Jay Z Explains Artist Owned TIDAL Music Streaming Service

Jay Z Explains Artist Owned TIDAL Music Streaming Service

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Yesterday Jay-z and a number of his A list musical peers gathered to present what is being called a new chapter in the presentation of music to the general public. Your options for streaming audio have just increased as Jay introduced TIDAL. The Swedish tech company behind this new streaming service was purchased for $56 million by an investor group led by Jay Z. This group included a handful of musicians who attended yesterday’s media event such as Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Calvin Harris, J. Cole and more.

Off the top an artist owned content provider seems like a good idea. Truthfully it’ll take some time to see if this is a game changer or just adding to the digital clutter. Spotify has 60 million user 15 million of which are paid subscribers so there is still a percent of the population that will pay for music. Can this new platform truly shift the flow of revenue from the classic label based system to something more free-flowing and in the hands of the creators themselves?

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Prior to yesterdays media launch event Carter spoke to Billboard to dive into what this TIDAL move is all about. Here’s a portion of the BB interview. You can hop over to the full interview and a video from the press conference after the jump.

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Billboard: When did it first occur to you to get into the streaming business?

Jay Z: A year-and-a-half ago. We saw the movement and how everything was going and figured that this could possibly be the last music format that we see in this lifetime. We didn’t like the direction music was going and thought maybe we could get in and strike an honest blow and if, you know, the very least we did was make people wake up and try to improve the free vs. paid system, and promote fair trade, then it would be a win for us anyway.

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Sneak Peek Into Under Armour’s Fall 2015 Collection

Sneak Peek Into Under Armour’s Fall 2015 Collection

#IWLLWHATIWANT

As many of us are itching for the officially break in the weather to kick off the spring season  the creative minds at Under Armour are lining up their collection of cool weather concepts from when the Summer fades out and welcomes in Fall 2015. This past week I was able to take a private look at what UE has on deck for us.

I’m consistently impressed by UE’s ability to produce gear that is appealing to the eye, work out functional in its design and multi-faceted in the setting it can worn in. It’s incredibly convenient to have something you hit the office, gym and bar in while being completely comfortable in each place.

Take a look a few of the items that will available to the pubic in the coming months!!!!

#IWILLWANTIWANT

 

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Samurai Rides: Birthday Celebration with the Kia K900

Samurai Rides: Birthday Celebration with the Kia K900

K900

 

When March arrives it ushers in a personal tradition of mine I affectionately refer to as the #MonthofMe. My birthday is March 5th and I celebrate this through out the entire month of March. This year saw an added treat as I was given the opportunity to spend some time driving the new Kia K900. Truth be told I had no idea Kia had a luxury model vehicle. Then I caught a glimpse of a #K900 commercial featuring Lebron James and realized just what was in store for me.

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My birthday week included a number of celebratory events around New York City.  From the lavish Andaz on Wall Street to the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn and back to the streets of Dyckman I was on my tour of the boroughs as various loved ones reached out to wish me a happy birthday.

The #K900 effortlessly combines power and grace in a way that literally has you feeling like you’re gliding on the road. It makes me upset that the roads were still suffering from severe pot holes a midst the hellish winter season but that gave me more then enough opportunity to test out the responsiveness of this incredible car.

K900

As much fun as was had during this week I’m always one to incorporate business into the mix. I was not going to pass up the opportunity to showcase Kia’s crown jewel so on a cool Harlem afternoon I called in Mr Refined to lead a photo shoot featuring the K900. Stay tuned as I’ll be sharing that completed project soon.

***New K900 Feature Via Mr Refined***

 

You see Lebron James comfortably in the K900 and you say to yourself, “That can’t be real.” Well let’s put it this way. LBJ is about 6 ft 8. I’m 6 ft 5 and I had room so that gives you an idea of how spacious this ride is. In the image below it looks like my head is to the roof but it’s just the angle. lol

K900

Overall this car lives up to any and everything that you have heard about it. Handling, maneuverability, sound, multimedia, tech, it’s all here.  This is my first time reviewing a car injunction with it running such a high profile commercial spot and it’s no hype. If you’re looking to experience excellence without dipping into your life savings the K900 is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

***New K900 Feature Via Mr Refined***

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Photo Credits Marc Kelly & Sheena Young of Mr Refined

 

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From Hero to Heel – Internets Dismiss Common Sense

From Hero to Heel – Internets Dismiss Common Sense

common

The Internets never cease to amaze me. The over-the-top communications, sensationalism and trigger moves are in one part sinister and in another way brilliant. So for those that don’t know let me set the scene. About 2 weeks ago, Common, fresh off a Grammy win for his work in the moving film Selma, was a guest on the Jon Stewart show.  The relatively lighthearted conversation covered a number of topics. When the discussion moved to race Common made a comment that I’m sure in hindsight he may have re worded.

Common said that race relations can improve with an increase of understanding and “extending a hand in love” towards White people. He also referenced that while everyone knows the ills of the past continuing to bring it up may not be helping. You can watch the vid below to hear his comments verbatim.

 

Now let’s put a few things on the table before I proceed because my feelings are less about the comment then the resulting actions from it. I personally feel Common’s heart and intentions are in the right place. He’s put too much work in for the people over the years for me to write him off over this, BUT I did find his  comments here to be incredibly, unrealistically idealistic. In my personal opinion, based on U.S history certain things just won’t change simply via peace, love and nappiness. I don’t knock Common for the thought, but maybe he’s still on an emotional high post Selma award wins.

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Anyway this content was shared by many people after its initial airing and no one seemed too pressed by what he said. About a week later the interview started reappearing on with eye catching headlines framed around Commons “extend a hand in love” comment. This set the always rational Internets ablaze with claims of “sell out” “responsibility politics” “New Black” and every other digitally birthday social buzzword and negative catch phrase you can think of. When I caught wind of this I was surprised. I wasn’t surprised  at people disagreeing with the statement but rather how far folk were running with their “outrage and disgust”. Assuming you have seen the interview above to get your own interpretation of what the context was it seems to me from the reactions you would think Common was supporting a re-institution of slavery and personally turning our kids over to the KKK.

What worries me in these instances is that a person can build a career of service to the people. Lay a foundation of support and positive works and in an instance,  in a laid back moment watch their name and legacy take massive hits because of the “what have you done for me lately” fickle social media era. Oh you can’t listen to Common any more? Ladies you don’t love Common any more? It’s all over from this one statement? GTFOH. Where did perspective disappear to? Why must all mole hills become mountains? Can we not disagree with one statement without the acting like a person has in reality done more for the people that many of us have individually?

And before folk think I’m insane or trying to excuse the statement let me add to the vantage point I’m coming from. How many of you are riding out to that new Kendrick Lamar album? KDot came through and dropped that #BlackLivesMatter soundtrack for real. He’s dropping that knowledge that Common used to right? Well while young Lamar is now Hip Hop royalty with To Pimp a Butterfly let’s not forget just recently the same people toasting him were roasting him for comments made on race relations.

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 “I wish somebody would look in our neighborhood knowing that it’s already a situation, mentally, where it’s f—ked up. What happened to [Michael Brown] should’ve never happened. Never. But when we don’t have respect for ourselves, how do we expect them to respect us? It starts from within. Don’t start with just a rally, don’t start from looting — it starts from within.” -Kendrick Lamar in Billboard Jan 2015

See what the reactions were to this here then see how many of the same people are #TeamKendrick today.

Oh how quickly the celebrity worshiping masses forget. As we all sing along, myself included, to “I Love Myself” & “King Kunte” please take a minute to be as personally critical of the person we see in the mirror as we are to those on the big screen. If recent social events have proven anything it’s that we hold the power for change in our hands. Maybe if we weren’t see busy pointing the “oooooh look at him” finger so much we’d focus on the goals at hand.

Be clear. I’m actually in agreement with a lot of the views I’ve seen. Peace isn’t something we are going to achieve holding hands and singing songs with the folk that see us as being beneath them, but if this is how quickly we turn and disown our own people after years of work it makes me question our staying power. In addition to that it worries me for my own circle of people. It makes me wonder what the situation will be, what the topic of discussion will be when someone close to me that is fighting for us gets misquoted or has a line pulled out of context for clicks and page views. When you’re forced to realize that in this age you are one statement away from being thrown out into the street and digitally excommunicated. Your work means little in the moment vs sensationalism, gotcha media and the selectively over critical eye of the people. I don’t want that for any of my peers, but these Internets are super predictable so I know it’s coming.

I can only imagine what social media would have done to Nas back in the 90’s……

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Moleskine Spring 2015 Preview & Batman Limited Edition Series Collabo

Moleskine Spring 2015 Preview & Batman Limited Edition Series Collabo

#Moleskine

I had the pleasure of attending a special presentation of Moleskine’s latest product  collections at their new Union Square store. It was a great opportunity to check the new device cases, designer bags, their new note books and connective technology.

Two things told out to me that I was personally unaware of. Moleskine’s has a very deep and very classically themed series of limited editions note book designs that include images paying homage to many cult and comic fixtures. From the Simpsons to The Hobbit to Stars Wars many of our favorites have linked up with Moleskine to create special collective offerings. The big surprise at this event was the early preview of the Batman Limited Editions that will release to the public on April 2nd!! The imagery is inspired by the acclaimed graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns and limited to an exclusive set of 5000.

**UPDATED**

#Moleskine

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**Visit Moleskine for more Batman Info & the Creativity Challenge**

So now your got a sick Moleskine notebook to sketch and write in, all is good right? Yes but it gets better. Moleskine allows you to bridge the gap between hard copy and digital content with a number of application/program partnerships.

#Moleskine

The popular Evernote program has a special series of notebooks with sensory points on the pages that allow you to write your notes then upload them in clear digital format by just taking a picture of it. Through small Smart Stickers you can tag your notes so once uploaded they have various additional functions. Imagine automatic email notifications from your planner or easily shared plans to friends. The connection is quite a powerful tool to have.

#Moleskine

This extends to Adobe which has a similar application connection for it’s own line of sketch pads. Give your creations life from 2d drawings to full vector images.


Draw by hand, use the Companion App to sync your files to the Creative Cloud and immediately open your image in Adobe Photoshop® CC or Adobe Illustrator® CC for refinement.

With all the growing functionality of the Moleskine notebooks you’ll want to keep your items well protected and secure. The new line of bags and carry cases on deck for spring don’t lack in the variety department. From messenger bags to briefcases and back packs. You have a sleek series of items with numerous pockets and compartments to hold everything you need to take on your travels. All with a very clean style and appearance.

#Moleskine

Just adding my personal 2 cents here but this Moleskine briefcase is my new travel buddy. It gives me a nice business option vs the more casual cases and bags I usually move around with.

#Moleskine

Check them out and I’m sure you’ll see something that sparks your interest. 

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The Social Media Samurai Steps Up to the Big League with T-Mobile Simply Prepaid

The Social Media Samurai Steps Up to the Big League with T-Mobile Simply Prepaid

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ChangingPrepaid #CollectiveBias

#ChangingPrepaid

Faithful readers are aware of some of the moves and sacrifices I’ve made over the past year or so to ease my transition from a standard 9 to 5 worker to more online social media focused work. One of the more frustrating adjustments was leaving a long time relationship with my cellular provider for a more budget friendly prepaid phone. My days of effectively navigating the mobile Internets were halted. I found ways to get by but it was a definite adjustment. One of the things I told myself was that I would not return to a major provider unless it had everything I needed AND was affordable. So it was requested and now it has been granted  as the T-Mobile Simply Prepaid plan is literally #ChangingPrepaid. For a mere $40 I’m getting unlimited talk, text and data w/ monthly options. This gives me everything I need but now with the control of paying for exactly what I want, when and how I want.

Generally when you think of prepaid phone options you assume that you’ll be giving up access to top of the line phones. If not that you usually have to deal with suspect network coverage. T-Mobile is really changing the way people think about the concept of prepaid.  Another point that sealed the deal with me was learning that I could now be apart of T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network without having to go through credit checks or be tied into another contract. That was all I needed to know to get up and get my new phone from Walmart.

 

#ChangingPrepaid (xx)

#ChangingPrepaid (1x1)

I was literally in and out in 15 minutes. No contract rules or clauses. No one poking into my financial business. I love the ease of it all. I was back home and activating my phone within an hour of when I left for Walmart.

It’s been a minute since I’ve had a smart phone and a strong network to give me seamless online access for my mobile needs. Instead of being plugged in at all times I’d gotten used to operating in selected periods of time based around WiFi availability. To have that constant connectivity back is relief. As a content creator that prides himself on mobility, working at various locations, I can’t wait to be able give true real-time posting again. The Galaxy Avant that I picked up is essentially the smart phone version of the Galaxy Note that comes everywhere with me. This move will really increase efficiency and manageability for me. I’ll no longer need to bring a large tablet everywhere to live tweet and update events.

#ChangingPrepaid

On the spot Foursquare/Swarm check ins at my hotels or tweeting in a Uber ride to a tech conference. Checking my emails anytime, anywhere is a luxury that I gladly welcome back.

Multitasking with ease on my Galaxy Avant connected with T-Mobile Simply Prepaid #ChangingPrepaid
Multitasking with ease on my Galaxy Avant connected with T-Mobile Simply Prepaid #ChangingPrepaid
Multitasking with ease on my Galaxy Avant connected with T-Mobile Simply Prepaid #ChangingPrepaid
Multitasking with ease on my Galaxy Avant connected with T-Mobile Simply Prepaid #ChangingPrepaid

After spending the past year operating minute to minute with a tracfone, getting the freedom of unlimited calls and text back is a digital breath of fresh air. Simply Prepaid is a plan that I’m definitely going to share with friends that I know are in the market for a phone change. Especially with the quality of T-Mobile’s international coverage too. Well you guys see whats going on with me on the gadget front. What do you guys think about one of the best companies in the wireless game expanding into prepaid plan options?

 

 

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Everyone Needs A #MonthofMe

Everyone needs a #MonthofMe

#MonthofMe

They call it Pisces season, the final days of winter and the ushering in of spring. For me it’s my Birthday month and a period that for the past few years I’ve labeled the #MonthofMe. Initially this was just a cute way to indulge in Birthday celebration antics well beyond the usual few days most people give towards their special day. With time this has evolved into much more then reason to drink & socialize more although that does happen. It’s really become a space for me to sit down look at myself and examine who I am, what I stand for and am I doing what I need to do to move towards where I want to be. It’s also I time that I stop and look at those around me and measure the input and output of energies between us.

As my personal new year begins I’m now 34. Surprisingly a number of folk don’t believe this so I’m happy for that but in all seriousness there is another phase of life I want to enter and everything I do now has to result in preparing for that. I’m in no rush for a family but there is an increasing awareness to that end goal related to the work I’m doing now as I chart my course in life. There are mountains I need to get past and goals I need to reach. Recent interactions with specific people have really shown me a lot about myself regarding my mental and emotion ability to adapt to situations.

In addition I’m grasping and understanding certain powers and forces that I need to be careful with in how I apply them. It’s all pretty trippy to be honest. I’m a long way from that skinny shy kid with glass back in Jefferson Elementary School.

I honestly think the #MonthofMe concept should be embraced by all. Stop for a moment and think to the last time you worried solely about yourself. Not in a selfish manner but when was the last time you got up and said today will be all about me? We get so caught up in the rat race that we can go massive lengths of time with treating ourselves. I’m a reformed member of #TeamNoSleep. Be clear that that lifestyle will kill you eventually.  Embrace rest, embrace stillness and quiet. Build it into your schedule and lock it in as you would any other vital meeting or appointment.

When the #MonthofMe ends I ideally want to be refreshed in myself, my direction and my relationships. My 30’s have injected new life into me that I didn’t expect in the form of Nomadness. The way the Tribe randomly reaches out with words and expressions of love and support is something I often struggle to put into words. I’m truly not worthy. There have been others to step up and in their own ways earn a special place with me. There are people who I’ve known for years that I want to link back up with. I need and want to know where I stand with those that matter to me. Spring cleaning is another element of the #MonthofMe

Call it what you want but I truly hope you all invest the same time and energy for yourselves that the world asks of you for so many other things. You all deserve it/ Not just for a month but life. Get back to putting you at the front of the line.

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Are You Down To #BlackOut???

Are You Down To #BlackOut???

#Blackout

It’s March 6th and depending on what your level of online engagement is you may or may not be aware of the movement taking place. As you read this there is a social media #BlackOut over many of the major communicative platforms. Originating from Tumblr this #BlackOut is happening across Twitter, Facebook & Instagram as well. This #BlackOut is a digital call within the Black online community to post nothing but images of themselves. No not in basic selfie fashion, but rather fill your respective timelines with the beautiful faces that make up life as a Black person.

Today’s #Blackout is a social statement against a system that historically demonized the features, traits and behaviors of Black people only to accept the exact thing later via a more “mainstream” persona/image. The Internets have come to refer to this as “Columbusing”, the attempt to discover and claim something that was already in existence.

I find it interesting that Tumblr would be the breeding ground for this event. Functioning as a mini blogging platform that takes a little from all other sites and with very limited rule and regulations, Tumblr at times really feels like the wild, wild west where it doesn’t take much to be searching for one thing and suddenly fall neck-deep into pornographic content of all times. (Sometimes you come across that content on purpose lol). Either way many businesses have deemed Tumblr too explicit to successfully monetize. Yet, among all the questionable material there is an expressive community ripe with passion for the images and portrayal of our people and I must say it’s cool to see the energy directed in this manner.

#Blackout is active and I’m happy for that.

This is social media in 2015 so it goes without saying what many of the predictable negative reactions will be.

Isn’t this racist? – No its really not. It’s people taking a day to spotlight themselves in a space that generally doesn’t and would rather focus on cute pets then people of color

Why can’t we showcase everyone? – Technically speaking that’s what takes place everyday which falls into the Eurocentric images that have defined what “beauty” is supposed to be. The goal is to get away from that.

How about a #WhiteOut? Just turn on most mainstream TV channels or their respective sites. A #WhiteOut is essentially media as usual.

It is what it is. Hopefully the sensitive few wont derail the committed many. Bigger then that I hope this singular expression sparks something bigger. I hope to one day see a real ownership of what we are and what we contribute to the world. It’s taxing watching everyone live via your cultural creations and natural ways while you get someone beat down for those very some things.

So yes, #Blackout in whatever way suits you. Our beauty comes in all shapes, forms and styles. Embrace it  and own the Internets.

#Blackout

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The Current State of The Omega Nexus

The Current State of ‘The Omega Nexus’

Omega nexus

Good Afternoon Omega Nexus Fans & Supporters

This Jason Francis aka The Social Media Samurai. I’m one part of the creative minds behind the Omega Nexus and Head of Social Media & Promo. After receiving a recent wave of inquiries about the status of the Omega Nexus I felt I needed to address the people. This is my open letter to y’all. This wasn’t approved by my partners. This is 100% Jason.

First thing’s first I want to give a massive show of thanks to all of you who have purchased books, shirts, wristbands, etc and truly put faith in the idea and concept of the Omega Nexus. It blew my mind how many people took a true interest in what we were doing. Nothing fuels creative energy like the positive response of the people. From the lower 48 states back to the island of Barbados folk loved the story of the Slade Brothers.

The Omega Nexus

We made the commitment and investment to present the Nexus at AnimeCon 2012, in Barbados, the home of the creators Roger & Jerry Reese. The reaction was memorable to say the least and I can’t wait to return.

The Omega Nexus

Then as upstarts in the fiction entertainment world you guys pushed us to our first award when we were voted East Coast Black Age of Comics Fan Favorite 2013.

Things were looking great but then life happened, human error happened and long story short, things kind of grinded to a halt.

If I’m being honest is was at this point that I feel we let you all down. We promised a new force in the game and he gave you a tease. It wasn’t intentional but that’s how it happened. Understand that from a creative stand point if you locked us in a room for a week to do nothing but create, we’d have books, movies & TV shows for days. The story making has never been an issue but getting it out to you properly has not been as smooth as I would have liked it. This isn’t about blame but just the reality of where we are. My mentality became one of frustration that even other business partners and friends close to me could feel. They sensed it in my silence. When something I would speak on and push everyday went unmentioned it set off red flags. You can only stand on potential for so long and I think we have realized this.

I took a stance that as the guy at the forefront of pushing the Nexus marketing & promotion wise, I would not continue doing the same thing and expecting a new result. I essentially offered up a challenge to my teammates. We have to prove that we can put out books. The one Omega Nexus piece is nice but there must be more and it must be continuous.

The Omega Nexus

So that’s what is on deck. We’re not here to bring you just another Ascended: The Omega Nexus book. We want to welcome you to the Ascended Universe. For the first time since I was still in school I can say that NEW Omega Nexus material is on the horizon. As the majors in the industry continue to roll out more and more “tried & true” content with their trusty stable of characters we will make good on our original goals to bring inclusion and diversity to story telling while giving the youth heroes that look like them to root for.

I’m fully confident that you will all be blown away with the story we are about to share with you. I can understand if this message is met with degrees of pessimism. I don’t blame you but I give my word that bigger and better days are ahead.
Thank you for your patience, encouragement and support!

The Omega Nexus

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Samurai Rides: New York to Washington D.C With The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Samurai Rides: New York to Washington D.C With The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

#DriveMitsubishi

 

#SamuraiRides #DriveMitsubishi #DriveSTI

This edition of Samurai Rides was a real treat because I really got to test out my vehicle in a couple of circumstances beyond my usual Tri-State exploits. In addition to that I got a chance to enjoy a different version of a ride that I had a great time with previously. Going into Valentine’s Day which was also Presidents Day weekend I had the pleasure of handling the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. It’s the smaller version of the Outlander I had a few months ago. I felt right at home when I hopped into the Outlander Sport. A majority of features that the Sport presents are identical to those of the larger standard Outlander from the Rockford Forgate sound system to the lane recognition which really got put to good use.

Outlander2

The Outlander Sport handles very smooth and provides a little more agility then the standard Outlander. This go around I received a last minute call to cover the 5th annual African American Heritage Tour in Washington DC presented by the Washington Informer. It presented the perfect opportunity to really put the wheels to the roads with the new Outlander.

 

Navigating the I-95 south towards the DMV area was a great ride with Mitsubishi’s sporty crossover. The 4 hour commute was great on gas and the time flew by with musical options on deck via Sirius XM. The traffic was a little tight getting out of the NY/NJ metro area but the Outlanders maneuverability was perfectly suited for the infamous driving style of the NY area.

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The GPS was super responsive so I getting lost was never a worry at any point. Things did get interesting once I reached DC. An unexpected snow storm came through was swirling winds that dropped visibility in a matter of minutes. Fortunately the Outlander came through in the clutch without any slipping or sliding on the icy roads.

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I think if I had to decide between this and the standard Outlander I’d go with the standard only because of size and people that know me know I’m into larger vehicles, but overall I’d direct anyone to the Sport without hesitation it’s a great ride!

Check out my video peek into the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport!!

#SamuraiRides #DriveMitsubishi #DriveSTI

 

**Check Out My Previous Auto Reviews**

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