Rap Or Go To The League: How The NBA Embedded Itself In Hip-Hop’s DNA

It’s  March 26th, 1979 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

College basketball fans are getting ready for the NCAA men’s basketball finals. The Indiana State Sycamores willed their way to the winner takes all match, led by Larry Bird, who was drafted sixth overall by the Boston Celtics one year prior. Across the court were the Michigan State Spartans led by an exciting young talent in Magic Johnson. With this one game, perhaps the biggest and longest-standing rivalry in NBA history was about to commence. 

Rap Or Go To The League: How The NBA Embedded Itself In Hip-Hop's DNA

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Throughout 1979, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were considered the best in the NCAA. Bird represented the white working-class man in rural America, while Magic was beginning to usher in a new era basketball, one where the players were flashy and marketable. Their personalities were seen as polar opposites and fans were curious about how this final would play out. This curiosity led to staggering ratings, with 40 million people tuning in to the tilt, according to Sports Illustrated. To this day, no other NCAA basketball game has reached that same amount viewership.

Thanks to a 24-point performance, Magic led the Spartans to a 75-64 win that for many, settled the argument as to who was a superior player. That summer, Johnson was drafted first overall by the Los Angeles Lakers and immediately made an impact. Throughout the 80s, Magic won five NBA Championships, while Bird won three. They would continue to face f in the Finals, in 1984, 1985, and 1987– Bird won the first matchup in ‘84 but Magic won the next two.

Their long-standing rivalry was unlike anything the NBA had ever seen. Two the best basketball players in the league, one white, one black, were battling against each other trying to prove who had the best dynasty. Prior to their NBA careers, the league had hit a low point in 1979 with a Finals rating share 24 — essentially, only about a quarter all TV viewers were tuning in. Once Magic and Bird entered the league, the NBA consistently hit shares over 30, according to tvbythenumbers.com. They even set a record in 1987 with a share 35.

Rap Or Go To The League: How The NBA Embedded Itself In Hip-Hop's DNA

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Bird and Magic changed the way both fans and brands looked at athletes. Not only were they players on the court, but bonafide superstars who could stand next to Hollywood elites in terms notoriety. This was all thanks to how charismatic and likeable they were. With Bird and Magic setting the standard, players like Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, who were drafted into the league in the mid-80s, began to exhibit some the same superstar qualities. At the same time that basketball was ascending into the public’s consciousness, hip-hop was beginning to thrive as a genre. The movement was born in New York in 1973 and remained underground until the mid to late-80s when groups like NWA, Beastie Boys, and Run DMC started to take over. Before long, rappers were referencing the sport in their songs. It was almost impossible to go to a game without hearing the 1984 song “Basketball” by Kurtis Blow. In 1988, Public Enemy and Chuck D came through with the song “Rebel Without A Pause” which referenced Barkley’s ability to throw down dunks. NBA players were starting to dress like rappers f the court. Artists were starting to don Jordans and other basketball shoes.

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By the time Shaquille O’Neal was drafted to the Orlando Magic in 1992, basketball and hip-hop were hitting their stride as mainstream successes.

At 7’1,” O’Neal was, not only a huge person but a huge personality. While playing for LSU, O’Neal wowed fans and was immediately given superstar status upon entry into the NBA. In the midst his first season in the league, Shaq did what no other NBA player had done before. He attempted to crossover into the rap game.

Rap Or Go To The League: How The NBA Embedded Itself In Hip-Hop's DNA

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Shaq’s foray into music may have seemed like a bit a reach on surface level, but actually, it was quite organic. During an interview with Slam in 2017, Shaq spoke about how he had been rapping since he was eight years old, influenced by the likes Will Smith and Big Daddy Kane. The Orlando Magic big man eventually gained the respect the hip-hop community when he appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1992 and rapped alongside the Fu-Schnickens. Shaq was able to showcase his ability to flow and sounded as though he had been perfecting his craft for as long as anyone else in the game. 

Rap Or Go To The League: How The NBA Embedded Itself In Hip-Hop's DNA

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After the success his Arsenio Hall performance, Shaq signed a record deal with Jive. In 1993, he dropped his first album, Shaq Fu. When it came to production, Shaq was able to work with Ali Shaheed Muhammad from A Tribe Called Quest, as well as Meech Wells and Erick Sermon. Wells is famous for his work with Snoop Dogg, while Sermon has built a career working with the likes Redman, Jodeci, Method Man, AZ, and Jay-Z.  “Shaq flew me to Orlando since he was playing for the Magic then,” Sermon recalls. “The studio was dope, we had our own personal chef. The vibe was cool. The Fu-Schnickens were there.”

“It was unique because he was a basketball player,” Sermon continued. “Him standing 7ft, shoe size 22, it was ill. The whole process was real ill. He was real funny.  And he was from Newark, NJ, Redman was his favorite artist, so it was real comfortable.”

The next year, Shaq followed up on the success Shaq Diesel with his sophomore album Shaq Fu: Da Return. Sermon was tasked with production on this album as well, while Warren G, RZA, and Redman also pitched in. In terms commercial success, the album didn’t receive the same critical acclaim as his first, but it still went Gold. Shaq would go on to release You Can’t Stop The Reign in 1996 and Respect in 1998, but neither those projects would have the same impact.

At the time, Shaq’s foray into hip-hop was a bit an anomaly and people were a little skeptical his intentions. Rap was always about being authentic, and to see an already-established NBA player delve into hip-hop was jarring, to say the least. Regardless, Shaq always had co-signs from those making a name for themselves in the industry. By bolstering a significant amount record sales and working with industry legends, Shaq was able to lay the foundation for other NBA players who had artistic ambitions. At the tail end the 90s, it would be Shaq’s own teammate, Kobe Bryant, who would give hip-hop a go. Unfortunately for Kobe, his rap career wasn’t nearly as lucrative as Shaq’s.

Rap Or Go To The League: How The NBA Embedded Itself In Hip-Hop's DNA

 Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE Getty s

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In 1992, Bryant attended Lower Merion high school at the age 14.

According to Grantland, Bryant met a kid named Anthony Bannister who introduced him to Kevin “Sandman” Sanchez. Sanchez was seen as the best rapper in the school and they quickly formed a rap group called CHEIZAW which featured two other MCs, Broady Boy and Jester. The group stayed together following high school and after hearing Bryant in a studio session, Sony signed CHEIZAW to a record deal in 1998. During the summer ‘98, Bryant stayed at the New York home Steve Stoute, the president Urban Music for Sony at the time. Bryant was in New York to train for the upcoming season and since Stoute wanted him to hone his artistic craft, it made sense for them to stay together. “During his first or second season, that’s when I realized he’s the hardest working person I’ve ever met, by far, because his tireless effort to actually watch, film, and shoot a thousand shots and then go to the studio and work everyday,” Stoute said excitedly, speaking to us over the phone. “He wanted to be a really good rapper, it mattered to him.”

Rap Or Go To The League: How The NBA Embedded Itself In Hip-Hop's DNA

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Kobe’s first track, released in 1998, was a remix Brian McKnight’s song “Hold Me.” The song peaked at no. 35 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and essentially jumped-started Bryant’s career. After the success the song, Sony decided to move forward with an album. In true Kobe form, he was in the studio for hours at a time, writing and rewriting songs with tireless perfectionism. His group was with him throughout the process, as there was every intention for the project to be a CHEIZAW album. Kobe’s dedication to music was admirable since he was also entering his third full season in the league at the same time. It’s worth noting the music didn’t affect Kobe’s numbers at all — he completed his best statistical season up to that point. 

Discussing the legendary NBA player’s brief rap career, Stoute remembers how passionate Kobe was about the music, leading to some big expectations for the first album. Despite the excitement that was building, there was some unfortunate drama on the horizon that would ultimately spell the end Kobe’s hip-hop dreams. Bryant parted ways with CHEIZAW in November 1999 before they had a chance to release a proper debut. According to Stoute, it’s because the group members weren’t working hard enough. However, in the aforementioned Grantland piece, Bannister claims it was because the label wanted them to embrace a pop sound that went against the group’s lyrical sensibilities. This falling out allowed Bryant to fully embrace his role as a solo artist. As for the group, they withered away as it became clear that neither Sony nor Bryant wanted them on board.

The solo Kobe Bryant album was never released. A single with Tyra Banks called “K.O.B.E” debuted in January 2000. Bryant got to perform it that same month at the 2000 NBA All-Star game. Banks’ underwhelming vocals, as well as Bryant’s leather suit and leopard print hat, led to a disastrous performance that had NBA fans recoiling at the very sight it. The music video shot by Hype Williams was scrapped and Kobe decided to link back up with Broady Boy CHEIZAW. At that point, however, Sony had had enough. That same year, Bryant’s album was put to bed and he was dropped by the label. “I think we picked the wrong first single,” Stoute recalled. “He went through the process and tried really hard …] I just think that he made the right decision.”

Rap Or Go To The League: How The NBA Embedded Itself In Hip-Hop's DNA

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Things weren’t all bad for Bryant. That same year, he won his first NBA title and went on to win four more. Funnily enough, he won three those championships with Shaq– which just goes to show their rapper personas never interfered with their play on the court.

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Following Kobe’s short-lived career, Allen Iverson began rapping under the name Jewelz during the 2000 fseason.

Stoute, who was around for that as well, maintains Iverson could have been a huge success had it not been for the NBA’s condemnation  his first song “40 Bars.” Iverson was seen as someone who could pick up the mantle left by Shaq and was eventually signed by Universal Records. Despite this, he was criticized for using misogynistic and homophobic language, including lyrics such as: “Get murdered in a second in the first degree/Come to me with f***** tendencies/You’ll be sleeping where the maggots be.” 

His song caught the attention NBA commissioner David Stern, who was quick to issue a statement saying “The lyrics that have been attributed to Allen Iverson’s soon-to-be-released rap CD are coarse, fensive, and anti-social.” Stern even threatened to kick Iverson out the league entirely. As the threat NBA expulsion loomed over his head, Iverson scrapped the music he was working on and an album never came to fruition. 

Rap Or Go To The League: How The NBA Embedded Itself In Hip-Hop's DNA

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Shaq’s success allowed him to have some credibility within the hip-hop space. However, Kobe and Iverson’s short-lived rap careers completely shifted the narrative when it came to athletes crossing over into music. Now, anyone coming into the space risked being seen as a novelty or simply put, corny. Thanks to this stigma, it would take a long time before we saw another NBA player attempt to immerse themselves in the genre.

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After a dry spell plagued the mid to late 2000s, Stephen Jackson came through with a mixtape in 2012 called What’s A Lockout.

As most basketball fans remember, the 2011-12 season was cut short thanks to a long and strenuous collective bargaining agreement negotiation which had some players wondering when they’d get back on the court. This prompted Jackson to get in the booth and express himself away from the bright lights the NBA.

Jackson immediately looked for ways to make his project stand out and it led to him enlisting none other than DJ Scream to host the tape. Scream had already built a rapport with Jackson and knew his high-caliber raps would surprise fans who didn’t know better. Once they started working on the music, Scream felt it was going to be special as Jackson came with the hunger someone trying to prove themselves to the world. “That project right there was him saying, ‘What’s a lockout?’” DJ Scream explained. “‘I don’t care about the lockout. The lockout don’t affect me. I got other things going, whether it be rap or other things.’”

As Scream recounted, the NBA star didn’t seem too worried about what the reception would be, and sure enough, his music was welcomed with open arms. Fans began clamoring for more projects after realizing how talented Jackson was as an MC. Scream says he wasn’t necessarily surprised by the music’s reception although it was great to see people giving Jackson a chance. “When he got some free time from basketball, he did another tape,” Scream said. “I think he called it Trill Freestyles and took a lot Texas classics and freestyled over those. That went well too, a lot positive feedback.”

With Jackson revitalizing the NBA rapper economy, more athletes would begin making the jump to music. Among the more high prile examples, Lou Williams dropped the project The Album That Never Was back in 2017. Williams was able to get the likes Jahlil Beats and Honorable C-Note to produce for him. The sixth-man the year immediately impressed his producers, including C-Note, who deemed him worthy his best beats. “If you’re really good at one thing, people try to put you in a box but when I first heard Lou Will, I played him my best beats. I was like ‘Bro, you can really rap,’” C-Note said. “I went into that secret stash and played him that shit, shit.”

The NBA rapper craze seemingly hit a new peak in 2017 after an XXL story went in-depth on a secret recording session LeBron James and Kevin Durant had during the 2011 lockout. This story caught the attention producer/engineer Franky Wahoo who worked at Spider Studios in Canton, Ohio. According to an interview Wahoo did with Vice, he was actually present during the infamous recording session and was surprised to find out people knew about it. During the 2017 NBA Finals, Wahoo took to Twitter and dropped a 30-second snippet LeBron and KD’s song “It Ain’t Easy,” which was recorded during that same session. Wahoo promised that if he got 1 million retweets, he would drop the full song. The retweet goal proved to be a little too lty. He never got there, although other opportunities to drop the song came along.

Rap Or Go To The League: How The NBA Embedded Itself In Hip-Hop's DNA

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TMZ fered some money for the track while LeBron’s agent Rich Paul suggested it could be used for NBA 2K19. Wahoo never accepted any these fers and uncredited demos the song eventually made their way to radio. This forced the DJ to throw the ficial song up on SoundCloud without any promotion. “We were like ‘well we sit on it we do nothing, they leak it I don’t get production credit,’” Wahoo told Vice. “In the industry, you have to protect yourself first so I’m like ‘what if I just put it on Soundcloud?’ The worst thing that could happen is that James’ agent] Paul would take it down.”

The song became a minor sensation, with fans wondering whether or not James or KD would continue to explore their musical prowess. In the end, neither player gave the song much acknowledgment but the fandom surrounding the song displayed a real appetite for more music from some the league’s biggest stars.

With this in mind, there seems to be one player in particular who has completely changed the narrative as far as the bility athletes in the hip-hop space. That man is Damian Lillard the Portland Trailblazers, who goes by the rap moniker Dame D.O.L.L.A. Unlike Shaq and Kobe, fans have been able to separate Damien Lillard the basketball player from Dame D.O.L.L.A the rapper. This distinction lends to the idea that attitudes are changing towards athletes who make music.

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Dame first caught the attention hip-hop fans with his “Four-Bar Friday” series on SoundCloud.

In 2015, Lillard went on Sway In The Morning and dropped an impressive freestyle which immediately had his supporters clamoring for an album. One year later, Dame would deliver on that promise with his debut project The Letter O. The album had a feature from Lil Wayne and showcased Lillard’s ability to craft songs and deliver some scintillating bars. Once again fans were left asking for more and a year later, he dropped Confirmed.

Lillard has gone above and beyond what you would expect from an athlete doubling as a rapper. In November 2016, he started his own record label called Front Page Music, where he signed two artists: Danny from Sobrante and Brookfield Duece. Dame’s dedication to the craft is evident. While some do it for the look or for the exposure, he says he does it because he loves it and at the end the day, he wants the respect his contemporaries.

“I’ve put two albums out. I’ve done features. I got major artists on all my music. I’ve taken all the steps to be respected as a rapper,” Lillard explained. “I didn’t just come out and say, ‘I’m an NBA Allstar and I do music so respect my music.’ I took all the steps that everybody else does doing music primarily to be respected as an artist.”

Rap Or Go To The League: How The NBA Embedded Itself In Hip-Hop's DNA

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This artistic hunger has led some other NBA rappers to come for his throne. Sacramento Kings young gun Marvin Bagley challenged Dame with a diss track. Lillard immediately replied with a song his own, called “MARVINNNNNNN???” “After I heard the first track where he mentioned my name, I started writing a diss track just in case he ever came for me again,” Lillard recalled. “So the day that he dropped his, I dropped mine the same day. After I dropped mine, I didn’t know how fast he was gonna shoot back so I recorded another one and dropped another one and the next morning he came back with something else but at that point, I was done with it.”

Interestingly enough, a couple months after our interview with Lillard, he found himself embroiled in yet another rap beef. This time, Lillard was going up against the OG the NBA rap community, Shaq. During an appearance on The Joe Budden PodcastLillard made some combative comments about Shaq and even perpetuated some the stereotypes that plagued Shaq’s early foray into hip-hop. Dame claimed he was a better rapper than the four-time NBA champion and said that while Shaq could rap, most people saw him as a basketball player who made music — and not as a bonafide MC.

Even if you agree with Lillard and think Shaq can’t hang with the new kids, there is no denying his influence on the culture. Simply put, without Shaq, there is no Dame D.O.L.L.A. “Shaq paved the way for every NBA player to rap]. Everybody thought they could do what he did but nobody was able to be as successful,” Sermon said. “Shaq, from the heart, grew up hip-hop, being from Newark NJ, knowing what the styles were, he was able to learn the craft and take it seriously.”

Rap Or Go To The League: How The NBA Embedded Itself In Hip-Hop's DNA

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Sermon went on to acknowledge that Dame is one the few holding the mantle left by Shaq in the 90s. “There’s only one NBA player] that’s rapping right now] and that’s Dame Lillard. That happens to be the one that Shaq is beefin’ with Laughs]. But Dame is the only one that is taking it seriously, that I know about.”

Regardless where you fall in the debate, there is no denying how powerful the recent back-and-forth between Dame and Shaq has been for the “athletes that rap” movement. For years, NBA players trying to make a name for themselves in the rap game have been shunned and looked at as a gimmick. This latest rap beef has people talking about Shaq and Dame like they are legitimate artists, which, course, they always have been. The only difference is now they are being acknowledged as such. If Shaq set the precedent with his debut album, then Lillard has set the standard. 

Post Malone Makes It Rain In Miami Club From Bag Stuffed With $50K

Post Malone tends to be a humble dude. Despite being one the biggest hitmakers this generation, he’s someone who seems to be easily satiated by a case Bud Light (or several) and a pack smokes (or several). However, on Saturday night, the “Circles” singer decided to celebrate the success his ongoing arena tour by hitting the club. 

Popular nightclub, E11EVEN Miami, hosted a sold-out evening with Post Malone, which he showed up to with a loaded sack cash. Post Malone’s manager, Dre London, shared some shots from the wild affair on Instagram. In them, Posty is seen holding stacks on stacks, which were tossed in the air during his performance and stuffed into the waistbands bottle girls. E11EVEN’s IG page detailed that the bundles bills amount to $50,000. Post also balled out this weekend by giving 21 Savage a diamond-encrusted Rolex for his birthday

In a video recap the night, Post gives a high-energy performance “Rockstar” and tells the crowd, “I’m on a very very very special, super special, fucking wave today man.” He then classically asks, “Can I have another brewksie?” He also shared a heartfelt message with his fans: “I love you motherfuckers more than life and tonight might be the most fun I’ve had in a long fucking time.”

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Read our review Post Malone’s latest album, Hollywood Bleeding, here

Rihanna Upsets Fans by Using Chris Brown Song in Fenty Beauty Video

It’s been a decade since Rihanna and Chris Brown split, but RiRi is still a fan of his music.

The singer took to social media on Saturday to promote her Fenty Beauty products, but it was her song choice that raised eyebrows. The clip shows her Glossy Posse lip gloss products in a pool, soundtracked by Chris Brown’s H.E.R. collaboration “Come Together.”

“Gang Gang. just me and my #GlossyPosse !!! @fentybeauty,” tweeted RiRi.

Fans took to social media to voice their disapproval based on their troubled past (The couple split in 2009 after Brown physically assaulted Rihanna). “Years of an abusive relationship brought about by the man singing this song,” tweeted one user, while Rihanna reportedly blocked another fan for their comment.

But not everyone was mad. Others, including members of Team Breezy, shared their support for her Indigo song selection. “That’s why I love you!! I knew that u we’re not a person that carries bad memories from others,” wrote one fan.

It wasn’t long before Chris himself noticed the post and left a heart emoji in Rihanna’s comments. He also showed his approval by reposting the clip on Instagram Stories with the praying hands and smiling face with hearts emojis.

Drake’s Dad Seemingly Has A Thing For Tiffany "New York" Pollard

Drake and his father were involved in a public spat a few weeks ago and now, Dennis Graham is back in the news after he was seen cozying up to a reality star after a “magical” night.

A recording artist in his own right, Dennis Graham is the father one the world’s biggest musicians ever. He’s got himself a signature look with his mustache and round shades, attracting attention wherever he goes in the Los Angeles area. He’s a regular on the club scene and last night, he was spotted getting comfortable with former Flavor Of Love star Tiffany Pollard. If you don’t remember the entertainer, who ten goes by “New York,” we recently caught up with her here

Drake's Dad Seemingly Has A Thing For Tiffany "New York" Pollard
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Drake‘s dad and the self-proclaimed HBIC seemingly hit it f right away and, at the end the night, they were missing each other dearly. They both posted photos with one another on their socials and Pollard’s post made it clear that she’s down for a second date. “@therealdennisg you made the night MAGICAL,” she wrote as her caption. In the comments section, Dennis Graham came through with some flirtatious vibes. “Thanks sweetheart so did you, I just tried calling you from a 901 number,” he revealed.

Do you think we’ve got a new couple forming? What do you think these two?

Future’s Baby Mama, Brittni, Flexes Her Expensive Watch Collection

Although Future may not be the easiest partner and father to pin down, he makes sure to shower his large clan with gifts. According to our Complete Guide to Future’s Baby Mamas, Brittni Mealy is the mother Prince and has vowed to never be with Future again.

However, Brittni and Future’s arrangement may have resulted in her acquiring some luxurious items. On Sunday, Brittni posted a photo her extensive watch collection on Instagram, asking her followers whether the seven pricey timepieces would qualify her as an addict. The majority the watches appear to be Rolex’s, a few them encrusted with diamonds. Brittni is also an Instagram model and founder clothing brand, Unicorn Universe, so it’s possible that neither Future or anyone else is responsible for fueling Brittni’s watch addiction. 

Future was credited recently for bringing another one his baby mamas, Joie, on a lavish trip to Turks and Caicos for her birthday. He appeared on Joie’s IG at one the vacation’s ritzy dinners and Joie later posted a new iced-out watch. Future also absurdly gifted his five-year-old son a Rolex for his birthday, so we could pick up on a pattern that the rapper shows his affection and appreciation in the form luxury watches. 

Air Jordan 1 "Shattered Backboard 3.0" Official Images Unveiled: Release Info

One the more popular Air Jordan colorways to come out over the last few years has been the “Shattered Backboard” and the proceeding 2.0 model. These shoes are filled with orange, black, and white tones which leads to a pretty interesting and clean combination. Sneakerheads have loved these models and Jumpman is well aware that. This year, the infamous sneaker company is bringing the “Shattered Backboard” back, this time with a 3.0 model.

Thanks to the teaser images, the shoe has been suffering some scrutiny at the hands sneakerheads due to the crinkled shiny leather that graces the upper. While the colorway itself is impressive, the leather has had fans divided although there are still those who are fiending to cop them. Over the weekend, Jordan Brand came through with the ficial images which give fans a better opportunity to inspect the shoe before making a purchase decision.

As for the release date, nothing has changed as these are still expected to drop on Saturday, October 26th for $160 USD. Let us know in the comments below if you plan on copping.

Air Jordan 1 "Shattered Backboard 3.0" Official s Unveiled: Release Info

Nike

Air Jordan 1 "Shattered Backboard 3.0" Official s Unveiled: Release Info

Nike

Air Jordan 1 "Shattered Backboard 3.0" Official s Unveiled: Release Info

Nike

Air Jordan 1 "Shattered Backboard 3.0" Official s Unveiled: Release Info

Nike

Air Jordan 1 "Shattered Backboard 3.0" Official s Unveiled: Release Info

Nike

Air Jordan 1 "Shattered Backboard 3.0" Official s Unveiled: Release Info

Nike

Benzino Reflects On War With Eminem & Shady Records

Eminem fans probably know the name Ray Benzino. Chances are, they have no love for the former mogul. Still, having helped bring The Source into the world Zino has earned the right to speak on his career. Over the weekend, the former Made Man rapper slid through Noreaga’s Drink Champs for a conversation, and it didn’t take long before Em’s name was thrown into the mix.

Explaining that his whirlwind lifestyle and unmitigated spending habits were getting the better him, Benzino opened up about his legendary war with Shady Records. As the conversation reaches the thirty-six-minute mark, Zino admits that he did use his position at The Source to his advantage against Em. “The only time I gave myself the mics was the Eminem situation,” he reflects. “It was me against the staff, me against everybody. At that point, it was just fuck everybody. I was in a dark place where I felt like ‘I’m standing for something that’s right.’ I felt like nobody backed me.”

“You can’t look at the industry to be righteous,” he muses, prompting Nore to ask whether he’d change his tactics if given the chance. “At that time, I felt deep about what I was standing for,” says Benzino. “My thing is hip-hop is the only thing that made white people come to the culture, buy into the culture, spend money, and also interact with the culture through hip-hop…I felt like once they get a white rapper and make it so white people want to buy him, they fuck with that balance. Cause now white people will just fuck with him cause his skin color. Before they had to fuck with us cause the music.”

Benzino Reflects On War With Eminem & Shady Records

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“With Eminem, I felt hip-hop is big now, it’s pop now,” continues Zino, fueling his prediction that the industry would mobilize behind a popular white rapper. “He came in, there was a whole demographic white people who just ain’t fuckin with n***as, period. I don’t give a fuck. Those are the guys who’d vote Donald Trump.” He goes on to explain that while Eminem raps, he’s not ” the culture.” “Eminem is not in the culture that I’m from,” he elaborates. “That’s not a bad thing. I’m not mad at that. He grew up one way, I grew up a whole different way…He grew up where there weren’t a lot black people.”

Despite the fact that Zino’s claims may very well be unfounded, given Em’s widely-documented come ups with D12, Royce Da 5’9″, and The Outsidaz, it’s still interesting to hear him reflect on a beef that many hip-hop heads hold dear. Of course, Em has likely forever tarnished Zino’s reputation in the eyes the Stan-army, but we can’t forget what he did contribute to hip-hop culture. The Source remains a legendary publication, and arguably the most impactful piece hip-hop media to date. Check out his full Drink Champs appearance below. 

Benzino Reflects On War With Eminem & Shady Records

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Ezekiel Elliott Blasts Eagles Head Coach Following Pre-Game Comments

Heading into last night’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys, there was a lot on the line. Both teams came into the match with a record 3-3 and whoever won would have complete control the NFC East. In the end, it was the Cowboys who came out victorious and pretty well ran over the Eagles as the final score was 37-10. The game wasn’t even close and Cowboys fans were more than satisfied over what they saw on their home field.

Prior to the game, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was a little over-confident when it came to his team’s chances as he made some fairly interesting comments, ClutchPoints

“We’re going down to Dallas, and our guys are gonna be ready to play. And we’re gonna win that football game, and when we do, we’re in first place in the NFC East,” Pederson said.

Ezekiel Elliott Blasts Eagles Head Coach Following Pre-Game Comments

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Following the big win, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was asked about Pederson’s comments and he was pretty dismissive, to say the least. His answer even got into NSFW territory. “We don’t need inspiration from him to go out there and play hard,” Elliott stated. “This rivalry is enough. Honestly, we don’t give a f— what Doug Pederson says.”

Needless to say, there is no love lost between these two teams.

Daz Dillinger & Notorious B.I.G. Forged East/West Alliance In Throwback Pic

The animosity between the East and West coasts is one hip-hop’s most notorious narratives. Kicking f in the early-to-mid nineties, many artists found themselves in the thick it. At the centers were New York’s Bad Boy Records and Los Angeles’ Death Row, helmed by infamous mogul Suge Knight. Some this tension can be examined through the 1995 Source Awards, in which Suge’s disrespect toward Diddy‘s Bad Boy Records reached critical mass. Even artists like Nas found themselves feeling the residual effects, having a tense encounter with Tupac Shakur in 1996

Daz Dillinger & Notorious B.I.G. Forged East/West Alliance In Throwback Pic

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Despite said tension, many artistic alliances formed between coasts, albeit in a behind-the-scenes capacity. Case in point, Death Row’s own Daz Dillinger recently took to IG to share a crossover event for the ages. Though it’s unclear as to when this was taken, it’s certainly legendary to see The Dogg Pound linking up with The Notorious One. In fact, Daz once told VladTV that he and Biggie used to smoke weed together, even teasing a couple collabs in the stash.

True, those songs may or may not ever see the light day. But we’re never unhappy to see a new Throwback pic, especially one that unties two warring factions in such a harmonious way. Gotta love it when Bad Boy and Death Row unify. 

Princess Nokia Stars In Trailer For New "Angelfish" Film: Watch

Princess Nokia is ushering in her feature film debut with her newest Agelfsih film. Written and directed by Peter Lee, the film stars Nokia as one-half a young couple in the Bronx who fall in love during the summer 1993.

The film itself also features Jimi Stanton and is scheduled to premiere on November 14th at Washington Heights’ United Palace prior to a November 19th digital release.

“I loved sharing this experience with Peter Lee and the incredible team women who made this film possible,” Princess Nokia said in a statement in regard tot he new project. “I’m really grateful to have someone believe in me so much, and believe in this talent—not just my name or the idea me. He respected me, he respected New York and the importance bringing these Latino characters alive respectively and accurately. Which has truly meant the world to me.”

The new film arrives shortly after Princess Nokia made her return to the music scene with her thoughtfully-crafted “Sugar Honey Iced Tea” track and accompanying video. Prior to that, his last full-length output was last year’s Girl Cried Red.

Natalie Portman Weighs In On Martin Scorcese’s Claim That Marvel Movies Aren’t Cinema

Martin Scorcese spurred a great debate regarding whether Marvel movies constitute true cinema after he claimed that they do not. When asked about the Marvel Cinematic Universe in an interview with Empire magazine, the renowned filmmaker said, “I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema. Honestly, the closest I can think them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”

Marvel has been responsible for many the highest grossing films in recent years, so this comment coming from one the most influential voices in the industry really rocked the boat. James Gunn – who wrote and directed the Guardians the Galaxy films – expressed strong disapproval Scorcese’s statement. Francis Ford Coppolla – who directed the Godfather trilogy – came to Scorcese’s defence and took his argument a step further by deeming Marvel films “despicable.” Samuel L. Jackson assumed a rather neutral stance, claiming everyone has a right to their own tastes and opinions. 

Natalie Portman Weighs In On Martin Scorcese's Claim That Marvel Movies Aren't CinemaAlberto E. Rodriguez/Getty s

While Scorcese’s comment was made public weeks ago, the responses continue to roll in and Scorcese continues to stand by what he said. Natalie Portman – who recently revealed that she will be returning in the upcoming Thor films as Lady Thor – is the latest star to give her two cents on the matter. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Portman said, “I think there’s room for all types cinema… There’s not one way to make art. I think that Marvel films are so popular because they’re really entertaining and people desire entertainment when they have their special time after work, after dealing with their hardships in real life.”

YoungBoy Never Broke Again Earns First No. 1 Album On Billboard 200

YoungBoy Never Broke Again has ficially joined the ranks artists who lay claim to No. 1 albums.

The project, which arrived on October 11th, now debuts at the top the Billboard 200 albums chart with 110,000 equivalent album units in its first week. Naturally, YoungBoy only managed to pull out 3,000 in pure album sales with the remainder the amount being dominated by digital streaming, translating to 144.7 million on-demand audio streams for the album’s 18 tracks.

Elsewhere in debuts, Lil Tjay‘s True 2 Myself starts at No. 5 with a total 45,000 equivalent album units while Wale‘s sixth studio album, Wow….That’s Crazy, debuts at No. 7 on the chart with 38,000 units. It becomes the fourth top 10 project to come the emcee with 2015’s Album About Nothing being his last No. 1 after being preceded by the No. 1 The Gifted and Ambition, which topped out at No. 2.

Elsewhere on the chart, you’ll find Post Malone trailing YoungBoy at No. 2 with his Hollywood’s Bleeding effort earning 99,000 equivalent album units. Summer Walker’s Over iI, falls from its No. 2 debut to No. 3 with 78,000 units in its second week while DaBaby‘s former No. 1 KIRK sits at No. 4 with 55,000 units.

At the bottom this week’s top 10, you’ll find Chris Brown‘s Indigo occupying No. 9 with 33,000 units while Young Thug‘s So Much Fun holds steady at No. 10 with 33,000 units.

Billboard 200 Albums Chart Top 10 (Week Ending Oct. 3rd)

1. A1 YoungBoy 2, NBA Youngboy
2. Hollywood’s Bleeding, Post Malone
3. Over It, Summer Walker
4. KIRK, DaBaby
5. True 2 Myself, Lil Tjay
6. Lover, Taylor Swift
7. Wow…That’s Crazy, Wale
8. When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We All Go?, Billie Eilish
9. Indigo, Chris Brown
10. So Much Fun,Young Thug

 

Krizz Kaliko Shocks Tech N9ne, Strange Music & Their Fans By Re-Signing At Red Rocks Concert

Morrison, CO – The Strange Music camp descended on the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado for a sold out show on Saturday night (October 19).

During what was intended to be Krizz Kaliko’s last performance of the year (and possibly ever) with Tech N9ne, Kali shocked Strange Music CEO Travis O’Guin, Tech and the entire Red Rocks crowd when he announced he’s decided to stick with the longstanding Kansas City imprint, the same one he’s been with since 1999.

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It was an undeniably emotional moment for everyone involved. Krizz, Tech and O’Guin all shed tears as he explained his decision.

“I read your comments, man,” Krizz began. “Y’all had me crying like a bitch. I ain’t lyin’. I cried, man. I’ve been back and forth on this shit for years. I know y’all know I haven’t put anything out since GO. I haven’t put out any music for like three and a half years, man. I was fucked up, man. I ain’t gonna lie. My children miss me, you know what I’m sayin’, but y’all are also my family so I had to explain this shit to you y’all. I’m gonna be honest, man. I’m here to serve the world, man.

“I’m a servant of this planet. I know that, man. You told me for years that I saved your life. Y’all saved my life, for real. I would not be shit. I was a funny, fat-looking kid from Kansas City that they told would not make it. The guy that even put me and Tech together said I would have to put makeup on my face and I’d have to lose weight and y’all accept this fat, funny looking motherfucker, man. Thank you so much for all of these years.”

Krizz continued, “One more thing, I went into a depression — I know you heard the music, it’s not fiction — Travis and Tech gave me a contract to sign years ago. They were gracious enough … I’ve still been rockin’ with Tech all this time with no contract for the last three and a half years; just a handshake. That’s my brothers. My family’s been missing me, man.

“I was frustrated with myself. I was frustrated with the fuckin’ world for everybody not gettin’ my music. I ain’t gonna lie — I was frustrated with Tech and with Travis. That’s real. I was fucked up and I decided to leave Strange Music, man. Real shit. That’s the first time I ever got boo’ed, too.”

Soon, the crowd started to chant “Kali” in unison while Krizz admitted he was considering walking away from it all.

“Not only did I decide to leave Strange Music, but I started doing voiceover work,” he said. “I actually got a big role coming up. But I decided to even quit music, man. I felt like, ‘Fuck everybody for not getting the message.’

“I went through fuckin’ depression as you’ve heard me talk about. My kids miss me every time I leave the house. They cry every time I leave. Matter of fact, make some noise for my wife. She’s here tonight.”

At that point, Krizz’s wife Crystal Watson took the stage rocking an adidas track jacket, red heels and a matching red purse. With tears welling up in his eyes he said, “Let me tell you what she said. I told her I was quitting. She said, ‘There’s no fucking way you can quit.’

Krizz then asked her, “Did you bring what I told you to bring?” On cue, she pulled out several sheets of paper and handed them to Krizz.

“This is the contract that Travis and Tech gave me three years ago,” he said, noticeably choked up. “I went back and forth like a motherfucker. Fuck that. I knew if I was going to make any decision like this, I had to do it in the place that’s given us the most love. I don’t give a fuck what nobody says. This place has given us more love than anybody in the fuckin’ world!

As the crowd roared with applause, Krizz continued, “This is the contract they gave me. I told them that I was not coming back, but y’all are my fuckin’ family and I want to sign this fuckin’ contract in Denver, man!”

Tech paced behind him in the background, pounding his chest as a symbol of gratitude and wiping tears from his face.

“I fuckin’ love you!” Krizz shouted. “Kali forever, baby!”

Finally, Krizz and his wife embraced as Tech walked over. The two longtime collaborators hugged and Tech yelled, “Make some noise for the newest member of Strange Music! Big Krizz Kaliko!

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It’s official. Krizz Kaliko is Strange Music forever.

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O’Guin confirmed Krizz’s departure in an exclusive statement to HipHopDX earlier this month. It clearly took everyone by surprise that Krizz had changed his mind. O’Guin told DX at the Red Rock show the contract Krizz was holding in his hand was actually dated 2017.

Check back later this week for an exclusive interview with Krizz and O’Guin about the sudden turn of events.

Jadakiss Is Loyal To Himself In "Me" Short Film

Jadakiss has teamed up with director Kid Art to release a cinematic short film for his new single “Me.” The video sees The LOX member co-starring with veteran actors Peter Greene and Hassan Johnson in a story about a diamond heist.

The film shows paranoia emerging between the robbers as Jada ends up looking out for himself. He notes, “The only people I owe my loyalty to are those who never made me question theirs.”

The veteran rapper’s single “Me” is produced by Bryan-Michael Cox. The track features a sample of Peabo Bryson’s “Give Me Your Love.”

Watch Jada’s short film above and stream “Me” below.

Jacquees Shows Love To R&B Kings Chris Brown & Trey Songs For Their Support

There’s been a lot debating going on lately about who’s he true king R&B. Several singers like YK Osiris & Jacquees have been arguing about who’s the rightful heir to the throne for singers, with each them thinking its them. Well over the past few days, Jacquees has been paying homage to some the R&B greats who have paved the way for the new generation, including James Brown, Prince, Usher, Boyz II Men, Ginuwine, and many others. Today, Jacquees decided to take his shout outs a little further and pay respect to a couple guys who supported him throughout his career, and that being Chris Brown & Trey Songs.

Jacquees decided to show his appreciation for the OG’s on Sunday morning, sharing a few pictures them as youngin’s and leaving a heartfelt message thanking them, which read:

“Thank you to the Kings R&b who I looked up to the most to believe I can really do it! #1 #Chris brown ( Did so much me for me and my career, I been down wit C breezy since I was 18 use to be wit him everyday just learning! I appreciate bro and love you! #2 #TreySongz Big bro Trey been riding wit me since I was bout 20-21! The love been genuine and real always in my corner I appreciate y’all boyz 4L, Love y’all ! 👑👑”

Check out the appreciation post (below) and let us know who you think is the true king R&B?