Kendrick escapes the cocoon on iconic Butterfly

Lamar’s sophomore effort is a phenomenon

It’s been three years since Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city sent shockwaves around hip-hop bringing the Compton-based rapper to the mainstream.

We’ve anxiously heard of a drastically different sound and direction from his debut record.

But finally, Lamar’s second studio album To Pimp A Butterfly has been released and you can file it straight into “instant classic”.

The production of the album is crisp and moves away from the West Coast hip-hop-heavy good kid, m.A.A.d city. This was made clear from the range of producers which includes soul legend Ron Isley and jazz electric bass supremo Thundercat alongside rap icons Dr. Dre and Pharrell.

The cover art depicts a mob of black people who appear to have taken over the White House while the Speaker of the House of Congress lies dead.

It sets a tone for what this album promotes. In Lamar’s own words: “We need to find black leaders to stand up and represent. And that could be any man from the streets.”

From the first song “Wesley’s Theory”, the album adopts a rhythmic fusion of jazz, funk and hip-hop all set behind Lamar’s smooth rapping style.

He follows that song with the annoyingly catchy “King Kunta” – the third single to be released from the album.

“These Walls” and “Institutionalised” both feature the fantastic Anna Wise. Wise featured on Kendrick’s previous album and she provides a beautiful contrast on Butterfly with her soulful voice.

Kendrick delves into depression on “u”. It’s a harrowing song relating to family problems he had when he mother was unwell and his sister had a miscarriage.

It’s hard to listen to as the emotional pressures of trying to remain a strong family man becomes too much and he reverts to alcohol.

“The Blacker The Berry” is an angst-filled anthem, aimed at uniting black people to unite and stand up for their rights, contrary to the divisive nature in which Kendrick believes they currently live. The lyrics are piercing and provide a lot of thought.

It resonates strongly with the anti-police riots seen in Ferguson and most recently Baltimore, both following the killing of young black males by law enforcement.

He finishes with “Mortal Man”, finishing the poem he’s told throughout Butterfly, before asking hip-hop’s greatest ever influence on his views on the current state of black culture.

As the immortal Tupac Shakur responds, the listener is astounded. The track effectively holds a conversation between Kendrick and Tupac, using clips of interviews prior to his death in 1996. The message is as applicable then as it is today.

It’s a landmark moment and one which marks the passing of the torch to Kendrick as rap’s next great leader.


Staggering Student: Whats the rush?


It’s no secret that we students regularly enjoy a drink or three, despite being aware of the damaging effects on our health. Being a student myself I know first hand that the aim of the game when hitting the tiles is to get as drunk as possible before heading out, and even more when you get to the club. But when did drinking to have fun become drinking to get drunk? -Sasha Wylie reports

Health officials and concerned parents advise us not to mix drinks or to drink on an empty stomach. They don’t realise it’s exactly what we’ll do if it means getting very drunk, very quickly. The aim of the game is to get messy – at any student pre-drinks there will be at least someone who says: “I want to get absolutely smashed tonight.”

The NekNominate craze that infiltrated our Facebooks is a prime example of peer pressure among students leading to excessive drinking. While it may be a minority who take it too far by guzzling bottles of spirits, thousands of likes and shares on Facebook of NekNominates validate and actively encourage this behaviour.binge-drinking-photo-2

It’s worth asking why we students feel the need to drink so excessively. Being sick or thrown out of a club is no fun. And the mammoth hangover and loss of dignity the morning after just isn’t worth it. In an article below, student Claire Whittle, 25,  got breast cancer due to her student binge drinking.


Like many teenagers away from home for the first time, student Claire Whittle threw herself enthusiastically into the heavy drinking university social scene. What happened next, she believes, should serve as a warning to all young women.

At the age of 25 she was diagnosed with breast cancer although there was no family history of the disease. And she is convinced that alcohol was to blame.

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She says she has not touched alcohol since her diagnosis and is about to begin an MA at Middlesex University studying the effects of drugs and drink in society.

‘My oncologist actually said to me I mustn’t ever have another drink as it could raise the risk of my cancer returning,’ she says. ‘I only hope my story serves as a warning to any other young women who binge drink that it might be affecting your health in a way you might never have imagined.’


It’s true that we have fewer responsibilities as students, but we owe it to ourselves and our health to know where to draw the line.

A radical new project has been designed to tackle the culture of binge drinking at universities across England and Wales, launched by the government and National Union of Students.alcohol vectors 2 v3

Seven universities have signed up to a 12 month pilot scheme to encourage responsible drinking among students.

Loughborough, Nottingham, Manchester Met, Liverpool John Moores, Swansea, Brighton and Royal Holloway universities are hoping to gain accreditation under the NUS Alcohol Impact Scheme for their work in promoting responsible alcohol policy and practice. They will aim to reduce alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder and prevent health harms.

If you are concerned that alcohol consumption may be affecting your health, ring Drinkline on 0800 917 8282.

Related articles can be found here and here


Binging Britain: Who is really suffering?

What constitutes binge drinking, how you can tell if you are binge drinking and where you can go for help. Check this out – you may be in for a bit of a surprise! – Sasha Wylie reports


• What is binge drinking?

• How is binge drinking different to drinking normally?

• The effects of binge drinking

It’s a potentially fatal consequence of Britain’s binge drinking culture that has so far gone largely unrecognised. Young people in some cases consuming up to 5 litres of alcohol per day, ending up in hospital with liver failure.

What is binge drinking?

Binge drinking usually refers to drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time or drinking to get drunk.


Researchers define binge drinking as consuming eight or more units in a single session for men and six or more for women.

How is binge drinking different to drinking normally?

Two large glasses of wine may not seem like very much. But drinking six units of alcohol in a short space of time will raise your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and could make you drunk very quickly. Drinking the same amount over several hours, and accompanied by food for example, will not have the same effect on your BAC.

The effects of binge drinking

Some studies show that drinking a large amount of alcohol over a short period of time may be significantly worse for your health than frequently drinking small quantities.

Getting very drunk can affect your physical and mental health:


•Accidents and falls are common because being drunk affects your balance and co-ordination. You’re also more likely to suffer head, hand and facial injuries. Binge drinking has also been linked to self-harm .

•In extreme cases, you could die. Overdosing on alcohol can stop you breathing or stop your heart, or you could choke on your vomit.

•Nearly a third (29%) of alcohol related deaths are a result of alcohol related accidents. These deaths are more common among 16–34-year-olds.

•Binge drinking can affect your mood and your memory and in the longer term can lead to serious mental health problems.

One of the main effects of binge drinking is what effect it has on the ambulance service and the NHS.  Waiting time breaches reached record highs, emergency admissions soared, thousands of patients faced long waits on trolleys and there are talks of the NHS collapsing.

Yet alcohol and binge drinking costs the NHS around £2 billion each year according got the department of health. Out of this, most of these costs are borne by the front-line and mainstream NHS. Hospital services (inpatient and outpatient) account for 56% of the total. Ambulance services and accident emergency services, taken together, bear almost a third of these estimated costs, while hospital services account for over a half of the total.

Local Ambulance service-man Patrick Riely, commented on the affects he has seen being on the frontline dealing with binge drinkers:


“The first thing most of them do as we leave the scene is vomit. That then renders the ambulance off the road for an hour once that call has been finished because it has to be deep cleaned because of infection and so on.”

“Then you will get the ones where the ambulance crews have been assaulted…We have had cases of paramedics being sliced with knives, punched, kicked, ambulances being nicked just as a prank through somebody being drunk and driving it into a row of cars.”

The Police are another frontline service having to deal with the problem of binge drinking and alcohol related arrests. Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, has urged reform of the licensing system, suggesting the number of bars and pubs in the country be reduced in order to stem the rising tide of alcohol related violence.

Police now have a growing concern about the number of underage drinkers and those who are now drinking on the street.


Dozens of bottles of beer, cider and spirits were taken from young people in Portrush and Portstewart. The Police Service of Northern Ireland’s north coast team posted a photograph of the haul on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

They appealed to parents to be aware of the problem of underage drinking:

“Constables Burns and Coyle are pictured with drink seized from under 18s in the Ports on Easter Monday. Too much alcohol impairs judgement and is risky for young people who mightn’t know their limits. The young people didn’t realise it at the time, but police seizing the drink probably saved them from alot of bother. Please also remember it’s an offence to buy drink for under 18s. Police will seize drink all summer long if we need to”.

Doctor McKay commented on the affects he has seen because of binge drinking. Listen here 

He called for a change in attitudes to drinking.

He said: “The role of the NHS should not just be about treating the consequences of alcohol relatedharm but also about active prevention, early intervention, and working in partnership with services in local communities to raise awareness of alcohol-related harm.”

If you have been affected by anything in this article visit for the facts.

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The Criminal effects of Alcohol

As a society, most of us enjoy sipping over a few drinks with friends or to unwind, but what happens when your drinking gets out of control, leading to Court Orders and Probation? – Sasha Wylie reports.Cardiff: Police arrest one reveller in the centre of the city in the early hoursProbation Officer Lorraine Cullen has seen first hand what binge drinking and alcoholism can do and how it can destroy not only the persons life, but those around them.

So Lorraine, how many cases would you get that have been alcohol or binge drinking related?

The majority of cases within my caseload would be alcohol related and some would be alcohol and drug related. The majority of my clients would be aged between 18-24 year olds and the offences would normally happen at the weekend outside bars and nightclubs. The offences that they commit can stretch from murders, rape and resisting police and disorderly behaviour. However, in recent years there has also been an increase in older males in drink driving and a significant increase in domestic abuse in relation with alcohol. The number of females now coming through probation doors has increased and they would all be alcohol related.

How does this affect peoples lives?

Younger males will find that having a criminal record will have a long lasting impact on their life as it can sometimes stop them getting into education, work and immigration. The immigration problem at the moment appears to have the most impact on them. Older men suffer from losing their driving  license which affects their employability and sometimes results in them losing their jobs. This can have an impact upon their emotional well-being and can often result in them drinking more often than what they would have previously. The prospects of being before court and the impact of having their names printed in the newspapers can leave people overwhemled and reluctant to seek help, this is were probation provides support, not only to deal with their offending behaviour but to make them look at their alcohol consumption. Young women who drink to access are a particularly vulnerable group, often ending up in domestic abuse relationships, victims of rape and being sexually exploited.

Listen here as Lorraine tells of one case that she will always remember.

What help is out there for people suffering from this addiction? Their is a community addictions team, however this has to be referred through a general practitioner and people are often reluctant to access this service. There can be a six month waiting list prior to people being seen and for someone struggling with a chronic addiction, this can be too long to wait for help. There are in-paitent services, again this requires to be done through GPs and requires the person to be sober. Probation provides instant services and this is usually a requirement of their license conditions or Order. They can get one to one counselling from probation support workers or from a very valuable source, Breakthru.  People can self refer themselves to Breakthru and will receive  the support of highly trained councillors.

Breakthru Breakthru was established in 1995 by Dungannon Development Associaton as a result of what was seen as becoming two major issues in society: Alcohol and Drugs. However, they have also incorporated self-harm and suicide into work over the last few years. Spokeswoman Vicky Boyd stated that: “Breakthru’s mission is to be at the forefront of addressing substance misuse and risk-taking behaviours through the provision of effective education, information, support and interventions to young people and communities, and to support those engaging in risk-taking behaviours to address their problems and fulfill their human potential.”

Listen here to Bernie Devine, Manager of Breakthru in Dungannon, discussing the changes she has seen over the past years.

If you would like to give a donation to this organisation, please follow this link: 

Related articles can be viewed here and here

First Ever GAA World Games Take Place

The first ever Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) World Games took place in Abu Dhabi last weekend.

Twenty-five teams from across the globe gathered to compete in games of traditional Irish sports, including Gaelic football, hurling, camogie and rounders.

The competition, played over two days, started on Friday 6 March and ended with a day of semi-finals and finals on Saturday 7 March. The event was hosted by Abu Dhabi Na Fianna at the Zayed Sports City, which has hosted major sporting events, such as the Fifa Club World Cup.

Trevor Buckley, chairperson of Abu Dhabi Na Fianna said, “It reflects the globalisation of the games and is representative of the amount of Irish people worldwide who’ve had to emigrate for various reasons. The fact we’re trying to promote the games and keep everyone involved is very special to us and a great honour.”

He went on to say, “The response has been very positive, especially since it’s the first Games and a lot of teams have travelled huge distances to take part. That shows its appeal. And even though the numbers are quite large already, we hope they will continue to grow in the future.”

Erin Loughnana travelled from Toronto to represent Canada in the games. She said the diversity of the teams was clear when they were discussing the training preparation of the different teams. The Middle East team was accustomed to training in the desert climate of Abu Dhabi, while the Canadian national team held their preparation training indoors, due to the -3 degrees weather in Toronto.

The competition has been hailed as a forward step in the globalisation of Gaelic games with male and female athletes from North America, South America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mainland Europe, South Africa, Asia, Australasia and the Middle East all taking part. The World Games hopes to follow the path made by other international fixtures such as the International Rules Series between Ireland and Australia, and the All Stars game, played in Boston.

The winners of the tournament was dominated by the Middle East teams. The men’s finalists were the both of the Middle East’s entrants, with the seconds’ team coming out as the victors.

For more information on the GAA World Games follow the event on Facebook or Twitter.

50 Shades Of Grey Review

Valentine’s Day marked the release of the much anticipated 50 Shades of Grey, the film adaption of E.L. James’s erotic romance novel, which has sold over 100 million copies worldwide.

 Jamie Dornan plays Christian Grey, a successful Billionaire businessman, with a need to control all things sexual and otherwise. Dornan has previously played the role of serial killer, Paul Spector in BBC drama The Fallwhich led him nicely into this equally complex and at times disturbing character of Mr Grey. The actor who has modelled for Armani is easy on the eyes and leaves the female population ready to trade places with Ana Steele. Dornan stars opposite Dakota Johnston, who has an air of awkwardness which actually makes for effective viewing and adds a sense of real and relate-ability to the character of Anastasia.

The sex scenes were eagerly anticipated, simply because so many wondered how far the movie would push the boundaries. For a majority of the time, they were a perfect balance of artistic insinuation and to the point shockers. However, one scene is an exception to the rule, and I found myself tense and uncomfortable, as the film explored the all too realistic theme of sadism. None the less, the scenes were shot with the view to outline the surface of lust motivation while also portraying underlying emotions which help link the sexual scenes to much a deeper storyline.

The people behind this movie had brilliantly used the large reading audience of this story to their advantage. They were aware that it would be pointless to try and hide any information and allow the movie plot to ‘unfold’, because unless you live under a rock you know what 50 Shades of Grey is about. Instead, they allowed Mr Grey to release hints in front of the unknowing Ana and this allowed the audience to be involved in the ‘inside joke’. Such as when Mr Grey goes to the Hardware store to buy cable ties, rope and duct tape.

At the risk of giving too much away I’ll stop before divulging any more information. All that I will say, is that coming out of the cinema most of the patrons were saying, “I wish I had a Mr Grey. Perhaps there really is something irresistible about a man with money, power and an air of self-assured confidence, and looking like Jamie Dornan helped too I suppose.