Dime Q&A: Young Guru On Whether The NBA Today Could Hang With Jordan, Hip-Hop’s Top 5, And Being Recruited To Hoop In College
There’s no question that Young Guru has seen it all. An avid basketball junkie, Guru experienced the greatness of Jordan, Magic and Bird. On the flip side, he’s also seen hip-hop carve itself a beautiful lane in the world we live in today. He was able to sit and watch the greats such as Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac Shakur, Rakim, Kool Mo Dee, Jay-Z transform the essence of lyricism. Rudimentary flows were now out the window, as these greats heightened the bar with double- and triple-entendres. With basketball and hip-hop synonymous – as depicted in last week’s All-Star game with a bevy of artists in attendance – the correlation of the two entities is as at all-time high.
Arguably one of the greatest engineers and minds in the realm of hip-hop, Guru’s influence is sprinkled around the culture. He’s worked Jay-Z and has played imperative roles in orchestrating many of Hov’s albums, more notably The Black Album. It also goes beyond music with Guru, with his philanthropy as a founder of the Young Guru Foundation that gives scholarship money to those in dire need. We were able to talk to Guru before the All-Star break and get this insight on the All-Stars, if college athletes should be paid, Top 5 rappers ever, and who indeed is the Michael, Kobe, and Lebron of the world of rap.
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Dime: How do you feel about the All-Stars this year and the reserves chosen?
YG: I don’t know man. I don’t know man. Is that really an All-Star game? Can we really call it an All-Star? No disrespect but it’s a special thing to become an All-Star at least in my book. If we went on who deserved to be an All-Star from this year and that year, this year wouldn’t hold the same weight as far as reserves. I want to see the top NBA players in my opinion. It’s almost like you have a shortened season, it makes your championship a little bit less than what everybody had to go through. I don’t know. The reserves thing to me, it’s hard for me to call that.
Dime: I mean you had your James Harden giving you over 25 points. You had Russell Westbrook who’s arguably a top-five point guard. You’ve had your Tony Parker What else do you need?
YG: I need the top players from everybody’s teams. I need the top All-Stars. I think Miami has three. I think the two players or top player should be included. Like Westbrook, defininitely. He’s a top two player. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good players in there. I don’t know.
Dime: You not feeling the Luol Deng type of players?
YG: Nah. Is he a top [player]? He’s a dope role player. He’s an above average role player. But is he top?
Dime: You gotta look at it like this: He was an All-Star last year. He’s been putting up 18 this year on a team without their MVP in Derrick Rose.
YG: I get that. But this is what I’m saying. He’s definitely a great supporting cast player. You’re not putting him as the man in your movies right? It’s like the Oscars, he’d be great for the supporting cast.
Dime: But these players I think we’re chosen because they’ve helped their team win games. A lot of these players were chosen based of having a great season statistically and were responsible in winning games.
YG: I hear you. But that’s what you get paid for. The All-Star has historically been about the All-Stars of the league, people that are the top exceptional players. Right? So would you consider Rudy Gay as an All-Star or would you put him as one of the best night in and night out consistent players?
Dime: I’d say he’s in between but I don’t think he’s an All-Star.
YG: Right. That’s my point. But does Rudy Gay consistently put up numbers?
Dime: He does.
YG: That’s my point. The All-Stars should be for superstars. If we look at the history of the greatest teams and greatest years, it was meant to be another notch on your belt. It was supposed to be an accolade.
Dime: You could tell me if I’m wrong. Maybe it comes down to the league being watered-down with talent? You don’t the Isiahs, the Larrys, and the Patricks anymore?
YG: So let me ask you a question? How do you feel about these kids coming out super early?
Dime: I think it could go either way. Because you could also have someone like a Kyrie Irving whose an All-Star at 20 years old.
YG: Don’t get me wrong. You got examples of kids who came from that mold like the LeBrons, and the KGs, and even back to Barkley. But these are the exceptions. These were the exceptions to the rules. They were supposed to come and do that – the ones that came straight from high school. Lebron was supposed to go straight. Or certain people that only did their year in college, it was like, “Ok. He’s a man amongst boys. He needs to go the league.
Dime: Like Kevin Durant.
YG: Right. But it’s about the other people. Are they supposed to leave? I always tell cats like why take the extra year just for physical reasons, just to work out?! Get your body right for the league. Let alone, be the man on campus for another year.
Dime: I hear you. But, you’ll probably agree with me on this. You have people living in the hood that can’t afford to wait and have their families starving.
YG: That money is going to be there and possibly in a bigger way if you come into the league correctly. So are you just going to come in and help your family out for a year? For a few years and you come back just to work regularly? Look at the vast amount of people that just was not ready. They went into a system where they basically could of survived another year in college and got their stock up, and got more money. So now, I’m going to come on another angle; are you shorting yourself by just going for the quick money? I’m so tired of hearing that “I gotta get my family out of the struggle.” Everybody has a family situation but you know by the end of that year, you’re going to get the money. It’s not like the money is going to disappear. And then people come with the “Oh. You have the possibility of getting hurt.” Well you got a possibility of being hurt in the NBA!
Dime: Do you think it would help if college kids were compensated?
YG: Absolutely. Now you’re telling me, you’re compensating me by giving me an education. Well ok, lets say at an expensive school where the education is at a how many thousands per year, you minus that from how many posters and seats I’m helping you bring in. The money you make far outweighs the education costs for that semester or lets say for the year. These kids are bringing in so much money into the universities for them not to get paid. It’s a business. Colleges are a business. They’re bringing in a gang of money from people coming into these games and are actually selling merchandise with my name on it!