The Hip Hop music industry is one of the only genres that willingly and inherently competes with itself. From the beginning with rival DJ’s scratching records in the park, to emcees battling on the mic, the game has been cultivated and mastered on a very competitive nature. It is almost like a professional sport. Till this day we want our artists to show and prove why they’re the best of their contemporaries. The NBA, closely associated with Hip-Hop culture, has built itself the same way: the cream always rises to the top, and a high tide floats all boats. The greater the players are, the more attention they garner to the league.
If we were to rank the top 5 NBA players, there would definitely be some differing opinions involved, but overall, I believe a consensus could be reached as to who they are. For example, the top 5 toward the end of the 2013 regular season.
In that time we have found out LBJ was almost the first unanimous MVP in league history. So, he’s #1 without much debate. #2 is a toss up between Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant. Sure, Durant has had more playoff success in less service time. However, Carmelo’s team in New York does not have another bonafide top 10 guy. Kevin Durant has Russell Westbrook. His impact was made clear as OKC fell to Memphis in the wake of his untimely injury. However, individually, Durant is the previous three-year scoring champ before letting up on this year’s title. Durant’s consistency lands him at #2. Melo solidifies the 3rd spot.
Now, the #4 spot, under even more scrutiny and debate, goes to Chris Paul. As the best floor general in the game today, Paul is a leader by example as well as with his voice. He’s led a charge of young and talented players to steal the spotlight away from the storied Lakers franchise.
Towards the end of the season, we saw Dwight Howard struggle, Kobe Bryant go down, Stephen Curry heat up, and Chicago and Boston agonize without their best players. Honorable mentions out of the way, #5 I’ve decided is Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies. What he’s meant to the team this season is MVP personified; best skilled big man in the game and a great team defender.
That said, lets start the Hip-Hop list, as of the end of the NBA regular season in descending order from 5-1.
#5: Rick Ross: Reluctantly I placed him here, just because of what he’s responsible for: Meek Mill’s break out year, Wale and Omarion’s revival, every DJ Khaled track, etc. I also felt this comparison to Marc Gasol worked since he’s on the list only because Dwight Howard(Lil Wayne) had such a down year.
#4: Kanye West. His comparison is Chris Paul. Their career arcs don’t mirror each other much, but their skills in the game are very similar. Kanye does it all. Mr.”Triple-double, no assist”. He produces and raps with the best of them in both fields. He’s also established G.O.O.D. Music as a force to be reckoned with in the game. Pusha T, Big Sean, and Common are all under his leadership and guidance right now and the game is all the better for it.
#3: 2 Chainz. Like Melo, he’s switched teams and coasts and made a new name for himself. Same style as before, but you could say the difference between 2 chainz and TT boy reflects the change in Carmelo’s game. He’s stopped being mostly a team player and began to take a leadership role in the business.
#2: Drake. Like Kevin Durant, he’s virtually unstoppable. No matter how much you try to hate or criticize him, he keeps coming with bucket after bucket. Playing with a superstar in his own right, Drake has now replaced Lil Wayne as Young Money’s go-to artist.
#1: Kendrick Lamar. Lebron James of the game right now hands down. Lebron has played 10 years. Kendrick, not so much. His time behind the mic, though brief on the main stage, is not small in stature. His versatility and consistency are what make him the king at the moment. With the bonafide classic he dropped last year symbolizing his first “ring”, the sky is now the limit for this ‘good kid’.
By: Christopher “Kellz” Kelly