Tag Archives: Goodbye Tomorrow

Goodbye Tomorrow (Album Stream)

When it comes to new artists, Chicago or otherwise, I gotta give the nod to Goodbye Tomorrow as the one I’ve been most excited for in 2015.

I was hooked since their first release in February: the provocative “JAY Z” video that led to an appearance on a RollingStone’s Top 10 Artists You Need to Know, amongst other high profile accolades.

The buzz has been building and the time has come for the release of their first full project – the debut album Goodbye Tomorrow: A Journey Through The Mind of a Non-Believer out now on iTunes via Rostrum Records.

As the summer has heated up, so has the speculation about the identity(ies) of Goodbye Tomorrow. They, the mystery Chicago collective, provided more clarity on that by redirecting the clarity to what they’re about, their why — earlier this week in a great profile by DJ Booth:

“It’s about the collective nature of humanity,” they said. “What’s possible when we get rid of the me-me-me bullshit. Everything’s so me focused, so look at me, and hip-hop’s a microcosm of that, but that attitude is everywhere. Our whole idea is to get rid of that. Our message is the power we have that we can take back and claim, to get over the bullshit that divides us.”

So, let’s all take a step back and ask the greater question: not who they are, but what’s their message?

And tonight, we get their first full body of work.

***

I was lucky enough to get an advance listen of the album so I can say right off the top, AJTTMOANB matches the depth of the visuals thus far. That includes their 2 music videos (“Pray 2 God” below) and their various social media imagery too.

The album is really what the title says: a journey. For the first 3 records, we hear Goodbye Tomorrow in their most rebellious form, rapping on the high life while also boasting a bravado that’s infectious to the listener. He backs it up throughout in different ways, but it’s most obvious on the high-octane trio of tracks to start out the album. His versatile flow rides the album’s wide range of polished production and layers within.

“Light One, Pour One” is the album’s turning point and Goodbye Tomorrow’s most personal and emotional raps. This is where the journey begins to take form as he battles self-doubt on his rise as an artist, but to the core: as a person.

“Pray 2 God”, “Shine”, and “Confetti” represent my personal favorite stretch of the album, and on a greater scale, continue to embody that tug of war. There’s a more positive, motivational mindset that shines through (no pun intended) and I believe these songs can become anthems for the dreamer inside all of us.

The album takes an unexpected turn thereafter. “Movie”, “(Don’t Wanna) Let It Go”, and “Cleopatraaa” show the R&B side of Goodbye Tomorrow. The rapper can sing too! “Movie” will enter your bedroom playlists almost immediately and has a different form of single potential too. “(Don’t Wanna) Let It Go” cleverly borrows a melody from “Shine” (one of the many superb production subtleties) and continues the lady-centric chapter. And “Cleopatraaa” most notably features one of the rawest, singing freestyles I’ve heard in music, delievered with a dark autotune aesthetic.

Finally, the last 2 songs of the album are the fitting conclusions to The Journey“The Way”, as digested the other day, finds a theraputic and optimistic Goodbye Tomorrow looking forward. “28” continues the theme, flexes some more tough bars, and the experience ends with a haunting Japanese outro that’s just waiting to be decoded (…let alone the complex lyrics throughout in English. Ha!)

***

After the breakdown above, it goes without saying that I recommend a stream/purchase to go along with a closed-eyed, focused listen to interpret more yourself.

Goodbye Tomrrow is an artist I truly believe can change the rap game and culture as a whole. This is just the debut project so you can join us on the ground floor and experience the ride that unfolds into the months and years ahead… because Goodbye Tomorrow will certainly be a leader into a brighter light.

Top-Tier *Tibs Favs. — Pray 2 God, Shine, Confetti, Cleopatraaa, The Way.

**The album also boasts no credited features, but that’s almost certainly Yasmine from Krewella on the intro track “I Don’t Give a Fuck” and “The Way”, on top of her lead role in the “Pray 2 God” video. Plus, a few other uncredited singers add to the collective and do their thing too, adding layers to choruses throughout.

ICYMI: The 2 bonus releases — “100K” + “NoOne Or NoThing” f/ Lil Herb

LASTLY: I stopped through to the Goodbye Tomorrow album projection tonight in Wicker Park. The setup followed suit to the aesthetic and it looks like there may be more album listening sessions to come this weekend in the Chi. Look for this truck and stay plugged in on their Twitter to find out where/when you can pick up your limited edition physical copy.

xy-truck
All Ways Evolve // Never Change
tø höńør thę ågē öłd trådįtïønš øƒ thę phÿśįcåł ƒørmät whïłę åçkńøwłêdgïng høw får wê'vę ęvølvêd... büt øńçē thęÿ'rē gønê, thėÿ'rē gønë.
“…tø höńør thę ågē öłd trådįtïønš øƒ thę phÿśįcåł ƒørmät whïłę åçkńøwłêdgïng høw får wê’vę ęvølvêd…
büt øńçē thęÿ’rē gønê, thėÿ’rē gønë.”
Each limited edition physical copy comes with a different, handwritten message in the booklet.
Each limited edition physical copy comes with a different, handwritten message in the booklet.
The booklet folds out into a mini-poster. Superb handmade design overall.
The booklet folds out into a mini-poster. Superb handmade design overall.
The 2015 physical album.
The 2015 physical album.

Goodbye Tomorrow announces debut album

UPDATE: The album art is now revealed above, as well as the tracklist at the bottom!

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Goodbye Tomorrow: A Journey Through the Mind of a Non-Believer.

What a title… a self-title, in fact, for the mysterious Chicago collective to make their official debut through Rostrum Records in just 9 days.

Given the depth of GT’s visuals thus far, I would expect to uncover more of the same when the album hits in full. There’s already been connections to past releases within a new release so I don’t see why that wouldn’t continue come August 14th.

For example, this announcement is the code from the artwork (click the link) of Goodbye Tomorrow’s new song last week, “NoOne or NoThing” featuring Lil Herb, AJTTMOANB matches with the album title and the MS paint file reads 08.14. Nice. Lookin’ forward to a new release before the album drops then! In the meantime…

UPDATE: Whoa, follow the @goodbyetomorrow snapchat. They revealed the tracklist there by graffiting each song name around Chicago, a la the photo above.

Now they also revealed it online in GIF form here:

Goodbye Tomorrow “Pray 2 God”

*bump* Originally posted 10:38am CT

When people ask me what artist from Chicago they should be checking for, I tell them Goodbye Tomorrow. With no hesitation. And if they have their phone out, I tell them to hit the Instagram and YouTube. If they’re at the comp, then the blistering Windows 95 inspired website: goodbyetomorrow.com.

And that was just off the first two releases: JAY Z and 100K.

Now, we have Goodbye Tomorrow’s third release, and second video: “Pray 2 God”.

The title resonates right away and is driven home from the very start as a high-pitched vocal repeats “Pray 2 God” for what becomes the chorus. A brooding production is bolstered by an eerie opera and the result is a sound as powerful and parallel with Kanye & Hov’s “H*A*M”. One layer of the beat even has a frenetic melody that matches the whirlwind of emotion heard on the verses and illustrated at times in the visual. I can imagine hearing this melody and the airplane downward spiral sound in my head during my own times of feeling overwhelmed. Just a cool subtlety in a song and visual full of them.

This visual tho…

It stars a familiar face throughout: another Chicago artist, Yasmine — 0.5 of the superstar EDM/punk/pop sister duo Krewella. She downright looks haunted, both before and after “God Mode activated”. Interpret that as you may as this trippy visual will leave you trying to put together what you just saw. It’s one of those videos you’ll watch again (and pause numerous times) to understand the path of Yasmine, how it relates to the song, and how it relates to U:

goodbye-tomorrow-control

The bonus goodie is that, with the video only featuring the first verse and clocking in at a quick-hitting 2 minutes, Goodbye Tomorrow’s Soundcloud has the full version on top of the song being available on iTunes and Spotify. Press play below and hear the second rap verse, which features a slick, personal nod to Krewella and a couple lines alluding to the rapper’s past.

Instant *TIBS FAV. with the beautiful sound, aesthetics, and motivating words blending together to bring Goodbye Tomorrow to 3 for 3. Needless to say, I can’t wait to see what other songs and visuals are on deck this summer for the mystery Chicago artist.

h/t i-D x VICE on the premiere

Gowhere NBA Awards: Playoff Edition

Above: The 1-on-1 matchup of Round 2?

It’s about that time! With Round 1 in the books and still needing Sunday to digest how amazing game 7 of Spurs-Clippers was, I believe now that the Playoffs are really going to amp up. Of course that’s natural as we have 8 teams remaining in Round 2, but each series has its fascinating matchups and moments to look forward to, and it’s even harder to predict winners for now and beyond.

I’m not here to try and do just that, though I may offer a prediction here and there. For me, it’s more about looking at what unique takes and context to look forward to, with the help of some of my favorite new tunes of the last month or so. You may know how this works already, but if not, here’s the rundown to clue you in:

Gowhere NBA Awards: Playoff Edition

– “100K” Award for Team with the Most Urgency
“Darker Than Blood” Award for the Series with the Most Contrasting Styles
– “Adoration of the Magi” Award for the Best Sneaky Good Series
– “Talk About It” Award for Most Unfortunate 1st Round Result
– ‘SWISH’ Award for the Most Fascinating 2nd Round Series

And now the envelope please…

*** 

The “100K” Award
for Team with the most urgency goes to…
Los Angeles Clippers

clippers-gowhere

Naturally, I gotta start off where Round 1 concluded, right?

In an instant classic game between 2 teams so good that they should definitely not have been matched up in Round 1, the Spurs and Clippers battled through 31 lead changes and 16 ties to the final buzzer, where it was finally the biggest shot of Chris Paul’s career that gave the Clippers the Round 2 ticket. So good, it’s worth reliving.

As triumphant as the Clips’ first round win over the defending champs was (the best first round series ever, right?), isn’t this win not enough for Doc & Co.? Aren’t they the team that has the most urgency to win the title now?

That’s where the namesake of the award comes in: “100K” — the most lethal rap pump up anthem to drop this spring, and really this year, by unknown Chicago collective Goodbye Tomorrow.

The chorus boasts, “I need a hundred thousand dollars in my hand, right now (right now right now!) / Don’t nobody ever give it you just gotta go and get it (right now right now!)”

Those words, delivered at the slick break-neck flow, is absolute pure motivation to get on the grind. But as we’ve seen on Goodbye Tomorrow’s first 2 releases so far, there’s a deeper meaning behind the “100K”. In this case, I believe that chorus and the general motivational gems of the lyrics within the verses are a metaphor for really anything. In the Clippers’ case, they need that Larry O’Brien trophy right now, right now.

My logic: The state of their core, with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin having been teammates now for 4 years. Chris Paul is entering the tail end of his prime and in a lot of ways, he needed a signature game like Game 7 to realign his career narrative. Blake Griffin has reached perennial all-star level, but likewise with CP3, his narrative is about to enter a breaking point: — is he good enough to win?

DeAndre Jordan will be a free agent after this season and the Clippers would have no cap room for a suitable replacement. JJ Redick had a career year. Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford are also veterans entering the twilight of their careers. When you look at all of these elements together like this, plus last year’s disappointing exit to Oklahoma City, a deep playoff run is the bare minimum.

Looking ahead to Round 2: It will be a battle versus the Houston Rockets. James Harden plus his resillient supporting cast (including Dwight Howard looking spry) are strong enough to get the series win, but considered underdogs by the experts. I think it’s more of a 50/50 pick ’em considering the Rockets have home court and that Chris Paul is limping in with a strained hamstring into Game 1. There is no way to quantify just how taxing the epic 7 game battle with the Spurs, but it’s safe to say the Clippers’ gas tank is less than ‘F’.

One more icing on the cake to “100K”: This Blake Griffin line.

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That’s not even the sickest NBA reference in the track either, so give it a whirl above (or here, set to an animated Chicago skyline.)

 

The “Darker Than Blood” Award
for the Series with the Most Contrasting Styles goes to…
Warriors-Grizzlies

warriors-grizzlies-gowhere

And hey, with these 2, there may be some actual blood sometime this series…

The Warriors-Grizzlies 2nd round series tipped off yesterday to predictable results given Mike Conley’s face injury. The Dubs won at home again and looked in control the whole way. It’s unfortunate to watch these two teams battle when one isn’t at full strength. As the series continues, I believe the Grizz can only get the Mike Conley Return Game at home. They aren’t in peak form like back in December, when the Grizz beat the Warriors at home in a game that experts were lauding as a Western Conference Finals preview. (Oh we forget…)

Potential short series aside, Dubs-Grizz is still sure to be an entertaining one of contrasting styles. The Warriors’ pace-and-space guard heavy attack versus the famed Grit-and-Grind approach led by Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph of the Grizzlies. The contrast was clear in Game 1 as the Warriors made more 3s (13) than the Grizzlies attempted (12).

The song that embodies this contrast in styles jumped to mind immediately: Steve Aoki’s new single with Linkin Park “Darker Than Blood”.

As longtime readers know, Linkin Park is one of the few favorite artists of ours that neighbor hip hop. I’ve (for the most part) been a fan of all of their albums, growing up on their music over the past 15 years — Duncan-esque longevity by the way. This collab with Aoki is LP’s natural attempt at keeping things fresh and current, especially on the heels of last summer’s more traditional rock heavy Hunting Party. While some may look at this collab as a farce, it comes across genuine to me. Hey, I like it. The clash of Aoki’s uptempo backdrop with Chester’s vocals works. Just like Dubs-Grizz will too.

Last point on the Warriors: Couldn’t you make the case that they have the most urgency to win right now? (And be rightful rulers of the prestigious made up “100K” Award?)

They put up a historical season with 67 wins and a top 10 point differential in league history this season. Just about everything broke their way individually: Curry, the official (and well-deserved) MVP of the league, Klay Thompson taking the leap to be a bonafide all-star, Draymond Green taking the leap as one of the most versatile and best complimentary players in the league, and Andrew Bogut protecting the rim and staying healthy for the most part *knocks on wood*.

The quick case against the Warriors not having the most urgency is that their core is young. They’re also likely to lock up Draymond Green this summer adding to Curry and Thompson with multi-years remaining on their deals. With the cap increase, the Warriors will eventually have the flexibility to replace the skillsets of aging veterans Bogut and Andre Iguodala, perhaps even in-house with extentions for Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli.

It looks promising for the Warriors to extend their window beyond this year, but as we may be seeing now with Oklahoma City and Chicago, untimely injuries can bring that window sill from wide open to open just a crack. That said, with everything that’s happened this year, it feels like the Warriors have to win it all… this year. (FWIW, I think they do.)

OK, one more: Not a point, but I just haven’t gotten tired of watching this. I was at a sports bar amongst only about 20 people watching this comeback live. I’ll never forget the range of “Oooh’s” and “Whoa’s” to this shot.

Now imagine this in June…

 

The “Adoration of the Magi” Award
for the Best Sneaky Good Series goes to…
Hawks-Wizards

hawks-wizards

I have no idea who’s going to win this Wizards-Hawks series. The Wiz are peaking now, having won 5 straight in the playoffs and stealing Game 1 on the road yesterday in Atlanta. Meanwhile, Atlanta has had to overcome recent minor injuries to Paul Millsap and Al Horford as it tries to recapture their peak form from the undefeated January they had this season en route to 60 wins.

Both of these teams may not jump out at you from a star power standpoint or a contender standpoint. But on one side, you have John Wall, who really is a top-tier entertaining all-star that doesn’t get quite the mainstream pub he deserves. And for both teams, I wouldn’t be shocked if the winner continues to do just that and represent the East in the Finals over an injured Cavs team or an inconsistent Bulls team. That plausible end scenario makes this series even more sneaky good.

Also sneaky good, nay, sneaky great is what’s risen to become my favorite track off Tetsuo & Youth — Lupe Fiasco’s “Adoration of the Magi”. (NSFW below.)

First, if you haven’t yet experienced the greatest eureka moment in hip hop this year, listen to the hook of “Adoration” while reading the hidden allusions behind it here.

Then, if you missed it last week, read Grantland’s take on Tetsuo & Youth as a whole, and the idea that it’s intended to be an album played in reverse.

The section on “Adoration of the Magi”, plus Lupe’s co-sign of its meaning on Instagram brought to my attention in the piece, has even further driven home the message of the thought-provoking, and racy, NSFW visuals recently released above. Whoo! Flat out, “Adoration” is one of Lupe’s best masterpieces of many throughout his career. I’m not ready to say the Wizards-Hawks, and the winner’s eventual destiny, will be on that level too but both subjects here are simply too much under the radar. Needless to say, pay attention to both.

 

The “Talk About It” Award
for the Most Unfortunate 1st Round Moment goes to…
Kevin Love

love-gowhere

I’m a Bulls fan and even I feel kinda bad about this. Just as Kevin Love was turning the corner as the 3rd banana on the East-favorite Cavaliers, he gets his arm yanked by Kelly Olynyk and is not just out a few weeks, but the entire playoffs after surgery last week will sideline him to 4-6 months of recovery.

We can rehash whether or not Olynyk’s yank was intentional or not (in brief, I believe it was, but not to hurt the guy, just to bring him away from the ball) but I’d rather look ahead to what this mean’s for Kevin Love’s future. He has an opt-out clause in his contract to become a free agent this year and many wavered on whether or not he would use it, ultimately concluding that how the playoffs went would be the determining factor. And that still reigns true, but now is easier to predict since Love won’t be a part of the procedings.

I believe Love will stay for the final year of his contract and give it one more go around for the Cavs. I’m sure it’s unsatisfying for him to have to sit out the rest of the playoffs before fully realizing his potential alongside LeBron and Kyrie. If anything too, he’ll hit free agency this time next year when the 2016 salary cap explodes and he can make even more money.

What’s the scenario that has to happen for Love to bolt? Maybe if the Cavs still win the chip without him? Even still…

But it’s only fitting we recognize the unfortunate circumstances behind Love’s injury with the best R&B song to drop recently off Trey Songz’ new surprise 6-track EP — “Talk About It”.

The ‘SWISH’ Award
for the Most Fascinating 2nd Round Series goes to…
Bulls-Cavs

lebron-jimmy

In an earlier draft of this article, this was named the So Help Me God Award but Kanye literally had to go and change the album name to SWISH just yesterday. He added that he may change the album again, which may change the name of this Award for the Bulls and the Cavs.

But the reason it’s named after Kanye’s ever-changing named album is because I will expect nothing and everything for Kanye’s new album.

So far, we’ve gotten the emotional and personal “Only One” with Paul McCartney, the haunting “Wolves” (that hasn’t yet been dropped in CDQ form… my theory: Kanye’s still making subtle changes and adding additional layers to the production.), and the high-octane, premiere hype anthem “All Day”. All 3 songs cover a wide variety of range on the sonic and conceptual spectrum. And this is just 3 songs!

Just like there are still 3 rounds to go in the Playoffs!

Local bias aside, this Bulls-Cavs series has the potential to have the entertainment and intrigue that Spurs-Clippers just earned. There’s a rivalry buzz here, but given Love’s injury and the Bulls’ inconsistencies this season, the series is not the dominant storyline in the NBA right now.

The matchups are here though. Once we see it play out for a couple games, I predict the nation will get swept up in Rose/Kyrie, LeBron/Jimmy, and the physicality that’s sure to be there whenever Thibodeau’s Bulls face off against LBJ in the playoffs.

The series is another 50/50 coin flip as it’s simply hard to predict how the Cavs are going to come out without Love, J.R. Smith for 2 games, and on a week’s rest. Plus, the Bulls have been a maddening split personality team all year from game to game, even through last week’s Game 5 and Game 6 versus Milwaukee.

The key to the series will be the first 2 games. Can the Bulls take advantage of J.R. Smith’s temporary absence to steal a game in Cleveland, where the Cavs haven’t lost since in the all-star break? What Joakim Noah are we going to get? Will he be spry and backing up the talk that’s sure to come on LeBron? Just how much will Jimmy Butler be able to contain LeBron? Who will win that Rose/Kyrie battle, with Rose stepping up against elite point guards in the league, especially Kyrie throughout his career (and since Kyrie replaced Rose in the USA starting lineup last summer)?

I got the Bulls in 6 because I believe in the best version of them and because, hey, why not take the hometown team against our biggest rival (LeBron), what do I got riding on it? But if the Bulls take G1, then I think they’ll be in the driver’s seat to take it home in 6 or 7.

Whatever the case, this series is going long, and by the end, the mainstream will be like Taylor Swift watching these flame throwers.

Gowhere NBA Awards: Trade Deadline Edition

What better time to bring back the Gowhere NBA Awards this season than after the GOAT Trade Deadline yesterday?

By the end of it, 11 trades happened and a record 37 players changed teams, including all of the players pictured above. The flurry of trades was made even better if you were following NBA Twitter, where if you follow enough basketball reporters and bloggers, you were able the near deals, the finalized deals, and all of the jokes in real-time. (Not pictured above: Javale McGee.) The last 15 minutes of the deadline brought about one shocking deal after another that it became so overwhelming to keep track of, that I actually think this is the best representation of the trades.

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So let’s recap the movers and shakers with my usual made-up music awards highlighting the big new releases and some tunes in my playlist you shouldn’t ignore.

Gowhere NBA Awards: Trade Deadline Edition

The “One Man Can Change The World” Award to the most high impact traded player
The “Go Hard or Go Home” Award to the team going all-in
The “Wolves” Award to the player who’s running it back
The “begin again” Award to the team who is most starting anew
The “Come Find Me” Award to a player in a new and unexpected situation
The “It Takes Two” Award to the most highly entertaining trade of the deadline
The “Adoration of the Magi” Award to the team who made the best sneaky good move
The “Goodbye Tomorrow” Award to the…
The “Know Yourself” Award to the teams who are runnin thru the 6 with their WOES!

Ah, the suspense. Feel free to scroll down to Drake, I won’t get offended.

*** 

The “One Man Can Change The World” Award
to the most high impact traded player goes to…
Goran Dragic

Yup, there’s a song titled “One Man Can Change The World” and it’s a perfect parallel to describe which of yesterday’s traded players will provide the biggest impact on this NBA season. For that, I’m taking the clear choice of the 2014 3rd Team All-NBA guard, Goran Dragic.

I emphasized 3rd Team All-NBA because Dragic was amazing last season, especially in the 29 games without backcourt mate Eric Bledsoe. The Suns relied on Dragic as their primary scorer and distributor and he responded with 22.3 points per game (52.9% from the field and 46.3% from three-point range) and 6.6 assists as the Suns went a respectable 16-13.

This is just to illustrate how Dragic can be the team’s primary perimeter player, which is a role he’ll now find himself in alongside Dwyane Wade (and when Wade rests, especially.) This season, he’s handling the ball 40% less, per Tom Haberstroh — a direct, objective stat that depicts his lessened role with the Suns and why he demanded out earlier this week.

With Dragic in tow (Goran AND Zoran, which is great, but I’m talking about Goran here), the Heat now boast a very formidable starting lineup (Dragic-Wade-Deng-Bosh-Whiteside) that is a scary prospect for the East’s top seeds. In fact, a first-round upset (and maybe more) wouldn’t surprise me and is something I’d absolutely be rooting for in poetic Hollywood fashion over Cleveland.

The enthusiasm, best exemplified by ESPN Miami’s Le Batard Show, is unfortunately greatly dwindled today as Chris Bosh’s overnight hospital stay is circulating reports of potential blood clots in his lungs. This, in the wake of Jerome Kersey’s sudden and untimely passing earlier this week for blood clots in his lungs is scary. The relief is that Coach Erik Spolestra assured today that Bosh’s condition is not life-threatening but early speculation suggests Bosh may miss the rest of the season to recover and ensure good health. That’s first and foremost and I’d like to join the chorus and send our well wishes to Chris Bosh as well.

B92WKrYCUAAAfec
Now, hopefully you also pressed play up above. The newest preview of Dark Sky Paradise features the likes of Kanye West & John Legend but it’s Big Sean who shines the brightest, dominating the verses and expressing an inspiring concept above all: that one man can truly change the world. I wrote the other day that for this alone, I appreciate the song and smile at the thought of it inspiring our youth. This is the Big Sean I enjoy and resonate with the most as well and naturally, I follow suit on other songs from the advance leak of Dark Sky Paradise like the intro and “Win Some, Lose Some” that are along this vein. I’m not sure there’s a better one than up above though.

The “Go Hard or Go Home” Award
for the team who’s going all-in…
Oklahoma City Thunder

Once again, the song title is pretty indicative of an attitude — this one representing that of the OKC Thunder in win-now mode, making one more push to shore up their bench and moving on from promising young guard, yet a team chemistry disruptor, Reggie Jackson.

On paper, everyone is a nice fit. Enes Kanter becomes the Thunder’s lone low-post threat. D.J. Augustin, more adept at distributing (8 APG as a starter in the last 10 games) and a better shooter than Jackson, slides into his role and was college teammates with Kevin Durant. And Kyle Singler & Steve Novak should provide some insurance outside shooting at the forward position.

For the Thunder, this is a net positive given not only the talent that they added but the addition by subtraction of the disengaged Reggie Jackson, who was pining for a greater starting role and gets one with the Detroit Pistons. Where I’m skeptical is if the sum of all these parts, plus the relatively new addition of Dion Waiters, will all mesh together with less than 30 games to go before the Playoffs amongst themselves AND with stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Durant may miss some games with ongoing soreness to his surgically repaired right foot, leaving last night’s game already.

Up above, Wiz Khalifa and Iggy Azalea provide the new theme for Fast 7, and unfortunately to me, it was nowhere near the pump up jam “We Own It” for Fast 6 that Wiz Khalifa worked on with 2 Chainz. In fact, it feels like more of the same and I question where Wiz’s buzz will go if this one and his new single “Decisions” falls flat like they do for me.

Maybe I need to see “Go Hard Or Go Home” set to a Fast 7 car race montage and it’ll grow on me. Just the same, we all need to see the Thunder try and gel with all of these new parts and a Kevin Durant who is not 100% healthy.

The “Wolves” Award
for the player who’s running it back…
Kevin Garnett

Alright, the most obvious parallel is too synchronistic to ignore. KG is coming back to the “Wolves”. But follow me for a few closer connections I made between Kevin Garnett’s surprising return to what he affectionately calls the ‘Sota and Kanye’s SNL 40 performance of track 01 off his upcoming album.

– Kanye opens up the performance with “Jesus Walks”, lying like, well, Jesus on a cross. He looks up and backwards into the camera for an iconic shot and close-up into his creepy/cool color-corrected contacts. I feel Kanye’s hoarse voice is on purpose and the dire vocals further represent the beaten down struggle in race relations he describes in that first verse that feels even more relevant today. While we get excited about “Wolves”, and for good reason, we shouldn’t overlook this part of the performance. Though KG’s impact on a basketball court doesn’t have the same depth as what’s described above, prime KG on the Wolves was when “Jesus Walks” blew up in 2004. I would also liken KG’s intensity to Kanye’s as both are notorious over-the-top performers in the best sense of the description. Can’t you imagine KG laying down like that in the locker room before a game?

– Before Kanye goes into “Wolves”, he performs a verse from his New Year’s release “Only One”. Before KG comes back to the Wolves, he finds greater pastures as a player, like Kanye did as a man. KG comes back to Minnesota with a Celtics championship ring, solidifying his career as one of the elite power forwards to ever play the game.

– Here’s where it gets fun. Joining Kanye on the narrow, simplistic stage is “Wolves” featured guests: Vic Mensa and Sia. The three crawl delicately together, igniting a light bulb that they’re wolves themselves. Like how Kanye is the veteran of the trio, Garnett is coming back to the Wolves to lead the young pack forward. With SNL 40 as high-profile a look as Chicago’s Vic Mensa has received in his already buzzing career to date, he shines with wonderful vocals that sound even better than the HQ studio version used in the adidas fashion show. Think of Mensa as Andrew Wiggins, the league’s runaway Rookie of the Year and perhaps an even greater star down the line. For Sia, this parallel is not as strong, but it is fun: Ricky Rubio. It’s probably the bangs, but Rubio has assumed the team’s leadership role that he’ll now likely share with Garnett. Sia’s star is bright in her own light as well and I’m confident in the early returns for both (Rubio’s limited games this season and Sia’s big-name looks this year) as a sign that they’ll both keep growing.

– I won’t dive into the lyrics since this is pretty personal a song for Kanye, Vic, and Sia, but now that I look at the performance in the wake of Kevin Garnett’s return, I can’t help but picture an intense KG face in place of Kanye’s. Timberwolves fans, hopefully KG’s return is something you’re anticipating as much as we’re all anticipating the studio release of “Wolves”.

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The “begin again” Award
to the team who is most starting anew…
Phoenix Suns

The song titles in 2015 are just tailor made anthems for the NBA, aren’t they? The Phoenix Suns “begin again” like Purity Ring for the rest of this season and beyond, having dealt 4 impact players that ultimately resulted in the same amount of role players coming back alongside their new Eric Bledsoe backcourt partner: Brandon Knight.

In the subtraction though, the Suns scrapped their plan from just this past summer. Gone are point guards Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas, and Tyler Ennis. To contrast the talent sent away, the Suns received 2 future first-round picks from the Heat, which could prove to be high, who knows? But the disappointment for the Phoenix fanbase is the lingering feeling that it didn’t have to come to this. After last year’s feel-good campaign, the Suns added too many point guards and subsidized Dragic’s role. As the dominoes fell, now it feels like the Suns took a step backwards into rebuilding mode. Ideally, it’s to take two steps forward though, but we won’t know that for sure for years to come.

Purity Ring’s journey contains a few parallels. They burst onto the scene in 2012 with a critically acclaimed debut album but have left fans clamoring for more since. That is finally upon us on March 3rd with Another Eternity and “begin again” acting as the dark, synthpop preview that has really made a dent in my playlist this year. It’s in the top tier of 2015 productions so that alone makes it a must-listen. The track’s energy is an optimistic sign for a sophomore album that has a high bar to match, and perhaps an optimistic anthem for Suns fans to cling to as well.

The “Come Find Me” Award
to a player in a new and unexpected situation…
Isaiah Thomas

The music and NBA parallels continue closely with this next Award as “Come Find Me” features some eerie female vocals as well, courtesy of Lykke Li. The vibe of “begin again” and Emile’s song up above make for a seamless 1,2 punch so if you’re looking for something alternative to hip hop, I gotchu here as well. Emile’s album, We Fall, impacts even sooner: February 24th.

So who did I think of when I thought of “Come Find Me”? Former Sun, naturally, Isaiah Thomas who finds himself a new home in Boston — a surprise given Boston’s well-documented rebuild. But they bought low with Thomas still on a friendly contract and a target that got away from them this past summer. He’ll provide the C’s with a much-needed scoring punch for this season and beyond as Marcus Smart continues to mature. And hey, the Celtics may have a playoff run in them as well.

So while a Thomas trade was a surprise in the wake of the presumed Dragic trade, the actual reporting of Thomas’ movement secures the “Come Find Me” Award for him. Yesterday, Thomas was supposed to be sent to Philadelphia in Point Guard Roulette. Literally within minutes, the Celtics were his reported landing point which led to a fun game of, “Where is Isaiah Thomas going?” But that wasn’t the most light-hearted moment of the trade deadline flurry…

The “It Takes Two” Award
to the most highly entertaining trade goes to…
Javale McGee to Philly

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These are real names. *Sean Connery in Celebrity Jeopardy voice* Chu Chu Mad You a Bum?

It’s perfectly fitting they are the ones involved with a Javale McGee trade to the tanking Philadelphia 76ers. This makes Javale the highest-paid Sixer and now… a mentor for Joel Embiid?! High comedy potential.

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For as entertaining as this was when it’s announced, and as it looks a day later, let’s take an entertainment intermission thanks to Will Smith and Jimmy Fallon. They used a beat box app to re-create “It Takes Two” and the result was very fun. See the correlation?


The “Adoration of the Magi” Award
to the team who made the best sneaky good move…
Houston Rockets

With 11 trades yesterday, there were a few that slid under the radar. In my opinion, there were a couple that stood out as steals.

The obvious under-the-radar trade was the Portland Trail Blazers giving up no one in their rotation for Arron Afflalo — a starting swingman who will shore up their bench. While that’s also a reward to LaMarcus Aldridge, who’s bypassing surgery to play the rest of the season, I chose the Houston Rockets as my “Adoration of the Magi” recipient for their acquisition of rookie KJ McDaniels from the Sixers.

They stole someone who fits their 3 and lay-up culture (in KJ’s case, dunks.) for a prospect and a 2nd rounder. McDaniels has shown potential of contributing on the offensive end and his otherworldly athleticism to lead the league amongst guards with 1.3 blocks per game. The swingman rotation is pretty loaded in front of KJ right now, but if he re-signs with the Rockets after this season, he’ll eventually pair up with James Harden as a formidable starting swingman duo.

The namesake of the award is one of over a handful of brilliant records from Lupe Fiasco’s new album, Tetsuo & Youth. The lyrical meaning of the record outweighs an under-the-radar NBA trade, but the parallel comes with how sneaky good, nay great the hook to “Adoration of the Magi” is.

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Did you catch this? One of the coolest, most brilliant displays of lyricism in Lupe’s career… and as you know, that says a lot. I had the light bulb moment that brought me back to head scratchers like a “Dumb It Down” or a “The Instrumental” (when it comes to the hook.) Whoo! I don’t see this, and really the last “season” of records off Tetsuo & Youth leaving my rotation anytime soon.

The “Goodbye Tomorrow” Award
to the…
NBA Trade Deadline, in general

You could apply the phrase “Goodbye Tomorrow” towards the many teams and players affected by the NBA Trade Deadline, but to me, it also represents how both entities came out of nowhere… and to my thorough enjoyment.

The NBA experts predicted a quiet Trade Deadline so yesterday’s furious set of transactions was a pleasant surprise for everyone. The surprise factor for Goodbye Tomorrow is that they… well literally came from out of nowhere.

Goodbye Tomorrow did so under a veil of mystery at the top of the month with the debut single and video for “JAY Z”. Flat out, I proclaimed “JAY Z” at the time as “the video of the year so far.” So if that’s not a statement that piques your curiosity, then perhaps 77K views and some heavy co-signs from MTV, Huff Post, Complex, Revolt (and I can go on) will inspire a press of that play button.

What you’ll see and hear is an embodiment of its end message: “JAY Z: A Dissertation on the Diaspora of the BLACK Soul.” The beautiful visuals and audio itself work together to deliver a message each could not without the other. It will surely inspire a second viewing to understand (a simple, yet rare result for music videos these days) or purely just to enjoy the design of the video again.

So what’s next for Goodbye Tomorrow? Well, all that is known is that everyone is curious about the identity with the artist hailing from our hometown in Chicago. All I’ll add is that the rollout will continue to reveal a substantive message and versatility, over anything else, that many artists, again, are rarely able to communicate. I’m hyped to see Goodbye Tomorrow grow after about as strong of a debut release as any new artist could ask for. Needless to say, keep it locked.

The “Know Yourself” Award
to the teams who are runnin through the 6 with their WOES!
Golden State Warriors & Atlanta Hawks

Undoubtedly the most quotable song off Drake’s new surprise mixtape, If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late the hype anthem “Know Yourself” is probably my favorite song, post-drop.

It was, like many of the music up above, a natural fit for the Gowhere NBA Awards because while all of the activity of the trade deadline was going on, the conference leading Warriors and Hawks were… well… just chillin’ amongst their WOES (woes=crew for the slang uninformed.)

In fact, it led to probably the best quote of the day, courtesy of Hawks all-star Paul Millsap.

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This is a rare, and highly entertaining NBA season that doesn’t have a true favorite from either conference. But the Warriors and Hawks have proved to be a tier above the rest with their play so far and have no holes to currently address. Everything can improve within, which you can also say that about similar non-trading contenders like the Bulls or the Spurs, but their play so far still leaves something to be desired. Any of these 4 teams though, and much of the teams that made moves yesterday can create a path to June and no one here would really think twice. It’s shaping up to be a great end of the year, while concurrently, a great start of the year for music.

Now, like any team as of today, or you and I at home… let’s act like Lil Wayne…

Mood

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BONUS: My weekly Friday column at Hardwood Paroxysm has even more on the NBA.