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From EPMD to The Pharcyde - RaptorsHQ Previews the Atlantic Division

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The HQ gives their own twist on season previews; comparing each NBA team to a classic hip-hop album.  With some help from various parties, the HQ kicks off their week-long series by looking at Toronto's own Atlantic Division.

Me and Jay same track?  You gotta be kiddin,
Its like that brotha Jordan, I'm Scottie Pippen,
Its like Magic, Worthy,
Parish, Bird, B
Stocktone, Malone ish
Who gonna stop this?  Hold this,
Game like Doc and Moses,
Full court press and the ROC control this...

-Beanie Segal featuring Jay-Z - "Raw & Uncut"

Whether it was Chuck D and Michael Jordan, or Jay-Z and LeBron James, Hip-Hop and Basketball culture have been intertwined for decades now.  Basketball is a common topic in hip-hop songs, and walk into any NBA locker room pre-game and you'll find heavy doses of the latest hip-hop blasting out of team speakers.

A few weeks ago Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun and I were talking ball, and as hip-hop heads, we thought it would be funny to describe the upcoming Raptors season with a classic hip-hop album.  He picked Outkast's "Stankonia," while I picked the Roots "Things Fall Apart."

It was a funny idea, and a few days later I thought it might be interesting to do an entire NBA preview using this same methodology.

Therefore, Ray Bala and myself got to work, and searched far and wide to get various takes from bloggers, journalists, and hey, even a rapper, to help break down the upcoming NBA season, classic hip-hop style.

The rules were simple.  Match up an NBA team with a classic album and write a brief blurb as to why the match makes sense.

With our Game-Day preview vs the Kings coming later this afternoon, we kick things off this morning by examining the Atlantic Division, and a sampling of thoughts:


Atlantic Division:


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Boston Celtics – Unfinished Business.

While Jeff Clark of Celticsblog threw out some non-hip-hop gems like "Glory Days" by Spruce Springsteen, Scott Carefoot of Raptorblog nails this one by comparing the C’s to EPMD’s classic, Unfinished Business.   While Eric and Parish were making dollars, KG and crew are back to complete the task that they fell just short of last year; winning another NBA title.


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New Jersey Nets – Life After Death

If there was a team that was "dead," last year, it was indeed the New Jersey Nets.  Armed with a new owner, a top 3 pick in Derrick Favors, and a number of new players, this year marks a new beginning for the franchise and Notorious B.I.G.’s sophomore masterpiece therefore was a perfect choice made by SB Nation’s New Jersey Nets’ blog, Nets Daily.  Oh, and bonus points for the team preparing to move to Brooklyn.


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New York Knicks – Bizarre Ride to the Pharcyde

Who knows what to make of this Knicks team this season?  Sure they grabbed Amar’e when they couldn’t get the "Big 3," but are projects like Anthony Randolph and Timofey Mozgov enough to get the team to the promised land?  It should be a strange and exciting trip in any event, hence the choice of the Pharcyde’s classic debut by Seth of Posting and Toasting.


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Philadelphia 76ers – Illadelph Halflife

Hailing from Philly, any Roots album seems like a natural choice to be used to describe the 76ers.  But the crew’s sophomore release (not counting Organix), my favourite of their discography, is dark, raw, and leaves the listener with more questions than answers…yep, similar to this current 76ers’ squad.  Add in a few players who are half as good as they were in their primes, Brand, Kapono etc, and this choice by HQ Associate Jeff Chapman seems bang on.


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Toronto Raptors – Moment of Truth

As mentioned, Ryan Wolstat and I had taken some shots at this for the Dinos picking "Stankonia" and "Things Fall Apart," but instead of running with the same options for Toronto this time around, I decided to go with Gangstarr’s last masterpiece.  The title really says it all as this season may indeed be the moment of truth for players like Andrea Bargnani and even the likes of Jay Triano and Bryan Colangelo.