The Answer (Tribute To Allen Iverson)
In this track, Struggle shares with us a very poignant story about Allen Iverson (an American former professional basketball player) who is also his idol and favorite basketball player. Struggle too played basketball for 17 years and he describes how Allen Iverson has had such a massive influence on so many areas of his life (including wearing cornrows) both on and off the basketball court.
When the song commences and Struggle starts to rap:
“Man you tell me something, that’s a good idea, right.
They talk about NBA (National Basketball Association)
They talk about something…..
Everything is wrong in music, in basketball
Everything is wrong man nowadays, so that’s my story”
Struggle is expressing how he feels and believes everything is wrong in music and basketball and everyone is wrong nowadays. This is his story…..
In the first verse, Struggle reveals that “so many kids on them courts got em cornrows…But they never know who brought em to the NBA first” and of course it was Allen Iverson who introduced cornrows to the basketball court.
“Fuck David Stern’s policy, Ima bring it on
He got blacklisted, whatever dawg
Cuz I still miss him, he’s in my heart”
Struggle states here that he does not care about David Stern’s policy (David Stern is the commissioner of the National Basketball Association). Struggle shares a deep sense of loss here at Iverson being blacklisted and is absolutely gutted about this. He really misses him but his loyal sense of admiration lives on and his hero will always be with him in his heart.
“He played his heart out on the both ends of the floor, no doubt
He got that MVP award
You kids gotta pay homage to the one you learned from”
This track carries an incredible depth of sadness. Struggle feels like he just sees hate all around him. Iverson had a huge love for basketball and Struggle believes he put everything he had into basketball and played from the very core of his heart and soul. Struggle also shares a message that kids should respect Iverson as he taught them everything they know and he is an MVP (Most Valuable Player).
In the chorus, Struggle tells us that he represents “Brick City” – Newark, New Jersey but he still loves Philadelphia. “Seventy-sixers is the answer to them kids”.
“Philadelphia 76ers” refers to Iverson’s Basketball Team and what Struggle means here is that kids could learn a lot from the 76ers.
In the second verse, Struggle is devastated at the way his idol has been treated.
“You motherfuckaz like discussing whether he’s a bankrupt
You like seeing people fall, you establish your ego
Nothing bigger than hate, where is your love”
Struggle expresses his utter disappointment that Iverson is being portrayed as such a failure.
“Look at that nigga, he can’t even get himself a cheeseburger
He got around 30 tattoos all over his body
His baggy clothes make him look thuggish for real”
But it’s the strong that survive and are the winners in the end.
“Still only the strong survive, survive”.
I’d like to share this story in the review also. This is what Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe – Sports Section had to say about Allen Iverson dated August 25, 2013
“So he leaves the game as a cautionary tale. But in many aspects, especially advancing the cultural expression of the NBA, he never got full credit. He led the tattoo movement. When his contemporaries donned body art on shoulders or chests, Iverson decorated his whole body with ink, forcing a conservative NBA public to accept his appearance. A decade and a half later, tattoos are commonplace. LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony wear ink from their arms to pinkie fingers without a peep from endorsers.
Thank Iverson for that.
What Iverson did, much to the chagrin of the league, was force those quick to judge him to accept his bravado and expression. He scared those old-schoolers who were accustomed to NBA good guys such as Julius Erving and David Robinson. He was the first to make the connection — a bond that is currently brimming — between NBA and hip-hop. The David Stern dress code implemented in 2005 was a direct result of Iverson’s influence. We loved his game. We loved his passion and refusal to relent despite playing for hardly elite teams in Philadelphia”.
All Struggle wants is for Iverson to be acknowledged/recognized for what he has contributed to his own basketball team and the world of basketball in general.
Struggle also states that Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are all big names associated with basketball but why do we not talk about Allen Iverson to the same degree? He goes on to say Iverson inspired so many kids all over the world to play basketball and yet he doesn’t get a mention and seems to be forgotten.
I am feeling Struggle’s utter frustration and pain in these lyrics and I want to see more artists writing from their very core about what matters the most to them in life. Express yourself through your music. This is exactly what Struggle has done here which is why I find this such a moving tribute to Iverson’s career as a basketball player.
As mentioned earlier Struggle himself was a basketball player for 17 years and it is like a part of his life has been taken away from him seeing his idol being blacklisted. It is devastating particularly as he looks up to Iverson “you know I see him crying when he comes to Philadelphia because he got heart for the city, he got heart for the game of basketball”.
The Hook, I believe is the last part of the song when Iverson talks. I am really feeling this and relating to the emotions his voice carries. It is without doubt very moving and when you hear it, you can tell it comes from the heart of a man who is truly broken as all he wants to do is play basketball again. I can feel the immense sadness and the profound effect of not being able to carry on doing what he loves has on him as this is so evident in his voice and he sounds like he is about to cry. It is really tearing him up inside and bothers him so much that he cannot play and he admits he did a lot of things when he was young that he is not proud of but those experiences have helped him grow into the person he is now.
To summarize, I love this track, the beats are gentle and very catchy yet striking and totally enhance Struggle’s wonderful voice which carries that “husky” feel that I have not heard from many rappers. This is what sets him apart from the rest. He really does provide uniqueness in his voice and can express every type of emotion. His voice has great flexibility.
When Struggle raps, it gives you goose bumps as it is like you are there beside him. I can feel the passion and intensity in his voice along with sadness. Once again Struggle provides us with skilled lyrics.
This is the second song I have reviewed for Struggle and what I find so gratifying about this artist is that his music really holds my attention. I find myself enveloped in each song I listen to, wanting to hear it to the end.
It is always a pleasure to review music that has “the edge” making me want to come back for more. Struggle’s music definitely provides this.
This track gets a 10 out of 10 rating from me and is another great addition to your music collection. Struggle is definitely on fire with his music.
Hip Hop Reviews J
October 5th 2013.