The Butcher Ain’t Coming-He’s Here

If you listen to rap music, you may have heard the phrase: “the butcher coming *****”.

(his iconic tag comes in at 30 seconds)

If you happened to click and listen to that musical masterpiece, you might have an early understanding of the talent Benny possesses on the mic. In an era of beats carrying the songs, basic rhyme schemes, and somewhat lazy successes, Benny is a breath of fresh air thats been grinding on the rap scene for quite a bit. 

Under the Griselda record label, Benny and his other Buffalo brethren have blown up in the rap scene over the past couple of years with consistent projects with their own trademark sound-hard bars over simple but grimey beats by their good friends alchemist and daringer. While each of the 3 have their own strengths, Benny to me stands out as the one with the star power and relentless raps to break into the mainstream (which he already has a bit with his last single with Jermaine).

With his latest project Tana Talk 4, Benny adds another great body of work to his magnum opus to fans, the Tana Talk series. Tana Talk 3 is held in high regard to fans of the butcher, and a lot were worried about the fourth installment being a bit of a let down since the expectations are as high as they could be. As an artist, you’ll never make everyone happy. But for me, Tanat Talk 4 picked up right where the third left off. Maybe a little more polished and a little shorter in length, but Tana Talk 4 delivered classic Benny with some additions of features that cater to a broader audience like P Diddy. But don’t worry, Benny still calls on his NY and griselda clique to give features fans know them best for. 

With most music reviews, I’d rather keep the writing a bit on the shorter side in hopes for you to close out and give the records I talk about a spin. If you like rap, I think you could be sleeping on Benny. If you like melodic rhymes and catchy hooks, maybe keep napping as the Griselda crew always delivers raw, barebones raps and production.

Stream it here:

PS- I recently saw benny live and the performance was great (aside from being about an hour late). No backup vocals and The Butcher spitting a cappella made for an impressive vocal performance with minimal breaks.

How To Surf Chest High Waves (Flawlessly)

This is a post from my alternative website Welcome Progress. Before I turned off the site, I grabbed a couple pieces I liked to be redistributed here. I’ve been looking for some added inspo to grind small, cold waves back home in California. It’s been a pretty rough winter, but clips like these tend to help. 

 Surfing gutless waves is no easy task. Everywhere in the world has their off days, and more times than not you might be taking a plunge into the ocean to surf waves much smaller than you would like. Obviously, it’s all subjective to where you live. A small day on the East Coast vs West Coast vs Hawaii are all very different. But for those on the mainland, there are a ton of opportunities every year to grind less than desirable surf.

There are a couple key factors to beat the conditions and make lemons out of lemonade. First, is picking the right equipment. In recent years there really have been a lot of different small wave crafts you can hop on. From a stubbier, wide shortboard, epoxies, fishes, or whatever you fancy. Less rocker and more foam are key ways to stay afloat (literally while riding the wave). There is a sweet spot in the board design for small waves: a little more foam than a shortboard, the right size so it fits into the smaller wave face, and the rocker helping in both creating speed and catching waves. Another big factor is practicing being light on your feet. Getting up and immediately shifting weight around on your board definitely helps build that first bit of speed and get moving. Depending on the shape of the wave, you might want to surf more out of the pocket or keep it tight if it’s a reform/mushy wave in comparison to a racey beachbreak.

So when you put it all together, you get this new clip from Brother surfing his fabled T-street. One of those waves in SoCal that always has a little bump, the T is a grindy wave. Most of SC’s top talent surfs here when need be. In the above clip, it looks pretty damn fun. Chalk it up to the sight of peaky little teepees or the fact that Kolohe puts in an impressive session for the dribbly surf. But this isn’t his first rodeo- Kolohe and the T have been a winning combo for years now (see below).

What’s The big Whoop All About: An honest opinion on a pretty cool piece of tech

My Whoop and Whoop tan.

I wear the Whoop band everyday. I sleep with it on, shower with it on, sweat with it on, surf with it on. It’s pretty much life-proof. And that’s the point. If you’re confused as to what I am referring to-see below.

If you didn’t click play, whoop is essentially a “fit-bit” that measures daily stress on your body, how your body recovers from said stress, and then the sleep you get to help you recover from said stress. Strain, recovery, and sleep are the 3 pillars of the whoop system, and I check them at the beginning and end of each day. You can really put together a lot of useful information and health statistics that can help you feel much better more often. Here’s a couple things I have taken away from owning one since last April:

-Learn When To Take Your Foot Off The Gas

Working out feels good. This is just a fact, and when you get in a solid rhythm it becomes rather easy. Prior to getting a whoop I was pretty hard in my ways on certain days requiring this workout, run, etc. However, with whoop telling you about your recovery from the day prior and your sleep performance before starting your day, it’s easy to tell when you might want to have a rest day. When you have a lower recovery, if you put up high strain again you will need an unrealistic amount of sleep (at least if you are in the working world). When I see a yellow or red recovery, I know I might take today as a rest day instead of my usual day or tune a workout to be lighter than anticipated. 

-In That Same Breath: Trust Your Instinct

In the beginning, I took the recoveries very literally. And I think a lot of people do get stuck in the rut of relying on their whoop to dictate the workout. This directly goes against what I said above, but trust your instinct. If you feel good, ignore the lower recovery. If you feel so-so, maybe heed the caution. Sometimes I feel great and have a less than ideal recovery, and other times it is warranted and I feel a little less pep in my step. 

-Sleep Is VERY Important

Sleeping is one of the pillars, and really can make a difference in how you feel, how you perform, and how you pretty much live day to day life. At first I would just wake up at my usual 6:30AM wakeup call, and sometimes my recoveries would suffer if I went to bed too late but still woke up at this hour. On top of this, the whoop breaks down your sleep stages, so you can see how much light sleep, deep sleep and REM. Deep sleep and REM are what help your body recover, so getting sufficient sleep in these stages is vital. The Whoop has really made me be analytical of mty sleep and strive to get a solid recovery the next day. 

-Things That Ruin You The Next Day

There are a myriad of factors that can mess around with your body and have it be seen on the Whoop. However, the one that was most startling to me was drinking booze. Waking up in the red the day after a night out is bad enough. At first it was comical as I am pretty good about not letting it ruin my next day. Going surfing on a 1% recovery? Check. However, when you do a deep dive on the numbers and see the difference in your heart rates before and after alcohol, it’s a bit startling. Drinking really does a number on your body, and having the whoop has made me pull back my habits a bit.  

-Competitive Drive

On the whoop interface, you can join teams of all sorts of varieties. I have one with 2 of my close friends. One with some of my favorite surfers. Even one that is just a bunch of people with the name James. Some of these teams I often am in the #1 spot. Others I have to really work to be ranked #1. But seeing other people push it and also seeing my ranking on the teams can fire me up to put the pedal to the metal. I probably look at this aspect the most, but sometimes you just want to be number 1. 

-It’s All About Balance

When it comes down to it, life’s all about balance. There’s gonna be days you can’t get enough sleep. There are days you’re gonna have a shit recovery. The whoop should be used as a means to know when it’s best to dial it up or down, not so much to tell you the exact days. There are plenty of surprises that happen in a lifetime, so sometimes you gotta live in the moment. But it doesn’t hurt to know how your body is feeling when these moments arise.

THINKING THROUGH ALTERNATIVE SHAPES

This is a post from my alternative website Welcome Progress. Before I turned off the site, I grabbed a couple pieces I liked to be redistributed here. The timing on this one seems right on the button, as I have been surfing exclusively a twin fin since the start of 2021.

Said twin fin.

To keep something fresh, sometimes changes need to be made. Mindset, environment, etc. The list goes on and on. Some people might fear change. This is definitely a problem, considering no man or woman has achieved greatness by staying stagnant or true to their routine for too long. Sure, having something dialed feels good and if they are good habits and routines keep them going. But the old saying goes “variety is the spice of life”, so incorporating things outside of your comfort zone is essential for development. 

Change breeds a different mindset. No matter how comfortably you are sitting or how zenned out you might feel, mindset is one thing that can always evolve and will just make you a better person. Mindset is something you can reference when making a decision or thinking about a choice, and doesn’t necessarily sway you one way or the other. Having an expandable and broad mindset lets you see the whole painting rather than the corner or image that just catches your eye. In order to expand and have our mindset grow, we either need more experience or experience from others. This pretty much boils down to trying new things or reading material from those who have pushed boundaries or embraced change with open arms. 

So where are we taking this? The underlying theme is mindset and opening up your brain to things that you might never have considered previously.

So let’s talk about alternative surfboards. Not to shift the focus from the main idea, but rather provide an example that will be relevant to almost anything you apply it to. Let’s begin. 

Most people are hard in their ways about the boards they ride. If this were on a graph, it would go as follows: those who have surfed longer and are more proficient tend to get more finicky about boards. Surfing for the most part is a constant learning curve. Most who pick it up dream of ability well beyond the realm of reality. But, if you practice enough you can get there (aside from the 5% of surfers who are really F1 drivers in a realm of speed junkies). Not to get sidetracked, the point is people are stuck in their routine of surfboard shapes. Most lineups are filled with performance surfboards or a beefier, more “domestic” version of the performance shortboard. 

But as time has gone on, you are starting to see a retro revolution of old school shapes and “alternative” boards. These boards are breathing a breath of fresh air into the lineup, and you see people of all skill levels gliding atop these pre-2000s shapes. These people have the right idea. People are all built differently, and believe it or not some people definitely fare better on a fish than the hypersensitive shortboard that your favorite surfer is riding in a heat. You could hop on a fish and just be blown away with the ride this shape has gifted you. And fishes are just the tip of the iceberg: mid lengths, asymmetricals, bars of soap. Thrusters, quads, twins, singles, finless. The possibilities are endless. 

Riding boards outside the comfort zone stirs in your brain new ways of wave riding. How you once thought you had to surf two foot waves has been turned upside down. Having this broader mindset of what to ride, when to ride it, and how to ride it can add a large amount of milk froth into your brains surfing coffee cup. Seeing a dribbly two foot reform can stoke you out if you have the right board to tackle it. Every surfer knows how fun getting wet is, even if the results are more sub par than you expected. Most become better people after they’ve had a surf in their day, and these boards will help you tack up more sessions than ever before. Many have jumped on the alternative shape bandwagon, but tons are still stuck in their ways.

To circle back, not apply this short tale of the evolution of surf craft  to whatever you want. You only listen to two genres of music: expand your taste and you could find a whole new world of tunes that you really like. All of this is about programming your brain to not fear change and embrace trying new things. Yes, this is much easier said than done. And there are much scarier choices and experiences that require trying something new than picking what surfboard you ride or what music you listen to while you work. Between home life, professional life, and just life in general, oftentimes we are thrown a curveball whether we like it or not. Having a flexible mindset can help you hit it out of the park, or at least anticipate what pitch is coming next.

Here’s some inspiration: someone with a high-performance background welcoming alternative shapes with open arms.

A YEAR IN CLOSURE

It’s 8PM on a Friday. It’s actually NYE, to be precise. I take another sip of wine out of a stemless glass (they just look better). Mixtape Lil’ Wayne plays out of my Macbook speakers. I have a pretty decent speaker setup in my bedroom, but something about the old music with the rawness of kinda shit speakers strikes a cord. Now about the wine. One of my new things to try in 2022 is wine. Sure, I’ve slapped the bag and drank wine before. There have been many deadly hangovers in my day from a classic Wine Wednesday. But I’d like to get an appreciation for it-similar to my love for coffee. It’s funny though, I make a resolution to drink more alcohol even though I am trying to kick liquor of all kinds to the curb in 2022. Not for any reason other than it just makes you feel so shit the next day. Don’t worry-I’m still going out tonight. I can’t just sit at home on Fridays and Saturdays. But it’ll be light in comparison to previous years. 

The idea of resolutions I think are great. I saw somewhere on social media someone say a statement along the lines of “I don’t make resolutions because I don’t wait”. Sick man. I’m not saying I wait until the new year to actively try something either or achieve a certain goal. But I find a new year let’s you account for all happenings of the last year and focus on things you might not have gotten to put attention towards or you missed out on trying. Sometimes, it’s a challenge to do something within the year (like surf 365 surf sessions, or my new number based challenge, train 1000 rounds of boxing drills). I also feel like it’s a time at the end of the year where people are more comfortable sharing what they improve on (even though that should constantly be in conversation).

If anyone thought I was doubling down on 365 surfs as a resolution-you are wrong. It wasn’t terrible in the moment, but it was grindy. There just wasn’t enough swell this year (not that I was trying). And I knew with how I was approaching it that it probably wasn’t going to happen. The number? A little over 300. Not bad but a decent bit off. I just always try to surf when I can.

This wine is OK. In my newfound trials I have for sure found better. But I still don’t know much about it. “Banned” by Lil Wayne just came on. It’s Weezy sliding over the old N.O.R.E. beat from Banned From TV. A classic. But back to the year coming to a close. I’ve been lagging on writing, which is unfortunate because when I get in a groove with it I write my best and it just feels good to vomit on the word doc. That’s kind of what this one’s about. Just a quick journal-esque rambling before I decide to shower and head out. What else can I jam in here before it seems like some quickly written blabber (in pure honesty it is)? Upon taking one last sip and looking up, this has some decent substance to it. Self reflection, new ideas for 2022, surfing, music, and some witty sentences (self proclaimed). Check ’em all off. That’ll do. Onto 2022.