One of Russell Westbrook’s favourite rappers, YG dropped a great album earlier this year in March. Dripping with West Coast style, My Krazy Life features guest appearances from rappers Drake, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and even Kendrick Lamar (more on him later). One single from the album, “My N—-”, went platinum. Along with two other supporting singles (“Who Do You Love” and “Left, Right”), it was enough to prompt Fox Weekly to appoint him “Artist to Watch” not even a week ago. Gangsta rap is best played loud when you and your boys have taken over the court.
Kendrick Lamar – singles with Eminem and Jay Rock
Phoenix Suns centre Miles Plumlee has a few favourite artists belonging to various generations of hip-hop, butKendrick Lamar is the latest to make his playlist. Lamar started recording a new album just as the season unfolded, and it’s slated for release in September 2014. In the meantime, Kendrick has been featured in numerous remixes and appearances in other artists’ songs. Lamar provided lyrical backup on Eminem’s “Love Game” (wherein LeBron gets a shoutout)—the single leaked right at the season’s start and released later in November. Likewise, another cop-worthy track is February’s “To The Top” by California rapper Jay Rock (an unreleased 2007 track). Rock also appeared on Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city album. You can download it freehere. It’s high-energy and aggressive, so put it on when you have to up your offence.
Lil Wayne – ‘Believe Me’ and Tha Carter V album
Kobe Bryant was one of the first to hype up Lil Wayne’s upcoming (and according to Weezy himself, final) rap album, Tha Carter V. Lil Wayne got a head start on its launch, which is rumoured to be a surprise drop
Pharrell Williams – G I R L
Pharrell’s newest LP, G I R L, may have a little more upbeat bounce to it than your average rap album, but that didn’t stop LeBron James from giving it big ups and claiming the hit single, “Happy,” as one of his favourite songs. This album paved the way for Williams’ Grammy Award win earlier this year. Of course, “Happy” is stuck in the minds of thousands of fans who have been subjected to the energizing anthem being blasted through many a stadium’s speakers this postseason. Likewise, this is a great album to get the feel-good vibes going while shooting around for fun.
Nipsey Hussle – Crenshaw mixtape
Former Celtic Avery Bradley listened to Nipsey Hussle before he was cool, and you heard him first from the soundtrack to NBA Live ‘14 in which he cut it up with Lloyd on “Feelin Myself.” Now, Hussle is on tour with one of the best mixtapes of 2014/the season, Crenshaw. The tape was initially released for free, but also had a $100 version that included rare materials from the rapper. Jay-Z famously bought up 1,000 copies of it. The album speaks to the challenges facing an artist pushing his limits, making it a great motivational jam for practice.