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The Hip-Hop Sports Report Podcast 11.19.14

We right back like we left somethin! We’re droppin a podcast for the second this week! Guest Vince Hicks helps us breakdown our first sample of the NBA season! Are the Cavs on schedule, or is their 5-5 record cause for concern? Who else is a threat in the East? And what superstar’s selfishness could lead to his team’s downfall

The Hip-Hop Sports Report Podcast 11.16.14

After a brief hiatus, The Preseason Podcast of the Year makes its triumphant return! Special guest Kenneth Hicks Jr. calls the “Your Ad Here” Hotline to discuss all things hip-hop. We follow up on last week’s MMG column— is Rick Ross in desperation mode? Also, should fans be worried about Kendrick Lamar’s new album? Plus, we have a lively debate

2014-15 NBA Season Preview: Pacific Division- California Dreamin’ (Plus Our NBA Champion Pick)

We’ve now previewed every team in the league with the exception of the Pacific Division. Check out our Western Conference playoff teams, our West Champion and HHSR’s 2014-15 NBA champion at the end of this column. So without further ado, let’s dive into the Pacific! Phoenix Suns The Suns rose from the ashes like a Phoenix last year (sorry) and

2014-15 NBA Season Preview: Southeast Division- Changing Of The Guard (Plus Our Eastern Conference Champion Pick)

Here’s a fun fact: Since its creation at the start of the 2004-05 season, only two teams have won this division, and both reside in the state of Florida. The Heat have seven division titles, the Magic own three— none of the other teams have even won this division! In the last decade, this division has produced the Eastern conference

Roger Goodell, Adrian Peterson And The Worst Sports Week In Recent History

Never seen anything like this. Ever. Have you? The last week has been as unsavory of a week for sports fans as I can remember. Not since the OJ trial has SportsCenter felt this much like Court TV— and nobody seems to be immune to it. Fans were just starting to get the nauseating taste of the Donald Sterling story

The Hip-Hop Sports Report Podcast 11.19.14

We right back like we left somethin!

We’re droppin a podcast for the second this week! Guest Vince Hicks helps us breakdown our first sample of the NBA season! Are the Cavs on schedule, or is their 5-5 record cause for concern? Who else is a threat in the East? And what superstar’s selfishness could lead to his team’s downfall out West (Note: it’s not Kobe)? Also, we look at the playoff push in the NFL! Can we really believe in the Cardinals? Are the Broncos in trouble? And which teams could sneak in the Super Bowl? Music from Loso, Tupac & Scarface.

HHSR Podcast November 19 2014

The Hip-Hop Sports Report Podcast 11.16.14

After a brief hiatus, The Preseason Podcast of the Year makes its triumphant return!

Special guest Kenneth Hicks Jr. calls the “Your Ad Here” Hotline to discuss all things hip-hop. We follow up on last week’s MMG column— is Rick Ross in desperation mode? Also, should fans be worried about Kendrick Lamar’s new album? Plus, we have a lively debate on whether or not Jay Z is washed! Musical breaks provided by E-40 and Sugarhill Gang!

HHSR Podcast November 16 2014

The Black Album 11 Years Later

“Maybe they’ll love me when I fade to black…”

“Time waits for no man…” were words once uttered by Jay Z on Reasonable Doubt, his debut album.

That was 1996. By 2003, Jigga had seemingly had his fill with the rap game and was prepared to call it a career. In hindsight, it seems rather silly that after only eight official years in the game Jay would even entertain the idea of hanging up his mic and his writtens. Well, Jay “don’t write,” so I guess he’d be hanging up his thoughts??

This is why I never bought into the whole retirement thing even when The Black Album dropped on November 14, 2003. It seemed far too unnatural for Jay to turn a blind eye (and ear) to the rhymes that would inevitably rattle around in his head. Maybe it was all a marketing ploy. Maybe he was tired of the grind. Or maybe he really wanted to pattern his career after Michael Jordan, and becoming president of Def Jam would be his version of playing outfield for the Birmingham Barons. Whatever the case, it resulted in one of the better albums of Mr. Carter’s illustrious career. Read more

Are Cracks Appearing In The MMG Empire?

Is this how bosses are supposed to move?

Slow leaks can be a dangerous thing.

If you’re driving and you run over a rusty nail and catch a flat, it sucks. Period. But, at least you know right away that you have a problem that requires your immediate attention. If you’re lucky, you can change the tire (or call AAA), get the whip to a shop that same day and be driving on a brand new tire just a few hours later. But a slow leak? See, that always seems to get you when you’re running late and you have someplace to be, but as soon as you get out to the car, you have a disaster on your hands.

This could be premature, but Maybach Music Group may be in the midst of a slow leak.

Sure, the era of the rap clique isn’t what it used to be, and when measured by that scale, MMG has been nothing short of wildly successful the last several years. Rick Ross has managed to assemble quite a crew of talented musicians since he birthed MMG in 2009, but the label appears to be slowly losing its stronghold over the industry. Read more

2014-15 NBA Season Preview: Pacific Division- California Dreamin’ (Plus Our NBA Champion Pick)

CP3 gotta be pissed after how last year ended. Steph Curry is coming for his neck though.

We’ve now previewed every team in the league with the exception of the Pacific Division. Check out our Western Conference playoff teams, our West Champion and HHSR’s 2014-15 NBA champion at the end of this column.

So without further ado, let’s dive into the Pacific!

Phoenix Suns

The Suns rose from the ashes like a Phoenix last year (sorry) and won 48 games in a year where everybody — HHSR included — expected them to go in full tank mode. It was the most victories they’ve had since the 2009-10 season when they went to the Western Conference Finals. Goran Dragić would win the NBA’s Most Improved Player award and Jeff Hornacek was runner-up for Coach of the Year. Phoenix showed a lot of promise, but still missed the playoffs in the gauntlet that is the West. So how do they plan to take the next step this season?

Still one of the cheapest most frugal teams in the league, the Suns are currently 28th in payroll. While they let Channing Frye walk in free agency (some analysts have said this will significantly hurt Phoenix in the long run), the Suns did open up the wallet to retain the services of Eric Bledsoe, an HHSR favorite who can thank Rich Paul (and by extension LeBron James) for that lucrative offer. Amazingly, the Suns gave E Bled a five-year $70M extension after the explosive point guard rejected a $48M offer two months prior. Seems like Phoenix was bidding against themselves a bit, especially since they already had brought Isiah Thomas from Sacramento in the fold. Read more

2014-15 NBA Season Preview: Northwest Division- Better To Have Loved And Lost

OKC has owned this division, but will their injuries open the door for Portland?

You could easily argue the two best players in this division at the end of last season are nowhere to be found at the start of this season. Kevin Durant (obviously the best) fractured his foot just before the start of the season, and after a summer of nauseating levels of speculation, Kevin Love was dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even with Love in Minnesota, the Thunder have owned this division in recent years, but the KD injury could potentially throw everything in this division out of whack. So where does this leave OKC anyway?

Oklahoma City Thunder

The reigning MVP is scheduled to be sidelined a month. Given that Durant is only carrying around a 180 pound frame, he should be able to bounce back from this injury rather quickly. But a month is a month— we’re talking roughly a quarter of the season. It basically knocks him out of repeat MVP consideration, and could also severely damage the Thunder’s chances in this juggernaut of a conference.

The Thunder as a franchise could seriously be at a crossroads as well. Read more

2014-15 NBA Season Preview: Southwest Division- Who’s Messing With Texas?

Still the kings.

Despite all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the wild changes in the Eastern Conference, the wild wild West comes into this season remaining as competitive as ever. Last season, nine teams in the West won at least 48 games. The Phoenix Suns, who missed the playoffs, would’ve been a #3 seed in the East. Through it all though, the San Antonio Spurs (as predicted by HHSR) managed to navigate their way a fifth NBA championship in the Duncan/Popovich era.

No reason to think they won’t do it again, right? Well, let’s breakdown the West, beginning in the Spurs own Southwest Division, easily the best top-to-bottom division in the league last year.

New Orleans Pelicans

It seems unlikely that all five teams from the same division could make the playoffs. Has that ever happened? It doesn’t even seem like the math would work, as each team would theoretically cannibalize one another making this virtually impossible. But a quick Google search for last year’s standings will show you that only the Pelicans missed the playoffs from the Southwest last year.

NOLA is a sleeper to make the playoffs for many, but in order for this to happen, three things need to take place: Read more

2014-15 NBA Season Preview: Southeast Division- Changing Of The Guard (Plus Our Eastern Conference Champion Pick)

It’s on you again, playa.

Here’s a fun fact: Since its creation at the start of the 2004-05 season, only two teams have won this division, and both reside in the state of Florida. The Heat have seven division titles, the Magic own three— none of the other teams have even won this division! In the last decade, this division has produced the Eastern conference champion six times. Quiet as kept, this division produced four playoff teams just last year. They can’t seriously pull that off again, can they?

Orlando Magic

This summer the Magic let go the last piece of their 2009 NBA Finals team. Jameer Nelson left Orlando for Dallas, thus officially closing the book (they got rid of the old arena and everything) on a brief, but memorable moment in Magic history. Now the Magic are knee deep in an arduous rebuilding process, one that has seen them also utilize the now ubiquitous method of rebuilding: doubling up on lottery picks in one draft in an attempt to expedite the procedure. The Cavs did it, the Jazz did it, the Hornets did it, the 76ers did it and the Magic have also done it, all within the last four drafts.

Sidebar: The catch with this is hitting on draft picks is hard— hitting on two is twice as hard. And if the talent pool isn’t deep that year, you’re pretty much screwed. Read more

2014-15 NBA Season Preview: Atlantic Division- Managing Expectations

Rondo could have as much of an impact on this season as anyone, but only if he’s traded away.

In a division where there’s two New York teams, a Boston team and a Philly team, it’s important to understand that managing the expectations of a sports team can be a crucial part to steadying the psyche of an organization and it’s fan base. Mismanaged expectations by a coach, GM or team president can result in the media — or worse, twitter — swarming on you. Next thing you know, there’s unanswered questions, disgruntled players, and before you know it, you’re carrying a box to your car while being walked out by security.

You see? Managing expectations! But many teams don’t know any better. Never fear, HHSR is here! Let’s take a look at what we should expect for the NBA’s Atlantic Division for the 2014-15 season.

Philadelphia 76ers

I’ll be brief. I have no idea what the hell the 76ers are doing. Yes, I understand the concept of building through the draft with high lottery picks (I still maintain that there’s no such as “the Oklahoma City model”— complete hogwash). But if your plan is doubling down on the injury prone bigs and or players with overwhelming flaws, lots of luck. Read more

2014-15 NBA Season Preview: Central Division- The Cavs And the Cav-Nots

Lookin like trouble.

It’s long, it’s exciting and it’s as anticipated now as it’s been in several years. No, this isn’t any type of clever innuendo. We’re talking about the 2014-15 NBA Season! The champs are out West, the depth is out West, but all the intrigue is in the East, specifically in the Central Division. Why?

LeBron James is why.

And Kevin Love. And Kyrie Irving. And Derrick Rose. And Jabari Parker. And Paul George’s leg. And Andre Drummond’s social-stalker tendencies.

Sidebar: Note to Mr. Drummond: It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, if you can Google “your name + stalk” and actually get a result, you’re letting Nas down.

We’ve covered the summer for the Cleveland Cavaliers at great length at HHSR— from King James’ return to his rightful kingdom, to the Kevin Love trade and the real unsung heroes who made it all possible. Yet flying under the radar is the return of another former MVP to his hometown team. Read more