It has been more than a month since our last
comparison piece, but considering our borderline unhealthy obsession with comparing rappers to things and things to rappers, it feels more like a year. Sure, we like to sneak in an animated movie or superhero movie here and there, but the ol' standby, the grand daddy of them all is the basketball comparison. With the NBA playoffs just around the corner, what better time to get these going again?
Lebron may be the best player in the NBA, and the one who has every move (from crossovers to which breakfast cereal he eats) covered in nauseating detail on ESPN, but this year Kevin Durant has been the most outstanding player in the league. Not only has he lead the Thunder to one of the best records in the always tough Western Conference, but he also scored 25 points in 41 straight games, breaking Michael Jordan's record of 25 in 40 games. Lebron scored 61 and Sportscenter nearly wet their pants, but Durant's consistently exceptional play is much more impressive. When you are as good as he is, teams game plan around you and still, he managed to score 25 points in half of their games. Unless you have a team in the playoffs, I don't see how you root against The Thunder; no one deserves a championship more than Durant. While ESPN may overlook you Kevin, you are appreciated here at RefinedHype. What better way to celebrate his amazing season than comparing him to a rapper? But which one? Nathan and I were up at 2 AM arguing my choice last night, so this should be a good one. I'm nominating Black Thought as the Rap Game Kevin Durant.
I will respond to Nathan's hate on my pick in a minute, but first I want to to lay out my argument. I have been a long time supporter of Black Thought. The Roots are one of the best bands around (and maybe ever but that's another argument). Since '93 they have been one of the most original, talented groups around and a large part of that is because of Black Thought. It takes a special emcee to be able to keep pace with a live band and Black Thought is special. He has been killing it for two decades now, and quite frankly, I don't if he has ever spit a bad verse; that s 25 points in 41 games consistent. Like Durant, Thought's style is very diverse. Durant is a freak of nature. He is 6'9" inches but can still run point guard. Big men shooting the three happens occasionally, but they aren't pure shooters like Durant and they certainly can't handle the rock like him. Watching Durant play is so much fun because he is so fundamentally sound in every aspect of basketball; he can do it all. He'll cross you over and drive to the rim one play and then drain a stepback three right in your eye on the next play. Lebron may be the better athlete, but I think Durant is the better basketball player. Mr. Thought is just as diverse. The Roots are an amazing band capable of any type of beat. From hard hitting bangers like "
" to softer, R&B infused love ballads like "
" Thought can can change his style up and fit any beat perfectly. Like Durant he can finesse you or drive right through you and is so technically sound that each style is equally as effective. There might be better, flashier (and becuase of it more popular) rappers, but very few are as technically sound and consistent as Black Thought; just like Durant.
Durant is popular, yes, and while he deserves it, he is not nearly as influential or recognizable as Lebron. So he isn't exactly underrated, but unappreciated. Anybody who knows anything about rap knows that Black Thought is one of the bests to do it but you won't find him on the top of the charts or on Beats commercial; he too is vastly under appreciated when you consider his skill. I don't think too many people would put him in the top three, but if he was brought up, I don't think they would disagree (that goes for both of 'em). Thought may be just as talented as the biggest emcee in the game (pick your rapper) but for whatever reason he just doesn't have enough "juice" to be as popular as the games brightest stars. Durant is the same way. If you were starting a franchise you would pretty much have to go Lebron, but Durant would make you think. He hasn't won a ring and though he has shoe deals and all that mess, he isn't quite there with Lebron. Close, but Lebron has the edge. Black Thought and Durant are talented as anybody but, as much as it pains me to admit, they aren't quite on the level of the biggest superstar(s).
Honestly, I feel pretty good about my pick. Nathan thought I was way off because Durant is way more popular than Thought, but you could argue that is because more people follow the NBA than hip-hop. Also, I know some of you will say the age thing is a factor and yeah, it kind of is, but at this point, both are veterans of the game so what does a few years in age really matter? Let's hear your thoughts RefinedHype Nation. If Nathan and I can spend far too long arguing over something like this than that must mean it's going to be a good discussion. Who is your Rap Game Kevin Durant?