Present Dei online news source seeks student writers / photographers for 2013-2014 year

By John Stradley, Moderator, The Present Dei

The Present Dei, Verbum Dei High School’s online news source, is seeking student journalists, photographers, and interested parties to join the staff of this fledgling publication. Whether one’s interest lay in athletics, politics, the arts, personalities, or graphic design in the electronic age, The Present Dei is a venue to explore electronic journalism.

Student staffers will serve as editors, staff writers, copy editors, photographers, and graphic designers. Present Dei staff attend and report upon campus and off-campus events of interest to the Verbum Dei community.

Contact Mr. John Stradley, Room 103, for more information. Look for The Present Dei table on Activities Day.

Big Sean’s latest: “Hall of Fame” or “Hall of Lame”?


By Dylan Juarez, Staff Writer, Arts and Entertainment

“Hall of Fame,” the sophomore album from Big Sean, the Detroit rapper, was released the 27th of August. His first project “Finally Famous” made many people keep their ear open to him, but will this one make the cut?   This album is rumored to have been approved by Eminem because of the influence of one Detroit rapper upon another. The leading singles are “Beware,” featuring Jhene Akio and Lil Wayne, “Guap,” and “Fire.” Did the Detroit rapper give us another album to keep our eyes on Detroit or did he let his city down?

The first track is “Nothing is Stopping You.” The song doesn’t hook the listener; it leaves one kind of empty, expecting him to go a bit stronger. His flow on the song was good, but his execution was not. The mixing on this song was done poorly as well. The chorus is sampled, but instead of sounding like “Nothing is Stopping You,” it sounds
like “Nothing is Stalking You.” The second song is the single “Fire.” He should
have made this his introduction. It is well executed, and his flow is well. It
picks up where his first song lagged. “10 2 10” is the third song. One would
think from the title would be a specific date, but it means he works from 10 to
10. His word play is weak, and his references make no sense. For example he
says “Call me a Mexican ‘cus I work from 10 2 10”. It lacks the punch of the
previous song.

The fourth song “Toyota Music” is an average song but nothing great. The fifth song “You Don’t Know” was okay-another just average song. It seems like he is doing the bare minimum in this part of the album, which no artist should ever do because the listener will then not care for the song and soon forget it. The sixth song is “Beware,” his other single. This song is a great single. It’s very catchy, and it is a song people
will catch themselves singing during the chorus. Jhene Akio’s vocals are what
make the song and the chorus. Big Sean also did his part and got out of the
ditch he dug in the album, but the thing that kills this song is Lil Wayne’s
part – it is so unimpressive. The song can do without it. The seventh song “First
Chain: featuring Nas and Kid CuDi, is good. The song talks about how Big Sean
saw his heroes wear a chain, and when he finally got his, he was proud of
himself. Nas’ past was good, but it wasn’t impressive like other Nas verses. Kid
CuDi did deliver in his verse, and it completed the song.

The eighth song “Mona Lisa” is just a basic rap song of money, women, and drugs. I think this song fits Sean’s personality, but it was not a good add to the album.  He just climbed out of a ditch, so why dig another one? The ninth song “MILF” featuring Nicki Minaj and Juicy J is led into by a snippet called “Freaky.” It was comic relief for the album, and the snippet fit the song well. It is catchy and good compared to other songs. Nicki and Juicy J’s verses add to the song. The tenth song “Sierra Leone” is good. It calms one down from the comic relief and brings the listener to this state of
lovey dovey and how Big Sean has the hook up to make sure his girl feels good.
The eleventh song “It’s Time,” featuring Jeezy and Payroll has a very strong
beat, but the first verse takes time to get going. Jeezy’s verse is good and is
not off-beat as he is in some of his features. Payroll lacks in this song just
like Big Sean.

The twelfth song “World Ablaze,” featuring James Fauntleroy, slows everything down and it suggests how Big Sean struggled in his area and how Detroit use to be a great city but fell off. The thirteenth song “Ashley,” featuring Miguel, keeps this slow feeling. Big Sean’s flow is very well performed and Miguel’s vocals help make a good song. It could do without Big Sean’s small singing parts, but it is still a good song. The
fourteenth song “All Figured Out” was a more serious song about his struggle in
life before the fame and during fame. He admits that just because he is famous
does not mean that he has all the answers. The fifteenth song “Mula Remix,”
featuring 2 chainz, Meek Mill and Earlly Mac, is a club song that will have
people dancing. This feels like Big Sean just added this on the album for more
sales. “Switch Up” the sixteenth song is just mediocre and not impressive. The
Last song is “Guap,” and it is a good radio song, and was the first single to
get listeners excited for the album.

This album at the end of the day is average. There are only six stand-out songs, and this isn’t an album someone can go back and listen to repeatedly. It is more of an album that one hears once, and that’s what it was good for: a one-time listen. To answer my own question if he let down Detroit, the answer is not really. He did improve from his last album, but it was not a huge improvement to have me say this is album of the year.  It is a 5 out of 10.