All-Star Rap Basketball Team

The rap community has always had a close relationship with the sports world, especially the NBA.  We’ve seen countless rappers make appearances courtside at NBA games, numerous references to players in songs, and even some NBA players try their hand at rapping themselves.  With a number of NBA players, such as Shaq and Damian Lillard taking part in the game of rap, I thought it would be interesting to make a team of rappers that would be suited best to take part in the game of basketball.dame_dolla_bigger_than_us_long-00_03_06_10-still116

 

Owner/GM: Jay-Z

Besides the fact that Jay-Z is actually part owner of a team, I believe Jay-Z would be perfect for the role of owner for this squad since he has plenty of other business experience.  Jay-Z is great at getting people together for projects and is well-respected throughout the community.  He’s a great businessman, having experience with co-founding his own label, Roc-a-fella Records and being a certified NBA and MLB sports agent with clients on his agency’s roster of the likes of Robinson Cano, Kevin Durant, and Dez Bryant.  All in all, Jay-Z is a great businessman who could run this team quite smoothly.jayz

 

Coach: Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre could have also fit the bill of owner in this situation, but I felt he was better suited for the role of head coach.  Dre’s production skills are some of the best this world has experienced and I feel that ability to craft and create in the studio could translate seamlessly onto the court.  He’d be able to draw up plays flawlessly and whip the team into the best shape they could possibly be in.  Dre brings out the best in the people he works with and nearly everyone in the rap world has nothing but respect for him, leading him to having an excellent relationship with the players.dr-dre-2015

 

PG: J. Colej-colebasketballroc4life

Cole may be more on the taller side of talent on this team, but I feel his skills and abilities fit the Point Guard role beautifully.  Just like in his music, he has the ability to show off when he needs to, but also put his pride aside and help those around him, making him a perfect candidate for point guard.  The quiet, unassuming approach he took on his last record and seems to be sticking with would create a nice deception to the skill that Cole possesses when he has the ball in his hands.  Cole also has much experience playing basketball, having stated on numerous occasions that he loved playing growing up, even playing on his high school team.  We’ve also seen him play in the 2012 NBA celebrity game, where he had a nice dunk with the alley-oop assist from Kevin Hart, which shows that Cole is a great multi-tool player.

 

SG: Freddie Gibbs1372788855_7f76937d705d32c3aa8886f0bb25218a

Freddie Gibbs, I believe, would make an excellent addition to this team.  I was unsure where to put him exactly on this squad, but I believe SG is where he fit best.  Freddie Gibbs has a strong, aggressive style of rapping that could intimidate anyone.  This style is especially present on tracks such as “Shitsville” off of his collaborative album with Madlib, Piñata.  A style, that would without a doubt translate onto the court, making him a scoring threat, as well as a defensive powerhouse.  People would be afraid to try anything against him, leading them to be weak and weary on defense.  This is a great skill to have for a big man, but due to his size in comparison to the rest of the team, I believe he is best suited for SG.  Also, Gibbs is very knowledgeable on the game of basketball and is an avid fan, giving him an edge on his opponents.

 

SF: Tyler, The Creator

This pick is a bit out there and unexpected.  I wouldn’t expect other owners to draft Tyler high, if at all, but I believe he could be a great asset to any rap basketball team.  Despite not being a huge fan of basketball, or having any real experience playing the sport, Tyler has the athletic build that any owner would dream of having on their team.8f2d89233a5a17f8b6b7395e327ccabb-odd-future-abs  Having a tall frame, with a skinny, yet muscular build, paired with natural athletic talent, makes Tyler a deceptively athletic threat, if I may.  Finding a position for him was tough, but Small Forward suits Tyler best because he is the most well-rounded rapper on this team.  He has the ability to go hard and tough when need be, as evident by tracks such as “Domo23” and “I Ain’t Got Time!”  Meaning he could take control of the game and pound it in the paint.  Yet at the same time, he is able to play it smooth and slick as evident on tracks such as “911/Mr. Lonely” and “Treehome95”, meaning he can take a step back and facilitate the ball effortlessly.  Also, having worked with a number of other artists, Tyler would have great chemistry with his other teammates.

 

PF: 2 Chainz2-chainz-ftr-jpg_1rw6wiylhntq01vitg21u4a0ge

2 Chainz is the first of the big men on this squad.  Standing at 6’5”, 2 Chainz is one of the tallest rappers in the game.  2 Chainz also has some of the most basketball experience out of any rapper.  2 Chainz attended Alabama State University on a basketball scholarship from 1995-1997.  Experience like this is a necessity on a team like this.  Being a bit of a veteran, 2 Chainz would serve as a great mentor to the rest of the team.  His lavish raps and melodic music would translate into a very graceful and beautiful style of play.  2 Chainz, however, is still able to get down and dirty when the time comes, allowing him to play some gritty defense and really battle under the hoop.

 

C: Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg, rounding out the starting five, would for sure serve as the captain of this roster. article-2560396-1b81e45900000578-177_634x759 Having been around the game nearly as long as Coach Dre, Snoop has veteran presence up the ying-yang.  His catchy, upbeat flow would translate into some great motivation and leadership.  Snoop would be able to keep the good spirits running high in the locker room and out on the court, even if the team is down or behind.  As for his play, Snoop is an avid sports fan, coaches football, and has run basketball fundraisers in past years.  Snoop has the athletic blood in him, making him a natural talent that can easily be utilized on the court.  His athletic talent can even be seen in his son Cordell’s football skills.  Cordell was a former WR at UCLA and was highly touted in high school for his play.  And lastly, Snoop has some experience as well.  Who could forget his appearance at the 2014 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans?

 

Sixth Man: Lil B

No rap basketball team would be complete without Lil B.  Lil B could easily be in the starting lineup, but I feel that his skills would be better utilized coming off the bench.  Lil B has some experience under his belt, having tried out for the NBA D-League (Now known as the G-League), but just falling short.  He could provide an amped up energy that would surely get his teammates riled up.  Lil B is capable of lighting a fire that could spark a huge run for his team when they need it most.  It also helps that Lil B has been known to have great “influence” in the sports world.  An influence that could easily be used to his team’s advantage.17efecad

 

Honorable Mentions:

 

Lil Dicky

Lil Dicky, known at home as LiDicky, comes from a very athletic family.  For those who do not know, Lil Dicky is the often forgotten about fourth Ball brother, as seen in this video.  While he may not have been as highly touted as his other brothers, there is no doubt that Lil Dicky has some skill of his own.  

 

Wale

Wale has great athleticism, having attended multiple colleges on football scholarships, making him a good candidate for this team.  However I was unsure where he could have fit into this lineup or whose place he could have taken.  Also, his skill resides in football, so whether that athleticism would translate to basketball is unknown.

 

Meek Mill

Meek Mill does not have much of a sports background besides being a fan of it, but in recent years, he has been seen hanging out with members of the Philadelphia 76ers.  This may not mean much, but I’m certain that he could have picked up a thing or two from hanging out with the likes of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.cnsebyruaaevhn1

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Meme Music

Meme music is a term I like to use to describe the songs that are featured in viral videos across the internet.  Usually, it’s one or two songs that get passed around from video to video, which in turn make the song a hit.  For the most part, the songs that have been used in viral videos have been rap songs.  In recent weeks it has been Mask Off by Future that has followed this trend, mainly being used by white people in awkward dance videos on Instagram (Haha comedy!).  Another up and coming one that I have seen has been Magnolia by Playboi Carti, which is used in the same sort of manner as Mask Off is.  Meme music, however, is not a recent trend.  It may not have been called Meme music or referred in a similar manner, but it was still present in pop culture.  maxresdefault-4

The trend of songs becoming popular through frequent uses in other medias can be traced back to the ringtone era of rap.  Ringtone rap was prominent around the time when cellphones were becoming more widespread and people began customizing their ringtones.  The music industry, as well as up and coming artists saw this growing trend and realized that they could easily capitalize on it.  Since a ringtone was only played for a max of 30 seconds, music artists only really needed to make a catchy hook with a nice beat that people could use as a fun, catchy ringtone.  People would hear their friend’s catchy ringtone and want to use it themselves, then their friends would hear it and want to use it and so on and so forth.soulja-boy  When Kiss Me Thru The Phone came out, practically every teenager rushed to make that their ringtone.  It was such a fly song at the time, yet many look back on it as being wack as hell.  But these rappers didn’t care.  They just wanted to make something catchy.  Many of these songs saw millions of plays and their creators in turn, saw millions of dollars and that’s all most of them cared about.  Many rappers achieved their popularity through these means, but for many of them, it was short-lived.  Rappers like Soulja Boy, D4L, and Jibbs saw there moments of fame, with their hits Kiss Me Thru The Phone, Laffy Taffy, and Chain Hang Low, respectively, only to be left in obscurity once the ringtone age was over.  You may still see their names pop up every once in a while, but other than that, their music is nothing but a memory.  Ringtone rap died down like any other music trend, but with the launch of Vine in 2012, viral songs saw light in a new medium. 

Vine was introduced to be a fun, unique social media platform where people could create 7-second clips of whatever they wanted.  Many used Vine for comedic videos, to show off their musical talents, or sports highlights.  Like anything in pop culture and especially the meme era, Vine would follow certain trends.  Viners would recycle jokes, styles, and even music.  It became a trend to use certain songs in your videos, especially if you wanted to gain popularity on the site.  Many of the songs used were dance songs that’s sole intention was to do a certain dance to it.870x489_silento-clip  Examples being Watch Me by Silentó, Hit the Quan by iLoveMephis, and countless others.  The dances to many of these songs were quite simple, yet of course white people couldn’t figure them out, but they would still try nonetheless.  These songs were just novelties made for viners to use in their videos, so the rappers could make millions.  Of course none of this would be possible without the help of streaming sites like Soundcloud and Spotify to house the songs for people to listen to in their free time (Not sure why).  However what was different about the Vine era from the ringtone era was the fact that there was a large number of songs that were not intended to be viral hits.  Examples of such songs being Hot Nigga by Bobby Schmurda, Hotline Bling by Drake, and Ultimate by Denzel Curry.  What’s interesting about these songs is that they were not originally intended to become viral like their ringtone era predecessors.  For the most part, these were simply songs that were released by the rappers, picked up by certain viners, and then beaten to death by the entire site.  Although one could argue that these songs were intended to blow up due to the internet, Bobby Schmurda did have talent, in my opinion, before he got put in jail.  Drake is Drake, so he didn’t need Vine plays to gain popularity.  And Denzel Curry is impossible to group with the other Vine rappers, because he’s as far from being a Vine rapper as possible.  Denzel Curry is one of the best up and coming rappers in the game, who saw one of his songs see viral play.  Just because one of his songs blew up in that manner does not mean he should be written off as a one-hit wonder.  Denzel Curry has all the talent in the world and I have nothing but respect for him.

denzel-curry

Like every trend, however, it has to die and Vine saw it’s demise in January when it was shut down by Twitter, putting an end to the Vine era of rap. Viral rap, however, simply moved platforms, shifting from Vine to Instagram and Twitter, bringing us to the present day.  The songs that are popping on those sites being Mask Off, Magnolia, and perhaps some others that I have yet to notice, are slightly unique from their predecessors.  Both Mask Off and Magnolia were written and released within their artist’s album.  They weren’t released as singles like the countless other viral rap songs.  This shows that they were not intended to become viral hits.  They’re just catchy songs that lived out their purpose of catching on and gaining popularity.  It’s fun to see an artist that you love have a song catch on and be a success, but it got me thinking; is it always a good thing?

Looking at the history of viral rap songs, the majority of the rappers became one-hit wonders. In most cases it’s because the artist cashed out and just never made music again, but in some cases, it is because that one viral hit is all the rapper is ever known for, which is what I worry for Denzel Curry and Playboi Carti.  Denzel Curry has all the talent in the world, but I fear that his music will just always be associated with middle schoolers flipping water bottles and dabbing.  Playboi Carti, meanwhile, looks to be being picked up by the white kid crowd that dances to songs that don’t fit their style (hilarious, right???) as well as the revitalization of the Milly Rock.  I guess what my worries boil down to most is the lack of appreciation for these rappers and the delegitimization of their music.  I enjoy Ultimate by Denzel Curry and Mask Off by Future,future-portrait-a-billboard-2016-kn-b-1548 but now I have a hard time listening to them because it just feels…weird.  I can’t separate the song from the viral videos and neither can most people.  The average person who does not really listen to a lot of rap music hears these songs and automatically associate them with the viral trend.  I play Ultimate and my friends will just start dabbing and flipping water bottles.  I play Bad and Boujee and all the white girls in the room start acting hood.  

Now I understand that there will always be popular music, I mean that’s exactly why it’s called “pop” music.  There will always be those songs that you just can’t avoid because they’re played on every radio station out there.  That’s just how it goes.  And there’s always a reason that it is so popular.  It’s not like the songs that I have talked about have no appeal that I can see.  I completely recognize what exactly makes these songs popular, it is merely the attitude about the music that comes afterwards that bothers me about these meme songs.  Whether it be the trend becoming annoying and being beaten to death or the devaluing of the song and the artist. Now I’m completely okay with it if that is the only song the rapper has to his or her’s name, but when an artist like Future, drake-views-from-the-6-cover-story-interviewDrake, or even Migos have their entire discography devalued simply because of one viral song that they had, that’s where I get annoyed.  The majority of people only know a couple songs by these artists (Maybe not Drake) and write off the rest of them.  They don’t bother diving deeper into the rapper’s music because they only view them as a novelty.

People just disrespect the music.  I may be just whining about people not appreciating the music I like, but I’m sure many people agree with me when I say that I don’t like it when people disrespect the artists I love.  I’ve listened to Denzel Curry, Future, and Migos long before they saw their viral successes.  That sounds pretentious, but it’s just me wishing people would respect the music more.  Dive deeper into an artist’s discography every once in a while.  Don’t just hear an artist’s most popular song and associate them with that until you die.  

“Listen deeper than the music before you put it in a box”-Tyler The Creator.