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Marvin Bagley III is droppin’ bars already

MB3FIVE is all about the rivalry on his debut mixtape, and I’m here for that

4:00 PMAllen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Lonzo Ball and Damian Lillard — the list of NBA players who’ve tried to double as MCs is extensive, to say the least. Both Kobe and A.I. should’ve just stuck to basketball, while Lonzo and Damian showed obvious skill.

Before even hearing his name called at the NBA draft, former Duke Blue Devil Marvin Bagley III has become one of the league’s best MCs after dropping his debut mixtape late Wednesday night. Rapping under the alias MB3FIVE, the timing of Don’t Blink was perfect — released late enough that it wouldn’t affect his draft stock, yet early enough that no subject matter was off-limits.

In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting much. Bagley is a 6-foot-11 power forward from Tempe, Arizona, who attended Duke University. Last time I checked, those characteristics don’t scream talented rapper. Boy, was I wrong.

What initially drew me in was his beat selection. Rapping over classics from the early 2000s such as Fabolous’ “Breathe” and Nas’ “Made You Look” as well as a gem from the legendary 9th Wonder, Bagley displayed maturity beyond his years. None of this was more apparent than on the standout track “All-Americans,” in which he tackles the topic of police brutality.

There, the Duke standout displays a level of vulnerability that is rarely seen in 19-year-olds on their way to making millions. He empathizes with families who’ve lost sons and daughters at the hands of police while expressing his own fear that it could happen to him.

Fellow rapper/hooper Iman Shumpert once described rapping as his “escape from the floor,” a therapeutic way to express himself in the face of criticism. I would guess the same holds true for Bagley, who used Don’t Blink partly to let out some pent-up aggression. On “Breathe,” Bagley addresses Scott Bordow, a reporter for AZCentral who criticized his move from Hillcrest Prep in 2015. On “Made You Look (Remix),” Bagley sends some subs at those from the Phoenix area who claimed Deandre Ayton was a “homegrown talent.” Ayton, a native of the Bahamas, played his final two years of high school ball in Phoenix (one with Bagley) before his lone season at Arizona.

If most mock drafts hold true, Ayton will be selected first overall by the Phoenix Suns, with Bagley going No. 2 to the Sacramento Kings. Through a creative use of David Stern announcing the first and second picks of the 2007 NBA draft, Bagley seems to take solace in being second. Whether intentional or not, it’s difficult to overlook the inherent shade of using a sound bite from the same draft where the first overall pick, Greg Oden, was arguably one of the biggest busts of all time.

NBA fans will just have to wait and see if the diss was intentional. Personally, I’m here for the controversy. The Suns and Kings are both part of the Pacific Division, which would mean four Ayton-Bagley matchups a year. Call me selfish, but the possibility of a burgeoning divisional rivalry is too good to pass up.

Movies

Trailer drops for ‘Creed II’ — and we’re in

Coogler, Jordan, Thompson and Stallone all make a comeback

5:01 PMWe’ll still have to wait another five months before we can see the highly anticipated sequel to 2015’s gripping Creed, but today, fans got their first glimpse at where this next chapter is taking us — and, not for nothing, Creed II looks amazing.

As a refresher: Black Panther director Ryan Coogler reinvigorated one of the best sports franchises of all time when he successfully — and impressively, we might add — persuaded Sylvester Stallone to allow him to move forward with a script he and Aaron Covington, a film school friend, wrote about the unknown son of fictional boxer Apollo Creed. Turned out to be one of the best green lights ever, considering Stallone earned an Oscar nomination, his second acting nod, for the role of Rocky Balboa.

And we got to see Michael B. Jordan bring to life Adonis, and with his love interest played by Tessa Thompson he gave us depth and compassion and made fans fall in love all over again with the boxing movie genre.

In this new film, which opens Thanksgiving, we see Adonis take on his biggest opponent yet: the son of Ivan Drago, who was the villain of Rocky IV. Coogler produces this new film, and Steven Caple Jr., who also hails from Coogler’s beloved Oakland, California, directs.

If you follow Jordan on Instagram — and you should — then surely you’ve seen his intense fitness routine that quite literally has gotten him back into fighting shape. At one point in the trailer, we see Adonis fight-training underwater inside of a pool! This new trailer only gives us a quick snippet, but it also appears that Adonis and Bianca (Thompson) have started a family, so there’s a lot on the line this go-round.

Can Adonis be the masterful fighter that his legendary father was? And can he stay alive while working on that goal? Guess we’ll have to wait a few more months before finding out!

Jay-Z and Beyoncé call out NFL and Grammys in surprise album

Long-awaited ‘Everything Is Love’ features the Louvre and arrives amid G.O.O.D. Music rollout

8:05 PM

I said no to the Super Bowl / You need me, I don’t need you/ Every night we in the end zone/ Tell the NFL we in stadiums, too/ Last night was a f—ing zoo

— ”Apes—”

Beyoncé and Jay-Z just released a joint album. It’s called Everything Is Love. The album arrived without notice, and it is many things that will soon be sorted at length. Love — which has been hinted at, discussed and predicted for well over a decade — enters the world roughly two weeks after the start of the international leg of the duo’s On The Run II tour. And the couple is keeping their project relevant with regard to pointed cultural topics. The NFL and the Grammys — Jay-Z was shut out earlier this year, even with eight nominations — get called out.

Stage diving in a pool of people/ Ran through Liverpool like a f—ing Beatle/ Smoke gorilla glue like it’s f—ing legal / Tell the Grammys f— that 0-for-8 s—/ Have you ever seen the crowd goin’ apes—?

As for the timing, The Carters are doing what they’ve famously done ever since they became a couple (they’ve been married since 2008): stating their piece with their music and leaving speculation to the world around them. So, speculation: Could it be that Jay-Z wanted to throw a wrench in the engine of recent G.O.O.D. Music releases from Kanye West, KiD CuDi and Pusha T? And Everything is Love does arrive less than 24 hours after the release of Nas’ new album, Nasir. Are there are still issues within Jay-Z and Kanye’s relationship that we’re likely never going to understand? Or is it just that Jay-Z and Beyoncé really just want to throw their names into the hat of 2018 releases that already houses several stellar projects — Cardi B, Janelle Monae among them — and Drake’s Scorpion is less than two weeks away. How else would one explain that having a date night at the Louvre results in a music video?

Whatever the case, as we all listen to the new songs and watch the new videos and get ready for the U.S. leg of the tour, one thing remains certain. What we’re witnessing is the full-circle moment of quite possibly the most productive elevator argument of all time. More to come.