Artist Spotlight: Juice WRLD

Something that I’ve always found quite interesting about the rap game is the speed at which some artists blow up and how they get huge so quickly. A recent, and probably one of the best, examples of this phenomena is Chicago rapper Juice WRLD. His rise to nearly the top of the rap game has been astounding, especially because it has taken place over roughly one year.

Rise in popularity  

As with many new school hip hop artists, Juice WRLD started taking music seriously during his high school years. Before changing his name to Juice WRLD, he went by JuicetheKidd. That name was derived from the movie Juice, which starred the great Tupac Shakur. He eventually changed it to Juice WRLD to represent “taking over the world”, according to his Wikipedia page.

2017 is the year that it all started to pay off for Juice WRLD. He released numerous projects and songs that would eventually get him into the ears of famed artists including Waka Flocka, Southside, Lil Bibby, and more.

He capitalized on this early success, signing a $3 million dollar deal with Interscope Records. His songs “Lucid Dreams” and “All Girls Are The Same” were released as official singles and rose up the Billboard Hot 100 quickly, launching him headfirst into the spotlight.        

Why you should give him a chance

While I wouldn’t consider myself one of the earlier listeners of Juice WRLD, I will say that once I checked out his music once it stuck with me. He brings so much to hip hop with his subject matter and different deliveries and it just keeps bringing me back in for more.

In my opinion, Juice WRLD is one of the best new artists out right now. This is true because the music that he makes is very relatable to many of the young people that are just like him. He talks about things that everyone deals with and isn’t afraid of getting judged for it. His songs expose who he really is and convey a level of raw emotion that isn’t as present with some of the other newer artists.  

Notable songs

Even though Juice WRLD has really only been on the scene for about a year, he has some very good tracks that are essential listens if you are trying to get into his music. He has several different styles of music and I will be sure to include tracks from each kind to give you a better idea of the versatility that he brings to the game. Here are some of the standout tracks from Juice WRLD’s young career thus far.

“Lucid Dreams” – Juice WRLD

You didn’t think I would just mention this track and then not include it here, did you? That’s just silly. “Lucid Dreams” is the track that sent Juice straight into the spotlight. On the track, Juice details how it feels to go through a breakup and how to deal with one. The track is a surefire earworm and was one of the biggest songs of 2018, and for good reason. While this is Juice WRLD’s most famous song yet, it isn’t necessarily indicative of all that he brings to hip hop.

“Legends” – Juice WRLD

This track is another great example of Juice conveying a lot of emotion with a unique vocal delivery. The track is dedicated to the late rappers Lil Peep and XXXTENTACION and was made in less than a day. Juice discusses the tragic passings of both artists and how he doesn’t want to end up in the same situation as them and be referred to as a young legend that passed away.

“Nuketown” – Ski Mask The Slump God ft. Juice WRLD

While this isn’t Juice’s track, his feature on it is great. It showcases his rapping ability rather than the melodic flows that we hear in many of his other songs. The song consists of a lot of the shouting-style rap that Ski Mask is known for. Both artists utilize this flow a lot on the song and it is a great indicator of what we can expect from more rap Juice WRLD tracks in the future.

“Yacht Club” – Lil Yachty ft. Juice WRLD

This is another song that Juice WRLD is featured on that showcases his natural rapping ability. On the track we hear Lil Boat and Juice trade bars and brag out getting kicked out of a yacht club for being rowdy. The reason I love this track is simply because both artists flow so well off each other and make it an enjoyable listen.  

What’s next?

Seeing as his latest album A Death Race for Love released recently (March 8th), we’ll be seeing Juice WRLD’s name pop up for quite a while longer. The album is full of even more hits and I’d definitely recommend checking it out. It is more of what you heard in the above section along with some new sounds here and there.

I’m not sure what direction he goes in for the future, but whatever it is I think he’ll have plenty more success and become even bigger than he is right now.

Hit me up in the comments or on Instagram @youngthuggamanekyle and let me know if you’re feeling Juice WRLD’s music or not.

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any of the images used in this piece.

“Rap Or Go To The League” review: 2 Chainz crosses the competition up on new project

Honestly, last year was more of a quiet year for 2 Chainz. He announced Rap Or Go To The League in February of 2018 and released a few tracks here and there, but was otherwise uncharacteristically quiet aside from features on other artists’ songs. Usually when an artist is that quiet, it means that they’re cooking up an amazing project.

Nearly one year later he officially announced the release date for the project on February 19th, 2019. The announcement was made on Twitter and it was revealed that basketball superstar LeBron James had executive produced the project. This new development sent everyone who was anticipating this project to a new level of hype.   

Enough of all the talk, 2 Chainz has finally released his fifth studio album Rap Or Go To The League for our listening pleasure. Let’s dive in and see if this album with a bonkers tracklist lives up to the hype surrounding it.  

First impressions

  • The Good: On my first listen through the album, I noticed the quality of beats that Chainz rapped over. They’re some of the best of his career thus far due to the variety in each of them. His flow is impeccable as usual and that just adds to each track.  
  • The Bad: While I can agree this is the most lyrical we’ve heard 2 Chainz in quite some time, there are still tracks that sound like your typical trap banger. Yes these are far and few between on this project, but they’re still there and feel a bit stale after multiple listens through.  

Lyrics/Flow

  • The Good: As I mentioned, we haven’t heard such great subject matter from 2 Chainz in quite some time. He discusses things such as basketball, college athletes, his family, taxes, and politics and does it all with a variety of flows. This is probably his best lyrical project for the most part and I hope we get to hear similar stuff like this from him in the future.
  • The Bad: Even though the lyrics and flows are really good for the most part, sometimes Chainz doesn’t do a great job of picking the best flow for the mood of each track. He has showed us on his past work that he can bring out a variety of different flows for different types of tracks, but for some reason he didn’t pick them correctly this time. I still enjoy the songs regardless, but it can get annoying when the songs sound a bit off.   
  • Score: 7.8/10
2 Chainz announced the forthcoming album by launching a blimp in 2018.

Beats

  • The Good: The production on this album is honestly my favorite part. It is a great mix of trap, soul, and straight up funk at some points. There are some tracks that contain heavy sampling, but I think that only adds to the final product. We haven’t heard 2 Chainz over those types of beats in quite some time, so it was like a breath of fresh air on this project. Some of the producers that contributed to this project include WondaGurl, Mike Dean, Hitmaka, Pharrell Williams, and Cardo.  
  • The Bad: Even with an album full of great beats that stand out from the rest, there are usually a couple lackluster ones that also stick out. Not to say that these beats are bad in any way, but some of them sound too similar to what we’ve already heard from Chainz and many other artists. That isn’t a huge knock on the project as a whole because we only find these beats on a few tracks, and otherwise it’s a stellar album.
  • Score: 8.5/10

Replayability

  • The Good: Let’s be honest, a lot of 2 Chainz’ previous albums don’t have a lot of replay value. This is simply because the songs are either mediocre or get straight up boring after a few listens. But to the delight of many, that isn’t the case with this new project. Clocking in at 54 minutes over 14 tracks, this one doesn’t drag on in the slightest sense. This whole project will stay in my constant rotation for quite a while as I really enjoyed most every song on it.   
  • The Bad: As with most albums, the amount of times that you’ll actually replay an album comes down to personal preference. If you aren’t the biggest fan of 2 Chainz, you may find yourself bored quite quickly due to his slower flow on most of the tracks. Check out a few tracks and skip around a bit before you decide to listen to the whole project. I think that’ll make for a better listening experience if that person is you.
  • Score: 8/10

Standout songs

  • As with most albums I review, it’s always tough to choose the best tracks. It’s even harder for this project considering the amount of quality music that we’ve been blessed with. The standouts from 2 Chainz’ fifth studio album are “Forgiven”, “Momma I Hit A Lick”, “I Said Me”, and “Sam”.   

Final thoughts

When you think of 2 Chainz, what’s the first thought that comes to your head? I bet it isn’t “an artist who is known for making great trap music but decided to make a killer introspective concept album”. I’ll be honest, that wasn’t what I was thinking either before I listened to this album.

Let me tell you, 2 Chainz did exactly that. This album is an exceptional piece of art that showcases how it may feel for young black males that feel their only choice in life is to either rap, sell drugs, or try to make it as an athlete. The album is full of stories about struggles that 2 Chainz has faced in his own life as well as more stories about how the world works in America.

This will go down as one of the top 10 best hip hop releases of 2019. Everyone did their thing on this project; 2 Chainz, the featured artists, and even the producers. They all crushed it and created an album that will stand the test of time and be known as 2 Chainz’ best album and one of the best of the year.  

Final Score: 8.3/10    

Interview with Ritt Momney

Evolution is a tricky topic, especially in Utah. And if you were to name your band after the most famous Mormon in the country, you might assume that a lot of controversy would come with it. But local band Ritt Momney hasn’t found that to be the case. Yet.

With that said, it’s impossible to talk about this indie rock/pop group without noticing the transformations they’ve undergone since the band started 3 years ago. Only one original member remains, they have found a new age niche and taken Spotify’s bedroom pop playlists by storm. K-UTE Radio’s Jackson Card and Max Becker sat down with the up and coming group to talk about the creative process, future plans, and life in general. With a California tour coming up and an album in the works, it looks like this could be a breakout year for Ritt Momney.

New Beginnings

The current iteration of Ritt Momney, consisting of Jack Rutter on vocals/guitar/keys, Jonas Torgersen on guitar, Noah Hamula on bass, Auden Winchester on keys, and Sam Olson on drums, has only been together for a couple months. They found each other in classic Small Lake City fashion: childhood connections and high school parties. As Jack put it, “It was just kind of a string of people pulling each other along.”

Their memorable name came up during a jam session but was not borne of any particular feeling for the former presidential candidate. “It was not thought out at all, whatsoever. If we would have known [the band] was going to be this big of a deal, we definitely would have thought it out more. We like to keep it really neutral. We don’t want to be trashing on him or loving him either.” The name seemed a better fit for their initial style but the group doesn’t mind shaking expectations. “I’d rather have an odd fitting band name than a too fitting band name… It gets people talking about us.”

People are Talking

The hype around Ritt Momney has been growing steadily over the past year. They now have 100,000 monthly listeners (per Spotify) and generate more listeners in Los Angeles and Chicago than in Salt Lake City. Their unique blend of classic indie themes and chord structure, electronic production elements, and Jack’s signature croon has led to an explosion of popularity since “Something, in General” hit streaming services in 2018.

Their music takes on an undeniably endearing quality without being trite and it resonates deeply with listeners. That authenticity stems from their personable songwriting process.

Creating a New Sound

After the initial band left in 2018, Jack realized he could craft the band’s sound in a totally different way than before. “I’d gotten better enough at producing so that I could do my own stuff just on my computer at home. It’s so much easier to just use the electronic stuff because I can’t play drums at all but you can quantize it in logic. So that was somewhat convenience but also taste, I guess. I think we all agree the super basic indie rock feel of “Young Adult” and those earlier songs is just straight down the middle of indie rock. I think we all like the newer stuff better. Like more electronic, more experimental stuff.”

For as much credit as the band wants to give him for his brilliant writing, Jack concedes that he couldn’t do it alone. “Sending it to these guys and having them critique it is such a big part of [the process]… [and] the jam sessions kind of bring the songs life, make them different. When we’re trying a bunch of stuff… everybody’s had their input through just jamming together and thinking up parts.”

Art Over Business

The band runs the gambit on influences (from Feist to King Gizzard to James Blake) so the final output is never what you’d expect but it flows together seamlessly. Even at their live shows, the band doesn’t play exactly what’s on Spotify or Soundcloud. “[The music] kind of changes every show honestly just cause something might sound better the day before the show when we’re practicing it and then we put it in. We don’t have the attention spans to just play the same songs over and over. We kind of just want to switch it up for the sake of switching it up.”

Keeping it fresh is a crucial piece of Ritt Momney; in their music and their shows. They don’t want to sacrifice their creative freedom to appease fans or a label. As idealistic as that sounds, maintaining autonomy over their sound is a main priority for Jack, saying, “I think down the road, I definitely don’t want to ever be business over art.” Their sound is still developing and is going to continue to evolve as the group moves out of their teens and the confines of their hometown. Some A&Rs have reached out but the band isn’t ready to enter that stage of the process just yet. They’ve only just begun exploring what Ritt Momney could be and they don’t want to ruin the magic with industry pressure.

Future Plans

The group has plenty on their plate with four California tour dates this month, a South by Southwest performance in March, an opening gig for Death Cab for Cutie this May, and an album set to be released this summer. Jack’s been working on the album for a while but doesn’t want to commit to a release date just yet.

“I need to stop being such a perfectionist about it cause I just spend way too much time like, ‘Oh no, I need to figure this out’ or ‘I don’t like that anymore, I’ll just scrap it.’ So hopefully the rate at which I’m finishing songs will start picking up. I wouldn’t say we have a timeline but definitely this year. 100% this year. Should be before the end of the summer. Like 95% before the end of the summer.”

Ritt Momney has shown their ability to evolve and defy expectations, so however long the wait, I’m sure it will be worth it!

Treefort Music Festival 2019: 4 bands to listen to

With Boise’s TreeFort music festival just around the corner in March I thought I would prepare myself as well as listeners.  With an enormous 432 band line up it can be easy to miss out something incredible. So to help you out, here are some of my top picks for the TreeFort music festival this week. Be sure to listen to the Crimson Venue on K-UTE Radio this week to catch these bands. 

Acid King

If You enjoy “Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats”, “Sleep” or any other stoner rock band, you’re sure to enjoy these guys. This three piece rock outfit formed in 1993, making these guys an instant classic. Lead vocal and guitarist Lori Crover, brings a drone sounding voice perfect for the ideal stoner jam. With only three albums it’s not hard to see why this underground band is still and underground gem.  Songs chock full of distorted guitar riffs and the heavy bass static, that stoner rock is famously known for. I recommend checking out songs “War on the Mind” and “Electric Machine”. You can find these guys on Apple Music, Spotify, BandCamp and SoundCloud.

I N T E R V A L S

Canadian Progressive Metal Band I N T E R V A L S, Never ceases to impress. Although they don’t feature any vocals, don’t let that dissuade you, these songs are jam packed with electrifying guitar riffs that with get you out of your seat. Each song brings something new to the table, between hard rock solos, to heartfelt rock ballads Intervals has something for everyone to enjoy.  I can’t wait to catch them at Treefort this year. Personal favorites of mine include “Sweet Tooth” and “Touch and Go”. You can find these guys on Apple Music, Spotify, BandCamp and SoundCloud.

Naked Giants

HOLY SHIT! These punk rock icons stole my heart from the first guitar riff, within 20 seconds I was in love. A mixture psych rock, blues, and punk, gives this band a unique but familiar sound. This passionate trio, parades a spitfire performance guaranteed to raise your blood pressure. Distorted high tempo guitar paired with punchy drums creates a punk rockers dream. Songs like “Ya Ya” that give off vibes similar to “The Raconteurs”. while songs like “Slow Dance II” tote a soul filled 70’s blues sound. Check them out on Apple Music and Spotify.

Sweet Spirit

Individuality reigns free within this large six piece band which gives them a sound so eclectic and original. Self titled album “Sweet Spirit” proves to be a rousing showcase of emotion within the bands performance. With inspirational lyrics that give a motivational speech in each line.  Their most recent release single “Touch” begs an easy listening dynamic that draws listeners in and captures their attention until the last chord. Highly recommended Sweet Spirit boasts a polished synthetic rock sound willing to satisfy anyone who listens.Check them out on Apple Music and Spotify

New Music Wrap Up: 2/18-2/22

It’s been quite sometime since we’ve had a week this stacked with new releases. This is actually the first big week of 2019 thus far for the hip hop scene. If it isn’t obvious yet, I’ve been waiting on a huge week for quite a while and here it finally is. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the new fire that dropped this week.  

Albums/Mixtapes/EPs

  • Lil Pump – Harverd Dropout
    • If you’ve been following the Soundcloud rap scene for a minute, you may remember the memes about Lil Pump dropping out of Harvard University to be a rapper. The memes have taken full effect now that Lil Pump’s latest album that bares the title finally being released. The project was originally supposed to be dropped between mid to late 2018, but was pushed back quite far. Regardless, it’s here now for your listening pleasure. Laced with 16 tracks and features from the likes of Kanye West, Lil Uzi Vert, Smokepurpp and more, this one is sure to keep you listening for quite a while.    
  • Offset – Father of 4
    • This album has been a long time coming since Migos announced that all three members would be releasing their own solo project. We received both Quavo and Takeoff’s albums back in 2018 but were left without Offset’s release once it got pushed back due to personal issues. But have no fear, the project is here now. Offset promised that this project would contain more diverse subject matter compared to his usual endless spill about Patek watches. I personally think he delivered on that promise but check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.   
  • Gunna Drip or Drown 2
    • 2018 was an absolutely huge year for Gunna in which we saw him become a household name among hip hop fans. He was everywhere, featuring on numerous albums and releasing two projects in February’s fantastic Drip Season 3 and October’s Drip Harder collab album with Lil Baby. The hype for this project was pretty high and the pre-release singles were quality, but did it live up to expectations? Give it a spin and see.    
  • Night Lovell – Goodnight Lovell
    • Out of all of today’s releases, this one was probably the one that fans waited the longest for. It was recorded over the course of the last two years. If you’re unfamiliar with Night Lovell, he’s a Canadian artist who is known for his dark production and menacingly deep voice. He can flow for sure, so I’d recommend checking out this new project as well as his previous two that are available on streaming platforms.    

Singles/Loose tracks

  • Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Flat Tummy Tea”
    • If for some reason you’ve never heard Freddie Gibbs and Madlib’s collab album Pinata, listen to it right away. That project will give you a good feel for what to expect on this track. On this cut, we hear Gangsta Gibbs go in over some stellar Madlib production that included a killer beat switch in the middle. Their next joint project, tentatively titled Bandana, is set to drop in 2019.      
  • Hoodrich Pablo Juan – Screaming Slatt” (feat. Young Thug)
    • I can’t believe that it’s already February and we hadn’t heard much new Young Thug until now. On this track we hear Hoodrich Pablo Juan and Thugger go back and forth over some great production. This one is pure hype and if you like Thugger or any trap artist in general, you’ll like these vibes.
  • Tierra Whack – Only Child”
    • While this isn’t your typical hard hitting banger, it is still a great track in its own right. We hear Tierra spit some playful bars and lay down some beautiful melodies over a bouncy beat, and I’m here for it. If you like what you hear on this one, check out her latest project Whack World on streaming platforms.

More new music

This isn’t a full list of everything that dropped today because there was simply so much. If you want to check out more new music, hit this link. Let me know what tracks you’re feeling in the comments and on my Instagram @youngthuggamanekyle.

So Far Gone: Is Drake’s 10-year-old project worth a listen?

It’s 2019 and it’s very clear that the streaming era is in full effect. With the rise of streaming platforms over the last couple years, many artists have been re-releasing select older music onto these services (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) that wasn’t previous available. Artists including Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, and many more have released older mixtapes on the services for instance. Drake is just the latest major artist to follow this trend, releasing his 2009 mixtape So Far Gone for the first time commercially.

Should I listen to it?

Yeah you may be a Drake fan, but have you actually listened to So Far Gone? I wouldn’t blame you if you haven’t, as the project wasn’t widely available before this. It’s also 10 years old so the younger generation may be completely lost on it. The project was Drizzy’s third mixtape, following 2006’s Room For Improvement and 2007’s Comeback Season. It is often viewed as the moment where people really started to take him seriously as an artist.

As I re-listened to So Far Gone today, I realized that the project is actually very good given the contexts surrounding the time it was recorded and Drake’s versatility as an artist. Admittedly there are some corny bars here and there, but his rapping and singing is exceptional for the most part.

Standout tracks

Even if you haven’t listened to the original So Far Gone mixtape that contains 18 tracks, you’ve probably heard a few of the bigger tracks off the shorter EP version including “Successful” and “Best I Ever Had”. But given that the full project is now available, I’d suggest checking out these standout tracks and the project as a whole if you like what you hear.

“Houstatlantavegas”Drake

This track is honestly in the conversation as one of Drake’s best ever. His singing really stands out as well as his rapping. The story that he tells is also very engaging and relatable for a lot of people. This is a personal favorite of mine from the project.

“November 18th”Drake

At this point, you’ve probably heard of Drake’s famous series of songs that include either a date or a place. This is one of the first instances of that series, and it is definitely one of the best. This song features heavy use of Houston-style chopped and screwed vocals as well as a mixture of singing and rapping. It is iconic among Drake fans, and for very good reason.

“Say What’s Real”Drake

Drake over a classic 808s & Heartbreak Kanye West beat? Yeah you read that right. Drake absolutely rips this beat apart while spitting some of the realest bars of his career thus far, talking about things such as how he feels and how he thinks his career will pan out. We’re lucky to have this track included on the project considering the beef that Kanye and Drake have, so enjoy this one while it’s available.

Final verdict

Clearly So Far Gone is a great project and it’s up there with Drake’s best so far. It played a large part in shaping Drake into who he’s become and how far he’s come in the past 10 years. If it isn’t obvious yet, give this project a listen and take a ride back to 2009 courtesy of Drizzy Drake himself.   

Ariana Grande’s ‘thank u, next’: what the people are saying

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the couple years, Ariana Grande is on top of the world and it looks like she isn’t slowing down anytime soon. The superstar pop singer has just released her latest album Thank U, Next, which follows up her 4th studio album Sweetener by 6 months.

According to Ariana, the album was inspired by a variety of events that have occured in her personal life including the passing of ex-boyfriend Mac Miller and breaking up with her ex-fiance Pete Davidson.

Before the album was released, Grande dropped the titular single “Thank U, Next” as well as “7 Rings”. Both of these tracks debuted at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with huge numbers on streaming services. Grande then released the full album on February 8th, 2019 to the delight of fans and critics alike.

What the critics are saying

As is tradition when any big artist releases a new album, the Internet and the many music websites out there go absolutely crazy for it. Ariana Grande’s new album is no exception to this point.

USA Today had very high praise for the album, saying “thank u, next is markedly darker and sexier – leaning fully into Grande’s penchant for R&B, as she sings 12 of her most confessional songs yet”. They also described the project as her best and most confessional album yet. They gave huge praise to tracks including “ghostin”, “NASA”, and “in my head”, so be sure to check those out.

Another news outlet, The Guardian, had similar praise for the album, calling it “a break-up album of wit and wonder”. They also said that Grande has finally found her voice as an artist and has started showing people more of who she really is. The Guardian summed the project up beautifully, saying “As with Rihanna’s Anti, this feels like the work of a pop star previously happy to act as conduit for other people, finally working out who they are and what they want to say. Here, Grande finds her voice”.

What the fans are saying

To be completely honest, Ariana Grande’s fans are some of the most hardcore and supportive in all of music. They ride for her like no other. It’s obvious that she’s going to receive a huge amount of love from them. One fan on Twitter even went far enough as to say that the project had no skippable songs. Each was amazing in its own right.

Another user had more positive feedback on the album. They said that the growth that Grande showed on the project is incredible. Possibly the most noteworthy tweet about the album said “thank u next is the album we’ve always wanted from her”.

Other fans didn’t have such positive praise for the album. One fan even ranked Thank U, Next as Ariana’s second worst album. There wasn’t an explanation why, but it’s an interesting take given all of the other praise out there.  

Want to see more fan feedback on the album? You can search “thank u next” on Twitter or Instagram and be absolutely flooded with results. That’s how polarizing Grande is as an artist.  

Should you listen?

If it isn’t completely obvious yet, you should give this album a listen. Even if you aren’t necessarily into pop music, this is a piece of work that you absolutely should give the time of day to. It is stunningly emotional, deep, and revealing. This is an artist that put her personal business and thoughts out there in a beautiful way. If you do listen to the album, hit me up with your thoughts in the comment section.

The Plight of LeBron James

Another NBA trade deadline has come and gone. It featured no shortage of trades by title-hopefuls looking to solidify their spots as legitimate contenders. A flurry of activity saw Tobias Harris sent to Philadelphia, Marc Gasol shipped across the border up north to Toronto, and Nikola Mirotic land in Milwaukee. While many other trades took place, these could perhaps be argued as the most influential on playoff outcomes come this April. Yet, the biggest trade most everyone was following this past week failed to materialize past initial negotiations. Anthony Davis remains rooted in New Orleans, and the Lakers ended up with only Mike Muscala to show for all the drama.

This latest development in Lakerland highlights an eerily similar story arc for LeBron James as of late. During his final two seasons on the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron lobbied hard for his front office to try and land stars such as Eric Bledsoe, Kemba Walker, and Paul George. Unable to complete any of LeBron’s desired trades, the Cavaliers were left with a disgruntled team of misfits who only made the NBA Finals riding the coattails of LeBron’s greatness. 

What about this time?

Now, once again, LeBron James finds himself on a team full of young players. They know their fearless leader and team management eagerly anticipated trading them for a preferred superstar but failed to find the right deal. This clear awkwardness has ascended to the point of rival fans raining Lakers players with chants of “LeBron’s gonna trade you!” I’m no expert, but my guess is this negatively impacts team chemistry. Pair this with rumors of LeBron James’ displeasure with head coach Luke Walton, and the James could be poised to miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2004-05 season. 

This latest saga of LeBron’s bungled attempt to build himself a better team highlights another fascinating aspect to the problem. Despite LeBron’s status as a mega-millionaire with influence that spans the globe and many powerful friends, he still sits (for now, at least) a tier beneath billionaire NBA franchise owners. And these billionaires are neither too familiar nor comfortable with being told what to do. When Pelicans ownership and management is informed their supposed franchise cornerstone wants out through a series of smokescreens, leaked lists, and demands, it’s not surprising they decide to play hardball and deny LeBron’s and Anthony Davis’s wishes.

The future

This leaves us at an interesting spot in the later stages of LeBron James’s career. If he learned anything from his time trying to play general manager in the free agent market in years past, it should be to stay away from it. As LeBron’s career begins to wind down and he desires to win more championships, attempting to finagle the trade market will not lead to success. It remains to be seen whether or not Anthony Davis will eventually suit up in a Lakers uniform, but this much is for sure: LeBron James has failed on another trade deadline. And if he doesn’t learn fast, he might not get the chance to win in June ever again.