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Russell Brand – On March 6, Russell Brand hosted the Give It Up for Comic Relief event, in which he managed to gather talent from the likes of Frankie Boyle, Nicole Scherzinger and Kasabian to put on a show. In addition to having all of its proceeds donated to Comic Relief, the event strengthened Brand’s continual fight against drug and alcohol addiction in the U.K. So, what we must applaud here is Brand’s transformation – a former substance abuser who was arrested 12 times, here he is now, sober since 2003 and helping those afflicted by the problems that caused him so much trauma. The man’s a legend, purely and simply.

Throw into the equation his playful demeanor and entertaining use of verbose and bombastic language in his interviews, and the man’s appeal grows even further. Just watch his talk show, BrandX, to begin an appreciation of his comedic approach to news and mastery of conversational skills. His session with the Parliamentary Committee on drugs and his interview of two members of the Westboro Baptist Church on BrandX are up there with the best illustrations of his personality, if you’re interested. Or you could just watch Forgetting Sarah Marshall or Get Him to the Greek to witness his portrayal of the brash Aldous Snow, the greatest fictional rock star created since “Spinal Tap” was released in 1984. “African Child” has nothing on “Big Bottoms,” though. – FC

Gangster rap – Admit it: Even the whitest girl around town is allowed to listen to a little bit of scary rap music if she wants to. In that vein, I got really into “All Gold Everything” about a month after it became popular. Cool.

Thoroughly inspired, I went through every song my slightly more “with it” sister had ever bought, searching for rapper names that I’d actually heard of, such as Kanye, 2 Chainz, Eminem, Jay Z and (my favorite) Chingy. Armed with a lot of curse words and some intimidating beats, I walked onto the pool deck at ISSTs with a swagger that Snoop Dogg would be jealous of and danced it out to “A$$” every time I didn’t make a final (oops). I’ve gone back to my more softcore musical roots since I returned from the land of chlorine and ripped swim gods, but when I’m going on my fourth hour straight in the journalism cave and life is looking grim and way too backlit, not much can beat shaking it out to a little bit of gangster rap.

FYI if you ever need a brain teaser, actually listen to the words in these songs and try to understand what they mean. Shoutout to craftily hiding really inappropriate messages. (Did you know that the square root of 69 is eight something?) I wish I had that lyrical genius. – ASY

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