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 five weeks ago. This week we’re unleashing 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 final pick of Round One (6th overall), M.C.G. Squadron selects: Black Thought
With my first pick I selected Philly native and Roots Crew frontman, Black Thought. The longevity of his career speaks for itself as he has been a part of 11 full-length records, mixtapes, guest appearances and has another album with The Roots on the way. Understanding Thought’s lengthy career is invaluable as his development in the studio and in front of live audiences embodies the history and transformation of hip-hop over the past twenty years. With this in mind, there is a dexterity to Thought’s rhymes that are reminiscent of the greats such as Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap and Chuck D. He learned from the best and now can sit at the table with the best. He can kill a track, slicing through hard-hitting beats with the precision of a skilled swordsman while moving with a certain grace as he speaks to issues of heartbreak, romance and life in his hometown of Philly. Lest we forget, his rhymes tinged with a socio-political awareness that is nothing short of educational. Finally, at the end of the day, when you’re at a show ready to be amazed, he will step on stage, backed by the best live act in hip-hop and change your perception of what it means to be an MC.
There are MC’s that lose relevance with the changing times. This is not true of Black Thought. On the contrary, Thought has appeared alongside more recent acts such as Chiddy Bang and Thurz. Most recently, on Statik Selektah’s, “Bird’s Eye View,” he appears alongside Raekwon and Joey Bada$$. Obviously, The Chef and Joey Bad are gifted MC’s as well. However, on this particular cut, Thought is on a completely different level. Armed with a polished voice that is as distinct as it is raspy and a fashion sense that is second to none, Black Thought continues to show why he will be (if he isn’t already) considered one of the best MC’s to pick up a microphone.
With the fifth pick of Round One, Team CAN’T FUCK WITIT selects: Big Boi
Where do I even start? Big Boi is a living hip-hop legend, and the stronger half of OutKast—sorry Andre, but he ain’t called Daddy Fat Sax for nothing. Just listen to Speakerboxxx: that shit is nasty! Not to mention it’s one of the first hip-hop albums that caught my attention at such a young age—I even wrote the dude a letter in sixth grade telling him how much I dug it, bumpin’ “Ghetto Musick” on repeat all day, everyday. Time after time, Big Boi proves himself to be a genius of hip-hop; I don’t think he has ever penned a bad verse. Shit, I’m pretty sure he’s only capable of delivering greatness at this point. His past two solo albums, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty and Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, are quite stellar. He is on the frontlines of hip-hop experimentation despite being in the game for over 20 years. Not only that, he makes the experimentations work. He just has a way of hooking you in, no matter what.
On top of all that, the man simply has unlimited charisma on and off the track. The crazy thing is how his energy translates so well through the record. You can feel his power through the speakers—his ATLien power that is. He is, you know, out of this fucking world talented. He’s got flow for days, bouncing on a beat like no one else can. He’s smoother than top-shelf cognac. I had the great privilege of seeing him live a few years back, and let me say, he did not disappoint. Actually, he was the best act I saw at Bonnaroo 2011. He had it all: live instruments, including a full horn section, back-up dancers (both male & female), and mic skills beyond all comprehension. He was going from one verse to the next verse at lightning speeds, and still managed to find a way to breathe. Even after all those blunts, the man has seemingly endless lung capacity. I don’t get it. Just bow down, the game’s over.
With the fourth pick of Round One, Terio’s Killaz selects: A$AP Rocky
Ever since his 2011 mixtape, Live. Love. A$AP, I’ve been a huge fan of A$AP Rocky aka Lord Flacko aka that pretty muthafucka. It’s been a long time since Harlem has been relevant in the hip-hop scene (think Diplomats circa 2003) but Rocky and his crew are changing that. It’s great to see Harlem, which has historically been at the forefront of African American culture, back on the metaphorical hip-hop map.
Along with reviving the Harlem hip-hop scene, A$AP is reinventing what it means to be hip-hop. An example of this occurred when he collaborated with dubstep artist Skrillex on “Wild for the Night” from his sophomore album, Long. Live. A$AP. I’m all for thinking outside the box, and A$AP Rocky does just that. From blending his Beast Coast roots with Houston influenced samples to teaming with unlikely artists, it’s clear A$AP is comfortable enough in his shoes to go outside the norm, which is a stark contrast to many hip-hop artists who stay conservative in order to please their fans. Looking towards the future, the only way is up for Rocky, and that’s saying something; his Long. Live. A$AP debuted atop the charts.
With the third pick of Round One, Hey Hey Hey Heyyyy selects: Danny Brown
Rounding out my tribute to Detroit hip-hop is Danny Brown (Black Milk and Guilty Simpson representing as well), and as one of the most popular faces of Detroit hip-hop, I find it fitting to point out his smile. Danny Brown has one of the best smiles in hip-hop. Emulating right along with Danny Brown’s happy-go-lucky smile is his happy-go-lucky attitude. On some of his earlier cuts, Danny dances effortlessly over random thoughts and bars, and backing his approach is truthfulness. “I rap like I bet my life,” he slings on “Greatest Rapper Ever,” “cause in all actuality, nigga I did.”
More intriguing is Danny’s uniqueness. Hip-hop has seen unique by all means, but Danny Brown is picturesque. His high-rage, high-screeching, no filter flow is immediately recognizable. Pair that with his slippery rhymes about sex, skinny jeans and growing up in Detroit, and you have an original talent, crazy hair and all. XXX was something progressive to say the least. In it Danny Brown opened up and the reward was national recognition and placing high on “end-of-the-year” lists. Lead favorite track “Monopoly” oozes with grit and feels as dirty as the “stank hooters” he raps about. In less than three minutes Danny talks about life (“My nigga, you ain’t been what I been through/ And if so, you’d take a pencil through your temple“) and has time for NSFW all-time hip-hop punchlines (“And still fucking with them freak hoes/ Stank pussy smelling like Cool Ranch Doritos“).
More revealing though is Danny Brown post-2012, most notably his record Old and his feature on A$AP Rocky’s “1 Train.” Though the second half of Old may be a bit too redundant as far as club-like bangers, side A is an open invitation to delve inside Danny’s wondrous mind. “Side A (Old)” croons with remembrance and reality (“Wearing jackets in the house, it’s the Michigan winter/ Boiling water on the stove, Ramen noodles for dinner“), and “25 Bucks (feat. Purity Ring)” is a fantastic, albeit stunningly dark, view into Danny Brown’s mother and her struggle with money and how that translated into his own problems. Cutting deep is the song’s arch theme of socio-political struggle: “Now I’m trapped in the trap and the devil ain’t forgetting/ Wanna see me dead or locked in a prison/ In the system with division only thing that add up/ Fucked up cause a nigga tryna get a couple bucks.” Old is Danny Brown in a different light. It’s Danny Brown finally ushering in everything he’s capable of telling through hip-hop, and it’s an emotional roller-coaster deserving of praise. Comparatively, on the posse cut “1 Train,” Danny shakes the other MC’s by admitting his flaws and asking us if that’s ironic: “Novice, regardless, heartless and awkward/ Cryin’ tears of vodka prima donna at the concert/ Adonis smokin’ chronic ’bout to vomit gin and tonic/ Just bein honest, tell me, isn’t that ironic?”
If anything, 2013 was Danny Brown finally coming around to show us just why he’s one of the best MC’s out there. If you judge hip-hop MC’s by raw emotion, content, flow and lyrical complexity, then 2013 Danny Brown has fulfilled that role. His sheer rawness and second-hand ability to change tone and incorporate inflection to express his many moods and manners adds artistic style without even going into the lyrics. Multi-dimensional and well-versed, Danny Brown deserves all the accolades.
With the second pick of Round One, Da 6 Hunnas: Lyrical Spookiness selects: Chance the Rapper
At the moment, Chance the Rapper is at the forefront of today’s hip-hop rookies. The Chicago native has had a huge 2013 that catapulted his career to one of the most promising new sounds in hip-hop today. Chance’s style is very unique. His nasally voice is something that may come off as annoying at first, but once his sound enriches your ears, it’s something that makes him stand out. Chance’s delivery is also something to take note of. His unorthodox flow is unique because he sounds slightly off-beat, but then once each line is finished, he gets back on beat. It’s a flow that many rappers today are not able to do. At the moment, only Chance and his Save Money brother, Vic Mensa, are the only rappers to be known to do this. Furthermore, Save Money is a Chicago based hip-hop group that consists of Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, Alex Wiley, Donnie Trumpet, Joey Purps and many more. Chance at the moment is the most popular artist from Save Money and is leading them to become one of the most diverse sounding hip-hop groups in today’s generation. Chance’s wordplay can also be very creative at times. He isn’t known for being the most lyrical rapper, but that doesn’t mean he is not capable for coming up with some great bars! On “Everybodys Something,” off his latest mixtape Acid Rap, Chance spits: “But gravity had me up in a submission hold/ Like I’m dancing with the Devil with two left feet and I’m pigeon toed/ In two small point ballet shoes with a missing sole/ And two missing toes/ But it’s love like Cupid kissing a mistletoe.”
Chance the Rapper is the cartoon character of hip-hop. I say this because he is a very animated artist. His adlibs are the major reason why he is so cartoonish. Chance’s adlibs stand out; his signature “igh” sound is at the moment his trademark and can be heard in almost every song he has made. Another adlib he uses is “nenenenena,” also used commonly in many of his songs. You can hear these wacky adlibs at the beginning of his song “Cocoa Butter Kisses” and throughout many songs on his most popular mixtape Acid Rap.
With only two major projects released, #10day and Acid Rap, Chance still has a lot of time to grow as an artist. At such a young career, the man already has feature verses from the likes of Lil Wayne and Justin Bieber, two of the most popular artists in the world! Chance seems to be on a mission: 2013 for him was very successful, but 2014 should be the year where chance becomes one of the most well-known new artists in hip-hop today. Look out for Chance the Rapper this year, he will own 2014.
Below is one of my favorite Chance songs, off of his first mixtape called Brain Cells. Enjoy.
With the first pick of Round One, The Rap Game Hardy Boyz selects: Kendrick Lamar
King Kendrick. When you talk about the hottest rapper in the game right now, Kendrick will undoubtedly be one of the names you throw out there, if not the only one. Since releasing Section.80 in 2011, K-Dot has been aiming for the top and is taking over the game. The album introduced audiences to the potential greatness that the young rapper from Compton had to offer. good kid, m.A.A.d city was his true coming out party, where all his potential and hard work came to fruition, with one of the best albums of 2012 in any genre. The album showed that even with a major label and Dr. Dre backing him, Kendrick could still produce his style of having substance laced songs that still have mainstream appeal. Kendrick’s use of the inflection in his voice, similar but in a lesser extent to Danny Brown, is what makes him so versatile. The ability to spit angry and insightful all by changing his voice to convey it to the listener is very powerful in his music. This combined with his lyrics of growing up in a troubled city makes Lamar so important. In his songs he is able to not only make the audience see what he has experienced but also makes them feel it. This style is important as Kendrick will hopefully continue to use his stardom as a platform to convey the struggles and pain that he has seen growing up in a city like Compton. Kendrick makes the third Top Dawg Entertainment and Black Hippy member to my team, and with all of them possibly releasing new music in 2014, this is a very volatile team. With Kendrick consistently releasing some of the best hip-hop out right now, 2014 should be another banner year for the Compton MC.