By: Harry Jadun with help from the Bonus Cut staff
“Damn, I swear sports and music are so synonymous, cause we want to be them, and they want to be us” – Drake
Fantasy sports has taken off. Due to the rise in technology and the internet, fantasy sports has not only become unbelievably popular in the United States, but also all around the world. Here at Bonus Cut, we have decided that we would take the concept of fantasy sports and apply it to hip-hop music. Instead of drafting wideouts and running backs, we’ve drafted some of our favorite MC’s and beat makers. The big winner in this situation is you. Not only do we introduce you to some of our favorite hip-hop artists and explain why they are relevant in hip-hop culture, we’ve also laced the Draft with dope tracks for your audio pleasure. With this draft, our goal is to pay tribute to some our favorite hip-hop artists and acknowledge the influence they have had on our lives.
So how does it work you ask? We’ve got the answers:
Six teams with six roster spots apiece
Draft is snake style
Each week we will unleash one round of the Draft, starting with Round Six this week and ending with Round One.
We will match up teams, with sixth rounders of each team pitted against each other, fifth rounders pitted against each other, etc.
The Teams along with managers (in draft order):
The Rap Game Hardy Boyz (Adam Jadun)
Da 6 Hunnas: Lyrical Spookiness (Uba Anyediegwu)
Hey Hey Hey Heyyyy (Daniel Hodgman)
Terio’s Killaz (Harry Jadun)
Team CAN’T FUCK WITIT (Justin Cook)
M.C.G. Squadron (Gus Navarro)
With the 36th and final pick of the inaugural Bonus Cut Fantasy Hip-Hop Draft, The Rap Game Hardy Boyz selects: Jay Rock
Jay Rock is from the poverty-stricken Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, and he makes sure that you know it with each rhyme he spits. Growing up in Watts he was around gang culture, and was almost relegated to falling victim to a life on the streets. However, he was discovered by the CEO of Top Dawg Entertainment, Anthony Tiffith and given a chance to share his experience through hip-hop. Rock was brought to the attention of hip-hop fans when he was given a spot on the 2010 XXL Freshman List, along with his single “Ghetto” (feat. Lil’ Wayne).” With his 2011 debut album Follow Me Home, Rock was able to prove that all the hype was worthwhile. Jay Rock’s deep and raspy voice lets the listener know just where he came from, and what he has seen growing up in Watts. His voice is one of his greatest assets as it is so distinct and allows him to be a narrator of the streets that he grew up on. This paired with his excellent choice of beats allows him to showcase his voice, bringing out some of the trap music element that defines him. With beats that offer hard hitting bass, his deep and powerful voice supplements the production and allows for cohesive tracks. On Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city, Rock took full advantage of his opportunity to work on the album and delivers one of the best guest appearances of the year on the track “Money Trees”. This feature shows the influence that Black Hippy is having on Jay Rock. In an age where the credibility of some rappers’ has been questioned, Jay Rock continues to provide an honest narrative of his life, documenting the struggles of growing up in Watts. Jay Rock will be the voice of his neighborhood and raise awareness for issues that people are facing everyday in areas stricken by poverty, crime and structural racism. The lack of solo material has hurt his stock in this draft. With a release date scheduled in 2014, Jay Rock has the possibility of being a major sleeper as we have only heard a select amount of his sound. I’m looking forward to keeping an eye on him and seeing if he can keep his hype train rolling.
With the fifth pick of Round Six (35th overall), Team Da 6 Hunnas: Lyrical Spookiness selects: Action Bronson
For my sixth pick, I chose the Queens native Action Bronson. I’ve been a huge fan of Bronson for the past couple of years because not only is he a great lyricist, he’ll make you laugh while doing so. His rap style is very unique compared to other current artists. His prominent New York accent shines while his hard hitting punch lines are delivered at the listener with pace! Some of my favorite lines from Bronson come from his feature verse on Chance the Rapper’s song “Nana.” Bronson raps, “Introducin’, It’s Bronsonlino/ With my hair slicked back, I look like Rick Pitino/ Three Japanese dykes in my El Camino/ Lettin’ trees blow, oh, I rep the East Coast/ I got a team of hoes like Pat Summit/ I look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in a black hummer (Get to the chopper!)”
Action Bronson is one of the only boom-bap artists gaining momentum in the mainstream hip-hop world. With an industry that is filled with negative stereotypes such as disrespecting women, hypermasculinity and black culture, Action is showing what hip-hop can sound like and what it can truly represent. His recent appearance on the “2013 BET Cyphers” showed how talented he is. His most recent mixtape, Blue Chips 2, is one of my favorite projects of the year. Some highlights of this mixtape are songs such as “Practice” and “Contemporary Man.” Keep an eye out for Action Bronson this upcoming year. I predict it will be a huge one for him. Below is a video of “The Rainmaker” from his collaborative album with Statik Selektah back in 2011.
With the fourth pick of Round Six (34th overall), Team Hey Hey Heyyyy selects: Madlib
Otis Jackson Jr. aka Madlib is an everything man. Quoted as saying that he’s a “DJ first, producer second, MC last,” Madlib is the rare individual in hip-hop that digs his hands into everything and does it successfully. His production is sample-driven, and it seems as if he crafts each cut around a diverse amount of sound that is quirky, fulfilling and fitting. Coming just short of what J Dilla could achieve with crate digging, Madlib is a producer that allows nothing to phase him. Changes in tone and tempo help fuel his songs, and what really pulverizes into your skull is his insane accomplishments at wielding a sword of a million sounds and samples; when a Madlib produced track plays, you know it’s Madlib. His cadence and rhyme schemes as an MC are just as identifying, as he talks about everyday life and sexual adventures through a mystically weed-soaked cloud. He stutters and even stops entirely between bars, but for some reason it just feels right. With his alter-ego Quasimoto he even incorporates a high-pitched squeal that reminds us all just how fun hip-hop can be. On top of his artistic victories, Madlib is unique in that he’s worked with a plethora of legends in hip-hop all while spitting out projects that fall far away from failure. Lib’s first project Lootpack was a divine mix between classic boom-bap 90s hip-hop and quirky underground revival that touched on those that exploited hip-hop for money making purposes, Madvillain (with DOOM) was full of dark tracks drenched in stinging bass produced cuts and DOOM’s vocabulary tongue-twisters, Jaylib’s Champion Sound was a duel album he did with J Dilla (I think that speaks for itself), MadGibbs is a project he’s in with the prodigious Freddie Gibbs and Quasimoto’s The Unseen is a record that paints shroom-induced murals of mischievous behavior that touches on the wildest aspects of hip-hop. What Madlib has been able to accomplish in the last 20 years is mind-blowing, but at the same time it makes sense, because he is perhaps the best-fit description of the everything man. By working with legends like DOOM and Dilla, Madlib reminds us that hip-hop is collaboration within a community. When a lot of people focus on East Coast vs. West Coast or beefs between artists, Madlib steadily graces us with peace and hip-hop being one.
With the third pick of Round Six (33rd overall), Team Terio’s Killaz selects: Casey Veggies
Growing up, Mama always wouldn’t let you have dessert unless you ate your veggies. Former Odd Future member Casey Veggies takes care of your childhood conundrum by serving up sweet rhymes that go down smooth over his nutritious beats. Although he has released six mixtapes since 2007, my personal favorite is Sleeping in Class, which was released in 2010. Hit the video to check out my favorite track on the tape, “Can I Live”. On this track you can get a good feel for his laid back, West Coast delivery on top of the grooving, sample-heavy beat.
This pick is more based on Mr. Customized Greatly’s upside rather than his body of work thus far. His ceiling is extremely high. After hearing the unique voices of his former Odd Future gang, including Tyler, The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt and Frank Ocean, I’m excited to hear what Casey has to offer with his debut album slated for release some time in 2014. With the backing of his former Odd Future mates (he was recently featured on “Hive” from Earl Sweartshirt’s Doris) as well as other notable mainstream hip-hop powerhouses such as Mac Miller, Dom Kennedy, Juicy J and J. Cole, there’s no doubt in my mind that it will catapult him into the spotlight with hip-hop’s finest.
With the second pick of Round Six (32nd Overall), Team CAN’T FUCK WITIT selects: Earl Sweatshirt
Earl is magic with the words, and murders Merlin over beats. He’s a fucking mad genius. Sometimes I can’t even comprehend how he’s spittin’ the shit he is – everything sounds so smooth, so connected. The way he dances with assonance and alliteration is absolutely astonishing. He is simply a monster behind the mic; I can tell poetry runs through his blood. The language he uses is so unique, and his phrasing is unlike anyone else in hip-hop. His words are arranged for the strongest poetic effect. Every song is a lyrical assault of understatement and intellect. Earl somehow manages to be raw & real while still sounding sophisticated: just listen to “Chum”. He puts up no front, no image. Only honesty, which is hard to find in today’s hip-hop.
And let’s not even start on his delivery – he sounds more relaxed rhyming than most veterans in the game, spittin’ tongue twister’s with clarity and ease. His often monotone voice is just as menacing as his words. It’s calloused, indifferent. His prowess is that of a young Shaolin Master. He’ll cut you down without breaking a sweat – or missing the beat. Let’s not forget Earl brought Odd Future their initial buzz with the video for “Earl”. He’s the true future. And now he’s matured, spitting better than ever. Doris is still spinning in my stereo; it was leaps and bounds beyond EARL. Not to mention he had legions of fans before we even knew he existed. Free Earl! – remember that shit. He was an enigma. Without a doubt, he is hip-hop’s most recent prodigy. He’s already running laps around you clowns.
With the first pick of Round Six (31st overall), M.C.G. Squadron selects: Jean Grae
Lyricism and flow have a lot to do with determining the skill of an MC. What is being said and how it’s delivered is a huge determinant in choosing favorite rappers. In this particular category, there is so much variance that what each fan enjoys listening to falls on their own personal preference. For me, lyricism and flow are significant but the longevity and versatility of an MC are also extremely important. Longevity demonstrates that an MC has remained relevant over the years while versatility shows the willingness of an MC to push boundaries and grow as an artist. Considering this, Jean Grae immediately comes to mind.
Jean Grae has been around for a minute to say the least. Since the mid-1990’s she has been releasing solo records and adding her unique insight on collaborations with the likes of Immortal Technique, Pharoahe Monch, Talib Kweli, Phonte, Cannibal Ox, The Roots and 9th Wonder. On tracks such as “The Illest”, “Assassins” and “Uh Oh” she lays it down with lines saturated in political consciousness. In the same breath, she steps correct with brazenly braggadocious battle rhymes on “You Don’t Want It”, “R.I.P.” and “Clap.” That being said, you will hear her on some deep shit as she tells the tale of a young woman struggling through the decision to have an abortion on “My Story”. Most recently, she has released three separate projects that coincide with each other called Gotham Down that reveal a more experimental side to her art.
In my mind, there is no doubt that Jean Grae is one of the more versatile MC’s around. She is political and brash and at the same time, she comes with the right balance of ego, wit and sensitivity. This reveals a multi-dimensional artist able to spark a dialogue and make you feel a fool in the same instant. If you’re in search of an MC that has it all, look no further.