NBA Top Shot has continued to grow amid the NFT boom of 2021, and on Friday the Dapper Labs product announced it would give collectors something new to do with their moments that may significantly alter the company’s marketplace.
Top Shot announced on Friday that it would let collectors trade in moments for “Trade Tickets” which can be used for entry in new pack drops and other products for sale through Top Shot over the coming months. It’s a huge new feature for a number of reasons, starting with the fact that it presumably allows collectors to trade their moments in for a new form of currency in the marketplace.
Each Moment will be worth exactly one Trade Ticket, and collectors will be able to use Trade Tickets to acquire exclusive packs that are only available with Trade Tickets.
Whether it’s a common, rare, or legendary Moment from your collection, all will be exchangeable for a single identical Trade Ticket. Trading in your Moments will be the only way to obtain Trade Tickets as they will not be sold by us nor transferable between collectors.
With every moment worth a single Trade Ticket, the news in theory gives new value to some of the cheapest moments currently on the market. While initially seeing a surge in prices as popularity of the platform skyrocketed, subsequent new releases and other market movement has brought prices back down to single digits for some of the most common Top Shot moments on the market. But many of those moments, even those with a circulation of 35,000+, initially saw a boost of a dollar or so in the immediate aftermath of the news according to Evaluate.Market. Trading these in for Trade Tickets would, at least in theory, take scores of low value moments off the market and give collectors with unwanted moments a chance to get something potentially more valuable with their Trade Tickets.
That’s because Top Shot framed the news as a way to get some very rare and valuable moments into the hands of collectors: unpurchased moments from its Season One release. Typically some of the most valued, and rare, moments on the market, there are still a number of packs left unsold from the earlier days of the beta, which began in earnest in October of 2020. Those packs would be the first to hit the market, and collectors would only be eligible to buy them if they had Trade Tickets in hand.
We’ll have just over 10,000 Series 1 Reserve packs loaded with coveted Moments from early in our beta that we are eager to make available to the community. About 70% of them will be distributed via new Trade Ticket queues, with the rest being reserved for future promotion. We will start rolling out these packs for distribution in the next few months and expect to complete distribution of all of these Series 1 Moments by the end of November, 2022.
There will be Trade Ticket-only pack drops that will function similarly to current pack drops. Hopeful collectors with enough requisite Trade Tickets in their account will gather in a waiting room and get randomly placed in a queue. For these queues, you will only be able to acquire packs with Trade Tickets. To repeat, you will not be able to use Dapper Balance or credit cards to purchase packs from Trade Ticket queues.
That 18-month timeline means it won’t be a mad dash to burn moments into tickets, but it will certainly cause some changes in what’s been the most active and valuable NFT marketplace on the internet. Dapper Labs community lead Jacob Eisenberg provided more context to the move on Friday, writing on Twitter that he expects demand to “far exceed” supply of Season One packs but that those who miss the chance to buy them with Trade Tickets will still get a chance to buy packs.
Collectors who aren’t lucky in the Trade Ticket queues for S1 Reserve Packs will still have the ability to purchase Trade-in Packs in these queues.
In recent weeks, the Top Shot has started selling “rebound packs” of more common moments to those who have missed out on rare or legendary pack drops. That looks like something that will continue with these drops as well, though missing out on a pack of Season One moments after all that work trading in tickets will be a tough loss to take for the many who will try to expand their collections, both of moments and Trade Tickets, in the coming months.
Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best streetwear and fashion trend drops on the market! This week we’ve got the exclusive details on New York-based streetwear label (and favorite of Bella Hadid and Marshmello) FLAN’s unconventional capsule with Atlanta-based Cotton Cravings, as well as new spring/summer sets from Peachy Den, Travis Scott’s big Nike collabo, new weirdness from Supreme, and Mr. Saturday’s best drop to date.
Besides those top-line drops, it’s a lean week this go around. But things are sure to heat up in the following weeks as we officially dip into the summer season. This year, we might actually get to wear shorts outside instead of in our houses, binge-watching Netflix and trying to convince ourselves that Tiger King isn’t boring! Imagine that!
If you’re looking for some kicks to complete your look, be sure to hit up our weekly sneaker roundup, SNX DLX, which features more Travis Scott, and the week’s best Jordans. Jordan and Nike heads are living their best lives right now with all the fire drops out of the big Swoosh, but we’re dying to see what the other big labels have in store. Not calling out any names but… get on it Adidas.
FLAN x Cotton Cravings
While streetwear food collaborations tend to be nothing more than gimmicky cash-grabs, New York-based streetwear label FLAN is attempting to disrupt that trend with their playful late-spring-early-summer capsule collection made in collaboration with Cotton Cravings. Linking up with a Georgia-based organic cotton candy brand might seem like a weird move for an emerging streetwear outfit, but FLAN is all about being playful — the brand’s name is an acronym for Forever Laughing At Nothing — so this seemingly random light-hearted linkup makes sense.
The unisex capsule collection is on the smaller side, featuring only a t-shirt, socks, and flan-flavored cotton candy (because what good is collaborating with a cotton candy brand if you’re not going to make some snacks?). The collection’s centerpiece, the t-shirt, features a pastel graphic of cotton candy, watercolor rainbows, and dual branding and is made using 100% organic cotton t-shirts, in keeping with the ethos of both brands.
It’s lighthearted, fun, and simple — the way streetwear should be — which is probably why the brand has caught the eyes of the Hadid sisters, Noah Centineo, and the Art Basel crowd.
The FLAN x Cotton Cravings collection is available now at the FLAN Labs webstore. Yes, the cotton candy is there too.
Travis Scott x Nike — British Khaki Merch Collection
You’re probably well aware that Travis Scott and Nike linked up this week for yet another fire Jordan collaboration, but the insane hype behind that shoe drowned out the news that the sneaker is being released alongside a matching apparel collection that consists of a variety of branded apparel and weird accessories. The collection features a pronounced motocross vibe, mixed with Scott’s usual faded desert aesthetic and includes work jackets, rugby shirts, t-shirts, hoodies, pants, and safari hats.
On the accessories end, we have backpacks, fanny packs, bucket hats, socks, bracelets, phone cases, and a welcome mat which I’m POSITIVE nobody asked for. Insane hype aside, we’re not going to lie, the collection is pretty dope. Hit Travis Scott’s website to pre-order the merch, which is set to ship in about two months.
Peachy Den — Luna & Luella Sets
If you’re looking for a statement fit to wear this summer season, London-based Peachy Den has got you covered with these monochrome ’90s inspired matching sets made from deadstock fabric. The Luna sports a gingham print on a one-shoulder top and your choice of a matching skirt or straight-leg pants (or both apparently), while the Luella features a more night-life appropriate one-shoulder top with a cut-out back and sleek straight-leg pants.
The sets are equal parts playful and chic. The Luna and Luella sets are available now at the Peachy Den online store.
Mr. Saturday — Where Life Is Just A State Of Mind collection
Mr. Saturday’s latest Spring Summer 2021 collection mines the nightlife of late ‘70s early ‘80s New York club culture for a collection of statement bomber jackets, button-ups, and a few streetwear staples for the label’s best collection yet. Dubbed “Where Life Is Just a State Of Mind,” highlights from the collection include the Flight Satin Bomber, the vintage party flyer adorned French twill button-up, and the graphic-heavy Printed Cupron button-up. The hoodies and sweat pants and shorts are also pretty dope.
The collection leans most heavily into its influences with Madonna tabloid and Michael Stewart tribute hoodies. Stewart, a model and promising graffiti artist, was murdered by New York City police following injuries he received during his arrest for using a soft tip marker on a New York Subway city wall. Stewart has since become an icon of New York City culture, inspiring Jean-Michael Basquiat’s Death of Michael Stewart (Defacement) and one of the most pivotal scenes in Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing.
Michael Stewart isn’t just an icon of New York City, he’s an icon of the street culture that would inspire streetwear, so it’s cool to see Mr. Saturday label head Joey Gollish pay tribute in his own way.
For its 10th Spring/Summer 2021 drop Supreme is getting playful with their wackiest collection in some time. Loud crushed-can graphic button-ups, weird New York pride patch-heavy baseball t-shirts, and a Jim Carrey in The Mask-esque jacket and pants set are just some of the weirdness from Supreme on display in this 20+ item collection. Scanning through the full set will show you a handful of pieces that are functional and fashionable, and a whole set of stuff that we’re pretty sure is a prank.
Supreme is trying hard to prove to somebody that they’re still fun. The 10th Supreme Spring Summer 2021 arrives today. Check out the collection at the Supreme webstore.
Like most musicians during the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdown of live entertainment, British electronic artist Burial had a relatively low-key 2020, aside from the December releases of “Her Revolution,” “His Rope,” and “Chemz.” However, like many artists, 2021 has seen a bump in productivity, as Burial teamed up with fellow London native Blackdown to surprise drop their new, two-part EP, Shock Power Of Love.
The four-track compilation features two songs apiece from each of its collaborators, with Burial contributing “Dark Gethsemane” and “Space Cadet,” while Blackdown adds “This Journey VIP” and a remix of Heatmap’s January release, “Arklight.” Burial and Blackdown last collaborated on a remix of the latter’s 2006 single “Crackle Blues,” so their long-awaited reunion is pretty meaningful for longtime fans of both.
The EP is out now on all DSPs and available in vinyl form through Burial’s Bandcamp page, along with Burial’s previously released track “Chemz,” which initially dropped in December last year but is now listed as part of a two-song EP with the as-yet-unreleased “Dolphinz.” Blackdown, meanwhile, released the 21-song RollageLive Vol. 1: Nightfall in 2020, available on DSPs.
Burial’s other December 2020 releases were created in conjunction with Four Tet and Thom Yorke via XL Recordings, their first work together since 2011’s “Ego” and “Mirror,” which shared a 12″ vinyl release.
The offseason narrative for Aaron Rodgers was, until Thursday night, speculation about whether the Green Bay Packers quarterback and NFL MVP could pull double duty playing in Wisconsin and potentially hosting Jeopardy! full-time. But now it’s widely known that Rodgers is unhappy with things in Green Bay, and there’s some speculation that America’s favorite trivia game show has played a part in that dissatisfaction.
In the flurry of pre-draft reporting about Rodgers and his failed contract extension talks with the Packers was a note about his very successful two-week stint on Jeopardy! Rodgers served as a guest host and generally impressed viewers, and according to NFL reporter Ian Rapoport producers of the show were “really impressed” as well. Enough to actually consider him for the full-time gig once the string of guest hosts, including another favorite in LaVar Burton, finishes later in the summer.
One more note on #Packers QB Aaron Rodgers: He really impressed the brass during his stint on Jeopardy. The belief is, when they finish auditions, he’ll be among those with a chance to do the job full-time. If this isn’t sorted out, a job hosting is also a possibility.
Though that news may seem small in the sports world, it’s certainly an interesting wrinkle to a story that exploded on Thursday. Outside of a few rumblings of discontent in Green Bay, an actual trade of the NFL MVP seemed like an extraordinary move on the part of the Packers. And yet, much of the NFL Draft’s first night had the potential trade for Rodgers hanging over it. And with that new context, the reports that Rodgers was very seriously considering the Jeopardy! gig, and preparing for it like a real possibility, certainly brings some new details into focus.
On Friday, Rapoport continued to talk about Rodgers seriously considering retirement if he can’t come to an agreement with the Packers or find a trade, potentially picking to host Jeopardy! instead of play football.
If Aaron Rodgers retires (to host Jeopardy or just retire), he would have to repay the team $11.5M this year and $11.5M if he remains retired next year — all from his signing bonus. Unless the situation is repaired to his liking, this is a serious consideration, I’m told. https://t.co/kEQwpexqX0
The timeline for that decision on the next Jeopardy! host, though, doesn’t really line up with what the Packers are likely working with. The game show seems intent on playing out the string of guest hosts to give everyone, including Burton, a fair shake. And given the offseason minicamps and training camp and potentially learning a new playbook that would come with a trade, it would be pretty wild to have Rodgers make his decision late in the summer when Jeopardy! producers would, at least in theory, land on a replacement.
That’s not even mentioning what would happen if Rodgers were not picked, either. An ultra-competitive quarterback letting game show producers determine the trajectory of his career after an MVP season would be wild, and given the commitment required for the job it would very much feel like the tail wagging the dog here. Still, it’s clear that Rodgers wants a fair shot at this gig and the chance to pull double duty and host the show while playing football.
Reading between the lines on the reporting here, it seems the Packers are at least hesitant about that possibility. Which means if a team is looking to trade for Rodgers, you’d think their front office would at least have to weigh the possibility that Rodgers would have his eye on some flights to Los Angeles no matter where he ends up playing this fall.
The best high school basketball player in America has made the decision to reopen his recruitment. Emoni Bates, the top prospect in the class of 2022, announced on his Instagram page that he’s decommitting from the Michigan State Spartans and will reevaluate where he will play once his high school career comes to an end.
As Bates, a Michigan native, wrote in the post, he is keeping all of his options on the table, whether that be following the traditional route and going to a college basketball program or taking the floor for a professional team.
Bates committed to Michigan State last June in a turn of events that Tom Izzo and co. apparently did not know was coming until earlier that day. At the time, Bates sounded more hesitant about possibly pursuing a professional career, although it must be said that this was before the G League Ignite team played its first game — two members of that squad, Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga, are expected to go in the top-5 of the 2021 NBA Draft.
A 6’8, 200 pound forward from Ypsilanti, Bates is one of the most highly-regarded prospects in recent years, and is viewed as a contender to go No. 1 overall whenever he enters the Draft.
Now, Feig is hoping to help shape modern cocktail culture, too. One martini at a time.
More than simply liking booze, Feig seems to be a true believer in cocktail culture (right down to his three-piece suits and boulevardier persona). During quarantine, his spirits prowess has been on full display. He spent the early part of lockdown on Instagram making cocktails as everyone’s favorite “Drunk Funcle.” More recently, he announced he’d be he’s endeavoring to bring the world a world-class gin.
In a world full of celebrity white-labeling, it would have been very easy for Feig to slap his name on a label and go about his business. Instead, he partnered with a distillery to craft his gin from the ground up, based on decades of experience. He toiled with glassmakers over the bottle’s design and even named the gin after his mother, using her maiden name. Artingstall’s Brilliant London Dry Gin is personal to Feig in every way. And that personal care definitely translates to the final product.
We were lucky enough to jump on a call with Feig this week, between set-ups on The School For Good And Evil, shooting in Belfast, Ireland. If you want more from him after this interview, this Saturday, May 1st, you can see him live via a virtual cocktail party and trivia night. At the end of this interview, you’ll find a recipe for the “Feigtini” — a perfect cocktail for your weekend.
Cocktail lovers! Artingstall’s is now available in Florida! To celebrate, I’m hosting a virtual cocktail party this Saturday where you could win passes to @SOBEWFFEST. Click https://t.co/Mv51Ig2AK9 to register. (U.S. residents 21+ only.) pic.twitter.com/tnTgQ6EiBo
When was the first time you knew gin was your drink? What was the “Oh, I love this spirit!” moment?
It was when I had my first real martini. It was 30-plus years ago and I went to the Savoy Hotel and went to their bar. I had a weird experience with gin when I was a kid, because we were down in somebody’s basement, like their parents’ basement, and opened a bottle of gin and just like, “ugh, what is that taste?” It tasted like Beefeater, which is super piny, super juniper-y.
I was like, “well… I don’t like gin.”
Then I’d read so much about cocktail culture, which I love and I loved the look of martinis and all that. I read that a real martini is a gin martini. I was like, “Oh, I don’t think I like gin, but I should try to like it.” So when we hit the Savoy, I ordered a martini, which I had heard had great martinis at the time. They gave me this frozen, vessel-shaped martini glass with an ice-cold gin martini with a big twist in it.
I remember just thinking, “this is the greatest thing I’ve ever had.” It started this lifelong love affair with gin. But then, over the next several decades, I tried to find the gin I wanted, and I wanted everything out of one gin. I would find all these gins and be like, “Oh, I like this one. I like this about it,” but never found one where I like, “this is the one.”
Then, I started thinking, “if I can make my own gin, I know I can make the perfect gin, at least for myself.” I also thought about making a gin for a lot of other people who have the same experience that I had, which led them to “I don’t like gin” initially. Finally, I teamed up with Minhas Distilleries and we built this from the ground up.
This was not something I just put my name on. It’s my mother’s maiden name actually, Artingstall. I really wanted to formulate this, so we built it from scratch and designed and came up with the recipe, which took several rounds of micro tastings and all that to get it right, and then we designed the bottle. This is a passion project for me.
Let’s talk a little bit about what’s inside the bottle first and then we’ll talk about what’s outside of it. Gin recipes are very confusing for people. They hear “juniper” and then they maybe hear “anise” or they hear “pine.” What sort of matrix of spices and botanicals were you going for in your gin?
To be a gin, you have to have juniper — that is what makes gin a gin. But I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t juniper-forward. I like the taste of juniper and over the years have developed a taste for some of the heavy gins like Berry Brothers No. 3 or Junipero. They hit you in the face with the juniper. But I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to bring people into gin who think they don’t like it. I really wanted to do what I consider a gateway gin. There’s certain gin, especially in the London dry world, that is just smoother. They’re a little brighter too.
I’m a guy who likes my martini with a twist. I can enjoy an olive, but I sometimes feel the olive holds the gin down versus a twist, which brightens it up. I wanted a gin that was bright already, which is why we called it “Brilliant London Dry.” We really tried to formulate it so that it had notes of citrus, notes of juniper definitely, but then also a little bit of spiciness to it, a little bit of a floral quality to it with none of them taking the forefront. I wanted them all to be bright but smooth and round too. That’s what we came up with.
In finalizing the taste and feel of the gin, I wanted to make sure that it was first and foremost a martini gin. It needed to hold up to being in a gin and tonic, gin and soda, a Negroni, even a dirty martini, if needs be. We tried all those combinations and it held up to all of them. Then what I then discovered was that it also works very well as a vodka substitute. You can put it into any drink that you would put vodka into and it just gives it a little bit of a center, a little I dare say, almost like a spicy citrus center. It doesn’t overpower the rest of the drink. It just makes the drink a little more interesting.
I definitely dig that. I also really love the style of this bottle. It’s so rare to see so much thought put into both the design of the decanter and the logo. Plus, it really feels like you because you’re probably the best-dressed man in the entertainment industry. There’s this real — and I don’t mean this as cliched — but there’s this essence of style to the bottle. Can you walk us through how you came up with this beautiful decanter and label?
Well, that’s exactly it. What I love about cocktails and drinking and all that is the style around it, the lifestyle around it, the pageantry around it. To me, the worst thing in the world is to just pour something into a red solo cup and drink to get drunk. That to me is not fun. That’s a reason why I want to have cocktails or anything — I want the entire lifestyle around it. I wanted to make sure that our bottle showed that. I wanted it to feel like a gin that has been around for 150 years. That’s why I picked the name Artingstall’s because that’s my mom’s maiden name. She was British, so I wanted it to be like a London dry.
I wanted the design of the label to look like it’s been around for a long time too. That’s why we went for a very classic look for it. But then I also wanted it to be a bottle that you would want on your bar, that you would want on your drinks cart. If you’ve got a small drinks cart or drink tray or whatever, that it could almost be the centerpiece bottle, so people look and go, “Oh wow, you’ve got really good taste.”
The first idea was “Oh, we should do a decanter.” Then I found some antique decanters and I loved that. We looked at it, the in-house team and myself, and took some of the etchings from it and the carvings. Then we took it to the next level and really wanted to make it a very special bottle that still came at a reasonable price point and then capping it with the stopper that we have, which I just love. It’s almost like your bottle of gin has a beautiful cocktail ring on top of it.
Absolutely. It’s very, very well done. I want to ask because this weekend you’re hosting a live tasting event. Are we going to see the Drunk Funcle come back to life to teach us some cool cocktails this weekend?
Drunk Funcle and I are one and the same. There is no escaping it even if I want to, sadly. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m going to make two different cocktails. One is the big “Feigtini” that I invented. It’s a martini that has a few extra surprises in it, like sake.
It’s one of the first cocktails I invented, back at the beginning of my quarantine cocktail time. Then I’m also going to do a very classic gin cocktail, the Dubonnet, which is what the Queen apparently drinks every day. It’s a very fun drink. It’s just gin and Dubonnet and ice and a slice of fruit. I like cocktails that aren’t hugely complicated. I’m not a fan of cocktails that you have to make a lot of stuff for.
Amen to that.
The technology today is great, but it’s so labor-intensive. For me, that takes a little bit of the fun out just being able to go to my bar with a lot of fun bottles and just have a drink that I can make; that I can tell people the recipe; and they can mix without having to invest in a centrifuge and that kind of thing. It’s really just about the adult fun of cocktails.
Let’s talk a little bit more about drinking gin culture — because I feel like, for a lot of people who know gin on a surface level, they’ll think of a martini or gin and tonic and that’s basically it. But there are so many other lovely cocktails and even sipping gins out there. That’s what I love about this brand is it does lean into real sipping gin territory. What are some other applications you love using your gin for that people might not be quite privy to yet?
You hit the nail on the head when you said a sipping gin. That is the first and foremost test of a gin. That’s really one of the things I formulated this for is to be able to literally pour it into a glass and drink it neat at room temperature. Because when you watch these old movies from the 30s, you don’t see any ice really. You see people mixing these martinis and pouring them out. I swear to God they’re coming out at room temperature. I think back then, maybe, just ice wasn’t as available or something and people drank more drinks that were room temperature that way.
I really wanted to do a gin that didn’t need to be ice-cold to be at its best. Ours is great when it’s ice-cold. I love a good freezing cold martini, but I do love to just sip this either straight up or to put it on the rocks. It’s great for that. But then there are so many different cocktails and that’s, again, why I wanted something that could almost work as a vodka substitute. Because honestly, this gin could go into so many different cocktails and not get in the way.
I even reformulated a passion fruit margarita where I substituted the tequila out for my gin and it works fantastic because you get that spicy center that you don’t get with tequila. You get this other extra taste from the gin that doesn’t get in the way of the Cointreau, lime, and the passion fruit liqueur in there. Gin can hold up to anything. I think we need to free gin from the confines of a few cocktails people think you can make with it. I love a martini, it’s fantastic. But you can really branch out and I think people should branch out more with good gin.
Back in the day when I worked at Victoria Bar here in Berlin, one of our great gin cocktails that people would really fall in love with was a Gin-Tai. We were just making a Mai Tai, but with gin. It has that balance of barky spice and botanicals with the orgeat and the citrus. It just is this beautiful, blossoming cocktail.
I like to pairing cocktails with a good film. If you’re sitting down to watch a drama, what sort of cocktail would you pair? Or if you’re sitting down to watch a slapstick comedy, what’s your cocktail pairing?
I love comedies from the 1930s. Those are just my absolute favorite just because they’re funny and I love the characters and the writing and all that, but I also love the worlds they go into. They wear gloves and somebody is mixing a drink or pouring a highball or something. But for me, that’s definitely a martini kind of a movie.
For a drama, I think I enjoy a nice highball. A highball could be anything, with two ounces of any booze and four ounces of any kind of soda. I like to do it with gin. I like to make a good gin highball and that feels refreshing to get you through the heavier moments of a movie. Honestly, for a real heavy drama, I think just obviously just a straight-up scotch is always a great thing to do.
You can never go wrong with a nice pour of scotch, that’s for sure.
What’s your pitch to people who still aren’t sold on gin? Why gin is cool? Why are they going to like it?
Here’s the thing. So many people are into vodka. I love vodka. It’s great. But vodka is vodka basically because it doesn’t taste like anything. It’s regulated to not taste like anything. That’s the great “beginner’s spirit” because you get to mix it in other things. It doesn’t get in the way and you can taste all the other non-alcoholic ingredients if you’re doing that kind of thing or whatever else you’re putting into the drink.
But I think, if you want to walk into adult life, gin is great because it’s complex. It’s not simple. It requires you to be aware of it in a way that vodka doesn’t. A vodka, you can just keep slamming them down and eventually you get drunk and it’s like, “okay…” That’s not the fun of drinking to me.
Drinking is about lifestyle. I think gin brings that lifestyle to people by the fact that it is more complex, just like adult life is complex. But, it’s also fun. Just like adult life can be fun. I think people have to free themselves of their preconceptions about what gin was and really have fun with what gin is now.
Earlier today, it was announced that HBO has found the star of their upcoming Green Lantern series in Finn Wittrock, who will be playing the hot-headed Guy Gardner. While choosing a different Green Lantern to helm the series seems a solid decision following Ryan Reynold’s portrayal of Hal Jordan in the critically-panned Green Lantern movie released back in 2011, fans are now raising an important question: why isn’t it John Stewart?
For those less versed in the DC Universe, Green Lantern is one of DC Comic’s most iconic characters outside of the big three (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) and is largely considered a staple in the universe’s mightiest supergroup, The Justice League. The “Emerald Knight” (real name Alan Scott) first made his debut back in 1940, but was quite different than the Green Lantern we know and love now, simply serving as an earthly, caped vigilante up until the series cancellation in 1949.
In 1959, the character was completely re-written as the cosmic crusader we know now, and became Hal Jordan, a reckless combat pilot turned protector of Earth. Since then, five other people have donned the title Green Lantern: Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Kyle Rayner, Simon Baz, and, most recently, Jessica Cruz. However, while each of these characters are special in their own way, for many John Stewart is the Green Lantern.
I am shocked and baffled that the #GreenLantern series on HBO Max is going to feature Guy Gardner and not John Stewart. I sometimes think that the studios lose sight of the fact that generations of fans know these characters from the animated TV shows as much as anything.
John Stewart’s appearance in the animated Justice League series solidified him as a superhero staple, so the fact he has yet to get his own film or series comes as both a shock — and insult — to many who long to see more Black heroes grace the big screen. To add insult to injury, apparently Stewart was supposed to in Zack Synder’s Justice League, but was ultimately cut from the project. According to the director, the studio shot a version of the film featuring Green Lantern, but the studio “fought” him before ultimately deciding they didn’t want him “to do Green Lantern.”
This year, the actor meant to play Stewart was revealed to be Wayne T. Carr, who posted an image of the film with the caption “#restorethesynderverse.”
However, even in the Synder cut, Carr was excluded from the team. In a recent interview, Carr said he wasn’t aware of the choice until he began watching the movie. This frustration adds fuel to fans upset at DC’s lack of John Stewart, and diversity, in both their cinematic and television universes. Some have stated perhaps Stewart is once again being kept out of the spotlight to save him for a later film, while others have expressed gratitude that the show seems to be more of an ensemble cast, and will feature Jessica Cruz, a Mexican-American woman, and Simon Baz, a Lebanese-Arab man.
Others, however, are upset the most aggressive, arrogantly, and inconsistent do-gooder is getting his own series. As of right now, the plot of the upcoming series has yet to be revealed, but DC has confirmed it will a “saga spanning decades and galaxies.”
The best new hip-hop this week includes albums, videos, and songs from DJ Khaled, Gucci Mane, and more.
Even in a slow week like this one, rap’s upper echelons came through and represented well, with Lil Baby and Megan Thee Stallion dropping the “On Me” remix, Cordae sharing his “Dream In Color” video, King Von returning with the video for “Mine Too,” YSL Records showing off their good deeds in the video for “Paid The Fine,” and 42 Dugg and Roddy Ricch contemplating loyalty on “4 Da Gang.”
Friday saw the releases of Jay-Z and Nas’s smooth reunion on DJ Khaled’s “Sorry Not Sorry,” Baby Keem’s twitchy Travis Scott collaboration “Durag Activity,” Yung Baby Tate’s choosy “Eenie Meanie,” and Joyner Lucas’s “Ramen & OJ” featuring the ever busy Lil Baby along with the releases listed below.
Here is the best of hip-hop this week ending April 30, 2021.
The Alchemist — This Thing Of Ours [EP]
The Alchemist has been on a hot streak of late, with his production on projects from Armand Hammer, Boldy James, Conway The Machine, and Freddie Gibbs buoying his profile to greater heights than ever before (a Grammy nomination for the Freddie Gibbs collab Alfredo). On this four-song project, he continues to show off his chops with frequent collaborator Earl Sweatshirt and newcomers like Pink Siifu.
DJ Khaled — Khaled Khaled
On the other end of the production spectrum, we have hyper-motivational string-puller DJ Khaled, who once again taps his massive Rolodex of all-stars for another blown-out compilation of radio-baiting potential hits. Included are Cardi B, who gets back in her gangsta music bag on “Big Paper,” and the reunion of Jay-Z and Nas on “Sorry Not Sorry.”
Lil Eazzyy — Rookie Of The Year
Chicago up-and-comer Lil Eazzyy is only a few months removed from his debut project Underrated and its standout single “Onna Come Up,” but he’s already back with full-length release proving his killer instinct. That drive is one of the reasons he’s on Uproxx’s “Rappers To Watch Out For In 2021” list and is likely to take him even further by the time Underrated‘s one-year anniversary rolls around.
Morray — Street Sermons
Fayetteville, North Carolina trapsoul crooner Morray offers up a no-frills vision of the hood similar to Rod Wave, with some unexpected, engaging shots of levity, as on his single “Trenches.”
ALLBLACK — “10 Toes” Feat. G-Eazy & E-40
The Bay Area breakout employs a pair of veterans from the region on a chest-thumping turn-up anthem.
Dusty Locane — “Move Doley” Feat. OnPointLikeOp
A dark drill banger that evokes early Pop Smoke, Dusty’s latest defies the mainstream’s beckoning, remaining firmly rooted in the grimy street sound that spawned it.
Melvoni — “Get Money” feat. DDG and Tyla Yahweh
Melvoni’s melodic flow meshes cleanly with DDG’s more aggressive approach, while Tyla’s delivery splits the difference.
Sally Sossa — “Right My Wrongs” Feat. Toosii
Toosii has been everywhere lately, but the real draw is Sally’s relentless cadence, as the Texas native reflects on the ups and downs of pursuing her dream.
TOBi — “Family Matters” Feat. Flo Milli
Canada is a hotbed of emerging talents who seem to get overlooked stateside; perhaps the inclusion of the red-hot Flo Milli will draw the attention that TOBi deserves.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
The Mitchells Vs. The Machines (Netflix film) — Need something to put the kids’ butts in front of the TV while you take a load off? Or do you need to just relax and enjoy an uplifting family-type film on your own? You’re in luck. This one hails from Oscar-winning producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and The LEGO Movie) and includes the voices of Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, and Maya Rudolph, who are here to soothe you while a family pushes against an apparent robot electronic-device uprising. Fortunately, two helpful robots are around to help halt the chaos. Whew.
Yasuke (Netflix series) — Netflix will up its anime game with this dazzling series from Japanese animation studio MAPPA, and the project arrives with quite a pedigree. LaKeith Stanfield voices a character who’s based upon the real-life first African samurai, who struggles to shed his past life of violence while striving to keep a peaceful existence. However, he must reluctantly pick up his sword again when a war-torn, feudal Japanese village becomes ground central for warring daimyo. The score’s courtesy of Flying Lotus, and creator/director/producer LeSean Thomas will build upon his proven track record (The Boondocks, Cannon Busters, and Black Dynamite) of interweaving anime and Black culture with a big boost from head writer Nick Jones Jr.
The Mosquito Coast (Apple TV+ series) — Justin Theroux headlines this series adaptation of Paul Theroux (yes, Paul is Justin’s actual uncle) novel previously brought to life in the mid-1980s with Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, and River Phoenix. Fast forward thirty freaking years, and there’s a sweeping version coming your way with all of the Apple TV+-style visuals that they tend to drop into their most “epic” productions. The series itself doesn’t match up to the book or film’s tackling of consumerism as much as it wants to be like Breaking Bad (yet forgot the most important ingredient). Also, Justin Theroux’s character, Allie Fox, is an eccentric, overbearing, and eventually psychotic patriarch who drags his family to Mexico, so get ready for plenty of tense moments.
Invincible (Amazon Prime series) — It’s season finale time, and god only knows what will go down with What Omni-Man Did (a spoiler-filled recap can be found here). This animated romp pleases both fans of The Boys and The Walking Dead, and the latter reference has everything to do with the source material by Robert Kirkman. If you haven’t started yet, it’s a great time to catch up.
The Oprah Conversation (Apple TV+ series) — Elliot Page will sit down for an in-depth interview with Oprah to discuss all manner of issues following his moving social message that he’s transgender. Hopefully, we’ll get a little The Umbrella Academy talk, but one can expect LGBTQ+ issues to stand front and center (including Elliot’s partnership with the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice) in this conversation.
A Black Lady Sketch Show (Friday, HBO 11:00 p.m.) — The fast-paced, quick-witted narrative series returns with loads of celebrity guests, but of course, the sketches all happen by the grace of the core cast, including Robin Thede, Ashley Nicole Black, and Gabrielle Dennis. Issa Rae’s executive producing, and this week, there’s first-class confusion on a vacation to Fiji.
Fear the Walking Dead (Sunday, AMC 9:00 p.m.) — Two weeks after the show brilliantly subverted Negan’s storyline, Virginia is gone, but a greater threat lurks when an infiltration transforms into a rescue mission, and it all has to do with an underground community.
The Nevers (Sunday, HBO 9:00 p.m.) — This Joss Whedon-created show (with a steampunk elephant in the corner) sees Amalia making a list of those who oppose her while Mundi wants justice, and several Orphans work together to interpret a message.
City On A Hill (Sunday, Showtime 9:00 p.m.) — Jackie’s closing in on Grace, Anton is in the wind, Decourcy is sidelined, and Kelvin’s struggling to be a leader.
Mare Of Easttown (Sunday, HBO 10:00 p.m.) — Kate Winslet returns not only to TV but to HBO as a hard-vaping detective in a small town where she both portrays and elevates the “complicated” cop trope. This week, Mare and Helen clash over a custody fight, and then Mare and Colin uncover a likely murder suspect.
Gangs Of London (Sunday, AMC 10:15 p.m.) — Fans of the beloved Peaky Blinders should pay attention because this new series makes Peaky seem like a pleasant walk in London’s Hyde Park. These warring gangs will prove to be entertaining for anyone who loves The Sopranos or any of Marty Scorsese’s mob pictures.
Couples Therapy (Sunday, Showtime 10:00 & 10:30 p.m.) — Dr. Orna Guralnik is guiding a new trio of couples through all of their conflict and resentments and otherwise unhealthy behavior, all with the hope of keeping them together.
Last Week Tonight (Sunday, HBO 10:00 p.m.) — Please, let John Oliver tackle Ted Cruz again.
Desus & Mero (Sunday, Showtime 11:00 p.m.) — Taylour Paige is the illustrious guest.
Here are some more fresh streaming picks:
The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 4 (Hulu series) — Elisabeth Moss has so much going on these days, but she’s going back again to fight for freedom against the totalitarian government of Gilead. This season, she’ll lead the rebellion while fighting for justice and revenge, but perhaps the biggest threat she’ll face is staying true to herself and the relationships that she values most. Moss and the show keep on racking up Emmys, and she’s back with more with Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Alexis Bledel, O-T Fagbenle, Bradley Whitford, and Max Minghella. Expect the show to get nomadic this season, leaving the Boston area and officially abandoning home base, which must have presented quite the challenge while filming during a pandemic (as if the show wasn’t socially relevant enough already).
Mortal Kombat (Warner Bros. film on HBO Max) — We’ve got another blockbuster-type movie in our living rooms this weekend, and this incarnation promises to be R-rated to the max with plenty of carnage in tune with the video game. Among other qualifications to that point, James Wan produced, so that makes sense! In all seriousness, this is a more serious treatment than the 1990s film, and we’ll get to see Sub-Zero hunting down MMA fighter Cole Young, and someone will end up being the loser of the “finish him” concept. HBO Max released the first seven minutes of the film ahead of time, if you’d like to get a taste of the bloodshed coming to your TV screen.
Bigger (BET+ series) — Season 2 brings back the fan-favorite Will Packer comedy about thirty-somethings living in Atlanta, while they attempt to maneuver their way through, well, life. That would include professional, personal and other such obstacles, all while searching for love and dealing with uncomfortable truths on occasion. The whole season dropped at once, only on BET+
Things Heard & Seen (Netflix film) — Amanda Seyfried stars as a couple that realizes that a sinister darkness plagues their marriage and fits right in with their new home’s past. The story’s based upon Elizabeth Brundage’s novel, and it takes place in the Hudson Valley. Seyfried’s better at the spooky-eyed look than most of her contemporaries, and her displaced Manhattanite character benefits from that vibe.
After the Tesla CEO and third richest person in the world was announced as the host of the May 8 episode, Bowen Yang took to Instagram to ask “what the f*ck does this even mean?” after Musk tweeted, “Let’s find out just how live Saturday Night Live really is.” Aidy Bryant shared a Bernie Sanders quote (“The 50 wealthiest people in America today own more wealth than the bottom half… That is a moral obscenity”), while writer Andrew Dismukes wrote that the “ONLY CEO I WANT TO DO A SKETCH WITH IS CHER-E OTERI,” along with a photo of SNL great Cheri Oteri. (#LetCheriOteriHostSNL.)
Page Six is now reporting that the cast allegedly won’t have to share sketches with Musk if they don’t want to. “Saturday Night Live cast members won’t be forced to appear alongside controversial billionaire Elon Musk when he hosts the show,” the article reads, along with a quote from an unnamed source.
“Speaking historically, if a cast member has been that unhappy, they don’t have to do it. “[SNL boss Lorne Michaels] won’t ever make them do anything they don’t want to do,” they said.
This Page Six report should be taken with a King Kong-sized grain of salt, but if Musk spends the entire episode by himself yelling “I’M PICKLE RICK,” you’ll know why.
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