Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Sorry guys, he’s coming back in Game 3. Standard rap language warning in effect. LOL warning too.

(via Ball is Life)

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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.

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george-hill-nice-smile

Let your ears feast upon this bit of musical genius, then we can talk about it.

Now for some comments about this:

  • George Hill (last verse) isn’t a very good rapper, but Trinidad James had been rapping for less than a year when “All Gold Everything” was recorded, so there’s not that big of a difference.
  • Is Mike Epps the Tyler or Ben Hansbrough of the non-related Epps Brothers? At first I thought Ben, but when you look at Omar’s IMDb page, maybe Mike is the Tyler.
  • “Frank Vogel, you a good coach and we down with ya” followed by “Pacer … hat, go buy one, make sure it fit ya” is Shakespearean in its beauty.
  • Mike Epps doesn’t care if the Knicks are winning.
  • “Pass the ball and I shoot it WOO!” is no “Popped a molly I’m sweatin’ WOO,” but then again, nothing is.
  • There is 100 percent definitely a Mike Epps adlib in here that is simply him saying “Onion rings,” which means he probably did several takes of just saying “Onion rings” in to the mic.
  • Pacers is their name.
  • Not a single “Goldmember” reference. Shameful.

This seems to be our first team anthem of the playoffs, which is always a big moment. Can’t wait to hear the Clippers’ version of “Started from the Bottom.”

(via Indy Cornrows)

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.

(via Chris Vernon/SB Nation)

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.

(via Zilla Rocca)

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I don’t want to spoil the entire thing for anyone, but there is a must-read piece about Kobe Bryant’s ill-fated rap career on Grantland that you must read. But before you do that, let’s enjoy what may be the two funniest parts of the thing, just because you can imagine the respective mouths that said these things.

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.

jay-z-wearing-a-sweatshirt

When reports surfaced a couple days ago that rapper/mogul/all-everything-everything dude Jay-Z had sold his ownership stake in the Brooklyn Nets, I was absolutely shocked. Yes, I know he didn’t actually own that much of the team — though I would have guessed it was something like 3-5 percent of it, not like, way way less than 1 percent — but for him to jump ship after less than a full season since he ostensibly had a large part in moving the team across state lines and into his backyard, and when the Nets were still doing OK as a basketball team … it just seemed so anti-climactic for him to cut bait right before the playoffs.

But more than the surprise of him doing it at all was the lack of fanfare with which he appeared to do it. No big press release, no tearful press conference, no tweets or website posts, just an Adrian Wojanrowski report without an official comment. And for what? The chance for his Roc Naton company to represent NBA talent in the upcoming draft? Was that really such a critical next step in the life of a man with a net worth of about half a billion dollars that he was willing to shed his stake in a team he’d invested years (if not necessarily millions) in bringing back to national prominence, as if it was just a minor formality, just like filing the proper paperwork?

This seemed particularly insane to me on Tuesday, as I went to see my Sixers take on the Nets at Barclays Center. As usual at Barclays, there was never more than a fifteen-minute period without some sort of Jay-Z-related song getting played. “Public Service Announcement” alone appeared in different contexts at least three times. In addition to that, and the rest of the supposedly partly-Jigga-curated playlist for the evening, and the uniforms he supposedly helped design (and definitely unveiled), and the 40/40 Club located within the building, there was even a Jay-Z banner hanging in the rafters for the eight sold-out shows he played to open the building, like it took Billy Joel and Elton John decades to get at Madison Square Garden. Mikhail Prokhorov may own the team, but Jay-Z surely owns the building. (Ed. note: He also literally owns part of the building.)

What’s more, Hov always seemed to take a considerable amount of pride in the Nets, and in particular his bringing them to Brooklyn. He wore his own Nets jersey onstage at Barclays. The Zadie Smith profile on Jigga for the New York Times was called “The House That Hova Built,” even though the article only made passing references to anything basketball or Brooklyn-related. In his most famous verse of the 2010′s, Jay bragged about “moving the Nets to BK” and scoffed at the idea of the Nets going 0-82 (something that was disturbingly close to a possibility in ’09-’10) being a problem. (“And anyway, the worse the Nets do, the easier it’ll be for Jay to move them to Brooklyn. This man cannot lose!” comments the RapGenius interpretation of the lyric.) This was not just some silent partner, this is a guy whose largely unassailable public identity was now almost inextricable from the basketball team he owned .067 percent of.

So what happened? Did Jay-Z note the team’s relatively low playoff ceiling, uninspiring and uncharismatic roster, and seemingly permanently spoken-for cap space and decide to cut his losses? Was it strictly a dollars and cents decision, with the cash-money opportunities of entering into the sports agency game too considerable to remain attached to the Nets for sentimentality’s sake? And does Jay think that this really is all just a formality, and that he can continue on being the unofficial spokesperson for the Nets even after he’s divested himself from the team financially, in sort of a business/sports equivalent to “I really hope we can still be friends?” We can’t know for sure, since Jay-Z’s not even talking about it.

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