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Sports

What Have We Learned From NBA Free Agency So Far?

As fireworks continue lighting up across the United States in honor of Independence Day, the NBA has witnessed its share of them. Since last Thursday, the 2022 NBA free agency has kept fans, media, and even players glued to their phones in great anticipation of what could be next.

Sparked by the evolving nature of player movement, the known and unknown worked together in creating the madness we experienced during free agency’s opening stretch. While fans knew of the likelihood that Jalen Brunson would sign with the New York Knicks, we were thrown a curveball upon the news of Rudy Gobert getting traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Even the broad daylight robbery of a trade done by the Boston Celtics with the Indiana Pacers threw us in for a loop.

As free agency’s opening week concludes in two days and the shift turns to the second wave of signings– while we’ll also wonder who gets traded first: Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant?– now is the perfect time to examine what has happened so far.

Here are our five biggest takeaways from the opening weekend of NBA free agency.

Why leave home when there’s a super-max deal?

Even with the combined desire by fans and media to see players leave their home teams, it’s becoming less of a reality given the introduction of super-max contracts. Fueled by incentives including All-Star and All-NBA selections, players are quickly putting pen to sheets near the end of their rookie or latest deal.

Within the first 48 hours of free agency, six super-max contracts were signed that totaled over one-point-two billion dollars (Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Nikola Jokic, Ja Morant, Darius Garland, and Zion Williamson).

Put some respect on Brian Windhorst’s name

The long-time ESPN Insider was arguably the MVP this past weekend, given his memorable explanation behind the Utah Jazz’s way of thinking before they moved All-Star center Rudy Gobert.

All meme-worthy moments aside, Windhorst’s connecting of the dots between the Jazz suddenly moving Royce O’Neale and current team CEO Danny Ainge’s willingness to start from scratch painted a great picture of what would happen in Salt Lake City.

Productive veterans will always be paid

Even for a league that is getting younger, they will always pay productive veterans– even if it’s expensive. The Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks, two legitimate Eastern Conference competitors, both signed or resigned productive veterans, PJ Tucker and Bobby Portis, at a combined cost and commitment of $79 million over seven years.

You never know when the trade market will be active

Minus an on and off busy night from the Draft, there wasn’t much happening in the trade market before Kevin Durant’s sudden trade request last Thursday. But you still have to remember this: Even with a busy rumor mill, it doesn’t mean trades will happen right now.

In the case of KD, the Nets can let his situation play out longer due to four years remaining on his contract. Regarding a potential Kyrie Irving for Russell Westbrook trade, the hold-up can be over one thing. And if you’re the Jazz, you must be 100% certain you want to let go of All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell.

Who you got: Woj or Shams?

I’m more of a Woj guy but Shams is nice too *shrugs.

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Sports

The Five Best Teams Who Can Trade For Kevin Durant

Nearly 24 hours later, the NBA world is still in shock over Kevin Durant’s trade request from the Brooklyn Nets. The two-time NBA Finals MVP is likely to generate the kind of interest rarely seen by any player that’s suddenly available, but the questions are who will be pursuing him and at what price?

And while there’s no doubt about Durant’s ability to play at a high level— he was placed on the All-NBA second team after averaging 29/7/6 this season– it does exist regarding his soon-to-be former team. Even during this era of player empowerment and movement, the Brooklyn Nets can’t get forced to trade Durant to his chosen place.

With four years remaining on his contract and a desire to either compete for a title or land a massive haul for him, the Nets and Durant could stay together beyond this summer. But what are those odds?

Below are the five best teams who can trade for the accomplished superstar.

Phoenix Suns

After the initial shock of Durant’s trade request, another one came in the form of his most- preferred trade destination: the 64-win and No. 1 seeded Phoenix Suns.

Upon looking at their roster and assets, there’s an immediate offer that makes sense– Mikal Bridge, Cam Johnson, Deandre Ayton, and an assortment of first-round picks. The only thing to be discussed is if the Nets trade Ben Simmons elsewhere. Under the Designated Rookie rule, a team can’t have more than two players who signed four or five-year extensions after their rookie deals, and only one can be acquired through a trade.

This rule is huge because Simmons signed a massive five-year extension in Philadelphia before being traded, and Ayton is in line for a massive contract this summer.

Miami Heat

Like Phoenix, Miami is another title contender that ranks high on Durant’s list of trade destinations, yet; they have a critical asset that can’t get traded to Brooklyn because of the Designated Rookie rule (Bam Adebayo). But is that enough to stop a deal?

If anything, the Heat could offer a package of Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, and a third player attached with first-round picks unless the Nets decide to trade Simmons elsewhere, as mentioned in our Suns discussion.

Memphis Grizzlies

Could you imagine if KD returned to the Western Conference as a Grizzlie? It’s certainly possible given the team’s salary cap situation, their immensely talented, young superstar in Ja Morant, and a trade package headlined by dynamic-two-way big man, Jaren Jackson Jr.

Golden State Warriors

Talk about what would be a full-circle moment? But when looking beyond the jokes and chaos Durant’s return would create, the Warriors could offer a fair exchange for their former superstar— the newly-motivated Andrew Wiggins, a certified bucket in Jordan Poole, and 2020 No. 2 overall pick, James Wiseman.

Toronto Raptors

Hey, you better not sleep on the Raptors in these trade discussions. Besides the brotherhood Durant has with superstar musician and Raptors ambassador Drake and Masai Ujiri being an incredible dealer, the Eastern Conference competitor has several attractive trade assets.

Anyone between All-NBA forward Pascal Siakam, reigning Rookie of the Year, Scottie Barnes, and OG Anunoby could start a return for the Nets– especially with various picks involved.

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Sports

ONE37pm’s Sports Vertical Previews The 2022 NBA Free Agency

*This article was written prior to the news of Kevin Durant requesting a trade from the Brooklyn Nets early Wednesday afternoon.

As much action is filled on the court every NBA season, the same is said for off of it. Through the growing nature of free agency and trade talks, it’s become common for NBA fans and media to speculate about the future of players and teams. And that development will play out again as the 2022 NBA Free Agency begins at 6 PM EST tonight.

While this year’s free agency isn’t defined by its star power, it includes impactful contributors (Jalen Brunson, Zach LaVine, and Deandre Ayton) who have enticed teams that are determined to improve. Before the start of free agency, ONE37pm’s Sports Vertical came together and shared their expectations for this time of year.

Will there be any surprises? Is there a certain signing each team should make? Continue reading to find out more!

What is your biggest expectation for free agency this summer?

Justin Cohen: I think there will be a lot of player movement. I don’t expect a lot of blockbuster trades, but I expect teams to buff out their rosters and add depth with impactful role players. The CBA is set to expire at the end of this season, so I’m intrigued about how that may affect teams signing players to longer-term contracts. 

Martino Puccio: My biggest expectation is a team like the Lakers to make some sort of move that doesn’t waste time on the partnership of LeBron and AD. Whether it’s getting rid of Westbrook or adding great role players. They have the most pressure to figure it out

Which teams do you expect to be the most and least active?

Jack Tien-Dana: Considering the Knicks have already made three trades and loosened up $30 million in cap room, it’s hard to imagine a team being more active than them. To a degree, this activity is necessary—the Knicks have 22 draft picks over the next seven years and can’t possibly add that many guys to a roster that already has a critical mass of developing young players.

Continuing their decades-long trend, the Knicks will be confusing at best and smooth-brained at worst. Whereas the Knicks chronically do too much, Oklahoma City is devoted to never doing anything. With mega-prospect Victory Wembanyama looming as the prize of next year’s lottery, the Thunder are in no rush to try to be an actual team for the foreseeable future.

Justin Cohen: A team like the Miami Heat will be extremely active this free agency. Miami Heat president Pat Riley is never satisfied, and a loss in the Eastern Conference Finals surely left a fire burning in his seat.

I expect them to try and target another superstar to pair with Butler and Adebayo. I don’t think the Warriors will be active in acquiring new players but instead will focus on resigning players. 

Jael Rucker: I expect Brooklyn to be very active {laughs}.

If there’s a signing that makes TOO much sense, what would it be?

Bo Templin: You know what signing makes a lot of sense? The MASSIVE 5-year deal for the St. Louis product, Bradley Beal. Go get that bag.

The other fit that seems nice is PJ Tucker going to the Sixers. He’s played with Harden and would be an outstanding voice for that team.

Jack Tien-Dana: Mo Bamba to the Lakers. Despite having two of the very best players alive, the Lakers are a sclerotic team without many avenues to improve. Accordingly, Mo Bamba (of “Mo Bamba”  fame) is the sole realistic option who could make a meaningful difference.

An expert shot-blocker and budding marksman, Bamba was one of only four players to average more than 1.5 threes and 1.5 blocks per game. And he’s somehow rumored to be available for just the $6.5 million mid-level exception. Still only 23, Bamba offers an enticing package of immediate production and future promise.

Justin Cohen: Blake Griffin to the Clippers. Yes, this wouldn’t be the most impactful or even the best fit, but to see Blake Griffin in a Clippers jersey one more time would be beautiful.

It would also be quite poetic to see Griffin win a championship with the franchise he brought back from the dead. 

Martino Puccio: A signing that would make too much sense to me is Brunson to NYK. For the Knicks to move all these mountains and for him to get insane money for just four years is something that should be a no-brainer, IMO.

Speaking of Jalen Brunson, do you believe he’s worth a max contract?

Bo Templin: While I think Jalen Brunson is a very solid player, I’m not sold on him being a max contract player on a championship-contending team. He would help the Knicks, sure. But what would really change? A first-round exit maybe?

Jael Rucker: Yes! Give Jalen Brunson what he deserves!

Justin Cohen: When dissecting who ‘deserves’ a max contract, the context of player availability is crucial. I don’t think there are many great point guards slated to be free agents this summer and Brunson has proved he can put up wins in the postseason.

I’ve personally gotten the opportunity to watch Jalen grow since his freshman year of high school and the progression he continues to show is worth a max in my mind. 

Given the likelihood of James Harden and Bradley Beal resigning with their teams, do player options carry as much weight as they use to?

Bo Templin: This is a really interesting question. I think the player options only hold weight if the dominoes fall in your favor. Every off-season, it feels like there is a 1-2 domino falling process that really kickstarts everything else.

People with options have the luxury of waiting. So I think they still hold weight with the timing of the offseason.

Jack Tien-Dana: Player options are the most basic, effective way that players can control when and what they’re paid. Since Bradley Beal is opting out of his deal, the Wizards have no choice but to lavish him with a quarter-billion dollars to stick around—by turning down his $36.4 million option for next year, he’s now positioned to make $50 million for the next five.

Conversely, John Wall, Russell Westbrook, and Kyrie Irving all exercised their options because it guarantees them a payday they wouldn’t receive otherwise. What teams are lining up to throw a max deal at two guys who are probably bad now and another guy who’s a terminally flighty weirdo? More than Brechtian trade demands or sub-tweet melodrama or podcasting, player options are how players are empowered.

Jael Rucker: Yes and no. I think it depends on the player, the team, and the situation. I will say that I think owners are kind of starting to take control back of situations.

Justin Cohen: They do because it’s just another way to give the players more freedom. I really like James Harden taking a page out of Tom Brady’s book and taking a pay cut to allow the 76ers flexibility with their cap space.

With the collective bargaining agreement set to expire at the end of next season, we could see a change in how player and team options work. 

Martino Puccio: I think these player options don’t hold as much weight depending on the situation, but the money for these superstars after the tv deals are so great that they have so much flexibility.

Seeing what an Evan Fournier can grab via FA these guys know the leverage they have so they probably don’t stress the options.

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Sports

Rashod Bateman Reflects On Rookie Season And Explains What’s Next For The Ravens

For any former rookie in the NFL, their second offseason is night and day from their first one. In exchange for times when they were unsettled and readjusting to the evolving speed of the pro level, they’ve gained a calmer sense of who they are, what to expect, and why it’s happening. It’s a reality most commonly seen by wide receivers, and Rashod Bateman is a prime example.

The 2021 first-round pick out of the University of Minnesota joined the Baltimore Ravens with clear expectations— to become a very reliable target for former MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson. Standing at 6-foot-1 with sure hands and capable of running a 4.43 40-yard dash, Bateman immediately boosted the AFC North competitor’s offense. But it was towards the end of last season that the NFL understood why.

Despite missing his first five games, the Tifton, GA native finished with 46 catches, 515 receiving yards, and his first NFL touchdown— scored in Week 16 against the eventual AFC Champion, Cincinnati Bengals. “Throughout everything I experienced last year, I learned what it meant to be patient,” Bateman told me. “Letting everything play out was the best thing.”

Coming off of a rookie campaign where both his catches and receiving yards were top-ten across a stellar wide receiver draft class, Bateman’s expectations have only increased again. After wide receiver Marquise Brown was traded to the Arizona Cardinals on draft night, all eyes are on the Minnesota product to step up and show out. But don’t expect Bateman to take that for granted.

“If it’s God’s will and we’re healthy, we can do some special things,” Bateman told me. “Our entire organization is good from top to bottom; we’ve been through a lot, and most importantly, we’re hungry.” As the NFL off-season continues, Bateman and the Ravens will continue to build towards what could be another competitive season in the DMV.

To follow Rashod, click here!

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Sports

Nike’s NYvsNY Tournament Has A Fun Night At Dyckman

Since its launch five summers ago, Nike’s “NYvsNY” summer tournament has provided great energy in New York City’s reemerging basketball scene. With five of the best city parks (reigning champion Dyckman Park, Lincoln Park from Queens, West 4th, Tri-State, and Watson Basketball Classic) competing in a nearly-two month-long tournament each week is guaranteed to have great action.

On Tuesday night (June 28th), the second week of the 2022 NYvsNY tournament took place at Dyckman Park. As always suggested by Dyckman’s team, early arrival was encouraged as the park was already halfway packed an hour before game time. But soon, in front of a packed house, with barely any room to move, the first of two games got underway between Lincoln Park and West 4th.

While NYC’s summer hoops can consist of all three levels (youth, college, and pro), NYvsNY serves as a big stage for the former. With each park consisting of their area’s brightest high-school talents, you’re often staring at the game’s future. Guards come in all shapes and sizes but possess the same skillset. The big-men jump so high you think they were playing on a trampoline. And it becomes more surreal once you remember they’re in high school, where their age ranges from 14-18.

But we did witness a bit of everything on Tuesday. After having a memorable 17-point comeback win last week, Lincoln Park followed up with another one and pushed their record to 2-0. The reigning NYvsNY champion, Dyckman Park, cruised to an 18-point victory and entertained their home crowd. With the first two weeks of action concluded, three weeks of regular season play are remaining before the playoffs begin on August 2nd.

Click here to learn more about the 2022 Nike NYvsNY tournament!

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Music

The D.O.C. Discusses “NFTs With Attitude” Project and Rap’s Generational Gap

Among the many quotes and beliefs that have existed in hip-hop, only fewer lived longer than “it’s a young man’s game.” And while it may be accurate due to the youth being the culture’s most active participants, a veteran and legend such as The D.O.C. often serve as a reminder of how the past can impact the present and future.

Alongside prolific videographer Matthew McDaniel, the proud West Coast duo has partnered with Hip Hop Archive and NFT Genius to release NFTs With Attitude. Consisting of 200+ hours of never been seen footage of legendary hip-hop group N.W.A. and South Los Angeles, the NFT collection offers fans a chance to get a greater glimpse at the times and environment that influenced their music and lives.

“Way before the music became popular, McDaniel had the vision to document what was happening around us,” D.O.C. said. “So he’s finally letting some of that footage go and the people who loved those guys [N.W.A] will see cool stuff.” Even in 2022, hip-hop is still adjusting to letting its legends and environments be seen more intimately. But given the success of various documentaries, podcasts, and biopics, NFTs offer another step in encouraging the culture to advance.

“It’s beautiful,” The D.O.C. said as he briefly overlooked the gloomy view of the Hudson River. “People don’t always see the behind-the-scenes stuff which ultimately brings us together.” A perspective like this is not only at hand when it comes to integrating NFTs in hip-hop but in another prominent area: Age.

While hip-hop sees its most active participants on the younger side of things, primarily because of the influence and power of the dollar, it doesn’t mean a generational gap should exist. NFT projects such as this D.O.C. and McDaniel-led endeavor provide all millennial and Generation Z rap fans the opportunity to initially learn or gain greater context about those before them and why their impact still exists.

“Our connection between this generation and my generation isn’t what it should be,” D.O.C. said. “But with all of these opportunities, numbers, etc., we should be to come together and win since there’s enough for everybody.”

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Popular Culture

Andrew Callaghan Discusses The Creation of Channel 5 and His Best Piece of Advice

Even inside a crowded artist lounge at Lyrical Lemonade’s Summer Smash in Chicago, it was hard not to recognize Andrew Callaghan. Standing at 6-foot-3 with curly, messy hair and wearing a tan brown suit, Callaghan was prepared to capture his next interview— likely another hit added to his ultra-successful Channel 5 media platform.

Over the past 14 months, Callaghan and his close friends and collaborators Nic Mosher and Evan Gilbert-Katz, have witnessed the massive success of Channel 5. First launched in April of 2021 following a publicized contract dispute, the trio has elevated their new YouTube-based platform with a style of journalism best defined by them— first-person storytelling aided by a wide range of humor and honesty from its participants that is hard to believe by those watching.

“What’s surreal about our success is the access we’re getting now,” Callaghan said. “I always had a deep interest in strange subcultures and general empathy towards groups, I’m not too familiar with. So being a journalist is the only way to be everywhere at one time.”

Whether you’ve followed Callaghan through Channel 5 or beforehand, there’s a clear sense of journalistic pride. After you look beyond the jokes and forms of madness within his content, which has attached 65+ million YouTube views and millions more via social media, Callaghan serves as the presenter of the environment he’s in without making himself the center of attraction. In a way, the Seattle, WA native is a savvy point guard who knows how to be efficient, control the pace, and make the right decisions.

As we continue living in this era of multi-media journalism where realism serves as its root, Callaghan and Channel 5 consistently raise the bar. Just before Callaghan and I spoke, he finished filming another interview and had nearby attendees’ attention, with their phones out taking pictures and videos of it. But regardless of his present and future fame, there’s a sound piece of advice Callaghan remembers.

“You have to keep doing what you’re doing. Even if certain friends don’t understand what you’re doing, you can always make new friends and create stronger bonds. You can’t hold onto everything all the time.”

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Music

Which 12 New York Rappers You Should Know?

While New York’s rap movement is currently ignited by its combination of OG’s, superstars, and upstarts, another wave of talent is waiting to surface. Across the state of New York, specifically the tri-state area within Westchester County and New York City, MCs are steadily building their audiences while adding to their resumes.

Whether it’s releasing music videos that attract millions of views, collaborating with one of the culture’s biggest acts, or touring alongside a Grammy-nominated artist, this list of rappers has done a bit of everything and getting closer to introducing themselves to hip-hop’s mainstream audience.

Here’s our list of 12 New York rappers you should know.

Young Devyn

Coming from Brooklyn, NY, Devyn has established herself as a talented rapper and songwriter with the ability to make many records– ranging from drill to soca. Over the past year, the 20-year-old MC has signed with Island Records, released a new EP (Baby Goat), and performed at Rolling Loud.

Dougie B

Alongside his close friends and fellow collaborators, Kay Flock and B-Lovee, Dougie B has become a prominent Bronx drill act. Inspired by his infectious energy, Dougie has provided various standout verses (I.E., “T Cardi” and “I’m Back”), worked with fellow Bronx native and multi-platinum MC Cardi B, and performed at HOT 97’s Summer Jam earlier this month.

Malz Monday

Coming from Westchester County, NY, Malz has become an early favorite for those loving lyricism and storytelling. Coming off of his acclaimed December 2021 release, Super Heroes Don’t Exist, Malz has reached over 215,000 monthly Spotify listeners and is performing at the Mercury Lounge on July 2nd.

Ice Spice

If you’re really into New York drill, you’ve probably entered a rabbit hole and discovered plenty of artists before– with Ice Spice being one of them. The Bronx, NY native is gaining a lot of steam right now as her standout single, “No Clarity,” has nearly 200K views on YouTube, and she got featured in Converse and Foot Locker’s Black Music Month campaign.

Kenzo B

Within the last five months, Kenzo B has quickly caught the attention of fans around New York City, and for a good reason. Aided by her slick wordplay and smooth delivery, the NYC native is positioned to have a good summer as her “Bump It” single is consistently being played at events and throughout neighborhoods.

Niko Brim

Whether as an activist who played a crucial role in making Juneteenth a national holiday to touring with Grammy-nominated MC, Cordae, Niko Brim‘s star has been steadily rising over the past year. The proud Mount Vernon, NY native, who’s also a co-founder of the buzzing rap collective, CYN, has been busy releasing new and well-received music— an April-released joint EP with Kai Ca$h titled ELEVEN53 and various freestyles.

STEELYONE

Coming out of New Rochelle, NY, STEELYONE has become one of the Tri-State’s most respected and experienced lyricists. Fresh off releasing another stellar project in Lost City last January, the Stainless Global leader completed another sold-out overseas tour through Europe and is gearing up for more releases before the end of this year.

Iman Nunez

In recent years, Iman Nunez has produced one heck of a resume. Between exchanging verses with the legendary Styles P, performing alongside Lil Wayne and Machine Gun Kelly, and making his SXSW performance debut this year, the Yonkers, NY MC is sure to take off even more in 2022-’23.

Shawny Binladen

The “King of Samples” may catch people by surprise with his name, but his music does all the talking. With “Whole Lotta Wickery” being a massive success and following singles such as “Shawn Ye” and “Hercules/Paradise” gaining traction, it’s not a surprise Shawny got added to Rolling Loud’s New York lineup for this coming September.

The Girll Codee

The evolution of The Girll Codee over the last year is a clear example of consistency at its finest. Brooklyn’s Shaa Bigga and Siddity have done nothing but deliver incredible verses, great energy, and a fun live show– the latter, I witnessed during their performance at HOT 97’s Summer Jam. Next month, they’re reportedly releasing a new EP.

Melvoni

Regarding top-notch videos, Melvoni is one of the few artists from New York in that conversation– especially as an up-and-coming artist. “Feel Alive 2” is quickly becoming a standout record of his, and there’s a lot to like about Melvoni– great melodies, strong songwriting, and a good ear for production.

26AR

Even though record labels are making a great effort to sign artists from New York, the pairing of Def Jam and 26AR makes me excited. Ever since his Rocko Ballin-assisted “MANEUVER” got over seven million YouTube views, the new Def Jam signee has been on a hot streak– most notably releasing “MY SET Pt.II,” “Beatbox Freestyle,” and most recently “Hottest In My City.”

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Sports

Terance Mann Explains His Interest In NFTs And Why The NBA Will Embrace It

Even in an environment where nearly everybody was a celebrity, those in attendance at the Krause House 3V3 basketball tournament couldn’t help but be excited when Terance Mann arrived. Not only is the fourth-year player/critical contributor of the Los Angeles Clippers talented on the court, but he’s exhibiting the same dedication to the NFT space— a slowly but surely trend amongst his NBA peers.

“It’s been a great week seeing everyone with their NFTs, networking, and learning more about the space,” Mann told me. Throughout this week, the Brooklyn, NY native was busy— ranging between speaking about sports leagues and their intellectual property on a panel during Tuesday’s session at NFT.NYC and further building with Chibi Dinos, the very popular basketball NFT project he joined in April.

And while other NBA players and athletes are getting into NFTs (Spencer Dinwiddle is a co-founder of Calaxy, and Ben Simmons is a Perion ambassador), it’s still uncharted territory for those who are either novices or don’t understand it. But upon speaking with Mann and others this week, I learned that one of the following steps with NFTs is making it more accessible and easier to understand– a sentiment the LA Clippers guard believes too.

“For so long, not many people understood how accessible it is,” Mann said. “But when you’re in a setting like this [NFT.NYC], especially for a week, it helps out a lot.” As sports fans learn more about NFTs and their impact on the games they love– between how tickets get bought and the rewards they’ll earn– Mann lastly expressed how it won’t be a surprise when it significantly changes leagues of the NBA’s caliber.

“When you look at the trends of what’s happening digitally, it’s only going up. So you shouldn’t be surprised when the NBA, MLB, and others will further embrace it.”

Categories
Music

AG Club Discusses New Music, Odd Future’s Influence and More

While duos and trios are familiar sights in hip-hop, it’s been a while since collectives took center stage. And if we’re being honest, what other collectives can fans think of besides Odd Future, ASAP Mob, and BROCKHAMPTON over the past decade? But with AG Club, the reality of hip-hop birthing collectives isn’t only existent but filled with great excitement about what they have and will do.

Coming out of the Bay Area via San Francisco, CA, the nearly 15-member crew attacks all angles of the music industry. As the duo of Baby Boy and Jody Fontaine create magic on records– their F*** Your Expectation album series is stellar– the remainder of AG Club consists of talented photo/videographers, stylists, and graphic designers who’ve been friends with each other for years.

“When we first came around, people didn’t understand what we do,” Fontaine told me after AG Club’s performance at Lyrical Lemonade’s Summer Smash last Friday. “But it’s dope people understand now.” Terms of what have helped fans understand and accept the Avant Grande collective’s efforts are great music and momentum.

Alongside both editions of F*** Your Expectations being well-received, the Bay-Area natives also collaborated with NLE Choppa and ASAP Ferg for the remix of their biggest single, “Memphis,” before touring with Pusha T and Denzel Curry since the beginning of this spring. To be so young in their careers, yet able to touch different demographics is impressive, especially with great musical aspirations.

Upon listening to AG Club, you’ll quickly recognize their diversity in sound. In one moment, their music can spark a riot (“Columbia”), the next, their harmonies will remind you of the early 2000s R&B-pop group B2K (“Popeye” feat. Peach Tree Rascals), and lastly, you’ll find the fitting anthem to play in your car (“Brass”).

This level of execution reminds rap fans like me, a millennial in his late 20s, of the previously mentioned Odd Future and ASAP Mob. “Everything is better when you’re doing it with friends, and we saw that in Odd Future and ASAP Mob,” Fontaine says before he and Baby Boy point to their friends. “We all love this s***,” Baby Boy says with a smile. “We do it together because it makes sense.”