Festival season is upon us! The weather is warming up, the sun will shine for longer, and the wacky costumes come out. However, most importantly, the new music is back to fill our ears and hearts with joy. No better event signals the kickoff of festival season better than SXSW and the lineup is looking extra juicy this year. We could break it down so many different ways, but we still couldn’t do such a lineup justice. So, you’ll have to settle for this little breakdown. Our take on the top five acts, the biggest heavyweights, to throw down at SXSW. This is The Festival Fistful!
It’s only right that Eminem curated and spit on the soundtrack for Southpaw, which will be released this week under his own Shady Records imprint. Like Jake Gyllenhaal’s character Billy “The Great” Hope in the movie, Eminem too, is a fighter. Which is why I can say that after hearing three singles from it so far, the Southpaw soundtrack sounds raw, relatable, and genuine. We’ve come to expect this from Eminem as an artist, and now in a rare change of pace we get a glimpse of Eminem the curator too.
Southpaw the movie and soundtrack comes out this Friday, July 24.
On an album stacked with rap heavy-hitters like Busta Rhymes, Slaughterhouse, Tech N9ne and more, Eminem calls on collaborators to deliver an honest, self-empowering soundtrack for fighters — whether they fight with their words or their fists.
Despite the Gwen Stefani feature, “Kings Never Die” isn’t my favorite, but the other two are a different story.
Okay, maybe “Phenomenal” isn’t quite on phenomenal status, but it’s a damn good backdrop to a fight-hard, feel good movie. Eminem’s delivery is staccato and emphatic, somewhat symbolic of the punches thrown by Billy Hope in the movie. One of my favorite lines reads, “If you stay strapped in your brain, engaged in a steel cage/ Ready to scrap asap/ Take your fists and just ball in/ Show who’s big and who’s smallest you’re Christopher Wallace,” ending with a solid tribute to Biggie.
And then there’s “R.N.S.” — an upbeat, hard-hitting self-worth track that lives up to its acronym.
Overall, the Southpaw soundtrack is off to a winning start, and having yet to hear the tracks featuring Joey Bada$$, The Weekend, and James Horner, I can’t wait until it drops just in time for the weekend.
1. “Cry For Love Pt. 1” — James Horner
2. “Kings Never Die” — Eminem feat. Gwen Stefani
3. “Beast” — Rob Bailey & The Hustle Standard feat. Busta Rhymes, KXNG Crooked and Tech N9ne
4. “This Corner” — Denaun Porter
5. ” What About The Rest Of Us” — Action Bronson & Joey Bada$$ feat. Rico Love
6. “Raw” — Bad Meets Evil (Eminem & Royce Da 5’9″)
7. “R.N.S.” — Slaughterhouse
8. “Wicked Games” — The Weekend
9. “All I Think About”– Bad Meets Evil
10. “Drama Never Ends” — 50 Cent
11. “Mode” — Prhyme feat. Logic
12. “Notorious Thugs” — The Notorious B.I.G. feat. Bone Thugs N’ Harmony
13. “Cry For Love Pt. 2” — James Horner
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Action Bronson’s set was recently pulled from Canada’s upcoming NXNE festival (North By Northeast), thanks to a petition of over 40,000 signatures showing disdain for Bronson’s often sexist and violent subject matter. As an avid Action Bronson fan and a woman, I agree with this decision.
His songs often have much more than a bar or two about women serving him food and sexual favors, so it makes sense why some Toronto residents don’t want him performing at a free, government-funded, all-ages event.
A woman named Erica Shiner started the petition to remove Bronson from the line-up due to his violent and sexually abusive attitude towards women. The NXNE directors and the city of Toronto quickly jumped on board, canceling Bronson’s set due to a responsibility to listen to the desires of the community.
Representatives from NXNE said this in their official statement:
“We are heartened by the community engagement that has been taking place around this YDS show. This debate continues an important conversation about violence against women and its depiction in art and culture that is long overdue.”
As a woman, it’s hard being an Action Bronson fan. It’s hard sometimes being a fan of any rapper, for that matter.
Are all of his songs on all of his albums over-sexualized, violent, and sexist?
And being someone that fell in love with rap’s lyrical concepts and complexities, I appreciate the diss tracks, the unapologetically lavish persona Bronson presents, the Queens accent he raps with, and the signature food metaphors he cleverly weaves into each track.
But Bronson’s lyrics, while smooth, poetic, and humorous, are too vivid. I can appreciate lyricism as a craft, but as a woman I have to draw the line when he raps literal depictions of rape, explicit sexual acts, and other violence toward women that most other rappers only imply in their songs.
In the past, rappers like 50 Cent and Rick Ross have had their true personas exposed, showing the whole world they’re not the violent gangsters their songs claim they are. But Bronson’s lyrics feel different — there’s something about the seriousness in his delivery that makes me wonder if he means it. I wonder if the real Action Bronson is the repulsive, threatening, woman hating creature his character as a rapper represents.
I can’t help but cringe at songs like “Consensual Rape,” where Bronson drops lines like:
“Then dig your shorty out cuz I geeked her up on molly/ Have her eating dick, no need for seasoning/ If seven dudes are in the room then she’s pleasing them/ Like a trooper/ Hit her in the pooper/ Throw her in the shower, then I take her out to Lupa.”
The fact that he named the song “Consensual Rape” is a perfect display of his hyper-literal approach to presenting himself as an artist, but an approach even some of the most ruthless, demeaning rappers in the game haven’t even jumped on board with.
Being an Action Bronson fan and a woman is sometimes conflicting. While I appreciate artistry in its most honest forms and don’t believe in censoring creative expression, I find it hard to support someone who so overtly perpetuates the continual subordination of women.
In college I had an idea for the next great iPhone app: Bandom, a random band name generator. If you were uncreative or indecisive, this app would pick a title for your band, group, or stage-name based on your answers to a random set of questions (i.e., what is your least favorite number?). I abandoned this bold and daring project when I realized that over half of my band names were just variations on Toad the Wet Sprocket – Eat the Red Apple, Jump the Weird Postman, Cat the Hot Tin Roof.
I’m fairly certain that one of the band names I came up with was The Social Experiment, which, then and now, seems a bit corny. It’s too proud and clever by half. The name projects self-awareness but sounds more thrilled with itself than you are.
The name makes sense, however, for the band led by Donnie Trumpet (Nico Segal) and featuring Chance the Rapper. Two years removed from his remarkable 2013 mixtape hit Acid Rap, Chance is not the main attraction on much of Surf as the band, and a few surprise guests, grabs our attention. The highly anticipated album is itself a conscious exercise in social experimentation, a thesis on why hip-hop is, at its best, democracy in action.
If you download Surf for free on iTunes, you’ll notice a curious bit of crediting. Under the artist heading is the name Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, with no mention of Chance. Meanwhile, each song title stands alone without naming the various artists who are featured on the majority of the sixteen tracks. This sneak-attack is somewhat daring. It presupposes that the audience will want to listen to a band led by a guy named Donnie. We obviously know that Chance will play a part in the proceedings, but on which songs? And are we to believe that no one will show up to join him, as Childish Gambino and Action Bronson did on Acid Rap?
Surf relies heavily on answering these questions with surprising mis-direction, and does so with confidence and clarity. This makes the first listening experience, in many ways, the most enjoyable. The album notes don’t recognize a delightfully on-point Busta Rhymes, B.o.B, BJ the Chicago Kid, and Janelle Monaé on “Slip Slide,” which makes the track seem like even more of a surprise party than it already is. The fun continues with cameos from Big Sean and Jeremih on “Wanna Be Cool,” blanketed under the warmth of a 80s swingbeat. J. Cole, King Louie, and Quavo of Migos fame also show up. Even Erykah Badu briefly arrives on “Rememory,” where she asks Chance about his hectic day with her signature lull.
If it had no other virtues, Surf would be worthy for insisting that a great album isn’t about how many featured artists you showcase or the quality of your “sick beats.” It’s about understanding how many elements must work in tandem to create a successful track, how each track must give way to a completed work. There’s enough limelight for everyone and each artist makes the most of their time without ever disrupting The Social Experiment. The absence of credit makes each passing song feel greater than the sum of its parts as a hypnotic effect, aided by various elements of psych rock and jazz, overtakes the listener. Even subconsciously, the album lacks ego.
Yes, many of the contributors are rappers. But Donnie and the gang don’t want to be boxed in to any particular classification. They understand that genre in 2015 is passé and so the album hovers around the territory of To Pimp a Butterfly, sometimes with mixed results. “Nothing Came to Me” and “Something Came to Me” are two of the wordless tracks on Surf and their obvious parallels are less interesting than their titles would suggest. But “Windows” (featuring BJ and Raury) justifies the marriage of jazz and hip-hop with balletic subtly.
And then there is Chance, who, gracious as he may be, was not born to be a sidekick. He makes the most of his talents on Surf, starting the album off with the staggering complexity of “Miracle” (no one meanders quite like Chance) and ending on the triumphant “Sunday Candy.” The latter track was pre-released, and the music video — apparently the best high school production ever of a Wes Anderson movie — accentuates the playful nature of the entire album. The song is so joyful and Jamila Woods croons so angelically that it’s easy to overlook just how good Chance sounds as a vocalist. He may not do the salto mortale quite like Kendrick Lamar, but if 10 Day and Acid Rap introduced us to his verbal dexterity and original flow, Surf shows us his impressive range. He’s here to stay. I told you he should play the Super Bowl.
It’s hard to be critical of artists who willingly share their music with you for the low cost of nothing, especially when they remind you of how much fun you can have when you don’t know what’s coming next. In the age of Spotify and Tidal, Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment have freely shown us just how blissful our ignorance can be. Surf happily subverts its audience by giving us all the moving parts that we want but not the ones we expect. Now that’s a surprise album.
Yeahhhhh doggies! Sing it with me now: It’s the most wonderful tiiiiiiime of the yeaaaaarrrrrrr!!!
Oh, what’s that you say? Andy Williams wrote that song about Christmas? Could’ve fooled me. Christmas is not wonderful. Christmas is about flexing on your family and letting everybody know that you’re still the most worthy successor to your grandfather’s immaculate watch collection, if for no other reasons than that you kinda dress like an adult now and you can cook four different dishes with stunning mediocrity. Christmas is aggressive, heated, psychological warfare, don’t be fooled.
The most wonderful time of the year is actually right now, the two-month stretch from mid-April to mid-June when the weather finally stops toying with your emotions and the NBA playoffs start.
There’s nothing I enjoy more than watching NBA playoff basketball. It follows five months of good coaches getting thrown under the bus because of bad players, the most suspect defenses known to man, extremely overplayed storylines, hilarious Instagram posts, 28-footers getting launched five seconds into a shot clock because the team’s DJ is still playing the “I’ma Boss” instrumental, Knicks fans trying to act like they don’t care about basketball (or anything) anymore, and Russell Westbrook making it okay to dress like a total douchebag by incinerating hardwood floors across the nation.
The playoffs signify the end of the BS and the beginning of a legendary tradition in which the most skilled athletes in the world pour their heart and soul into their craft, leaving everything they have on the floor night after night (besides the Nets, who just want to get swept in the first round so we can all stop caring about how overpaid they are).
People who hate on the NBA don’t only confuse me, they irritate me. Instead of focusing on how exceptional these men are at a sport that combines athleticism, wits, intuition, power, speed, finesse, and clutchness, perhaps in more equal parts than any other, NBA haters would rather focus on bad tattoos, bad tweets, and the self-righteous “purity” of college basketball. Guess what, hater? Your favorite college team is gonna be ass again next year after that top recruit you’ve been in a drunken love-fest with all winter declares for the draft two-to-three years early. Sorry bruh, I guess the allure of things like going to class, not having his own shoe, not dating models, and not making millions of dollars just wasn’t enough to keep him around for another Final Four upset. But he’s selfish and ignorant, right?! Yeah, totally.
Anyways, the NBA is where it’s at. And there is no sporting event that is as competitive for as long a period of time as the playoffs. It’s magical.
Much like NBA players, rappers are prone to lots of criticism, some deserving and some not, much of it with racial undertones (both are, after all, dominated by young black men and critiqued by young-to-middle aged white men). But at the end of the day, the talent speaks for itself. Rappers and ballers make difficult things look easy, to put it lightly.
And that is why, in honor of the start of the NBA playoffs, I have compiled a list of 20 comparisons between players who are currently in the playoffs and their rapping counterparts. The following comparisons are often-times loose, highly subjective, and based on no criteria of importance. Do you have a problem with that? Didn’t think so, let’s get started.
(Editor’s note: I tried my best, but I couldn’t think of an Anthony Davis comparison. He’s too talented at too young of an age. Hip-Hop doesn’t have that right now.)
Drew Gooden (Washington Wizards) & Fat Joe
Hey, did you know that one year Drew Gooden averaged 14.8 PPG? That’s almost 15 whole PPG, wowzers! He also averaged just over 9 RPG in TWO different years. I mean damn, Drew, you really showin’ out big homie. But perhaps most impressively, Drew Gooden has played for ten different NBA teams in his thirteen year career, which is good for exactly one-third of the total teams in the league. He is a shining example of how to make a career out of doing the absolute least. Every time I see Drew Gooden check into a game I think to myself, “huh, that’s funny, I swear he retired eight years ago. Way to go Drew!”
Admittedly, Fat Joe has had a more impactful rap career than Gooden has had a basketball career. Joey Crack was part of Diggin’ In The Crates and he introduced the world to Big Pun, which will always matter. He also licked the bottom of a Jordan one time on MTV Cribs, and I think it was because he was actually that hungry. But most importantly, like Drew, Joe knows how to hop on more talented peoples’ coattails to remain relevant. Ja Rule and Ashanti are hot? How about some “What’s Luv” for that ass. Scott Storch is the most sought after producer? Hit ’em with a lil’ “Lean Back” action. Everything Lil’ Wayne touches turns to platinum? Might as well “Make It Rain” then, right? CRACK!
JR Smith (Cleveland Cavaliers) & Ty Dolla $ign
JR: Not really a basketball player, more so a kindred spirit put on this Earth to bring joy to our mundane, pointless existence.
Ty: Not really a rapper or singer, more so a kindred spirit put on this Earth to bring joy to our mundane, pointless existence.
JR & Ty: Redefining the beauty of ratchet every single day with each subsequent chorus, fadeaway corner three, and flagrant neck tat. God bless them both.
Zach Randolph (Memphis Grizzlies) & Jadakiss
This comparison works beautifully because of the combination of surface value and deeper connections.
Do both men have alarmingly circular heads? Check.
Are both men incapable of growing facial hair beyond “senior year in high school” status? Check.
If either one of them wasn’t a celebrity, would a white girl be scared shitless to run into them on the streets at night? Check.
Are they two of the hardest working, most consistent, generally adored fan favorites at their respective crafts? Check, check, check.
Jamal Crawford (Los Angeles Clippers) & Fabolous
Crawford has more in common with F-A-B-O than one might think. Neither has ever been a top ten, or even top 15 talent for any given year in basketball or rap. But they are not to be slept on. When Crawford is feeling it, he can single-handedly put a game away with his polished offensive skill-set, dirty crossover, and insanely demoralizing heat-check threes. This seems to happen about four or five times a year.
Loso is the same way. He has never dropped a classic album and never will, but when he’s on, he’s really on. He’s certainly not the best at anything, but he can do everything very well. He’s always a threat to kill somebody on their own song, and once or twice a year he’ll drop a single out of nowhere that whips radio into a frenzy.
Nikola Mirotic (Chicago Bulls) & Action Bronson
Mirotic has been a godsend for the depleted Bulls this season. The 6’10” 24-year-old Spanish Montenegrin rookie can stretch the floor, rebound, play defense, and bring a spark off the bench in limited playing time… And none of these things warrant any Bronson comparisons.
What does warrant Bronson comparisons? Simple: beard girth and scrappiness. You don’t want to fuck with Mirotic (ask Zaza Pachulia), and you DEFINITELY don’t want to fuck with Action Bronson (ask anybody). The power is in the beard. Sometimes it’s best not to overthink these things.
OJ Mayo (Milwaukee Bucks) & Ace Hood
Wasn’t OJ Mayo supposed to, oh, I don’t know, be good? It seems like so long ago now that he was selected with the third overall pick in the 2008 draft that I can’t seem to remember just how high analysts were proclaiming his upside to be. It seems like even longer ago when he was one of the best high school prospects ever.
Since his rookie and sophomore campaigns with the Grizzlies, in which he put up 18.5 and 17.5 PPG, respectively, Mayo has averaged somewhere between 11 and 15 PPG playing modest minutes with non-contenders. He’s still in his prime (27), but it seems as if the potential will never pan out.
Enter Ace Hood. DJ Khaled’s pet project was once a potential trap star in the making after he flooded the streets with the quadruple back-to-back of traptastic singles, “Hustle Hard,” “Go n Get It,” “Body 2 Body,” and “Bugatti.” Alas, the buzz has long since died down, and frankly, nobody gives a damn.
We’ll always have this though:
Marcin Gortat (Washington Wizards) & Ill Mitch
This is easily the most important comparison of this entire article. Peep game from my mans Ill Mitch real quick:
“I HAVE TWO SIDE, ONE HAPPY ONE ANGER, YOU CAN ASK A STRANGER MY BOARD IS FAST AND DANGER.”
AND THEN THERE’S THIS:
HE’S “RIGHT HERE CHILLING WITH MY PUPPY IN SHOPING CENTER IN POLAND.” UNBELIEVABLE. WE ARE NOT THE SAME HE IS A MARCIN.
Joe Johnson (Brooklyn Nets) & The Game
For some reason, I really love both Silky Joe and Jayceon. Neither one has been particularly relevant or good since around 2009, but I don’t know man, I just love ’em. Joe Johnson plays a deliberate and confident offensive game that sometimes becomes unstoppable for brief stretches. Game still name-drops like its nobody’s business, and he can’t stop rapping exactly like the rappers he gets on tracks with, but sometimes he sounds unstoppable for brief stretches.
They couldn’t be more different off the court and away from the mic, as Johnson hasn’t said a word in 17 years and counting (that’s an official stat), and all Game does is talk shit. But it’s the ways in which both have used their prior media exposure to sustain slightly-above average careers that really gets me. I guess I just have a certain respect for people who can sneakily convince the world that they are either a seven-time all-star or a rap legend.
Joakim Noah (Chicago Bulls) & Waka Flocka Flame
Everybody knows how hard Waka goes in the proverbial paint that is life. Any time I’m sick of my old workout playlists and don’t feel like making a new one, Waka saves me with Flockaveli. I just throw that album on and I’m ready to go. He’s the reason I only party on streets named Grove.
Joakim Noah is a one-man Grove St. Party on the basketball court; a keg-standing, Ron Diaz guzzling, shirt swinging ball of fire who I’m positive would crush any beer pong balls in the vicinity if he lost a game, just so nobody else could play.
Just keep soaking that all in, it’s the good stuff. Even from the bench Noah can’t stop acting like the most annoying kid in your 6th grade gym class.
Lou Williams (Toronto Raptors) & Meek Mill
Fresh off of Lou Will’s well-deserved 6th Man of the Year Award, this comparison is too easy. Meek and Lou are actually great friends in real life. Rick Ross and Wale are the stars of the MMG camp, but Meek is the fan favorite with enough hood swag to bag Nicki Minaj. Similarly, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are the stars of the Toronto Raptors, but Lou Will is the fan favorite with enough hood swag to will his team to victory when they need him the most.
Meek’s manic energy can single-handedly save boring ass beats from themselves, and Lou’s silky game can single-handedly save the boring ass Raptors from themselves. Plus Lou Will kinda went in on that “I’ma Boss” beat (“Thank God all these games I done played, at $60K a game all this money I done made!”):
HALFTIME. Alright, we’ve made it through the first ten. Now I know you’re ready for the heavyweights. Let’s get it.
Paul Pierce (Washington Wizards) & Jeezy
The Truth and The Snowman. What else is there to say? Paul Pierce is one of my favorite ballers ever, and Jeezy is one of my favorite rappers ever. Despite lacking in some crucial areas that their peers excel in, namely athleticism for Pierce and lyricism for Jeezy, it just never really mattered. They still dominated their primes and are going hard to this day. They’re both OG’s with respect from nearly all of their peers, and are well-deserving of their sustained, decorated careers. Salute.
Also, real recognize real:
Maaan this young jeezy going hard rite now in the whip
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) March 31, 2009
Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers) & Wale
Hmmm, let me think here. Who makes up a great rapper/baller combo that complains about nearly everything for no apparent reason? Furthermore, is said rapper/baller combo the second biggest star on their respective team? Did the rapper in the combo change his style in order to expand his microphone pedigree and fanbase, but can still use his old style flawlessly when necessary? Did the baller in the combo change his game in order to expand his offensive prowess, but can still “how do my nuts taste” Aron Baynes’ entire family three times in one quarter when necessary? And despite all the bitching and moaning, when it comes down to it, are they both superbly talented? Now you see where I’m going with this one…
John Wall (Washington Wizards) & Chance The Rapper
These are two of the brightest young stars in the game, and they will continue to shape and mold hip-hop and basketball for a long time. They both ooze youthful exuberance, but with a maturity far beyond their years. Wall’s instincts and basketball IQ coupled with his natural athleticism make him a joy to watch. Chance’s dexterity and all-around lyrical polish make him a joy to listen to. These young guns are just getting started.
Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls) & Big L
I love D-Rose. That man defines hard work and class. If I was in his position, I would’ve lost my mind and/or given up a long time ago. It’s been a joy to watch him dominate the first three games of the playoffs. It was really hard to think of a comparison for him even though I wanted one so badly. I just couldn’t think of a current rapper who was so great, who peaked so early, and who fell off so quickly due to such severe bad luck.
And then it hit me. If D-Rose sustains another terrible injury, his career really is over, and he will become the NBA’s version of Big L. Here is my reasoning:
L dropped one classic album, 1995’s Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, at only 20-years-old. That album contained the classic single, “MVP.” Rose won the NBA’s MVP award in 2011 at only 22-years-old — the youngest player to ever do so.
L was gunned down in 1999 in his native Harlem at only 24, before he could release a Lifestylez follow-up (2000’s The Big Picture was about 75% finished at the time of his murder). Rose is a Chicago-native — one of the city’s prodigal sons — whose career is dangerously close to ending in his hometown.
Both men are two of the most naturally gifted artists to ever touch a microphone or a basketball. L only has two proper albums to his name and he will always be regarded as one of the greats. As for Rose, well, anybody who remembers his first three years in the league, specifically that MVP year, knows just how awe-inspiring he is with a basketball in his hands.
At the time of his death, L was reportedly weeks away from signing with Roc-A-Fella Records. Dame Dash and Jay-Z were courting him hard. Roc-A-Fella would’ve given L the platform he needed to obtain the exposure he deserved.
Here’s to hoping that D-Rose can still have his Roc-A-Fella moment.
Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers) & A$AP Rocky
As it currently stands, Kyrie and Rocky are two immense talents that are standing juuuust outside of the bosses circle. Rocky is not quite on the level of popularity that Drake, Kendrick, J. Cole, and Kanye are, but if At Long Last A$AP does what it’s supposed to do critically and commercially, then he will be thrust head-first into that conversation. There’s no reason that Rocky’s swaggy ass should not be moving the type of units that this man moves:
I mean, dammit Jermaine, you’re 30-years-old and still making songs about wet dreams you had in the 90s or whatever. Geez, just give it a rest.
Similarly, Kyrie is one small step behind the cream of the current NBA crop. He’s not on the level of LeBron, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry, Anthony Davis, and James Harden, but he’s damn close. Ask Gregg Popovich how close he is. Kyrie is the deciding factor in whether or not the Cavs take it all this year. LeBron is going to do what he does, that’s a given. But if Kyrie can play the most inspired ball of his life these next couple months, Cleveland has as good a shot as anybody in the west.
Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs) & Nas
Ignorant rap fans don’t like Nas for the same reason that ignorant basketball fans don’t like Tim Duncan. You can hate on Nas’ beat selection all you want, but here are some pretty indisputable facts for you:
He’s a top-five all-time great by pretty much any metric.
He’s been relevant in every era since the early-90s.
He changed the game in more ways than you can count.
If he asked any rapper on the planet to hop on a verse for his next album, there are zero rappers who would say no.
While 99% of rappers who came out in the 90s are washed up either lyrically, commercially, or both, Nas at 41 can still spit circles around your favorite MC, AND his albums still sell better than the vast majority of rap albums.
You can hate on Duncan for his fundamental, “I think I’m going to go watch paint dry now because that sounds more entertaining” game, but here are some indisputable facts for you:
He’s the best power forward of all time.
He’s the heart and soul of a Spurs dynasty that has spanned SIXTEEN YEARS and counting.
He’s arguably the greatest teammate ever, in any sport.
The Spurs would not have won any of those five rings without him.
He’s turning 39 tomorrow, and his basketball IQ is so off-the-charts that he can still shut down any big man on defense, if he needs to, by out-thinking them.
Additionally, rap fans prefer Jay-Z to Nas in the same way that NBA fans prefer Kobe to Duncan. Jay/Kobe have more flash to their game, they’re way more marketable, and their signature moments are more memorable. But at the end of the day, when it comes down to nothing else besides playing basketball or rapping, who would you rather have? I’m taking Tim and Nas all day, two times on Sunday ya bish.
James Harden (Houston Rockets) & Drake
I’m going to make this very brief because I don’t want to spend any time talking about either of these people. James Harden annoys the shit out of me. Drake annoys the shit out of me. James Harden is a spectacular basketball player who forces the game to be played around him, and I respect that. Drake is a spectacular rapper who forces the game to sound like him, and I respect that. Ugggghhhhhhhhhh.
LeChris PaulJames (Los Clevegeles Clipaliers) & Kanye West
I had to combine LeBron James and Chris Paul for two reasons:
One, if this was 2012 and LeBron was still the most hated villain in all of sports, then the Yeezy comparison would be almost too easy. But Bron has done a fantastic job of repairing his image since then, and he’s really a genuinely nice guy. Not nearly enough of a dick to warrant a 2015 Kanye comparison by his lonesome.
Two, I feel like Kanye would get super butt hurt and/or offended if I didn’t combine two people to create his comparison. I can’t risk the off-chance that somehow he reads this article and shows up at my doorstep one day ready to make me apologize for having the audacity to only give him ONE player to compare to.
Anyways, LeChris PaulJames is the NBA version of Kanye West because of the burden of greatness. You’re talking about a pair of basketball geniuses who are so great at what they do that nobody will ever just accept that greatness at face value. Yeah, Bron has two rings, but will he ever bring one home to Ohio? Yeah, CP3 has been the best point guard in the NBA for at least the past five years, but can he ever make it out of the first two rounds of the playoffs? And can he ever stop baiting opponents into fouls and bitching to refs when they don’t call those fouls? And can anybody on the Clippers ever stop being an asshole? And can somebody please kill Chris Paul so I don’t need to watch those fucking State Farm ads anymore?!
They play with that burden of greatness because they will never be good enough for us, or humble enough, or clutch enough, or vicious enough, etc.
Kanye’s burden of greatness is somewhat different, however, because he puts it on himself and then forces it down our throats, something that athletes simply can’t do. They would have a million people in their organization telling them to shut up if they acted the way Kanye acts. But Kanye has nobody he needs to answer to. He knows how great he is, and he actually does care (A LOT) if we don’t recognize that greatness.
Ultimately, Kanye just wants to go down as the greatest, which means that more rap fans have to prefer his music to his big brother Jay-Z’s music. Even if one day I do actually think that Kanye has surpassed Jay, I would never admit it to anybody, not even myself. Because then I would let Kanye win, which is something I simply can’t afford to do. I’m a man with pride, homie.
So yeah, burden of greatness or whatever the hell I was talking about. Hey Kanye, your shirt has a stain on it.
Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors) & Kendrick Lamar
Y’all know I had to wrap this up with a little bit of California love. Steph will most likely win the MVP award this year, and every rap fan I know this side of the Milky Way Galaxy wants to kiss Kendrick Lamar’s feet for making To Pimp A Butterfly. Furthermore, Steph is the best player on the league’s best team, and Kendrick is the best rapper on rap’s best label (which makes ScHoolboy Q the Draymond Green of TDE, which is an idea that I am head-over-heels in love with. I feel like Q and Draymond would be great friends. I wish I would’ve thought of this comparison earlier.).
Both Steph and Kendrick have unlimited talent and upside, with two of the most dynamic and fun games in ages. They are revolutionizing basketball and rap, Steph and his Warriors with their utterly unstoppable hybrid triangle offense, and K-Dot with the most impressive combination of critical and commercial fanfare since My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Cali stand up!
And just like that, I’m out. Enjoy the playoffs y’all, it’s going to be a wild ride. Good looks to my A2 goons for some initial inspiration on this one.