Monday, November 3, 2008

Rapper vs. Baller: Lil Wayne and Tracy McGrady

Rapper vs. Baller will be a new regular installment discussing a usually prominent rapper or rap group and picking an NBA Player whose career, style, or personality most resembles that rapper. Hopefully it will be fun and longer lasting than my other attempts at regular installments.

Lil Wayne, if nothing else, is probably the most discussed rapper of 2008. His gremlin voice has topped charts right and left and to some he is the second coming. To others, he is just more of the same: an example of rap heading in the wrong direction, away from the Golden Age of ATCQ, Wu-Tang Clan, and, well, The Roots. The about Lil Wayne is that you either love him or you hate him. Either you fall in love with his intricate rhyme scheme and wordplay or you are turned off by his simplistic flow, bubblegum beats, or gimmicky attitude. Moreover, you are always wary that he is just one OD away from ending his career and life, for better or worse. One thing that is undeniable is that he is prolific. He has released literally hundreds of albums and mixtapes in his career, so much that one might wonder whether he should employ some quality control. Also, it should be noted that his career truly took off once he joined the DJ Khaled stable (seen above), as he often can't carry an entire song with his gremlin voice, but rather can act as the headliner and showstopper of a hit with a solid supporting cast.

Similarly there are mixed opinions about Tracy McGrady. At this point in his career, you might only expect 60 games played per season, and with stats that won't jump off a page. Even so, you never know when he's going to blow up and have a 40-point night. He's still one of the most dangerous players in the NBA for that reason, but you also wonder when that gimpy back of his will finally give out. In his prime, was he one of the best players in the NBA? Some would say so, but others would point to teh fact that he has never been out of the first round as evidence that he was not. Earlier in his career, he was the NBA points leader, but it is this season when he could achieve real success, alongside a revamped Houston Rockets supporting cast. It is obvious that he will take on a lesser role this season, but he is still the star and go-to guy in the clutch for this team.


Akon = Yao Ming, a staple for any song/game he's in, but undeniably soft.
T.I. = Ron Artest, capable of tearing it up and being the unsung hero, as well as being arrested for possession of assault weapons.
Rick Ross and Fat Joe = Carl Landry and Luis Scola, the less heralded big men who patrol the middle.
Birdman = Rafer Alston, throws up the assist for Weezy Mac to throw it down at the end.
DJ Khaled = Shane Battier, a seemingly limited role, but actually behind the scenes the glue that holds everything together.