How Ghostface Killah poignantly defines the Nicolas Batum situation

First off: WOW, I haven’t written a damn thing for this blog in ages. I really just forgot about it after it exploded because of the lockout post. That little write-up put me on one; I mean I was a small time celebrity among my friends thanks to the cojones that I showed. Not to mention the Twitter love I got as well. In summation, I took far too long of a hiatus from writing (those same six drafts from last May are still sitting in the queue mocking me and saying, “I knew you couldn’t follow through, ya bum!” Oh, I’ll show you, you piece of coding and letters clicked through a keyboard. Be glad I haven’t deleted you yet. Man it feels good to ramble nonsensically like this!) Today’s post is going to be pretty nifty: I am going to use a song’s lyrics to explain a real world situation. It’s going to be awesome because it involves one of the most notable hip-hop artists ever: Ghostface Killah. Welcome to Hip-Hop Exegesis 358: Real Life Rapping.

As people know, Ghostface is from the illustrious Wu-Tang Clan and he ain’t one to fuck with. Also, he has (or someone using his namesake) created blog where he sounds off on hip-hop and rap artists and their work in real terms with hilarious analogies. If haven’t taken the opportunity to read any of his musings, I highly recommend it. Now that you’ve met today’s Real Life Rapping rapper, let’s see what we’ll learn today.

“Diversify your bonds!”

Today, well technically 12:01 AM Wednesday July 11th, signals the end of the NBA free agent moratorium and beacons the beginning of the maelstrom of chaotic player signings by teams looking to improve themselves in a futile attempt to knock off the Heat. Honestly, bless your hearts other NBA teams, you’re adorable for thinking you can do such a thing. Anyway, during the moratorium, players and teams are allowed to flirt, canoodle and say sweet nothings to each other but cannot make their relationship Facebook official until the moratorium ends. It basically is a bunch of dates that end with one of the parties going home with blue balls and taking cold showers (crude example, but hey, #YOLO! (Aubrey Graham voice) [Editor’s note: I like myself a little less for having acronym’d that; please, judge away.]). All in all, these canoodling sessions can lead to some pretty sticky… I mean, difficult and awkward situations for: the player, the canoodling Jezebel organization, the organization that wants to end the extra-organizational canoodling and continue the monogamous organizational canoodling, and fans that don’t really get to canoodle all that much but pay to watch the canoodling go on. I swear I’ll quit saying canoodling…

What happens more often than not from the moratorium period is that a player finds an opportunity with another team and sees it as a great chance to springboard their career, even if their fate is not in their own hands (i.e. the difference between being a restricted free agent (where a team has the ability to match any offer for a player so long as said team has extended the qualify offer) and an unrestricted free agent (said team did not extend the qualifying offer or due to the contract has not retained Bird Rights)). Two prime examples of a restricted free agent wanting to play elsewhere but (potentially) not being able to go to their desired location are Eric Gordon and Nicolas Batum. Now, Eric Gordon is all but certain to return to the Hornets, but young Nico’s situation is a bit different because of all of the uncertainty surrounding the Trail Blazers (from coach, to team president, to you-name-it-they-don’t-really-got-it). [That’s another blog post.] Tons of interesting fodder has been said during the moratorium surrounding Nicolas wanting to leave Portland for a better opportunity in Minnesota. After visiting with the Kahn Man, Batum said his heart was in Minnesota—he wants to be there. Portland does not want to see him leave though, but is paying him the money he was supposedly offered really worth it for a team that is stuck more in reverse than neutral?

Anxiously waiting to find out what and where his future will be.

I’ve asked myself that question for the last week, and it came to my attention that I was asking the wrong question. The real question I should have been asking is WWGFD? What would Ghostface do? Well let’s find out by breaking down “Back Like That,” a 2006 single featuring NeYo (where has that dude been? Did he die and come back reincarnated as The Dream? Their falsettos are pretty similar and they’re always talking about how much they love your girl #unsolvedmysteries). Thanks to the exploits of Ghostface Killah, assuredly because he has the foresight of a Jedi, we have a song that will explain how to handle a situation like this. Maestro, please!

[Intro: Ghostface Killah]

Damn, damn, ma, we ain’t even have to go through it like that

It wasn’t even, even that big, man

You know, nah, it’s ight though

But anyway, yo, let me get that coat

Let me get those jeans, and let me get that rock on your finger

Oh, it’s stuck? Then I’ll take the whole finger than, man

Let me get those bags from Paris, and the puppies is staying, yo

Interpretation: Whoa, Nicolas, you’ve done something wrong now! You’ve incurred the wrath of Ghostface Killah… even I don’t know what comes from that, but with that name, shit… I’d run. The Blazers, I mean Ghostface, realizes he could have given you everything you wanted (an extension), but there was something (thoughts of what the future may bring, did he really want to invest so much and potentially get burned, are you really worth it, etc.) nagging at him and he couldn’t go through with it. The mistake has been catalogued and surely he has tried to make amends the best way he knows how to. However, the attitude you have shown toward Ghostface is completely unacceptable. He made you who you are today, and as quickly as Ghostface giveth, Ghostface taketh (even the puppies bro!).

[Chorus: Ne-Yo]

Come through the block, in the brand new Benz

Knowing that me and this dude ain’t friends

(Ok girl) Yeah, what I did was wack

But you don’t get your man back like that

Flossin’ around, when I’m up in these streets

Knowing that me and this dude got beef

(Ok girl) Yo, what I did was wack

But you don’t get your man back like that, no

Interpretation: What has drawn Ghostface’s ire? Nicolas, it’s because you have been canoodling with another organization that isn’t your own. And to make matters worse, it’s a rival organization within the same division. Why you wanna go and do that love, huh (Q-Tip voice)? Oh, you think you fancy now sporting and flaunting that contract offer and waxing poetically about how Minnesota is where you want to be? Ghostface couldn’t care less about any of that because he is too busy stewing over the fact you are thinking of leaving for a hated enemy AND you have the gall to prance around and taunt him like this. WW(ill)GFD? Let’s continue.

[Ghostface Killah]

Aiyo, I should just bark on you, burn your car on you

Cuz I’m too much man, to leave a mark on you

You’se a bird you know that, giving that man

Ten points, like he about to blow that

He probably did, you swallow his kids?

In and out of jail, he a snail, he wasn’t wilding on bids

In the summertime, I broke his jaw, had to do it, to him

Quick, old fashion, in the back of the mall

Me and him had ‘mos forever, like I’m supposed to put him on

When he came home and told on Trevor

Had to bang on homey, ear blocks, out in spots

Throwing them shots, like ‘sucker, you know me’

Stop fronting for them people out, side like you really ride

And you a silly chick, thought you was really live

But I guess I was wrong, I’mma holla at dog, and rip his head off word to his bond

Interpretation: There was an idealized vision of you in Ghost’s mind that you’d never leave or that you would never even think about leaving. No such utopia exists as your humanity shone through Nicolas: you wanted change that neither Ghost nor Obama (jokes) can give you. But then you go and choose them? #thephuckyouthinkin?!? Ghostface is livid, and understandable so, yet he is not going to be overtly vindictive toward you. Instead he’ll focus his sights on the organization that is trying to pry you away. “Oh, you want Nico? Best pay up and give me something of value back… or it could ugly… OR you just won’t get him. Your move.”


[Ghostface Killah]

Aiyo, I thought we was iller than that, all them kisses

And love yous, when jake came, you hid my packs

It was time a brother went to war, vests banged up

Staining in the kitchen, yo, holding a four

Sweatin’ and breathing, bounced out of town for a weekend

Heard you had homey in the passenger seating

Honey, look, I’m a monster don, I do monster things

That’s why I put your ass under my arm

Messing with him can bring bodily harm

And where you gonna hide in the streets when the body is gone

If it’s one thing I learned that, never trust a female

On no scale, you just confirmed that

Bounce to your momma house, pack your shit

I don’t care if you crying, you’se a ruthless chick

Gots to watch you, these eyeballs in my face’ll spot you

My girl cousins, they gon’ rock you

Interpretation: Okay, okay, okay. Ghost is now trying to think back to the real root of the problem and is struggling for the answers. Here’s what he knows: the organization and its fans love you; you’ve been through thick and thin together which has built this incredible bond; and there’s a trust factor that is undeniable. Yet you’re not a wild one Nico [Editor’s note: yet another reference I like myself less for using; again, get to judging.], you’re an adamant one as you continue to canoodle and show desires of leaving. Your seeming insolence has confirmed everything that was built has been a sham. You’ve made Ghostface mad. GHOSTFACE SMASH!



Shorty what is you thinking bout

Didn’t I put you down

Flyest whips, rollin’ round like yea

That’s the bosses chick, on the side

I might of had, one or two

Them silly broads wasn’t nothing on you

Rolling with him, try’nna get revenge

That’s what you just don’t do

Interpretation: While Ghostface is off doing his best Godzilla impression, a presiding consciousness offers a biased take on the happenings between Ghostface and Nicolas- look Nic, how can you treat Ghost like this after all he has given you? Yeah he messed up by allowing Jamal Crawford to huck 30 footers and giving Raymond Felton any semblance of playing time, but they had nothing on you man. You were still the pride and joy in his heart and mind, even though you were not shown that same love in practice. Now you’re just being spiteful and it’s a damn shame.

[Chorus to fade]

[Outro: Ghostface Killah]

I’m a good dude, you see… yeah…..

Females out there that wanna be

Acting like they getting they little revenge off

Taking it further than what it really is

You know what I mean, playing yourself..

Nahwhatimean… this is Don status, girl

You will have to hold that now..

Interpretation: Pretty self-explanatory here as Ghostface is absolving himself of any culpability and putting this all on you Nicolas. “It’s not me, it’s you. Enjoy yourself with that other organization you so desperately want to go to. Word is bond, you just played yo’self.”

Well, that was an exciting exegesis exercise. Look at how much we learn from WWGFD? Basically it’s what has gone on in reality: posturing, he said, they said, I didn’t do or get this, he can’t or won’t do this. It’s just a bunch of noise and only those close to talks know exactly what is going on. It is fun as a fan base to agonize over the minutiae of the proceedings and what it could mean for the franchises involved, but in the end you deal with what happens and you move on. That’s the precise attitude I have taken toward Nicolas Batum wanting to leave Portland for Minnesota: if he really wants to go, let him go (but of course, don’t let him go for nothing Olshey). A subtle point I want to make now as I draw to a close is that at some point the luster wears off and a wont for something new and exciting begins to build within someone. That’s exactly what has happened: Portland’s potential to be something withered like a rose in a drought, whereas Minnesota’s miring seems close to ending with their impressive core and offensively diverse coach.

We already know what Ghostface would do: he completely absolves himself of wrongdoing and points the finger at Nicolas. This would make some sort of real world sense, but in the NBA it solves nothing. And this leads us to the most important question of Wednesday, July 11, 2012: what will Neil Olshey do? Therein lies one tricky conundrum I do not envy. Word is bond son, nahmean?


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