Commentary, Culture, Marvin Bagley III -

Marvin Bagley III is droppin’ bars already MB3FIVE is all about the rivalry on his debut mixtape, and I’m here for that

Commentary, Culture, Marvin Bagley III -

Marvin Bagley III is droppin’ bars already MB3FIVE is all about the rivalry on his debut mixtape, and I’m here for that

Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Lonzo Ball and Damian Lillard — the list of NBA players who’ve tried to double as MCs is extensive, to say the least. Both Kobe and A.I. should’ve just stuck to basketball, while Lonzo and Damian showed obvious skill.

Before even hearing his name called at the NBA draft, former Duke Blue Devil Marvin Bagley III has become one of the league’s best MCs after dropping his debut mixtape late Wednesday night. Rapping under the alias MB3FIVE, the timing of Don’t Blink was perfect — released late enough that it wouldn’t affect his draft stock, yet early enough that no subject matter was off-limits.

In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting much. Bagley is a 6-foot-11 power forward from Tempe, Arizona, who attended Duke University. Last time I checked, those characteristics don’t scream talented rapper. Boy, was I wrong.

What initially drew me in was his beat selection. Rapping over classics from the early 2000s such as Fabolous’ “Breathe” and Nas’ “Made You Look” as well as a gem from the legendary 9th Wonder, Bagley displayed maturity beyond his years. None of this was more apparent than on the standout track “All-Americans,” in which he tackles the topic of police brutality.

There, the Duke standout displays a level of vulnerability that is rarely seen in 19-year-olds on their way to making millions. He empathizes with families who’ve lost sons and daughters at the hands of police while expressing his own fear that it could happen to him.

Fellow rapper/hooper Iman Shumpert once described rapping as his “escape from the floor,” a therapeutic way to express himself in the face of criticism. I would guess the same holds true for Bagley, who used Don’t Blink partly to let out some pent-up aggression. On “Breathe,” Bagley addresses Scott Bordow, a reporter for AZCentral who criticized his move from Hillcrest Prep in 2015. On “Made You Look (Remix),” Bagley sends some subs at those from the Phoenix area who claimed Deandre Ayton was a “homegrown talent.” Ayton, a native of the Bahamas, played his final two years of high school ball in Phoenix (one with Bagley) before his lone season at Arizona.

If most mock drafts hold true, Ayton will be selected first overall by the Phoenix Suns, with Bagley going No. 2 to the Sacramento Kings. Through a creative use of David Stern announcing the first and second picks of the 2007 NBA draft, Bagley seems to take solace in being second. Whether intentional or not, it’s difficult to overlook the inherent shade of using a sound bite from the same draft where the first overall pick, Greg Oden, was arguably one of the biggest busts of all time.

NBA fans will just have to wait and see if the diss was intentional. Personally, I’m here for the controversy. The Suns and Kings are both part of the Pacific Division, which would mean four Ayton-Bagley matchups a year. Call me selfish, but the possibility of a burgeoning divisional rivalry is too good to pass up.


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