Author: Keon McMillan

July 25, 2013 Keon McMillan

Here we are, late in the year of 2013. Who knew Jay Z’s 12th studio release, “Magna Carta: Holy Grail,” would be the most talked about album of the summer? Not only did the record reach number one on the charts, but it also sold a million copies before its release date due to the $20 million deal Hova made with Samsung.

Not bad for someone whose first album came out in 1996 under his own independent label.

Simply put, Sean Corey Carter is a genius. With the popularity of the Internet it’s becoming harder and harder to go platinum (1,000,000 copies sold). Jay, however, didn’t have a problem selling a million copies of “Magna Carta.”

During the NBA Finals Game 6 halftime, a commercial aired showing Jay and producers Rick Rubin, Pharrell Williams, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland all in the studio together. The gist of the commercial was to let everyone know about the “new rules,” and that a new Jay Z album was to be released on Independence Day.

The catch? Samsung Galaxy users would have an app available to them where they could download the album 3 days before its release. Samsung bought a million copies before the new unit released, putting $5 million in Jay’s hand before anyone even heard it, something that has never been done.

The album itself wasn’t a complete disappointment to a die-hard Jay Z fan like myself. At the same time, it wasn’t what I was expecting. Then again, I didn’t really know what to expect.

The album starts off with a Justin Timberlake feature, the title track “Holy Grail.” In the song, Jay raps about how he’s seen so many great people do so many great things but have it stripped all away from them because of fame.

My problem with this song and others, such as “F*ckwithmeyouknowigotit,” is the cadence he uses while rapping. It almost seems nonchalant: “I like it, bright lights is enticing, but look what it did to Tyson.”

It’s the same over-used flow in hip-hop coming from artists like Meek Mill, 2Chainz and Wiz Khalifa. With so many classic flows and records, it seemed unlikely that Jay would have to do that on any song, ever.

The third track, entitled “Tom Ford,” had a similar concept to an older song of his, “30-something.” On that track, Carter rapped about how he’s older and more mature than most rappers, which cause him to do older and more mature things — pretty straightforward stuff.

On “Tom Ford,” he raps, “I don’t pop molly, I rock Tom Ford”

Ford is a famous international designer, and Molly is an infamous party drug. Jay simply doesn’t have time for Molly when he’s wearing thousand-dollar suits. The production on this track is definitely some of the best on the album.

Timbaland produced “Ford,” so it has that electro/heavy bass feel to it with prominent percussion all over it. Still, Jay uses a flow that’s been adopted countless times in mainstream rap, which takes away from the song.

The strongest song on the album is a toss-up between “Somewhereinamerica,” “Crown” and “BBC.” Listeners can’t resist the urge to dance when they hear “BBC” — even those who can’t dance a lick.

The exotic melodies and foreign drums makes people want to grab their favorite drink and hit the beach. Having Pharrell on the hook and a guest feature from Nas sends this one out of orbit.

It’s a big achievement for Jay’s 12th album to sound completely different from the 11 before it. I appreciate that aspect, and also how incredible the marketing scheme was. You have to respect someone who pushes the envelope like that.

Usually Jay Z is known for having radio singles and expensive videos to create a buzz for his upcoming projects, but this time all he needed was a little change from Samsung. The only true problems are the certain flows he uses, as mentioned earlier. It’s lazy and uninspiring to hear that from him.

But it’s Jay. And with a career like that, he has earned a pass to do what he wants as far as rapping goes. The production on this album has to be some of the best of any Jay Z record, and that’s without any contributions from Just Blaze. Impressive.

“MCHG” is more revolutionary for its advertising strategy than the music within, but its still a great summer album.

3 stars.

 

June 25, 2013 Keon McMillan

Only a couple months removed from being named the 2012-13 team MVP, Kyle Fossman is back on his grind. His play also netted him a First Team All-GNAC selection, but he isn’t resting on his laurels this offseason.

June 11, 2013 Keon McMillan

Nearly a year and a half after UAA athlete Marko Cheseto lost both of his feet to frostbite, he opens up with TNL to discuss prosthetics, therapy, and the suppor and courage he has needed to make it through.

Marko Cheseto made a name for himself at UAA with his stellar performances as a track athlete.

May 29, 2013 Keon McMillan

TNL’s keon McMillan explores hoop options around Anchorage for avid basketballers to continue on playing during the summer months.

May 1, 2013 Keon McMillan

For the first half of our year-end profiles, I got the chance to interview middle distance runner Alfred Kangogo who became the second Seawolf ever to post three straight All-America honors in the same event (1,500 meters)

In what was probably the most interesting interview I’ve ever participated in, I chatted with senior distance runner Katie Krehlik who had an all-conference showing at the GNAC Championships, and prior to UAA, she was a four-time letter winner in both cross-country and track & field.

April 23, 2013 Keon McMillan

After a “rigorous search process” directed by Dr. Steve Cobb, the UAA Athletics Department has nailed its coaching choices down to four men: Chris Brown, Michael Corbett, Gary Heenan, and Damon Whitten.

Each candidate has spent several years coaching hockey at various schools across the nation, with Whitten actually serving as an assistant coach for the Seawolves from 2006-2008.

To make the decision on who will oversee the club next year, UAA is holding public forums for alumni and fans. These forums allow them to meet the coaches and have their questions answered.

This isn’t the first time the school has done a public forum to select a coach. And according to Cobb, it probably won’t be the last, so long as it yields a good turnout. He thinks the format works well for both parties.

“It’s an opportunity for candidates to introduce themselves and tell their story,” said Cobb.

All of the candidates have their own separate forum. The meetings are taking place at the Lucy Cuddy Dining Room on campus. There’s a 6:30-7:00 p.m. session for Seawolf Hockey alumni and a 7:00-7:30 p.m. session for the general public.

Michael Corbett’s event has already occurred. However, three remain: Damon Whitten’s is April 24, Chris Brown’s is April 29 and Gary Heenan’s is May 1.

It’s tough to gauge how much of an impact the forums will have on the final decision.

“When you’re trying to evaluate candidates you get all the information you can get before you make a decision,” said Cobb. “At the end of the day, this will be some more information to see how the candidates respond to the situation, and how they respond to the alums.”

Cobb described this as being “just another step in their evaluation process,” but he doesn’t expect that process to last too much longer.

He believes the team will have a new head coach within a week after the last candidate’s forum is completed.

April 9, 2013 Keon McMillan

A statement was released March 27 by UAA announcing that the head coach of the hockey team, Dave Shyiak, will be departing from the program.

April 3, 2013 Keon McMillan

Last Friday, a line curled around the corner over an hour before the doors opened at the Egan Center. The attraction? Arguably the biggest independent hip-hop duo since the ‘90s: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

April 3, 2013 Keon McMillan

The Seawolf men’s and women’s track & field team competed in the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto/San Francisco, Calif. this past weekend. The team left California having produced a total of six NCAA qualifying times.

March 27, 2013 Keon McMillan

Justin Timberlake is back from his six-year music industry hiatus, reminding everyone who counted him out that he still has it. In “The 20/20 Experience,” he adds his own southern Memphis roots into the music, and it works well.

March 5, 2013 Keon McMillan

Sasha King is the starting point guard for the Seawolf women’s basketball team. Since it’s Women’s History Month, I decided it would be cool to have a one-on-one with her about the season, her future plans, women’s sports and her record-breaking performance against Northwest Nazarene.

February 23, 2013 Keon McMillan

The Northern Light reported in 2010 that the university needed a new sports complex. In 2011 it reported that the university had the finances to make the idea possible.

Now in 2013, the progress on the brand new $109 million arena is visible. The steel beams are up, construction workers are on scene all day and plenty of concrete is being laid.

People have been asking about this for years. Many wondered why the outdated arena that UAA had been using since it joined the NCAA in 1978 is still being used.

The answers have arrived. The $80 million project that originally designed to sit 3,600 people has grown to be a 6,000 seat, $100 million arena.

Stan Vanover, senior project manager for the Facility, Planning & Projects Department of UAA, commented that the biggest attention thus far has been on pouring the concrete and making sure that all of the structured steel is in place.

Vanover was confident that they’d complete that process soon.

“By late March, early April, we plan on having the roof completed and work started on the exterior,” Vanover said.

Mother nature will play the biggest role in whether the exterior will get done on schedule or not. But, barring extreme weather changes, the senior manager says the project is in budget and on schedule for a 2014 opening.

As you head down Providence Drive, you’ll see construction workers making progress on the arena. The campus location should create an upswing in Seawolf Athletics, as students will no longer have to commute to the Sullivan Arena for certain sporting events.

Add in the recruiting benefits the new facility should bring, and it becomes clear that the arena will be worth the wait.

February 12, 2013 Keon McMillan

Lukas Ebner is one of the top Nordic men skiers at UAA. I was honored to have the chance to interview him this past week about the season, Germany, and painted nails.

February 6, 2013 Keon McMillan

I got a chance to catch up with Marine Dusser, who came all the way from France to ski for the Seawolves. Between her French accent, having over 30 podium results in biathlon races, and being a member of the French National Biathlon Team, we had plenty to discuss.

January 29, 2013 Keon McMillan

The Seawolves pulled off a win despite a close scoring margin in Friday’s gymnastics meet against the Seattle Pacific Falcons. Freshman gymnast M’rcy Matsunami was a stunner in this one, leading the ‘Wolves to a 191.675-191.575 victory.

January 23, 2013 Keon McMillan

The Seawolves were handed a 76-49 loss at the hands of the Northwest Nazarene Crusaders Thursday night.

It was a poor shooting night for the Seawolves to say the least. The Seawolves, playing without their leading scorer and floor general Sasha King due to injury, shot under 30 percent from the field in the first half.

The importance of King was certainly on display. The team didn’t give up in her absence, but it was clear that they missed her 15.7-point and 6.4-assist averages.

The Crusaders held the Seawolves under 20 points up to halftime with their stifling defense. And there wasn’t much of a turn-around for the Seawolves in the second half. The Crusaders’ lead didn’t fall under 19 points for the rest of the game.

Guard’s Megan Hingston and Chelsie Luke scored at will for the Crusaders, combining for over half of their team’s total score. Hingston dropped 25 points along with nine rebounds; Luke added 18 points and eight boards for the night.

The Seawolves were led by senior forward Alysa Horn, who earned her third double-double of the season and the eighth of her career with 13 points and 12 boards. Sophomore guard Alli Madison poured in 11 points.

Freshman guard Alyssa Hutchins received many looks to score in the game and finished with a career-high eight points, four assists, and three rebounds. Junior guard Kylie Burns posted eight points and six boards.

The Seawolves will spend the next two weekends on a four game in-conference road-trip. They’ll be back at the Wells Fargo Center Feb. 7 when they face Seattle Pacific University at 7 p.m.

November 19, 2012 Keon McMillan

The Seawolf women’s basketball team ended last year nationally ranked. Led by longtime coach Tim Moser, they were nearly unstoppable with a record of 30 wins and five losses. New head coach Ryan McCarthy, however, is up to filling big shoes.

November 13, 2012 Keon McMillan

The Seawolf men’s basketball team pulled off an 85-75 win over the Colorado State-Pueblo Timberwolves Saturday night in the closer of the AT&T Jamboree.