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Open Mike Eagle Seeks To Ward Off Bad Energy With ‘Neighborhood Protection Spell (Lana Del Biden Nem)’

Like many artists, LA-based, Chicago-bred “art rapper” Open Mike Eagle is grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent shutdowns on his life, as well as those of ongoing civil unrest and a looming, critical election day. In response, he has issued the cathartic and defensive “Neighborhood Protection Spell (Lana Del Biden Nem).” Over a slow-churning beat, Mike incants his thoughts on the unnerving vibes 2020 has brought on. Incidentally, though, the song was written before the worst of the news unraveled, yet accurately responds to much of it, if obliquely.

In a statement explaining the new track, Mike elaborates, “When I wrote this song the world was not on fire yet. I had felt subtle attacks on Blackness from Joe Biden and other public figures. Notions that were harmful about authenticity. Notions that called our behavioral and consumption choices into question without any reference to the historical context that they are couched in. I made this song as a spell to ward off subtle social attacks at Blackness. I put a lot in it to make sure it works.”

Mike’s 2020 stands in stark contrast to 2019, when his New Negroes show with Baron Vaughn sparked one hilarious video after another for several weeks, including “Eat Your Feelings,” “Woke As Me,” and “Extra Consent.” Hopefully, his protection spell works and we can all get back to chuckling at the idiosyncrasies of everyday life rather than fretting about the end of the world soon enough.

Listen to Open Mike Eagle’s “Neighborhood Protection Spell” above.

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Tom Holland Is The Latest Avenger To Praise The 6-Year-Old Boy Who Saved His Sister’s Life

Not one to be outdone by his fellow Avengers, Tom Holland is the latest Marvel hero to swoop in and praise six-year-old Bridger Walker for saving his little sister’s life.

After learning about the viral story of how Bridger placed himself between an attacking dog and his little sister so she could run to safety while he took the brunt of the assault, which resulted in 90 stitches, Holland cleared his schedule to FaceTime the young hero and not only thank him for his bravery, but invite him to the set of the third Spider-Man film when it starts production.

“Your little sister is so lucky to have someone like you. I mean, you’re just such a brave little kid. It’s not easy what you did, mate, you should be proud of yourself,” Holland told the starstruck boy, who was understandably shy during the call. “We’re going to be shooting Spider-Man 3, and if you ever want to come to the set and hang out and see the Spider-Man suit up close and hang out with us, you’re always welcome. You’ll always be my guest.”

You can see Holland FaceTime the young hero below:

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When dreams come true.

A post shared by Nikki Walker (@nicolenoelwalker) on

Holland’s FaceTime call follows video messages from Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth, who were both blown away by Bridger’s brave decision to sacrifice his life to protect his little sister. When the story went viral, the young boy said, “If someone had to die, I thought it should be me,” which prompted Evans to reach out and promise to send Bridger an “authentic Captain America shield” for going above and beyond his duties as a big brother.

Not even a day later, Hemsworth joined Evans by praising Bridger in a video message and inviting him to join the Avengers. Hemsworth also dubbed the young hero worthy of wielding Thor’s hammer. “You’re an absolute inspiration,” he said. “Your courage is beyond belief and we are all so impressed by you.”

(Via Nicole Walker on Instagram)

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The ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Directors Are Making Netflix’s Most Expensive Movie Yet With Chris Evans And Ryan Gosling

We recently learned that two of Netflix’s most popular original movies ever are Michael Bay’s 6 Underground and Best Picture nominee The Irishman. It’s a good thing they were hits, as the streaming service reportedly spent $150 million and $160 million, respectively, on the two films. (The list was topped by Extraction. $65 million well spent.)

Making Robert De Niro look 30 year again didn’t come cheap, but The Irishman, nor 6 Underground, is the Netflix project with the highest budget: that expensive distinction currently belongs to the Gal Gadot- and The Rock-starring Red Notice, although according to Deadline, the only movie that matters now has some pricey competition.

The Gray Man, starring Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling and directed by Avengers: Endgame helmers Joe and Anthony Russo, is the hopeful beginning of a “new franchise with a James Bond-level of scale and a budget upwards of $200 million”:

The action thriller is a deadly duel between killers as Gentry (Gosling) is hunted across the globe by Lloyd Hansen (Evans), a former cohort of Gentry’s at the CIA. The Gray Man turned into a bestselling book series, and the expectation is that Gosling will continue in multiple installments. The project was developed years back at New Regency as a Brad Pitt/James Gray vehicle, but it stalled. The Russos have quietly been developing it for years.

Anthony compared the film to Captain America: Winter Soldier, as it takes place in a “real world setting,” while Joe added, “The idea is to create a franchise and build out a whole universe, with Ryan at the center of it… These are master assassins and Gosling’s character gets burned by the CIA and Evans’ character has to hunt him down.” It’s a good thing he added “character” after their names, although I would like to see Real-Life Ryan Gosling being “hunted across the globe” by Real-Life Chris Evans.

The bidding for the rights to The Fugitive-meets-The Amazing Race begins at $250 million. I’m hoping for Hulu or HBO Max, but will resign myself to Quibi, as have we all.

(Via Deadline)

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Oddisee Returns With The Surprise EP, ‘Odd Cure’

DMV rap veteran Oddisee has been quiet since the release of his 2017 album album The Iceberg, but today, he returned with a surprise EP, Odd Cure, to address the strange times we’re all currently living through.

Recorded through two weeks of precautionary quarantine after returning from tour in Thailand earlier this year, Odd Cure is his attempt to unravel the anxiety, depression, and isolation of being suddenly confronted with all the looming implications of a pandemic outbreak. Like many independent artists, Oddisee relies on touring, merchandise sales, and sync licensing to support himself, and the sudden loss of that huge portion of his income, as well as the deadlier connotations of the coronavirus outbreak, weigh heavily on the dense, surprisingly soulful EP.

Although the subject matter is heavy, the production is lush, as Oddisee employs a fusion of soul grooves, jazz instrumentation, and hometown go-go influences to build out the sound. The six songs of the EP are broken up by skits marked by terse phone calls with friends and family discussing the effects of social distancing, quarantine, and economic shutdown on Oddisee and his nearest and dearest.

Odd Cure is out now on Outer Note. Listen to Oddisee’s surprise EP above.

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‘Enforcing The Law Is Inherently Political’: ‘Ghettoside’ Author Jill Leovy On Police Reform In America

With the new national conversation about the nature and future of policing, and mainstream debates about defunding and abolition and what those mean in practice, it’s hard not to think of Ghettoside, Jill Leovy’s award-winning 2015 bestseller. In Ghettoside, Leovy, an LA Times reporter for more than 20 years, examined the state of policing in America, as viewed through the lens of one murder in south LA.

The book had a seemingly paradoxical thesis: that low income black neighborhoods are simultaneously underpoliced and overpoliced — that is, frequently denied justice for major crimes even while being frisked and harrassed for minor ones. As the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery (who spearhead a massive data collection project building on the idea) noted, “this suggestion is only ‘counterintuitive’ if you haven’t spent time listening to black people — who have always said this. …Black Americans have said, since the inception of American policing as we know it, that the police harass and harm them while also not protecting them.”

As many have noted, the protests following George Floyd’s death seemed to represent a breaking point, when disgust with police conduct is so widespread that some form of change is inevitable. With public fervor at a point when governments have to respond, how should they respond? Since Leovy’s book is packed with valuable insights on how the system is broken, I thought it might be worth picking her brain on ways to fix it. We did our interview over email (“If I don’t write it, it sounds like blather,” Leovy told me.).

I was mainly interested in what I imagined was the central thesis of the book: that black people in the inner cities were simultaneously over-policed and harassed but also ignored in the sense of not being able to get justice for major crimes. This seems important to revisit right now in light of these discussions about defunding police, as long as we’re pondering what the future of law enforcement could and should look like. I was hoping maybe you could expand on it/unpack it. Have you had any additional thoughts and insights on it since then?1

To reprise the Ghettoside thesis, I think there is a lot of evidence that American policing has a very strong nuisance-enforcement tradition that has come at the expense of effective investigations. There are a lot of reasons for this. But two stand out: effective investigations are expensive, and traditionally, there hasn’t been much of a political constituency for them.

On the left, many people do not like the idea of any part of policing being pushed as a solution to crime. They view crime as rooted in social ills and, accordingly, view expanded social services as the appropriate remedy. (People to the left of the political spectrum also tend to be reluctant to advocate for law enforcement functions that put more people in prison.) On the right, there has been enthusiasm for the idea of “preventive” policing and a ready embrace of the notion that patrol activities are effective in driving down levels of crime.

Neither of these views has taken much notice of detective work, which is distinct from the patrol function, and to the extent it is considered, it was traditionally viewed by both sides as “reactive” rather than “proactive” — that is, as a distasteful but necessary sort of clean-up work that must occur after crimes are committed but which cannot be endowed with any important role in combating violence, much less preventing it. The Ghettoside thesis is that effective investigations and the incapacitation of those who employ informal violence instrumentally are key elements of state-building, and thus important to driving down the frequency of inter-personal violence, although obviously not the only factor that matters.

The smartest critics of the Ghettoside thesis have pointed out, correctly, that the difference between solve rates of black-victim crimes and solve rates of white-victim crimes is not that great, and so cannot explain disproportionate death rates from homicide between those groups. I agree with this. Those who think I’m arguing that differential solve rates explain the case misinterpret what I argued in Ghettoside. Differential solve rates are not so much the problem; low solve rates across the board are the problem.

This situation is the result of a complex historical American legacy. African Americans get the worst of the consequences because of their distinct history, and because of residential segregation and poverty. Affluent and mobile Americans are better able to cope with the ineffectiveness of the justice system with respect to violence by using other means to avoid violent people, and to escape the economic and social conditions that tend to enmesh people in violence. And once one has escaped to a pricey far-flung suburb with a homicide rate of 1 per 100,000 population per year, even the failure to solve that one case (a 0% clearance rate) may not be noticeable if the victim isn’t a family member. Life is very different in places with death rates from homicide of 60 per 100,000 per year. In that case, there might easily be 30 unsolved homicides in your immediate neighborhood in the last 12 months. Imagine that.

[As AOC put it recently when asked what an America with defunded police looks like, “It looks like a suburb.”]

As you say, “The Ghettoside thesis is that effective investigations and the incapacitation of those who employ informal violence instrumentally are key elements of state-building, and thus important to driving down the frequency of interpersonal violence.” Can we also apply this to the police themselves? Isn’t a big part of what police critics are asking for simple accountability for instances when police use violence? It seems now that they’re insulated from just about any accountability. How could we remove that and how much good do you think it would do? It seems like there have been attempts to do this already but they haven’t worked and that that has increased the calls for police defunding and abolition.

The answer is yes, and indeed, this is what a good internal-affairs department (‘professional standards’ in Los Angeles) is for. I think the assertion that police are insulated from “just about any accountability” is arguable in L.A.’s case, given the many factors involved. Recall that, we, the taxpayers, recently spent something like $300 million on consent-decree reforms of LAPD, an overhaul of the entire department that took a dozen years.

The whole point of this effort was to respond to exactly the concern you articulate. Consent decrees came about as part of Justice Department civil rights-related litigation and were supported by President Obama, so they can fairly be characterized as liberal reform instruments. The provisions of the LAPD consent decree included a vastly expanded internal-affairs apparatus, complete with stings against officers. Also, with a police shooting nowadays, whether ruled in-policy or not, will nearly always result in a civil lawsuit. The financial payouts in such cases are paid by taxpayers, and these probably function as another form of accountability.

Certainly, “risk management,” that is, how much the city must pay in awards to civil plaintiffs, is a significant part of what police executives worry themselves about these days. I think research on consent decrees’ effectiveness has been mixed. At least one study found they reduce lawsuit payouts, but I can’t come down on one side or another because I haven’t spent a lot of time studying it. My point is just that quite a few police-accountability measures have already been put into place in Los Angeles, at some considerable cost, and evaluating their effectiveness is complicated and there’s probably room for reasonable people to disagree. It’s worth noting that the long historical trend has been toward fewer killings by police in L.A. From 1974 to 1978, when Los Angeles had 2.8 million residents, police fatally shot about 30 people a year. In 2019, when Los Angeles had nearly 4 million residents, police fatally shot 12 people. That’s a 70% decline in fatal police shootings per capita. It might help to understand exactly how and why this came about. But it would take a lot of research. Everything does.

Do you think there’s an effective way to shift policework away from nuisance enforcement and into effective investigations? Has the focus been so historically skewed (and discredited in the eyes of the populace) that it’s better to disband and start from scratch? What doesn’t the average person understand?

I guess one question that presents itself is this: Are people objecting to the particular form or administrative design of the police, or are they objecting to their function?

The former is obviously easier to reform than the latter, although it might cost money. There are probably lots of ways to design a police bureaucracy to meet governance objectives, such as accountability for misconduct, etc., and certainly, I have observed with my own eyes that the current system is far from perfect.

But sometimes, I wonder if certain police critics are objecting to something deeper — to the fundamental role the police fill in society. Reforming this would require change of much greater magnitude since the function of police cannot be separated from the political system in which police are lodged. Police are us. Police are politics; enforcing the law is inherently political. And — here’s the rub — not enforcing the law is, also, inherently political.

I could write an entire book about each of the statements I’ve just made. Don’t get me started! But I think I’ll just settle for this: People don’t get along. They will eternally have problems with each other that are difficult to resolve. Crime is conflict, a particular form of it, granted, but still, fundamentally, conflict. Enforcing law is choosing sides, choosing the winners and losers in conflicts. But here’s where it gets interesting: Not enforcing law is also choosing sides.

Today, police are most active in conflict-rich environments and sometimes it seems to me that it is this conflict that people really deplore — that it is this conflict that people wish to abolish along with the police. Conflict, however, is not so easily de-funded or reformed. If police forces are abolished, it’s likely another conflict-resolution instrument with a similar function would replace them. Indeed, this is how police were invented in the first place.

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Blu & Exile Tell Us How Their New Album, ‘Miles,’ Helped Them Rediscover Their Brotherhood

The RX is Uproxx Music’s stamp of approval for the best albums, songs, and music stories throughout the year. Inclusion in this category is the highest distinction we can bestow, and signals the most important music being released throughout the year. The RX is the music you need, right now.

Pressing play on Miles: From An Interlude Called Life, the new project from Los Angeles producer-rapper duo Blu & Exile, is like catching up with old friends after a long time apart. Some of that is due to the nostalgic nature of Exile’s warm, jazzy beats. The rest can be attributed to the autobiographical cut of Blu’s earnest, spiritual rhymes.

Songs like “The Feeling” featuring Jacinto Rhines, “Dear Lord” featuring Jimetta Rose, and “To The Fall, But Not Forgotten” draw sketches of the eight years between this project and their last, 2012’s Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them, yet with a more electric chemistry between the rapper and producer, as on their seminal 2007 debut, Below The Heavens.

Both readily admit that this alchemy was less easy to capture than they thought it might be, despite the fact that they’ve collaborated and remained friends since. Exile says that they had to rebuild their “trust” in one another as partners, finding their footing in shoes that have changed sizes and styles many times in the years since their groundbreaking debut.

With the inclusion of fellow longtime collaborators Aloe Blacc, who once performed in a duo of his own with Exile called Emanon, and Miguel, who grew up with Blu in the Los Angeles area city of San Pedro, Miles feels like a family reunion as well. Other members of their colorful tribe to appear here include Cashus King, Choosey, Dag Savage, and Fashawn, while LA underground rap elder statesman Aceyalone also brings fresh blood to the proceedings.

This interview is something of a family reunion for Blu, Exile, and I as well. With a personal and working relationship that goes back to their first few shows as a group, plenty of our conversation is taken up just by catching up — yes, Blu’s returned to Pedro, no, I moved out of Compton, and Exile could only take about 15 minutes of Hamilton — but soon, a rhythm is established, just like on Miles. We find ourselves deep in discussion about lessons we’ve learned from time apart, how much work goes into finding your way back together, and how Blu remains one of hip-hop’s premiere – if underrated — rappers and storytellers, 13 years after descending from the heavens.

How in the hell are you guys getting through this quarantine? Because I know that as independent artists, that affects things financially, artistically. What have you guys been doing both personally and professionally to keep it going?

Blu: I’ve been working. I’ve been trying to work, trying to write, you know what I mean? But other than that, unemployment, bro.

Exile: Yeah. I mean the only thing that’s different is women and going out to the bars, and missing tours and going to the beach whenever I want. But I’m still hitting the beach, you know, I’m wearing my mask. Maintaining, just need to find a sponsorship so we could still kind of get some money that could cover what we would make on tours and still give the people somewhat of a live experience.

Man. I’m also just thankful for, when this first happened it felt a lot more real. We’re a lot more used to it now, but when it first happened, it really made me appreciate the relationships I have with these humans. It’s such a gift, and it’s something that we take for granted. It just put it in a perspective where I wouldn’t want to take these things for granted anymore.

Blu: It brought me closer to my family.

I want to know more about this trap album that almost happened. What happened there? Why did you guys want to make a trap album and what happened to it?

Exile: Basically, I made all kinds of different beats and always have, and even like back in the Below The Heaven Days I would make like, you know, I guess back then we call them bounce beats, you know.

Blu: Double-time beats.

Exile: Double-time beats. I had a beat with a sample in it and then at the end it goes into double time. I also did a flip of Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man.” And it flipped at the end. So, you know, I’d always experiment with stuff. Even electronic stuff that’s not even “trap” also. But around this time I just went through a few runs of a beat phase, just bouncy, trap, electronic beats. And I just like to show Blu beats that I’m working on. I know that he loves electronic stuff, too. I was showing him the stuff and I didn’t really expect it to get back like urges. But yeah, he did, he rapped over the beat.

Blu: The trap album is way loud, bro. It’s too loud.

Exile: That’s a good way to put it. You know, it was Blu just experimenting with what he can do. And I think it could work as an alias or something like Blu’s Dr. Octagon record or something, but it wasn’t answering the call to…

Blu: An angle for the return. It wasn’t answering the call of the return.

And then you guys did return like you had never left. I know you guys said you were working on the chemistry at first, trying to get back into the groove. So Exile, what’s something that you learned about yourself and then what’s something that you learned about Blu while you were technically on hiatus and then when you started working back better again?

Exile: I think we had a lot of life happen in between from Below The Heavens until now. My mother passed, you know…

Blu: Both my grandmothers — my grandmother and my great grandmother — passed.

Exile: Our life was living. It was going and lots of shit was happening. We were different people in the between time. And I think at some point we may have even lost faith in each other to some degree. And even though it didn’t affect us working with each other, it definitely made it so we worked differently. I think what I learned from this is to just be patient with people and communicate what you want. And I think that’s what I did — and we did, in a sense — to be able to work with each other. In a similar chemistry that we had in the past to make it work again full throttle, full force.

Blu, I think what struck me on this was, I’ve seen your writing process and I know how you get inspiration for individual bars. I’ve seen how it works. But what I don’t know is, is that it’s almost been 20 years we’ve known each other, you have maintained the same level of hunger for this thing that many, many, many of our peers lost. How do you maintain that level of motivation? That level of still caring about each individual line, like the way you do?

Blu: It’s the people, it’s the fans. It’s the love. The love that I received, man. I try to give back and I’ve received so much love that I absorbed.

Exile: If I may, I think it has to do with you being a fan yourself, Blu.

Blu: Yeah. And I’m a huge fan of the music too, man. That is my whole M.O. If you ask who am I as a rapper, I am first a fan. I’m a reflection of hip-hop. Blu like the ocean, is like the sky is a reflection of the ocean. You know what I mean? I’m just like hip-hop. I just reflect everything I’ve learned from hip-hop.

With Miles, I’ve felt like it was a happy medium where I could feel like a fan and I could feel like your guys’ bro who grew up with you guys, and seeing two names on that tracklist made this huge smile come across my face. You know what two names I’m going to go off on because that was how I encountered both of you guys. I encountered Exile through a mixtape that had an Emanon song on it. Ex, if you could sum up the feeling of working with Aloe Blacc again in just one word, what would that word be and why?

Exile: Family.

Blu: You always work with Aloe.

Exile: There’s just no question about it. It was just perfect. I know with his range, he can do anything. And I knew he could tap in on that African vibe [on “African Dream”] and he did his thing and it wouldn’t be right to not have him on the album.

Blu, same question. You and Miguel, I know you guys go all the way back. I met you because of Miguel. What does it mean to you to have him come back and be on a record with you and Exile again like it was 2005 all over again?

Blu: One word: everything. It was like sealing the deal. It made everything worth everything.

When you look at those guys’ career, arts, and their talent and what’s happened for them, what does that make you guys think about?

Blu: I mean, yeah, we didn’t spark things for years off of those joints, but it was definitely like, you know, we helped lay down some of those milestones.

I noticed that you guys get so much love for Below The Heavens, but almost nobody ever mentions Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them. And it’s crazy because that’s the entire thesis of that album title: “Hey, notice this when it exists in front of you.” And even now people are talking about it as a reunion to the Below The Heavens days. What are you guys’ impression on that?

Exile: Below The Heavens had high art, but it also has just like lots of digestible stuff.

Blu: We actually worked together on Below The Heavens. Below The Heavens was done over the span of two years. Flowers was done over the span of like a couple of weeks.

Exile: Blu was a different person and he was even on a more higher level of art [on Flowers], but also just like spirituality. Man, he just saw the world differently and I think it really comes across. I think that album, Flowers, is at a higher level of artistry. At least for Blu’s sake, if not my own. The song, “The Seasons,” it might be one of my favorite songs he’s ever made. He just taps in. It feels like he kept tapping in with the ancient ancestors and just like…

Giving us bars.

Exile: He wasn’t giving those simple bars for an average hip-hop fan.

Right, he was giving those “you got to sit there with a calculator and figure it out” bars.

Exile: He’s like, “I just shot like a whole tribe of ghosts through your brain.”

Blu: You know, I think it just may have went over people’s heads, but I think the people who got it, some of them say that they like it better than Below The Heavens, you know? There’s a lot of Flowers fans out there. Hopefully, some Miles fans soon, too.

Miles: From An Interlude Called Life is out now through Dirty Science Records. Get it here.

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‘Summer In Mara’ Is An Exhausting Adventure That Unfortunately Isn’t Worth The Journey

All adventure games are fetch quests when you really get down to it. The magic of playing those games, however, is the feeling that completing that seemingly-endless list of tasks is worth it in some way. The characters grow, maybe you grow or unlock new abilities or parts of the story. In a world full of potential distractions, video games occupy a space between the idle and the pointless. It’s not passive entertainment, and though the effort they require effort may only create results trapped inside the game itself, it feels worthwhile because of the journey taken.

When that magic isn’t there, though, the tedious nature of what video games are can be difficult to ignore. Unfortunately that’s the case with Summer in Mara, an adorable seafaring exploration game that never feels like more than the sum of its mechanics. The Chibig Studios release hit consoles in mid-June and offered a sunny adventure title where a little girl, Mara, explores a world of islands and magical secrets.

Early looks at the game drew comparisons to the sprawling Breath Of The Wild, and while comparing it to a massive Nintendo title is unfair it’s safe to expect at least a remotely compelling story to drive the experience of playing an adventure title. But despite some gorgeous cinematics and mystery, Summer In Mara never escapes the feeling you’re chasing things down for the sake of little more than passing time.

Perhaps the problem is an attempt to be too many styles of game. It has farming simulation and an exhaustion meter, a la Stardew Valley. But unlike that indie darling, or even the day/night mechanics of a game like Animal Crossing, it never feels like that passage of time means much of anything in relation to the tasks of the actual story. Growing crops takes time and people need to sleep, but you often find yourself “going to bed” early in a day just to advance the calendar.

Sailing is a main aspect of the game, but while initially exciting it quickly becomes a drag. So much of the game is sailing between islands to do a single thing, or sleeping in a boat just to complete a task before having to sail to another island and back in order to complete another. You craft for the sake of crafting, make dishes because other characters are simply too lazy to do the same and find items useless other than to be a macguffin that continues the story in no otherwise meaningful way.

Chibig Studios

The game tries to be funny and colorful and sweet, and it’s definitely two of those things. But the childishness and vivid palate only slightly masks the completion of tasks for the sake of checking them off a list. And those tasks often don’t flow very elegantly from one to the next. Rather than a sense of limitless potential like some adventure games, the feeling is more about aimless sailing, backtracking and running across islands as quickly as possible to move on to the next task to complete.

After a while, the most satisfying task was to just try another story entirely.

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Everything We Know About The ‘The Walking Dead’s Upcoming Season 10 Finale

It has been exactly 104 days since we last saw a new episode of The Walking Dead, or any episode from The Walking Dead universe. It’s not the longest we have gone as viewers without The Walking Dead universe content, but by the time The Walking Dead season 10 finale finally airs, it might be. To think: When 2020 began, AMC expected to air episodes from The Walking Dead universe for 40 straight weeks.

The bad news is this: We still don’t know when The Walking Dead will come back. The good news, however, is that we will soon find out. The announcement about when The Walking Dead season finale will air will be made at virtual Comic Con a week from now on July 24, according to showrunner Angela Kang, who said as much in response to a question in her Instagram comments.

While we don’t know the exact date, we can speculate, and my guess is that AMC has mapped out a new schedule for their The Walking Dead series. There’s one The Walking Dead episode left, there’s a few Fear the Walking Dead episodes that were shot before the pandemic arrived, and there is a whole season of The World Beyond that had been shot but still needed some post-production work to be completed on it. My guess is that the Fear the Walking Dead episodes that are ready to go will air in September or so and act as a lead-in to The World Beyond, which will air where The Walking Dead season 11 should have debuted in October. The Walking Dead season 10 finale will be used either to launch the next season of Fear the Walking Dead or, more likely, the new series, The World Beyond.

As for what we know heading into the season 10 finale? We know that Alpha is dead, and that Alexandria and their alliance will face off against Beta and a horde of zombies in the finale. They’re also weirdly holed up in Grady Memorial, the hospital that Beth was killed in, although clearly it is not supposed to be Grady Memorial. Meanwhile, there is some speculation that a major character may die in the finale, and some think that it could be Father Gabriel.

Meanwhile, while the season 10 finale should be wrapping up the Whisperer War, it will also set in motion the next chapter in The Walking Dead universe, the search for what Father Gabriel calls “the others.” Those others will include Maggie, who will be returning in the season 10 finale and thereafter. Meanwhile, Virgil — who helped to shepherd Michonne’s exit from the series — will return to The Oceanside and may become a more permanent member of that community. Elsewhere, Yumiko, Ezekiel, and Eugene are en route to meet a woman that Eugene has been communicating with on the radio, and they are bringing another new character, Princess, along with them.

We will also get to see what role Negan will get to play on the series moving ahead, especially in light of the return of Maggie, who nearly killed Negan in both the series and the comic book.

Elsewhere, Michonne is in search of Rick Grimes, whose spin-off movies are obviously still up in the air. Her journey, however, is likely to intersect with CRM, a military outfit that also appears to be overseeing the community in The Walking Dead spin-off, The World Beyond. In fact, The World Beyond explicitly ties into the Rick Grimes’ movie (The World Beyond is a limited two-season series, which could end by merging into the Rick Grimes’ movie).

There is clearly a lot going on, and most of it is immediately connected to the season 10 finale of The Walking Dead. One the TWD finale, the remaining episodes of Fear the Walking Dead, and the first season of The World Beyond air, however, it is unclear when we will get more new The Walking Dead content. The situation on the ground in both Georgia (where The Walking Dead shoots) and Texas (where Fear shoots) is not good, and it’s only marginally better (but not good) in Virginia, where The World Beyond films. One imagines, however, that Scott Gimple and the writers have all the scripts for the upcoming seasons written and ready to go, so when production finally does resume, AMC should be able to produce new episodes fairly quickly.

We will find out more about future plans for The Walking Dead universe on July 24th, when The Walking Dead, Fear and The World Beyond all host panels at virtual Comic Con, which will be remote and free to anyone who wants to watch.

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A New Report Refutes Speculation That Britney Spears Is Being Held Hostage By Conservator

Since growing up in the limelight, Britney Spears’ long history with mental health has many times been the source of public scrutiny. Now, a second wave of the #FreeBritney movement has surfaced that theorizes the singer is being held hostage by her conservator. But a new report denies that the singer’s arrangement is unhealthy, rather stating it’s quite the opposite.

A recent report from TMZ quells the #FreeBritney movement, saying the singer is continuing to work through an ongoing battle with mental illness. The report states that the last two years have been particularly difficult for the singer as her former medication stopped working and doctors were having trouble finding the right dosage and combination. TMZ claims that sources have confirmed Spears sometimes pushes for “more freedom,” but she ultimately “hasn’t been especially stable managing her mental illness.”

Spears’ father had been conservator, or legal guardian, for the last 12 years before ceding the role to her manager in 2019. While it’s true that 12 years is an unusually long time, TMZ’s report points out that the singer’s mental health conditions most likely necessitate a lifelong conservatorship. Moreover, there were many professionals who weighed in on the legal decision. In order for a conservatorship to be granted, a handful of doctors, lawyers, therapists, and a judge all have to deem it necessary.

According to the report, a source close to the singer said the conservatorship was put in place to protect Spears’ safety: “These people who are screaming for the conservatorship to end, well if that happened and she hurt herself or died 2 weeks after would these people utter a peep? No way.”

A hearing to review Spears’ conservatorship was originally set for September last year but after the singer didn’t show, a new date was scheduled this April. Due to the pandemic, the official court date was delayed and is now set for July 22.

Revisit Uproxx’s timeline of the #FreeBritney movement here.

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The Best Nike Air Max 90s In The Sneaker’s 30 Year History

The Air Force 1, the Blazer, the SB Dunks, the Huarache, the Cortez — Nike has no short supply of great sneaker silhouettes. And we haven’t even started listing the best of the brand’s Air Jordan iterations. But when we ask the question, “Which Nike is the greatest of all time?” just a few sneakers come to mind. And one of those has to be the Air Max 90.

The Air Max 90 was first released in 1990 and was designed by Tinker Hatfield at a time when the Nike architect had just entered his prime. A follow up to 1987’s Air Jordan III, Hatfield updated the Nike Air Max 1 — a great sneaker in its own right — by shedding some of its bulk, refining the sneaker’s lines, drawing eyes to the exposed Air Bag (a novel concept at the time), and building an upper of leather, mesh, and suede. Originally dubbed the Air Max III, the Air Max 90 signaled a new era of sneaker design. 30 years later, the sneaker continues to be one of Nike’s greatest contributions to modern footwear.

In celebration of the Air Max 90, we combed through the sneaker’s 30-year history and picked out the 20 best colorways of all time. Let’s dive into the visual history of one of Nike’s best.

Nike Air Max 90 Infrared/ Laser Blue, 1990


The Infrared is the colorway that launched the Nike Air Max 90 and it remains to this day, 30 years after its release, one of the greatest Nike Air Max 90s ever made. That isn’t a knock against Nike’s output since, but rather a testament to how well the sneaker’s designer, Tinker Hatfield, hit it out of the park on his first try. The Infrared — along with the Laser Blue makeup that was released later in the year — both featured an upper of leather, suede, and mesh.

It may seem controversial to link these two pairs together, but we’re going to do it anyway — The Laser Blue, the Infrared’s follow-up colorway, is just as good as the debut pair. In fact, while the Infrared tends to get more shine, the Laser Blue might be an even better fit for 2020 sensibilities.

Nike Air Max 90 Silver Surfer, 2003


Flash forward 13 years in the Air Max 90s lineage and we have the next notable colorway — the Silver Surfer. This beloved pair features leather and mesh construction with a gray-toned makeup that comes alive thanks to the splash of red in the accenting-Swoosh. It is, in fact, inspired by the Marvel character of the same name, all the way back in 2003 before American cinema was totally owned by the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Get the message Nike: a rerelease of this coveted colorway would sell out in a second!

Nike Air Max 90 Escape II, 2003


The Escape II offers the first notable departure from the typical Air Max 90 makeup thanks to its earth-toned lifestyle look, which hides the sneaker’s origins as a performance-based runner. The blue swoosh looks particularly good over the toned-down upper and is probably our favorite feature about this iteration. If you’re wondering, yes, there was an Escape 1, — which is a pretty dope all leather make-up — but the Escape 2 just offers that right amount of something different that marks it as one of the best Air Max 90s of all time.

Nike x Dave’s Quality Meats Air Max 90 Bacon, 2004


Straight out of Dave Ortiz and Chris Keeffe’s Dave’s Quality Meats store, this collaborative iteration of the Air Max 90 is known as the “Bacon” because of its fresh toned leather makeup. It’s frankly a disgusting source of inspiration for a sneaker, but hey, it works! The mixed leather and suede upper of the Bacon is dressed in a bouquet of tans, browns, pinks, and reds and looks both stunning and yes, we’ll say it, mouthwatering.

Nike and DQM did the whole dressing in meat thing before Lady Gaga hit the 2010 VMAs in her infamous meat dress. That’s a sneaker ahead of its time.

Nike Air Max 90 Crepe, 2004


The audience for the Air Max 90 is incredibly varied, whether you’re a runner, a skater, or merely love the shape, there is an Air Max 90 for you. 2004’s Crepe Air Max was definitely made for those who opt for a chilled out laid back vibe. This crunchy hippie iteration — which oddly didn’t feature a crepe sole like the Air Max 1, which was released alongside it — featured a hemp upper with suede accents and a pop of Gulf Blue, which contrasts beautifully with the earthy colorway.

Nike Air Max 90 Sertig, 2005


Another hiking-inspired iteration of the Air Max 90, the Sertigs combine yellow leather paneling, an infrared swoosh, and accents, white mesh detailing, deep treads, and a dark speckled midsole. There is something unmistakably 80s about this sneaker with its liberal use of bold colors and its slightly rugged trail-ready design. It remains one of the most popular Air Max 90 silhouettes, 15 years into the sneaker’s life.

Bring on the reissue Nike! We’re ready for some 80s goodness after a decade heavily influenced by the 90s.

Nike x Size? Air Max 90 Clerks, 2006


My personal favorite on this list, the Air Max 90 Clerks was a collaboration between Nike and UK retailer size? The mix of teal, bone, and Baroque Brown is accented by deep pink laces and Air Max branding and features an upper composed of tumbled leather and distressed suede with faux crocodile-skin mudguards.

Size?’s various Nike collaborations share this pair’s mix of premium textiles, but rarely has the UK retailer hit the heights they managed to reach with this pair.

Nike x Patta Air Max 90 Homegrown, 2006


In 2006, you could wear the great city of Amsterdam on your feet with this collaborative iteration of the Air Max 90 from Dutch-based label Patta. The cannabis-inspired sneaker dressed perforated nubuck leather and suede in a dank green wrapping, with subtle textured detailing on the sneaker’s leather panels.

The bright orange accents and treaded gum sole were a reference to the Netherlands’ national team uniform and round out this Air Max’s bold design quite nicely.

Nike x Eminem Air Max 90 Charity Series, 2006


No Nike Air Max 90 list would be complete without mention of Eminem’s Charity Series signature sneaker. It feels a little unfair to include this super exclusive pair — only eight pairs were ever made — but the sneaker has become emblematic of sneakerhead culture as a whole as it remains one of the most coveted pairs of the silhouette ever released. Featuring a patent leather upper of grey, blue, white, and green with Eminem branding on the heel, this Charity Series pair is valued at over $25,000 on aftermarket sites like StockX.

Nike x HUF Air Max 90 HUFQUAKE, 2007


In 2007, HUF’s Keith Hufnagel borrowed Tinker Hatfield’s iconic elephant print from the Air Jordan 4 and slightly altered it for this cracked cement version of the Air Max 90, fittingly known as the HUFQUAKE. Hufnagel toned back the mostly leather upper and beefed up the mesh, dressing the silhouette in a grey and white color scheme with Military blue accents — a winner of a color combo when it comes to the Air Max 90 it seems.

Nike Air Max 90 Warhawk, 2007


Incredibly goofy but lovable nonetheless, the Air Max 90 Warhawk design was inspired by the P-90 air fighters of the same name used in World War II. The sneaker in a weird way resembles BAPE’s shark face design — thanks to the shark teeth graphic along the sneaker’s side. Other details include military-inspired olive-toned leather construction with a bright orange swoosh and laces.

While most people probably can’t rock a pair of sneakers with a shark teeth motif this loud, the Warhawks remain a great pair of Air Max 90 eye candy.

Nike x Kaws Air Max 90 , 2008


American pop artist and designer Brian Donnelly, aka Kaws, designed this simple iteration of the Air Max 90 that combined four-way stretch fabric and leather paneling in an all-white or all-black makeup. Kaws take on the silhouette doesn’t concern itself with busy and complicated design flourishes, and instead lets Tinker Hatfield’s iconic shape do all the heavy lifting.

Kaws fans will find subtle signature touches by the artist, like the double-X stitching that harkens back to Kaws’ own OriginalFake brand.

Nike Air Max 90 King Of The Mountain Mowabb, 2008

Stadium Goods

One of the most popular Air Max 90 colorways of all time, the Mowabb finds the Air Max 90 at the crossroads of a great basketball trainer — thanks to the NY Knicks-like colorway on the sneaker’s collar and accents — and a great hiking sneaker (peep the “King of the Mountain” heel branding). Is it either? Not really, but that sure is what it looks like!

A beautiful combination of royal blue, bright orange, and soft pink paneling make up the mostly leather upper, and a snakeskin mudguard and a speckled midsole round out the design of this colorful and playful pair.

Nike x Dizzee Rascal Air Max 90 Tongue n’ Cheek, 2009


What do you get when you combine one of Tinker Hatfields most recognizable designs with one of the UK’s greatest grime rappers? The Dizzee Rascal Nike Air Max 90 Tongue n’ Cheek. Made in collaboration with Ben Drury, who designed the cover of Dizzee’s album of the same name, the Tongue n’ Cheek features a translucent outsole with muted shades of pink under a white suede and leather upper.

Aside from the bold “Tongue n’ Cheek” branding on the tongue, this pair of the Air Max 90 is one of the sneaker’s most subtle iterations, which is notable as the Nike Air Max 90 is beloved for its bold and out-there designs. Proceeds from the sale of the shoe were initially donated to the Tower Hamlets Summer University in the UK.

Nike Air Max 90 Independence Day, 2013


It’s hard a little hard to remember a time when there was no Yeezy brand, but long before Ye made his mark on the world of sneakers he was known for rocking this loud pair of all red 90s. In the early 2010s, the shoe became instantly synonymous with the rapper upon its release which made the colorway reach astronomically high prices on the aftermarket.

Even today, it’s a little hard to look at an all-red pair of sneakers and NOT think about Kanye West, which speaks to just how much of an impact this design had on sneaker culture in the 2010s.

Nike x Atmos Air Max 90 Duck Camo, 2013


The Duck Camo Air Max 90 has reentered the sneaker zeitgeist this year by way of a new release from Nike that sees the special camo patterning in a variety of different colorways, but the duck camo story begins here with the original 2013 colorway. Released alongside the Tiger Camo — which didn’t make this list — the Duck Camo colorway came about when Nike teamed up with Japanese retailer Atmos, who swapped out the Air Max 90s typical mostly leather upper for one composed of rugged canvas.

Nike and Atmos regularly collaborate to this day but they’ve rarely hit on a design that surpasses this one.

Nike Air Max 90 Cork, 2015


Certainly the most unusual colorway on this list, we were really torn on whether or not to include the Air Max 90 Cork. Well, here it is! For the sneaker’s 15th anniversary Nike decided to swap out the all-leather upper for an all-cork design. It’s un-conventional sure, but the cork makeup managed to make the sneaker one of the lightest pairs of Air Max 90s ever, though we doubt the pair was very breathable and probably didn’t live up to the performance-based functionality it was designed to provide.

A weird but interesting addition to the 30 years of this sneaker’s history.

Nike x Off-White Air Max 90, 2017


Part of Virgil Abloh’s “The Ten” collection, this collaboration with Off-White sees Abloh stripping away the bulky layers of the Air Max 90 for a deconstructed version that set off a trend in sneaker design that is only beginning to die out three years later. Before deconstructed designs became exhausting, Abloh’s iteration of the Air Max 90 was a breath of fresh air for a silhouette that had grown stale, failing to produce many notable pairs in the middle part of the last decade. That all changed with the release of “The Ten” as the Air Max 90 would come to be regarded as one of the best designs from Abloh’s early collaboration with Nike.

Featuring a fittingly off-white upper atop an icy blue midsole, this early design from Abloh still looks fly three years and one tired trend later.

Nike Air Max 90 Mars Landing, 2019


It was hard to choose between 2019’s Mars Landing and 2014’s Moon Landing Nike Air Max 90 but we only had room for one space-themed sneaker on the list (Silver Surfer aside) and we’re giving it to the Mars. Will it be something we end up regretting? Maybe, but with its Mars stone and Magma Orange colorway atop a black and grey speckled midsole, the Mars Landing just feels a little more exciting to us than its grey-toned crater-marked older brother.

Nike Air Max 90 Orange Duck Camo, 2020


The best Nike Air Max 90 to release this year is the Orange Duck Camo. While the Supernova came close — we said only one space-themed sneaker remember? — the Orange Duck Camo takes an iconic Air Max 90 colorway and actually manages to improve upon the original design. That might be a controversial statement to Air Max-stans but the Orange Duck Camo breathes new life into the silhouette by taking two steps away from the Infrared design, which the Duck Camo owes a considerable debt to.

With a mix of mesh and leather with duck camo pattern paneling, this orange iteration managed to beat out a reverse-colored version of the original, and a Green and Volt version that released alongside it.