The new track from rising young Seattleite Dave B touches on the surface themes of love and basketball, but it's the insider imagery that makes it great. "I was in cornrows, doin' slow suicides, who am I thinkin' that I am?/I just felt a part of somethin' put my pride inside the rim," he raps in the first verse. Throughout the song, he references the physical pain of running drills, and the confusion sports adds to a young person's identity quest.
"J.V. was cool, but varsity took the fun out/partially partin' ways with that part of me, doin' drugs now." In addition to the obvious allusion to Spike Lee's 1998 classic, the song's narrative blends personal experience and sports culture in a way that makes me think of Sherman Alexie's fantastic story "The Only Traffic Signal on the Reservation Doesn't Flash Red Anymore," as told by the stumbling local basketball star Julius (in a different cultural context of course). It also brought me back to my high school athletic career, during which gaining the attention of college recruiters and chugging tall cans seemed equally important. Both real and #sportslife suffers in this scenario, but who's setting these expectations? This is the question Dave B sets out to answer, and he does so by breaking free of the cycle entirely, and following his own passions.
"He Got Game" was produced by Justo of the Physics with help from Seattle's Kam Boogie, and is from Dave's upcoming School Daze project, which drops May 6.