a playlist for james harden's most valuable player campaign [published on usa today sports media group's rocketswire]
Houston Rockets star James Harden is currently having an iconic season and is hands down the front-runner for this year’s MVP title.
In the past three seasons, Harden has come in second place twice in voting for the Most Valuable Player. But this year is different — as he has a chance (though unlikely) to win the award unanimously.
Harden is playing on another level this season. He’s leading the league in average points per game (31.2) — which is also a career-high for the Rockets guard.
He has helped lead his team to the best record in the league. And he recorded a 60-point triple-double this year, the first player in NBA history to do so. To keep the hype up, here’s a playlist for this year’s likely MVP.
Full tracklist below. Warning for profanity.
ZEALOTS — FUGEES
A warning to all the biters and the haters: Lauryn Hill’s verse on this track is one of the top five best verses ever spit.
RIC FLAIR DRIP — OFFSET & METRO BOOMIN
The beat alone on this track earns it a spot on the list. I feel like I can hear it loop in Harden’s head as he calculates his next move.
HUSSLE & MOTIVATE — NIPSEY HUSSLE
Like Harden, Nipsey is a Los Angeles legend. And like Harden, he really put on in 2018.
AMEN — MEEK MILL (FEATURING DRAKE)
Before their public beef, Meek Mill and Drake combine for a celebration of greatness.
LIKE A BOSS — SLIM THUG
Harden has proven to be the boss of all bosses this season. Also, this is a Houston homage.
TWO 16’S — Z MONEY (FEATURING VALEE)
“Now we can talk some sh*t”
Having come in second in voting twice in the past three seasons, Harden will now almost definitely be able to talk some sh*t.
CAN’T TELL ME NOTHING — KANYE WEST
Do I have to explain this one?
ALL THE TIME 2 — WINTERTIME
Wintertime loves himself on this track. Self-love is really important and adds a little motivation to Harden keep the chip on his shoulder as he finishes out the season.
DANGEROUS — BUSTA RHYMES
He is very, very dangerous. Remember what he did to Wes Johnson?
100 — THE GAME (FEATURING DRAKE)
All Harden has ever done is kept it 100. Plus, The Game, LA.
GET THE F*** OFF MY DICK — VINCE STAPLES
I think the title on this one speaks for itself. Plus, it’s a banger.
WHO DO YOU LOVE? — 2PAC
Obviously, there was going to be some 2Pac on here. He is LA’s MVP forever.
I’M SHININ’ — THE PACK
I’m really happy Lil’ B lifted the curse on Harden. Also, The Beard is shinin’ very bright this season.
BIG SHOT — KENDRICK LAMAR & TRAVIS SCOTT
LA and Houston combined on a track? And it’s titled ‘Big Shot’? This song is literally made for James Harden.
LOOK ALIVE — BLOCCBOY JB (FEATURING DRAKE)
Drake’s verse makes me want to win MVP at something.
KNOCKIN’ DOORS DOWN — PIMP C (FEATURING P.O.P. & LIL KEKE)
Harden has knocked down many doors this season (60-point triple-double, league’s leading scorer) and Pimp C (RIP) is a Houston legend.
TWIST MY FINGAZ — YG
I can’t wait for Harden to do his dance when he wins the award. Also, look how great YG looks in Harden’s signature sneaker.
WONDERFUL — TRAVIS SCOTT
“Oh my, oh my, what a wonderful time,” and it absolutely is for James Harden. Also, Houston.
SOMETHING GOOD — UGK
UGK sampled The Isley Brothers, Boogie Down Productions, Barry White and Rufus & Chaka Khan on this track. But, I digress. UGK are Houston legends. And so much good is going on for James Harden and the Rockets this season.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT — JAY-Z
From Sixth Man of the Year in 2011-2012 with OKC to 2017-2018’s most likely MVP candidate, Harden has reintroduced himself as one of the best players in the league. Y’all know how the song starts.
GILLIGAN — DRAM (FEATURING A$AP ROCKY & JUICY J)
It’s dark and trappy and showcases DRAM’s versatility. Harden has showcased his versatility this season, too.
B*TCH I LOOK GOOD – KOOL JOHN (FEATURING P-LO)
There is a whole lot of confidence on this track.
TEAM ROCKET – LIL UZI VERT
We’re all Team Rocket this year, yes? Washington Post conducted an MVP straw poll in February asking 100 members of the media (not the same as those who cast official votes in the MVP race) for their front-runners and 91 of them listed Harden.
ROSES – SAINT JHN
I just think he’d like this song.
ULTIMATE [REMIX] – DENZEL CURRY (FEATURING JUICY J)
“I am ultimate, behold my awesomeness.”
We are witnessing Harden’s awesomeness night in and night out and it’s the ultimate entertainment.
WIPE ME DOWN – LIL BOOSIE (FEATURING WEBBIE & FOXX)
An anthem of sorts, Lil Boosie’s “Wipe Me Down” takes it a step further than just getting the dirt off one’s shoulder. I imagine this was on a young Harden’s playlist at one point in time. So, if you will, this is a track for nostalgia.
HARDBALL – AMIR TRIPP
Tripp samples “we goin’ to the ‘ship” from Hardball (2001) and I just can’t wait to see the Rockets in the playoffs.