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Ben’s Summer Thoughts: Posse Cuts, Defining The Midwest, Airplane Etiquette, and more!

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Summer is also unapologetically defended. Please enjoy.

Tegel Airport Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

I actually do put a fair amount of effort into this series, but I really should mention that my heart fully isn’t in this. The NBA Draft ends up creating one of my peak “I miss college basketball” moods. It’s basically a three hour college highlight reel and I find myself spewing out observations from the previous year that I didn’t realize I remembered. I look at the calendar afterwards and see that we’re not even at the MLB All Star Break, much less the start of the college basketball season. I hope you take some joy from reading something - anything - on the site, because I enjoy writing about these important topics. Just know that my yearning burns brighter as the summer continues.

1. In Defense Of Standing When The Airplane Lands

I learned so much about myself and the world over my time at Marquette. The vast majority of that learning came during the four hour journey from campus to Mitchell Airport to KCI to my parents’ house. I’ve gone so far as to suggest that anyone with the means to do so should go to college a plane ride away just because of that learning experience.

As a result of the many plane rides I took during my 4 years, I developed a lot of pet peeves. They include the overly rehearsed flight attendant joke during the safety announcement, putting your carry-on in an overhead compartment behind your seat, not taking your things out of your pockets before getting to the TSA bin, not giving the arm rests to the person in the middle seat, taking a middle or aisle seat if you know you’re going to be sleeping during the flight (some folks gotta go during the flight), carrying your 6 year old’s bags for them while they’re playing just games on your phone, cops who are a little too excited to tell you to move your car in the pickup line after you stopped .4 seconds ago, and people who clearly have an outfit designated solely for going to the airport.

Among those peeves is not “people who stand up right when the plane lands.”

I don’t stand immediately when the wheels touch down. I usually check my phone first. But when my Twitter feed is caught up I stretch my legs because between the Uber, the waiting at the gate, and the ride itself, I’ve been sitting still for the better part of 4 hours. That’s really not comfortable. Plane Stander haters make it seem like I’m standing because I’m trying to get out of the plane before anyone else despite the fact that I’m in the 16th row. That’s not my game. Let me crack my knees and back so I can live my best life.

I’d actually argue that as long as you’re not being too ambitious about leaving your row to retrieve your carry-on, you’re doing better than the guy who sits until the very last minute, realizes he doesn’t know where his bag is, and wastes 20 seconds holding everyone up.

2. Ranking The Best Posse Cuts

If you don’t know what this is, here’s the Wikipedia entry. If you don’t want to read that, it’s a rap song that consists of successive verses by four or more rappers. If you still don’t get it, then listening to the songs will help you get it. I love them in part because the artists can’t really hide behind the beat or chorus. If they don’t rap well, it’s really going to show. I’m going to rank my favorites, so so get to read a list within a larger list.

5. Oldie - Odd Future

I was never a fan of the Odd Future collective, although I’m an Earl Sweatshirt fan, I’m enjoying Tyler The Creator’s new phase, and I’m definitely a Frank Ocean stan. This song is great, though. The little drum bit in between everyone’s verses really gets me going. “Bumpin’ oldies off my cellular phone” was my Twitter bio for a bit.

4 - So Appalled

I was only going to make room for one of these off My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, though Monster wouldn’t have made it anyway because Jay-Z’s verse in that is absolutely abysmal. There’s not really a poor moment in So Appalled, but I wouldn’t say there’s an incredible moment in there, although Kanye’s “voila/Allah/Prada/tada” string of lines comes close.

3 - 1Train - A$AP Rocky

This was on Rocky’s album Long.Live.A$AP, which was released early in 2013. So look at the names on that feature list and pretty much all of them went from fairly new artists to creating decent careers (Yelawolf) to great ones (Kendrick).

Every time I listen to this song I gain a greater appreciation for Big K.R.I.T.’s verse. I think he’s incredibly underrated lyrically because of his pretty thick southern drawl, but he just kills it on this song. The way he says, “Walk the plank or break the bank, I’ve been in the business of sinkin’ ships” is the second highest point of the song behind Danny Brown comparing a part of a woman to a penguin.

2 - Int’l Player’s Anthem - UGK

DON’T DO IT! RECONSIDER! READ SOME LITERA...TURE ON THE SUBJECT.

I kind of had to squeeze this one in because in my mind posse cuts should have just one beat, and this song changes after Andre 3000’s verse, but this song is too good. The video is perfect as well, though that doesn’t have any bearing on my rankings. I think this is the song that was the most fun to record. I picture UGK and Outkast just having a great time at the studio trying to pack in the most fun into a song as possible.

1 - Scenario - A Tribe Called Quest

This has to be #1, though. Probably the most 90’s rap song ever with all the dorky rhymes like, “Scooby Doo, whoopie doo”, “Can I get a hit? Boom bip” and “New York, North Cakalaka and Compton/Checka checka check it out”. Phife has an attention-grabbing opening line and it references sports, so all it needed was a simile and it would’ve summarized his career completely. I also love how Q-Tip is clearly trying to sound as excited as he can, but his velvet voice is still just too smooth to get us amped so Busta Rhymes just kicks down the door before Tip can even fully finish his sentence. I don’t think I even need to explain the historical significance of, “RAWR RAWR like a dungeon dragon.”

3. We Gotta Talk About Thunderstruck

We either need to cut the time that the song is playing before Marquette home games in half or find a new pre-tipoff schitck altogether because my arms would have fallen off if I stayed in college for another year. It is a decent camera shot for the big time games, but otherwise it looks sad when there’s 500 half-bent arms clapping back and forth. I think it sounds a lot better in person and on TV when there’s just a bunch of folks yelling, but that’s just me.

4. I Just Thought Of Another Reason Why Summer Is Great

Out of all the Midwestern stereotypes that I possess, the one I embody the most is my love for watching storms/tornadoes. A massive storm just passed over our office and I just stood outside and watched. It was so glorious. The sky has a cool look to it, the sound of rain is basically an anti-depressant when you’re listening indoors, and lightning looks dope.

Storms are more common in the summer for whatever reason. I’m not a meteorologist. All I know is that they’re great except for the day after when it’s humid as balls, which is the only bad part about summer.

5. Wisconsin Is Not Part Of The Midwest

I’m not going to jump right into this. I’m just going to let the take simmer for a little bit.

That’s it.

Let the anger consume you.

Alright now we can go. It’s mind boggling how many people thought Wisconsin is no doubt a part of the Midwest. I really don’t think it’s particularly close.

I’m not going to delve too deep into what makes a region a region, so I’ll just say I weigh it by culture, climate, and geography. I can’t speak too much about the geography differences between Wisconsin and Nebraska, so I’ll just say that they’re roughly the same.

The climate argument I would hear for Wisconsin’s inclusion is something along the lines of, “Yeah our lives are miserable for like 8 months a year, but it gets hot sometimes in July.” Miss me with that nonsense. Don’t talk to me until you see a flower in March.

The accents are way different. I spent a long weekend with a friend who lived in the Dells once and her entire family described my “accent” as something from the deep south because I said “y’all” once. We have different words and a big gap in amount of people from Eastern Europe for whatever reason.

That’s all perfectly fine and obviously we’re more the same than we are different, but if we’re defining what region everyone is from we need to focus on the differences. Wisconsin isn’t in the Midwest; it’s in the North, along with the Dakotas, Minnesota and Michigan.