Fresh Friday: Post Malone, OB OBrien, A Tribe Called Red and the 1988 McDonald’s Open

Post Malone and his basketball-inspired lyrics, make “White Iverson” one of the more refreshing Hip Hop tracks you’ll hear today.

This post is coming a little late, but I didn’t want to overlook another Fresh Friday, a place to share some music as well as some basketball gems lurking on YouTube. This week’s edition centers on Hip Hop, specifically Post Malone, OB OBrien and A Tribe Called Red, which is more of a dubstep meets hip hop meets Native drum music. It’s a real treat, along with the other two listed above.

This weekend is kind of a mellow weekend around Kansas City, as typical with most long weekends. That being said, the Royals and Chiefs are both playing Sunday, so you known people are going to get after it when comes to grilling and even tailgating (the Chiefs play at home). So it’s important that you have some good sundries and beats to complement your time with friends, even if the focus may not be of the basketball variety.

This weekend’s beer of choice is Boulevard Funky Pumpkin. You want something you can easily drink, but you don’t want to have something you can down too quickly, especially on Sunday where the Chiefs and Royals will be playing back to back. Boulevard’s underrated October brew is a hybrid between a fall, Pumpkin ale and a sour beer. It’s a nice middle ground for those who may be averse to fall specialty ales as well as sour beers. The balance of sweetness and tartness makes this one of Boulevard’s more underrated ales, and you’ll feel good about drinking it too since Boulevard is a Kansas City brewery and you’ll be cheering on the Royals and Chiefs.

Now onto the music and basketball.

Post Malone “White Iverson”

I cannot describe how much I love this song. I heard it originally this summer while meeting up with friends from Portland. One of my friends loved it so much that he played it on loop like 48 times. Since then, my ears always perk up when I hear the song play. Whether it’s on my friend’s Sirius radio, as a ringtone, or blasting from the speakers at a coffee shop/bar at First Friday’s in the Crossroads, I just have to sit and sink in Post Malone and the song “White Iverson”. The beat is absolutely fantastic, mesmerizing and hypnotic, and Malone’s smooth voice complements the beat well. However, the lyrics is what puts the song over the top for me. There is always a risk when using “basketball-centered” lyrics. We have seen many examples of basketball rap songs or even rap tracks from basketball players fail miserably (this remains my personal favorite trainwreck ever). Post Malone not only avoids that, but somehow allows his lyrics to enhance the “coolness” of his popular track. Check out this verse below:

I’m ballin’, money jumpin’
Like I’m Davis from New Orleans

Or bitch I’m Harden, I don’t miss nothin’
Fuck practice, this shit just happens, know y’all can’t stand it
I have it, I’ll never pass it, I work my magic
High average, ball on these bastards, it makes me happy
It’s tragic, I make it happen, and all y’all Shaqtin’

God. Those lines are so freaking great. A song with an Anthony Davis, James Harden, Shaq and of course AI reference? You better be listening to this song as you read this.

OB OBrien “Schemin Up”

If you are a Canadian right now, there is a lot to be happy about. Canadian basketball is finally surging toward major respectability, especially when it comes to their national team which features young, likable stars like Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Olynyk, Anthony Bennett, Nik Stauskas and Robert Sacre (well…maybe not a star, but I love Sacre from my experiences interviewing him at Gonzaga). The Toronto Raptors are the new “in” team again, something that faded away after Vince Carter stopped being “Air Canada” and went to the New Jersey Nets. The Toronto Blue Jays are in the playoffs for the first time since 1995 (though they dropped the first two games of the series at home to the Texas Rangers), and the NHL season is underway, which means hope springs eternal for Maple Leaf, Canucks, Flames, Oilers, Senators, Canadiens, and Jets fans.

And when it comes to Rap music, Canada is experiencing its own renaissance as well. We all know about Drake, but there are also a lot of up and coming Rap artists that are starting to make their way into the mainstream as well. OB OBrien, a rapper from Hamilton, Canada who looks more like a Maple Leafs defenseman than budding musician, is a prime example of some of the Hip Hop talent from the land up North. While the lyrics aren’t anything special, his collaboration with Drake and P. Reign on this is a solid jam, and is a great party or club jam on a Friday and Saturday night. I do hope OB OBrien progresses his music, especially lyrics, a bit more as he gains more experience and popularity (I also hope so since I share the same surname as him), but this is a nice primer to Canadian rap music beyond Drake.

A Tribe Called Red “Working for the Goverment”

While working on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, I got exposed to A Tribe Called Red a First Nations electronic group from Canada. While their debut self-titled album brought them on the scene in a big way (especially the track Electronic Powwow Drum), I felt that their second album Nations II Nations was a better, more well-rounded album featuring a lot more collaborating First Nations artists such as Northern Voice. A Tribe Called Red seamlessly brings together electronic, hip-hop and traditional First Nations drumming music into their tracks, and their sound is unique and refreshing and causes you to get lost in it for hours.

“Working for the Government” is one of their newer tracks featuring Buffy Sainte Marie, and is a remix and revitalization of her earlier song of the same name from the 70’s. It’s 70’s meets modern day. AIM meets Wacipi meets dubstep. And it’s a great track that is the unique sound that showcases First Nations people in the light they deserve: creative, talented, and molding mainstream culture to enhance their own, not vice versa.

Basketball Video of the Week: 1988 McDonald’s Championship: Boston Celtics vs. Real Madrid

The late 80’s marked the beginning of the NBA starting to globalize their brand and game. Part of that stemmed from the 1988 loss in the Olympic Championship game, but also a lot of it stemmed from a lot of the talent that existed globally, especially in Europe. Now, basketball is probably one of the most global games, and is certainly the fast growing sport in terms of popularity globally (and closing fast on Soccer, who seem to not be able to get out of their own way with all this corruption in FIFA). Just this pre-season, the NBA Global Games featured not only NBA exhibitions against European clubs such as Real Madrid, Fennerbahce Ulker Istanbul and EA7 Emporio Armani Milan, but also other European clubs on American soil (EA7 played Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv in Chicago). Basketball is huge, and the growing diversity of the game and its players is only good for the sport and its fans.

The 1988 McDonald’s Championship is pretty much where the global revitalization started, as the Boston Celtics traveled to Spain to take on Real Madrid, who featured star point guard Drazen Petrovic, a legendary player of Croatian descent who played for the Portland Trail Blazers and New Jersey Nets (and the focus of one of the best 30 for 30’s ever, “Once Brothers”). The Celtics won 111-96, but Real Madrid and Petrovic showed the potential European basketball and players had and that the NBA game could benefit a lot from the European style. And that has been realized today, as European players and strategies influence the NBA and even college game in so many ways from the pick and roll to the stretch 4.

Ironically, the Celtics played Real Madrid in this year’s Global Games in Spain earlier this week. The score? 111-96. The same exact score 17 years ago.

It makes you wonder if that’s a sign of more things to come for the game globally.

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