Part of me realizes that this blog isn't the right forum for this, but whatever. It's my week to hold these duties down, and this is what's on my mind today. I could've taken the easy route and commented on how laughably bad that new Fat Joe album is (a fact that 50 Cent so cleverly pointed out through viral video), or pondered the quality that'd exit the studio after a Slaughterhouse and Dr. Dre recording session. There's just no way around it, though—my mind is circling around the events of yesterday morning, and I can't shake them.

After 13 incredible years, I had to put my dog to sleep yesterday. Full-bred German Shepherd; one hell of an amazing canine. The kind of pooch that made every shitty, stressful, failed day seem worthwhile by simply greeting me at the door, tail wagging, smile beaming. She didn't give a what if I was a letdown on the given day; she was just happy to see me. If only girlfriends could follow the suit of dogs in this regard. Old age caught up with her, unfortunately, and the day that all dog-owners sign up for when they first bring their new pets home hit me like a Tyson-in-his-prime uppercut. I've tried to put it past me, but it's not happening. So, I figure, I have to handle my blogging responsibilities, and this is a hip-hop website; not that of Dog News. How to bring the two worlds of my-dog's-no-longer-here and rap music? Here's how, as far as I've been able to manage.

Before the music starts, though, let me say this: I totally understand that using this blog as a venue to work out my thoughts isn't ideal, but I'd hope that people can relate in some way. We've all lost someone or some animal that we've loved, I'd imagine. Whether it was the dog that you'd had since childhood or a family member. And, being the hip-hop head I am, one way that I've somewhat coped has been to listen to records that channel this emotion. These songs aren't about German Shepherds, but the basic feeling of loss heard in them transcends.

To avoid any further melodrama, I'll quit while I'm ahead of any further Debbie-Downer-isms. I'll leave it at this-----I now get why DMX has that "Boomer" tattoo on his back and why the most poignant moment in his "Slippin'" video is the scene when the young-X confides in the pitbull puppy after his mother dogs him. I'm right there with Mickey Rourke, too, who cried publicly when asked about his recently deceased Chihuahua at the ridicule of the gossip blogging circuit.

These are the tracks that best convey what I'm trying to say; just replace the fallen friends with a fallen German Shepherd. If I had any legit rhyme-writing abilities, I would've attempted to scribe "I Wonder If Heaven Got a Kennel" (that's a joke,of course, but, shit, I would have tried in a less-sane state). And if you're laughing right now at this entire post, or confused, I can't blame you. It just leaves me to believe that you've never lost a best friend. If that's the case, I envy you. -Matt Barone

For the record, I'm purposely avoiding "The Crossroads" and "I'll Be Missing You"; both just seemed way too obvious. -Matt Barone

Nas - "Dance"

Pete Rock & CL Smooth - "T.R.O.Y. (They Reminisce Over You)"

M.O.P. - "Dead & Gone"

2Pac - "Life Goes On"

Dr. Dre - "The Message"

T.I. - "Live in the Sky"