Hit-Boy and Dom Kennedy Debate If West Coast Rap Gets Enough Credit on ‘Everyday Struggle’

On today's Everyday Struggle, Dom Kennedy and Hit-Boy join DJ Akademiks and Nadeska to talk about if West Coast rap gets enough credit, how artists stay relevant in 2017, and much more.

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A Last-Minute Guide to Watching the Solar Eclipse If You Forgot It Was Coming

By now, you’ve probably heard someone mention the upcoming solar eclipse. While many of us don't pay much attention to the astronomical developments of our time, this one, my friends, is the eclipse of the century. 

If you’re looking for a quick catch-up or a last-minute refresher, here’s everything you need to know.

What in the world is a solar eclipse?

It’s when the moon passes between the sun and earth, thus blocking part or all of the sun for a time.

How rare is this?

We haven’t been able to see one from the States since Feb. 1979. It’s even rarer for one to be visible from coast to coast. The last time that happened was June 1918. So, yeah—it’s a big deal.

How long will it last?

It will take approximately 90 minutes for the eclipse to cross through the country. No one will see the totality of the eclipse for longer than three minutes.

When is this thing going down?

Monday, beginning at approximately 10:15 a.m. on the West Coast, and ending at approximately 2:50 p.m. on the East Coast.

Will it look the same for all states?

Nope. Most states will experience a partial eclipse. Fourteen states will experience a total eclipse, where the entire sun is blocked by the moon for a time. These states are: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

How do I know what it will look like and what time it will come through my area?

Use this calculator, fam.

Am I definitely going to see it?

Not necessarily. If it’s rainy or cloudy, you could miss out. Sorry.

Anything I should know from a safety perspective?

Some have cautioned drivers to stay off the roads during the eclipse. At the very least, make sure you have your headlights on and, if you are going to be on the roads, follow this advice to be prepared. Don’t look at the sun during the eclipse, even if the moon is partially blocking it, as this can seriously damage your eyes. If you want to watch it, you need to buy some fancy eclipse sunglasses.

Can I watch it online?

Yes you can, my Millennial friend. NASA will have a livestream and even an eclipse pre-show, which begins at noon EST Monday. Follow the stream here.

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Prodigy’s Official Cause of Death Revealed

Prodigy, the legendary hip-hop figure and one half of Mobb Deep, passed away at the age of 42 on June 20. At the time, it was reported that he had died from complications related to his lifelong battle with sickle-cell anemia.

Now we have an official cause of death: accidental choking. Prodigy was indeed hospitalized to receive treatment for sickle-cell anemia, and he died while in the Las Vegas hospital by choking on an egg, as first reported by TMZ.

The Clark County Medical Examiner announced its determination after completing an investigation. The Clark County Coroner’s office confirmed to Complex that “cause of death was choking and the manner was accident.”

Prodigy's sickle-cell had flared up after a performance in the severe West Coast heat of Las Vegas. Prodigy was performing on the Art of Rap Tour with Havoc, Ghostface Killah, KRS-One, Onyx, and Ice-T.

Prodigy and Havoc met in high school in Manhattan and originally chose the name “Poetical Prophets” before shifting to Mobb Deep. Their second album, The Infamous, which dropped in 1995, was their breakthrough.

They released eight studio albums together and are one of the most critically acclaimed groups in hip-hop history.

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The Game: Meek Mill and Safaree Should Fight One-on-One

Should Meek Mill and Safaree Samuels throw down? The Game is all for it.

Following BET’s Celebrity Basketball Game on Saturday, TMZ caught up with The Game to get his thoughts about the beef between Meek and Safaree. Though the West Coast rapper said he wants to stay out of the feud, he fully supported a one-on-one fight between Nicki Minaj’s exes.

“Why not meet up and fight one-on-one? You know what I’m saying? It’s only fair,” he said. The cameraman went on to ask The Game how he thinks the brawl should go down. Should it go down in the streets? Or a proper boxer ring?

“However they want to do it, man. Let’s get it done,” The Game said.

The beef between Meek and Safaree intensified this weekend during DJ Khaled's pre-BET Awards party in West Hollywood. Footage from that night shows Safaree getting jumped in the street as Meek looks on. Shortly after the incident, the Love & Hip Hop star posted his own video, claiming Meek and his crew were behind the attack.

“Saw Meek, he hopped out [of his car], then I just got snuffed,” he says. “Ni**as jumped me […] Meek, you are the biggest pussy on this planet. You saw me, you ain't do shit, you had your ni**as jump me. One-on-one you can't fuck with me, so that's why you had to do that.”

If Safaree does want to take on Meek, he might have to wait in line. Though The Game said he wasn’t getting involved in this situation, it seems he has his own score to settle with the Philadelphia rapper. The two have been trading shots for a while now—both on social media and in records. There was also that time The Game challenged Meek to a fight. Obviously, that match never happened, but, as pointed out by Baller Alert, The Game is still up for it:

 

Ballerific Comment Creepin —- 🌾👀🌾 #thegame #commentcreepin

A post shared by Baller Alert (@balleralert) on Jun 24, 2017 at 10:44am PDT

 

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How Rhude, One of the Best L.A. Brands, Started With a Single T-Shirt

In 2012, Rhuigi Villasenor designed a black/white paisley bandana T-shirt. “It was a nod to West Coast culture,” says the 25-year-old L.A.-based designer. It was the very first thing he created for Rhude, the brand he founded a year later, and the piece that helped catapult the label.

Kendrick [Lamar] wanted the T-shirt,” says Villasenor. “Snoop [Dogg] was like, ‘I need about 100 of those.’”

Villasenor had no intention of selling the T-shirt at first. “I didn’t want anyone else to have my look,” he says. But he eventually gave it to Lamar, who wore black and red versions to the BET Awards. “It was beautiful,” he says. “It changed my life.”

Kendrick Lamar Rhude Bandana tee
Kendrick Lamar wearing Rhude Black Bandana T-shirt. (Image via Getty)

At the encouragement of his friends Chris Stamp and Guillermo Andrade, designers of Stampd and 424, respectively, Villasenor also made the bandana T-shirt available to the public. “Chris was like, ‘If you don’t make the shirt, I will,’” Villasenor says with a laugh. “I was like, ‘Oh shit! I gotta make this.’” Soon, other brands were making knock-offs of his design.

Since then, Rhude has built a solid fanbase. The brand, which has expanded from tees to a full line, is one of the best men’s labels around. It’s been worn by celebrities—Big Sean, ASAP Rocky, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, Offset, Future, Bella Hadid—and sold at dozens of the best retailers, such as Barneys, SSENSE, Patron of the New, 424, and Union.

Big Sean Wearing Rhude Peace Camo Hoodie
Big Sean wearing Rhude Peace Camo hoodie. (Image via Getty)

Born in Manila, Philippines, Villasenor was always interested in clothing but a career in fashion didn’t seem viable. His father, who was an architect, wanted him to work in the medical field. “The arts is something they frown upon in the Filipino culture,” he explains. “So I didn’t think about that at all.”

But during his senior year of high school, he started working with TISA, the clothing label by producer and Kanye West collaborator Taz Arnold, helping in any way he could. (He met Arnold at one of TISA’s parties in L.A.) “I was consulting, I did videos and campaigns,” he says. He wasn’t being paid, but he considered the experience valuable. “At the time, I thought TISA was the first driving force in L.A. ever. Prices were increasing, and kids were purchasing. After [TISA], it was like a domino effect. You couldn’t see kids spend just $20 on a T-shirt anymore.”

Kendrick Lamar Rhude Bandana tee
Image via Getty

From there, he began taking pattern making classes and assisting stylists for guys like Big Sean. At 19, he interned for British menswear designer Shaun Samson. “At the time, [Comme des Garcons designer] Rei Kawakubo had just said he was an influential designer so I was like, ‘Damn. If Rei Kawakubo is calling him that then I gotta pay attention,” he says. “Shaun taught me so much about design.”

Growing up, his family had very little money and he couldn’t afford the clothes he wanted to wear. So, he decided to make his own. “It was hard to get fresh,” he says. “You had to create your own, start boosting, or wear bootleg. I wasn’t about to be the kid that wore bootleg.” In 2013, he launched Rhude.

Rhude Fall/Winter 2017
Rhude's Fall/Winter 2017 “Motorpsycho” Collection. (Image via Rhude)

Rhude borrows from Villasenor’s personal stories and relationships. The moniker itself honors his family’s tradition of names that start with “Rh.” Many of the collections are extensions of his emotions and experiences. The Spring 2016 “Sugarland” collection—ripped jeans, tees with cigarette burns, and logo-heavy jackets—was inspired by a breakup with a girl he spent a lot of time with in Texas. “I envisioned a kid who was trying to break out of a small city but didn’t really know how to find a way out,” he explains. “The kid ends up joining the military, comes back with PTSD, and is lost.” The theme bleeds into Rhude’s Spring/Summer 2017 “Electric Eather” and Fall/Winter 2017 “Motorpsycho” collections. “‘Electric Earth’ would be the recover from that breakup,” says Villasenor. “‘Motorpsycho would be the, ‘I’m done. I’m hanging out.’ It’s like I’m writing volumes.”

Rhude Spring 2016
Rhude's Spring 2016 “Sugarland” Collection. (Image via Rhude)

Rhude is still a relatively small operation, with only a staff of six full-time employees. But Villasenor has big plans for his brand. In a few weeks, he’ll release Rhude’s trendy track pants, which ASAP Rocky has already been seen wearing. Later this year, he’ll expand the brand to include womenswear and footwear, as well as a possible collaboration with Virgil Abloh’s Off-White label. “Virgil and I are figuring that out,” he says. “That Off-White x Rhude.” (The pair recently made tie-dye hoodies for friends and family only.) He hopes to someday open a flagship store in Sugar Land, Texas, but one more similar to the Prada Marfa, a permanently installed sculpture by artists Elmgreen and Dragset also in Texas, than a traditional brick and mortar.

“I’m about to take over the world,” he says.

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Prodigy Beefed With All Your Favorite Rappers, and Always Held His Own

Albert “Prodigy” Johnson, whose death from complications from sickle cell anemia was confirmed Tuesday afternoon, was a true rap legend. As a part of the duo Mobb Deep with Kejuan “Havoc” Muchita, and on his own (especially when partnering with producer Daniel “The Alchemist” Maman), P made classic music that will stand the test of time.

But almost as much as writing great rhymes, Prodigy loved a good rap beef. His career was filled with battles against many of the greatest rappers of all time, and he usually gave as good as he got.

Here is a by-no-means-definitive list of some of P's greatest rap beefs.

Tha Dogg Pound and 2Pac

In his 2011 memoir My Infamous Life, Prodigy traces his beef with nearly the entire West Coast to one video. He says that the clip for Tha Dogg Pound's collaboration with Snoop Dogg, “New York, New York,” which featured the rappers blown up to Godzilla size, walking through NYC wreaking havoc, was something he took personally.

So Mobb Deep teamed up with Capone-N-Noreaga and made “L.A., L.A.” in retaliation. As the East-West rivalry began to heat up, 2Pac, newly signed to Death Row, decided to get involved. 'Pac went at nearly everybody—Big, Nas, Jay Z, and Mobb Deep, plus a few more people for good measure—on “Hit 'Em Up.”

“Don't one of you niggas got sickle cell or something?” Pac teased on the track. “You fuck around with me, you about to have a seizure or a heart attack.”

P struck back immediately. In his book, he says that the very same day he first heard “Hit 'Em Up,” he went to the studio and recorded the vicious “Drop a Gem on 'Em.”

Sadly, just a few weeks later, 'Pac was killed.

Keith Murray and Def Squad

On the now-famous (and oft-parodied) monologue “The Infamous Prelude,” Prodigy took shots at (nameless) rappers who talk about “how much weed you smoke” and “space shit.”

One rapper who did just that, Keith Murray of Def Squad, felt some type of way. Eventually, they squashed the beef at a video shoot. That is, until Prodigy ignited it again by rhyming about “def kids feeling guilty 'bout the space shit” on LL Cool J's “I Shot Ya”—a record on which Murray appeared as well. 

At that point, Murray got into a fight with P outside NYC nightclub the Tunnel (“Keith Murray and his whole clique/Yeah, you snuffed me in front of the cops, that's bullshit,” Prodigy recalled on “In the Long Run”). The two would continue trading disses back and forth for years.

Jay Z

The “New York, New York” video actually started a second major beef in Prodigy's career. Jay made a passing reference to the clip on his 1998 song “Money, Cash, Hoes”: “It's like New York's been soft ever since Snoop came through and crushed the building.”

It was a line Prodigy took public exception to. “Jay was nowhere to be found when that drama popped off between Mobb Deep, Dogg Pound, Pac, and Biggie,” P told The Source. “That was our little personal beef, not a coastal war… so Jay Z is a bitch-ass nigga for making that quote in his lyrics.”

Tensions that had been stewing for years (there were, P claimed, subliminals thrown back and forth on “Trife Life” and “Where I'm From”) exploded in 2001 when Hov debuted his Mobb Deep diss “Takeover” live at Summer Jam, and included the now-infamous picture of a young Prodigy at his grandmother's dance school. 

“I did like the tactic that Jay used,” Prodigy said years later, about the photo displayed on the Summer Jam screen. “That was pretty slick.” He fired back with “Crawlin'”—and, at least according to his memoir, by nearly beating Jay up at Diddy's restaurant, Justin's

Nas

On “Destroy and Rebuild,” released in 2001, Nas took some shots at P, but in a very Nas-like way: “Prodigy, I got love for you,” he says on the song's outro. “Just get them unloyal niggas from out your circle.” Prodigy claimed in his book that Nas rapped this because “he was mad at me for doing a song with Cormega on which Mega took shots at Nas in his verse.”

But there was actually another, deeper level. P said in an interview on Vlad TV that some of Nas' Queensbridge friends were upset that Prodigy was repping their hood even though he wasn't originally from there. 

“I can't even really be mad at Nas, because these is the people he grew up with,” P said. “I had to distance myself from them, because [Nas is] standing next to someone who's threatening my life… that's how it got kind of crazy.” Nas and P reconciled when Prodigy returned home from prison in 2011.

Saigon and Tru Life

To hear Saigon tell it, the origin of this beef comes from Prodigy double-dipping. 

“Prodigy stole $15,000 from Tru Life. Not stole it, but he did a verse for him, and went and did the same verse and took the money, and then went and did the same verse on some other shit,” Sai told This Is 50. “Tru was like, 'Aight, give me another verse.' Son kept ducking.”

Tru Life and Mobb had serious issues from then on, which were documented in the film Beef. Tru claims he and his crew ran into a Mobb studio session with guns and beat some people up.

Because Tru Life and Saigon were close, Sai got dragged in as things escalated. Not helping matters was an interview where P said he didn't like Saigon—something Saigon saw and promised retaliation. It all culminated in a fight between Mobb Deep and Sai at SOBs in the fall of 2007. The two would continue to snipe at each other well into 2011.

As for Tru, he and Prodigy would finally reconcile in 2016.

Crooked I

While incarcerated, P was still keeping up to date on what was going on in hip-hop. Vibe conducted a poll about the best rapper alive in 2008, and Prodigy was not happy with the results. “Vibe says 920,000 people voted for it,” he wrote in a letter. “I would personally bitch slap all 920,000 of these voters if given the opportunity. Who in the fuck picked Crooked I, Flo Rida, and Rich Boy? How did Vibe approve this?”

Crooked responded by challenging Prodigy to a fight.

Havoc

P's propensity for feuds even extended to his own Mobb Deep collaborator, Havoc. In the spring of 2012, Havoc sent out a bunch of strange tweets attacking his partner in rhyme. He went as far as accusing P of having a homosexual relationship while locked up. “”I got n***as in the jail system to back up that prodigy was fucking homes in jail,” he wrote. 

Havoc then released a statement saying his phone was stolen. But that was proven to be a lie when audio of Havoc going at P was leaked to the Breakfast Club. The group went on temporary hiatus, but reunited the following year.

But today, to mark his passing, it's been all love from the rap world. Prodigy is a legend and he will be missed. 

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Prodigy of Mobb Deep Dead at 42

Prodigy, one half of the iconic rap duo Mobb Deep, has passed away at age 42.

The rapper's publicist released a statement on his death, citing complications stemming from his lifelong battle with sickle cell anemia.

It is with extreme sadness and disbelief that we confirm the death of our dear friend Albert Johnson, better known to millions of fans as Prodigy of legendary NY rap duo Mobb Deep. Prodigy was hospitalized a few days ago in Vegas after a Mobb Deep performance for complications caused by a sickle cell anemia crisis. As most of his fans know, Prodigy battled the disease since birth. The exact causes of death have yet to be determined. We would like to thank everyone for respecting the family's privacy at this time.

Several prominent members of the Queens hip-hop community took to social media to share the news—and their condolences—on Tuesday afternoon, with Nas and his younger brother Jungle sharing posts on Instagram within minutes of one another.

 

🙏🏾 QB RIP King P

A post shared by Nasir Jones (@nas) on Jun 20, 2017 at 10:33am PDT

 

#RIP

A post shared by Jungleqb (@jungleqb) on Jun 20, 2017 at 10:42am PDT

Best known by the average fan as one half of the group responsible for the classic rap record, “Shook Ones Pt. II,” Prodigy was part of countless New York posse cuts and a key figure in the “golden age” of rap in the mid-90s. Thanks to the strength of beloved albums like The Infamous and Hell on Earth, Mobb Deep was at the forefront of New York hip-hop during its most prominent era, standing alongside giants like Nas, the Notorious B.I.G., Wu Tang Clan, and others. 

As part of the city's vanguard, Prodigy was a key figure in the East Coast vs. West Coast battle that overtook hip-hop for the better part of a decade. Along with his partner Havoc, he joined Capone-N-Noreaga and Tragedy Khadafi in the West Coast diss track, “L.A. L.A.,” released just shortly before 2Pac was released from prison. Prodigy's battle with sickle cell anemia later became public knowledge after it was brought up by 2Pac multiple times during their war of words, most notably on “Hit 'Em Up.”

The rapper was forced into a brief hiatus from music due to a stint in prison relating to a gun-possession charge. He would go on to release an autobiography, My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep's Prodigy, before immersing himself in hip-hop once again. More recently, he was responsible for writing a prison cookbook titled Commissary Kitchenin which he shared his path to staying healthy while being behind bars. The book has since been banned in all prisons within the state of California. 

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Joe Budden and DJ Akademiks Debate If 2Pac Is Overrated

On today's Everyday Struggle, Joe Budden, DJ Akademiks, and Nadeska go through some quick news hits, including Tory Lanez's next album, Travis Scott losing money, Stevie J fuckery, and Freddie Gibbs still dissing Jeezy all these years later. Additionally, the crew talk about 2 Chainz's “DNA” freestyle and if the art of spitting off the dome has died in hip-hop. Later, Budden and Akademiks dive into some West Coast topics—like if 2Pac is overrated—before announcing that the show will be filming in Los Angeles next week! To wrap, the crew answer some fan questions from Twitter. 

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The Craziest NBA Finals Game Ever Just Delayed the Inevitable

CLEVELAND — It started off with a crazy 49-point first quarter from the Cavs, who finished with an even crazier 86 points at halftime. That was topped by the craziest third quarter the NBA Finals has ever seen when a series worth of soap opera like drama was squeezed into 12 minutes. 

Game 4 of the NBA Finals was­ wild, ridiculous, and absurd. We saw Cleveland go bonkers on offense in the first half, the refs call 51 fouls, the seemingly random rescinding of a technical on Draymond Green, and some extracurricular activities from superstars and role players alike that will be dissected for the next two days. When it was all said and done, the Cavs were 137-116 winners and extended the series at least one more game with a physical effort we hadn’t seen through the series' first three contests.  

“We took it to them first and that was very telling for the rest of the game,” Kevin Love said.

So here we are again. The Warriors are up 3-1 and headed back to the West Coast. And while we can draw as many parallels as we want to last year’s historic NBA Finals, the Cavs extending the series only feels like we’re delaying the inevitable this time around.

But before we get to that, Cleveland should be commended for preventing the Warriors from becoming the only team in NBA history to go 16-0 in the postseason. Their chance to do that was pretty much over early Friday as the Cavs blitzed Golden State for an NBA Finals record 49 points in the first quarter and an NBA Playoffs record 86 points after two. And they kept shooting lights out the rest of the way. Cleveland finished shooting 52.9 percent from the field and made an NBA Finals record 24 3-pointers. Through the first three games of the series, Cleveland had only made 31 threes.

Quicken Loans Arena was rocking as the Cavs treated their fans to a rollicking performance led by Kyrie Irving’s 40 points. LeBron James recorded his 9th NBA Finals triple-double, surpassing Magic Johnson for the all-time mark, going for 31, 11, and 10 while Love added 23 and J.R, Smith contributed 15.

“We played a desperate team at home and they came out and handed it to us. Simple as that.”

It was a feel good night for the Cavs and their fans, for sure. The crowd was hyped from the start and the Cavs, who were ripe to be blown out following Game 3’s devastating loss, fed off their energy. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said there was no special pregame speech. He liked his squad’s attitude during the morning’s shootaround. “Guys were upbeat. No hanging heads,” he said. Maybe the Warriors were too caught up in chasing history? 

“I don’t think there was any thoughts or concerns about history,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We played a desperate team at home and they came out and handed it to us. Simple as that.”

This one will be remembered for the truly bizarre third quarter. We had LeBron’s self-pass off the backboard for a dunk that will go down as one of the Finals’ most memorable plays. Later on, the King and Kevin Durant were jawing at each other and drew duel techs. “We weren't coming to blows, we were just talking,” Durant said. A little over a minute after that, Green was tossed for earning a second technical before he wasn’t. The refs ended up giving it to Steve Kerr instead. Finally, we saw Groingate v. 2017 when it looked like Zaza Pachulia took a swipe at Iman Shumpert’s sensitive area during a scrum for a loose ball.

NBA conspiracy theory junkies will have a field day dissecting that and all the fouls called by the refs in Cleveland's favor, especially in the first quarter. With the Finals enjoying some of their highest ratings in years, we all know the league really wants it to extend as long as possible and early on the zebras seemingly did their part. The Cavs went to the free throw line 22 times in the first 12 minutes. Somewhere in the bowels of Quicken Loans Arena, or back in New York—wherever he was—it was like commissioner Adam Silver was pulling all the right strings to at least extend the Finals to five games.

LeBron Draymond KD Zaza NBA Finals Game 4 2017
Image via USA Today Sports/Ken Blaze

But does this really change anything? Has momentum swung back in the Cavs favor? The Cavs deserve credit for not rolling over and letting the Warriors celebrate a title on their floor. They were gritty, gutty, and grimy, playing physical for the first time all series and roughing up the Warriors. But let’s be real here: the Warriors were their own worst enemy in Game 4. Featuring a ton of isolation and practically none of their signature run and gun offense or precision ball movement, the second half saw the Warriors brick a ton threes and settle for low percentage long twos. Golden State finished shooting 28.2 percent from beyond the arc, well below their 39.6 percent average this postseason. Yes, the Cavs are the second best team in the league and getting one of the Warriors shouldn’t come as a surprise. But the Dubs were due for a dud.

“It was one of those nights where we didn’t have anything clicking,” Steph Curry said

The “Cavs in 7’ chant that broke near the end of the game was cute, an ode to the tweet JR Smith claims he didn’t send out following Game 3. But the chances the Cavs faithful see their team play again in person are slim to none. The Warriors were garbage in Game 4, a hot mess on offense, and now they’re headed home where they have lost just once in their last 16 games. They’ve been the superior team three out of four games. They were the superior team during the regular season and during their run to the Finals. They have a potential championship clinching Game 5 Monday in Oracle Arena where they trounced Cleveland in the first two games of the series and once back in January. Draymond won't be suspended for Game 5 like last year. And most importantly they still have more firepower and more superstars than the Cavs, starting with the biggest difference maker, KD.

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That Time 2Pac and His Entourage Allegedly Pulled Guns on a High School Football Team

Just hours before 2Pac was gunned down in Las Vegas, a group of teenage fans had a scary, and potentially deadly, run-in with the West Coast rapper. It was a false alarm that involved Glocks, a football game, and In-N-Out Burger.

According to a Jeff Pearlman story published by the Bleacher Report, a group of Long Beach Polytechnic High School students came across the legendary artist after losing a football game in Vegas. While traveling back to their hometown, the players and coaches stopped in Barstow, California, to get a bite at In-N-Out. It was there that one of the students spotted Pac with his entourage.

“Yo, it’s Pac!” Robert Hollie, the team’s backup quarterback said while looking out a bus window. “It’s Tupac! It’s Tupac.”

As we now know, the rapper was one his way to Vegas to see “The Championship: Part II” boxing match featuring Mike Tyson and Bruce Seldon. Pac was fatally shot shortly after the event.

Once the students spotted the rapper, several of them decided to approach him and crew, which included members of the Mob Piru gang. Eyewitnesses said Pac as speaking loudly with his back turned to the students, but once he heard the footsteps approaching, he spun around and two of his crew members pulled guns on the high schoolers.

“Bloods, you can’t be walking up on me like that!” Tupac reportedly shouted. “You don’t know me like that!”

Larry Croom, one of the Poly students who went on to play for the NFL, recalled the incident: “He was extremely paranoid. He started cursing—he was irate. We were just kids, so it was definitely an overreaction.”

Once Pac realized they were just kids, he immediately calmed down and began engaging:

“Where are all y’all little niggas from?” he asked.

“We’re from Long Beach,” Hollie replied.

“Oh, so y’all know my homie Snoop?” Tupac said.

A few nodded. They did indeed.

Everyone seemed to take a deep breath. The Glocks were put away.

The players reportedly spoke to rapper for about five minutes; however, some kids left the situation with a bad taste in their mouth. After loading on the bus, several of the students yelled obscenities at Pac as the bus pulled out of the parking lot.

“There was one guy coming on our bus, and I won’t give up his name,” Croom said. “But he screamed, 'That’s why you got shot! And the next time I hope you die!'”

Several hours later, Pac was shot four times outside the MGM Grand Arena. He died from the injuries nearly a week later.

The tragedy, of course, had a huge effect on the Long Beach Poly football team.

“You see someone, then he’s dead,” says Pisith Vunn, a Long Beach Poly running back. “That’s a lot for a young mind.”

You can (and definitely should) read the full story here

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