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 four weeks ago. This week we’re unleashing Round Two.
- 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 Two (12th overall), The Rap Game Hardy Boyz selects: Ab-Soul
Drafting Ab-Soul brings the second member of Top Dawg Entertainment to my team, and another member of the group Black Hippy with labelmates Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock and Schoolboy Q. Ab-Soul gained his unique appearance and the nickname “Black Lip Bastard” when he contracted Stevens-Johnson syndrome at ten-years-old which affected his skin complexion and altered his vision. He was bullied about his complexion issues, having to wear sunglasses and has used the insults as inspiration for his rhymes, which allows him to speak about issues important to people today such as bullying. His latest album Control System brings everything Ab-Soul has been working on together. He uses his platform to rap about politics, drugs and what it took to become the artist he is today. Possibly the most powerful track on the album is “The Book of Soul” where he spits about his past of being bullied, and his personal heartbreak of losing his longtime girlfriend singer Alori Joh. The loss played a large role in the direction that Control System took, and shaped Ab-Soul as an artist. The heartbreak heard and insight into his emotions are rare in hip-hop today, and are part of what make Ab-Soul so unique in an environment where emotion is discouraged and personal issues are rarely discussed. While he has these emotional songs, he mixes in drug ballads that detail his experimentation with lean, weed and alcohol which oppose his leap towards a new sort of conscious rap that proves there is not a fine line between conscious rappers and others but rather that it is a grey area with a mix of drugs and political statements. With another project dropping in 2014, Ab-Soul looks to take his talents to the next level and establish himself as one of the brightest stars in the game right now.
With the fifth pick of Round Two (11th overall), Da 6 Hunnas: Lyrical Spookiness selects: Childish Gambino
Childish Gambino, also known as Donald Glover, might be the internet’s biggest hipster. I say this because the man strives to be different. He is able to take certain sounds from hip-hop and other classical genres and combine them into a great piece of art. Gambino is one of many artists to use a wide variety of live instrumentation in his projects. Gambino’s most prominent instrument would be the violin. He is known for using the violin in many of his songs. You can hear this smooth transition of a violin at the end of his song “WorldStar” which can be heard on his latest album Because the Internet. You can also hear the violin on his track “Hold You Down,” off of his first album Camp, which is used throughout the whole song. These are only two examples of how musically inclined Gambino is, as he also uses other live instruments such as drums, electric guitars, piano and even the xylophone.
Gambino is known for being a great lyricist and being very honest. For the most part, Gambino is known as a punchline rapper, and he is a very good one. Occassionally, he has some hiccups. On “All of the Shine,” he raps, “that’s why I come first like my cell phone.” However, for the most part, when Gambino’s lines hit you, they hit you hard! On one of Gambino’s most successful songs “Freaks and Geeks,” Gambino spits, “Okay I’m down with the black girls of every single culture/ Filipino, Armenian girls on my sofa/ Yeah I like a white girl, sometimes we get together/ Need a thick chick though, so it’s black and yellow, black and yellow.” However, you shouldn’t see Gambino as only a punchline rapper, as he is able to do so much more. On his song “Hold You Down” he spits, “I won’t stop until they say, ‘James Franco is the white Donald Glover’/ Yeah, these niggas wanted Cookie but instead I gave ’em Loch Ness/ Sick Boi for life, my swag is in a hospice/ Aimin’ for the throne, Jay and Ye said to watch that/ They ask me what I’m doin’, I say I’m stealin’ rock back nigga.” Honesty has also been one of Gambino’s greatest credentials. On Camp Gambino discusses some racial issues in today’s society, his struggles for not being “black enough” and not be accepted by the black community for being too “white.” On his second album Because the Internet Gambino discusses some depressing topics ranging from discovering who your real friends are and what our purpose on Earth is. Gambino gets very deep on this album, and it will make you think critically about our society and how we live life.
With Because the Internet selling about 94,000 copies its first week, Childish Gambino’s rise to stardom is truly closer than expected. The album had higher first week sales than the likes of Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Pusha T and Tyler, the Creator. Childish Gambino is one of the most talented individuals of our generation. He’s a writer, actor, comedian, director, producer, DJ, singer and rapper. That’s quite a resume. Below is one of my favorite Childish Gambino tracks called “Hold You Down.”
With the fourth pick of Round Two (10th overall), Hey Hey Hey Heyyyy selects: Blu
Blu is a calm and collected MC with connections to various hip-hop outlets. What is perhaps his greatest quality however is how prolific he is behind the microphone. Taking inspiration from artists like Common, Blu has the ability to meld a rhyme and reason over any beat that’s granted to him. His debut with producer Exile Below The Heavens is a hip-hop classic, and it pushed him into the limelight. I won’t go into too much more detail, because I want you to listen to his bars and let him do all the talking.
With the third pick of Round Two (9th overall), Terio’s Killaz selects: ScHoolboy Q
I first started listening to ScHoolboy when he released his first independent album, Setbacks, which focused on everything that was keeping him from achieving success. The concept of the album was super dope, as there are so many things in today’s world that keep brilliant artists from achieving success. Even though it didn’t make much noise in the charts, it was clear ScHoolboy was on his way to the top. It doesn’t hurt that Kendrick Lamar, who’s also signed to Top Dawg Entertainment, is arguably the best rapper in the world at this point in time. With ScHoolboy’s album, Oxymoron (It’s O-X-Y for you morons), coming out sometime in 2014, it seems as if the hip-hop world is his for the taking.
With the second pick of Round Two (8th overall), Team CAN’T FUCK WITIT selects: Ishmael Butler
Ishmael Butler has been in the game since the Golden Age. He is the Golden Age. A member of the legendary group Digable Planets, Butler “Butterfly” has been creating amazing hip-hop for 20 years. You remember that jam, “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)”-yeah, that was them. I can still hear that smooth ass horn section. The man is a veteran. But as of recent, he has become a visionary; he is currently the MC of the mind-altering Shabazz Palaces. They are seriously the future of hip-hop. Shit is out of this world. For real. The production is darkly psychedelic and splashes of spacey-tribal. I love all the traditional African instruments they use. I feel like I’m going back in time while shooting light speed through the cosmos. No one comes close to their sound. It’s experimental hip-hop at it’s finest.
This is all exponentially better because of MC Ishmael Butler, now under the alias of Palaceer Lazaro. He is truly a poet. His lyrics are esoteric, spiritual, and mysterious. He is not at all rapping about pussy, money, weed. This is straight Five-Percenters hip-hop. It’s truth and knowledge. Wisdom. I’m constantly snapping my fingers after every line-“there’s bout to be big movements from below” or “you think everything alright ‘cuz Jay-Z got a hooptie?” He’s the realest of all real. He is almost prophetic in his delivery, speaking from the deepest core of his soul. Black Up! is modern gospel music with a hip-hop twist. It’s beautifully strange. It’s coming from a place no other hip-hop artist can access. I don’t know how he does it. I can’t even imagine what his next album is going to sound like. Palaceer Lazaro is taking hip-hop to the next dimension.
With the first pick of Round Two (7th overall), M.C.G. Squadron selects: Gift of Gab
Whether it’s his work as part of the duo Blackalicious or as a solo artist, Gift of Gab has continually shown how and why he is one of the best to ever pick up a microphone. With a discography of eight records, a ninth LP expected in 2014, multiple EPs and various guest appearances, there is no doubt that this California native is an undisputed heavyweight that has worked tirelessly at his craft. Over the course of twenty years, Gab has shown himself to be a socially conscious wordsmith that will rhyme circles around your favorite MC. It takes no more than an initial listen to recognize that Gift of Gab is an underrated MC that’s been slept on. On tracks such as “Deception,” “Supreme People” and “Sky Is Falling” he clearly demonstrates the depth of his political and social consciousness addressing issues of poverty, structural racism, prejudice and government corruption. From his 2012 album, The Next Logical Progression, he asks questions of the meaning of religion and masculinity on “Shine.” Later on the same album, “So So Much” is a feel-good celebration of life.
The true gift of Gab is his ability to demonstrate the depth of his political and social consciousness while still showing us how much fun rhyming can be. On “Chemistry Calisthenics,” Gift of Gab is quite literally on a completely different level as he compares himself to the periodic table, dropping mad knowledge. You know those annoying “science songs” you can find on youtube about the periodic table that teachers use in Freshman biology? This track should be used instead. With Gift of Gab, it’s as if he’s lurking in the shadows, waiting. When you least expect it, he’s in your face with a fusillade of metaphor, wit and braggadocio unlike any MC in the spotlight today.