We're not even ten days into 2019 and I'm already in my feelings. I was reading this book called Skippyjon Jones to my son last night. It's about a cat who wants to be anything in the world, except for a cat. His imagination gets him into some hilarious situations.
There was a part where he was having a standoff with a gang of Mexican Chihuahuas, and he was trying to convince them that he's actually a dog. And for some reason, I started tearing up. Not because of the story. but because I started thinking about how one day, he won't want me to read him books anymore. He'll be reading books to himself, not needing me for anything. I only helped give him the gift of life! Ugh. I guess that's not enough for kids these days. SMH.
After wiping away my two tears, my son got up and started playing with his cars. I was watching the end of the Philadelphia 76ers game, and when they showed their current record my tears began to flow again. I realized we're already halfway through the NBA season. Which mathematically means, there's only half of a season left. Which emotionally for me means that my heart is half-empty. But what's most importantly, is that my heart is still half-full.
So instead of sitting here in misery and sulking in the fact that time is still linear, I figured we could celebrate what we've seen so far this season. It's time for some Mid-Season awards!
Most Improved Player
When Paul George was traded for Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo, most people had said that the Oklahoma City Thunder won the trade. And with George deciding to stay in OKC, they did. However, that doesn't mean the Indiana Pacers lost. Last year Victor Oladipo won this award, and halfway through this season, his buddy who traveled with him in the trade is keeping the award in Indiana.
His jump in numbers is staggering when you compare this season and last season. He is only playing one more minute per game, but he has been extremely efficient in his time on the floor. Sabonis is averaging 14.9 points per game (11.4 in 2017-18), 3 assist per game (2 in '17-18), 9.6 rebounds (7.7 in '17-18), 62% on field goals (51% in '17-18), and an incredible 71% from three-point range (35% in '17-18).
All of these numbers are indicative of the way the team has used him this season. He is visibly much bigger and stronger than he was just a year ago. Those NBA weight rooms are working well for him. He's taking most of his shots from within 10 feet of the rim, and less than 13% of his shots are coming from three-point range. His play has helped his team maintain the 3rd spot in the East, and if he keeps it up he will help them stay there.
IN THE RACE: D'Angelo Russel, Pascal Siakam, Jamal Murray
Sixth Man of the Year
During the offseason, Derrick Rose said that he wants to be the first player in NBA history to win a Rookie of the Year award, an MVP, and the Sixth Man of the Year award. He was already the youngest to ever win the MVP, and now he can fulfill the rest of his goal. His play off of the bench this season has rejuvenated his career, and has made all those who love his game appreciate it once again.
This time around, the highlights are coming with him playing less than 30 minutes per game. He is shooting with the best efficiency since his sophomore season in 2009-10 with 48.6% from the field. He is also averaging the most points per game since his 2011-12 season with 18.9.
His best performance came on an emotional night when he dropped a career-high 50 points against the Utah Jazz early in the season. It reminded everyone of what Rose once was, and what he still can be on any given night: Electric. Now that I'm looking at these numbers, he could also be a candidate to win Most Improved Player. Maybe we'll leave that goal for him for next season.
IN THE RACE: Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrel, Spencer Dinwiddie
Defensive Player of the Year
The last guard to win NBA Defensive Player of the Year was Gary Payton in 1996. Nearly a quarter of a century later, Paul George could bring the award back to the backcourt. In a season where the Thunder are without their best defender in Andre Roberson, George has thrived.
He leads the league in steals per game with 2.2, which is also the best he's ever had in his career. He also has a career-high with 0.6 blocks per game. This is all a benefit of his teammates. The Thunder are number one in the NBA in Defensive Rating, thanks to guys such as Steven Adams and Russel Westbrook.
But most of their success falls on the shoulders of George. Defensive Win Shares is an Advanced stat that takes into account a player's contribution to team wins based on their defense. Paul George is one of the best in the league with 2.9 which also leads his top-ranked defense. Should he keep this up, his nickname may soon be The Mitten or Glover or Guy Who is Good at Defensive Things.
IN THE RACE: Russel Westbrook, Miles Turner, Rudy Robert, Robert Covington
Rookie of the Year
The Ben Simmons Rookie of the Year memes have been hilarious. Maybe this year they'll give it to Donovan Mitchell instead. But even if those guys were somehow eligible, we might still be giving the award to Luka Doncic. This teenager has been even better than his biggest believers may have thought he'd be at this point in his young career.
His professional basketball experience has proven to be what has separated him from the rest of the pack. His late game performances have been great for any player in the NBA, let alone a rookie. His stepback threes have been electrifying, and has already given defenses fits. His ball handling skills have helped him embarrass two top defensive players in Paul George and Rudy Gobert.
His numbers speak for themselves as he is averaging 19.6 points per game, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.9 assists. He's got the Dallas Mavericks looking like a fringe playoff team, and at worst, a team with a bright future due to their young star. The Rookie should also be receiving some All-Star consideration, I'm just sayin'!
IN THE RACE: NONE. LITERALLY NO ONE ELSE.
Most Valuable Player
Usually by the halfway point in the NBA season, there is a clear front runner for the MVP award. We have been lucky enough this season to have two front runners in Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden. The former is trying to establish himself as a solidified superstar, while the latter is trying to go back-to-back with the most coveted individual award the league has to offer.
I could play the fence and say they are both the respective MVP's so far, but I'll pick a side. James Harden is incredible, his run over the last 20 games or so has been historic, and he is an Arizona State alum. However, halfway through the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has been the MVP. This is not to say that things could change over the next few months. But for now, it is The Greek Freak's award to lose.
His new coach, Mike Budenholzer, has opened up his game to heights we have been waiting for. He is second in the league in Win Shares with 6.7, only behind Anthony Davis. He is first in the league in defensive plus-minus. His team has the best record in the NBA because of his play. And he is - wait a second, damn it. As I'm sitting here thinking about it, I'm changing my mind. I am gonna straddle the fence, because James Harden is freakin' amazing.
Harden is first in *clears throat* three-pointers made, free throws made, free throws attempted, total points, points per game, usage percentage, plus-minus, offensive plus-minus, minutes per game andddd value over replacement. Yeah... Let's keep it going, he is top-5 in win shares, player efficiency rating, assists, and *wait for it* STEALS! Yes, he is top-5 in a defensive category. That alone should make him the MVP.
But to top it all off, he has already had the top "MVP moment" of the season. On the road against a fully healthy squad in the Golden State Warriors, the Rockets were without Chris Paul and Eric Gordon and they were down 20 points in the second half. None of this mattered because Harden put the team on his back and hit crazy shot after crazy shot, which led to his 44 point triple-double consisting of 10 three's. None more memorable than his shot that won the game for them in overtime that silenced the crowd.
Say what you want about the guy's game, but he is clearly the best offensive player in the league who has also improved on his defensive play.
IN THE RACE: Lebron James, Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving
It's that time of year where everyone is getting sick. Every morning I'm waking up hoping that I haven't caught whatever new cold is out on the streets. But I'm ready for whenever I do catch it. I got my Theraflu on deck, extra honey, hot teas for days, beef Top Ramen, and our humidifier.
Whenever I'm sick, I have my own remedy. I wake up in the middle of the afternoon and take a scorching hot shower for like 30 minutes. Then I drink some honey drenched tea, so hot that you'd think it was sent to the sun and back. Eat some Top Ramen with extra sriracha sauce and lime. Then drink some Theraflu, and wrap myself in like 3 blankets and sweat that shit out.
My wife says I'm not supposed to sweat it out like that, but it works for me.
Panic! At the Disco
A Fever You Can't Sweat Out
Released September 27th, 2005
Ok, so maybe Panic! At The Disco wasn't trying to cure any common colds when they named the album. But maybe if I add listening to this album to my remedy, then I'll find myself getting better faster. Either way, this album is a certified banger.
2005 was like half of a lifetime ago, these guys had only been together for a little over a year before releasing something that would change the landscape of their career forever. They weren't anything we hadn't seen before. Bands like The All-American Rejects, My Chemical Romance, and Fall Out Boy were already on the scene. But this debut album showed that they not only belonged on the scene, but they could own it for the moment.
When we look back on the album, it was not successful right away. The first single off of the album "The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage," didn't exactly break ground. It wasn't until they dropped the second single 5 months later that they started to get any kind of national notoriety.
I chime in-
"I Write Sins Not Tragedies" was a huge radio hit. This was also a time when people were still watching television and actually cared about music videos. The visuals for this hit may have played an even more important role than the song itself. The attention grabbing makeup and wardrobe helped them win Video of the Year at the MTV Awards, when people cared about that stuff.
They built off of this momentum and dropped their second hit single "But It's Better if you do" just a few months later. This gave them their second top 5 Billboard hit. A story of a young man falling in love in a strip club, reminds us of what T-Pain once said "I'm in love with a strippperrrr!"
The final Billboard hit off of the album was "Lying is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off." I have no idea where they come up with all these random ass names, but they go hard. I don't really understand the video, people with fishbowls for heads..? I think they were trying to push some deeper message, but it just made for some confusing visuals.
Either way, it got the attention of the viewer and the image has stuck with those who have watched it all these years later. Just like how this album has stuck within our minds nearly 15 years later. The lyricism and uniqueness displayed on this debut album created a cult following for them for the rest of their careers.
And although they have yet to release an album as polarizing as this one, they have still maintained their status as one of the most listened to bands worldwide. Being able to build that base to begin their career allowed them to work freely and create art the way they wanted to.
Who knows if they ever found a way to sweat that fever out. Who knows what the hell they were even talking about half of the time, but it worked.
If this video came on late at night with the lights off, it could be considered a horror film...
Whenever it gets under 50 degrees in Central California, we assume the world is freezing over. Whenever there is a thin layer of ice on our car windshield, we think we're in the movie The Day After Tomorrow. And whenever rainfall lasts longer than twelve hours, we break out the flood warnings. If a snowflake were ever to find its way here, people may just start evacuating the entire Central Valley.
As I sit here in my multiple layers of clothing, wrapped in a blanket, with my heater cranked to 76 degrees, I'm thinking about how eskimos ever existed. Maybe they still exist, I'm not sure. But one thing I do know is that they were fuckin' trippin'. The "mind over matter" was real. The ability to bare the elements and still be able to not only survive, but create a living for themselves, is unfathomable.
The real reason I bring this up is because I'm really just wondering what a real winter is like. Snowfall, zero degree weather, snow tires on my car, all things we will never experience here in the valley. What is it about being comfortable with where we're at keep us from moving away when we get older?
Is it because we don't want to be away from our family and friends that we grew up with? Is it because we're afraid we might fail in a new environment? Is it because we think life will be so drastically different that we won't be able to keep up?
Whatever it is for each individual who stays in the same general area that they were born and raised, it all comes down to one thing. Fear of change. It's the one thing that most of us have in common, the fear of what's on the other side of a new challenge.
Now there's nothing wrong with staying where you're from. You don't need to make a change that drastic to grow. But making one small change for the better everyday could eventually lead to a drastic change in your life. Today it may be deciding to drink one more glass of water a day and tomorrow it may be to read a chapter of a book everyday. And if you continue with your new changes, hopefully in a year or so you'd be drinking nothing but water, and you've had read multiple books and expanded your library.
Regardless of what changes you want to make in life, it all starts will small changes here and there. And once you get into the right state of mind where you are constantly seeking out change, you will eventually find yourself in the position you always imagined you would be. The weather may look bad today, but just look at your forecast and realize that clear skies are coming soon.
Unless of course, you love cold weather. In which case it's only going to get better... or worse? I don't know what you cold weather people like.
This was an ice cold banger...
1. a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.
This image is you looking at your past self, asking why you wasted all those hours living in complacency.
A feeling of quiet pleasure or security sounds like a good thing. Being in your own zone. You’re totally cool, calm, and collected. Yet in life, it can be a dangerous comfort zone.
Living in complacency never gets anyone anywhere. Staying in your comfort zone keeps you from taking chances, and reaching for those goals you’ve been setting for yourself. Unless your goal is to continue working the same job, or having the same boring life, or eating the same boring food, or whatever it is that keeps you telling yourself “Well, this is good enough for me.”
When you live in that state of mind, you are oblivious to the potential danger around you. The definition makes it seem as if the danger is yet to be seen. But it is clear that living this way is dangerous in and of itself. You spend hours complaining that you want your life to be better, yet you don’t put in any effort to actually move forward. You are perfectly fine with feeling sorry for yourself.
Your self-satisfaction with your current situation allows you to trick yourself into thinking you’re actually happy with where you’re at. When people follow up with you about the goals you set for yourself, you find yourself spilling out excuses for why you haven’t accomplished what you said you would. When in reality, you have made conscious choices to avoid your goals as much as possible because you have told yourself you can’t do it. Which in turn, actually makes you believe that you’re right.
A “condition” often is in reference to a state of one’s health. Being in a state of complacency is not a condition, it’s a choice. It is not a disease, a doctor can’t write you a prescription for it. And although it is not airborne, it is extremely contagious.
Look at who you are surrounding yourself with. The friends you have are all just as complacent as you are. They tell you that what you’re doing in life is fine. When you fail to reach your goals, they believe that all your excuses are valid. They too, are living in complacency. And it’s contagious.
You need to realize that you are in control of your own choices. And that you can stop living in complacency, and start living in a constant state of growth. All you have to do is make the decision to stop being comfortable.
Breaking out of your comfort zone is the healthiest choice you can make for yourself right now. And seeing how it’s the beginning of the new year, you might as well add it to your resolution for 2019.
If you have friends who are living in complacency, tell them. If you’re a real friend and you care about the growth of those close to you, tell them that they’re doing themselves a disservice by not reaching higher. Hold them to the standard that you should hold yourself too.
Let’s redefine what living in complacency means. Your comfort zone should be a dangerous one because of the chances you’ll take on yourself. You may sometimes run into failure, but that’s better than not trying to better yourself at all.
Welcome to 2019, where our resolution is one.
I've never really had an epiphany. But I have had plenty of little moments in my life where I've realized I need to make drastic changes in order to push myself to grow.
There are a lot of distractions that hold people back from pursuing whatever it is they're striving towards. Flaky friends, bad habits, junk food, television, listening to horrible music. All things that we cling on to that only make things harder on ourselves.
Not everyone is born with that constant desire to want more and be more. Some people need added motivation. Some people need tough life lessons. And some people need to hit absolute rock bottom before they turn their life around.
Regardless of what point you are in your journey right now, I promise you it's not too late. And I promise, you need it.
Take a second to think about everything that is weighing you down right now. It could be something as big as getting laid off. It could be credit card debt. Or it could something as small as your lawn not looking the way you know it should and you're terrified that your landlord is going to be pissed when they see it.
No matter what it is, it bothers us all the same. It sits in our brain like a hurricane, flooding all of our other thoughts. Drowning out all of the positive things in our lives.
In reality, we have a million more good things going for us than bad things. We are alive. We have food. You are probably reading this on a phone or a tablet or a laptop, something billions of people on this earth can't dream of owning.
Yet, we still go back to those negative thoughts. Telling ourselves we won't amount to anything. Asking ourselves how we are adults and we still don't own our own home. Somehow convincing ourselves that the life choices we have made are mistakes.
Everything that is happening in your life right now is by design. It was all meant to be. If you are hit with obstacles and challenges, it is because life is telling you that it's time to be tough and push through. If everything is great, then that means you need to take advantage of this time in your life.
Too often we look to the negative and use it as a reason as to why we aren't the best versions of ourselves. In our society, it is more popular to hate on what others are doing and doubt their decisions.
We need to take a look in the mirror and ask ourselves What am I doing to better myself and those around me? And I think yelling at others or just telling them to be better isn’t the way to get through to them.
The hardest part about helping others, is understanding what is going on in their life. They could be battling all kinds of negativity at home, at work, at school, or even within their own mind. It becomes difficult to have tough conversations with those around around you.
But as I have navigated through life, I have learned that spreading positivity is never a bad choice. Making yourself an example to others on how to treat yourself and the people around you is never a bad choice. Being nice is never a bad choice.
I know that I'm not always the nicest person. I have to constantly remind myself to treat others the way I wish to be treated. Being a positive influence on others can become uneasy when I look at myself and know that I'm not where I want to be in life. How could I possible influence others?
So I have a suggestion for all of you reading this. Do just one nice thing for someone else everyday. Whether its surprising your best friend with tickets to a concert, or just sending a "Hey, how are you doing?" text to someone you haven't talked to in a while.
The way I am going to be sharing positivity with others is by sending people postcards with an inspirational quote. Every person who shares this article will get a postcard. Just message or text me your address and wait for some positivity to come your way.
It's all about Positive Vibrations...
Here's the story about when my wife told me that she is pregnant with our second child...
Being able to raise our first born together has been incredible. My wife and I have grown so much as parents. We have learned from our child how to truly love life. Being a father has been the greatest era of my life, I cherish every moment with my son.
However, this is not to say that this shit isn't rough. Some days I find myself asking the question, "How the hell did my parents make it out alive with my ungrateful ass." Kids are the greatest, most terrifying, disgusting, beautiful, and foul creatures to ever walk the planet. They run shit, and I can't do shit about it.
My son is so damn cute, he gets whatever the hell he wants. He could literally fling a piece of his own crap on me, and an hour later he'd somehow convince me to give him a bite of my ice cream. I can't believe I love this kid.
I love being a father, but the thought of another child still scared me. Raising another human while still trying to raise another little human while growing together with my wife while continuing to grow as an individual while living in this world. It's some heavy shit to think about.
So when my wife told me that she was pregnant, my initial reaction wasn't quite the same as the first time. I have to be honest, I was terrified. I was trying to convince myself it wasn't true, knowing damn well I was well aware of the risk I took when we were, uh, ... making the child ... Sorry mom.
The next two days, I swear I didn't say a word to anybody. My coworkers would be talking to me and it felt like everything was silent. The only thing I could hear were my thoughts. They were loud af. Asking myself a million questions.
But they all ended with the same answer. The bottom line is that I wouldn't trade this life for anything. Reminding myself that everything happens for a reason. It scares me for all the right reasons.
Having another child means that I will grow more as a man. The experiences will push me towards something better for my family. It will continue to drive my inspiration to be better. And I know this, because it already has.
While I am still terrified, being able to look at all the blessings it will bring makes it pretty hard not to be excited. Bringing another life into this world is honorable to those who cherish it. Who know that they will truly do whatever it takes to give this child everything it needs to live an incredible life.
It's ok to be scared of change, as long as you are accepting of it. Life is going to continue to surprise you, you just have to continue to grow with it. Think about all of the things in your life to be grateful for, and know that this is all just a simulation.
I miss Derrick Rose in his prime. The Chicago Bulls were one of the best teams in the league at the height of his career. They created a young and gritty contender for the Miami Heat when they had their Big 3.
The Bulls now see themselves as a part of trio of teams that will be the worst in the league next season. If only they had a genie to wish for one player that could turn them into contenders again.
I wouldn't say I'm a genie, more of a dreamer.
I was looking for a nice picture that would encapsulate the team that they will be putting out on the floor next season. But this ended up being the most revealing picture I could find.
This would be their only chance at winning games. Tackling players. Too bad it is not legal.
However, we don't care about rules here. But there is one guy that could make this team instantly a contender without breaking said rules. Let's dive into the Bulls roster and style of play first and ponder who would be the perfect fit.
Fred Hoiberg hasn't done much since he made the jump from coaching college basketball. But in all fairness, he hasn't had much to work with. It is difficult to win a championship without one of the three best players in basketball, let alone get to the playoffs without a superstar at all.
The Bulls have made a decision to try to build the team through youth and depth. Similar to with how the Atlanta Hawks are trying to build their team, the number one ingredient is patience. But even in failure, they have made a few moves to try to make themselves a destination in the near future.
The acquisition of Zach Lavine is going to be a homerun. They took a chance on a young and injured budding star, and it looks as if it will be favorable for them. In the 27 games that he did play, he was the teams leading scorer in terms of points per game with 16.7.
Free agency went about as well as it could for a team that won just 25 games last season. Jabari Parker was once looked at as the future of the Milwaukee Bucks. Until the future of the Bucks actually showed up and proved to be a terrible fit for both Parker and the team.
So he chose to go back home to Illinois to try to play for a new contract in a place that looks to be a perfect fit. With him and Lavine both heading into their 5th season, they will be the veterans on a young team. Last season they were 9th in terms of Pace of Play, which is pretty interesting considering the fact that they were terrible at everything else.
Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen both add versatility and shooting to their respective positions. And the most recent draft pick in Wendell Carter Jr. makes their young squad filled out at every position. But there is one position they haven't filled, The Killer.
Kevin Durant could not only fix the Chicago Bulls, but he could fix his own legacy at the same time. Similar to how when Lebron was done in Miami, he chose to go to a terrible Cleveland team and bring a championship to a city that hadn't seen one in decades. Sure he can do it with a great squad, but can he do it with anyone?
The Bulls really are a squad full of anyone's, but Kevin Durant is 100% ungaurdable. And his two Finals MVPs solidifies his rank as one of the top three players in the world. And a move to the Eastern Conference would make him instantly the best player amongst his conference opponents.
As the Warriors and Bulls were completely on opposite ends of the spectrum, one thing they were similar in was Pace of Play. The Warriors were slightly faster than the Bulls as they were good enough for 5th in the league. So the transition of style would be no issue for Durant.
Durant shot an unbelievable 51% from the field last season and 42% from three-point land. Pairing him with another lengthy forward in Lauri Markkanen would stretch the defense in ways unimaginable. Markkanen broke the record for fastest player ever to make 100 three-pointers. Having two 7 foot guys who can shoot three's at an efficient rate would create headaches for opposing defenses.
The biggest question mark for this team would be the point guard position. But Durant was one of the best players in the NBA last season in isolation. So essentially, in a worst case scenario, Durant could just run the entire offense. And if that is a team's worst case scenario, they have a pretty could chance of being legitimate contenders.
The team who led the league in attendance last season would have their best player since MJ. And the crazy Chicago fans would show nothing but love for KD. Kevin Durant could fix the Chicago Bulls, but unfortunately he wouldn't be able to fix DRose's knees *crying emoji*
I miss how KD used to make me feel...
With Lebron choosing to go to the Los Angeles Lakers, it got me thinking about which players could instantly turn non-playoff teams into winning teams. We’ll go through each team that didn’t make the playoffs last season and add one superstar that could help them get to the playoffs in the 2018-19 season. Since Lebron and Lakers already linked up, we’ll leave them out. But all you other crappy teams, get ready to live out your fantasy.
The Atlanta Hawks are going to be the worst team in the NBA next season. They may get some competition from the Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls, and Orlando Magic. But don’t worry, they’ll be the terrible-est.
But they don’t need a superstar, they traded for Carmelo Anthony... HA! The highest paid player on their team won’t play for them this season, or ever. So who could in theory fix this terrible team? Well first, let’s dive into their style of play.
The Hawks are looking to start from scratch, and that starts with a new head coach in Lloyd Pierce. Pierce was an assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers for the last 5 seasons, pretty much the entire existence of The Process. He helped build a playoff team through the use of analytics, developing three-and-D players, and (most importantly) patience.
It is going to take a lot of patience with this young squad, but youth could actually be a positive when paired with the right superstar. Besides Vince Carter, the most experienced player on the team next season will be Jeremy Lin who is heading into his 9th season.
I’m a Lin supporter, but he’s not exactly the veteran guy to build a team around. And for a team that was dead-last in attendance last season, he won't exactly move the needle.
With the last three draft picks of Taurean Prince, John Collins, and Trae Young, it’s obvious that the team is trying to build a corps of athletic wings and guards who can space the floor. This youth will lead to some very fast-paced play. And with the anchor on the defensive end in Kent Bazemore, they will need a big time scorer who can control the court on the offensive end.
With a squad full of young and underdeveloped players, the only thing that could help this team is one of the top two players in the world. And with Lebron out of the question, Steph Curry is the only answer. The Eastern Conference doesn’t have any of the top 5 players in the world, so the addition of Steph would instantly make them one of the 3 best teams in the East.
Only 6 other teams shot more three-pointers than the Hawks last season. With the addition of Steph and Trae Young, this number would only increase. They also played at a pace of play that was fast enough for 9th in the league.
Three-point shooting and speed is what made this team last year, and in order to make them successful they would have to continue to do the same things. Just at a much higher level of efficiency.
Its obvious to say that you can add Steph Curry to any team and they will be good enough to be a playoff team. But this team is bad, like real bad. On paper and in real life. But it’s the winning culture that he would bring that would be the driving factor in pushing this team to the top.
The two-time MVP and three-time NBA Finals Champion instantly raises the level of play for the entire organization. If Trusting The Process is something you believe in, this would be the complete opposite of that. This would be like a cheat code in a video game.
The Warriors are an incredible team even without Steph... but are they really? His On/Off numbers are staggering considering the teammates he has on the floor when he's off the court. The Offensive Rating is the stat that jumps off the page, as the Warriors were 122.8 with Steph on the floor compared to 107.9 with him off.
The Hawks as a team were 25th in the league last season in Offensive Rating, and only The Baby Faced Assassin could do anything to fix that. Trae Young showed his range in college and in the NBA Summer League. If you could pair that up with a guy who can make half-court shots routinely in Steph Curry, they could fix the Atlanta Hawks.
Steph Curry once dropped 30 in a half in the NCAA tournament...
"I'm finna spit it, with a clear tone, Get yo attention, The biggest thang since the T.V. invention"
Mac Dre's words still flow through our brain as time continues to pass.
His music is standing the test of time, as he can still stand with all the greats in the history of Bay Area artists. His presence alone made an impact on an entire generation of artists. He helped pave the way for young artists who represent the sound of the bay.
Although this sound has drastically changed over time, we can still feel the rhythm and soul that he perpetuated. And we can see the vision that Mac Dre had dreamed of for the land he loved. The Sound of The Bay lives on.
P-Lo of the Heartbreak Gang has been the living, breathing, hyphy'ing example of what it means to represent the Bay Area sound. His younger days as a producer showed that he had the ability to create a new fresh style to the Hyphy sound.
Mac Dre was always about going stupid, but he could switch it up and bring you some pimpin' advice. He could teach you how to dance while on Thizzles, and then switch it up and tell you about how the justice system is fucked up. This versatility is now the bar that is set for these young artists.
P-Lo offers everything needed from a successful Bay Area artist. And his latest hit gives the listener a chance to remember what got us here.
P-Lo and Oakland native ALLBLACK created the Bay Area hit of the summer for 2018 with "no idea" off of P-Lo's new album prime. The music video has many visuals of what keeps Northern California unique. Art, dance, cars, and sights of the Bay Bridge that brings us all together.
Whenever you hear "P-P-P-Lo... Time to bring the bass back" you know it's about to be a banger. The heavy use of claps gives the listener a chance to go dumb to the sound. The smooth piano allows the artists to tell their stories over the beat.
It feels like it could have been released at any point in the history of Bay Area rap music and people would still move to it. The opening line of the song sets the tone for a positive self image.
Ain't nobody like me, bitch I'm custom
The chorus feels like it was inspired by the stylings of E-40. The use of Bay Area slang can be traced back to man who used the hyphen in his name first. If you don't think that the sound of the bay has improved drastically over time, just think about the chorus to "Tell Me When To Go" and compare it to this one.
Don't you know I got the city on lock?
The beat itself offers so much versatility that it was able to maintain a beautiful sound with two artists who have completely different flows. ALLBLACK came into the beat hard, similar to what we've heard from other young Bay Area artists like SOB x RBE.
The mixture of these different cultures of hip-hop coming together for a Bay Area hit shows what Northern California has to offer to the world. Not only in music, but in the future of how we treat each other.
We have seen diversity of races begin to tear our country apart, but Northern California won't allow it to affect them. Not only are we seeing different races begin to come together, but we are finally starting to see life through each others eyes. And ALLBLACK represents that in his verse here.
She support me when I'm down, won't quit when it's tough
I think at the end of the day, most of us have no idea what the answer is to a better future. But coming together is probably a good place to start. This song helps represent what makes the Bay Area unique.
The sights, the sounds, and the feeling you get when you're blasting this music in your house while cleaning and you're shaking your dreads that you don't have. It all brings us back to what Mac Dre once said,
"Servin' fat game that you couldn't imagine,
Boy I could talk a cat off a fish wagon,
or sell an eskimo ice at a high price,
and get him twice,
man I'm nothin nice,
and Game is my merchandise,"
That has nothing to do with this, but I just always thought it was crazy that he said that.
Humans have naturally had a battle between older and younger generations. "Back in my day" is a saying that probably dates back to the beginning of mankind. Time continues to pass, and the disagreements between the youth, the elderly, and everyone in between never stops. As younger generations continue to grow into adults, we are beginning to see that some of them are finding a way to take the torch from the old heads and run with it. And as we dig deeper, we see that a lot of us really have the same goal, which is trying to make a better future for ourselves and the people around us.
The culture of rap music is constantly evolving, yet it is also cyclical. If we go back to the beginning stages of hip-hop, we got the very simple lyrics when Wonder Mike said "I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie to the hip hip hop and you don't stop the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jump the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat." And now in 2018 we've got guys like Lil Pump bringing the simple lyrics back when he says "GUCCI GANG, GUCCI GANG, GUCCI GANG, GUCCI GANG, GUCCI GANG, GUCCI GANG, GUCCI GANG! SPENT THREE RACKS ON A NEW CHAIN (YUH!) MY BITCH LOVE TO DO COCAINE (OOOH!)"
In history we have also been blessed with pure street poetry by guys like RZA, Nas, and Tupac who brought incredible lyricism to rap music. The ups and downs of rap music have been so incredibly drastic that we have seen it die and revive at least once a year since its birth. But that is what makes it beautiful. It is not supposed to be perfect, it's not supposed to be accepted by everyone, it's not even supposed to always have some underlying message. Rap music is a living, breathing organism that is forever changing, and a new young artist is trying to do his part to help it's growth.
YBN Cordae is a 20 year old rapper out of Maryland who is attempting to show the world that there is promise for the future of hip-hop. He dropped his first few tracks in 2016 onto his Soundcloud, which showed just a small preview of what is to come. His first track "About Me" is somewhat of him contemplating what it is going to be like once he blows up, as if he has already envisioned it a million times over and knows it will come to fruition.
Moved to the burbs necessary bettered the living
As I mentioned earlier, guys like Lil Pump are taking heat from the older generations for simply what has been done since the beginning of hip-hop itself. J Cole recently released a diss track to Lil Pump, trying to teach him a lesson on how to carry himself as an artist and how his words impact the youth. And in many ways, he is right. But YBN Cordae told Cole why he should pump the brakes on all the judgement on his track "Old Niggas."
Bridging this gap between generations is going to be extremely difficult. Especially when many of these kids are dressing as crazy as they are, or have tattoos and piercings all over their face, or their hair is in some whacky fashion. But as we look back in time, rappers have always looked stupid, this is nothing new. RUN DMC made it cool to wear tracksuits, Flava Flav wore a clock as a necklace, Busta Rhymes had some of the wildest hair styles in rap history, Nelly wore jerseys ten sizes too big, Soulja Boy wore Yums shoes, New Boyz made it cool to wear tight fitting clothes. Like I said, this is nothing new.
And honestly, my boy J Cole looks like a rich bum right now. So he can't really talk about how any of these kids are looking. But YBN Cordae found a way to respectfully respond to Cole while still dropping major facts. In this video he says "Let's take it back when hip hop originated and old niggas said it was wack, they couldn't take it and called it a little trend, said it wouldn't last now it's the number one genre as the time passed."
But this is just the beginning for the kid. What actually originally put me onto him was his freestyle he did with the LA Leakers. No pen. No notepad. No phone. All off the top of his head. Even if it was bars he had written before, he spit them on the spot over three separate beats just to show his versatility. One of those beats being Lil Pump's banger "Esskeetit."
Someone had posted a one minute clip of the video with your typical "OMG this guy killed this *fire emoji*" caption. Most of the time I won't even click on them because of how often these posts are terrible. But it was early in the morning and my son was still asleep so I decided to click on it and listen to it at a low volume. The caption was right, the kid bodied it. So I watched the video in it's entirety which you can find here.
He is longevity chasing while all of these other artists are out here chasing clout and viral fame. This guy is in it for the long haul, and his most recent single is about him kicking the door down and imposing his presence onto the scene.
Produced by Take a Daytrip, "Kung Fu" could be the first page that is turned onto a new and improved generation of hip-hop. This track is a perfect mix of simplistic rhymes and lyrical bars. The melodies flow smoothly over the beat as if the vocals are a part of the beat itself.
I'm a thief in the night, pray to Jesus to Christ
The story telling ability is one of the rarest traits to find in hip-hop. Guys can really be from the streets and rap about what they've seen and gone through, but if they don't have the vocabulary or linguistics to bring to the track, it becomes hard for us to see their vision. YBN Cordae paints a vivid picture with his lyrics, and considering his age and the small sample size we currently have, it is only right to believe that he is only going to improve as time goes on.
As he attempts to shatter all judgements of this new age of rap, he will have to fight for respect from people of all ages, backgrounds, and musical taste. I have recently come to realize that it is time to stop judging these kids on their musical stylings and how they choose to express themselves through their art. As the world is constantly evolving, music will continue to do the same. And I hope I'm on the right side of history with YBN Cordae.
Play this shit at the highest volume possible...
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.