The Cosmopolitan Review

Yvonne Delaney Mitchell | 9/26/2013, 2:08 p.m.

Now that we’re settling into fall, having established the back-to-school routine, we have a much earlier bedtime. I for one am glad to make it an early evening, meaning that dinner is earlier and so is bedtime. My new routine is to be in bed by 10 p.m., from where I watch the 10 p.m. news on WPIX, channel 11. The sadness of the daily news—both local and global—is addressed through thoughtful commentaries that look at the root causes and effects of the issues, which I find interesting. This show is then followed by Arsenio Hall! Because it’s on directly after the news, I so enjoy not having to change channels; I just sit back and watch some good TV.

Hall is rocking. In coming back, he has taken the late night talk show to another level. The set design has changed, in that he does his introductory standup in front of a stage curtain a la Ed Sullivan. He lets his band, the Posse, get a long play on camera so the TV audience gets to hear a little of that funk, and the girl upfront wails on the keyboard; it’s a nice shot. Then, it’s showtime—actually, it’s commercial time, but when the show returns, it’s time for the guests, who range from outlandishly interesting to really good interview subjects. 

I haven’t been able to catch every show, but I did see Kendrick Lamar (named after Eddie Kendricks, but without the “s”). Lamar’s performance was on. Lamar is a rapper who’s currently leading in votes and is nominated for BET’s Hip-Hop Awards, which will be hosted by Snoop Lion.

Born and raised in Compton, Calif., to young parents, Lamar related, “I grew up with my parents, watching them party at a very young age. I learned a lot about alcoholism, and that’s one of the messages I bring to hip-hop.” According to Lamar, “It’s not just a challenge for the moment, but what are you going to do for the future generations, for the universe moving forward? It’s not just about the moment.” So every one of his raps has some sort of positive message. The musicians in the backing band smoke! The music was funky, and he was rapping and, as he stated, “just having fun.”  

Lamar performed his latest song, “Collard Greens,” with rapper ScHoolboy Q. So many of the words were bleeped out, I didn’t know what that song was about. However, based upon the direction of some of ScHoolboy’s hand gestures, I don’t think that particular song was appropriate. 

Lamar is also about keeping the hip-hop culture alive. Following in the footsteps—picking up the baton, if you will—of Tupac and working with Dr. Dre, Lamar is a proud member of Black Hippy. This is a group consisting of those of the same culture, committed to keeping hip-hop alive, independent of external forces. 

While some of Hall’s jokes fall flat, being the true professional that he is, he saves the moment with quick wit. As a result, the scene ends up being funny after all. Considering everything, I give the show a thumbs up. There’s just one thing I want to know: Does Hall look a little weird to you? Not weird like freaky weird, just weird, weird. I don’t mean to be offensive or anything, but dude, what’s up?