2017 JULY POWER RANKINGS: RIP PRODIGY EDITION

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Prodigy is dead. Both the man and the band that did that “smack my bitch up” song, when you really think about it. But SPECIFICALLY we are going to focus on the death of Prodigy the man, as I still ain’t over that shit. And also WHAT CAN I DO, influential musical people keep dying…..yanno people that are in music….. so I am forced to keep cranking out these Power Rankings interspersed with Youtube videos that will slowly get taken down over the coming months. Mobb Deep was a large influence on my entire high school persona, and Prodigy’s H.N.I.C. solo album was pretty fucking solid in itself. Can’t say I copped parts 2 or 3 but STILL. Let’s discuss the top teams in descending order while also shouting out some of my favorite Mobb Deep/Prodigy songs. Not sure I have it in me to rank Mobb Deep songs for I am a fan of them all so whatever we are just gonna throw them in here in somewhat of an order but maybe in no particular order. I can pretty definitively rank the teams in order right now but Mobb Deep songs I just don’t know, so this list will just be a random list. WE ARE DOING IT. Here we go…..

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1- Manchester MooniniteZ (8-2-3) – MY WOULD YOU LOOK AT THIS, the Manchester MooniniteZ are sitting here holding onto the #1 seed with 5 weeks to go. I cannot say I am surprised but I can say fuck all y’all, is what I can say. The MooniniteZ got here on the back of a 6-1-1 division record that has already clinched itself as the best division record in the league in 2017, and by being the only team that hasn’t lost in the past 7 weeks (although the ties of late have been bothersome), and also by just some solid across the board production:  Runs 2nd, Triples 3rd, HRs t-2nd, RBIs 3rd, SBs 4th, OBP 2nd, Strikeouts 1st, Wins 2nd, Saves 3rd. HRs have primarily been supplied by the likes of Joey Votto, Edwin Encarnacion, and Nolan Arenado while Keon Broxton has been a nice source of both power and speed (14 HRs, 15 SBs), albeit at the expense of OBP to an extent (.312 OBP). The biggest buggaboo for this squad REMAINS THE SAME for like the third fucking year running:  Quality Starts, LAST. I don’t even get it anymore, as this year we are first in Ws but still can’t get a week of like 5+ QS to save our lives. If I were to turn this into some sort of Trade Deadline Preview I might suggest this as an area the MooniniteZ might look to improve HOWEVER there will be an entire goddamned Trade Deadline Preview article, so that kind of talk will be kept to a minimum here. The MooniniteZ will face their former collaborator and the current #2 seed Point Loma X-Rayz in Week 14, SURE TO BE A GOOD ONE and PROBABLY CONTAINING LOTS OF SPOT STARTS THAT WILL FUCK UP THESE PITCHING RANKING FOREVER FORWARD. Also there’s a decent chance the #1 seed is on the line here.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #1:  “Shook Ones Pt. II” 

Probably the perfect Mobb Deep song, and the first installment in a series of PERFECT beats used by the Mobb.  Goddamned if they don’t have good beats. You can see why Eminem used it in his dumb movie’s climactic scene. I am already realizing I should have had Brian guest spot here to analyze lyrical content but he is off blowing Mickey Mouse or whatever so we are just going to get scant analysis of songs and beats from me and we are going to like it. But yea Shook Ones Pt. II is way better than Part I when usually you should aim for the other way around.

UPDATE:  TURNS OUT after I made this list and returned to it I found this shit online where they talk about alotta these songs as part of some “Prodigy’s 25 most essential songs” thing (http://www.complex.com/music/2011/05/prodigy-25-essentials/temperatures-rising) from 2011, and this article is pretty sick, so I am going to just copy paste their shit whenever possible. This post just got a lot longer folks….

Prodigy: “I remember that clearly. We wrote that in the crib high on drugs. [Laughs.] Probably weed, probably was some dust in there, mad 40s, getting twisted. That was one of the first ones where we were like, ‘Whoa. This shit is ill. This shit sounds crazy right here. This is some other shit right here son. This ain’t normal.’ So we knew we was making some shit with that song. We were in the crib and we were spitting it to each other like, ‘Yo, this shit is some other shit right here son.’

“It was just a remix of the first [‘Shook Ones’]. The first song we had made was cool. Then we made this new beat and I think the chorus was similar. We probably didn’t even intend for it to be a remix, but the chorus was probably similar. It was probably like Matty C and them niggas that was like, ‘Y’all should call this ‘Shook Ones Pt. II.’ So that’s why we did that shit.

“We had a lot of songs. When we first signed to Loud we had a 20-song demo. So all of those songs we wanted to put on the album. But we started making new ones, and through process of elimination, we wanted all the new ones. We didn’t like the old ones no more. [Laughs.]

“We made that beat at my crib in Long Island. Hav found the sample. Hav was down there fucking with the records, he was like, ‘Listen to this.’ I was like, ‘That shit sounds ill right there.’ He did that and then we were fucking with the bass and the drums together. I seen that whole shit where they found the Herbie Hancock shit. That’s crazy. I didn’t know it was a mystery or that it was that serious to people. They were really trying to figure out where that came from.”

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2- Point Loma X-Rayz (7-5-1) – MY GUYYYYY coming in at #2, in my humble opinion, despite just having a 5 week win streak snapped at the hands of a lower-ranked team yet to be discussed. Helping to push back at the notion that either of us needs the other to win. We can win just fine on our own, and the fact is winning the chip in this league remains very difficult, and until one of you can sniff winning even TWO in a row (Lobman gave it a solid try last year I will give him that) you haters can just keep hatin’/get fucked. BUT WHERE WAS I? The X-Rayz are once again just getting it done, with their sights set on a 3rd straight year of a top 3 regular season finish, and they are once again doing it in their own unique speed-centric way:  Stolen Bases 1st, Triples 1st….. BUT ALSO Runs 3rd, QS t-2nd, ERA 2nd. The unexplainable Jason Vargas and the PUTTIN’ IT ALL TOGETHER Robbie Ray deserve some recognition for their pitching exploits and so uhhh, here it is. Probably the biggest surprise here is that for perhaps the first time in many moons we are this deep into the season and the Odom squad is not last in HRs, they are in fact NINTH (however 10th RBIs, 9th OBP).  As for the causes of this (relative to previous seasons) HR EXPLOSION outta Point Loma, credit due to Eric Thames and Daniel Murphy and Chris Davis. Let’s also just give credit to Jose Ramirez for being an all-around stud, he’s got a few dongs of his own cuz he’s got a few everything of his own. The speed kills strategy has brought success to this franchise in the past and they are once again utilizing it this year, however they have also managed to string together some impressive pitching weeks which might end up giving them jusstttt enough team balance to overcome the power (by design) and OBP (probably not by design) flaws. They’ll face their TOUGHEST TEST YET when they battle the #1 seed (me) in Week 14.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #2:  “Survival Of The Fittest”

“Survival Of The Fittest” AGAIN just a fantastic goddamned beat. It is becoming clear to me that I may just like their use of the piano more than their actual beats per se BUT whatfuckingever, excellent piano work and excellent intro.  “No doubt indeed, without weed” INDEED. RIP Prodigy.

Prodigy: “We made that in Hav’s crib, in Queensbridge. We’d make the beats in Hav’s crib [but lay vocals in the studio]. Or sometimes, we’d make the beat in the crib, write half of the song in the crib, then go to the studio and finish it. That was one of the ones where Hav ain’t really like the beat. He was about to erase that shit. There’s a lot of joints like that, where he was about to trash them and we had to change his mind. I was out somewhere on the block chilling probably, I came in the crib, and Hav had the beat playing.

“I was like, ‘Damn. What the fuck is this?’ He’s like, ‘It’s some bullshit, I’m about to fucking scratch this shit and do another one.’ I was like, ‘Nah, don’t scratch that nigga, hold up. Let niggas hear this.’ And I called niggas over like, ‘Yo, listen to this fucking beat this nigga just made.’ And everybody was like, ‘Yo, that shit is crazy.’ Then we both just started writing rhymes to it and it came out good. We knocked that out all in one day. So, I had to save that one.

“Hav’s pops was a DJ, so Hav had a lot of records from the ‘70s and the ‘80s. We both had a good record collection. Hav was already listening to records before I met him. He was trying to sample on a cassette player, hit record, pause, record, and pause, and making the beats like that. When he met me, we bought the equipment. That’s when he started to really get into making beats. I actually showed him how to sample, how to do this, and how to sequence the shit. Once he got the hang of it he just went in and started going crazy.”

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3- River City Bad Dudes (7-5-1) – River City once again finds itself within striking distance of a bye, one year removed from scratching and clawing their way into yet another postseason as the #6 seed. Andddd they can be extremely dangerous when they get to the postseason as we have seen time and time again, and that is about the nicest thing I want to say about this franchise. I would also add that they have done a pretty good job of weathering some REALLY POOR PLAY by some guys that they expected to be studs in 2017 (Rougned Odor, Manny Machado), with the help of some other backup studs they just had laying around (Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton) but also through some pretty respectable pitching numbers. As I shall now demonstrate thusly:  Strikeouts 2nd, QS t-2nd, CGs t-3rd, Wins 3rd, Saves 1st, ERA 3rd. All solid numbers that have helped keep them in matchups even when their offense has sometimes disappointed, as I shall now demonstrate thusly:  Runs 7th, Triples t-7th, OBP 7th, SBs 9th. But I mean also Doubles 1st, HRs 5th, RBIs 4th. Basically this paints the picture of a team that has found their way to win even though it hasn’t received the strongest of performances from some of its cornerstones. If those slumping sluggers can turn things around in the 2nd half of the season this team can get scary in a hurry, but for now they haven’t so fuck them. These pieces of shit take on Rojo’s Renegade Force in Week 14.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #3:  “Quiet Storm”

“Quiet Storm” perhaps Mobb Deep’s most well-known uhhh non-Shook Ones Pt. II song, IF I HAD TO GUESS. Murda Muzik was actually the first Mobb Deep CD I ever possessed, I believe I made my mother purchase it for me for Easter or some shit. So Quiet Storm stood out right away and then I had to go back catalog a bit to learn about The Infamous and Hell On Earth and whatnot. Rap sucks now, is my point.

Prodigy: “Hav was in the studio all day and I came late at night and these niggas was making a beat. Hav had the old Melly Mel song ‘White Lines’ sampled. After he laid the drum pattern, he added the piano—the piano is what puts that whole beat together—and then him and Noyd were like, ‘Yo, we going to pick up shorties.’ I was like, ‘Y’all niggas leaving? Let’s do this song, this shit is fire right here.’ They like, ‘Nah, we’ll be right back.’

“They bounced and I’m in the studio dolo. I’m like, ‘Fuck it. I’m going in on this beat right now.’ I sat there and wrote the whole song in like an hour and I recorded it. I was like, ‘I’m not leaving any room for anyone else to get on this shit, this is too ill.’ I was already working on my solo album so I was like, ‘Gimme this shit. I’m taking this beat. This is for my album nigga.’ [Laughs.] That was my whole mentality.

“I was coming clean like, ‘I spent too many nights, sniffing coke, getting right/Wasting my life, now I’m trying to make things right,’ because that’s how I was living. I felt like I had cleaned my life at that time. I wasn’t using anything, no drugs, no alcohol. I was living correctly and trying to make things right.

 

“I recorded that shit and these niggas never came back to the studio. I bounced and played it for niggas the next day and they were like, ‘That’s cool.’ They didn’t understand or see the power of that record. I called DJ Clue and was like, ‘Son, I got this song that I want you to put on a mixtape.’ Clue put it on every single mixtape that he put out that year. Usually a DJ will put it on one mixtape, but he kept putting it on all his mixtapes.

“Then, we were in the Tunnel—because that was our club, every Sunday we were there—and Clue is DJing. All of a sudden he threw on ‘Quiet Storm’—it was called ‘White Lines’ at the time because I didn’t even have a title for it. This shit ain’t mixed, it ain’t mastered, it sounds like shit, but he played it in the club and people were actually dancing to it. I guess they knew it from the mixtapes.

“I’m bugging off of this shit because I ain’t never seen some shit like that before. You don’t play a song in the club unless it’s a single, it’s getting radio play, unless people know that shit. This nigga played the song from a mixtape in the Tunnel nigga. The Tunnel holds like four thousand people. That’s not somewhere where you fuck around and play a song that niggas are probably not going to like.

“I’m looking at people’s reaction to it and they dancing and having a good time. We go back to the Tunnel, he plays it again. He starts playing it every Sunday or whoever is filling in, they’re playing it too. And from there the song just took off. After he started playing it in the Tunnel they started playing it on the radio and this is the unmixed version. This is for a year straight before we actually dropped it as a single.”

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4- Barnegat Banana Slugs (7-5-1) – The SCRAPPY Banana Slugs of Barnegat have carved out a nice position in the playoff race despite their fair share of injuries (and a suspension) and for that they deserve respect. I will now respectfully point out that some combination of those injuries and ineffectiveness has lead to some reallllly ugly numbers on offense:  Runs 8th, Doubles 8th, HRs 10th, RBIs 9th, SBs 8th. Tough positioning to find yourself in for the power cats when you don’t boast the speedsters to make up for it in other areas; the Slugs may be the only team in the league that fails to place in the top 5 in any offensive category (WHAT am I saying, they are probably one of two teams). Helping to mitigate that damage, however, is some success in some pitching cats: Strikeouts 4th, CGs t-3rd, Saves 2nd, Holds 3rd, although even those cats have not been without their warts. BEEN A GRIND is what  you might say, but even with the struggles and the injuries and the CHEATING of Starling Marte Barnegat has themselves squarely positioned for a playoff berth in 2017 and could even find their way into a bye IMPRESSIVE WORK. Credit Max Scherzer and Luis Severino for being the aces of the staff, credit Cody Allen and Whoever The Orioles Have At Closer At Any Given Time for helping out in the Saves and Strikeouts cats, credit Jake Lamb and Ryan Zimmerman and Jonathon Schoop and characters like that for helping keep the offense’s head above water. This is a team that is not without its imperfections but also a team that can round into form at the right time. Also credit Trevor Story for trying to DROWNED the entire offense. The Barnegat Banana Slugs take on last year’s champs, the OceanGate Trout Fishing Club, in a pivotal Week 14 battle.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #4: “Drop A Gem On Em”

Be sure to read below for the fun fact here, this was a diss track aimed at Tupac in retaliation for “Hit Em Up” and then they RESPECTFULLY pulled it off the radio cuz Pac got murked like a week or two after radio started playing it. How polite.

Prodigy: “We recorded that song at Access Studios. We just went in and made that song after we heard Tupac saying some things about us because of our ‘L.A., L.A.’ song. We heard somebody playing ‘Hit Em Up’ on the block and we were like, ‘Oh word? Niggas wanna make songs about us? Aight, cool.’ As soon as we heard Tupac saying anything about Mobb Deep, we went in and made that shit about him. We were like, ‘Fuck this nigga, we going right at this nigga and whoever the fuck he’s down with.’

“‘Drop a Gem on ‘Em’ was unique and it was different. Pac just took a beat that everybody knew of already and just tried to flip the lyrics or whatever. That’s why I think with ‘Drop a Gem On Em’ people were like, ‘Yo, that shit is fire. Y’all killed the nigga,’ because it was like a new beat. Nobody had ever heard a beat like that before. The lyrics were crazy.

“We had actually pulled the song because it was the first single off of Hell On Earth. We submitted it to radio and radio put it in rotation, even in Cali. But when Pac died, we pulled the song off radio and told them to stop playing it out of respect for his family and out of respect for the dead. We were like, ‘Nah, stop pushing that.’ We still put it on the album.

“We were about to shoot a video for that. We were about to go in on that nigga, but we were like, ‘Yo, pull it.’ We were just going to go in on this nigga in the video. I mean, it was so new when Pac died that I think it was only on the radio for about a week or two. So, we didn’t really have plans for the video, but we were about to shoot a video for it. When Pac died, we switched the single to ‘Hell On Earth’ instead.”

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5- OceanGate Trout Fishing Club (4-4-5) – STRANGEST TITLE DEFENSE EVER, as OceanGate has shattered our league’s ties record (there were no ties prior to 2013 to my knowledge) and we are only 2/3 through this newly SHORTENED season. So they have a lot of fucking ties, is what the data tells us. But ALSO, in part thanks to a few lucky ties, they have only lost like once since Week 6 and their talent (WHEN HEALTHY 🙂 ) has to be respected. Back to that when healthy part in a sec, first the raw #s. Where you will find the OGTFC in decent shape, but still #s that are likely down from a season ago when it all came together for OceanGate:  Runs 5th, Doubles 3rd, HRs 4th, SBs 2nd, OBP 1st, so the offense has been holding up fairly well. Also they are 4th in Holds so good on them there, but there is a reason that is the only pitching category discussed and that reason is that the OGTFC are in the bottom half of the league in every other category (8th Strikeouts, 8th QS, 8th Ws, and the only team in the league without a CG). NOT IDEAL. Equally NOT IDEAL is the injuries that have plagued this team of late, with Mike Trout, Trea Turner, Dexter Fowler, and Danny Duffy all currently out (and MadBum but you traded for him so boo hoo) with injuries and various other players missing various other time. NOT IDEAL, and it will be interesting to see which players return soon (allegedly some are due back week) and if those players can return to form quickly enough to give this team a shot at pulling off a playoff run similar to last year, where they flew under the radar as a 5th seed and then stormed through the field on their way to their first ever championship. THE ROAD IS MUCH HARDER THE SECOND TIME, take it from a former dynasty. The OGTFC’s road continues when they take on a scrappy Barnegat team in Week 14.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #5:  “Eye For An Eye”

One of like A COUPLE different times they sampled Scarface for a beat, we get it you liked Scarface we alllll liked Scarface. At least as teenagers.

Prodigy: “Right after we did the ‘G.O.D. Pt. III’ beat with the Scarface sample, there was another part of Scarface that we sampled for ‘It’s Mine.’ I’m sitting in the crib watching the movie again and I hear that part in the beginning where the boats are coming in from Cuba to Florida and I’m like, ‘Holy shit! Why nobody ever took this part right here? These niggas is stupid out here.’

”I ran to the studio again and said, ‘Hurry up son.’ [Havoc] sampled it and niggas was like, ‘Oh my God, these niggas did it again. They took something else out of Scarface that niggas could’ve used.’ We sampled Scarface a third time too when we did ‘When You Hear That,’ which Alchemist produced. We took three joints from Scarface that nobody was thinking about using.

“We had made the beat first and I was like, ‘Yo man, Nas gotta get on this shit because the shit is too ill. This is one for Nas.’ We called him up and the nigga said, ‘Hell yeah.’ Nigga heard the beat and went crazy. He was like, ‘Yo, this shit is ill right here.’ He just killed that talking about Barbara Streisand and Halle Berry and all this other shit on the song. The nigga went in on that shit. [Laughs.]

“He did that hook because we didn’t have a chorus for it. We just wrote our verses and then Nas came in and was like, ‘Yo, I’ve got an idea for the chorus.’ That Brandy and Monica song just came out, it was the brand new hot shit, and Nas was like, ‘Yo, we taking that chorus and we gonna flip it.’”

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6- Astoria Isotopes (6-6-1) – THE NEW YOUTH MOVEMENT, one might call this bunch, as the Isotopes boast the two hottest hitters of dong on the planet in rooks Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger, as well as a young hurler who might have finally put it alllll together in Jose Berrios. They also have Khris Davis dinging dingers, Charlie Blackmon racking up every kind of extra base hit possible, and Will Myers slowly rounding into the form that made him a stud last year. Also Mike Moustakas has 20 HRs so maybe he isn’t as Mostsuckass as I previously presumed. All of this shit leads to this shit:  4th Runs, 2nd Triples (weirdly 10th Doubles), FIRST HRs (by a whopping 20 currently), FIRST RBIs, 3rd OBP. Make no mistake the ‘Topes are crushing the ball lately, with only the Doubles thing and the 8th in SBs thing as possible knocks to their offensive profile. On the pitching side more of a mixed bag, and by that I mean they really aren’t excelling in tooooo much of anything (Wins 5th Saves t-3rd ERA 4th, but also Ks 10th, QS 7th). Jose Quintana has been a FRAUD, and Dallas Keuchel was excellent prior to an injury but I deem that FRAUDULENT as well. All that being said the ‘Topes currently have some of the most dynamic young bats in baseball, which is something we probably haven’t ever been able to say about this franchise. If they can make their way back into the playoffs they will be feared a bit, AGAIN something we probably haven’t ever been able to say about this franchise. Fuck these guys in the face, and they face the (spoiler alert) bottom-dwelling Q-Tip City Morning Wood in Week 14.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #6: “Hell On Earth (Front Lines)”

The titular track off Hell On Earth and IF YOU READ ABOVE the track they chose as the first single after they had to switch off “Drop A Gem On Em” due to Tupac dying and all. Love this goddamned beat, love most of their goddamned beats. This has been established.

Prodigy: “We had a lot of people who died during the making of that album, we had at least five of our friends and family members die. It took us two years to make that album because of all the death that was happening around us. The shit was really devastating to our lives and we kept pushing on. We continued to make the album and we continued to record songs, but our minds were fucked up. We were in our zone from all those losses that we took those past two years. That’s what ‘Hell On Earth’ was about, we felt that we were living in hell.

“If you listen to that album, it’s crazy dark. You could tell that we were angry and upset making that album. When we made ‘Hell On Earth’ that was just one of those songs, but that was a single. Since we pulled ‘Drop a Gem on ‘Em,’ we put ‘Hell On Earth’ out. If you listen to that song you’ll be like, ‘This ain’t no single. Why would you use this for a single?’ It sounds like some dark, hardcore, grimy shit.

“You could tell that we didn’t give a fuck at the time. We were doing whatever the fuck we wanted. We were going against the grain. We didn’t give a fuck if it was a party record or radio record. We said, ‘This is what we want for the single and this is what it’s gonna be.’ A lot of people respected that shit when it came out because nobody was putting out songs like that.

“We lost Havoc’s brother Killer Black, my man Twin’s brother, we lost one of our man’s Yammy from the projects, I lost my father, and there were other people that were around us. The people that we lost were the strongest people around us. You’re talking about people that would kill somebody for Mobb Deep, on some real shit.

“When something goes down and we in the club, these are going to be the niggas that are going to pop off, no questions asked, no hesitation, none of that shit. It doesn’t matter who it is. These niggas that died were the reason niggas were scared of Mobb Deep. Anybody from Queensbridge knew about Yammy, Killer Black, and Scarface Twin. When we lost these niggas we lost a lot of power and strength because it’s hard to find niggas like that.”

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7- Lacey Township BackdoorSliderz (6-6-1) – Lacey Township was actually SECOND in our last installment of the Power Rankings, but since then they have learned that the Backyard can be a cruel and unrelenting place. However, The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place. And so there is still time for the BDSliderz to turn this thing around and find themselves in the playoffs in their inaugural season (and they are one win or tie away from owning the H2H tiebreaker over the team currently in front of them). Let’s go to the numbers, Jim: Doubles 4th, SBs 3rd, and in that 5th-6th range in most other offensive categories so SMACK in the middle of the pack offensively. Pitching a bit of another story:  Strikeouts 9th, QS 9th, Wins 9th, Holds 8th, ERA FUCKIN 9th AGAIN. I hinted back when this team was riding high that pitching issues might threaten their success going forward, and sure enough pitching has been a bit of an issue and certainly has contributed to the current woes. INSERT A BUNCH OF OMITTED TRADE PREVIEW STUFF HERE. There’s signs of potential turnaround on the pitching staff with Rays rook Jacob Faria pitching excellently and JA Happ pitching pretty great himself upon his recent return, aside from those two the staff has been anchored by Jameson Taillon and Jacob DeGrom, with a little bit of Drew Pomeranz thrown in as well but fuck him. SOLID LOOKING STAFF on paper and yet, the numbers are the numbers right now. On offense the standouts are Marcell Ozuna, Adam Duvall, and Travis Shaw for some fucking reason. Not sure what to say there, the BDSliderz will likely welcome back Freddie Freeman with open arms and hope the wrist injury doesn’t sap his power for the rest of the year, I will say that. And Freeman very well MAY be back in Week 14, when Lacey Township hosts the Toms River Titans.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #7: “Keep It Thoro”

Made when Prodigy was living in BUSHWICK. Head Hipster In Charge (H.H.I.C.)

Prodigy: “I made that when I was living in Bushwick, Brooklyn at the time. Alchemist had given me a tape full of beats and that was one of my favorite beats on the tape. I just sat in the crib and wrote that song in a couple hours. As soon as I wrote it, I was like ‘Wow. This one is crazy.’ I had to call a couple of my mans to say it to them over the phone and everyone was like, ‘Record that. Go to the studio right now, and record that.’

“The reason I did [H.N.I.C.] was for another check. Mobb Deep was dropping albums every two years, so I figured why not get a check in between that? The difference is, it’s all P. It’s P’s ideas, P picks the beat, so it’s all my influence. It’s all my choices on there. With Mobb Deep, we have to agree on things. We have to agree that we want to use that beat or agree on the type of song we want to do. That’s the only difference really.”

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8- Rojo’s Renegade Force (5-7-1) – RENEGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADES. Once left for dead and declared the odds-on favorite for 9th place, the Renegade Force has come storming back in recent week and now moves all the way up to…..8th, in both the rankings and in playoff standings. HOWEVER they are still right there in contention for a 2017 playoff spot (HOWEVER a SSS at the hands of Astoria may come back to haunt them here). And they’ve gotten to this puncher’s chance point with some good old fashioned POWER HITTING, peep the numbers:  Runs FIRST, Doubles 2nd, Triples 4th, HRs t-2nd, RBIs 2nd, OBP 3rd JUST LOOK AT THE FORCE BEING DISPLAYED HERE. Lotta force. Lot of it due to Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Gallo, and the somewhat-recently-acquired George Springer. RRF also find themselves t-2nd in QS, 2nd in CGs, and 1st in Holds cuz duh. Credit Corey Kluber, Michael Fulmer, and Johnny Cueto for the first two and a FLAWED STRATEGY for the last one. RRF continue to assert that they can freely punt a relief category (also the wrong relief category), and at this point it would kinda be hard to acquire enough closers to reverse the trend, so it will be another year of waiting to see if the strategy can get it done in the postseason. First it will have to get them into the postseason.  Rojo’s Renegade Force have a tough matchup against the River City Bad Dudes on tap for Week 14.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #8: “It’s Mine (Feat. Nas)”

Putting this one in here because they somehow got Nas to sing HORRIBLY on the hook for it, and I think it was a riff on that “The Boy Is Mine” song with Brandy and Monica. Also the beat is the theme from Scarface. GODDAMNED VISIONARIES I TELL YOU.

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9- Toms River Titans (4-8-1) – REMEMBER THE TITANS WHEN THEY WERE CLOSE TO .500? I do, they got pretty goddamn close. Things have since taken a turn for the worse, and Toms River now has an uphill climb in its bid to make the 2017 playoffs. But WHY? I’ll show ya why:  Runs 9th, Doubles 9th, HRs 8th, OBP 8th. Those would be your likely culprits, this team was built to be carried by pitching but stilllll probably requires a bit more from the offense in order to get through most matchups. And the pitching has mostly lived up to the billing:  Strikeouts 3rd, QS 1st, Wins 1st, ERA 1st (although SOMEWHERE ALONG THE LINE they got converted to Rojo’s cult, so they’re 9th in Saves and 2nd in Holds). Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw are really fucking good and Stephen Strasburg and Yu Darvish are pretty fucking good and even Michael Pineda was kinda fucking good for stretches there. On offense the pretty fucking goods are mostly just limited to Carlos Correa and Miguel Sano and ANTHONY RENDON somehow, while guys like Christian Yelich and Francisco Lindor have been kinda fucking good. Matt Kemp remains fucking okay. And these guys aren’t dead in the water quite yet, but they would need to realllllly maximize their returns outta their hitters (or yanno, trade a pitcher for more balance but shhhhhhhhhh) in order to make a late run at the last one or two playoff spots. That late run will have to start in Lacey in Week 14.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #9:  “The Learning (Burn)

 

 

For some reason I feel like I remember this album being poorly received but I enjoyed several tracks off it. They also had a song with Ron Isley just going “OooOooOO’ in the background the whole goddamned time, you may know Ron Isley as the antagonist from R. Kelly’s “Downlow” video, and I nearly put THAT song on this countdown as well. I did not come close to putting the “Hey Luv” song with 112 on here cuz NO. Too mainstream.

Prodigy: “We were in Freeport at our crib. We were all living together at that time and Hav was making this beat in the basement of our studio, early in the morning. It had to be like seven in the morning, Hav always gets up early. I’m in my room sleeping and I hear this bassline thumping, it woke me up. I went downstairs and Hav had this ill beat playing. It sounded like something the Beach Boys would be playing, I don’t know why.

“We wrote the rhymes right there in the crib and recorded it and then we took it to the big studio to record over. At that time, we were on our female run. We were like, ‘Let’s add a female voice on the chorus. When it’s playing in the clubs, girls will be more into it if they hear a female in the club. But we already did Lil Kim. What female are we going to add without trying to do same thing we did before?’

“We called Vita because she had that song ‘Where Would I Be Without You’ with Ja Rule that was hot at that time. She came and did it and that shit was hot.

“Noyd killed it. We try to put Noyd on only fast party records because Noyd’s style is live performance. If you see Noyd live his energy alone is going to make you enjoy the show. So we always try put him on a song that fits his character.”

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10- Q-Tip City Morning Wood (2-10-1) – THIS FUCKING TEAM, continues to wonder and amaze with its ability to be last place in a bunch of categories, although sadly the Runs gap has closed. Whereas last time they came in last in Runs by a whopping FOURTY-EIGHT, this time they are LAST in Runs by a mere 31. Let’s check elsewhere:  Triples LAST, SBs LAST, OBP LAST, Wins LAST, ERA LAST. That’s actually it in terms of LAST but the rest of the picture is more bad than good. More bad:  Doubles 7th, HRs 7th, RBIs t-7th, Saves 8th, Holds 9th. Than good:  FIRST in CGs somehow, though it only translates to 5th in QS. For the Morning Wood, the playoffs are all but guaranteed to not be a thing they are gonna see this year. AND THEY HAVE SOME SUSPECT TRADES TO THANK FOR IT.  Best bats left:  Logan Morrison, the smartly recently signed Ryon HealyBrian Dozier, Justin Upton, JD Martinez, Jay Bruce weirdly. SO SOME PIECES HERE, but ahem some pieces that are probably performing over their head (the first two) and would be better suited on a 2017 playoff team. Ahem. Best arms left:  Carlos Martinez, a rapidly returning to Earth Ervin Santana, a performing way over his head a la early season Santana Gio Gonzalez. DON’T WANNA TALK TOO MUCH ABOUT THIS STUFF YET, but the point of the name dropping is to point out there’s still plenty of assets here and if they are smart about the next few weeks they can possibly pull off a few deals as a “seller” and set themselves up for a rebound in Year 2 of their Bulldogs rebuild. The Morning Wood will host the Astoria Isotopes in Week 14 and I DUNNO maybe they can use each future matchup to start a possible trades dialogue, do a bunch of disgusting in-matchup deals or something.

MOBB DEEP/PRODIGY SONG #10:  “Where Ya Heart At”

If you just look at the title of this song it may look like I put it here as some sort of diss at the Morning Wood but IT IS NOT, this is just the song I always bumped when people died and shit and THEREFORE I figured it would be a fitting closing to the rankings. Cuz Prodigy died. RIP to one of the real ones…..

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2017 JULY POWER RANKINGS: RIP PRODIGY EDITION

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