By: Harry Jadun with help from the Bonus Cut staff
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. We started with Round Six last week. This week we’re unleashing Round Five.
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 final pick of Round Five (30th overall), M.C.G. Squadron selects: Pharoahe Monch
In perhaps his most famous track, “Simon Says”, Pharoahe Monch declares, “Y’all know the name/ Pharoahe fuckin’ Monch, ain’t a damn thang changed.” In more ways than one this line exemplifies the brilliance of Monch as an MC and participant in the hip-hop community. The longevity of his career is undeniable. Not only has he built an impressive resume of solo records from the late 90’s until now, but he was also a member of the group Organized Konfusion that put out three records between the years of 1991-1997. Looking back on his time alongside Prince Po in the Organized Konfusion days, his delivery and vocabulary is something to behold. In the video of “Stressed” his style seems the 90’s equivalent of Danny Brown’s as he causes lyrical hemorrhages:
“My perception of poetical injection is ejaculation/ The Immaculate Conception/ The hall walker, who stalks bodies in Central Park/ Soon emergency services’ll outline that body in chalk/ Then I begin to walk away and spit/ Then when I walk away I talk shit/ Huh, a driver sprayed my face with mace/ She didn’t know that I enjoyed the taste of radioactive waste.”
As Monch has grown older, so has the content of his music. What remains is his distinct rhyming ability that is as clever as it ever was. Monch now comes with a perspective grounded in political consciousness that is subtle, yet in your face, like his lines of old. In the soulful “Push” he speaks directly to the men and women of the working class.
“One more repetition I’m a spot you/ This is for my blue collar workin’, beer guzzlin’/ Bootleg, DVD sellin’, keep hustling/ Push, if you represent the struggle then push/ Peep the pieces of the puzzle and push/ Never let ’em place a muzzle just push”
In the video he incorporates images reminiscent of the 1970’s and the era of the Black Power Movement in which the Black Panther Party for Self Defense helped communities for the better across the country. From his most recent album, W.A.R., his artistry is evident as the song “Clap” is accompanied by a 10-minute short film that deals with themes of political oppression and police brutality. Whether you’re listening to Pharoahe Monch of the 90’s or 2000’s, one thing remains; ain’t a damn thang changed.
With the fifth pick of Round Five (29th overall), Team CAN’T FUCK WITIT selects: Clear Soul Forces
These dudes can rap. Every single one of them: E-Fav, L.A.Z., Noveliss, and Ilajide. Not to mention Ilajide also handles most of their production. It’s hard enough finding a real MC these days, let alone four. Clear Soul Forces have it all; they are a self-sustaining hip-hop beast. Every member brings their own style and personality to the table, and together they achieve the perfect balance. They formed back in 2009 after an all-night in the studio and have been working their asses off ever since – they’ve been recording mixtapes, filming music videos and spreading their music across the internet. People took notice – this shit is some serious hip-hop. It’s so smooth, so chill. You can’t help but nod your head. On top of all that, they don’t even have a record label. They are an independent, self-made enterprise, slowly taking over the underground hip-hop scene. Their beats are echoing across the globe.
Clear Soul Forces’ success comes from the flawless delivery, the natural lyricism, the golden-age boom-bap, that new school in an old-familiar way. Clear Soul Forces spit nothing but wisdom. But it’s not overly complex, or concerned with storylines – these dudes just love to rhyme and have fun doing it. Every verse is playful, clever and packed with enough figurative language to make your head spin. It reminds me of some Souls of Mischief kind of shit – passing the mic through clouds of smoke and alliteration. It’s refreshing. It seriously brings you to another world, far away from the pussy-money-weed mentality of most contemporary rap; Clear Soul Forces are a lyrical revolution. They’re an essential voice in the hip-hop community, and that voice is only beginning to rise: the street poets of Detroit, bringing back that classic shit, full blast, polished ever so sweetly.
With the fourth pick of Round Five (28th overall), Team Terio’s Killaz selects: J. Cole
It’s a Cole World, which is why I selected Jermaine Cole as my 5th pick.
Some might negatively label his music “struggle rap”, but J. Cole just keeps it real. While other rappers boast and brag about their success and earnings, Cole stays down to earth. I couldn’t help but become a fan when I listened to his first two mixtapes (which he also produced). On these mixtapes he flaunts his effortless ability to take listeners along for the ride while he documents his trials and tribulations in the hip-hop world. However, as he attained mainstream success he self-admittedly got away from the qualities that made him such a great hip-hop artist. On the track “Let Nas Down” from his sophomore album, Born Sinner, he raps about how he sold out on his debut album, Cole World: The Sideline Story. He definitely took his idol’s advice on Born Sinner, which turned out to be one of the better hip-hop releases of 2013. The album is his most polished piece of work to date, as Cole touches on socially conscious topics such as materialism, good vs. evil, temptation and commercialism.
Another thing that I love about Jermaine is he’s hip-hop’s version of a Honey Badger. He’s never scared to go toe to toe with hip-hop’s finest. This was illustrated this past summer, when he actually moved his album’s release date up to compete with Kanye and Jay-Z’s respective releases. Terio definitely approves. With rumors of a collab album with Kendrick Lamar to be in the works, there’s no doubt that J. Cole’s best days are still in front of him. But until that time comes, check him steal the show from Jay-Z on “A Star is Born” from The Blueprint 3. “The flow’s cold as a shoulder / Of gold diggin’ hoes when a broke nigga approaches” Ooh, kill ‘em!
With the third pick of Round Five (27th overall), Team Hey Hey Hey Heyyyy selects: Guilty Simpson
“I want to make the consumer care about the music again.”
Guilty Simpson, the hard-hitting braggadocio infused MC from Detroit, Michigan, is an artist that cares for hip-hop culture and the people that take it in. By combining fueled stories about inner-city life and his home (“I’m talking that realest on the map shit/ I’m from Detroit so the raps fit/ I’m from where you gotta earn as far as the block’s concerned/ The rubber they burn in Cadillac whips”) and dirty one-two punchlines (“I outthink the average, but equally savage”) Guilty uses a unique style to accomplish storytelling at its finest.
On “Man’s World”, Guilty talks about his upbringing, especially with his father, and how it has influenced and affected him as a person. Using simplistic yet concrete rhyme schemes, he allows us to enter his head and dissect his thoughts. “Shit hurts but I feel like life goes on,” he bemoans, “be a man suck it up, by 15 I’m ducking left hooks and uppercuts.” Later on he reveals lessons learned: “But still I learned a lot cause see/ When I have a son now I know how not to be.”
Guilty is a lot more than just a prime storyteller. As an artist he made an impact on those around him, especially living legends in Detroit. Teaming up with Motown staples like Eminem (whom he still calls Marshall), Black Milk, Apollo Brown, Slum Village and Proof, Guilty not only had a profound impact on them as people, but he also helped shape the artists they’re known to be today. Perhaps the biggest compliment for Guilty Simpson was his relation with the late James Yancey (J Dilla). After collaborating with Dilla in 2001, the two formed a strong bond, and in 2006 it was Dilla who urged Stones Throw Records to sign him. “You should sign him,” Dilla requested, and the rest is history.
Mr. Simpson stands as an artist in hip-hop with a unique character catalog. He takes thunderous stories about his childhood in Detroit and portrays them through microphone assaults and verbal bombardment. He’s clever, shelving double entendre after double entendre to set up glorious punchlines, and his ability to house both fresh and real rhymes goes far beyond what the majority of hip-hop artists dream of. As a heavy-handed MC from Detroit, Guilty Simpson is a testament to hip-hop location, hip-hop collaboration and hip-hop culture.
With the second pick of Round Five (26th overall), Team Da 6 Hunnas: Lyrical Spookiness selects: Isaiah Rashad
Isaiah Rashad practically came from nowhere. He went from a small buzz artist from Tennessee to TDE’s newest signee that everyone is excited about. Personally, I am one of those listeners patiently waiting for what this kid does next because from the songs I’ve heard, he’s got, as Kendrick tweeted, “raw talent.” Also, with such a talented crew surrounding him, nothing but greatness should come from the Tennessee native. The hype solely comes from him being signed to TDE, which at the moment is one the better hip-hop groups out right now. Isaiah Rashad is a perfect fit, as his style is similar to everyone in the group, yet stands out in a unique way. Rashad’s sound is similar to Kendrick’s, where the beats he goes over are slow paced and very mellow. However, Rashad shines with his delivery and subject matter. He commonly says in interviews how his parents always told him to rap with a meaning and to essentially not be “basic”. Rashad frequently speaks about topics ranging from the “N word” to skin complexion. In Rashad’s song “Kakhi”, he raps “Far from a nigga, don’t call me a nigga/ Unless you call me my nigga, I love niggas/ I’m your only white friend, I bet you hate your own complexion/ Bet you wish you light skin, I dream a dream and write them/ Like right then I bet you dreamed ’em before/ But it’s the hesitant shit of all the shit you don’t know/ My momma told me not to listen to them bitches no more/ And ever since I’ve been riding in my Honda solo”
Isaiah Rashad raps with confidence and assurance. When rapping, you want to listen to what he’s talking about. Many rappers today struggle with this ability, where the beat is the main attraction to the song and the lyrics are the background noise. With Rashad, it’s the opposite. Rashad’s first official mixtape with the label, Cilvia, will be out soon. With songs such as “Shot You Down” and “Ronnie Drake”, Cilvia should be a stellar project. I’m excited for Isaiah Rashad’s career to officially begin. With such a strong casting support, I am positive that this man will have a great 2014. Below is a remix to Rashad’s most recent hit “Shot You Down” featuring fellow group members Ab-Soul and Schoolboy Q. Who do you think had the best verse? Nonetheless, they all killed it!
With the first pick of Round Five (25th overall), The Rap Game Hardy Boyz selects: The Underachievers
The Underachievers are a hip-hop duo composed of AK and Issa Gold. They hail from Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York and are integral members of the Beast Coast Movement, a movement working to put the East Coast, mainly New York City, back on top of the hip-hop world. The duo signed to the Brainfeeder label, which is run by producer Flying Lotus, and since then the two have put out two of the most influential mixtapes of the last year with regards to the direction that Beast Coast is taking. With their major mixtape release Indigoism, The Underachievers showed off their drug filled, psychedelic lyrics, in which they aren’t taking acid and other mind altering drugs for a new fan base, but rather using them to expand their perception and increase their creativity, which has not really been shown in hip-hop before. The mixtape represents the psychedelic side of the duo, but with their next mixtape, Lords of Flatbush, The Underachievers showed off their versatility working mainly off of hard hitting beats from producer Lex Luger. Lords of Flatbush show that they can rap on any beat sent their way, and that they can produce bangers as well as thought-producing, drug infused music. As The Underachievers look to the future, they will lead hip-hop into unchartered territory as they mix mainstream hip-hop with their psychedelic flow, and show that it is possible to mix the two in hip-hop and introduce rappers to a more introspective way to look at drugs and the music they make. Their roll with Beast Coast will be important to see the direction that East Coast hip hop will take, as they work with Pro Era and Flatbush Zombies to create a new wave of rappers on the East Coast, looking to become the new Kings of New York. With their debut album The Cellar Door releasing in early 2014, the year looks to be even more exciting for the duo than the impressive 2013 they just put together.