KingBNJMN: Life and Music

After dropping FUTURE the week before, Future dropped HNDRXX as a change of pace project. It showed the versatility of the Atlanta rapper with tracks like “Solo” and “Sorry” as slow rap songs with deeper meanings while he sang heartbroken or upbeat ballads on “Damage” and “Testify.” There are times when this project gets dark, but that is due to the lifestyle Future entails. A change up that threw most people off guard in a good way is the song “Fresh Air.

Fresh Air” is a track where Future fluctuates in his tone and puts passion in his lyrics behind an upbeat instrumental that was co-produced by KingBNJMN. He is singing about needing some time alone after he has been in some sort of relationship for a while. KingBNJMN took some time to talk about his surprise placement on HNDRXX, his music, and other endeavors. 

KingBNJMN has been making beats for the better part of five years now. His biggest inspirations in music are from Timbaland, T-Minus, Di Genius, Kanye West, as well as others. He described music as a tool in his life that has always been around and been used by him. In addition, he thinks of it as a breath of fresh air, no pun intended, as he can get away from life’s distractions. As a kid, he was always into beats, how they were made, what went into making a good beat, and it naturally became something he pursued. Like anything we pursue in life, our passion can, most often times, be attributed to the way we were raised. The 23 year-old producer reflected on his upbringings.

“I’m so grateful I’m from Canada and Jamaica. Both my parents are Jamaican. The old school type too. So I grew up on so many types of music, grooves, it really inspired me to master a lot of different types of music. And I never stop learning,” said KingBNJMN.

He shows his appreciation for Jamaican music while admiring the new sound of the city of Toronto. The Jamaican producer says his ties inspire him and adds another facet to his music. He can create Dance Hall music just as easily as he can make a trap beat. R&B, Soul, and Reggae are also favorites of his as well. There is a part in “Fresh Air” where you hear African drums as the track reached its’ climax. As for Toronto, he believes it is the future of music with various artists, mainstream and underground, paving the way.

KingBNJMN found out a day before the launch of HNDRXX that his instrumental had made the cut.

The excited producer said, “Major Seven [co-producer] hit me up and was like “dawg we got one” and that was it. The process was uneventful, but all I was hoping for was a great song and that’s what we got.”

Since then, he said his phone has been burning up. The placement on the surprise album has not stopped the producer’s motivated state of mind. He continues to work hard and stay humble. He has more instrumentals and music of his own people can listen to. The Soundcloud link on his Twitter, @KINGBNJMN, contains many styles. He has songs with an old school, trap, R&B, and soul sound. He tries to add more character and flavor to his emporium as he does not want to be known for just one sound.

Fresh Air” was a great song, but KingBNJMN continues to grind. He works with artists from Toronto, Jamaica, and anywhere else. He has worked with global icon Sean Paul and soaks up the wisdom from him. KingBNJMN continues to elevate, create his own sound, and watch his dreams come to fruition.

The Eclectic Mind of Ed Latimore

Ed Latimore is a man in his early 30’s with a profound interest in mathematics and chess. He attends the Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA that is not too far from where he grew up and spent the better part of his adulthood. There he is grinding toward a dual degree in Physics and Electrical Engineering. If you did not know already, Mr. Latimore is a professional boxer. He has taken time off to focus on school, as he was once part of Roc Nation Sports. He is not what you would think when someone merely uttered the word boxer. Ed is active on Twitter as he drops mind-blowing quotes, he writes, and he just genuinely likes connecting with people. Those are characteristics that make him unique.

Latimore struggled early on in his life at 19, like many young adults, as he lacked discipline. He had just dropped out of college, was gaining weight, drank a lot, chased women, and worked dead end jobs. Ed might have been someone we all know or knew at some point in our own life that did not capitalize on their youth. Suddenly, he had an epiphany as he joined Americorps, then volunteered for the Army National Guard, and boxed as an amateur.

Latimore talked about becoming a boxer. He said, “I didn’t start until I was 22. It was something I had always been interested and I knew it could help me with my weight. I was 255 pounds from all of the late night eating and thought enough is enough. So I said, “Let’s just try it out.”

lat3Latimore shed weight fast as he went from 255 to 220 pounds. He reflected on a younger version of himself as having a lack of discipline and self-control. Those are a few words he values the most. He adjusted his mind and started to make educated and controlled decisions. In the ring, he lacks size, but he packs powerful blows with good technique. He anticipates punches and moves his feet well defensively, which is why he has been successful. Latimore was basking in the glory of amateur boxing, as he was a state and national champion in the heavyweight division. He also made it to the Olympic qualifier before turning pro.

lat4A typical day in the life of Ed starts off at about five o’clock in the morning. He focuses on tasks such as: academics, marketing, blogging, or connecting with the universe on Twitter. Following the miscellaneous tasks, Ed hits the gym where he bulks up and hits the treadmill before heading to class. After class, he helps kids out by tutoring them before finally heading home. Latimore helps them with schoolwork, but he plants seeds of wisdom in the back of their mind.

“Discipline and dedication to something is all you need. You can make a life for yourself that people can learn from,” Latimore referenced as things he says to the younger generation.

Currently, the heavyweight boxer is currently 13-1 with seven knockouts to his name. The loss he took was eye opening and gut wrenching, but he learned to live with it. Latimore is 6’1 and generally fights at 220 pounds or lower so he is often at a disadvantage. He learned the importance of having a strong base.

“I got hit and I realized I was not as balanced as I should have been,” stated the Pittsburgh native. “I need to keep my hands up.”

Latimore, in a matter of fact tone, talked about how the fight bothered him for about a week or two. However, he realized life goes on and there are global issues in the world that are worth being mad about.

The Pittsburgh brawler credits two people as his mentors in life. His boxing coach has been great to him and helped shape him into the man he is today. He helped Latimore be a pro and develop as a fighter. Out of the ring, Jack Murphy has helped him capitalize on having a fanbase. Latimore has developed better over the years as a writer as his confidence has grown.

lat6The former amateur national champ is a writer and recently published “Not Caring What Other People Think is a Superpower: Insights From a Heavyweight Boxer.” The book is a collection of essays on pillars of life people should know including: hard work, self-control, relationships, and sobriety. The book has been his main focus as he continues to focus on earning a dual degree. After dropping out at 19, Latimore understands the importance of school.

He said, “The most important thing is not school itself because school is just an instrument. What is important is what you do with it. For me, people can appreciate the work being done in the field I am in.”

Boxing has gotten a bad wrap amongst fans as a “dying sport.” Is it dying though? Latimore believes the sport is in a renaissance with it being on more networks than in the last 20 years. He noted PBC, Spike, ESPN, HBO, Showtime, and Pay-Per-View as the bigger platforms for a fight. It is big overseas as there is usually a fight on every weekend. He respects what Floyd Mayweather has done for the sport in terms of glamorizing and popularizing the sport. His success in the ring helps too. The answer to that question is an emphatic no.

At 32, Latimore is not sure when his next fight will be, but acknowledged the fact that he is not done. This is a man with a lot of wisdom and is extremely intelligent. He tweets brainteasers, is improving as a writer, and has launched a book. Latimore answers questions with well thought out responses and is articulate. These qualities translate to his writing. He is a motivated fighter with his hands in different fields thanks to his growing fanbase. He continues to supersede the idea of a typical boxer and get as much out of the sport as the sport gets out of him.

Underdog Turned All-Pro

Chris Harris Jr. has epitomized the phrase “shutdown corner.” He can go up top and fight for the ball with the likes of AJ Green, Mike Evans, or Julio Jones. He can cover smaller wideouts or slot receivers like Julian Edelman, Antonio Brown, or Jarvis Landry. No matter the assignment, CHJ will be on his man’s hip like they are conjoined twins and frustrate opposing quarterbacks. Heck, he might pick that same quarterback off and smile as he takes it to the house. No matter the opposition or level of competition, Harris Jr. has been a consistent football player.

talibThe three-time Pro Bowler was undrafted out of Kansas in 2011. Denver signed him and he has morphed into one of the premiere corners the league has to offer. His technique is sound, as he never bites on the eye candy receivers try to seduce him with in the early part of their routes. Harris Jr. shows great anticipation on routes, which has made him one of the most feared corners. In his career, he has posted 66 pass deflections, 14 interceptions, and three touchdowns. He reflected on his early years on guys that served as mentors to him.

“I would say Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins. Those guys are for sure Hall of Famers,” said the Bronco corner.

champBailey and Dawkins were cerebral athletes in their prime, but were known for their anticipation, preparation, and knowledge of the game. These are two reasons why they were able to extend their prime. Harris Jr. has those same qualities, but the best part of his game is his consistency. If you have ever turned on a Broncos game, you might not hear his name often. This is a good thing because it means Harris Jr. is locking his man up. He talked about what makes him a steady contributor.

“Just being consistent every year I think comes with my preparation. I think I prepare hard for the season every year,” stated Harris Jr. “Where I separate myself from a lot of corners is that I try to play good every week.”

NFL: Oct 11  Denver at OaklandHis dominance at his position is directly correlated to his team’s success on the field. He along with TJ Ward, Darian Stewart, Bradley Roby, and Aqib Talib has formed quite the secondary. The Broncos have finished in the top five in total defense since 2014. They won a Super Bowl last year as they frustrated Tom Brady and Cam Newton on their way to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Denver missed the playoffs this year, but the defense was still Fort Knox-esque. They finished fourth in total yards and points per game and finished first in passing yards allowed.

Part of the reason why the Broncos missed the playoffs can be attributed to the strength of the reinvigorated AFC West. The Sheriff, Peyton Manning, left town and the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs jumped at the opportunity to compete for the division crown. The San Diego Chargers only won five games, but they welcomed the challenge against their divisional foes. Harris Jr. loves the competition in the division and highlighted a few marquee matchups.

Harris Jr. said, “You got great quarterbacks in there [the AFC West] and great receivers. It challenges me every year to be able to guard Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, and Keenan Allen.”

foundationOn the field, Harris Jr. is a top ten corner and is certainly in the top five discussions. He has been an All-Pro player since 2014 and was named a first-team selection this past season. Off the field, he has been the ultimate humanitarian. The Chris Harris Jr. Foundation was founded in 2013 and was made to help children in need. Harris spoke glowingly on his efforts with his foundation.

“Being able to find underdogs, like me, and give them a head start in life. That’s the main goal and trying to reach as many kids and touch as many kids as possible,” said CHJ.

The foundation has a football camp every year, works with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and the Salvation Army. Harris has also been outspoken against domestic violence. He continues to win on the field, but his greatest efforts come when he is off the field.

Prince Amukamara: Football and Unwavering Faith

Prince Amukamara of the Jacksonville Jaguars is a good cornerback, but an even better person. He signed with the Jags last offseason after starting his career with the New York Giants. He helped stabilized the secondary, brought championship experience, and a calming presence to a very young core. Going back to his days at Nebraska, Amukamara has never been one to get rattled easily. This characteristic can be attributed to the veterans that helped cultivate his game to go along with his unwavering faith.

Of course, the former Cornhusker was disappointed with how the season turned out as the Jags finished with just three wins. There is always some glimmer of hope in every situation and Amukamara found that as he talked about the season.

prince“We [the defense] were ranked 30th last year and then went up to 6th. I feel like next year we can continue to build on that,” said the optimistic corner.

The final score of Jacksonville’s games could be a bit misleading, but their performance on the gridiron says otherwise. This is a good group with seasoned veterans peppered with young guys. Jalen Ramsey, Yannick Ngakoue, Myles Jack, Telvin Smith, and Dante Fowler Jr. will grow together and help usher in a new era of Jags football. They finished sixth in total yards allowed and frustrated quarterbacks as they ranked fifth in passing yards allowed.

antrelAmukamara’s job is to help nourish them and spread the wisdom he absorbed from players like Aaron Ross, Terrell Thomas, Corey Webster, and Antrel Rolle.

“I would say those four guys groomed me and really showed me how a pro should act, eat, train, and play,” said Amukamara.

Football is merely a blip on the radar for Prince as his philanthropic work means the most to him. He credited players like Vernon Davis, Justin Tuck, and Osi Umenyiora for using the NFL’s shield to their advantage when they orchestrated off the field events. The Jags corner talked about one of the things he likes to do in his time away from the game of football.

“I like to give to mission trips so they can go and spread the word overseas,” stated an insightful Amukamara. That was just the tip of the iceberg.

kidsAmukamara’s belief in God extends well beyond the football field. Spreading the word is big to him, but he wants to help make a difference in the lives of the youth. First off, he genuinely loves kids and enjoys building connections with them. He and his wife are in the early stages of creating a scholarship to help students go through college.

Amukamara wants kids to go to school, but maximize their time there. Networking and being cost efficient are two things he thinks they should focus on. He is hoping to encourage kids to find themselves before college because college is a bit overpriced. In other words, the more time they spend trying to figure out what they want to do the more expensive school becomes. Make no mistake; Amukamara is not trying to disparage the idea of higher education. He just wants to make a difference.

Atlanta Falcons: For the Culture

The Atlanta Falcons have been one of the elite teams in the NFL this season. Their offense is second in total yardage and first in points per game with 33.8. They get labeled as a passing team because they have a MVP candidate in Matt Ryan; however, this team is top five in rushing. The dynamic duo of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman ran for 1,599 yards, compiled 883 receiving yards, and hit pay dirt 29 times during the regular season. Ryan nearly eclipsed 5,000 yards as he threw for 38 touchdowns on just seven interceptions. We know Julio Jones is their best playmaker because he had another 1,000-yard season. The biggest difference has been Ryan’s ability to spread the wealth to other receivers. Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel, Aldrick Robinson, Justin Hardy, Levine Toilolo, Austin Hooper, and Jacob Tamme combined for twenty touchdowns. Their contribution has made it easier for Jones to operate through defenses. There is another element that has been added to this team and that is defense.

vicDan Quinn was hired as the head coach last season to build a defense good enough to get stops so the offense could excel. In the last two seasons, Atlanta has drafted or signed Vic Beasley Jr., Jalen Collins, Grady Jarett, Akeem King, Brian Poole, Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, and De’Vondre Campbell. The result has been a fast, athletic, and physical defense. Neal and Jones fit the aforementioned description and have been game changers since day one. They show their inexperience as they relinquish over 370 yards per game, but they are opportunistic. The Falcons’ defense is fourth in takeaways-giveaways and they try to score when they get the ball. They lost Desmond Trufant to injury, but they have depth in their secondary. Quinn has defensive backs that can play in any coverage and move like piranhas toward the ball. Beasley Jr. took the next step as he led the league in sacks with 15.5 in his sophomore season. So why has this team been overlooked?

The season has been a roller coaster for the Falcons. They had big wins over the Panthers, Raiders, and Broncos. They won the NFC South for the first time since 2012 and secured home-field advantage as a two-seed with an 11-5 record. They were at their low point with a controversial loss to the Seahawks and bad losses to the Chargers and Eagles. At this point, many of the experts had written the Falcons off and threw them to the side like an old toy. They got it together and made the playoffs and have been nothing short of a revelation as they have scored 80 points in their two wins over the Seahawks and Packers. The defense looked dominant as they forced turnovers and frustrated Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers. Atlanta’s fans believe this is their year, but they have not always felt this strongly about their teams.

Not a Sports Town

hawksAtlanta is considered “the melting pot” of the South as many people that live there are not from Georgia. When the Falcons, Atlanta Hawks, and Atlanta Braves have home games, it sounds like there are more fans for the visiting team. In the 2016 NBA Playoffs, The Cleveland Cavaliers played against the Hawks in Phillips Arena and you heard more supporters for the road team. In reality, that is because the fans have endured so much over the years and refuse to get their hopes up. In 1998, the Falcons went to the Super Bowl after upsetting Daunte Culpepper, Randy Moss, and the Minnesota Vikings only to lose to John Elway and the Denver Broncos. In 2004, Michael Vick took them to the NFC Championship where the Eagles blew them out. In 2012, Ryan and company looked poised for a title run as they went up 17-0 on the Niners at home in the NFC Championship Game. They blew a late lead and fell short of the Super Bowl. In the early 90s in basketball, Dominique Wilkins, Stacey Augmon, and Mookie Blaylock formed quite a team for the Hawks. They never made it past the semi-finals, as they would falter to the Pistons and Celtics. The Hawks have always been a good team since 2008, but they have never had a superstar that could tabraveske over games. They got swept in the Eastern Conference Finals after winning 60 games. The city has been scarred with teams that have been good in the regular season, but not good enough to win in the postseason. In fact, the city has only experienced one championship between the three teams and that was in 1995 by the Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, and John Smoltz-led Braves who knocked off the New York Yankees. Georgians have adopted a passive approach, which is “wait-and-see” when it comes to these franchises. This makes it harder for the teams to lure in bigger stars.

Atlanta Known for Food not Sports

This is not a knock on Atlanta, but the city is known for Chick-Fil-A and Waffle House. Chick-Fil-A is known for their chicken sandwiches, fries, and lemonade. The company has started to pop up around the country in different states and enjoyed by many. Chick-Fil-A has been a partner with the NCAA as they are a sponsor in bowl games and host the SEC in an early season game. Waffle House is sort of like the Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles of the South. If you have not had either place, you should Google the nearest restaurant near your current location. Sports are an afterthought when people visit Atlanta.

Black Mecca

kasimAtlanta is considered a “black Mecca” because it is a place that helps blacks cultivate and expand their horizons. They can be like Kasim Reed and work their way through the political ranks. Reed is the mayor of Atlanta and has done a good job putting money into poor neighborhoods. Black people can go to some of the best educational institutions such as: Clark Atlanta, Spelman, and Morehouse. There many of them learn more about African American culture as well as earn a degree. There is a strong sense of brother and sisterhood amongst blacks in Atlanta. It does not stop with blacks. Blacks and whites share a harmonious relationship in the city unlike any other city in America. Atlanta also gives African Americans the best chance to be business owners and thrive because the neighborhoods are predominantly black.

Music

Los Angeles and New York are often referred to as the origins of rap or hip-hop. However, Atlanta has had their fair share of talent in the music industry. At some point, Outkast, Xscape, Jermaine Dupri, Ludacris, or T.I. held it down for the older generation of music in the ATL. People knew Atlanta had artists coming out of the city, but Dupri and Ludacris really put them on the map in different ways. Dupri had a hot single called “Welcome to Atlanta” and he gave insight on the day-to-day life of inner city people. Ludacris offered a new wild and explicit style, but matured into a smooth rapper capable of switching tempo. Tip literally started from the bottom and a lot of fans gravitated towards him because he came from the streets. He would dominate the rap game for a period of time only being rivaled by Lil Wayne. Today, “the A” is known for putting out trap rappers and catchy songs. Gucci Mane was at the forefront of this movement as he shed light on the lifestyle of a trapper. He would often tell stories with a flow that goes well with his bass boosted beats. Young Jeezy was also the Godfather of trap. Future, Migos, Young Thug, 2 Chainz, and Rae Sremmurd headline a very deep group of Atlanta rappers. Childish Gambino also does is part in the rap world, but his show “Atlanta” has captivated many across the nation. The show offers some insight on the city and the music industry. Atlanta certainly cannot be overlooked on and off the field.trophy

It has been over 20 years since Atlanta has celebrated a championship. Recently, the Chicago Cubs and Cavs have ended their championship droughts so the odds might be in the Falcons favor. They have to go through Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, which is no easy task. However, if the Falcons win, they can go down as one of the best teams to ever win the Lombardi trophy with that potent offense. A Falcons win would mean more to the city and to the culture.