Jus Smith: Game 7
It’s been 5 years since Smith released a full project, but ring rust is nowhere in sight. Still sharp with the sports references and wordplay, “Game 7” is exactly what we needed. I had the privilege of hearing the project long before its release and dissected each song to find the hidden gems in each.
1. “Tip Off” (4:08): The tape opens with the perfect theme music to bow your head, hand over fist behind your back while wearing your team’s warm up suit.
“I been nice since Martin and Simon was in that skybox. Margiellas low, but the Air Jordans is high top” a reference to “Martin” season 2, episode 23; amazingly placed deep cut for a select few. Also explaining how he recognizes when the difference in time to get fly and time to lace em up for action.
2. “Hadream Olajuwon” (3:26): Shaq speaks about why he couldn’t ‘break’ Hakeem on the court, as a sample of “I Am Dame Dash” creeps up in the background and Jus displays why he won’t be broken either.
“I been Cursed, so it’s time I get my Gift on. niggas moving, making no noise; gettin they GIF on.” A great “Blueprint 2” reference, but what’s in contention for line of the entire tape HAS to be the GIF metaphor.
3. “Court Vision” (3:43): this has the potential to be a top five Jus Smith song as it pertains to wordplay, beat selection, and replay value. Subtle lines like “we all about them digits, boy you gotta dig-it” getting the most out of a word like that is ill from a writer’s eye.
4. “B.M.W.” (4:13): here Jus explains how aspiring for the hood trophies like a BMW isn’t strictly for material purposes. knowing you can’t take anything with you when you’re gone fuels that Harlem hunger to floss and obtain the gold.
“pull up in something sick that’ll make you puke, nigga. If money is evil, I blew(Blue) devils like Duke, nigga.” perfect execution of a college basketball name flip, even better placement of the bar within the song because the delivery lets you know you’re in for a gem at the end of that particular set of bars.
5. “Bad Boy” (4:04): more of a freestyle over a flip of the “All About The Benjamins” beat, Smith switches the mood to give you summer time 2 step vibes. Jus doesn’t disappoint with the name flips as Shyne Po, Carl Thomas, and Total just to name a few are incorporated.
“We be (Skip) skippin in the Rolls, that’s a (Wraith) Rafer. with the stars in the roof, Darth Vader. jewels glowing all in the dark, light saber.” Rafer Alston aka Skip To My Lou is the highlight of this witty wordplay.
6. “George Gervin” (2:45): The best way I can describe this song here is the perfect soundtrack to a fresh haircut or lineup, I mean it’s that smooth.
“George Gerv, Iceman in July. I pass that ‘Spur’ off to my youngin like he Kawhi. pockets Green like Danny, I Park it just like I’m Tony. a legend like I’m Tim, I maneuvered just like Ginobili.” incredible Spurs flip mixing San Antonio legends with the new blood.
7. “Skyhook” [featuring so Sunday] (3:19): Kareem’s signature skyhook is regarded as the most unstoppable move of all time. Jus illustrates how he continues to rise above any defense that may come his way while motivating others to adopt the same mindset.
“Yea it’s Jus Smith, baby, ballin like a hooper. in my 2 door Benz, call it Mychael Cooper.” the play on words with coupe/Coop to cap off a perfectly placed Lakers scheme is brilliant.
8. “Same S**t” (3:02): reminiscing about what it was like coming up, those lost along the way, and why aspiring for more no matter how much you have is an important key.
“Balmain for my denim, yea you right I’m flossin. that Nauti (Nautica) use to rock it (Rocket) word to Moochie Norris.” another deep cut NBA reference as he shouts out ex-Rockets point guard Moochie Norris. Effortless float with that bar.
9. “Ant Mason Margiela” (4:24): the most personal song on the tape and arguably of Smith’s entire catalog, we get grown man bars to deal with. It’s too ill for a quote to do it justice if we’re being real, just press play and feel.
10. “Crown” (3:39): a perfect warm weather, cold alcoholic beverage vibe with this track; (only if you’re 21+ and drink responsibly). the right music to let that special lady know her aura doesn’t go unnoticed, empower women in general, and shoot your shot like Steph himself.
“see, you royalty and you deserve loyalty. just watching you move it’s like I’m watching poetry.”
11. “Smith Talk” (4:20): if “Game 7” had a documentary attached, this song would be the intro. it sets the tone for what the car ride to the arena should feel like when you’re playing in the Finals.
“the sickest ballin since Jordan had caught the flu, n***a. it’s Game 7 and I refuse to lose, n***a.” the image of Kobe pulling the strap of his jersey aside to show his heart played in my head as that bar hit. It sums up what the entire Game 7 state of mind is about, the genius is in its simplicity.
12. “Buzzer Beater” (4:40): To me, the title signifies this project’s ‘release’ to the people. once the buzzer goes off and the ball is in the air, it’s left up to your preparation for the moment and trusting your follow through as you await the outcome.
“You ain’t seeing the sun you wasn’t there for the rain, didn’t ride in the hoop you can’t roll in the Range. You wasn’t walking them blocks can’t fly in this plane. You wasn’t screaming OYM, man you n****s ain’t gang.”
As the instrumental plays and Jus is surrounded on the court by teammates and fans, the confetti falls as Game 7 wraps up with a monumental victory.