treats his whole crew like family, like for real,” he says and adds: “Drake is like…he’s really a humble dude man. I have to say, hats off to him. Because like, every time—he ain’t never fronted on me. He ain’t never fronted on me or my crew though.” When Mike asks him for his favorite Chopped and Screwed project of all time, he ponders before responding: “Take Care.”

The duo also chat about Ron’s long-held relationship with legendary Houston rapper Slim Thug. You can hear in his voice how much he cherishes his friendship and long term working relationship with the rapper. Mike asks him who is his favorite artist that he’s been around, and he responds quickly. “Slim Thug for sure. For shit sure.” In his lengthy relationship with the artist, they had damn near 100% good moments. “We probably had 2 percent bad moments. Like for real, 98 percent of the time was always, y’know what I’m saying,” he says. 

Ron C leaves us with a little mystery at the end, hinting at an upcoming project. He says he can’t reveal too many details, but gives us a hint as to who the artist is. “The only thing I can say—give up, is where he from: Memphis,” he says. We’ll have to wait and see what’s up next for the Houston legend.

If you loved this episode and want to listen to Mike chat with more artists, producers and managers, make sure to check out last week’s episode, when he spoke with Da Baby’s manager King Carter.

OG Ron C Quarantine FaceTime
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/og-ron-c-quarantine-facetime/id1489043136?i=1000472772141
Categories
Sports Strength

25 Amazing Sports Documentaries to Watch This Off-Season

Professional sports are on hold for the foreseeable future, but die-hard sports still have a lot of content options to choose from. In addition to catching re-broadcasts of old games or honing your skills in NBA 2K20, there are countless sports documentaries to explore. Whether you’re in the mood for a spotlight on a specific player or a breakdown of how certain country’s politics and its sports programs intertwine, 

Like any movie genre, there are a select few sports documentaries that stand head and shoulders above the competition. Some of the entries here, covering everything from soccer to international cycling, are even Oscar-winning features for best documentary. Put on your cheese heads and get the bean dip ready, ladies and gentlemen, because we have some films to check out.

‘Icarus’ (2017)

What started out as director Bryan Fogel’s personal journey to game the doping system and perform better in a cycling race turns into one of the most ground-breaking sports documentaries ever made that pulls all professional and Olympic results into question. Fogel develops a close relationship with Russian doping scientist Grigory Rodchenkov, who instructs Fogel on how to take steroids over a year and pass a drug test, right as international investigations break the news of the Russian state-sponsored doping program and Rodchenkov’s central position in it. The Netflix original and Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Feature is full of twists and turns that will leave any fan of athletics or geopolitics thoroughly entertained.

‘Pumping Iron’ (1977)

No athlete put bodybuilding on the map quite like Arnold Schwarzenegger. This inquisitive look into the world of bodybuilding and what it takes to be a top athlete is both inspiring and hilarious thanks to the star’s antics with his fellow competitors. Behind the scenes footage is certainly illuminating for any fans of bodybuilding as an art form, but, most importantly, it also broadcast images of Schawrzenagar as a charismatic jokester to general audiences for the first time. Without this movie’s success, it’s unlikely that the future Terminator would have made such a big splash in Hollywood. It is currently available to rent or buy on Vudu.   

‘What’s My Name: Muhammed Ali’ (2019)

The two-part HBO original gives fans of Muhammed Ali one of the most in-depth looks at his legendary life and career from his perspective. Composed of old interviews, television show appearances and fight footage, director Antoine Fuqua weaves together a thorough examination of Ali that is narrated by the fighter’s own voice. With the greatest and loudest fighter of all time breaking down his own highs and lows, this is a must-see for anyone interested in what made this particular athlete such an icon both on and off the mat.

‘Facing Ali’ (2009)

Muhammed Ali may do a good job describing his own story in What’s my Name, but the documentary doesn’t examine or study the mind-set of the fighters who had to face the world champion. Featuring the perspectives of classic Ali opponents like Joe Frazier and George Foreman, “Facing Ali,” currently streaming on Amazon Prime, does a great job exploring the mindsets of people preparing for extremely challenging situations.  It’s one thing to watch someone get knocked out by Ali, or watch someone put the legendary fighter on his butt, but it’s another thing entirely to hear the boxers describe those moments and the hours that followed once the cameras turned off.

‘Hungry’ (2014)

We all eat, but only a select few individuals eat for sport. Hungry, rentable on YouTube and Amazon, is all about the world of competitive eating and its roots in American patriotism. Featuring interviews with some legendary eaters and the history of the Nathan’s Hot Dog eating tournament that spurred the whole sport into being, Jeff Cerulli and Barry Rothbart’s Hungry is a good look behind the curtain for anyone curious how these athletes get motivated and train to eat so much damn food.

‘Free Solo’ (2018)

There are a lot of adrenaline-inducing sports, but few things are as risky and pulse-pounding as free climbing a boulder. Following climber Alex Honnold’s insane journey to free climb the notorious 3200 foot-tall El Capitan rock wall in Yosemite, Free Solo is an anxiety-inducing, must-watch film.

Currently streaming on both Disney+ and Hulu, the Oscar-winning picture is one of the most stunningly and complexly shot documentaries ever made. Not only is Honnold up there risking his life, but the documentary makers are right there next to him, perfectly capturing each new emotion on the daredevil’s face. 

‘Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns’ (1994)

When Ken Burns sets his sights on a topic, audiences expect the passionate director to create extremely detailed pieces of work. Baseball, an 11-part series currently streaming on Amazon Prime and on PBS’s website, begins its journey when the sport was first created in the United States and tracks its progression to becoming America’s past-time. Not only does the film do a great job weaving through the sport’s complex, racist history, but it tells a powerful story about what sports can do for a people when a country is going through difficult times. 

‘Senna’ (2010)

Ayrton Senna was one of the most successful and famous Formula One racers in the world until an accident at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix led to his death. Senna, currently available on Netflix, tells the three-time Formula One World Driver’s Championship winner’s story and touches on his own advocacy to make it a safer sport. Rather than rely on contemporary interviews, most of the film focuses on archival footage and home video clips provided by the racer’s family that illuminate him in a new light. 

The 2016 Oscar Winner for Best Documentary Feature, O.J. Made in America, is a dense, thorough look at the former NFL player’s life. The film, which started out as a multi-part entry in ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, does spend a fair amount of time on his trial for murder and his later conviction for robbing sports memorabilia he used to own in Las Vegas, but it spends a lot of time examining the larger structural issues and building to those points rather than immediately unloading them on the audience. It’s impossible to comprehensively talk about the case and the public’s reaction without discussing the power of racism in Los Angeles, and Made in America doesn’t shy away from tackling the issue and how it intertwined with O.J.’s life ever-since he stepped onto the public stage as a USC football star.

‘No No: A Documentary’ (2014)

Pitching a perfect game is one of the hardest things an athlete can do in professional sports. That’s why the fact that Dock Ellis did it while tripping on LSD makes his accomplishment even more noteworthy. No No, currently streaming on Amazon, is an entertaining look at the troubled pitcher’s memories of that day as well as a larger commentary on substance abuse in the 60s and 70s. Funny and heart-warming, the film also explores Ellis’ own civil rights work and how he used his celebrity to speak to societal evils.

‘McEnroe/Borg: Fire & Ice’ (2011)

Few sports rivalries are as fierce as the one between tennis icons Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. The HBO original film McEnroe/Borg: Fire & Ice examines the differences between the American and Sweedish players both on and off the court that digs into both of their character flaws in a surprisingly raw fashion. Neither player shies away from their explosive behavior in the past, and yet the film succeeds at making both individuals, who are displayed somewhat negatively throughout, feel human and likable.

‘No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson’ (2010)

One of the most intense entries in the ESPN 30 for 30 series is Steve James’ No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson. Before Iverson became one of the NBA’s most notorious players, he was a high-school star in Hampton, Virginia who was charged and convicted alongside a few friends with striking some individuals in a bowling alley. The documentary does a great job covering the emotional episode, including handheld camera footage of the event and a detailed look at his pardon from the Governor, and examining how the incident heightened the community’s pre-existing racial tension. Iverson may be one of the most iconic basketball players of the 21st century, but this chapter in his life is unknown to most of his fans and this documentary covers the emotional era in an extremely sensitive, thought-provoking manner.  

‘Tyson’ (2008)

Arguably, no professional or amateur fighters are “soft,” but ferocious barely scratches the surface when describing Mike Tyson. Tyson is extremely self-reflective in the documentary he shares his name with and his willingness to discuss his past behavior, even the self-destructive bits, makes this one of the most emotionally raw films on the list. Tyson, rentable on Vudu and Amazon, is a must-watch for anyone interested in a peek behind the curtains for one of the most notorious professional fighters who ever lived. 

‘At the Heart of Gold’ (2019)

Lawrence Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics national team doctor and the osteopathic physician at Michigan State University will die in federal prison. Nassar’s arrest is related to one of the most high-profile and disgusting cases of the Me Too era and the HBO original documentary At the Heart of Gold is an unflinching look at the multiple cases. While Nassar’s actions are despicable and disgusting, the film takes a deeper look at the system that allowed Nassar to rise to such heights and potentially even turned a blind eye to his illegal behavior.

‘A Normal Life: Chronicle of a Sumo Wrestler’ (2009)

Few countries have a sport that is uniquely their own, but sumo wrestling is primarily associated with Japanese culture. A Normal Life follows Takuya Ogushi after he finally gives into his father’s wishes and enrolls in a sumo wrestling academy. Not only is this an intense look at the first nine months of someone’s sumo training, but it is a careful look at the substitution of individuality that takes place in these group-oriented training facilities. Currently rentable on Amazon and YouTube, A Normal Life is a must-watch for any die-hard or newly curious fans of the sport. 

‘Hoop Dreams’ (1994)

A lot of feature films start as ideas for shorts, but this full-length documentary was originally supposed to be a 30-minute program for PBS. Instead, director Steve James and his team stuck around collecting footage for five years to tell the stories of William Gates and Arthur Agree, two Chicago high school students who both have their sights set on becoming professional basketball players. Currently streaming on HBO, Hoop Dreams examines the personal commitments both young men made, commuting 90-minutes to a predominantly white high school with a prestigious basketball program, and the pressures that come along with wanting to make it as a sports professional. 

‘The Scheme’ (2020)

This recently released HBO original documentary takes a closer look at the pay-to-play controversies that recently rocked the world of college basketball. The Scheme is structured around interviews with Christian Dawkins, a life-long sports businessman who was prodded along by undercover FBI to funnel money to college coaches and ultimately charged by Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. The documentary is a brutal indictment against the NCAA’s structure and its stringent rules around not compensating athletes because they are technically considered amateurs.

‘Jackie Robinson’ (2016)

As if Ken Burns didn’t say enough about the sport in Baseball, the director stepped back onto the plate to talk about the infamous Jackie Robinson. Full of interesting archival footage and analysis of media from when Robinson was first making a name for himself, it’s impossible to walk away from this film feeling anything but admiration for this inspirational American. Moving beyond his revolutionary career on the field, the documentary, available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes, also does a great job examining his life after professional sports as he continued fighting for civil rights in a divided country. 

‘The Two Escobars’ (2010)

Pablo Escobar was one of the most ruthless drug lords Colombia and the world has ever known. Andres Escobar was the country’s biggest soccer star until he was murdered for costing the national team its shot in the 1994 World Cup. The two men weren’t related but The Two Escobars shows the unspoken bond between the two of them and the inexplicable power dirty money had over the country’s sports. An entry in ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, the film is a compelling film about corruption and two extremely interesting individuals.

‘Dogtown and Z-Boys’ (2001)

Skateboarding is essentially universal at this point. In small towns and major cities around the world, people are skating, but that wasn’t always the case. Tony Hawk may be the most well-known skater, but the Zephyr Skateboard Team (aka the Z-Boys) influenced the X more than anyone else. An entertaining mix of footage of the crew skating in the 70s and 80s intermixed with interviews of the skaters in new lives, the documentary does a good job exploring the sports’ evolution as well as the ground-breaking role the Z-Boys played in that history. Rentable on Amazon and YouTube, Dogtown and Z-Boys is a must watch for anyone curious about the history of skateboard culture and its place in Los Angeles. 

‘Unmatched’ (2010)

On the complete opposite end of the rivalry spectrum from Borg/McEnroe are legendary tennis players Christine (Chris) Evert and Martina Navratilova. Unmatched, another ESPN 30 for 30 production, examines the two players’ lengthy careers, including their many times facing each other throughout the 70s and 80s, but focuses on the supportive relationship the players had off the field. A beautiful story about the power of friendship, both players talk about the important role the other one played in their lives and in boosting their careers.  

‘Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson’ (2004)

Obviously Ken Burns was going to appear on this list one more time, but the prolific documentarian didn’t only talk about baseball. In Unforgivable Blackness, Burns tells the story of Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion of the world, and builds the case that he was one of the most famous people on Earth. A scathing look at American racism during the Jim Crow era, the film is an unflinching look at one of the most notorious Americans to ever live.  

‘Long Shot’ (2017)

A brief Netflix original documentary, clocking in at only 40 minutes long, Long Shot tells Juan Catalan’s improbable tale. Arrested for a murder he didn’t commit, Catalan was eventually proven innocent thanks to a random coincidence: raw footage of him at a Dodgers game appeared in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Featuring interviews with Catalan, his lawyer and Larry David himself, Long Shot is an emotional roller-coaster that could make any wrongly convicted individual wish they had an alibi this strong. 

‘A League of Ordinary Gentlemen’ (2006)

There are a few athletes, individuals like Kobe Bryant or Tiger Woods, who were so iconic that even people who didn’t follow sports knew who they were. Unfortunately, bowling doesn’t necessarily have stars whose names have broken through the pop culture sphere. A League of Ordinary Gentlemen, available to rent on Amazon, follows a group of professional bowlers after the Professional Bowlers Association goes through a dramatic rehaul. Bowling’s popularity has slowly dwindled in the states, but these player’s personalities and their passion for the game should be enough to draw anyone back to the sport.

‘In Search of Greatness’ (2018)


Exercise and a good diet are obvious necessities for any aspiring athlete, but In Search of Greatness connects the creative abilities of some of the world’s best athletes with their iconic careers. Featuring interviews with sports icons like Serena Williams and Michael Jordan, the film emphasizes each athlete’s own creative sparks of genius that made them unique on and off the field. Currently available on Hulu, even people who have no desire to become professional athletes or ever play at the amateur level for fun can learn something about determination and problem solving from watching this movie.  

Categories
Culture Music

The 20 Best Trap Music Artists, According to Somebody Who Listens to Them All Damn Day

In 2020 the genre trap music has a debatable definition. To some, it’s a subgenre of EDM that fuses dubstep and techno beats with Roland TR-808 drum samples, but to others, it’s a style of hip hop music that originated in the south during the late 1990s. The term trap itself is used to describe a place where drugs are sold, otherwise known as a trap house. Combining chopped and screwed instrumentals over 808s and synthesizers-infused beats with lyrics about slanging drugs, living in the hood, and attaining wealth, trap music was born. From Ghetto Mafia and Dungeon Family to T.I. and Gucci Mane, trap music is indisputably southern. Below we’ve gathered 20 of our favorite trap artists and the songs that put them on top of the trap game.

1. T.I.

Breakthrough songs: 24’s and Let’s Get Away 

Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, arguably the home of original trap music, T.I. is often referred to as The King of Trap in the music world. His top-selling 2003 album, Trap Muzik, sold 10,000 copies in its first week and debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200.

2. Gucci Mane

Breakthrough songs: Freaky Gurl and Icy 

Gucci Mane is another rapper from Atlanta who—along with T.I. and Jeezy—is widely known for coining trap music. His notable mixtape releases and album drops have earned him respect and legendary presence in the Atlanta music scene often noted as an influence by several younger Atlanta rappers. 

3. Jeezy

Breakthrough song: Soul Survivor and I Luv It 

The final member of ‘the trap trio’ is Jeezy, also hailing from Atlanta. Jeezy has been a major name in trap music since the release of his 2005 debut album Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101 – arguably one of the greatest trap albums of all time.

4. Rick Ross

Breakthrough song: Hustlin 

From Clarksdale, Mississippi and growing up in Carol City, Florida, Rick Ross has gone from topping the charts of Billboard to running his own record label, Maybach Music Group. His chart-topping track “Hustlin” perfectly exemplifies what it means to be a trapper, or in Ross’ words, a hustler. 

5. Chief Keef

Breakthrough songs: I Don’t Like and Love Sosa 

Generating over 30 million views on YouTube, “I Don’t Like” and “Love Sosa” not only made a  name for Chief Keef, but also made a name for drill, a Chicago subgenre within trap music. The Chi-town rapper’s debut song caught the likes of Kanye West who then remixed “I Don’t Like,” landing it a spot on Billboard’s Rap Top 20 in 2012.  

6. Lil Yachty

Breakthrough songs: One Night 

Also known as Lil Boat, Yachty grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and is considered one of Young Thug’s many prodigies. His ATLien southern twang and use of slang words is a more upbeat and lighthearted form of trap music that has become popular during the last few years.

7. A$AP Ferg

Breakthrough song: Work 

A member of ASAP Mob, Ferg may originate from the east coast but still has trap roots infused in his musical spread. In a 2013 interview with GQ, the art student-turned-rapper said, “A trap lord is basically the lord of the trap, and my trap is rap.”

8. 21 Savage

Breakthrough songs: Red Opps and X

Born in London but raised in Atlanta, 21 Savage rose to fame with his 2015 mixtape “The Slaughter Tape.” With themes of struggle and street life, 21 started rapping after he was shot six times on his 21st birthday, nearly losing his life from the attack.

9. Lil Baby

Breakthrough song: Drip Too Hard and Yes Indeed

One of Young Thug’s proteges, Lil Baby is the epitome of modern Atlanta trap music. In just two short years, the 25-year-old rapper grew to fame after the debut of his studio album, “Harder Than Ever,” which ranked at number 3 on the US Billboard 200 charts in 2018.

10. Playboi Carti

Breakthrough songs: Magnolia and Woke Up Like This.

Signed to ASAP Mob’s AWGE Label and Interscope Records, Playboi Carti has been described as the perfect mix between Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Yachty. Often labeled as a mumble rapper, his playful and melodic music has earned him collabs with Solange, Tyler The Creator, and Young Nudy.

11. Future

Breakthrough song: Magic 

Another trap artist emerging from Atlanta is Future. Popularly known for his legendary song “March Madness,” Future centers his auto-tuned vocals around stories of drug use, lavish living, and female companions. It doesn’t get more trap than that.

12. 2 Chainz

Breakthrough song: No Lie

The artist behind the 2017 album “Pretty Girls Like Trap Music,” 2 Chainz is no stranger to the sub-genre. In an interview with The View, the rapper said “…trap music is kinda defined as low socioeconomic background music where you have to hustle to get out,” further proving his firsthand knowledge of the history of trap.

13. Lil Uzi Vert

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Breakthrough song: Money Longer 

Lil Uzi Vert falls under many categories: alternative hip hop, emo rap, punk rap, and of course, trap. While his beats are less similar than your traditional trap beat, Uzi’s lyrical content places many of his releases under the sub-genre. Even more, his sound is paving the way for the EDM trap sub-genre mostly composed of rapping flow, dubstep beats, and a hip hop instrumental.

14. Waka Flaka Flame

Breakthrough song: Hard In The Paint 

The rapper behind “O Let’s Do It”, “Hard in da Paint”, and “No Hands”, Waka Flaka is, of course, from Atlanta. Just as he raps in “O Let’s Do It”, Waka makes “drug dealin’ music” with topics ranging from the types of drugs he whips up to women loving him for his money and flashy lifestyle. His music has gained popularity as nostalgic and notable songs in the trap music world, resulting in fans of all different backgrounds.

15. Fetty Wap

Breakthrough song: Trap Queen 

From Paterson, New Jersey, Fetty Wap rose to trap fame after the release of his song “Trap Queen.” The single reached number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and started a crossover of trap music in the pop music scene with its vibrant and animated beat and catchy lyrics.

16. Young Thug

Breakthrough song: Stoner 

Making his way onto the list of trap legends, Thugger has been coined as a leader of young trap rappers like Gunna, Lil Keed, Lil Baby, and more. Growing up in Atlanta, Young Thug developed a unique rapping style made of blending southern vernacular, slurred words, and whiny tones.

17. Migos

Breakthrough song: Versace 

The rap trio from Atlanta who successfully broke through into mainstream music is none other than Migos. Composed of Quavo, Takeoff, and Offset, and managed by Coach K, the former manager of Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy, Migos has contributed top hits to the trap scene like “Handsome and Wealthy,” “Motorsport,” “Bad and Boujee,” and more.

18. Gunna

Breakthrough song: YSL 

Another rapper from Georgia, Gunna is signed to YSL Records and mentored by the label’s owner, Young Thug himself. Featured on several songs with Young Thug, it’s no surprise the young rapper’s music style is highly compared to Thugger’s, instantly landing him in the trap sub-genre.

19. Boosie Badazz

Breakthrough songs: Wipe Me Down and Set It Off

One of a kind Boosie Badazz, formerly known as Lil Boosie, has a sound like no other. Hailing from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the rapper’s music surrounds life in the hood, violence, flashy purchases, and pulling women, while still following some pretty emotional and vulnerable themes. Incomparable to many, Boosie has earned a legendary spot in the world of trap music.

20. UGK

Breakthrough songs: Tell Me Something Good 

You can’t mention trap music without paying homage to UGK. The iconic duo made up of Bun B and Pimp C is one of the most legendary southern rap groups that highly influence what trap music is in 2020. Their story-telling tracks were gritty, chopped, and screwed; a sound that hadn’t been heard before. Furthermore, they created a raw and vivid picture for listeners to fully imagine what it was like to live, survive and hustle in the streets. 

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Culture Movies/TV

The 16 Best Western Movies On Netflix

Here are the 16 best westerns on Netflix guaranteed to have you dreaming of the open road.

16. ‘Red Dawn’

A small Colorado town might not feel like the most common setting for a classic Western, but Red Dawn turns Calumet, Colorado, into one of the best guerilla Westerns of the 80s. No, there aren’t any horses or cowboys, and the plot revolves around an imaginary Soviet/Cuban occupation of the United States. But if the best westerns always have raised stakes, beautiful countryside, standoffs, and long stares into the distance, then nothing beats Red Dawn. While most people unfavorably remember the failed 2012 Chris Hemsworth reboot, the original Red Dawn is a classic example of how the western mentality never really left.

15. ‘Back To The Future 3’

OK, so hear me out… Most wouldn’t classify Back To The Future 3 as a quintessential western. But nothing beats Michael J. Fox in a cowboy hat and a scenario that doesn’t include accidentally trying to sleep with his mother. After Marty McFly learns that Doc. Brown is trapped in 1855, he and Doc Brown (from another time) go on an epic western adventure to save the day, the DeLorean, and every one of Marty’s past adventures into time. Besides the fact that this is the only film where the future is actually featured (at all), this tech spin on the western world makes Back To The Future 3 a must-watch or at least something to put on while you cook or do some other couch-based task.

14. ‘Casa De Mi Padre’

It is a fundamental fact of mankind that westerns are serious, artistic films. It is also a fundamental fact that Will Ferrell can do anything he wants for the rest of time. In Casa De Mi Padre, Armando Alvarez (Will Ferrell) thinks his family’s ranch has been saved by the appearance of his business savvy younger brother Raul (Diego Luna). But a series of unfortunate and comical events find Armando in love with Raul’s fiance, and the entire family embroiled in a fierce battle with Mexico’s fiercest drug dealer. Come for the comedic genius of Will Ferrell in his prime and stay for pre-Star Wars Diego Luna’s face. Literally, just his face makes the entire movie worth it.

13. ‘Hostiles’

For a serious, honest to god western, Hostiles pretty much fits the bill. Anti-Native Captain Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale) is ordered to escort a dying chief back to his family lands in Montana. Along the way, they encounter Rosalie Quaid (Rosamund Pike) whose family has been killed by a war raid. Together, they make a long and dangerous trek to bury the chief in honor. One of the worst tropes in Western films is the blatant racism for Native Americans. There is something uncomfortable about watching western expansion stylized in front of a beautiful backdrop. While Hostiles acknowledges the struggles of that era through the lens of white saviors, the Native American characters are given the chance to stand on their own. For those looking to escape some of the seriousness, you can play spot Timothee Chalamet playing the perfect role for his body type: a private in desperate need of a sandwich.

12. ‘Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark’

While I was tempted to include every Indiana Jones movie on this list, Raiders of The Lost Ark made the list for its inclusion of the greatest shootout scene of all time. For those who have lived under a rock for 20 years, here’s the basic premise. The setting: American archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is tasked with stopping the Nazi Party from finding the Ark of the Covenant. The vibe: young Harrison Ford sweating in the Peru heat, dressed in a leather jacket that fueled enrollment in archaeology classes for years. The kicker: The Nazi’s are working with Jones’ fellow colleague and a good friend. The lesson: always bring a gun to a knife fight.

11. ‘El Camino’

Yes, Breaking Bad is a television show. But El Camino, the epilogue Netflix film, takes Breaking Bad’s western vibes to a whole other level. Taking place after the final episode of El Camino, Jesse Pinkman flees the life he built with Walter White and tries his hardest to start a new one. To get home free to Alaska, Pinkman is forced to wrestle with his past choices and must decide what his new ones will be. While a lot of good westerns harness the power of time, El Camino leans even harder into the western vibes of the modern-day. Our antiheroes are drug dealers, the wild wild west replaced with a drug-infused landscape, and our trusty steed replaced by a gorgeous El Camino.

10. ‘Hateful Eight’

While this stylized Quentin Tarantino flick is trope enough to inspire a Netflix parody film, its long-lived popularity was well deserved. The Hateful Eight follows the paths of two bounty hunters on their way to collect their funds from Red Rock Wyoming. In the middle of their journey, a blizzard forces them to rest at a local haberdashery, setting into motion a chain of events so haphazard and twisting that to explain would be to spoil the entire film. A thriller of epic proportions, The Hateful Eight compiles a killer cast of bounty hunters, Lincoln lovers, and damsels in distress to engage in the shootout of the century.

9. ‘The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly’

How could I talk about westerns and not include this Eastwood classic? The original spaghetti western, The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly stars an in his prime Clint Eastwood, before his eight children but after god blessed him with the jawline of a king. In the middle of the “War Between The States”, a group of bounty hunters try to kill a Mexican bandit, a fugitive runs with a bundle of Confederate gold, and a mercenary figures out how to get his bounty and much, much, more. If you’re looking for a film that includes horse chases, stolen goods, fugitive rewards, and sheriffs who really shouldn’t have their jobs, you’ve come to the correct place.

8. ‘Once Upon A TIme In The West’

1981 might not have been a great year for the Cold War, but it was a pretty good time for westerns. Once Upon A Time In The West portrays the struggles between a western town, a conniving railroad, and a quest for justice at all costs. Yes, Once Upon A Time In The West was made famous for its casting of Henry Fonda as the villain (since Clint Eastwood was unavailable), but the main focus of this film should be Claudia Cardinale’s epic portrayal of the sexy homesteader because nothing says attractive like a woman in the west who was recently widowed. While critics agree that the 145 minute cut of the film was a financial flop, the cultural reset it provided claimed Once Upon A Time In The West a spot in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry.

7. ‘There Will Be Blood’

As someone who would listen to Daniel Day-Lewis read the factory warnings on a vacuum cleaner, I would be remiss to not mention There Will Be Blood as one of the greatest westerns Netflix has to offer. Set in the 1898 oil boom, Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Daniel Plainview, a miner who quickly learns that oil is the key to the nation’s future. However, when Plainview gets a taste for oil, his business plans quickly turn sour and he is forced to make tough calls to claim what he thinks is rightfully his. His quest for wealth sets in motion an epic quest for power, blood, and the every disappearing treasure of oil. This film is 158 minutes of cinematic genius and will cause you to think long after the credits roll.

6. ‘Slow West’

Sundance’s 2015 Jury Prize for Dramatic Winner, Slow West is a hidden gem that tells a love story set in the wild, wild, west. Looking for his one true love, Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is joined by gruff bounty hunter Silas Sellick (Michael Fassbender) on a quest to find Rose Ross (Caren Pistorious). Once found, Cavendish wants Rose to join him in happily wedded bliss. The twist? Bounty hunter Sellick isn’t helping out of the goodness of heart. Instead, he is trying to claim the $2,000 bounty lying on Rose’s head. While the action in this film slowly rises, the acting, plot, and cinematography work together to make a truly gorgeous film.

5. ‘Lawless’

While this western is set in Prohibition foothills of Virginia, Lawless’ 2012 bootleg band of brothers provide a welcome addition to the modern western genres. Set in 1931, Forrest, Howard, and Jack Bondurant are three brothers running an illegal moonshine distillery from their Virginia gas station. Their funds and plans are threatened by US Marshall Rakes, who demands a cut of their funds. The brothers are forced to stave off this invasion, all while trying to find and keep the love of their lives. Starring Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, and Jason Clarke, this violent classic uses the western aesthetic to its advantage, making it a truly memorable film.

4. ‘Mudbound’

While Mudbound takes place around World War 1, it’s setting of the Mississippi Delta helps it to harness the harsh and brutal aesthetics of the best westerns. A film by Dee Rees, Mudbound features the struggles of a black sharecropping family in 1939 and the challenges they face farming a threadbare patch of land in Mississippi. Taking an idealist time and centering on the reality of the American dream, Mudbound takes the western tropes and creates real people out of the heroes. Rather than a final victory, audiences are forced to watch a story of survival above all else.

3. ‘Godless’

Yes, Godless is technically a limited series. However, as Godless is so good it can only be watched in one sitting, it has earned its place near the top of the list. Starring a killer ensemble cast (Jack O’Connell, Merritt Weaver, Michelle Dockery), Godless follows vicious outlaw gangs, weary state marshalls, and the women of La Belle, a town run entirely by widowers trying to survive after almost all of their husbands are killed in a mining accident. When the outlaws are unwittingly led to La Belle, the women of La Belle must face down for the battle of their lives. Merrit Weaver plays Mary Agnes McNue, the sister of the sheriff and leader of the ragtag group. Her riveting performance in this female-led take on the classic Western makes this series a must-watch. Plus, what else are you doing to do right now?

2. ‘True Grit’

To make a list of the best westerns and not include True Grit would be mighty bold talk. This 1969 Oscar winner has everything, a daughter in search of vengeance, an outlaw on the run, and a drunk, one-eyed fat man who’s just bored enough to go on the trip of a lifetime. After Mattie Ross’ father is killed by Tom Chaney, she enlists the help of old US Marshal Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) to bring the fugitive to justice. After teaming up with Texas Ranger La Boeuf, the three scramble to exact their revenge, facing shoot outs, snakes, and deadly wit in the middle of the wilderness. As far as westerns go, the characters in this film prove what it means to have true grit. If you’ve only seen the 2012 remake, you haven’t really seen it.

1. ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’

Is it bold of me to include a vignette musical dramedy as the greatest western film on Netflix? Yes. Am I going to do it anyway? Absolutely. This Cohen Brothers joint stars a veritable who’s who in comedy (Tim Blake Nelson, Liam Neeson, James Franco, Brendan Gleeson, Zoe Kazan, Tyne Daly, Harry Melling, Bill Heck, and Tom Waits) as they navigate, life, love and everything in between on the American frontier. With a saloon full of musical numbers, a singing cowboy, a failed bank robbery, an elderly impresario, a literal gold digger, a widower on the Oregon Trail, and a stagecoach whodunnit, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a comedic experience like none other. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.