Hip-hop and D.C. sports dominate my life. Sure there are friends, family, video games, and Beyonce sprinkled in here and there, but for the most part, it's hip-hop and RGIII's knee (yes I know it's April but RGIII is like my child, I worry all the time). Normally all my attention is focused on
or the latest album to drop, but I'd be lying if today, I wasn't a little distracted. Tonight, the Washington Wizards, a laughingstock of the league for the past few years, have a chance to clinch their first playoff series in almost a decade. I didn't have a drivers license last time they won in the playoffs, so excuse me for being beyond fucking excited and a little scared that they will blow it considering DC sports' recent history.
While I can't be there physically because tickets are a gagillion bucks, I will be sending positive vibes the best way I know how...
a RefinedHype editorial. You know the drill by know; it's time for Rap Game John Wall.
The Wizards aren't a basketball powerhouse-you are lucky to catch them on TNT or ESPN-so some of you may not be as familiar with him as you are Lebron or KD. Here's the rundown.
After one year at Kentucky, Wall was one of the most highly touted prospects to come out in a long time. You may not remember, but people thought the dude was the next Jordan. Okay, maybe not exactly Jordan level, but he was definitely seen as one of those guys who could come in and make a team by himself a la Lebron in Cleveland; I mean, shit, the guy even had
. I think the hype machine got us a little to revved up because he wasn't that dominant, take-over-the-game type of player. In his first few years he showed flashes of brilliance, but putting it together night in and night out just didn't happen. His shot isn't the strongest, and though he might be the fastest NBA player, he lacked a little something.
Still, the pick was hardly a bust and Wall really earned is max contract. Some were a little worried about the commitment long-term, but half of the problem was the players around him; Javale McGee and Andre Blatche did not help bring out the best in Wall. Now, however, with Beal, Nene, and the lot around him, Wall has really come into his own. He may not blow up the stat sheet (although he can at times) but night in and night out, John is one of the most consistent playmakers in the game; this year he averaged 19 points, 8 assists (second in the league), 4 rebounds, and 1 steal per game. Smart, hustles, blazing speed, great handles, and creates opportunities; he is your prototypical point guard. He also won the dunk contest and got his first ever All-Star Game bid to go with earning the five spot in the East; to say it was a breakout year for Wall is an understatement. Plus, at 23, he is just now entering his prime. He may not be the greatest player or ever dominate like Lebron, but there is no doubt he is one of the premiere players of the next generation and will continue to succeed for the next decade. But who is his rap game equivalent?
This one's pretty clear, it's J. Cole. First and foremost, their career trajectories are almost identical. Think of J. Cole's mixtapes as John Wall's pre-NBA career. Like Wall, Cole garnered some serious attention before gong pro (think
The Warm Up
) and became one of the most exciting prospects in recent memory. Once he was drafted by Roc Nation however, it wasn't smooth sailing. We all know the issues with his debut album, and it was a definite set back. Still like Wall, many saw potential despite some initial struggles; when both were on point, you could see why so many thought so highly of them.
was like Wall's 2013 season. Was it mindblowing no? Between KD's 41 points n 25 straight games and
Nothing Was The Same
Magna Carta Holy Grail
, Born Sinner didn't have enough firepower to keep up, but for fans of Cole it was proof that he could elevate his game an was not a bust. Now, you still can't put him in the Kendrick/Drake their of emcees, but that doesn't mean he wont get there one day; at the very least he will continue to be a successful, impactful emcee for years to come.
Both John Wall and Cole took a little more time to develop than we might have thought, but watching them blossom into what we know they can be has really been fun to watch and both have ceilings as high as Wiz Khalifa in a hot air balloon. As I said, identical trajectories. Also like Wall, Cole is never going to blow you away and drop 61 points or a "Control verse", but if you need some one who will consistently bring you a solid performance, Cole is your man. I don't think I have ever been knocked on my ass by a Cole verse or his flow, but it is still very effective and gets the job done; they just don't have that killer instinct or special je ne sais quoi needed to be truly next level. I also think their supporting cast is eerily similar. Cole will be assisting guys like young stars like Bas on his Dreamville label and Wall will be assisting young guys like Beal for years; both of them need to get these other guys involved to be really successful. How they grow and succeed together will determine how successful they are five to ten years down the line; that goes for Cole and Dreamville and Wall and Beal. Stylistically they may not be exactly the same-Wall is more of a fast paced, run-and-gun guy and Cole seems like he would want to control the clock--but their career paths, future, and standing amongst the elites in the game, are almost identical.
Not gonna lie, I feel like I nailed this one. I'm never really sure how my comparisons will be taken, but I'm confident this one works. I have spent too much time listening to "Dead Presidents II" and too much time watching John Wall dish passes to guys who pick up prostitutes or run the wrong way on the court to have this backfire.
So what do you think RefinedHype Nation? Also #DCRising
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net and RefinedHype. He does not have a beard. You can tweet him your favorite Migos songs at