Try On: ‘John Lennon’ Glasses. As summer settles in, try on a pair of round frame sunglasses, colloquially known as ‘John Lennon’ glasses. Named after the often controversial Beatle who made them famous, these sunnies have been seen on every celebrity from A$AP Rocky to Ariana Grande. The frames found a resurgence in popularity due to a reference in Rae Sremmurd’s 2016 smash hit (and mannequin challenge soundtrack) ‘Black Beatles.’ Pretty much every brand that makes sunglasses has reimagined the iconic design, adding subtle details to update the classic into something fresh and new, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find your perfect pair.
Go Watch: Sneaky Pete on Amazon Prime. With all the streaming services available these days, I find myself a bit overwhelmed with choice. Often times I even forget that Amazon produces original content. However, for a short while (till I finished my binge) Sneaky Pete changed that. Giovanni Ribisi (you may recognize him because this guy has been in everything) is exceptional as Marius Josipovic/Pete Murphy, a con man recently released from prison who is trying to get his life back on track. Along with Ribsi, Bryan Cranston, --yes Heisenberg himself--is a supporting actor, co-creator, and staff writer on the series, and kills it in every role. The show is an amalgamation of sorts: part drama, part comedy, part heist flick and part crime mystery. Unlike Breaking Bad, which started quite slow, Sneaky Pete jumps out the gate, making it the perfect binge watch. The writing is witty, the casting spot on, and though over the top at times, the actors find a way to make the story seem very plausible. In short, the show delivers.
Go Watch: House of Cards (Season 5). The fifth chapter of the Underwoods’ political circus is a must-watch for all TV fans. The first and second seasons of the show catapulted House of Cards into a stratosphere that most forms of media, let alone TV shows, will never get to. That being said, in my personal opinion, the fifth season is interesting...but not as interesting as past seasons. Frank is the most compelling when he’s wheeling and dealing in the shadows, strategizing with a cunning subtlety that is both scary and admirable. In the past, this is what made the show so damn addictive. However, in this season, his actions seem anything but subtle, clearly a result of the Trump administration’s influence on the show. Still, the show has earned its status as a must watch and this season is still at the top of my Netflix queue.
Listen to: Bryson Tiller's sophomore album, True to Self. Throughout the aptly titled album, Tiller stays true to the sound he cultivated on his first album, Trap Soul. True to Self provides listeners with a combination of bouncy flows and soulful croons over triple hi-hats, loud kicks, and deep 808 drums. A healthy mix of slow jams like In Check, a straight R&B tune in which a contrite Tiller acknowledges his romantic shortcomings and swagged up, banger like Self Made, the album gives listeners a variety of sounds to bop to while still living up to the smoothness Tiller has become known for.
Listen to: MannyWellz. One day, while deep in a music rabbit hole, I stumbled upon Lagos-born, DMV-raised rapper MannyWellz. It wasn't until I was a full minute into one of his songs --a track called ‘Alright--that I realized I was listening to a completely reimagined cover of Kendrick Lamar's hit. Shocked and a bit embarrassed that I couldn't recognize it earlier, I ran it back immediately; I had to listen again. That was when I realized MannyWellz is doing something special. As I dove deeper into his catalog, I found his talent went much further: Wellz is a rapper, singer, songwriter and producer, all the while creating music with with an uplifting positive message. In an industry dominated by music that sometimes makes listeners want to swan dive into a pool of promethazine, artists like MannyWellz are a welcome change of pace.