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My life has been filled with a lot of struggle or hardship, followed by a lot of hard work. I had to work my own way up, doing a lot on my own. I do not regret anything that has happened in my life; I embrace it. I am 22 years old and am an upcoming author and journalist. I went to Millburn High School and I am currently attending Fairleigh Dickinson University at Florham. After reading a lot of novels by different authors starting from a young age, especially Ernest Hemingway, I knew that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I am an ambitious and diligent worker with a burning passion for reading and writing. You might ask why and what my story is? I can give a quick rundown to my story and what kind of person I am. Well, writing runs deep down into my roots; specifically in my family. My mother was a talented writer, but never pursued her dream and fell short. I want to accomplish what she did not do and raise my family up. I want to accomplish my big dream of becoming a top selling author and an incredible journalist. I am the only member in my entire family to attend a university and I am proud to say that I will be graduating in December of 2017, again the only one in my family to do it. People always doubted me in my life, but I was always able to prove them wrong and get this far. I pushed myself to execute my goals and I never gave up. Click here to go to my page on the Odyssey. You can also catch me on LinkedIn here. For my Blasting News Page click here

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Father, I can forgive you for hitting my mother. I can forgive you for hitting my grandmother. I can even forgive you more importantly for leaving me behind. Furthermore, I can forgive you for not being involved in my life. My father was always moving around between both Greece and America. My mother and grandparents are the ones who raised me for the majority of my life. Without them, I have no idea where I would be right now. Possibly behind a dumpster or somewhere on the street. My father loved me or so has been said. You left me though at times to go back to Greece, for what reasons I do not understand. Even though my mother does not like to acknowledge that you left us. In truth, you did. My father hated America with every fiber of his being. He hated the "Land of Opportunity." I can not comprehend why you did though.I have vague glimpses of being with you as a child. One late night it was close to Christmas time as snow began lightly sprinkling onto the ground. I was drinking a high glass of Eggnog. We had a big green tree in the living room with many beautiful ornaments. A town sat below the tree. I stared out the window thinking of you. You came into the house filled with presents for me. A plethora of gifts. My father embraced everyone who was there. You picked me up and I sat on your lap hugging you. I held you so tight, not wanting you to leave me. Of course, I looked up to your face as you had a great big smile on your face. I wish you would have been more like that person. Father, you were a hero to me then, but it was too bad you had to turn into the wicked guy, the villain. People change. Our society looks on the model of being a hero or a villain quite frequently. My favorite hero of all time is Spider-man. I have hundreds of collections of the comic books. I have seen every single movie and some shows on television. The reason I love Spider-man so much is because his dad was not involved in his life that much and his grandparents raised him. It sounds very familiar to my situation. Peter Parker overcomes hardships and fights crime. He becomes a man. At times he misses his father, like me. Although, he also misses his uncle who dies a horrible death. Father, I don't mean to criticize you harshly but you used people. The fact of the matter is that you were not a good person. You were a scam. You used my grandparents home as a place to stay for free and in return didn't contribute anything. Moreover, you did not do anything in your life but drink it away. When you did drink, you transformed into an animal. Someone nobody knew at all, unrecognizable. Instead of smashing bottles, you should have been working or better yet chasing an education. In reality, you could have done great things, you were an intelligent man who worked well. But you choose that other life. You chose to go down that other path. Many times when I am at my grandparents home, I and my grandpa sit on the front steps of the house, just chatting away. Sitting down at the front steps with my grandpa, he would tell me of all the horrible things you did dad. It hurt to hear these numerous true claims. This was one of many talks I would have with my grandpa as we stare at the bare street. We look on having our world famous talks. As we look up at the airplanes that pass by and the clouds. My grandfather is a very wise man who has also taught me a vast amount about life. He worked very diligently in his life working at both motor vehicle and Shoprite. My grandpa also owned his own shoe store that I would visit many times. He is an embodiment that the American Dream still does exist. My grandfather raised a family in America, leaving Greece. Both of my grandparents worked hard and they raised me since I was a little boy. I owe them. My grandpa has taken the role of being my father in some ways. I look up to my grandfather. The matter of the fact is you could have possibly made it in America. Particularly, you did not even try. You had a good job doing construction but after a couple of days quit for no apparent reason, never returning. Addiction is really a horrible thing and you were addicted to the temptation and tight embrace of the liquor. Anything you could get your hands on, it didn't matter what it was. Hiding the liquor would not help, you would always be able to find it. Even if you couldn't find it, you would walk out and buy a bottle. The bottles were more important than me and my mother it seems. Deep inside you could not control the beast, you could not control your temptations. I do not blame you though, you needed help severely and never obtained it. I still feel to this day that you should have gotten help. My father loved drinking bottles of whiskey down in one night. I'm sure it burned as it went down. I know many other people in this world are alcoholics sadly. Whoever has this issue should greatly receive help. After you left me and my mother to go to Greece, something detrimental really occurred. Something out of the ordinary, something vicious and unrelenting. I was so young that I do not remember what went on and what my reaction was. My father had a deadly car accident. He was driving drunk and got hit by a police car. The police officer being drunk as well. There is still a mystery of what happened on that day. A lot of people did despise you and you did piss them off. Did the police officer hit you when you were down? Or did you get into a fight afterward? I will never get the answers to these questions, hopefully in the afterlife. The accident left my father a wreck and even worse paralyzed from the waist down. My father was not one who liked to wear a seat belt. He also was the one who liked to speed. Additionally, he was in a coma for about a year or so. But, you managed to wake up through it all. Through all the pain and suffering. My mom had told me you were a strong man. Although, you would use your strength for deadly purposes. Beating people up, striking people, letting your rage out. I can see that rage in myself, but I am able to control it. As a rule, I never want to be like you ever in my life. Admittedly, I will look like you with my black hair and facial hair. But, I will never be like you and end up like you did. I refuse to throw my life away like you have already. I always thought to myself, why me? Why my father? Why does this happen to my family? I have realized though that other people have it even worse than me. Some don't even know their own father or have one. Some people live in foster homes, not having anyone. My heart goes out to these individuals. Long nights I stayed up thinking about the whole situation as I sat in my bed alone in the dark. I swept the covers and blankets over my head. God could have made this happen to protect me and my mother. God could have made this happen for me to be a better man and for me to be safe. He could have done it even so I could become strong. There are certain claims that bad things happen to good people because it is a test. The lower evil wants to see the greatest or strongest ones fall. Who knows what would have happened with you still around. He could have taken me away to Greece. Or even worse, hit my mother around some more or my grandparents. Or you could be spending all our money that we earn on your booze. The one thing I didn't gain from you was your six feet tall height. What makes us different though is our heart and minds. Due to the condition you are in now, you will not be able to understand these words that I write. I have gained many life lessons from you. That I will never leave my child behind like you have. I will never drink my life away like you did and get into mass amounts of trouble. With you out of my life, my grandparents raised me right and my mother. I went to church weekly and prayed and prayed. I stayed out of trouble and many have told me i'm a good kid. I have helped others. With you out of my life, I was able to prosper and grow. Father, I have become an amazing person. There are a lot of things you have not seen though. With you out of my life, you have not seen the struggle and adversity I have had to go through without you. All that adversity made me strong and turned me into a man. From being bullied, not having money, to at times being very sad. At times I would have to sacrifice and give away money I was making to give to my mother to pay for rent. Giving money to get food and clothes. Giving money to have absolute necessary things. I looked at other people's fathers, wishing I had one. In reality though I have learned that I don't need a father. Father, I have many ambitions and goals set for myself. I understand that hard work and dedication is needed to obtain success. Something you really had no idea about. I hope and I work towards raising my family up from nothing. I dream of making it big and having my name known by many. I dream of wearing a nice suit with a tie walking down wall street. All I want to do is buy my mother a house and a car. Buy my grandparents whatever they want. I want to help my own. Because of you, I have understood all of this. I can remember a time about four years ago in my homeland of Greece. The place where I was born. I can remember a dreadful moment of seeing you for the first time. The first time I got to see you that I can remember, you confined to a wheelchair. This happened to you being only about twenty something years old. The accident robbed you of your youth and happiness. Now you are in your forties living a barren and wasted life. I saw the wrinkles on your face and the sad smirk on it. Ordinarily, I saw the many noticeable gray hairs that were on your hair, I got them too. I stare into your brown sad eyes. I went up to you not knowing what to say at all. But neither did you. My mother talks to Greek to you saying "This is your son, Andreas." For a while you can not make that clear connection. Your brain struggles for control. My mother speaks on "I'm your ex wife, Evangelia." He looks confused, perplexed, but when he heard my name, he smiled. I gave you a hug and walked away. It still pains me to have witnessed that exact moment. My father was alive and breathing. He was not the same person though, he was dead in a sense already. Your memory now a clean slate. You were a once strong man, and now you are a weak, hopeless nobody. It did not have to be that way though. My mother really got the short end of the stick on this dilemma. My mother has been through a lot in her lifetime. I thank her and applaud her for raising me and it was very difficult at times. We have had plenty of disagreements, but in my heart you know that I love you dearly. I look up to you and you did a great job being both a mother and somewhat of a father. Mother, you have given me all that I have ever wanted. You worked very hard working nine to five jobs to help me and keep a roof over our heads. At times I yelled and got into fights with you. Even being selfish at times and I am sorry about that. Verbal arguments, but to tell you it wasn't your fault, it was mine. I apologize for that on my behalf. There were moments of tough times, but you did a good job. I can not ask any more from you. I am going to make it up to you and my grandparents in due time. I promise. To my other father who was in my life for a little bit of time. You were never a father to me. You left me and my mother behind. Although, you failed. One day you will see my success and wish you didn't throw me away. Throw me away like a used toy that a kid does not want to play with anymore. You tried to break my spirit, but failed. It's okay though, over time you will come to regret your decisions. I refuse to fail and I refuse to not try my best. I will make my dreams come true. I will accomplish my goals. It's alright though cause i'm doing everything now that you wish you would have done. I hope to see you again in my lifetime. I will be a better man than you ever would be. Hard work and dedication brought me here. I continue down this road; the road to greatness. Father, you couldn't teach me how to ride a bike, but I learned. You didn't teach me how to shave, but I figured it out. You were absent to teach me how to be a man, but I learned. You were absent to teach me how to act, but I learned. Father, you have not seen me working at a restaurant till two am. You have not seen me working till three or four am doing homework and studying at college. I continue to be a humble man and I thank God every day for being healthy and living. Who knows though father, we will see each other again possibly. Where we can have a full on conversation. I am not angry at you and I hope to see you again. Because of you, I have figured out my love of writing. Writing brings me ease and alleviates my pain. It brings me joy and stability. In my bright future, I will graduate from college with a degree in writing and journalism. Next, I will go to law school and become an attorney. In due time, everything heals. I cling to this because hope is a great thing to have. Through all of this, all the hardships, I have come to peace with myself. I have accepted what has happened and I am not mad. I cling to hope because it is needed in this cruel world. Hope is what has kept me going. Father, we will see each other again. Over my whole life I have come to grip with the situation and have discovered countless revelations. Certain revelations I never have thought I would think and even find out about. There are a lot of things you don't know about me and there is an abundance of things you have missed in my lifetime. In this life I have shed blood, sweat, and tears. You weren't there to see me graduate high school as I walked down the runway. You weren't there to see me at my high school football games. You were not there to see me get through some of college. You even weren't there to see me accept rewards from my church and school. More importantly, you weren't around to see me struggle through adversity and help support myself and my mother. I regret nothing that has occurred, I embrace it. The truth is that I have realized I do not want you to ever be involved in my life. I am certain about one thing though, you would be proud to see the man I have become. A man like you, but not like you at the same time. This is from your son, who is not a little boy anymore, but a man.


Odyssey version: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/my-unique-story




Mac Miller is a rapper from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is from the same area as other well-known rapper Wiz Khalifa. As well as being both a rapper and producer under the name Larry Fisherman. Correspondingly, he has gained extreme popularity following his many tapes that have released many years ago. When he first entered the rap league he was very young, still in his teens. Truthfully, Mac Miller was destined for greatness with his rapping ability and humble beginnings. Mac Miller can be said as starting to rap from the age of just 14. He is by far my favorite rapper right now and since. I have been a loyal, true fan ever since his first albums that he released. I can give many different reasons about why that is. Mac Miller started from a bleak future almost dropping out of high school and barely even going to school in the first place. The few times he was in school, he was rapping in front of students. Whenever he could he would go home and rap. He would rap and freestyle at clubs to hone and develop his skills. With an immense amount of practice, he was slowly getting better and he released his first mixtape "But My Mackin Ain't Easy." His rap name originally was going to be Eazy Mac, although a rapper from Canada already had the name. It is alright though, Mac Miller is a better rap name. Chiefly, he released this mixtape being only 15 years old. Mac Miller's best mixtape, in my opinion, was "K.I.D.S." This mixtape made him gain huge popularity and fans. This is when he took the phrase "Most Dope." The tape really stands for "Kicking Incredibly Dope Shit." It really was an amazing mixtape that portrayed his humble beginnings and early success. It is also portrayed what it means to be a kid and to live your life how you want too. Mac Miller then released his album "Blue Slide Park." This album had critical acclaim and it was an album about where he is from and the park he would always hang out at late at night. The album is like a journey. A journey of a regular kid having dreams and being a nobody to accomplishing his own dreams and having success. The album depicts dealing with people who do not like you and dealing with money. Concepts of having fun and having energy embody this collective album. One song in the album hits on the problem of having a relationship and following your dreams. That song is "Missed Calls." It plays out like a conversation. Moreover, some songs on the album are like pop party. Singularly, the album debuted #1 on the billboard 200 chart. This was a huge feat for a new rapper like Mac Miller. His other album "Watching Movies with the Sound Off" brought dark beats and super flow. Coupled with grand piano beats. He talks about drugs in the album and throughout the album sounds like a grand philosopher. Although one that does not have the answer to all life's endearing questions. The one song on the album that stands out and shines is "Someone Like You,” this is a pure killer song. The song shows his deep metaphors in his many songs and his great flow. For example, the song "I Am Who Am (Killin' Time.)" it's a fast flow song where he raps about a man robbing a store while holding a gun. In the song he also contemplates the existence of God. His song "Objects in the Mirror," is about overcoming addiction and his great obsession with music. The album represents that his life is like watching a movie with no sound. Hence the title of the album. The deep song "REMember" is a tribute to the death of a friend. Like other albums, he talks about the losses of family members or friends. An idea like other albums he talks about is relationship issues. Mac Miller even sings on a couple of songs here. Above all, we can see that Mac Miller makes strides in this album and gets better both lyrically and production wise. His other great mixtape "Faces" which released on Mother’s day brought a dark Mac. A depressive Mac that expressed his problems and his beliefs. It is similar to the album "Watching Movies with the Sound Off." It is almost like a continuation of that album. On the mixtape he expresses his great fears and the failed war on drugs. He picks out people being fake and taking advantage of others. A great song on here called "Happy Birthday" is where he raps about being in a situation at his own birthday party and being depressed. People are not caring and are looking for any way to celebrate. The song "Insomniak" hits a dark nice trap beat. His other song "Friends" hits at friends and his problems with drug addiction and his relationship with his mother. It also hints at having poor self-esteem. Unquestionably, this was another highly rated mixtape. Mac Miller's latest album "GO:OD AM." was another masterpiece. This album was excellent and a victory album of his career success and life. Ordinarily, the album was going to be like music to wake you up in the morning. It showed us a new side to Mac Miller that brought nice production with jazz and drum beats. He brought a sense of an invigorated self and a new person. Being that he has struggled with addiction in the past. The album touched on him overcoming his drug and alcohol addictions. Songs like "100 Grandkids" showcase his clever raps and gaining a lot of money. The song "When in Rome" is a trap banger that shows Mac's flow and where he explodes with furiosity. It was no longer a depressive bummed out Mac. The whole collection of songs were visionary. The album did well and it's one of his best albums to date. Aside from that, Mac Miller has dropped many bangers throughout his rap songs. Some about smoking and getting girls. He gives major credit to his friends who helped him and the city of Pittsburgh for molding him into the person he is today. He dropped many psychedelic and fire mixtapes and albums. Mac has a distinctive smooth voice. One that is both chill and mellow. When Mac first started rapping people were calling him just a "Frat" rapper. Critics thought Miller would just be making college party music, but they were wrong. Everyone, including critics know that Mac has matured and that he is not just a "Frat" rapper anymore. Mac has evolved and has improved dramatically since first becoming a rapper. Mac Miller is unlike any rapper ever known in the game today. He is a versatile rapper, being able to do many different projects and experiment on different things. In fact, he sings in some of his songs, originally wanting to be a singer, but rapping was where he was at his best. His rapping ability is fast and rapid. Additionally, his bars are both poetic and deep. Realistically, Mac Miller has the best flow I have heard from any other rapper. Whether he is singing or rapping it flows easily and the rhythm is on point. He has an explosive and electric rapping ability and his free styling is great at best. In an abundance of his rap songs he talks about a lot of different things. He takes about the existence of God, which is a huge topic today. He talks about money, drugs, and women, like many other rappers. Mac even raps about battling demons and angels. Mac even has a song called "Diablo" which in Spanish means the devil. In some of his raps he uses a big amount of spiritualism. With his other projects though he talks about his many problems with drugs and depression. Miller admits he was not getting out much during his life, but has changed for the better. Mac talks about the problem with having money and the situations it causes. He raps about his parents being disappointed in what he has become. What makes him different though is his rapid rapping and his rhyming ability. His ability to rhyme every word at the end of every sentence is uncanny and amazing at best. In my best opinion, I feel like Mac Miller is a bit underrated. When you sit and listen to his songs you can see the great emotion he puts into his songs and the bigger topics he is talking about in his songs. His best song to date is "Donald Trump." This song showcases his great rap flow and rhythm. The song to date has one hundred and nine million views. This is his top song, besides his one other song "The Way" with Ariana Grande. His guest appearance in her song has about two hundred and eighty million views or more. Aside from his extreme talent and rap ability, he also can play many different instruments. He can play piano, drums, guitar and bass. He was able teach himself how to play these instruments without any lessons. He is a gifted individual. Mac made his dream come true by working hard all by himself, no one helped him out. The other fact that makes him my favorite rapper is because he talks about many other topics than just smoking, drinking and getting women like other known rappers. Mac is not one-sided by any means. Another reason why he is my all-time favorite rapper is because he worked diligently to get to where he is today. He also can be very relatable to other people. Miller gives out good messages to kids and adults that you can become whatever you want to do and be in life. He is a likable person being very comedic and who can crack funny jokes. Another reason why he is my favorite rapper because he is a good person who loves his friends, family, and where he grew up. The greatness of Mac Miller will continue and at being only 24 years old now and releasing all these projects and albums. Mac Miller definitely shows no signs of slowing down. His greatness and reign will continue. Mac Miller is truly a rap God.


Odyssey version: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/mac-miller-rap-god




Microsoft has been on the rebound and they are desperately trying to bounce back. The PS4 has killed the Xbox One in sales. Close to 40 million estimated PlayStation four systems have been sold since it's 2013 launch. Whereas, the Xbox One has sold approximately about 20 million units. It is not difficult to see why the PS4 has sold more consoles than the Xbox One. When the PlayStation four came out it was a more powerful system and a faster one. The other benefit that it would boost better graphics was another bonus. Games on the PS4 run at 1080p, however, to the Xbox One at only 720p and 900p. It is also a lighter system which is another bonus. It is a more travel-friendly system and especially since it does not have an enormous power brick to carry around. One of the downsides of the PlayStation four was that it would not have backwards compatibility like the Xbox One. Realistically, when the PlayStation four debuted it dominated the Xbox One in the amount of games and better exclusives. Another claim why the system is better is because of the PlayStation four controller. The controller is much more sleek and comfortable than the Xbox One. Right now you can buy a Xbox One for about $280. While a PlayStation four is still highly expensive and for good reason being $350 to $400. On the other hand, the Xbox One does have backwards compatibility. That is the one claim that makes the Xbox One better. Granted, Microsoft has some cards in their sleeves to get back into the race. Due to this, Microsoft has unveiled the Xbox One S. The Xbox One S will release on August 31st of this summer. There are some huge differences with this new console. Things might change soon when the Xbox one S releases and the battle rages on which is the better company, Microsoft or Sony. The Xbox One S seems to be very promising and different than anything that they have ever attempted before. There are some key differences in comparison to the Xbox One and the Xbox One S. First off is that it is going to be slimmer and more travel-friendly. The console is going to be 40 percent slimmer and it sports a sleek robot white color and design. Overall, the console looks great. The design is supposed to have a type of texture so the system does not get scratches on it which can be annoying when it happens. Microsoft has listened to its customers and loyal fans and has gotten rid of the huge power brick that came with a Xbox. This large power brick was a hassle. The power supply will be inside the system instead and there will be a button to turn the system in the front of the console. Another new Ability is the Xbox One S being able to play 4K Blu-ray discs. This is excellent for people who love Blu-ray discs. Microsoft will be making the Xbox One S 2TB of storage. This has never been attempted either by Microsoft or Sony till now. This is a huge amount of space to download plenty of games and applications. One of the problems with the Xbox One and the PS4 was the availability of space. The storage of both systems can run out quick and you will have to delete games or applications to make space to launch other games. Not taken into account was the huge space of certain games like NBA 2K and others taking up close to 50GB. Now Xbox has fixed that main issue with its immense increase in storage. The console will also come with a vertical stand. Moreover, the Xbox One S will also be able to play Xbox 360 games. Microsoft promises that Xbox 360 games will be free on the Xbox One S for no additional cost. Hundreds of games will be added to the store in the months following. The Xbox One S will also be able to play games better and have a slightly better resolution than the Xbox One. Additionally, the new console will have an updated and newer controller. Several main differences of the controller will be that it will have better grip and have Bluetooth. This updated controller is going to have a further wireless range and you can plug in a headset. The Xbox store will also be updated and have the best most advanced multiplayer. Coupled with the price for another Xbox One S 500GB will be releasing at a later time and it will only be a reasonable $299. The bottom line is that the Xbox One S is a good buy for customers who did not purchase a Xbox One. For customers who own a plethora of Xbox 360 games, the Xbox One S would be a good system for to buy. This is a good way to plunge into a new generation console and one that is more powerful and advanced. For people who have a Xbox One already, it could not be worth it to buy this new console because of the awaited Xbox Project Scorpio that will be coming out in late 2017. Project Scorpio is supposed to be the most powerful console ever made. If you have money to burn so be it. PlayStation four is rumored to be making a new console called the PlayStation Neo, although no details have been said and the console has not even been observed yet. Taking into account, PlayStation owners who are not saving up money for the Neo, this is as well a good purchase. It is a good way to experience something different and give the Xbox a chance. If you already own a PlayStation four, there is no necessity to buy a Xbox One S. Consumers can just wait for the new system to come out. PlayStation four has been a great console and has been beating and dominating the Xbox One, but the situation could soon change with the Xbox One S and its many benefits. The matter of the fact is that it looks like the Xbox One S will shine and have great success. The tides can soon change as the console battle continues on.


Odyssey version: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/should-buy-xbox




Lil Uzi Vert has exploded in popularity in the year. He has had a quick rise to fame and has released a lot of content within the past year. Lil Uzi is unlike many rappers seen today in both his rapping ability and flow. Vert has a fast delivery hence the name "Lil Uzi" because he raps as fast as a machine gun or Uzi. He has a unique voice and brings a different kind of style to the rap game. Lil Uzi Vert is gaining more ground as a rapper and he seems to be evolving into a trap rap star. Lil Uzi Vert is from Philadelphia, PA. He is a small guy with colored dreads who has a lot of confidence. Lil Uzi is a fan of rock music and skateboarding. Lil Uzi Vert has had struggles in his life. His parents were both separated and he was also hanging out at his grandma's house frequently. At school, he barely had any friends and he did rap while at school as a small hobby. Little would he know that he would blow up and have a rap career making millions. His SoundCloud would explode with millions of plays within time. Lil Uzi Vert never gave up on rapping and eventually was able to have success. It goes to show that people should never give up on what they want. His first released project "Luv is Rage" helped get his name out there and be noticed. Some good songs on here are "Super Saiyan," "7 AM," and "All My Chains." The album as a whole had good production and some good lyrics. "7 AM" is a song that talks about getting someone else's girl. "Super Saiyan" is a banger where Lil Uzi goes off rapping fast about drugs and women. He uses that theme of saying "Aye" after almost every lyric which works. It's explosive like the show "Dragon Ball Z." The song "All My Chains" is an anthem song. The album as a whole was decent showing some talent and potential. My favorite project by him is "Lil Uzi Vert Vs. The World." All of his projects have a creative feel to them with the design of the covers. The album has a cartoonish look with blends of different colors. The album makes interesting references to "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World." I personally like songs "Canadian Goose," "Hi Roller," "Money Longer," "Ps & Qs," and "You Was Right." "Money Longer" is Vert's best song of all time. The beat and the lyrics are good in this track. His other song "Hi Roller," I believe is a banger and showcases his best rap lines. Some good lines in the song are "Ooh, I am a beast. Look at my pockets they so obese, yeah. They so obese. I eat up like it's at a feast, yeah." "You Was Right" is a comedic song with a nice beat about a heartbreak gone wrong. All of these tracks show a trend of nice catchy hooks and nice melodies. The melodies fit throughout the whole album. "Ps & Qs," is unique in the kind of beat it has that gives a Paris like feel. This project in my opinion is the best out of the three he has released. His latest project "The Perfect LUV Tape," is in my view his weakest mixtape. The production is not as good as past projects. His lyrics are not as good either, with bogus lines like "Yeah, I don't cheat (what). Me and my girl fuck bitches together (Yeah). The whole album is pointless in the fact that it does not have an exact direction or message to spread. Nothing that is being said is of utter importance or imagery. It did have some good aspects of expanding his singing like in the song "Erase Your Social," where it discusses the damaging effects of social media. The track "Seven Million" with future is a song that stands out on the album. The other songs are just alright. The song "Ronda (Winners)," the lyrics do not work for the song and neither does the beat. Honestly, I thought that this album was a couple of steps below his past mixtapes. Overall, this mixtape was good in some ways but overall it was not his best and it showed that he needs to improve even more. What makes his music good is that he makes the kind of music that pumps people up and gets you into a good mood. One of his tendencies is how when he raps he says "Aye" or "Yea" after a lyric. It surprisingly is an advantage for him and he makes it work in his music. His music and fame really got big out of no where, having nothing to him to then then being a good upcoming rapper. He had his hit song "Money Longer," which has about 38 million views on Youtube and that was a banger with a nice beat and some good catchy lyrics. Lil Uzi puts in good hooks and some catchy lyrics to his advantage. Personally, I like his songs where he has nice catchy lyrics and flow. I like his song "7 AM" which has a nice beat and some nice lyrics and his hit song "Money Longer." A song that he released over the summer called "Subzero" I also enjoyed. He raps about typical topics in today's rap like getting girls, smoking, and being the man. This is one of his weaknesses so far as a rookie rapper. He does not rap about significant topics in society. It is not rapping that surprises you or something that is big in seriousness. He could also improve his vocals of singing and rapping. Although, he is a young rapper who could improve over time. Vert is whether you like him or not an upcoming rapper that is both unique and confident. He is starting to gain ground working with highly talented artists in the past like well known rappers Wiz Khalifa and Future. Lil Uzi Vert is only 22 years old, so he has a long career ahead of him. He brings a sense of style that the game has not seen before, he is the future of trap rap.


Odyssey version: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/the-quick-rise-of-lil-uzi-vert




Photography is a special and unique hobby that can be very difficult to make into a career. Being a photographer can be hard, but it is very special and there are a variety of different skills that you need to become one. Chris Rocco is a noteworthy and aspiring photographer who is highly noted for his photography skills and his amazing photos. He is also a kind and generous individual with a charming personality. Rocco really embraces and loves the city of Boston and he notes that it helped mold him into the person he is today. Through his photos and work, it easily shows that he has a unique talent and drive to be a successful photographer. He inspires other photographers and even inspired me to continue with my passion of writing and taught me ideas I thought I would not think about.

Chris Rocco is a junior who attends Suffolk University and is currently pursuing a major in marketing, but who also has a deep passion for photography. Chris was born and raised in New Jersey, but currently lives in Boston for a majority of his time. In addition, Rocco is both a diligent and caring person who spends countless time sharpening his skills and craft. I had a chat with my friend Chris and asked him various questions about his life and about photography.

Chris Rocco

What made you get into photography?

"Basically the story is I always wanted to get a camera but I pushed it off throughout high school. When I went to college I messed around with my roommate's camera second semester in January of 2015. He taught me the basics of how to use a camera and the skills that it takes. After a couple of days I bought my first camera and started out shooting night photography in Boston, going to school there and working part time and only being free during the night to take photos. I would go and shoot in the streets of Boston, I got so into it, like something clicked. My vision started to mold photographing the streets of Boston. I started shooting more urban and wanted to capture the city of Boston. I like cities, I like the vast amounts of people." Chris stumbled upon photography, but realizes he was made for this life. He goes on to talk about Boston, Rocco states specifically, "Everything is constantly changing, I can go out one day and the next day at the same place it's different. Growing up I didn't like the city, but being in Boston changed my opinion. I started shooting more urban and going on rooftops and exploring."

Isn't it scary to go on rooftops and buildings? Although it gets you great views?

Rocco states, "Definitely, going on rooftops is a great opportunity to take photos because a lot of them are places people do not get to see I enjoy capturing that. The first couple of times I was nervous, although I am way more comfortable now. It is a kind of adrenaline rush, but it is nice to capture the city from different angles." Chris is always doing whatever he can to get great shots and is truly loyal to his hobby.

I see you have a nice designed logo on your Instagram, describe that process.

Chris Rocco's logo is an eyeball with a camera's aperture blades in the center on his Instagram. It is a very creative and nice looking logo that fits perfectly with photography. He states, "I had the concept/design in mind, a graphic designer made it into what it looks like now. I wanted my logo to be an eye, I like the logo and it took a couple of drafts." The logo I really thought was done well and really showed a nice image of photography that helps Chris stick out among other photographers. Unquestionably, he is truly invested in photography.

Do you usually shoot alone?

"I mean I shoot with friends, but I also shoot alone. I enjoy shooting with other people, but I think that I shoot better alone with street photography. If I am looking for some cool views I like being with a friend."

How often do you take photos?

Chris is loyal to his craft and dedicates almost every day to sharpening his own craft. He says, "I try to shoot every day, as much as I can even if it is just for half an hour." Rocco says, "I live right in the city of Boston, I can walk right outside and take photos, I am lucky. Sometimes I am more inspired than other times. I try to push through it". Finding inspiration can be hard at times and it is always important to relax sometimes and know when to catch a breather.

Would you say you like shooting in Boston more than New Jersey?

Rocco states his humble beginnings, "Boston got me into photography, I have a love and hate relationship with the city. I love Boston because I don't think I would have gotten into photography without going to school there and capturing the city around me." Chris shoots in New York City and New Jersey as well. Rocco shares other areas where he shoots at, "I enjoy shooting in New York City more; I want to move to New York after college and photograph that city, it inspires me and that is where I need to go." From my viewpoint, I also have the same aspect as I would love to work in NYC and possibly live there. New York City presents a lot of opportunities and advantages. Chris further states, "I still enjoy shooting in Boston, I am glad I have the opportunity to shoot there for four years and I will take advantage of that completely."

Would you say Boston molded you into who you are today?

Chris states the significance of the beautiful city, "Boston has played the biggest role in my photography so far because that is where it all began and inspired me to take photos and become a photographer. I will always credit the city."

Where do you see yourself in five to ten years from now?

Chris states his future, "I am going to graduate school in May of 2018 with a degree in marketing. I am a firm believer in the 10,000 hour rule. In order to be good at something you need to put in at least 10,000 hours in it, which equates to about 10 years. In due time I will be very good at photography and I see myself making a career as a fine artist. Photography is my medium of choice, but I want to go beyond photography eventually. I want to add something more to my photos, but am unsure at this point. I am trying to establish myself as a fine artist, that is my overall goal." Chris is very inspiring and I thought the 10,000 hour rule was interesting to hear, since I never heard of it. I will want to do the same in my writing career and keep spending hours writing. The way Chris is dedicated to his craft, I am the same. Chris is always looking to improve in some way, which is very good. It was a intellectual point and it proves how with many dedicated hours and years you can make something out of yourself.

Would you say social media helps for your photography? Modern technology?

"The main social media platform I use is Instagram, it is a platform of uploading photos, it is a great opportunity for photographers. I think it took off in 2013/2014, many photographers where uploading their edited photos to the platform. My friend showed it to me in the year 2015 and I thought it was cool like a "visual journal," I think it is important to showcase your work and I have gained inspiration from it and there are tons of great photographers and artists on it. I think it is a great platform to find inspiration. I also met some cool people on Instagram and gained some best friends on the platform." I thought the same way as Chris and agreed completely.

What are some of the difficulties with photography?

Chris states, "There are a lot of good photos that go behind a great photo. What I mean by that is I don't just go out into the city and automatically have a great photo. You have to work for it. I have tens of thousands of photos, but I won't upload all of them; I have a specific vision and it takes a while to get a good image that I am pleased with. Something I have realized is that if I go out and shoot for any amount of time; hours or days, I will get a good photo I am happy with." People tend to not realize how hard photographers work and how many photos go behind getting a extraordinary one.

Difficulties with time and managing it?

"At times it can be, but I like to keep busy. Both school and photography keep me busy, if I had more time on my hands, I do not think it would be much better." I tend to at times have bad time management and I again agreed with Chris that more time is not always good. Keeping busy is the better option.

Favorite moment or image?

"I do not have a favorite image, but a few. When I take a good photo, I just know, it can be like swishing a three point shot, like clicking the shutter."

Advice to other aspiring or upcoming photographers or artists?

"One piece of advice is to get good is to just go out and shoot. You can watch videos and documentaries to learn, but at the end of the day to be able to grow and prosper is to just go out and do it. This goes for if you want to do anything you want in your in life whether it be painting or anything else. The skills with photography are understanding visual composition and post processing and editing is a vital skill." if you want to be great at anything in life, you have to go out and do it.

What is your overall message? To other creators or photographers?

"I do not have a motto or slogan. I think that I am lucky to find something that I am super passionate about and that I want to do for a long period of time. My message is to not be afraid to try new things and that you never know what something will lead into. When I first got my camera, I was not thinking I would be a fine artist. It was not this master thought out plan. As I took more photos my vision evolved, and I found myself as a photographer and artist. My message is to be openminded and try new things, you can find a passion that can change your life. If you find something you love, you will not be good at it at first. It is important to not get discouraged. You need to put in the time and effort to get where you want to be. I am always striving to get better photos, I will go on my laptop and evaluate them and think of ways to improve them. I am never content or satisfied and it will always be that way. I am always striving for that 'perfect image'." This message really hit me at heart as I thought about myself and working at my dream of being a robust author and journalist.

What is your style of photography?

"It is hard to put my style into words. I think my style is me, my photos represent me and show my personality; everything about me. That is what I want individuals to see. School has helped me understand business and that can be applied to anything."

Where do you get this passion for photography?

Talent can run in the family and Chris is no different as he told me his own heartfelt message, "A lot of it is that my grandfather used to be a photographer. But I never knew him, he died when I was very young, I never got to know him personally. So my photography is getting to know my grandfather without ever knowing him. It pushes me to be a better photographer, just because my grandfather did it, it is sentimental to me. I just know it is what I want to do right now and there is nothing more that I want to do. The only way I will be happy is by taking photos and editing them. He further states, "What I photograph is just me, Chris Rocco, that is what I try to embody in my images."" I feel the same way because my father has not been involved in my life for the most part so I also seek inspiration from myself and in being a better person then he ever would or could be. Writing is an outlet for me personally that calms me and gives me solace just like photography does for Chris. We both are similar in many ways than meets the eye as artists and that is what I have discovered.


Odyssey version: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/chris-roccos-talent-and-passion-with-photography