Virtues of a Veteran

by Drey Wingate / @ProStatus85

Every rookie with high expectations adapted their style from a veteran—someone inspired them to be great.

Many live up to the hype, but there are a select few who come out of nowhere and exceed expectations. Critics talk and people judge, but that doesn’t stop the ones destined for greatness from taking care of business.

Check out some of hip-hop newest young guns making noise. They may remind you of a few cats from the League.

Mel Wellman and Jamal Crawford

Both stand a slender 6-5, and the type of swagger they bring to their professions is damn near identical.

Jamal Crawford has been wreaking havoc in the League for years now. He’s bounced around a little bit and has never been an All-Star, but that hasn’t stopped him from being an asset to every team he has played for. Known for his lethal crossovers and crazy scoring ability, Crawford is going to go hard no matter what. He doesn’t let the lack of credit get to him, and he has never complained about not being mentioned as one of the League’s elite guards. Even though he has gone for over 40 on a few occasions and made other cats in the League look silly (I’m just sayin’), he’s one of those players who does what he has to do to get the job done and continues to work hard to earn the respect he deserves. Due to the retirement of Brandon Roy and the departure of Gerald Wallace, the Blazers will be in need of that go-to guy during their Playoff run and Crawford has proven that he can be that dude.

Young Philly native and emcee, Mel Wellman, is not mainstream and remains unsigned, but he uses these facts to fuel his drive to become a force in the music industry. Like Crawford, Wellman is a great player among stars. Even as a well-known hooper himself back in what Philly would call his “youngbul” days, Wellman never received the opportunities he longed for on the court. The transition into becoming an up-and-coming emcee has come with many of the same hardships, except this time Mel has excelled and exceeded expectations. Fresh off the release of his second EP, Noise in the Library 2, the Temple alum is making his presence known with his outstanding work ethic and remarkable delivery. Homie has what it takes to be hip-hop’s sixth man. Download Noise in the Library 2 here.

Rapsody and Tony Parker

Veteran point guard Tony Parker puts it all on the line every game he plays. He’s a natural born leader, soft spoken and a sleeper in the race for MVP this season. But the Frenchman never gets caught up in the hype. Entering the League at age 19, TP quickly became one of the NBA’s elite guards, helping lead the Spurs to three chips within his first seven seasons. Next to Tim Duncan, he has been the focal point and has remained loyal to the Spurs since his rookie season. The Spurs may not be as much of a threat as they used to be, but with a point guard like Parker, anything is possible.

North Carolina thoroughbred female rapper Rapsody is classy, hard-working and consistent. She’s soft-spoken and even a little shy but that’s only when she is not on the booth or on her court, the stage. Her style is original and diverse. She can give to you any way you want it. Whether it’s assisting one of her label mates on one of their tracks or if she’s just murdering the beat by her damn self, Rapsody approaches every song has if it’s her last. Shorty never seems to disappoint the listeners. She may not have any platinum records under her belt at the moment, but please believe she is flirting with legendary status. Cop her newest project properly titled The Black Mamba EP here. I’m sure the Black Mamba himself would be proud.

Tez McClain and Josh Smith

JSmoove is a future All-Star who keeps getting better every year. Known for his high-flying, crowd-pleasing, way-above-the-rim finishes, Smith went from being on highlight reels every night to knocking down big shots… and still being on the highlight reel every freakin’ night. His work ethic speaks for itself. Coming straight out of high school into the League, Smith wasn’t expected to develop the way he did, but now hoop fans are wondering why he wasn’t in Orlando this year. With the way Smith has been ballin’ this season, the Hawks definitely won’t be a cake walk for any team in the Playoffs this year.

Rapper Tez Mcclain knows all about what it means to be underrated. Not to mention him and Smith have made their stomping grounds in the same city (Atlanta) Tez has been on the grind for a few years now—a grind which included earning a college degree while trying to achieve his dream of becoming an emcee. His first installment, Wishful Thinking caught the attention of hip-hop heads with his style and lyricism in direct relation to his listeners. If you were to judge him by his lyrical content and flow you wouldn’t think homie was unsigned. Just recently, Tez has blessed the streets with his follow up mixtape, Wishful Thinking Vol. 2 which features the classic Nas sampled joint “Jordans & a Gold Chain.” The work ethic speaks for itself. After killing the scene in Austin, TX, at the SXSW Showcase this year, Tez McClain proved he was more than just another great rapper without a deal. He proved that he is truly a brand name and has a bright future ahead of him. A future that I’m sure includes more Jordans and more gold chains. Download Wishful Thinking 2 here.