50 Cent: Rap Game Dwyane Wade
We told you nothing was going to change.... Only a week removed from the official DJBooth/RefinedHype merger and we are already rolling out a rap/NBA comparison piece? Anchorman obsessed, immature, call us many things but inconsistent is not one of 'em. As sure as the sun will rise and Rick Ross will eat wings, or the Heat and Spurs will be playing in the NBA Finals, we will be bringing you rapper-baller comparisons. Speaking of the Heat and Spurs...
Now that the Finals is officially locked in place, tipping off this Thursday, I think that it's time we do an honorary comparison. We have already done Tim Duncan and Lebron, so really there is only one option; Erik Spoelstra. He's the rap game Farnsworth Bentley. Eh, too easy. How about Dwyane Wade? You know, for as many rap game pieces as we've done, I'm surprised he's never come up. I'm glad we waited because considering it's the #Weekof50, it feels like the perfect time to dub Jackson the rap game Dwyane Wade. I know what you are thinking...we forced this just because it's 50 Cent Week and there is no real correlation between the two. WRONG! This one is actually pretty spot on. Hear me out...
To start, let's do a brief rundown of Wade's career as a refresher. While Lebron was just learning how to drive, and, you know, buying giant Hummers for his mother, Wade was the toast of the town. Although he was never quite as good as the Kobe's of the world, Wade was certainly an elite NBA All-Star. He has a scoring title, a finals MVP award, and a few rings to boot; that's not even mentioning is career average of over 24 points per game. While, on paper, he appears just as intimidating as any other NBA star, there is a little thing called age; Wade is no spring chicken. Since averaging a career high 30 points per game in '08, Wade's average has declined each and every year since. He is now down to just 19 PPG; I'm sure his knee problems and general tire tread are mostly to blame, but he just isn't the same player. He is still effective, and a good compliment to Lebron, but Wade is essentially a shell of the superstar he once was. His name still commands respect, based on what he has already accomplished, but anyone who still calls him a game-changing player is living in 2005.
You know who else is living in 2005? 50 Cent fans. I know with the album and the Week of 50 this might seem gimmicky, but I swear I'm not stretching this analogy to make it work. 50 Cent is the perfect rap game D. Wade. Their career's have followed almost identical trajectories. Like Wade, 50 is a brand name who still commands a great deal of respect. Though his production has tailed off, like Wade, he still remains an important figure in hip-hop. 50's name has to come up when discussing 2014's hip-hop scene, and Wade's has to come up when discussing the Finals. Obviously they aren't the premiere names (Lebron, Duncan, Parker, Kendrick, Drake, Kanye) but they still make an impact. Animal Ambition and the 2014 NBA Finals are like their farewell tours. If the Heat win, it would be difficult to imagine Wade coming back, and regardless of how Animal Ambition does, I just don't see 50 staying around too much longer. They have had long, successful careers but all good things must come to and end and for Fiddy and Wade that end is coming sooner rather than later.
In addition to similarly legacies, I think these two are viewed in the same light. As we talked about yesterday, I will never consider 50 a "great" emcee. In a time when there was so much average hip-hop (when compared to the golden age) 50 was just a notch above average, which made him better than he really was. When you think about it, the NBA too had the same lull in the early '00s. After guys like Jordan, Barkley, and Malone retired, and before guys like KD and Lebron, there was a lack in widespread star quality; there were a few holdovers, but for the most part, the league's star power workforce wasn't nearly as legendary as in the '90s. Rap was the same. Guys like Wade and 50 excelled in this era and became stars, but they don't necessarily have that tangible "special" quality that the greats do. They were moved up in the ranks because of a lack of depth, yet they still worked hard and earned each and everyone of their accolades. It just wasn't as good.
You can sit here and list all of Wade's accolades or all of 50's platinum singles, but nothing will ever make me think of them in the same regard I do the greats. They may have been great in their time, but nether one was a talent unlike any other; they played the game well, but didn't change it. Even if Animal Ambition sells seven billion copies or the Heat win another championship (only one of these is actually possible), both of their legacies are already cemented, and both of their careers are just about over.
Plus, didn't 50 smash Gabrielle Union?
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is "College Dropout", but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @Lgarrison88.]