The Art of Racing in the Rain

By: Mia Manning

The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Review

The Art of Racing in the Rain is a heartwarming, surprising, and even a funny novel by Garth Stein. It is special in the sense that it is told from the perspective of a dog, and the reader is taken on a journey that allows them to think of new life possibilities as the novel changes how one views their animal friends. Prior to the novel, it may be easy to believe that animals do not have the same mindset that we, as humans, do. However, Enzo, the narrator and canine of this novel, shows us just how small minded that idea truly is. This is truly a read for all animal lovers, and readers who would love to peer into their pets eyes.

The novel itself has plenty of heart wrenching moments, all of which highlight the battles a person can face between sickness, family strife, as well as many other things. These moments, although tear-jerkers, allow for the reader to have a strong connection to Enzo and his family. The reader wants to see justice served, and aches for a happy ending to end the many struggles that are thrust upon these characters. This story is also surprisingly suspenseful, the reader is left in the dark somewhat, as is the narrator, because the characters around him are human. Nonetheless, nothing is detracted from the novel, not even in the slightest. If the reader was to know everything, not only would this novel be incredibly short, but perhaps even boring. The balance between the unknown and known information is truly a sweet spot of the novel, as it makes the reader want to continue reading onwards, excited for what is coming. This novel certainly will not bore a reader, or put one to sleep. Instead, it’s instead the type of novel that will keep the reader awake, as the story is so intriguing, and the ending cannot be guessed at as the wide variety of emotions the reader is put through keeps them on their toes until the very end.

Within this novel is also a series of uplifting, motivational quotes. This comes as a surprise to the reader since the narrator, being a dog, could have come across as child-like if done incorrectly. However, Garth Stein makes sure that this does not occur by balancing Enzo’s emotions fairly, his portrayal of anger, sadness, and happiness is all too human and makes it feel as if he is truly mature. Another feat of this novel is it’s smooth readability, while such ‘deep’ quotes could seem overwhelming, or perhaps annoying, the book is reminiscent of an old friend merely giving you advice on how to live your life to the fullest. This is primarily achieved by the humor Stein intertwines into the pages. The Art of Racing in the Rain is truly a novel for those who enjoy literature that will make them not only laugh, but cry as well.

Garth Stein also allows for the situations to be impeccably realistic. No emotions are glossed over, and no character is ‘protected’ from what some authors might believe to be negative emotions or attributes. All of the characters have real worry, anger, happiness, and so on, that allows them to be tangible creations who are easy to imagine. These emotions also allow for some situations in the novel to invoke anger in the reader, as they show that even if you reach a happy ending, along the way strikingly unfair challenges can arise. This novel certainly acts as a reality check to the reader, and also inspiration: if one is in need of an encouraging story to not quit fighting their own, personal battle, this novel should be high on their list.

A beautiful, sweet novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain achieves what most novels cannot: balance. Humorous as well as bittersweet, Garth Stein tells a story in a unique, unforgettable way. This is certainly a novel to be remembered for years to come.

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The Winners of the NBA Draft

 

Writer: Caleb Akpan

The NBA draft was once again eventful, with many teams walking away better for it. Here are just a few organizations (and one insider) that should be celebrating their pick(s) from draft night:

 

Phoenix Suns

On the surface, it seems cheap to say the Phoenix Suns were a winner in the draft since they had the number one pick, but there’s more to this than DeAndre Ayton’s selection. The 7’1’ big with a 7’6’’ wingspan will definitely bring happier days to the Land of the Sun, arriving to the pros with a skill-set that helped him average 20 points and nearly 12 rebounds a game at Arizona, but the front office for Phoenix did even more Thursday night. Following Philadelphia’s selection of Villanova’s Mikal Bridges at number ten, the Suns executed a trade for the forward in exchange for draft pick Zhaire Smith and the Miami Heat’s 2021 first rounder.

For now, Bridges projects to be the better NBA player, or at least, the more safe bet as a pick. A prototype 3&D player, many critics expect the 21-year old to slide in and contribute immediately, giving Phoenix a player that should be solid in his role at least, but also has the potential to star in the league to go along with what seems like a sure-fire pick in Ayton. On top of that, with the 31st pick, the Suns selected french point guard Elie Okobo, who is a bit of a mystery, but also has the potential to develop into a player like fellow frenchman Tony Parker. The Suns potentially walked away with three starters in one draft, almost all in one round, the perfect night to start a new era with a new coach.

Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks made the first splash of the 2018 draft when they executed a trade to acquire Slovenian playmaker Luka Doncic, drafted third by Atlanta. Doncic dominated the European basketball world, winning the Eurobasket tournament, Euroleague championship, and ACB league championship all in the span of a year (Doncic also won MVP honors in the latter two leagues). In Dallas, he projects to fit perfectly in a system where coach Rick Carlisle aggressively works to highlight players greatest strengths and hide their biggest weaknesses. Surrounded by three shooters in Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes, and the now 40-year old Dirk Nowitzki, along with fellow playmaker Dennis Smith Jr., Doncic seems to have an excellent starting template for his gameplay and the Mavericks seem to have a player that could carry their franchise for years to come.

In the second round, Dallas kept up with their theme of selecting winners, taking point guard and NCAA champion Jalen Brunson in the second round. Brunson won the Wooden Award for college basketball’s best player in addition to his title, and if any team knows how to develop guards, it’s the Mavericks, with J.J. Barea, Yogi Ferrell, and Seth Curry all emerging as great role players during their time with the team. Brunson will look to do the same and with Barea still under contract, he’ll have a great starting point to learn. Still, Dallas wasn’t done, as at number 60 the team selected Kostas Antetokounmpo, younger brother of the Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Dallas infamously passed on the more famous brother in 2013, and while it’s unlikely Kostas will turn out to be the same, it doesn’t hurt to take a chance, especially at 60. Dallas wasn’t afraid to take chance at three either, and with the big moves they made on Thursday, the franchise seems to be in a great place to one day return to prominence.

Denver Nuggets

Denver missed the 2018 NBA Playoffs by one loss in overtime on the final night of the regular season. The team was also without blockbuster free agent pickup Paul Millsap for 44 games due to injury. A star wasn’t needed at fourteen due to these circumstances, but it’s likely that’s enxactly what the Nuggets got in Michael Porter Jr. The Missouri product likely would’ve gone number one in the draft if players could still have come out in high school, as he averaged 36.2 points per game and was the National Player of the Year as a senior.

A serious back injury that sidelined him for most of his one year in college had teams afraid to take a chance until Denver got on the board, and Porter Jr. could easily bust if he’s not at 100%, but that’s why the Nuggets were the perfect team to take him. If Porter Jr. fails, the team is still playoff-ready with a star in Nikola Jokic surrounded by players like the previously mentioned Millsap and Gary Harris. If Porter Jr. reaches his full potential, we could be talking about championships being hoisted mile high sooner than later, it was the perfect time to take a risk, and it could pay off beautifully.

Boston Celtics

Like Denver, Boston didn’t need a lottery-level talent when they made their first round selection, but that’s exactly what they got in Texas A&M’s Robert Williams. Williams projects like a DeAndre Jordan type of player, with an athletic potential matched by few others in his class that could turn into elite rim protection if developed correctly. Going into the draft, many expected Williams to be a lottery pick, but questions about his maturity seem to have caused the drop, an issue the Celtics should be able to handle with a post player and ultimate pro in Al Horford likely taking the young big man under his wing.

In addition, like Porter Jr. for Denver, the Celtics don’t need Williams to contribute from day one or even contribute at all to be successful. The team is already stacked with players like Horford, Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and a returning Gordon Hayward. Williams is in an absolute no pressure situation where he can simply work on his game and improve until he’s ready to help the team.

Honorable Mention: Adrian Wojnarowski

The NBA implemented a new rule that stopped insiders working for major networks from spoiling draft picks prior to them being announced, but that didn’t stop ESPN’s Adrian “Woj” Wojnarowski from getting his signature “Wojbombs” on all of the draft’s events. With some interesting and amusing word choice, Woj danced around the new rule all night, using just about anything but the word “selecting” to announce the draft picks early. The unusual stream of awkwardly worded posts quickly took over NBA social media, with everybody locked in on what phrase Woj would use next to get by on his usual news breaking. Finally, at the end of round one, Wojnarowski seemed to return to normal, tweeting that the Brooklyn Nets would simply “select” Dzanan Musa towards the end of the first round, ending the most significant portion of Thursday’s draft and seemingly returning the NBA world back to normal.

ALBUM REVIEW: Sophie – Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides

Writer: Kyle Wheelock

On Friday, June 15, electronic producer/DJ Sophie released her debut album Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, nine tracks of experimental avant-pop. My first experience with Sophie’s music came on Vince Staples’ Big Fish Theory where she produced the tracks “Yeah Right” and “SAMO,” two electronic bangers that made up one of my favorite albums of 2017 (and probably all time, for that matter). From there, I dug through her catalogue, listening to her compilation album, Product and Charlie XCX’s Vroom Vroom EP, which was exclusively produced by Sophie. These two projects grabbed my interest; they’re very different sounds than the mainstream pop music you’d hear on the radio with a lot of brash and abrasive bass, high pitched vocals, and incredibly textured synthesizers. In general, Sophie’s music is all around chaotic and surreal , so don’t let the pop label trick you. Her music is insane and incredibly out of left field.

So what does all this mean for her debut album? In short, it’s madness, much inline with everything else I’ve heard from Sophie’s discography. The album starts with, “It’s Okay to Cry,” a gorgeous beat that has a sugary sweet polish and, for the first time, vocals from Sophie herself. I tend not to like when artists start whispering on their songs, it gives me major ASMR vibes that I’m not a fan of, but Sophie gets away with it on this opener. Lyrically, there isn’t much to break down here, it’s just the same handful of lyrics repeated over the instrumental, maybe to establish a theme. I’ve never been drawn to Sophie’s music for her lyrics, nor have I ever known her songs to be super substantive lyrically, so there isn’t too much else to say about the intro.

The next few tracks, however, are where things really go out the window. The track “Ponyboy” contrasts pretty noticeably with its trap snares and gritty, distorted kick drums that just keep hitting and don’t let up. And where “It’s Okay to Cry” had a really glossy synth, “Ponyboy” instead has a metallic one that appears only sparingly. If, “It’s Okay to Cry” was a dream, “Ponyboy” would be a nightmare.

A lot of these themes and styles are repeated on the succeeding tracks like “Faceshopping,” “Is It Cold In The Water,” and, “Pretending.” They all have this ethereal feel to them with dreamy vocals (provided by the talented Cecile Believe), unpredictable structures, and just beautifully crafted textures with varying synths and bass sounds all over the place. On my first listen, it was around this point where I really started to enjoy this album a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself a fan of Sophie and I was definitely feeling this album, but I didn’t know how much it would stick with me until I hit the later songs, specifically starting with “Pretending” which I don’t wanna gloss over because at 5:53, it’s the second-longest song on this album, and it definitely feels like a moment.

“Pretending” starts of more like a score in a sci-fi/horror film than it does an electronic pop song. A low, groaning tone starts the song, and it feels haunting more than anything. There’s no vocals, no percussion of any kind, just this mix of sounds that reminds me of the end of Interstellar, which I won’t spoil even though it’s more than four years old at this point. If you’ve seen it, you know which part I’m talking about. The only semblance of a person we get here is this really twisted and pitched up sample toward the end. The whole song is weird and is definitely more of the experimental side of this thing as it eventually morphs into what I think is a motorcycle starting up. If you’re not into more unorthodox music pieces, this might honestly come off as straight up garbage to you, but I didn’t interpret this as just another song on album so much as Sophie playing with and twisting waveforms of different instruments as a means of expression.

Again, that’s just my opinion on it personally, it really does feel like a really beautiful moment on here, but if you just hear a bunch of nothing, I can’t take that from you. “Pretending,” is totally open to interpretation. The next song however, “Immaterial,” is another total 180 from the song before it (and after it as well). “Immaterial,” for the most part, sounds like a traditional electronic pop song instrumentally. It’s super bright and grand, with this bouncy clap and kick pattern that is relatively tame considering the seven songs before it. The only thing out of place here are Believe’s vocals, which are again pitched up. They turn into this weird vocal rift toward the end that gets kind of ear grating just before it ends, which I’m not really a fan of, but they don’t ruin the song for me so I’ll let them slide.

Lastly, there’s the nine-minute closer to the album, “Whole New World/Pretend World,” a varying epic that starts with this in-your-face saw synth that borders on straight up static, but isn’t as dark as the other tracks mentioned above. If anything, it reminds me of dubstep (remember when that was a thing?) with the way the bass distorts and fluctuates early on. Around the two-ish minute mark, we get these strong, sort of dramatic vocals that pop up a few more times later on in the track. The song continues with gradual changes, a new synth here, a different percussion pattern there, and by the time we get to the five-six minute mark, it’s a completely different song than what we started with without a real point of change.

To me, this album is nothing short of amazing. It’s a tight 39:51 of experimenting and pop music. Sonically, it’s gorgeous and unpredictable at every moment. Just when you think you have Sophie figured out, she hits you with a mean switchup – you can’t expect the unexpected here. It’s only been a few days since this album dropped, but it’s already threatening to become one of my favorites of the year with its creativity and drastic mood swings. If you’re interested in something mildly challenging or are just bored of all the music around you, I can’t recommend this project enough.

TL;DR This album is amazing, it’s weird, it’s creative, it’s both abrasive and polished, and I definitely recommend it

Highlights: “Ponyboy,” “Faceshopping,” “Infatuation,” and, “Immaterial,”

Rapid Fire NBA Mock Draft

Writer: Caleb Akpan

The 2018 NBA Draft is just around the corner,, so there’s not much time for NBA teams to continue pondering on their selections. To give them some help, here’s some suggestions for the lottery team picks in three sentences or less.

h/t USA Today

1. Phoenix Suns: DeAndre Ayton (Center, Arizona)

NBA Comparison: DeMarcus Cousins

DeAndre Ayton’s physical attributes are almost exactly what NBA scouts look for in a center. His skills are almost just small additions in comparison, but with the potential to be an all-time great big, the Phoenix Suns would be crazy to not take their chances on the center who has already played a couple of years in Arizona. It also helps that Ayton is already guaranteeing he’ll go number one following a workout with the team.

2. Sacramento Kings: Luka Doncic (Small Forward, Real Madrid/Slovenia)

NBA Comparison: Manu Ginobili

The Kings need help at a couple of positions. Doncic could probably play three (point guard, shooting guard, small forward) at the pro level. He’s certainly got the most accolades of his peers, with a Euroleague championship and MVP to his name, and he’s also only 19. Sacramento could end up taking a post player here, but the best player available definitely seems to be Doncic.

3. Atlanta Hawks: Mohamed Bamba (Center, Texas)

NBA Comparison: Rudy Gobert

Somebody’s combine measurements always help them to move up a bit in the draft. Mo Bamba’s pre-draft measurements have reached historic levels and he was already being considered as a top five pick beforehand. Don’t be shocked if this rim protecting prodigy gets taken off the board early, he’s the exact kind of center teams want in the modern day NBA.

4. Memphis Grizzlies: Jaren Jackson Jr.(Power Forward, Michigan State)

NBA Comparison: Myles Turner

Jaren Jackson Jr. may have the highest potential of any of the 2018 draft prospects. He already shows signs that he can play at a high level on both ends of the court, and the Michigan State big is still just 18 years old. Memphis loves their big man, and Jackson could learn a thing or two from their grit-n-grind system and star center Marc Gasol.

5. Dallas Mavericks: Marvin Bagley Jr. (Power Forward, Duke)

NBA Comparison: Julius Randle

Marvin Bagley has raw college stats that are just about even with top prospect DeAndre Ayton, so getting him at five could prove to be a steal. Some fear that his game won’t translate as well to the NBA as others, but his measurements match up with your usual post player draft pick and Dallas gives him a place that will make sure his skills carry over to the next level.

6. Orlando Magic: Kevin Knox (Small Forward, Kentucky)

NBA Comparison: Jaylen Brown

If anybody’s gonna make an extremely surprising pick during the lottery, it would probably be Orlando. Kevin Knox going sixth would definitely turn some heads, but Knox has potential even if sixth seems like a reach. It’s the ultimate, high risk, high reward move that Orlando seems to be in love with these last couple of years.

7. Chicago Bulls: Wendell Carter Jr. (Power Forward, Duke)

NBA Comparison: Al Horford

There’s a lot of different ways that Chicago could go with the seventh pick. A point guard, wing, and frontcourt pick all make sense, but finding someone to build a Twin Towers-like duo with forward Lauri Markkanen seems ideal. Wendell Carter Jr. could very well be the best big in the draft, but his star potential has been questioned more than any of the other top prospects, he’ll have a lot to prove if he makes it to the Windy City.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers: Michael Porter Jr. (Power Forward. Missouri)

NBA Comparison: Harrison Barnes

It feels like Cleveland is just weeks away from losing LeBron James to free agency one again. If that does happen, they’ll need to find someone at the eighth spot to fill his star void. Without multiple injuries in the last year, Michael Porter Jr. would probably be a top-five pick, the Cavs should replace their all-around icon with a young forward who has that kind of all-around potential.

9. New York Knicks: Trae Young (Point Guard, Oklahoma)

NBA Comparison: Isaiah Thomas

Trae Young feels like he was born to play for the New York Knicks. By far the most talked about college basketball prospect, the small point guard dazzled throughout the NCAA’s regular season, before fizzling out a bit towards the end of the year and during March Madness. Despite this, Young’s offensive skills still dazzle NBA scouts, and his shot-making abilities could have Madison Square Garden rocking at levels not seen at quite some time if he’s available at nine.

10. Philadelphia 76ers: Mikal Bridges (Small Forward, Villanova)

NBA Comparison: Otto Porter Jr.

Philadelphia’s game plan seems to involve a mixture of Joel Embiid’s post play, Ben Simmons driving to score or pass, and everyone else around them being able to defend or hit the three point shot. Mikal Bridges would fit perfectly into that system as the draft’s ultimate 3&D player, with the potential to reach even higher levels than that. The 76ers don’t need to hit a home run with this pick thanks to their success last year, but a player like Bridges would be a great role-playing addition, while still possibly turning out to be a star.

11. Charlotte Hornets: Miles Bridges (Small Forward, Michigan State)

NBA Comparison: Tobias Harris

Miles Bridges was already being discussed as a top-ten pick for last year’s draft before he decided to return to Michigan State for another year. With an NBA-ready body, solid athleticism, shooting ability, and solid defense, Bridges can play both forward positions and while his game may not pop out as much as other players, he has all the tools to succeed in the NBA. Marvin Williams has been solid at the power forward for Charlotte, but Miles Bridges could prove to be a day-one improvement if selected.

12. Los Angeles Clippers: Collin Sexton (Point Guard, Alabama)

NBA Comparison: Eric Bledsoe

The LA Clippers look like they’re about to go into full rebuild-mode, and the perfect starting point would be to find a franchise point guard. Alabama’s Collin Sexton might be the best point guard in the draft despite Trae Young’s hype, with a better physical frame and motor rivaled by few other prospects period. The Alabama point guard is tough, confident, and seems ready to carry the load for an NBA team one day, the Clippers shouldn’t hesitate to get him as one of their new young pieces.

13. Los Angeles Clippers: Robert Williams (Power Forward, Texas A&M)

NBA Comparison: DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan seems like he wants out of LA, so why not replace him with a player that could turn out to be just like him? A&M’s Robert Williams possesses the same athleticism that helped to make Jordan an all-star level player. The 6’9 forward still seems a bit raw, but if any coaching staff knows what to do with a player of his skill-set, it’s the Clippers.

14. Denver Nuggets: Zhaire Smith (SF, Texas Tech)

NBA Comparison: Gerald Green

Comparing Zhaire Smith to Gerald Green is mainly athletically based. The Texas Tech forward look just like Green as he flies out of the gym in his college highlights, but already looks to be a superior defensive player. Just missing the playoffs, the Nuggets could use this pick on a plethora of player types, but with his highlight-making ability, Smith’s name could be what pops off the page at 14.

The Meaning of Pride

By: Bryanna Houser

LGBTQ Pride month explained

Not even 5 years ago, when people thought of the month of June, their first thought might have been of sunflowers, late nights by the pool, and rainbows in the sky. Now those rainbows have moved to the ground in the form of flags, shorts, and even billboards across the nation.

In recent years, the month of June has been the time for gay pride in America.

“Why June?” you might ask. Simply put, it’s the month that the US Supreme Court ruled gay marriage legal in all 50 states along with other progressive acts for the community.

This year, the climate of the marches for Pride have a slight bittersweet taste to them, due in part to the political moves that the United States still seems to take against the gay people from President Trump tweeting his intent to ban transgender people from serving in the military to bills that North Carolina and Texas have passed preventing trans people from using public restrooms that aline with their gender identification. The marches that are supposed to be a celebration of the LGBTQ community are unfortunately reverting back to their roots as protest against the inequalities facing the community.

With tragedies such as the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub, it can be hard to understand why anyone would want to go to a public event that is full of gay people, but the existence of such danger is exactly why we need to have Pride Month and all the activities that come along with it. Pride was created as a way to celebrate the differences of all people; gay, straight, black, white. It’s a time for all of us to come together to fight for the rights that all people deserve and to show our pride in ourselves and those who stand up for us. Although it is a public gathering, police officers are posted at all the major parades and marches to ensure the safety of all of those involved and to keep the festivities joyous.

The month of June is for more than just having picnics in the park with the family; it’s about expressing your true self and not being afraid to do so. Pride is an example of the tremendous progress we as a nation have made for the inclusion of our people, and it is also a somber reminder that we still have a ways to go. Next time you hear someone mention Pride, remember to Pride is a time for love, not hate.

ALBUM REVIEW: Kids See Ghosts

Writer: Kyle Wheelock

This here is “Kids See Ghosts,” the self-titled debut album by Kids See Ghosts, a duo consisting of Kanye West and Kid Cudi. We’re in the middle of this string of Kanye West produced “mini” albums, which started with Pusha T’s “Daytona,” and was continued with Kanye’s own “Ye,” last week. We can still expect upcoming projects from Nas and Teyana Taylor.

With Kanye producing so many albums in a short time frame, I was worried about the overall quality of these projects, despite his less than 10 song plan. And yes, “Daytona” was a really good album and I still enjoy it, but “Ye” was…a mixed bag, to put it nicely. Before this album here, Kanye was 1-2 on this run he’s embarked on so I didn’t know what to expect going into “Kids See Ghosts.” Then I heard the live stream and I was underwhelmed. Kanye’s antics were finally wearing on me and the first listen didn’t go well, at all.

Enter the studio version and it’s like night and day, the mixing is unbelievably better than “Ye”’s was. Instrumentally, everything sounds clear and in the right place. The production sounds much more full and complete than on the stream, and it makes such a difference when you listen to a Kanye project since he hasn’t really offered anything lyrically worthwhile since “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” (or even “Yeezus,” if you wanted to argue). The first song, “Feel the Love,” has some major “Yeezus” vibes, both in its production and in Kanye’s erratic uh, verse? Adlibs? I honestly don’t know what he’s doing here, but it’s wild and very jarring. I liked Yeezus, but it took a while to grow on me, and since that’s what this song reminds me of, it might do the same so I won’t write it off just yet. Kid Cudi on this song sounds great, as he comes in strong on the chorus and really fits with the beat.

In fact, Cudi shines a lot on the tracks where he’s prominently featured. It’s a duo but I get the impression that they’re just taking turns dominating the track’s here; one track will sound more like Kid Cudi ft. Kanye, and the next will be Kanye ft. Cudi, and it feels like (to me, anyway) we’re getting a lot more of the latter here on this album. We haven’t heard from Cudi since 2016’s “Passion, Pain, & Demon Slayin’,” an album that I really REALLY liked when it came out, so personally, I was hoping to hear more from Cudi on this. Tracks like “Freeee (Ghost Town, Pt. 2),” “Reborn,” and, “Fire,” all showcase the best of just about every Kid Cudi and Kanye collab we’ve gotten. The beats vary from angry and energized to psychedelic (which is a huge swing considering this is another 7 track album) and they prove to be the perfect playing ground for the dynamic duo.

Having been frequent collaborators for roughly 10 years now, Cudi and Kanye have an incredible chemistry, they two are mutual fans of each other’s’ work and they bring the best out of each other when they hit the studio together like on this project. Kanye’s production sets the tone beautifully with a mix of samples, be it from an old 1936 Christmas single or a Kurt Cobain home recording, the man’s creativity is matched by only a few producers in the world. Kanye is incredibly talented when he really gets in his bag. “Daytona” sounded great, “Ye,” while I don’t care for it, still has its Kanye highlights production-wise, and “Kids See Ghosts,” is no different. Sonically, this is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, the sound selection is perfect on every single song, the mixing is as on point as you can get, the samples are used in such creative ways, and the percussion always morphs into what it needs to be from track to track

If it sounds like I’m gushing over this album, I am, and it deserves it. I love this thing top to bottom (which admittedly isn’t a lot because it’s only 7 songs but still) and am happy to declare that Mr. West is 2-3 on these Wyoming albums. Kid Cudi, while underutilized just a bit, in my opinion, is in peak form here, with strong and melodic performances track after track. And Kanye…is Kanye. His production work is flawless, his personality is just as erratic and his verses can be clever and funny at times (but not without flaws, he’s not exactly a top MC) which is always great to hear. As a whole, this album is great and I’m excited to hear more of Kanye has in the vault for Nas and especially for Teyana Taylor.

TL;DR This thing is great, listen immediately (unless you’ve, “cancelled,” Kanye)

Highlights: It’s 7 songs, the whole thing is a highlight

2018 Fifa World Cup

Writer: David Seastrunk III

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off with the home team, Russia, taking on Saudi Arabia. It was an astounding victory for the home team as they dismantled the Saudis in a 5-0 victory. This is the dream start to the 2018 World Cup that the Russians were hoping for. On Friday, Ronaldo lead his squad by completing a hat trick against the former World Cup Champion, Spain, but it was not enough to push them over the top as they tied 3-3. Stay tuned for updates on all the action here on The Drive.

Odds to win: Brazil (highest odds to win), Germany, & Spain.

Group Stages

Group A Group B Group C Group D Group E Group F Group G Group H
Uruguay Spain France Argentina Brazil

Germany

Belgium Columbia
Russia Portugal Denmark Croatia Switzerland Mexico England Poland
Egypt Morocco Peru Nigeria Serbia Sweden Tunisia Senegal
Saudi Arabia Iran Australia Iceland Costa Rica South Korea Panama Japan

Upcoming Games (Times P.T.)

Saturday 6/16

Group C France v. Australia – 5:00 am

Group D Argentina v. Iceland – 8:00 am

Group C Peru v Denmark – 11:00 am

Group D Croatia v. Denmark – 2:00 pm