Roc Boys Will Be in the Building @ The Grammy’s

The 50th Annual Grammy Awards will air this Sunday and it’s not looking to good for Hip Hop. The past few years have been filled with complaints from the hip hop purists about the qualitiy of music that currently dominates BET and your local airwaves. But the nominating committee can certainly throw a few accolades towards the artists that brought that real music to the table.

As far as R&B goes, I was really feeling Musiq Soulchild this year. His album Lovanmusiq was real major and his first two singles got much play on grown R&B stations across the country. The Phillly singer recieved three nominations this year including Best R&B Album and Best R&B Song (Teachme).

Also on the R&B a major shout out goes to Lupe Fiasco and Jill Scott on their nomination for Best Urban/ Alternative Performance for “Daydreaming.”

When it comes to this rap shit, the Def Jam camp has to be satisfied. Especially those over at Roc-A-Fella Records. Jay-Z and Kanye West combined for a total of nine nominations of the five rap categories.

Best Rap Album is a tough one. You have Finding Forever (Common), T.I. vs T.I.P (T.I.), Graduation (Kanye West, Kingdom Come (Jay-Z)and Hip Hop is Dead (Nas). For me it’s a toss up between Kingdom Come and Hip Hop is Dead. Nas’ joint was crazy but I’m a Roc-A-Fella type dude. Kingdom Come was Jigga’s return and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Kanye has two joints in the Best Rap Song category so he should take home at least one. He’s also featured on two songs in the Best Rap Performance by a Duo category. Look for Kanye to home with three or more trophies.

I really don’t care enough about the other categories to break them down so watch the awards Sunday night on CBS.


Shaq Heads Back West

About a week ago when the Lakers made this season’s first blockbuster trade, I was convinced that Kobe and Phil were well on their way to representing the West in the NBA Finals.

With last night’s news of Phoenix trading Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks to Miami for Shaquille O’neal, I’m still convinced that the Lakers trade will pay off bigger dividends in the near and distant future.

No I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do remember the past. Think back two seasons ago to the 2006 Playoffs. Kobe’s Lakers got off to a 3-1 lead in their series against the Suns before falling in game 7 on the road. Keep in mind that the 2006 Laker team didn’t feature Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher, or Trevor Ariza. The most important addition to the Lakers has been the meteoric rise and maturation of Andrew Bynum ,who just turned 20 this past October.

Since their 2006 playoff exit, the Lakers have made vast improvements. The Suns, while they have added vetetans such as Grant Hill and Shaq to their rosters, haven’t improved their talent as much.

Now if the Suns were able to resurrect the Shaq of old, circa 1994 then they’d be a lock for the Finals.

I mean watch the guy:

But sadly that’s not the guy the Suns are getting. They’re getting a guy who is not nearly as athletic or skilled as he once was. And his commitment to defense ( which is the main reason for the trade) has been highly questioned in the past few years. Can he repair his game for one more run at a title and possibly put Kobe out of the playoffs in the process? We’ll see. My dough is on Kobe for now though.

Fix the streets, then you’ll fix the athletes.

Shaq has his doubts about it. Tracy McGrady says he’ll skip it if he gets selected for it. And NBA Players Union President Billy Hunter says he’ll sue the league if it happens.

No I’m not talking about mandatory drug testing, I’m talking about the 2008 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans.

Personal safety is at the forefront of their concerns and for good reason. To be fair to the city, it should be stated the Saints played all eight of their home regular season games in New Orleans, and the city recently hosted the Sugar Bowl at the Superdome this past January.

So what’s so questionable about hosting the NBA All-Star Game in the N.O. Well, consider this year’s festivities in Las Vegas. There were over 400 arrests and one very notable incident involving an NFL player who might as well be named “can’t get right”, $81,000 cash, a strip club, and a now paralyzed security guard.

Eye witness accounts say that Tennessee Titans Cornerback Pac Man Jones was in the club making it rain on strippers, but when the dancers started making his dough evaporate the scene got stormy.

Now, I’m a huge fan of giving athletes the benefit of the doubt. At the same time I understand the concept of reasonable doubt (it’s also one of my favorite albums). So when I consider the history of Pac Man Jones which includes four arrests and 10 run-ins with police, it’s hard to doubt what you hear about him.

But Jones is just one of many. The Cincinnati Bengals have had over nine players arrested in only a nine month period. Darrent Williams was killed on New Year’s Eve after leaving a Denver nightclub. As a result, the NFL is considering a three strike rule to rid their league of “troublemakers.” True, a lot of professional athletes are involved in situations that they shouldn’t be. But to simply label this a “sports” problem is an injustice to the people who see it in their everyday lives.

This is far from a sports issue, its a social issue. I’ve lived in Gary,Indiana for 22 years. If I’ve learned anything here (and I’ve learned a lot) it’s that all homicides don’t get reported. Only the terribly horrific ones or the ones that had witnesses make the papers. Basically if you know, you know, if you don’t– you won’t. But once a sports figure is involved, it’s the lead story on SportsCenter.

Sports legislation won’t solve any problems, not even the problems in sports. You can’t change the people if you don’t change where they come from. As long as the ‘hood’ produces athletes, the ‘hood’ will be in professional sports.


Hip-Hop x Sports And Other Stuff