audio review : Diamonds From Sierra Leone ( song ) … Kanye West ( featuring Jay-Z )

Jay-Z shines here. Part of it has to do with the grandiose way protégé Kanye West introduces him and much of it has to do with the beat, an Indianish dance joint led by a Shirley Bassey song sample he (Jay-Z) is wise enough to acknowledge. While the mogul spends three-too many bars on his support for Memphis Bleek, this is one of his best verses. West stays truer to the concept though, which makes a moral argument against diamonds cut to promote war in Africa. “These ain’t conflict diamonds,” he asks Jacob The Jeweler, “Don’t lie to me, man.”

my rating = 4 of 5

2005

audio review : Late Registration ( album ) ... Kanye West

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video review : The Bling Ring

video review : The Bling Ring

A few years ago, a ring of teenagers were arrested for burglarizing several Hollywood Hills homes. Many of their victims were famous celebrities. Paris Hilton was one of them. It was a story that warranted media attention and got it, but a movie? The answer is no, but here it is; a somewhat fictionalized take on the scandal, one that comes across as more of a box office cash-in than a work of art.

Sofia Coppola directs by summarizing and glamorizing. The protagonists, all or most of whom are already out of jail in real life, are stupid but trendy; annoying but cool; in a typical Californian pop-culture sort of way. When they’re not burglarizing, they’re sniffing coke and partying. That’s especially the case for ring leader Rebecca. The plot revolves mostly around her and her friend Marc.

my rating = 3 of 5

2013

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