Views From The 6: The Year in Review

In this edition of "Views From The 6," the Talented 6 crew recaps the highlights and low-lights from 2016. From all of us here at, we want to wish all of our readers a Happy New Year, and a prosperous 2017. Before you head out for your New Year's Eve festivities, check out our takes on the year in review.

1. Who took the biggest L in 2016?

Ron - The Golden State Warriors. Broke the Chicago Bulls record for the best regular season record at 73-9 and blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. Got way too cocky, thought they had it wrapped up and completely choked. As a native Clevelander, I'm not mad about it though. It helped us finally break the curse. When the clock strikes midnight, I'll be screaming "the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead!" instead of "Happy New Year" as my reminder that anything is possible in 2017.

Al - This is an easy one...the United States took the biggest L with Donald Trump becoming our President.

Ryan - I’ve got a couple in the running for this one: You got the Warriors because they blew a 3-1 lead. Any nigga dating or dated a Kardashian: Lamar Odom nearly killing himself, Bruce became Caitlyn, Blac Chyna dealing with Captain Sucka in Rob (that’s actually gonna turn into a W for her eventually) and Kanye….Kanye’d himself instead of Taylor Swift this time.

It was super close but I’m giving this L to us, Black America.

Police shootings, tragic injustices in court, Bernie getting snuffed, Trump finessing his way into office, and we’re seeing the Obama’s leave the White House. We gotta couple major L’s to hold for the year. But we gone be alright *Kendrick Lamar voice.*

Will - America took the biggest L of the year, and it’s not even close. The Golden State Warriors may have blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals, Great Britain may have chalked the European Union, but America elected the first candied yam-colored president. As Benjamin would say, “Bruh…” There’s a reality TV star headed to the White House. A man with zero political experience, a questionable business background, and ties to the mob and white nationalist groups is going to lead our nation for the next 4 years. His advisers and Cabinet will be staffed by the racist All-Stars.  Nevertheless, America put him there, because white people were afraid of losing their grip on the history books. Another year in the books for America meant another year full of police shootings, mass murders, political unrest, and a whirlwind of an election cycle. With all that going on, that Jordan crying face meme of the U.S.A. was more than warranted. 

Ben - Hillary Clinton took the biggest L in 2016 by far! As she was the candidate who was over qualified for presidency, more liked than Trump ( at least we thought so before the election), she was ahead in the polls most of the race, and going against a candidate who has said things like, "Ban all Muslims" and "Grab her by the pussy" and still lose! NO, we are not going to let that L slide, we have to help her embrace that L! I know the people voted and decided but regardless of that, her L was humiliating! I am still baffled by the fact of how she had so many famous people backing her, Jay Z throws a free concert in Cleveland, brings Beyoncé and she still loss to President Pussy Grabber.

Gabe - The World took the biggest L.  Why?  Because Global warming is real and the people who can do anything about it are ignoring it

2. Who had the biggest W in 2016?

Ron - My Cleveland ties make me want to pick the G.O.A.T. LeBron James for this category, but I am going to go with Chance the Rapper. Long before Coloring Book dropped, Ben was trying to put me on to Chance and I just wasn't feeling dude; his cadences were weird, the beats weren't catchy, even my first time through Coloring Book I was still apprehensive. As time went on it grew on me and let me know its greatness cant be denied. His energy and positivity are infectious and its just a dope ass tape. The vibes, the lyrics, the production were all A1. Any and all good things that have come Chance's way this year were well deserved for an amazing piece of work.

Al - Definitely the Cleveland Cavs winning the NBA Championship.

Ryan - In my mind its Chance, emerging as the clear leader of the future of Hip Hop. No doubt Trump will get the nod from most people. Maybe unlikely candidate for me is LeBron, since he's been winning for a long time but this summer he got a 500 pound gorilla off his back in a historic way. It was amazing to see the Cavs and LeBron end the drought and overcome the odds.

Will - Chance The Rapper had the biggest win. The Chicago-bred emcee was bubbling under the surface after releasing Acid Raps in 2013 to much critical acclaim, followed up by Surf in 2015. But Chance’s name and fame went Mt. Vesuvius in 2016. He blessed “Ultralight Beam” on Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo, and was credited with co-writing and co-producing several songs on the album (including my personal favorite joint “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 2.”) He dropped Coloring Book back in May, and he’s been on a cloud ever since. First streaming-only project to earn a Grammy nomination? Dub. Performed “No Problem” with Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz on The Ellen Show? Dub. Kitt-Katt commercial? Dub. Turned a hater into a believer? Dub. That’s 4 wins right there. Chance could’ve beaten the Golden State Warriors by himself with all those W’s.

Ben - MAJOR KEY ALERT, SECURE YOUR BAG ALERT, LIOOOON! If you don't know where these 3 phrases came from then you have been living under a rock. DJ Khaled has increased his bag and fame 10 fold by expanding his brand using SnapChat! He landed a handful of endorsements this year ( including Palmers, T-Mobile, Apple Music, Champs, Ciroq, and many others). He also opened up for Beyoncé on her Formation World tour, which made an estimated total of $220 million. The only way that Beyoncé gig was possible was because of his new found partnership with Jay Z by inking a management deal with Roc Nation and then another deal with Epic Records teaming up with LA Reid for his music label imprint. To top it all off, he had the summer on lock with his smash, Drake assisted, hit "For Free" which was the hottest track on his #1 album " Major Key". BUT, the most important feat of all is that Jay Z jumped on one of DJ Khaled songs with Future called " I Got the Keys" . If you can get a Jay Z Feature in 2016 ( only 2 others received a guest appearance from Jay in 2016) then you winning for sure!

So, I have to do a honorable mention because this question was tough. I would feel horrible not saying something about these 4 people. They all had an amazing year this year as well. The list includes: Gucci Mane (took back the trap rap game and changed his life for the better), Teyana Taylor ( very big second half of year with memorable performances), Quavo ( From the Migos, Rap MVP this year!), and Dave Chappelle (came out of hiding, kicked it with the President, his SNL skits were amazing, and got $60 million from Netflix).

Gabe - Hate to say it, but I give props where props are due.  So I'm going to have to give the biggest W to the Chicago Cubs  They ended the 100+ year old drought of a baseball championship. No matter if you like baseball or not. Respect to those guys.

3. What are your 2017 Predictions?

Ron - Health, wealth and success for The Talented 6 and anybody else reading this post. Now share it with 7 people or be eternally cursed. Kidding. But y'all do be spamming everybody with those posts on Facebook smh.

Al - The Indians win the World Series and the Cavs win the NBA Championship. Also, The Talented 6 brand will be bigger.

Ryan- The Kardashians divorce Kanye.

Will - Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers 2017 NBA Finals. Donald Trump fucks with the wrong Middle Eastern nation and they pull our hoe cards. Barack Obama drops an album that goes 32131231-times platinum. We get a new social media app to distract us even longer from doing real work at our jobs. The next dance craze will something White people can’t steal and ruin.

Ben - Russell Westbrook WILL end the year averaging a triple double, MVP honors and 5th seed playoff birth. Barack Obama and Michelle Obama will speak out more against racial injustice in the black communities of America. The Cleveland Indians will win World Series while Cavs fall to Warriors in the NBA Finals. Jay Z and Gucci Mane will stop playing with the Culture and gives us a track or a EP! ( Seriously though, WE NEED THAT). I will finally have graduated with my bachelors degree ( if all things go as planned, because they never do) and will have bought my first investment property! The Talented 6 becomes even bigger! 21 Savage catches a body, goes to jail, gets out a couple of months later because he beat his trial and will become Rap MVP next year!

Gabe - *Eyes closed and crosses fingers* Systematic Oppression ends in 2017!!!

4. What was your most important accomplishment in 2016?

Ron - Getting engaged. The importance of family was instilled in me at a young age. The prospect of starting my own with my soon to be wife and our future children is something I am grateful for. I hope to build a legacy and help my future generations start a leg up on their journeys. Now that I got that out the way and won't get put in the Stone Cold Stunner.....right behind it is starting this website with my brothers. During this year being able to write posts that have positively impacted readers is an amazing feeling and I'm glad we have this forum to allow us to make a difference.

Al - 1. Getting engaged to Felice 2. Getting my job with the Columbus City Schools 3. Starting The Talented 6 blog with my brothers

Ryan - Moving out my momma’s crib… But no in all seriousness, seeing my wife birth my daughter was something special. And seeing this blog being created was amazing. From a group convo, then making small step after small step, to get something real has taught me some important life lessons.

Will - Helping my wonderful girlfriend (now fiancé, since I proposed on Christmas) deliver our beautiful baby girl 6 days after witnessing the Cavaliers win their first NBA title and 4 days after attending the championship parade. Starting this website was a huge accomplishment for all of us, and I’m proud of myself and my brothers for what we’ve been able to do with The Talented 6 brand thus far.

Ben - My biggest accomplishment of 2016 was easily landing a better job with a bigger company; a company I can see myself at for a very long time. Some other big accomplishments include starting the Talented 6 Blog and finishing my first book as an adult that I was not forced to read. ( Don't judge me!) 

Gabe - My biggest accomplishment was learning to have patience.

5. What was your favorite "For The Culture" moment in 2016?

Ron - The culture itself. This year gave us shows like Atlanta and Insecure, which did a great job depicting actual everyday life instead of the dry stereotypical “black” shows we see on TV. It was nice to see realness get some love. Also hip hop music had its usual impact on the culture at large but 2016’s anthems brought way more positivity due to artists like Chance The Rapper. It became cool to sing about blessings, instead of having to act hard all the time. Rap music helped bring people of all race, colors and creeds together using catchy rhythms and dances like the ‘milly rock’ and ‘juju on that beat’ it was great to see.

Al - I would have to say the TV shows Insecure and Atlanta. Each show was a great representation of Blackness.

Ryan - THE CAVS. It removed a terrible stigma and cloud over Cleveland. Before the Cavs championship, I was debating whether to buy an investment property, the next day after the championship had me feeling so good and optismitic I pulled the trigger and invested. Need I say more?

Will - We lost Prince Rogers Nelson this year, an artist many of us thought would live forever. Thankfully, his music will live on for generations. I loved how the culture celebrated his life. People gathered in the middle of the street and danced to his music. Monuments, stadiums and other public buildings showed tribute to his legacy by bathing their structures in purple light. The day Prince died, my 7 year-old stepdaughter Brooke and I watched Purple Rain. She asked me why her grandmother was so upset about Prince dying, so I told her just watch the movie with me (It was on VH1 folks.) As she watched “The Kid” perform at First Avenue, she started getting into the music and became entrenched with Prince’s character. By the end of the movie, she was singing the lyrics to “Purple Rain” louder than me. That’s exactly the impact Prince had on the culture, and he will be missed dearly. 

Ben - My favorite for the culture moment has to be Solange's Album " A Seat At The Table". That album was so uplifting and pro black ( not anti white, just pro black). For a black adult living in today's America listening to that work of art and watching it get so much praise from everyone was a great feeling and a great moment not only for music, but for the culture as a whole! Black people ( especially women) should be proud that she created something so personal and real about things that we go through everyday! Solange's album was a masterpiece and was definitely a highlight in the "FOR THE CULTURE" category of 2016

Gabe - A little off center for me but Gucci Mane for getting released from prison and getting his life together. Hopefully, a lot of young men follow suit since they follow everything else he has done.

6. What was the best meme in 2016?

Ron - Mr. Krabz hands down. 1st ballot hall of fame meme. Versatile, always funny. Meme of the year.

Al - Any of the Kermit the Frog Memes

Ryan - Kyrie

Will - Confused Mr. Krabs

crab meme.jpg

Ben - Arthur took the cake this year for me! Those Arthur memes were SO FUNNY. Black Twitter is so undefeated!

Gabe - Definitly this meme!

Bonus Question: What was your Favorite Talented 6 Blog Post From This Year?

Ryan - My favorite piece was our collaboration piece, BLM and Wayne. I really enjoyed the heated responses and different perspectives. It really displayed the true dynamic of our group chat and much of the ideology our site was birthed from.

Ben - I really enjoyed all the post ( No, I am not just saying that either). My two favorites had to be the Blessing Loom Scheme post by Will Warren and Should You Be Rich by Ron Simpson. The Blessing Loom post was a good post but it is one of my favorite because of the back story. Maybe Will can write another post to explain the back story! I am sure we all would get a good laugh from reading it. The "Should You Be Rich" post is very interesting because of the story told and perspective took by Ron. Very good read that made me think of money and wealth in a different way.

Will - Ben Hemingway's piece on his late father on how to leave a legacy speaks volumes on the influence his father had on him. It hit home for me because not only did I attend the funeral, I found out a few weeks before that my own estranged father had passed away in 2014 without my knowledge. I also had just become a father as well, and I hope I have a similar impact on my daughters.

Ron - This might sound a little vain….but my favorite piece was the piece I wrote on Interracial Dating. I spent a lot of time with it, wrestled with it and didn’t feel great about it honestly but the response was overwhelming. I feel like it had a positive impact and I’m hoping it helped people going through it feel better and also helped people on the outside see it in a different light.

Al - My favorite blog post is the one Will wrote titled, "The Purpose Driven Blog." It was our introduction to the blog world and really explained what we stood for and our vision with The Talented 6 blog.

Gabe - My favorite blog post is..... All of them!