The Rock May Have Motivated Kyle Kuzma and the Lakers to Knock Off the Nuggets

The Lakers have one of the youngest teams in the entire NBA. The average age of the players on the team is just a shade under 25, and while that should offer some hope for the future to all of the Lakers fans out there, it also indicates that the majority of the Lakers players still have a lot to learn—both on and off the basketball court.

To try and help them along in life, the Lakers have set up a series of “Genius Talks” this season that have featured high-profile people coming in and talking to the team. Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, SpaceX founder Elon Musk, and rapper Kendrick Lamar are just a few of the celebrities who have delivered motivational speeches to the team in recent months.

On Tuesday, it was Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson’s turn to do it. He met with Lakers players, coaches, and executives and shared his story with the team in an effort to motivate them. According to the Orange County Register, The Rock spoke about overcoming adversity and disappointment during his speech to the team.

Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and controlling owner/president Jeanie Buss were ecstatic to have The Rock in the building.

It looks like whatever The Rock said really lit a fire up under the Lakers, too. On Tuesday night, they took on the Nuggets, a team that had beaten them in their last two matchups, at the Staples Center. And despite blowing a double-digit lead in the first half and falling behind by 5 points heading into the fourth quarter, the Lakers rallied to knock off the Nuggets 112-103 to pull themselves back to within just five games of .500 on the season.

It’s impossible to say whether or not The Rock actually had anything to do with the performance the Lakers put forth against Denver. But after the game, Lakers head coach Luke Walton suggested The Rock’s words seemed to put a little extra fire into rookie Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma scored a team-high 26 points against the Nuggets, including 16 in the third quarter alone, despite playing with an ankle injury—and Walton told reporters The Rock’s speech may have had something to do with it.

“Maybe it was The Rock that motivated him to fight through the injury like that,” Walton said.

Kuzma didn’t say if that was actually the case. But he spoke with reporters as well and talked about how cool it was to have The Rock speak to the Lakers on Tuesday. Kuzma said that, like most people his age, he was a “big fan” of The Rock growing up, and he said he was amazed to learn The Rock is now a big fan of his as well. It seems The Rock saw the interview Kuzma did after scoring a career-high 38 points against the Rockets back in December, and he apparently told Kuzma he was impressed with it.

“He just loved my response to what I said,” Kuzma said. “He thought it was pretty cool, so that was pretty cool actually.”

The Rock may have had something to do with the Lakers playing so well against the Nuggets, but he might not deserve all of the credit. Olympic sprinter Allyson Felix met with the team this week as well. She spent time with the Lakers on Monday, and it sounds like she may have gotten the competitive juices flowing just like The Rock did. According to the Orange County Register, Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope challenged her to a race, which amused most of his teammates to no end.

“She was wearing jeans and untied Jordans and could probably still beat him in a race,” Kuzma said.

There’s no telling who the Lakers are going to bring in next as part of their “Genius Talks” series. But it’s clearly something that’s having an impact on the young team this season, and we wouldn’t be surprised at all to see other young NBA teams start adopting the same strategy in the coming seasons.

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Cardi B Waiting on Nicki?, Lil Xan Banned From Rap? Safaree Glows Up | Everyday Struggle

On today’s #EverydayStruggle, Wayno, Star, DJ Akademiks, and Nadeska broke down whether or not Cardi B is waiting on Nicki Minaj to drop her album, Lil Xan getting banned from hip-hop by Waka Flocka and T.I., Safaree’s new glow up in 2018, and more. 

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Yujia Hu Turns Migos, Kendrick Lamar, and Air Jordan 1s Into Delicious Sushi Art

Yujia Hu's first love was basketball—he describes the sport as “beautiful”—but when his family opened a sushi restaurant in Milan, Italy, he turned his focus to becoming a sushi chef.

Searching for ways to combine his passion and his familial duties, he created sushi in the likeness of Italian basketball players, and when his posts on social media received worldwide attention, he expanded to NBA players, rappers like Kendrick Lamar and Migos, and even sneakers, like the Air Jordan 1.

“Basketball, sushi, hip-hop… it's different things that are a part of me,” Hu explains. Check out his story and awesome sushi art in the video above.

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Lonzo Ball Says These Are His Top 5 Rappers at the Moment

Last year, someone dug up a 2016 tweet from Lonzo Ball where he ranked his top five all-time rappers. The list included Lil Wayne, Future, DMX, 50 Cent, and Tupac. As you would expect, it received its fair share of controversy.

Nearly two years since that tweet was posted, Ball was asked to give his current list of top five rappers. Since Lonzo recently dropped his album Born 2 Ball, we expected him to go full Dylan and name himself in all five spots. However, Ball provided an actual list, and it goes as follows: Future, Drake, Quavo, Offset, and 21 Savage.

Since the question started off by pointing out that Ball was currently in Atlanta, the “capital of hip-hop,” it’s hard to determine if that lead-in was the reason behind the Atlanta-centric list. Considering Ball named Future on his all-time rappers list, it's no surprise that he would include him alongside Drake, Quavo, Offset, and 21 Savage. 

Drake has been arguably one of the most consistent rappers over the last couple of years, so it makes sense to have him on the list. Quavo's name was attached to two of the most highly anticipated projects of the last few months in Culture II and Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho. Offset (who was obviously also on Culture II) and 21 Savage dropped their surprise project Without Warning not too long back.

Each list is subjective, so we can't knock Lonzo too much for what he considers to be his favorite rappers at the moment. But all we want to know is where's the love for Kendrick Lamar? K. Dot released the Grammy-nominated Damn last year and served as co-executive producer on Black Panther: The Album. Where is the disconnect? That's all we want to know. 

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Q-Tip Previewed an Unreleased Kendrick Lamar Collaboration on his ‘Abstract Radio’ Show

Q-Tip’s Abstract Radio show on Apple’s Beats 1 has previously included gems such as a two-hour tribute to his friend and collaborator Prodigy of Mobb Deep, and Friday’s show offered another special moment with a previously unreleased Kendrick Lamar collaboration. Q-Tip played the track, unofficially titled “Want U 2 Want,” at approximately the 1:42-mark of his mix Friday.

Keys, synths, and a guitar loop power the collaboration as both Kendrick and Q-Tip profess their love for their boos. 

“The love for your name can only pertain to the flame I got in my veins/I never complain when your name is mentioned/I can’t hold back or restrain/It’s the fact I just want you to want me,” Kendrick raps on the song’s chorus.

This isn’t the first collaboration between Kendrick Lamar and Q-Tip, as Kendrick appeared on “Conrad Tokyo” from A Tribe Called Quest’s final album We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service.

The origins of “Want U 2 Want” are unclear, as Kendrick and Q-Tip were spotted hitting the studio as far back as 2012. Prior to A Tribe Called Quest’s 2016 swan song, Q-Tip had reportedly been working on a solo project entitled The Last Zulu.

Q-Tip also dropped a collaboration with Demi Lovato entitled “Don't Go Breaking My Heart”—an Elton John and Kiki Dee cover—at the 1:59 mark of his mix. You can hear Q-Tip’s entire mix via Apple Music.

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Ryan Coogler Reveals How Kendrick Lamar Got Involved With ‘Black Panther: The Album’

The anticipation for Marvel’s Black Panther flick is getting stronger and stronger each day. But perhaps equally anticipated is the film’s soundtrack produced Kendrick Lamar and his label Top Dawg Entertainment.

In the days leading up to the release of Black Panther: The Album, director Ryan Coogler spoke to NPR about the project and how the TDE crew eventually became involved. He revealed that the initial plan was for Kendrick to contribute only a few songs to the film; however, the rapper’s role became much greater after he was given an extended look at the movie.

“I've been a massive Kendrick fan ever since I first heard him, since his mixtapes, and I've been trying to track him down,” Coogler said. “Eventually I caught up with him a couple years ago—first with Anthony 'Top Dawg' Tiffith, who runs his label, and then later on sat down with him and Kendrick and just spoke about much his music affected me. He talked about my movies that he had seen, and we said if the opportunity comes, we'd love to work with each other on something.”

Shortly after K-Dot completed his fourth studio album Damn, Coogler reached out to the rapper to discuss his involvement.

“To Marvel's credit, they really supported the idea of getting some songs from him,” the director explained. “At first, he was just going to do a few songs for the film, and then he came in and watched quite a bit of the movie, and the next thing I know, they were booking a studio and they were going at it.”

TDE producer Sounwave told NPR that the team had started working on the album during Kendrick’s Damn Tour last summer, and that about half of the soundtrack’s concepts were developed while on the road.

“[During] The Damn Tour, we probably came up with 50 percent of it — the production, the hooks and ideas,” he said. “When we got back from the tour in September, that's when we were able to execute our ideas and reach out to people we respect and whatnot … kind of just put the stamp on it. So, I want to say those two months was the most vital on that tour, in terms of creative process.”

Black Panther: The Album includes appearances by everyone from SZA and the Weeknd to James Blake and Travis Scott to Vince Staples and Jorja Smith. The film’s score was helmed by Coogler’s previous collaborator Ludwig Göransson, who is best known for his work with Childish Gambino. This fact made many fans wonder: Why wasn’t Childish included on the soundtrack?

Though the “Redbone” artist didn’t receive a credit on Black Panther: The Album, it turns out he did contribute to the film’s sound. Rolling Stone’s film critic Peter Travers pointed this out in his recent review, in which he applauded the composer’s work as well as the various hip-hop artists who assisted him.

“[…] It's fair to mention Ludwig Goransson's rousing score with hip-hop song contributions from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Sam Dew, Vince Staples and Childish Gambino,” he wrote.

We’ll have to wait and see just how big Childish’s contribution was.

As we wait for the album to drop, you can check out some its previously released singles here. Black Panther: The Album is set to release this Friday (Feb. 9), one week before the film hits U.S. theaters. 

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Diddy Caught Cutting French Montana Out of Photo With Jay Z, Nas, and Kendrick Lamar

Noted king of the crops Diddy is back at it again. Following the Grammys, Diddy took to Twitter to post a picture of Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, and Nas, but Twitter sleuths noticed something was up with the picture pretty quickly. Diddy posted the photo in question with the caption, “3 Kings! GREAT FRIENDS! Love you guys. #BlackGreatness,” but French Montana put up something a little different on his Instagram.

Twitter figured out that not only had Diddy done another one of his legendary crops, he also straight-up photoshopped French Montana out of the photo.

 

STUDENT OF THE GAME !!! TRYNA PLAY FOREVER !!!!! ‼️

A post shared by French Montana (@frenchmontana) on Jan 29, 2018 at 7:03pm PST

Despite the two being friends, and Diddy not even appearing in the photo himself, Diddy posted the very clearly photoshopped image to his Twitter to the amusement of those who saw the original, unedited photo. Even better (or worse), the version Diddy posted cropped out Fabolous, too. This is definitely the most Diddy thing Diddy has done so far this year—a list that includes giving Ellen ping pong paddles with his face on them.

Previously, Diddy cropped Kylie and Kendall Jenner out of a photo much to the delight of everyone online. Diddy is close friends with the Kardashian klan, but as he's proven once again, nobody is safe when it comes to a good ol' Diddy crop. Now we've learned they're not even safe if they managed to make it into the center of the photo, either.

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Here Are the 2018 Grammy Award Winners

Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, and Bruno Mars lead this year’s Grammy nominees.

Kendrick’s Grand Return to the Grammys

This Sunday the Grammys will air its 60th award ceremony, and from the sounds of things this is not going to be one to miss. With a number of super talented performers to some of the best nominees in a while, the 60th Grammys promise to be one of the most exciting nights of the year so far.

Going into the ceremony, it's important to keep in mind just how groundbreaking this year's could be. We've put together a handy guide detailing some of the most interesting aspects of the upcoming show, detailing how rap could score big. In particular, it's worth noting that both Jay Z and Kendrick Lamar are both nominated for Album of the Year, and if either of them walk home with the award, it would mark the first time a hip-hop album has ever won in the marquee category.

There's plenty more to keep in mind as the show approaches, however, and check out our video above to see what you should be looking out for this Sunday.

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