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 three weeks ago. This week we’re unleashing Round Three.
- 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 Three (18th overall), M.C.G. Squadron selects: Boog Brown
While the music of hip-hop has been traditionally dominated by the male experience, there are many women who have contributed to making hip-hop what it is today. Equipped with a silky-smooth flow, Boog Brown is one of these women. On her debut album from 2010, Brown Study, she works perfectly over the heavy boom-bap production of Apollo Brown. With her sophomore record from August 2013, The Late Bloom, she continues to display her talent and versatility as she speaks from a distinctly female perspective that comes as a breath of fresh air. There is an effortlessness that seems to come with how she puts words together to craft her rhymes. With her music, Boog Brown reveals the space that exists within hip-hop to discuss double standards, back-stabbing friends and romance from a woman’s point of view. Take the time to listen to Boog Brown and you will hear an MC that is talented, honest, intelligent and vibrant. What could be better?
With the fifth pick of Round Three (17th overall), Team CAN’T FUCK WITIT selects: Freddie Gibbs
Gangsta Gibbs hails from Gary, Indiana – the same birthplace as a certain Mr. Michael Jackson. But don’t get it confused, Gibbs is no pop star. He is an underground hip-hop king, spitting some of the hardest bars since the birth of gangsta rap. No one else compares. His lyrics are sharp and piece the dome like AK bullets – literally a lyrical assault. Sometimes I gotta turn my stereo off for fear of my life; I feel like he’s gonna jump out of the speakers and run up on my ass. His bars are that fucking hard. Not to mention the man tackles subjects like gang violence, selling drugs, prostitution, and hood life with an intelligence reminiscent of Tupac. There’s a reason why Danny Brown chose Gibbs on his track “The Return”, a remake of OutKast’s “Return of the G”. He’s the realest gangsta in the game. On top of that, it was by far the best guest verse on Brown’s OLD – I would say he even surpassed Danny on his own track.
Now let’s talk about Gibbs’ delivery: smoooooooth, melodic, vocals like silk that pour from his mouth. And his delivery is clear and concise – he enunciates every syllable with ease, better than 90% of the hip-hop world. I could smoke to it all day. It’s like riding in a Midwest gangsta box-frame Cadillac down a newly paved highway, smoking blunt after blunt, a slapping some soul-surfing muzik. Did I mention that shit is smooth? Seriously, I can’t think of anyone else that can flow like Gibbs. He is clever, poetic and a menacing figure behind the mic. And Gibbs rapped his way to the top all alone – recently dropped from Jeezy’s CTE, Gibbs claims he’s the “coldest Free Agent in the game,” which couldn’t be more true. Jeezy is crazy from dropping Gibbs from his label. He’s probably a little intimidated by Gibbs, who is way harder than Jeezy could ever dream to be; Gibbs is the real fucking deal: Str8 Killa No Filla. But I know Gangsta Gibbs will be all good, the man is a hip-hop genius, bringing that real ass shit.
With the fourth pick of Round Three (16th overall), Terio’s Killaz selects: A$AP Ferg
A$AP Ferg. Not A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg. Even though he is lesser known than his A$AP mob counterpart, Ferg has just as much skill with the mic. I first heard him on Rocky’s “Kissin Pink”, and I liked what he did on that track, but it wasn’t until I got my hands on Trap Lord this past spring that I truly got the full A$AP Ferg experience. It was truly Fergalicious. And Ferg has so much undeveloped talent and room to grow, Trap Lord was only the tip of the iceberg.
A lot of people will probably be offended by the content of Ferg’s songs. In my eyes, however, his ability to tell a story on a track is a lost art. This idea is epitomized on “Cocaine Castle” from Trap Lord. He narrates the cold reality of drug houses today: “Everybody going to this cocaine castle/ You’ll probably see your reverend at this cocaine castle” (You might even see the mayor of Toronto in that cocaine castle). Although it’s not what many like to hear, Ferg provides listeners with a fly-on-the-wall experience in the streets.
Not everything is so serious with Ferg. His ability to keep tracks humorous without making them childish is a trait that I admire and a trait that many hip-hop artists struggle with today. “Shabba Ranks” is a great example of Ferg’s humor. He provides a hilarious caricature of what’s wrong with hip-hop and makes a phenomenal song in the process.
A great metaphor of Ferg’s career occurs at the 2:23 mark of the “Shabba Ranks” music video. Rocky is on the king’s throne, kicking back and relaxing with his feet up (Rocky got his shine when he released Long.Live.A$AP). The rest of A$AP Mob is banging on the table, eating utensils in hand, hungry to get their time in the spotlight. With his Jekyll-and-Hyde flow (I often think there are multiple artists on his songs because he switches up his flow so frequently and drastically) and geography-blurring style (his music has many influences, from New York to Houston), it won’t be long until Ferg is eating well.
With the third pick of Round Three (15th overall), Hey Hey Hey Heyyyy selects: Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def)
I must get this out of the way right now: Dante Terrell Smith, aka Mos Def, aka Yasiin Bey, is an undeniable genius. He’s not just a hip-hop genius mind you; he’s a genius, period.
As a social and political activist, Yasiin Bey has fought hard to reveal the truth from a left-wing perspective. Back in 2005 he wrote “Katrina Clap”, a song that criticized the Bush administration and their handling of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans. He later performed this song in front of Radio Music Hall and was arrested, even though he had a public performance permission document. This past July, he was in a short film that depicted the force feeding methods at Guantanamo Bay camps, and the pain that ensues during the process. He is also a man who fights against the oppression towards African-Americans socially and politically both in and outside of his music.
Yasiin Bey is hip-hop at its core. Yasiin Bey is hip-hop.
Musically, Bey is one of the founding fathers of modern-day conscious hip-hop, and is one-half of the legendary group Black Star. By combining a throttling cadence with stretching bars packed to the brim with detail, Bey is a genre-crashing MC that focuses on love among all, equality, historical records of inequality and socially conscious themes that are important for everyone. On “Rock ‘N’ Roll”, Bey blueprints how every black achievement in our country’s history is downplayed. He goes on to discuss important and influential black achievement in music being downplayed just like everything else. “You may dig on the Rolling Stones,” he preaches. “But they ain’t come up with that shit on they own.” His focus isn’t on hating whites. Rather, his motive is to highlight that even though the Rolling Stones (and Elvis) are considered one of the founders of Rock, they relied heavily on black music from artists like Chuck Berry who don’t get nearly enough recognition. “Mathematics” takes on socio-political topics as well, which tackles “statistics” and the condition of our country and how there is oppression on minorities living in poverty:
“When the average minimum wage is $5.15/ You best believe you’ve got to find a new grind to get C.R.E.A.M/ The white unemployment rate? It’s nearly more than triple for black/ Some front-liners got their gun in your back/ Bubbling crack, jewel theft and robbery to combat poverty/ And end up in the global jail economy/ Stiffer stipulations attached to each sentence/ Budget cutbacks but increased police presence/ And even if you get out of prison still living/ Join the other 5 million under state supervision”
Here, Yasiin Bey, almost down to a point, completely dismantles “statistic theory” and sheds light on the troubling truth that millions in America have to deal with.
With Yasiin Bey, it’s not even his flow or voice that gets me the most; it’s his ability to completely unravel the stark truth of this world and share his love at the same time. He’s an activist, a poet, an MC, a musician, an actor (has appeared in numerous films), a genius, a human being. Yasiin Bey is hip-hop.
With the second pick of Round Three (14th overall), Da 6 Hunnas: Lyrical Spookiness selects: Noname Gypsy
Female artists in the hip-hop industry are hard to come by. At the moment, the obnoxious Nicki Minaj seems to be leading the female representation for the hip-hop world. However, the Chicago native Noname Gypsy seems to be next contender. Most commonly known for her feature on “Lost” from the standout mixtape Acid Rap by Chance the Rapper, Noname has made a buzz for herself that seems to be steadily growing. She plans on revealing her first official mixtape early 2014 called Telefone. The mixtape will include the many singles that she has been releasing over the past year.
Noname Gypsey has a very unique and refreshing sound. Very jazz influenced, her songs are very smooth and playful with a summer vibe to them. Noname herself refers to her music to be “Happy Rap,” and that is exactly what is it. Her voice and delivery shine when she raps. Her voice sounds so young and she has a similar flow to fellow Chicago rappers Chance and Vic Mensa. On one of her more popular tracks “Paradise” she raps, “My whole-hearted melody/ Lost in amphetamines/ Trapped in a box, I was drinking more Kerosene/ Believe the reason why breathing is so appeasing/ I met the angel of death in the/ Breath of a gothic Eden/ You not hearing this/ You not dilated peoples/ And a hand-etched to god like a lyricist”
Noname has the chance to become a new and refreshing female artist who can give hip-hop listeners a good representation of what females in hip-hop are capable of doing; Noname has a chance to potentially be the next Lauryn Hill of the culture. Below is not only my favorite Noname Gypsy song, but it is also one of my top five favorite songs of the year. The song is called “Paradise” and will be featured on her 2014 project Telefone.
With the first pick of Round Three (13th overall), The Rap Game Hardy Boyz selects: Travi$ Scott
Kanye West’s producer protege Travis Scott (stylized Travi$ Scott) signed to the producing label of G.O.O.D. music, and has recently made the jump from producing to releasing his own solo work. Signed to T.I.’s label Grand Hustle, Travi$ has been using these famous co-signs to show that he is not just a producer but also a talented MC in his own right. Scott’s young age makes him valuable in this draft; he still has time to perfect his skills rapping, where he hasn’t had nearly as much time working on as his producing, which he began working on at age 16. His talent producing has been noted as he has been working with Kanye for years honing his talent and is considered a promising young producer in the hip-hop industry. Until this year we had only heard snippets of what he could do when he took hold of the mic. With the release of Owl Pharaoh in 2013, we saw the inner thoughts of an artist working to find his identity. Using his production to provide a gothic feel to many of his tracks, Travi$ provides a dark, eerie feeling on this mixtape. Throughout Owl Pharaoh we see the influences from both of his mentors, the use of auto-tune and similar production styles coming from Kanye West. Yet when he spits, we hear hunger and a certain grit in his voice that can be attributed to T.I.. As more material is heard from Travi$ we can hope that he continues his excellent production, and that he looks to evolve as a musician. The dark lyrics and grandiose production make Travi$ a breath of fresh air because he isn’t afraid to take chances and experiment with styles that aren’t prevalent in hip-hop today.