Saturday, July 31, 2010

King Pippen

The LeBron sweepstakes is over. Cool. Now all the talking heads get to scrutinize it and discuss every potential scenario under the sun simply to fill up time until the season starts in almost four months. One of the prevailing opinions I've noticed is the idea that, by choosing to pair with Dwyane Wade, LBJ has set his career ceiling at the level of Scottie Pippen. I want to formally second (or third or 2,748th) that notion.

Look at these stats: 22 PPG, 9 RPG, 6 APG. Add in 3 steals and a block. Further consider .491 FG%, .320 3P%, and .660 FT%. I wanna revisit this post at the end of the season and see if LeBron's numbers don't look eerily close to that statistical output. This line is Scottie Pippen's in the '93-'94 season during MJ's first retirement fling when the Chicago Bulls were 100% Scottie's team. While this is obviously a different scenario as Scottie's role in '93 was going in the exact opposite direction of LBJ's in '10.

LeBron's 2010 output was 30/7/9/2/1 with .503/.333/.767 percentages. Appreciate that stat line because I cannot fathom it feasibly being recreated with his new team.

Pippen proved in 1994 that he was an all-world talent regardless of His Airness, leading the Bulls to 55 wins and a Game 7 loss in the second round to the eventual Finals representatives, the Patrick Ewing-led NY Knicks. In the regular season, that was only two losses less than the previous year. But, nonetheless, Pippen couldn't seal the deal in his opportunity without MJ. It just didn't happen. That's been the story of LeBron's seven years in Cleveland. No matter who management brought in, it simply didn't pan out into a legitimate championship contender. Big Z was the constant, but then there was the rotating door of Booze, Drew Gooden, Donyell Marshall, Andy Varejao, Big Ben, Shaq, and Antawn Jamison in the post with him. Plus there was the uncertainty of Jeff McGinnis, Eric Snow, Damon Jones, Larry Hughes, Delonte West, and Mo Williams each shakily manning the lead guard position. Regardless of who was put with him, The King couldn't manage to become the man in the playoffs to overcome the field. He finished out of the playoffs, out of the playoffs, out in the Eastern Semis, swept in the Finals, out in the Eastern Semis, out in the Eastern Finals, and out in the Eastern Semis. He simply couldn't get over the hump while the likes of the Pistons squad, Tim Duncan (2x), Dwyane Wade, the Celtics trio, and Kobe Bryant (2x) all climbed to the pinnacle of NBA success during his career. LeBron got all of the attention year in and year out, but his assumed majestic acclimation to championship dominance has yet to surface in any way, shape, or form. He has yet to become the ultimate alpha dog, so this summer he chose to join an already proven one.

Dwyane Wade (not Kobe, not Durant, not James, not anyone) plays the most like Michael Jordan that anyone ever has. The ease with which he squeezes his way to the hoop, the deftness of his midrange jumper, the super-quick defensive instincts, the unreliable streakiness of his 3-point shot, the ability to force the action and create legitimate fear in his opponents ... it's all there. So make no questions about it, this team will be Dwyane Wade's team. This is the guy who made the postseason as a rookie only to take and hit the game winning shot in his debut playoff performance. This is the guy who relegated a still-dominant Shaq to the passenger's seat in only his sophomore NBA campaign. This is the guy who lead his misfit band of former all-stars to the NBA Finals in his third season and managed to pull out a scoring average of 34.7 points to resurrect his squad from a 0-2 deficit and capture a title. Those are the kind of things LeBron James was supposed to do, but the guy who spent three years perfecting his basketball intuition at Marquette beat him to it. The Heat will always be Dwyane Wade's team, no matter who else dons the jersey with him. That's just the nature of his Jordan-esque mentality and approach to the game.

So while LeBron's perhaps the single most skilled talent the game has ever seen, by joining D-Wade on his home turf, he signed up for being on Scottie Pippen duty. His numbers will significantly dip, but his undeniable talent-level will still allow him to shine on an innately dominant level, much in the way Pippen was a given for the NBA's Top 50 Players of All-Time. Unless Wade makes the conscious decision to significantly defer to LBJ, it will be obvious that Dwyane is the absolute number one option. He's not a finisher, he's a creator. His career dominance has been built upon isolation plays. Wade needs the ball in his hands to dissect the first line of defense from the triple-threat position. He needs the ball in his hands to create space for his patented step-back jumper from 20-feet and in. He needs the ball in his hands to probe the paint for a lane to create mayhem right at the rim. And while Wade is still a genuinely unselfish player who will sacrifice for the good of the team, he knows that his effectiveness comes strictly in the form of having the ball and attacking to establish himself and instill fear in his defenders. You won't see him roaming around off-ball screens (a la Rip Hamilton) or being content to spotting up in the corner for 3 (a la Ray Allen) on consecutive possessions. That's the main reason LeBron's personal shattering of statistical averages will be squelched; his usage rate will simply be lowered. Significantly.

And I went through that whole run down without even mentioning Chris Bosh. I don't know what Bosh's personal thoughts on his role currently are, but I see him becoming the forgotten man. I don't see where he even gets utilized with how the team is constituted. He's converged into glorified role player territory. So, yeah ... my main point is that LeBron has put a limit on his desire for personal dominance. We will not be looking on this Heat team down the road and talking about how the King led them to success in the same way that Duncan and KB24 are recognized. Miami has put together a contender with a legitimate 8-year window of dominance if they keep the team together, but LeBron has virtually eliminated himself from the upper echelon of individual greats. He's out of MJ territory. He's out of Kobe territory. He's out of Magic and Bird territory. He's now, until proven otherwise, in the discussion that caps off with Dr. J, Clyde Drexler, Kevin McHale, and Scottie Pippen; otherworldly, game-changing talents who will be talked about forever, but who were never able to single-handedly will their way into the elite circle of quintessential all-time winners. Just really cool sidekicks.

... and do the John Wall.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

I Weigh with Kilos

I don't quite understand why the second song was even made at all. The first was a song called "Kilo" by two coke rappers rhyming over a beat sampling "I Weigh with Kilos" by Jimmy Van & Richard Hieronymus, the remix of which featured a member of the Clipse. The second was a song called "Kilo" by four coke rappers rhyming over a beat sampling "I Weigh with Kilos" by Jimmy Van & Richard Hieronymus, two of which were the Clipse. This is stupid. Oh well.

Ghostface Killah - Kilo (Remix feat. Raekwon & Malice)
Fat Joe - Kilo (feat. Clipse & Cam'Ron)

... and do the John Wall.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hold On Remix

It's finally here. The "Hold On (Remix)" joint. Download it and help spread the word. I'll link up the original, too, just so any newcomers can hear where the sound came from. Charlie Hilton provided the monstrous re-production to Steven's original acoustic recording. This track is a big deal to me, so I hope you like it and support it by posting on Facebook/Twitter/whatever and making sure your fiends have heard it, too.

Chris Campbell - Hold On (feat. Steven Gilpin)
Chris Campbell - Hold On (Remix feat. brandUn DeShay, LaVish, Mike Dreams, Chris Barz, & Aaronn Ralph)

[alt. BandCamp link]

With Charlie Hilton providing the soundscape (who has produced tracks for such artists as QuESt, SHow TuFli, XV, Marky, and Frank Ramz) and verses from brandUn DeShay (who has worked with Charles Hamilton, Curren$y, Von Pea, Dom Kennedy, and TiRon), LaVish (frequent DeShay and Casey Veggies collaborator and featured Re-Up Spot artist), Mike Dreams (featured 2dopeboyz and DJ Booth artist, and writer for Refined Hype), and Chris Barz (who has worked extensively with Best Kept Secret as well as Jesse Boykins III and Tabi Bonney), the "Hold On" remix spans from Kentucky to Chicago to Los Angeles to Minnesota to Maryland to London. I'm personally happy at the fact that my III: Laptopical project that was released a grip ago is now complete. Ha.

Chris Campbell - III: Laptopical

Follow all of us on Twitter:
Chris Campbell
Charlie Hilton
brandUn DeShay
Mike Dreams
Chris Barz

... and do the John Wall.


No Words ...

... and do the John Wall.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lakers x 16

So I heard that the Los Angeles Lakers won one of those championship things or something. That's pretty nice.

This season was somehow the most emotionally insane for me. Maybe it was just by default as Ron Artest's general craziness must've transferred to me since I was so elated at his signing and completely sure that he would never have a blow-up this season. That moment-by-moment tension could have done it. Or maybe it was the 17 games apiece missed by Pau and Bynum conjoined with the constant fear of Andrew's inevitable new season-ending knee injury. Or maybe it was the fact that Kobe made less than a hundred three-pointers for only the second time in the last eight seasons (with the other being the '04 trial year). Or maybe it was the fact that we needed literally 7 game winners to drop from Kobe's dislocated/fractured/crippled/arthritic fingertips that, record-wise, would have dropped us from 1st place to out of the play-offs in the West. Or maybe it was the fact that Shannon Brown actually became a 20-minute-a-night rotation player when his only reliable basketball skill is dunking on a fastbreak. Or maybe it was because we never had a single late season stretch that you could point to and proclaim as a reason that the Lakers were the best team in the 2009-2010 season. I don't know. Regardless ... I was stressed.

The prevailing talk before the first round was whether the Lakers could possibly be considered the underdogs while facing the eighth seed in the West. While Kobe & Co. may not have exactly dominated their way through the final two weeks of the regular season, the fact that the conversation was held at all is ridiculous. Kevin Durant is nice and all, but he's the future. Kobe is the now. And while everyone was waiting for LeBron James to claim his (apparently) inevitable first championship, Kobe was putting in work. Spanning over the course of the first three series, the Black Mamba put up six games stringing together 32, 31, 30, 35, 32, and 40 points, all in winning efforts. The Thunder were supposed to be the up-and-comers with enough firepower to surprise the champs. The Jazz were supposed to be the rough-and-tumble band of misfits led by D-Will and Booze who could have been the best team in the West if not for the injury bug. The Suns were supposed to be the revamped run-and-gun, 2-time MVP-led squad that dominated the second half of the season and were poised to break into the Finals. The Lakers knocked them all out without so much as sniffing an elimination game. Of course we needed a set of miracle game-winning rebound-putbacks by Pau and Ron Ron off of Kobe misfires to achieve that feat, but I'll take it.

And then we had to face the dumb Celtics. I'll have a soft spot for Rondo due to his UK-loyalty forever, but I still hate them. All of them. Every screen is moving, every call is b*tched at, and every conceivable level of arrogance is surpassed. The perception is that the Boston trio is a band of winners, even though they have 16 seasons of missing the playoffs between them. They're old, they're fake, and they're one hit wonders. But oh well. Even though the Lakers decided to wait until the Finals to have their first series deficit at 2-3 going back to L.A. for the final two games ... we still won. That's all that matters.

This year was a big deal for Kobe and the rest of the team. We unfortunately needed this title for affirmation. It was nice that Bryant won his first title without Shaq last season, but it wasn't as sweet as it should have been because it was against the Orlando Magic. Kobe didn't directly eliminate LeBron in the Finals and Kobe didn't exact revenge against the Celtics' defense that stifled him a year prior. If the Lake Show had lost these Finals, it would have validated the detractors who claimed that L.A. won by default of Kevin Garnett's knee injury. This championship had to be had because it was figuratively worth two of them. With the win, Kobe forcibly cemented his status in the ring of the game's all-time winners. He has more hardware than Shaq and Duncan (his modern era competitors). He matched Magic. He's one under Michael. It's his most important to date. It gives him the opportunity to step onto the same plateau as anyone not on the 1960s Celtics or named Robert Horry with one more perfect season. While LeBron James is still ringlessly fighting the expectations of his career in worst-case scenario fashion, Kobe is fighting his way into the upper echelon of all-time great and creating a resume that will eventually be inarguable.

This season was my absolute favorite in my seven years of keeping up with every microcosm of the NBA. It ended in an end-all, be-all Game 7 that was perfect for every terrible reason that a sloppily-played, nerve-inducing, highly-physical game can be played. And the Lakers won. My guys. It's the reward for all of my own personal (literal) sweat and (figurative) blood that I shed during the year-long grind of fandom. I care. Probably more than I should. But this year's Laker squad made it worth it. Sucks to be a Celtics fan. We got revenge. You all are dismantling and starting over with Rondo within the next calendar year. I got a summer to just relax.

Who am I kidding? I'm already stressed out again over the draft and free agency. Here we go again ...

... and do the John Wall.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Two Weeks Notice

brandUn DeShay's back killing it. This time over a track by the band Grizzly Bear. It's constructed in the same vein as Drake's "Little Bit" overdub of Lykke Li and Cee-Lo's "I'll Kill Her" overdub of Soko. It's a simple and perfect rendition. Grab it.

brandUn DeShay - I'm Puttin' My Two Weeks In

... and do the John Wall.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Drought Is Over (CH Edition)

Remember what I said about needing new music? Well CH heard me. Times six. This is crazy. So crazy that I gotta hook every single one of the joints up on here. Now, just for reference sake, these aren't new projects, per say. They're just projects he's been working on for the last couple years and either didn't get around to releasing them or just didn't quite complete them properly like he wanted. So here's the remaining five projects after Well This Isn't Awkward.

Charles Hamilton wins. That's all.

Charles Hamilton - 10 Things I Hate About Me
Here's what he had to say about it:

This was supposed to be my comeback project. Then the things I hate about me ended up being y'all problems. So "Why put this out, when Charles is able to bring law and order through his music. Charles, can you make a conceptless project?"

Basically, I had a therapist for about a month and a half, around the time I got dropped. My therapist (shouts to Dr. Ryder) said I am a very complex case, but very in my right mind. I think the version I'm giving Dalvyn ( has some audio samples from my therapist's album (the connecting and healing power of music) scratched in. I know there are MAD soundbytes on it tho.

I am ALWAYS up to something (planned punch? answers here)
I can't sing (but I do it for the love of music and the theraputic response to singing)
I don't understand the value of money (so I didn't cry when I got "dropped"... #suarez)
I hate being categorized (and the Soulja Boy beef was horribly misinterpreted; I shoulda been more mature)
I jump the gun too often (and bullets don't scare me for some reason, so...)
I talk to my self a lot (and I have found...)
I watch a lot of CNN (and I feel like a pro boxer)
I'm moody (and it sometimes costs me love...)
Overall, I'm a Nerd (though geeks kick ass)
I Am More Concerned With Love Than Life (and I am living in the life after albums)

Charles Hamilton - The L Word II: Lust And Love (INcomplete)
Here's what he said about it:

All Barry White samples.

Bigger Ego, Shorter Tolerance (Beyonce)
-I felt compelled to respond to "Ego"... lol

How To Be A Better Girlfriend (Rihanna)
-Far from a rude boy... treat me like a gentleman and I won't treat you like a baby mama.

Rhythmic (Sonji)
-I pay your sister my rent... well, PAID your sister my rent... may I at LEAST have this dance? lol (Jessica)
-And I officially fall back from all communication with you after this song... sorry for the neglect...

Star Baby (Starrene)
-Pretty deep song, for a pretty deep female.

Superwoman (Fantasy Lady)
-I cannot remember your name. Will never forget your frame. Or the heat of the summer day we met on.

Vibration Bandaids (Karen Civil)
-The hook explains all.

Charles Hamilton - Gynophobia
Here's what he said about it:

Pronounced.... G? No... phobia. Gynophobia means fear of women. And though I've slept with enough women to be considered a G, I fear them. It's a Venus domination thing...

August Rush
being a semi-psycotic music in love

the female in question liked to scream on me, couldn't trust me because I cheated on her, and had the sweetest accent I have ever listened to

Hello Kitty Guitar
as long as she still cares, I don't ever have to be inside of her again

London Girl
women are bizzarre

the most beautiful Dominican woman I have ever met, created right in front of me... and her name is

...and this is about the night we met

I am, tho...

White Girl Love
"Tell me you love me white girl..."

a superficial lover with a heart of a super official lover... and kinda is about Nicki Minaj

my crush on my 6th and 8th grade teacher, Imelda Lati

Charles Hamilton - Autumn Harvest
Here's what he said about it:

Autumn is a bunny.
Autumn is a bi-polar bunny.
Autumn is a musician.
Autumn is a junior high school teacher.

This is his life.

Charles Hamilton - Atlantis And A...
Here's what he said about it:

Cleveland Harlem goes to Atlanta and wonders about everything.

Who is Cleveland Harlem?

Recorded between 2008 and 2010... shouts to DJ Toomp, Sol Messiah and Groove for the production.

Also, learn a bit more about why I'm keeping my distance from this game... but still doing my music.

... and do the John Wall.


Out of Necessity

I don't know why, but this morning I was alternating between listening to my "Recently Added" playlist and Cee-Lo's Stray Bullets mixtape and I felt like I was just waiting for something new. I needed a brand new listen-100-percent-all-the-way-through project in my life really desperately for some reason. And then I find out that my favorite non-Andre rapper out there just released a brand new sequel project to my favorite tape of his last year. Now that need is quenched.

Charles Hamilton - Well This Isn't Awkward: Winner Takes All

1. Dr. Intricacy Presents: Cinematic Hallucinations
2. The Bachelor Finale
3. Gameday
4. Humble Beginnings
5. Media Take Out
6. The Last Slice
7. Peter Pad’s Commercial Break
8. Good Guy Goes Off
9. Repremanded
10. Conner Harrington’s Final Thought
11. In Case I Get Them Both
12. In Case I Only Get One
13. In Case I End Up Alone

... and do the John Wall.


Wayne vs. Em

This second edition of "Favors" features two guys that I never thought would be on the same cut. Lil' Wayne and Eminem. Wayne had been practically begging in interviews for years about wanting to trade bars with the white kid, but everyone pretty much just accepted that a Weezy collabo was below Em's standards as Wayne was whoring himself out at the time to any artist whose label would cough up $75,000 for a feature, regardless of quality. Apparently, stuff changed.

Drake - Forever (feat. Kanye West, Lil' Wayne, & Eminem)
Lil' Wayne - Drop the World (feat. Eminem)
Eminem - No Love (feat. Lil' Wayne)

The first one was LeBron's fault. Isn't everything? Forming Voltron with Drake and Kanye, the newly minted quartet created the smash hit "Forever" for LBJ's More Than a Game movie. Everybody got free range on their verse to make their stand as the emcee who would deserve bragging rights over the other, though all were pretty much guaranteed to dominate the airwaves concurrently as much as they pleased. Eminem was easily the biggest winner as he freed himself from his Encore and Relapse ruts for the first time by double-timing his flow and coming off as aggressive as ever. Beyond that, this track was pedestal for the next two Em/Wayne tracks to take place on their respective upcoming albums.

Even though everyone pretty much pretends that Wayne's Rebirth rock album was never even released at all, it did have its one saving grace in the form of "Drop the World". With its general epicness and glorified duality between the types of spitting going on between the world class rhymers, it was the one joint thrown into the album that wasn't a forced failure at a new age genre buster. And while this effort was the resounding street single that was playing as Wayne was being ushered into his resident jailhouse, he left the world one more smash collaboration that was kept secret for a little while longer. With Eminem finally back honed in on his true sound, the album Recovery quickly formed. Guess who the sole guest rapper allowed to borrow a verse from Em's stream of consciousness was. Weezy on the Just Blaze banger "No Love" (which hilariously samples Haddaway's "What is Love").

... and do the John Wall.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Game vs. Kanye

I got a new recurring post segment. It's called "Favors". And it has nothing to do with that guy taken before Boogie in the draft who won't really be that good. All it is is me quickly detailing the collaborative efforts back and forth between artists. Today's opening example is Kanye and Game.

Game - Dreams
Kanye West - Crack Music (feat. Game)
Game - Wouldn't Get Far (feat. Kanye West)

The combination of the two, verging on parody territory, was actually joked on in their music video to the song "Wouldn't Get Far". The L.A.-native who claimed Blood and was a former G-Unit start-up paired up with the early Chicago backpacker who was famous for his sped-up soul sampling beats and colorful polos. But they actually managed to find a creative medium and make dope music together.

The first incarnation was "Dreams" produced by Ye, Game's biggest hit outside of his 50-assisted singles. It brought out the heavy, introspective material in Game's lyricism that let the car bragging and gun toting take a backseat to relating a heartfelt story. Then the two jumped from Game's debut to Kanye's sophomore effort on the track "Crack Music" where Game lent his vocals to highlight the anthemic chorus. Apparently there was supposed to be a guest verse as well, but money issues got in the way at the time of the album's release. The two finally got a full collaboration out on the aforementioned "Wouldn't Get Far" where they traded musings on the rap game's video vixens. As an added bonus, they collected their promo checks by jumping on a commercial with Luda for Boost Mobile. You prolly remember that one, now.

... and do the John Wall.


Retooling a Champion

I know it's kind of crazy to talk about the needed reconstruction of a back-to-back world champion, but I feel the need to. The Lakers are going to need to cement two glaring spots in their roster if they hope to end the 2010-2011 season with the insanely unprecedented accomplishment of Phil Jackson's fourth three-peat. And here are my hopes for those spots ...

We're losing quite a few locker room soldiers this offseason. Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar, DJ Mbenga, Adam Morrison, and maybe Josh Powell are all likely to aim for a few more bucks than the Lakers are willing to pay for guaranteed back-up guys. I'm going to pencil in Derek Fisher for a return, but it's probably going to be at a reduced role for the first time if Mr. Buss' wallet has anything to say for it. The two needs that that leaves the champs with is a starting-caliber point guard as well as a wing who preferably is a knockdown shooter.

This two part checklist will have to be accomplished in tiers. We'll either have to snatch a top tier wing with the full midlevel exception and a lesser-noted PG with whatever pennies are left, or the other way around. For the wing position, the prime candidate is easily Mike Miller. And the Lakers for sure know that. The early word is they've already thrown $30 million at him and are trying to force him into an immediate agreement on it. It's easy to understand why, as Miller is probably one of the ten best long-range bombers in the league today, hitting 48% of his 3s last season with the Wizards. If he can stay healthy for the length of the season, an Artest/Miller wing combo next to Kobe Bryant is perfect for literally any individual situation. Next to Miller, I like T-Mac as a darkhorse candidate. If he's serious about wanting to win a fricking playoff series in his career, he just needs to sign with L.A. regardless of the money. If those guys happen to fall through, the 2A, 2B, and 2C options are guys like Raja Bell, Matt Barnes, and Anthony Morrow. If you can add a feared defensive specialist like Bell or Barnes in addition to Ron Ron, the Lakers can shut down any backcourt in the league. Any of these guys instantly add a far favorable stretch shooter who can get on the floor, unlike an Adam Morrison-type guy who is strictly a mop-up player. Who cares if Kobe innately hated these competitors when he matched up opposite against them?

Tier 1: Mike Miller, Tracy McGrady
Tier 2: Raja Bell, Matt Barnes, Anthony Morrow

Or L.A. could go a different direction with the MLE and offer it all to try and steal Steve Blake. Although the guy seems to be a guaranteed candidate to change teams darn near every single year, he's the kind of younger, heady veteran who could pick up the Triangle Offense pretty quickly and flourish specifically in that lead guard role. He's a tad taller at 6-3, which is what Phil prefers, and he just makes solid decisions with his 3-point shot and passing ability. He's a guy who's only averaged double figure points once in his career, but he's still a highly coveted player due to him having a seemingly perfect game to be the heir to Derek Fisher's place with the future Kobe Bryant era Lakers. The next group of potential point guards include Earl Watson and Luke Ridnour. Earl is completely deferential and as strong a defensive presence at the 1 as you will find, while Luke is the creative plug-in point who would hopefully nestle into a comfort zone since he wouldn't need to force the action as much as he previously did with Seattle and Milwaukee. After that, we might have to try to squeeze whatever is left from Gilbert Arenas' shooting partner for minimum money.

Tier 1: Steve Blake
Tier 2: Earl Watson, Luke Ridnour
Tier 3: Javaris Crittenton, anyone else

If only to fill out the league's required roster minimum, the Lakers might have to pick up their 2010 second round draft picks, Devin "Guy Who Ruined UK's Season" Ebanks and Derrick "UL Flunky" Caracter. And regardless of if we may have to look into flipping Lamar Odom for either cap relief or completely unforeseen available talent, I'm inclined to believe that the 2011 season will be another banner year for the Los Angeles Lakers. Phil Jackson wouldn't let it happen any other way.

... and do the John Wall.