Producer J. Reid Says Nicki Minaj ‘Went Crazy’ Freestyling “Barbie Tingz”

As we now know, Nicki Minaj's deleted countdown was indeed a setup for the release of her singles “Chun-Li” and “Barbie Tingz.” And helping her stealthily create and drop those singles was up-and-coming Atlanta producer J. Reid.

Reid, whose resume is sure to get a big boost, did an interview with XXL where he shared details about what went on behind the scenes. He first managed to link up with Nicki when a partner of his, Brinx Billions, was working on a song with her. When Nicki asked who made the beat, it was J. Reid, and she made short work of flying him out to Miami.

“She was just like, 'I love your music. You're talented, I'm just trying to put some stuff together.' So I was like, 'I'm ready.' From that, it's just been ballgame. Coming back and forth, going in and out of town, working at home and showing out,” Reid said, revealing he made 15 different beats for “Barbie Tingz” but it only took hearing two of them for Nicki's inspiration to kick in.

“I played one beat, [then] I played the second beat and she was like, 'Stop, pull it up, I'm about to go in.' I'm like, 'This is crazy. Is she really finna go rap on my beat, like, freestyle?!' And went crazy,” said Reid. He described feeling “enlightened” watching Minaj's creative process. 

Reid was also grateful the rap vet was able to explain what kind of beat she was looking for, something many artists can't do, he says. He attributes her level-headed approach to having some time to herself, not churning out albums. The whole process, Reid said, happened in an instant. “So it just came together like that. Two days later, I flew back home. She was like, 'Yo, this song is so hard. I'm about to shoot the video.'”

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When it came to producing “Chun-Li,” the process was pretty similar. Reid flew to California to finish mixing and mastering “Barbie Tingz,” and Nicki asked to hear some more beats. She gave Reid a little taste of some bars so he could get a sense of the vibe, and the two went back in to shuffle through about 13 beats before making the final selection. “The format is the exact same. She went in [the recording booth], started rapping, came out, arranged it, went back in, finished it,” Reid said.

It looks like Miss Minaj is finally back on her grind, and ready to defend her throne. Read the full interview with J. Reid over at XXL.

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Nick Young’s Wild Playoff Outfit; Cowboys Cut Dez Bryant; Pop’s Kawhi Shade | Out of Bounds

On today’s show, Gilbert Arenas and the #OutofBounds crew kick things off by weighing in on whether or not they’re about that Coachella life. Plus, coming off his kids’ AAU tourney in Las Vegas, Gil explains why he’s the king of Sin City. Then, after the first weekend of NBA playoff action, OOB discusses the biggest stories, including the Pacers waxing the Cavs in Cleveland despite LeBron’s triple-double. Out West, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said star forward Kawhi Leonard continues to be absent because his personal medical team has not yet cleared him to return. The guys ask how this is affecting his relationship with teammates and the franchise, and Kawhi critic Gil has an unexpected take. In epic fashion news, Warriors guard Nick Young showed up to Oracle Arena for Game 1 of Golden State’s playoff series against the Spurs wearing a silk robe and boxers. The squad reacts to the stripped-down fashion statement in “Fire Fit,” and Gil shares the exchange he had with Swaggy after he saw the look. Moving to the NFL, the panel take sides after the Dallas Cowboys released star receiver Dez Bryant and things got messy between him and America’s Team. Can revenge motivate Dez for the entire next season? Finally, in “On This Day…” the crew remembers the 15th anniversary of Michael Jordan’s final NBA game — a 107-87 Wizards loss to the 76ers in which 40-year-old Jordan scored 15 points. With everyone slurping LeBron for balling out at 33, Gil makes clear what King James needs to do to be in Jordan’s rarefied air.

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Kobe Wins an Oscar; Does Kawhi Deserve a Signature Shoe? | Out of Bounds

Black Mamba strikes again! Last night, at the 90th annual Academy Awards, Kobe added to his impressive trophy collection when he won the “Best Animated Short” Oscar for “Dear Basketball.” Gilbert Arenas and the #OutofBounds crew rank the win among his many accomplishments and debate if it changes the GOAT conversation between him and Michael Jordan. Next, Gil and the guys discuss whether the NFL Scouting Combine — where some prospects have performed poorly — is important or total BS, considering teams have actual game footage to help determine if players are any good. Then, following reports that extension talks have broken down between Jordan Brand and Spurs star Kawhi Leonard, Gil keeps it all the way real in “Secure the Bag” and determines Kawhi’s market value, whether or not he deserves a signature shoe, and where he’s most likely to sign his next shoe deal. Finally, with Floyd Mayweather Jr. telling TMZ he’s developing a boxing video game, the OOB boys say what they want to see in his game before getting into heavyweight star Deontay Wilder’s latest win. See why Wilder blows Gil’s mind, and not in a good way.

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What Injury Says About Kawhi Leonard; Is Anthony Davis Talking Too Big? | Out of Bounds

Spurs doctors have reportedly cleared Kawhi Leonard to play but the star guard is holding himself out and Coach Pop doesn’t expect him to play again this season. Gilbert Arenas and the #OutofBounds crew discuss Kawhi’s lengthy absence with a quad injury and what it’s revealed about him and the Spurs. Next, Gil and the guys react to Anthony Davis’ assertion that the Pelicans would have run through the Western Conference playoffs if fellow New Orleans big man Boogie Cousins hadn’t injured his Achilles. But seeing as Boogie is in a wheelchair now…are the Pels’ wings clipped? Moving to the NCAA, in “The Pull-Up” Gil gives career advice to Trae Young, the Oklahoma guard whose fire freshman season has cooled TF off. Finally, with a report that the Warriors and Kings will play a preseason game in Seattle, the OOB gang wonders if and when the Emerald City will get the Sonics back, before the conversation gets messy determining which cities without an NBA team deserve one and which NBA cities should lose theirs. 

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LeBron to the Lakers This Summer? Not So Fast, According to a New Report

Folks around the NBA have murmured for more than a year now about LeBron James' purported interest in bolting to Los Angeles when he has the opportunity to opt out of his contract during the 2018 offseason. Would he really leave his hometown team twice in his career? That remains to be seen. But people around the league have suspected as much—and suspected that he's headed for Los Angeles—for a long time now.

LeBron owns two houses in L.A., and conquering the West would provide him with a new challenge—a new potential legacy boost, if you will. Also, the Lakers have a wealth of cap space, a promising young roster, and a storied history. If he could bring them back to prominence, well, it would do a ton for LeBron's place in the history books. Of the two L.A. franchises, it seemed way likelier that LeBron would desire a spot on the roster of the Lake Show.

According to a new report from two of the most plugged-in NBA reporters, however, the Lakers may pass on pursuing LeBron this offseason. As Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN report, the Lakers are focusing their efforts—and their cap space—on the free-agent class of 2019 rather than that of 2018. The 2019 class is indeed ripe with young talent; Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, and Jimmy Butler could be among the players on the market.

In 2018, it's expected that LeBron, Paul George, and DeMarcus Cousins will be available. But LeBron, as great as he is, is 33, George seems very interested in sticking with the Thunder, and Cousins just suffered an absolutely debilitating Achilles injury.

This recalibration also reportedly stems from the Lakers' lack of belief that LeBron is actually interested in joining the team. Though L.A. has a bunch of gifted young players—including Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma—there isn't a bona fide star on the roster. LBJ would be taking a big risk by signing with the yellow and purple.

A lot could change in the next few months, of course. The Lakers are still reportedly shopping Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. But with this latest report, it looks a lot less certain that LeBron will head to Hollywood this summer.

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Kawhi-Spurs Drama; John Wall “Midget” Diss; All-Star Reserve Picks | Out of Bounds

In anticipation of tonight’s announcement of the 2018 NBA All-Star Reserves, the #OutofBounds crew makes their own picks (and heated arguments) for the 14 players who should be all-stars. Next, Gil, Adam, and Pierce weigh in on the report that the handling of Kawhi Leonard’s injury has caused friction between him and the Spurs. To close the show, the team decides the fairness/foulness of the Bucks firing head coach Jason Kidd and John Wall calling J.J. Barea “a little midget.”

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Kawhi Leonard’s Injury Rehab Reportedly Straining Relationship With Spurs

There's a joke in here somewhere about Kawhi Leonard actually being made of liquid metal and incapable of human emotion, but this does bear emphasizing: this is not quite a big deal.

Not yet.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Michael C. Wright and Zach Lowe, Leonard's frustrating rehab and possible comeback from a right quadricep injury has had a “chilling impact” on the relationship between the All-Star swingman and the San Antonio Spurs. The report included words like “rift” and “distant” and “disconnected,” which has Spurs fans responding today with their own words, everything from, “Yeah, but remember LaMarcus Aldridge? to “OMFG OMFG OMFG.”

Leonard played just nine games this season before the Spurs shut him down indefinitely last week. In limited minutes, Leonard was still productive, nearly matching his career-high PER from last season and with a usage rate among the league's top 15. However, the team struggled to win just five of those games and the 26-year-old admitted to the team's brass that he didn't feel confident in his body.

“You've got to be confident in your body to go out there and play at the level he's expect to play,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told ESPN at the time. “We didn't feel he was ready. His confidence level wasn't there. So we decided to give it some more time.”

On the eve of the season, we watched as San Antonio announced Leonard would be out for the entire preseason and perhaps more, only to eventually hear Popovich admit he'd never seen anything like Leonard's injury. Then we saw Tony Parker return from a similar, though even more severe injury. Since September, there's been a weird Belichickian mystery surrounding Leonard. The Spurs haven't offered answers. Neither have some of the world's best tendon experts. General manager RC Buford has denied any rift, but he did acknowledge the entire process has been difficult for both sides.

There is no real precedent for a star player growing frustrated in the vacuum of San Antonio's safe haven. Popovich tried to sign Jason Kidd in 2003, effectively telling Tony Parker thanks, but no thanks. Parker didn't bolt. He's played his entire career with the Spurs. Popovich sent Manu Ginobili to the bench in 2007, even though Ginobili was already an All-Star. Manu embraced it. Tim Duncan took repeated lyrical undressings in practices over the years and never once did he respond with, “Pop, I'm a 15-time All-Star and five-time champ, the undisputed best power forward of all time. I'm allowed to miss one defensive assignment.” Even LaMarcus Aldridge, after asking for a trade last summer, ended up submitting to some weird Pop voodoo. The veteran is now playing perhaps the best ball of his career.

Leonard's camp has since denied the report. Leonard does hold a player option for the 2019-2020 season, which might make things interesting. Knowing the Spurs, though, they'll take Leonard to some off the radar bunker if necessary, sit him down, and not let anyone out until a resolution is found. Until then, everything surrounding one of the NBA's best players will likely remain a mystery.

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Ray Allen Catfished; Tony Parker’s Not A Great Player | Out Of Bounds

On today’s episode of #OutofBounds, things get heated when Gilbert says Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard don’t make a difference for the Spurs. The team considers getting in the ring with Floyd Mayweather. Gilbert Arenas has some words for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and he has the scoop on why Derrick Rose needs to stay in the league to get the bag from Adidas. Take notes!

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The Clippers Are Reportedly Taking the Chris Paul-Spurs Rumors ‘Very Seriously’

Chris Paul is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Clippers so he can test free agency, and he and the Spurs reportedly have “mutual interest.”

In basic theory, the mutual attraction makes sense: at this point in his career, Paul wants a title. The Spurs want to overtake Golden State, and they’re probably one star away from making a real run at it. Paul is one of the 20-or-so best NBA players of all-time, and he's still performing at an elite caliber.

In practicality, the situation is a lot more nuanced. The Spurs’ hands are tied with the cap and their current roster. (One example: Pau Gasol has a $16.2 million player option that he'll almost certainly be accepting.) It could happen, but it’d take a lot of maneuvering.

Nonetheless, the Clippers are taking the threat of the Spurs seriously, according to Marc Stein.

The Clippers may have reason to fear Pop and company's lurking eyes. The Spurs are one of the shrewdest organizations in professional sports. If they decide they want a player, they can probably figure out a way to get him, even if it involves some contract jockeying.

The Clippers could give Paul five years and $210 million, or he could command four years and $153.5 million from another squad. He’d be leaving quite a bit of money of the table if he signed with anyone other than the Clippers. But he doesn't seem to want a Melo-esque fate.

Say he does really want to join the Spurs, passing up money for a better chance to win the title. Could the Spurs make it happen? They could, though it would likely involve trading away an important player like Danny Green and letting Jonathon Simmons and Patty Mills go elsewhere. There’s a good breakdown of the full “what would need to happen” on SB Nation.

Say all the pieces can fall into place. Should the Spurs do it? That depends on what the organization’s highest priority is—which I certainly can't speak to. 

If it’s winning now and overtaking Golden State next year or the year after that, then yes, Paul makes them a better team. He fits well with their pieces, particularly LaMarcus Aldridge, who could undergo a career resurrection with Paul's assistance. They would make a lethal pick-and-pop duo. With Paul at the point, Kawhi Leonard on the wing, and L.A. on the block, San Antonio’s ability to control the pace and space the floor may give Golden State all it could handle.

If San Antonio is building for five years down the road, however—if they consider the next couple years a lost cause—they probably need to pass on the 32-year-old point guard and focus on holding onto and developing their current pieces. Simmons (27), Mills (28), and Dewayne Dedmon (27) are all championship-caliber rotation players, and Dejounte Murray, the Spurs’ 20-year-old point guard, has shown some promise.

It would likely make more sense to commit less money to a free agent point guard like Kyle Lowry (Tier II), George Hill (Tier III), or Jeff Teague (Tier IV). The Spurs also have the 29th pick in this year's loaded draft. They could either look to move up the board and pick an elite prospect or stay put and select a guard who's being slept on, such as Dwayne Bacon (Florida State), Nigel Williams-Goss (Gonzaga), or Josh Hart (Villanova).

Send all complaints, compliments, and tips to sportstips@complex.com.

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Gregg Popovich Takes Aim at Zaza Pachulia Over His ‘Dangerous, Unsportsmanlike’ Play on Kawhi Leonard

Whether or not Zaza Pachulia intentionally tried to hurt Kawhi Leonard, his questionable closeout was a topic of hot debate after Game 1 of the Spurs vs. Warriors series. But there is no debate in Coach Gregg Popovich's mind, and he went off on Golden State's center during Monday's mid-day gathering with the media.

Popovich called the play “dangerous” and “unsportsmanlike” in an amazing rant that lasted over 90 seconds. You can catch most of it in the video above, and the full transcript of his remarks on Pachulia below:

The two step, lead with your foot closeout is not appropriate. It's dangerous, it's unsportsmanlike, it's just not what anybody does to anybody else. 

This particular individual has a history with that kind of action. You can look back at Dallas games where he got a flagrant 2 for elbowing Patty Mills. The play where he took Kawhi down and locked his arm in Dallas, could have broken his arm. Ask David West, his current teammate, how things went, when Zaza was playing for Dallas and he and David got into it. And then think about the history he's had and what that means to a team, what happened last night. A totally unnatural closeout that the league has outlawed years ago, and pays great attention to, and Kawhi's not there. And you want to know how we feel about it?

You want to know if that lessens our chances or not. We're playing very possibly the best team in the league—we don't know what's going to happen in the East—and 9.75 people out of 10 would figure the Warriors will beat the Spurs. Well, we've had a pretty damn good season, we've played fairly well in the playoffs, I think we're getting better. We're up 23 points in the third quarter, against Golden State, and Kawhi goes down like that, and you want to know if our chances are less? And you want to know how we feel? That's how we feel. 

Popovich has never been afraid to speak his mind, whether he's ranting about Donald Trump or going off on the officials, and this is a blistering rant on a play that knocked his star player out of the game. He may catch a big fine for calling an opponent out as a dirty player, but there was no way he was going to let Leonard's injury go by without a comment.

He certainly has an axe to grind here, but Coach Pop is an authority on the sport with a long history of facing Pachulia as an opponent. Even if you're not a Spurs fan, his words are worth considering.

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