The Basketball Court Podcast Episode #6
In Episode VI, we tackle what would've gone down had the King, LeBron James, remained in Cleveland rather than bolting for South Beach in "The Decision." Play below and like us on Podomatic and iTunes!
In Rotation #9 [12/23/2016]
Happy Holidays everyone!
- Brenda Lee, Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - Make fun if you want to, but this white lady did the damn thing on this one.
- Run The Jewels, A Christmas Fucking Miracle - More proof that some of the best holiday songs ever written are by rappers.
- Stevie Wonder, What Christmas Means to Me - Young Stevie AKA Motown Stevie AKA Lost-All-His-Hair-Except-That-Little-Braid-In-The-Back Stevie remains undefeated.
- Chris Brown, This Christmas - Hating oldheads will say that this doesn't belong in the same conversation as Donny Hathaway's original—don't listen to them. It might not be as good, but it's very possibly Chris Brown's greatest contribution to humanity (which: low bar, I know).
- Kanye West, Christmas in Harlem (feat. CyHi Da Prynce, Teyana Taylor, Cam'ron, Jim Jones, Vado, Pusha T, Big Sean) - We still don't bang with Kanye, BUT: this is the best Christmas song of all time. Throw hands if you wanna.
- Mariah Carey, All I Want For Christmas Is You - All hail the queen, forever may she reign.
- The Temptations, Silent Night - "Y'all. Don't. Know. Nothin'. 'Bout. This. Right. Here," - millions of aunties and cat daddies around the world.
ALBUM: Chance the Rapper & Jeremih, Merry Christmas Lil Mama - Just in case you forgot who 2016 really belonged to, Chance and Jeremih came through and made Christmas music great again. Jah bless.
In Rotation #8 [12/16/2016]
Realistically speaking, this is probably the last one I'll do before Mariah Carey Christmas music takes over my aux cord. So until then...
- Drake, Fake Love - This song, repeated 18 consecutive times, would have been better than Views.
- 21 Savage, Gang - It will be interesting to see whether 21, who has appeared on tracks with Young Dolph, YG, and Drake, will have longevity, or whether we'll leave him behind in 2016—hopefully the former comes to fruition, rather than the latter.
- Kid Cudi, Baptized In Fire (feat. Travis Scott) - It's interesting to watch generational artists collide on the same track. It's perhaps beyond obvious (considering Scott has openly confirmed his admiration of Cudi), but these two have a chemistry that emanates from the music they create.
- Ab-Soul, Mixed Emotions - I miss the old Ab-Soul; the Book of Soul Ab-Soul; the black lip pastor Ab-Soul; where did you go, Ab-Soul?
- Solange, F.U.B.U. (feat. The-Dream & BJ The Chicago Kid) - For obvious reasons, listening to Solange sing "this shit is for us" has been truly affirming.
- Lil Uzi Vert, Blonde Brigitte (feat. Gucci Mane) - This is quite possibly the worst rap song ever made. It's misogynistic, intensely anti-black, and really, really boring. Gucci should be ashamed to attach his name to it, and LUV obviously needs friends, and not devout yes-men in his inner circle. Garbage.
- Shy Glizzy, Funeral - Pretty easily the best song about having to go to a funeral ever, punctuated by my personal favorite line: "you might get ya ass robbed at my funeral."
ALBUM: Ab-Soul, Do What Thou Wilt - Ugh. What's unfortunate about Soulo's last two albums (These Days, DWTW) is that they so starkly oppose his 2012 album debut, Control System. It's hard not to look at his strained relationship with guys like Anthony Tiffith, CEO of TDE, and question whether the collective that many consider to be the best in the country (if not the world) is the best place for the Black Lip Pastor. Couldn't even make it through the entire album—monotonous melodies, flat writing abound—before I switched up and played his older albums and mixtapes.
In Rotation #7 [12/9/2016]
So sorry for the unannounced hiatus, needed to take a mental health/employment/life break. But enough about me, let's focus on the music.
- Lloyd, Holding (feat. Lil Wayne) - Y'all somehow Lloyd managed to not just come back, but come back, sound just as good as he did in the early aughts, AND CAME AND BLESSED US WITH ANOTHER STRONG LIL WAYNE COLLAB.
- Lloyd, Tru (Remix) (feat. 2 Chainz) - I'm really, really excited Lloyd is back, and I'm starting to realize that 2 Chainz, just off the strength of his email marketing plan, might be one of my favorite artists at the moment.
- Chief Keef, Citgo - This is what I thought the worst song on the best rap album of 2012. Upon further review, it's just a really weird/punk-rock-meets-drill/incredible display of how varied one of the best drill albums ever truly was.
- Young Thug, Mind Right - For aforementioned reasons, hearing "got my mind right, now I'm running the streets" is a refreshing take on the hypermasculinity usually set forth by artists like Thugger (don't think we've forgotten about your atrocious behavior this past week tho, Negro...)
- YG, One Time Comin' - This was the song that I think fully solidified my confidence in YG—Still Brazy was strong, and My Krazy Life had its moments, but there's something about his subject matter and technical proficiency on Red Friday that has convinced me to finally hop on the bandwagon, so scoot over.
- Ty Dolla $ign, R&B - I absolutely hate Ty Dolla $ign for making me love this song with its ridiculously sexist lyrics, which is unfortunately true of probably 70% of his catalog. Ugh.
- Kendrick Lamar, Alright - Because it helps to hear it from someone else sometimes.
ALBUM: Childish Gambino, "Awaken, My Love!" - In the past five years, the artist also known as Donald Glover has produced: 3 rap albums, a network television show, the Royalty mixtape, and not least of all, a Gangsta Grillz mixtape. Like his music or not, it is undeniable that Donald Glover/Childish Gambino is one of the more versatile artists making any kind of content today. His latest effort sounds like it stepped out of a time-traveling El Dorado, after bumping nothing but The Delfonics, George Clinton, and Earth, Wind, & Fire. If you were looking for a conventional rap album, skip it—otherwise, this is one of the more enjoyable/interesting/musical albums of 2016.
In Rotation #6 [10/14/2016]
This week started with Columbus Day, a holiday I don't recognize. So I decreed it Lloyd Appreciation Day instead. Just thought y'all should know.
- Rico Nasty, Hey Arnold! RMX (feat. Lil Yachty) - Perfection.
- Migos & Rich The Kid, Dat Way - Shout out to Takeoff, the often-unsung third of the Migos, who had a very Jay-Rock-on-Money-Trees standout verse.
- Erykah Badu, Next Lifetime - My problematic fave on arguably her best song ever—the whole album is almost literally soothing.
- Lloyd, You (feat. Lil Wayne) - Right, so like I said, Lloyd deserves his own holiday, and this song is a big reason why.
- Travis Scott, Myles - I mean, I don't know—it's kind of Travis just humming really fast, but it's catchy.
- Jay IDK, Boy's Innocence (feat. Fat Trel) - Best Fat Trel feature I've heard in a really long time, shout out to DC & PG.
- Sade, Is It a Crime - So I saw this tweet, and then I found the song and haven't stopped playing it—it's been six days.
ALBUM: Sade, The Best of Sade - I recently adopted a cat, and when she's really upset, this is the only thing I've found so far that calms her down without fail. I often have to play it through the night so that she'll sleep. Fortunately, Sade makes really, really, really good music. This is just her greatest hits, so it's a great place to start if you're not already a stan.
The Basketball Court, Episode #5 [10/13/2016]
One of the most notoriously busted draft selections also happens to be attached to basketball's biggest star ever. Michael Jordan, as general manager of the Washington Wizards, selected Kwame Brown with the #1 overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. But what if he didn't? Sam and I litigate once more, but we have our first guest judge, Jake Whitacre of SB Nation's Bullets Forever blog. #dcRising forever.
In Rotation #5 [10/7/2016]
- Lil Yachty, Bentley Coupe (feat. Gucci Mane) - It's an 808-heavy Yachty x Gucci collab, and features a Minnie Ripperton sample—how are you not listening already?
- Rico Nasty, Hate - Ok, yes, I'm obsessed with Rico Nasty.
- Kendrick Lamar, Poe Mans Dreams [His Vice] (feat. GLC) - I went on a pre-GKMC Kendrick kick this past Wednesday, and am ashamed to say I'd forgotten how unbelievable his bars are on this track in particular.
- Duke, Blue Hunnids (feat. Lil U) - My most favorite slept-on Young Thug quality is how great his ancillary artists can be—guys like Duke and Trouble are more hit-or-miss than Jeffery, but when they're on, they're really, really on.
- Vince Staples, Norf Norf - So after that ridiculous white woman had a conniption over "Norf Norf" and posted it on YouTube, I revisited it—still a slap, in my opinion *shrugs*.
- Kid Cudi, Don't Play This Song (feat. Mary J. Blige) - In addition to being brave enough to be open and honest about his mental health, I personally celebrated all of the dope music Kid Cudi has given the world, including this amazing, amazing Mary J. collab.
- Jamila Woods, Lonely Lonely (feat. Lorine Chia) - Still cannot believe how under-celebrated HEAVN, Woods's debut album was, when it featured gems like "Lonely Lonely."
ALBUM: Jamila Woods, HEAVN* - Yeah, so let's remedy this. In July, Jamila Woods released an album complete with features from Chicago's new crop of dynamic artists (Noname, Saba, and of course, Lil Chano from 79th), bouncy, but tight production from big names like Kweku Collins and Peter Cottontale, and—perhaps most importantly—HEAVN was 13 songs absolutely dripping in unapologetic blackness. HEAVN is an excellent piece of music, of black music, and deserves to be in the same conversations as the Lemonades and A Seat At The Tables of the R&B world.
*Here's a great Q&A between Woods and Eve Ewing, for Seven Scribes.
In Rotation #4 [09/30/2016]
This week's 7 is really fun, I promise...
- Rico Nasty, Hey Arnold - If you are familiar with my affinity for artists like Lil Yachty, you'll understand why I fell in love with Rico Nasty this week.
- Francis & The Lights, My City's Gone (feat. Kanye West) - I'm about 90% sure this song is about gentrification, which gives me some mixed feelings, but overall it's really weird (in a great way) and the vocals are awesome.
- Solange, Mad (feat. Lil Wayne) - More on the greatness that is Solange later, but add her to the list of people (Tyler, Chance, YG, to name a few) who have been able to coax some vintage, fire-flame heat from Wayne.
- Rico Nasty, Dennis Rodman - As it turns out, I was wrong three weeks ago when I said Blac Youngsta's "Come Thru" is the best song ever recorded—it's this.
- Danny Brown, Downward Spiral* - I will always and forever champion black folk who use music to talk about their mental health, and the struggles that come with that—Danny Brown and what he does for rap music are both so, so, slept on.
- Kodie Shane, Hold Up (Dough Up) (feat. Lil Yachty & Lil Uzi Vert) - In my most passioned Slim Jxmmi voice: "I like what I like."
- DJ Mustard, Want Her (feat. Quavo & YG) - The ultimate proof that Quavo is magic is the fact that there now exists a DJ Mustard track that is better than mediocre.
ALBUM: Solange, A Seat at the Table** - Goodness gracious what an album. Not sure whether to emphasize her usage of so many black musical traditions—hip-hop, funk, JAZZ—or the fact that the entire thing is a concept album about loving yourself and your blackness, or the fact that she's got a literal ode to self care on here, OR that there's a track on here titled, "Don't Touch My Hair." Bow down—twice.
*The sincerest of sincere apologies are in order because I was only able to find links to "Downward Spiral" through Spotify and Apple Music (though it's also on Tidal, if that's more your speed).
**The same is true of a free album stream, but if I'm being real, Solange more than deserves your money for this.
The Basketball Court Podcast, Episode #4 [09/27/2016]
... and we back, and we back, and we back, and we back, and we back! After a months-long, completely intentional, and thoroughly planned hiatus, we had to bless y'all with some more [in my extremely T.I. voice], splendiferously litigated basketball pontifications. What if the Warriors pull the trigger on the notorious Klay Thompson-Kevin Love trade? Find out all the basketball (and other) implications of a trade that almost was in Klay A. Thompson v. Kevin W. Love!
In Rotation #3 [09/23/2016]
This stressful, trying, emotional week has required some therapeutic music.
- Mykki Blanco, High School Never Ends (feat. Woodkid) - A powerful, emotional condemnation of violent queerphobia and Transphobia (and the video might be even better).
- Mac Miller, Dang! (feat. Anderson .Paak) - I still can't get over how jazzy and soulful Miller's newest effort, The Divine Feminine is—he's come a really, really long way from "Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza."
- DJ Esco, Benjamins Burn (feat. Future) - My Lyft driver was blasting this when he picked me up yesterday, so I had to revisit it (and the rest of the mixtape too).
- Rihanna, Sex With Me - Ugh, this is just so, so good; maybe Rih's best song ever.
- Marília Mendonça, Infiel (Ao Vivo) - Ever since I heard this blaring from loudspeakers on top of a car cruising around Salvador, I've been absolutely hooked.
- Anderson .Paak, The Waters (feat. BJ The Chicago Kid) - These two made sure that this song is dripping in soulfulness, and I'm not mad—not one bit.
- Kari Faux, Ken Griffey - I don't really have a snappy explanation for this one, I just really love this song.
ALBUM: Mick Jenkins, The Healing Component - The Healing Component, technically Mick's debut album, follows in the tradition of his preceding projects (Trees And Truths, The Waters, The Wave[s]) to create yet another jazzy, but often spooky/sinister album. A concept album about blackness, spirituality, mental health, and of course love, THC could very well be Jenkins's most emotionally vulnerable album yet.
In Rotation #2 [09/16/2016]
Hope everyone has had a musical, stress-free week!
- Blu Cantrell, Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!) - Black women pissed off with trifling Black men makes for some incredible R&B.
- Bobby Valentino, Beep - Okay, I never said that I ONLY listen to incredible R&B...
- Ashanti, The Way That I Love You - The closest you'll get to time travel, Ashanti takes you all the way back to watching 106 & Park after you came home from school.
- After The Smoke, Garcus Marvey - Think hip-hop meets trillwave meets spoken word, and that's a rough depiction of the best cut from this slept on Tallahassee duo's 2013 project, Microwaves.
- Amerigo Gazaway, Inner City Travellin' Man - There's nothing I can write to do this DJ mashup of Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) and Marvin Gaye justice, you've just got to play it (if you haven't already) and thank me later.
- K Camp, Free Money (feat. Slim Jxmmi) - If we started taking K Camp more seriously (we really should) this could be the rightful heir to "Throw That Ass In A Circle."
- Junglepussy, Pop for You - Really sick of people sleeping on Junglepussy because she's making some of the best rap music on the planet right now—don't fight me, fight your fave.
ALBUM: Zuse, TrapZuse - Zuse is an Atlanta rapper, by way of Jamaica, who makes patois-infused trap music. Yes, it's exactly as phenomenal as it sounds.
In Rotation #1 [09/09/2016]
I think it's really important to talk about and engage with music critically, but sometimes I just want to share with y'all what I've been bumping. So, every Friday I'll share the last seven songs I played on my phone/computer/whatever, as well as the last album I played all the way through. This isn't reflective of anything but what I've been vibin' to lately.
- Travis Scott, Through The Late Night (feat. Kid Cudi) - If we could harness the raw power of Kid Cudi's humming, we could do away with fossil fuels altogether.
- Isaiah Rashad, Stuck In The Mud (feat. SZA) - Another really, really strong collaboration from two artists who seem to be perfect for one another.
- French Montana, Lockjaw (feat. Kodak Black) - "Please stand, and remove your hats for the singing of our national anthem."
- Frank Ocean, Nights - Frank's songwriting is always great, but he's on another plane of existence during "Nights," which manages to be one of the smoothest songs on the album—all without a chorus.
- Young Thug, Wood Would - The best Young Thug song you've never heard.
- My Chemical Romance, The End. - After reading Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib's piece on the tenth anniversary of their album, The Black Parade, I gave it a listen—it's very, very emo, but a slap is a slap is a slap.
- Blac Youngsta, Come Thru (feat. Quavo) - This (at first just a snippet) is the best song ever recorded.
ALBUM: Isaiah Rashad, The Sun's Tirade - Because we always need music from black and brown people talking honestly about mental health, addiction, and wellness. A really, really impressive "debut" from Rashad, who has now quietly put out two dope rap albums.
A Conversation With Beau Young Prince
A Black History Month-centered interview with D.C. artist Beau Young Prince, originally for Slant News.
Basketball Court Podcast
In January, Sam Tydings, Peter Andrews, and I created the Basketball Court Podcast. The premise, born from countless debates in what will probably be an infamous GChat thread, is essentially: what would happen if the ball took a different bounce? How would the league (and the world!) look if, hypothetically, Michael Jordan misses "The Shot" over Craig Ehlo in 1989? The very-much-irregular episodes are just as ridiculous/pointless/fun as you'd expect, and our most recent episode revolves around Robert Horry. Perfect, right?