I’m looking at you LeBron James. That’s right. You!

In the biggest game of your young career you come out with a performance the likes of Vince Carter. I got home from work last night hoping to watch the Cavs destroy the Celtics, I was horrified by what I saw. Normally, it’s the supporting cast that does not show up, this time it was “The King”. It was shocking. A “Cavastrophe” is what the good folks at The Basketball Jones called it.

I’m starting to have doubts about your greatness. Right now I hate you for making me feel this way. Since day one, I have proclaimed you to one day be the greatest player this league has ever seen. That’s right, better than Jordan, Magic, Oscar. Now, I’m having doubts. I admit, your supporting cast, while better than years past, is still not of championship caliber. That’s when great players take guys and make them think and feel they are better than they really are. In turn, they play above their means. That’s what great players do.

How can you expect them to come out and play great if you look disinterested, lethargic, unwilling. Watching the game, I was horrified. Where did the LeBron James I know go? Where was he? Maybe LeBron would rather be on a beach somewhere joking around with Jay-Z.

I have defended LeBron James as the best player in the game. I can no longer say that, not with a performance like last night. Not till you win a championship. That’s what legends do LeBron. They win championships. They take the guys around them and make them believe they are better than they are.

It hurts me to say all this. It’s the truth. You’re writing your legacy LBJ. Do you want the title of this chapter to read “he folded” or would you rather have it read “The mighty King returned.

The bullpen door opens. It’s him, he’s the guy, the guy that’s going to seal the deal. The final nail in the coffin. It’s the 9th, the most important inning and in his hands is where you want the ball to be. Bases empty or juiced, he’s that guy.

You know it’s him, ‘cuase you heard the dong of the bells, the slow somber bells; followed by the hard electric guitar… then the drums… then the beat explodes and he appears through the swung bullpen doors… Trevor Hoffman.

The music hits you, the slow start creating anticipation as you recognize the song, the rhythm grabs you and then it explodes into intimidation as you sing the words getting ready for the 9th. It’s the closer.

The entrance music for the closer sets the stage for the 9th inning. The music creates an atmosphere at the park. An atmosphere of intimidation to the guys on the other side. It let’s them know, you’re here to close the deal, it’s over. Some closers in the majors really got the right song for entering into a save situation. What would make a good song for the situation? Well it would be a song that would have to

  1. Slow Start – the song would have to have a slower introduction, one that’s recognizable and builds anticipation before the song really gets going.
  2. Recognizable – a song that is recognizable to the majority of people; even those who aren’t regular listeners of that genre can recognize the song.
  3. Intimidating – a song that is hard, loud, rough, instills fear. Genre’s like metal, hard rock, even some hip hop could work, but you can’t have a closer come into a game to a Boyz II Men song.

Some of the closers in this league got some really good music that they enter to. Here’s a list of some of the ones I feel are really good and the few that make me scratch my head.

The Good

Trevor Hoffman: AC/DC – Hells Bells

Mariano Rivera: Metallica – Enter Sandman

Keith Foulke: Danzig – Mother

Billy Wagner: Metallica – Enter Sandman

Jonathan Papelbon: Dropkick Murphys – Shipping Up to Boston (This only works in Boston)

Chad Qualls: Rage Against the Machine – Killing in the Name of

Jose Valverde: Notorious B.I.G. Big Poppa (Love this one, click his name, take a look at the man, then you’ll see why)

Troy Percival: Godsmack – Keep Away

Huston Street: Nas – Hate Me Now

Rob Nen: Deep Purple – Smoke on the Water

John Smoltz: AC/DC – Thunderstruck

Eric Gagne: Guns N Roses – Welcome to the Jungle

Fernando Rodney: Angel y Khriz – Ven Ballalo (Gotta have some latin flavor)

The Bad

Jonathan Broxton: Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode

Armando Benitez: Jay-Z – Big Pimpin’ (I remember jamming it up to this song back in 99/00, but I think this jam would be a better intro for a catcher as he walks to the plate. As my boy eyebleaf over at Sports And The City said of one Raul Chavez, who’s got a rocket for an arm behind the plate, and I quote “He throws bitches out like a pimip”.)

Brad Lidge: Drowning Pool – The Game

The Ugly

Brandon Lyon (Red Sox): The Lion Sleeps Tonight

I wonder what Scott “The Snake” Downs’ entrance music is. If he doesn’t have one maybe we could come up with one for him. I’m thinking going with the whole snake theme, he could go with Jake “The Snake” Roberts theme from the WWF. Not a really intimidating song, but got a decent intro. Or maybe he could go with M.O.P. – Ante Up… that songs hard, rough, grimey, gets you fired up. Or maybe Jimi Hendrix – Voodoo Child.

What would you pick as your entrance music?

I gotta be honest, 2008 was one of the most disappointing years I can remember in terms of Hip Hop for me personally.  Lil’ Wayne was the top grossing rap artist of 2008.  Now, no disrespect to the man and his success, but Lil’ Wayne has never really been considered a lyrical genius and to be honest, I really ain’t feeling him.  I never have, and I don’t think I ever will.  Like my  man Common said “If i don’t like it, i don’t like it, it don’t mean that i’m hatin.”I mean Rick Ross was in the top 5 selling rap albums of 2008.  RICK FUCKING ROSS, that hurt just writing it.    

There were some good albums that dropped in 2008, but nothing that made me say “I definitely need to have that joint in ma collection.”  Some of the albums that stood out for me in 2008 were T.I.’s “Paper Trail”, Ludacris’ “Theater Of The Mind”, GZA’s “Pro Tools”, Elzhi’s “Preface”, Q-Tip’s “Renaissance” and Scarface’s “Emeritus.”   While all of them were good albums, I wouldn’t say any of them were instant classics.  I can’t remember many years where there wasn’t at least one album that was an instant classic.  

However, 2008 is over and the disappointment is over.  It’s 2009 bitches and with it comes anticipation.  A lot of anticipation.  There are some BIG names dropping albums this year.  I’m looking forward to 2009.  I expect Hip Hop to rebound this year.   Oh and in 2009, i’ll bet my house that Rick Ross won’t make it into the top 5 best selling albums of the year.  There should be a rule, any year that Rick Ross makes the top 5, it’s a disappointing year for Hip Hop.    With heavy hitters like Jadakiss, Busta Rhymes, 50 Cent, Big Boi, Kanye West, Rakim all dropping albums this year it should be a great year for Hip Hop.   Here’s the thing though, as impressive as that list there is, they ain’t even the guys i’m most looking forward to.  My top 10 anticipated albums of 2009 is as follows…

10. Raekwon: “Only Built For Cuban Linx II” – The first one was a classic.  Knowing that RZA is gonna be handling the production on this one got me thinking, Rae’s got another classic in him.

 

 

 

 

9. Mos Def: “The Ecstatic” – Now I gotta be honest, “The New Danger” and “True Magic” were very disappointing.  But, there’s some rumblings going on about this album.  People are saying Mos is going back to the “Black On Both Sides” formula with this one.   That he actually took time away from his acting career to concentrate on this one.  If that’s true, I can’t wait to hear this.

 

 

 

 

8. Method Man & Redman: “Blackout 2” – Meth & Red together again took too long to happen.  I still bump “How High” all the time.   On their own, over the last little while, they really haven’t put out much to talk about.  I’m hoping the two of them re-uniting will spark a forest fire of music.

 

 

 

 

 

7. Outkast: TBD – Now they’re both droppin’ solo joints this year, but after that they hook back up for an Outkast album which should drop at the end of ’09.  I really hope it does.   I know I’m looking forward to it.

 

 

 

 

6. Jay-Z: “The Blueprint 3” – I gotta be honest, Jay hasn’t dropped anything worth talking about since “The Black Album”.  I mean “Kingdom Come” was okay, but you expect better from Jay.  As for “American Gangster”, I won’t even talk about it.  I just hope we see the same Jay we saw on the original Blueprint and if that’s the case, FIRE!

 

 

 

5. Lupe Fiasco: “LupEND” – Lupe is one of the best new lyricists Hip Hop has produced.  He definitely has provided some of the best albums of this decade with “Food & Liquor” and “The Cool”.  So to hear this is to be his last album is disappointing.  However, we’ll see if that really lasts.   I’m looking forward to a bunch of hits from Lupe, but a 3 disc album?  I don’t know if you wanna be going out with a 3 disc album.

 

 

 

4. Common: “The Believer” – Common is one of my all time favorite emcee’s.  Lyrically, he’s a genius. Now “Universal Mind Control” was a little different, he was experimenting again, kinda like “Electric Circus”.   You also remember what came right after his experiment, it was “Be”.  So I’m thinking, Common might have got that experimentation part of him done.  If I’m right, we could be talking about the album of the year when it’s all said and done.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Eminem: “Relapse” – We’ve been waiting for this a long time Em.  Seriously, what the fuck took you so long?  I’m really excited about this for two reasons, for one, Dre will be doing most of the production.  The other, you ready for this?  I’m thinking you might wanna sit down before you read this.  DJ PREMIER AND EMINEM.  DJ Premier confirmed that Eminem asked him for a track.  I just hope Em doesn’t pull a Jay and leave it off the album.  I can’t wait to hear Em on a Premier track, oh man… I’m getting giddy just thinking about it.

 

 
2. Royce Da 5’9″: “Street Hop” – DJ Premier is the executive produce on this and will handle most of the production on the album.  Have you heard “Shake This”?  If not, GO LISTEN TO IT NOW.  I MEAN IT, NOW! I’ll wait………………… Now I’m bias, I’m a HUGE Royce fan and I think he’s one of the most under rated lyricists in Hip Hop.  And to be honest, Royce and Premier always make incredible music.  “Boom”, “Hip Hop” and now “Shake This”.  Royce & Primo are kinda like the new Gang Starr, do I even need to say more?

 

 

1. Dr. Dre: “Detox” – So he says this is the year it’ll finally drop.  Dre, don’t play with my emotions.   Dre, I ain’t joking, seriously.  You better drop this shit this year.  You been teasing us way too long.  It’s like the stripper that teases you in the back room getting you all excited thinking you’re gonna get to fuck, and then 3 minutes later at the end of the song she just ups and walks away.  And all you can say is… DAMN!