This is a bit dated, but just ignore the Fabricio Oberto, Michael Finley and Bruce Bowen shoutouts at the end of this mariachi edition of the Spurs’ “Go Spurs Go” and bask in its wonder. I mean, the Spurs are still going for their fifth championship and San Antonio is still very proud and happy for the time, so it still works. Ergo, new old playoff anthem for the Spurs. Love it.
It was bad enough when ABC unveiled will.i.am and Justin Bieber’s “#thatPOWER” as their official song for the playoffs, complete with a music video featuring the likes of Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah (and on the low end of the awkwardness spectrum, Zach Randolph and Brook Lopez) dancing and fake-balling with the Black Eyed Peas frontman, and followed by an increasingly uncomfortable in-game interview segment with Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen. Like most will.i.am-related songs (and all will.i.am solo singles), the song is mind-numbingly silly and irritating in a way that seems benign on first listen, but becomes distinctly unforgivable the 40th or 50th time around. Still, at least this was only the ABC song. You only hear that on the weekends in the playoffs, at least at first, and it never seems quite as pervasive as the then-yet-to-be-announced TNT song.
Sadly, the TNT song turned out to be nearly as bad. Rihanna’s “Right Now,” unofficial single off the Barbadian singer’s “Unapologetic” album, isn’t quite as stoopid as “#thatPOWER” — there’s no hashtags in the title, at least, and no boasts about “staying in fly attire” or “feeling funky fresh” — but it’s similarly uninspiring, and similarly grating with repeat listens. A collaboration with famed producer/DJ David Guetta, “Right Now” follows the established formula of Guetta vocal productions being inversely proportional in effort and creativity to the celebrity of the performer, so as you might guess, “Right Now” is exceedingly phoned-in and anonymous, with the same pre-Mayan Apoclypse (when recorded, anyway) lyrical fixation on PARTYING NOW NOW QUICK NOW WORLD ENDING as 65 percent of pop songs of the 2010s, and a hook so unimaginative as to be practically non-existent.
Compounding the general unlikability of both songs is that they’re basically unlikeable in the same way, as bottom-of-the-barrel by-products of the EDM moment in recent pop music. will.i.am and David Guetta were two of the guys most responsible for bringing European-styled electronic dance music back to the US pop charts, with their chart-topping (for 14 weeks!) collaboration on the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” helping to open the floodgates, and now both are milking the genre’s mainstream acceptance for all its worth, without exactly doing a ton to push things forward. The fact that both are showing up in promos for the playoffs for a major American sport (though at least Guetta’s creepy, zonked-out mug has been thankfully kept out of the TNT promos) is surely yet another peak in dance music’s all-out takeover of the country’s popular culture.
Like all NBA promo music, you rarely hear the songs in full over the course of games, or even for a verse at a time. More frequently, a single motif from the song is used coming in and out of bumpers and laced through pregame coverage. Since this is dance music in the 2010s we’re talking about, that of course means that all we usually really hear from either song is the break, a couple of bass-heavy, wordless drop sections with little to do with the primary melodies of their respective songs. Hear enough of both of them, and they start to sort of blend together in your head, until you forget which break belongs to which song (or maybe they’re actually secretly identical?). As Shaq would say, it’s a hell of a 1-2 punch.
How much would it cost to get a Tony Allen karaoke version of every single R&B song from the 1990s? Because based on this, it’d probably be worth it to hear him singing things like “No Diggity” or “Motownphilly.”
Just kidding — it’d definitely be worth it. Someone get a Kickstarter going.
This is the first track from N.O.R.E.’s new record, “Student of the Game,” and I don’t really know how to explain it or if it even needs explaining. It’s called “Kenny Smith Speaks” and it is just 15 seconds of Kenny Smith talking tough. That’s it. Pretty straightforward, really.
But if you were ever wondering what it would be like to have Kenny Smith do a tough talking intro to a rap record by an over-the-hill rapper, this is the answer. It’s weird.
First, here’s Kobe Bryant doing what he does best — scolding a teammate for failing during a competition.
After a few rounds, Broady ran out of lyrics and the sparring session wound down. Kobe then chided his teammate. “Yo, you got to be in lyrical fitness, man,” Bryant told Broady, referencing a well-known lyric by the rapper Canibus.
I know the internet uses LOL when anything is even the least bit funny, but I legitimately L’d out L when I read this. Kobe Bryant has always been Kobe Bryant, I guess, even when he was trying to be a rapper. Too good.
Now it’s the Shaq portion of the post, and as you might expect, Shaq talking about rap is actually Shaq rapping about Kobe rapping.
Shaq also took shots at Kobe in 2001. “I’m at All-Star Weekend in D.C. and I ran into Shaq,” Rick Nice says. “He’s wearing a white fur and we’re in the VIP section in the hotel. I am trapped in the corner. He has a radio with CDs and he’s playing the beats and he’s rhyming, freestyling, making s–t up off the top of his head. ‘Something something and I can’t stand Kobe / Something something and I rap better than Kobe / Something something I flip skills better than Kobe / I score more than Kobe.’
After a while, I’m looking at him like, ‘Why are you going so hard at Kobe with these rhymes?’ I didn’t know what to feel. It felt weird. I’m trying to flirt with girls and Shaq had me in a headlock rhyming about Kobe. He said, ‘I got bars. I got bars for Kobe.’ He had this radio that looked little in his hand. He had beat CDs and was changing the CDs and rapping and wouldn’t let you leave until you heard his rap. I was like, ‘Wow, OK.’”
If you’re not already doing it, please imagine Shaquille O’Neal, chilling in a hotel bar while wearing a white fur coat with a tiny portable CD player in his hand, forcing people to listen to him rap about how much better of a rapper he is than another basketball player, who just so happens to be his teammate and archnemesis. This is quite possibly the least hip-hop/most Shaquille O’Neal thing that has ever happened.
So yes, read the whole thing, especially if you want to have your mind blown by people sincerely praising Kobe Bryant’s skills on the mic. But also read it for people laughing about Kobe Bryant’s skills on the mic. It’s the best of both worlds.