"Diamonds & Wood" is an ongoing series in which music critic Shea Serrano breaks down the 5 hip-hop tracks you need to hear this week.
On the seventh play of the first game of our football season, everything went perfectly.
The first play was the kickoff, which we always opt to send to the opponent when given the opportunity—we like to let them know immediately that their day is going to be fucked. Defense is how we win. Always. A lot of days, we don’t even bother practicing offense. All of our players might as well have names like "Knute" and "Dick" and "Brock"—we are a football traditionism of an American tradition. Or something. Whatever. I don't know. We kicked it to them, is the point.
The second, third, fourth and fifth plays went as we'd hoped. The other team, perennial league laughing stock De., was stymied. There most successful play in the series featured their running back being slung to the floor by our safety two yards behind the line of scrimmage. We turned them over on downs (only pussies punt, we hear).
Our first offensive play, the sixth play of the game, was a scratch, a running play (22 Dive) that resulted in zero yards gained because our running back reacts to defensive linemen the same way I react whenever my dad yells at me (by immediately lying down on the floor and praying for it to be over).
But the seventh play, the seventh play was glorious.
Our quarterback, The Helicopter, a seventh grader tucked inside of an eleventh grader’s body, curled around to the right as his receivers sped down the field. Nobody –NOBODY—throws the ball in middle school football. The net return is rarely positive—at worst, it’ll be intercepted and returned for a touchdown, at best, it’ll be dropped. But our school crushes at it. Our quarterback from three years ago has been heavily recruited by colleges for the past year. Our quarterback from two years ago (now a sophomore) is the starting varsity quarterback at the high school our school feeds into. We throw it, and we throw it well. It's just no one else does.
So when The Helicopter came out of the pocket, his 6’ frame gliding across the turf like an air hockey puck across the table, the linebackers/corners/linemen all adjusted their trajectories, clumsily calculating angles in their brains and guessing at where they should try and meet him past the line of scrimmage. Our receivers were left to their own wills. They sprinted and then they waited, turning completely around to see what was going on, just like every great NFL receiver does.
The Helicopter spied his target, steadied his shoulders, cocked back his arm, then unloaded a 40 yard bomb off his back foot. The defense froze in horror. The wind stopped blowing. The Earth stopped rotating. Trey Songz and T.I. stopped caring about the ladies and the drinks. The ball soared. It was beautiful. Eagles have less grace in the air than a pass from The Helicopter.
Our coaching staff: Smiling at the inevitable touchdown our offensive progressivism had earned.
Their coaching staff: Loser-faced, their fate sealed when they put on their puke blue polyester polo coaching shirts early that morning.
The crowd: Bananas at the deception.
The Gods: Rumbling around in the cosmos, no doubt, clearing a space at their table for the 12-year-old they were watching.
Our receiver, OUR BEST RECEIVER, stood alone, no one within 15 yards.
The ball hit his hands.
Then the ball hit the turf.
And then Satan took a big, fat shit on our day.
We threw the ball fourteen times. We dropped the ball fourteen times. Eleven of those times, it hit the receiver in the hands. And on four of those occasions, FOUR, the recipient was standing in the end zone. We’d have done better if we’d instructed The Helicopter to just rocket at the ball at their faces and hope it got stuck in their facemasks.
With our pass game rendered toothless, the defense loaded the box with players. The Helicopter managed to break free once for a 50 yard touchdown scramble (when he unfolds his body after breaking the secondary, it really is something), but beyond that, we were toast. During one timeout, while one of the coaches attempted to scare athleticism and talent into our offensive line via DEATH STARE, I pulled The Helicopter to the side and asked him if he’d be able to throw the ball and then run and catch it. He laughed. I was only half-playing.
Our outside linebackers played admirably, and The Bully was as monstrous at defensive end as we’d hoped—it only took until the end of the first quarter before none of De.’s running backs would dare trespass into his territory. Everyone else was invisible.
We moved our tight end (The Underachieving Overachiever) to quarterback for a play and asked him to just throw it up for grabs somewhere near The Helicopter.
Watching The Helicopter line up at wide receiver was exhilarating. He was birthed to play that position. He looks like Terrell Owens with braces. Him getting into set position is like Optimus Prime getting into fighting stance. It was for naught, though. The ball was hiked, our lineman ushered their defense into the backfield, The Underachieving Overachiever was mauled, and six seconds later one of their players was standing in the end zone with the ball.
Game one of our six game season went as we expected it'd go, but that didn't make it any more tolerable.
Next game is this Tuesday. Fuck.
Function Undertaking's record: 0-1
1. Here's a video of DMX trying to use a computer
I'm quite certain there has never been a more convincing sales pitch for a video than, "Here's a video of DMX trying to use a computer."
2. Freddie Gibbs, "Kush Cloud," featuring Krayzie Bone and SpaceGhostPurrp
(Best of the week.) Only way it could've been better was if Devin the Dude had shown up to coo-coo-coo his buttery coo all over everything.
3. Propain, "The Note"
The second verse here is goddamn pulverizing.
4. Raekwon, "Scroll"
I don't know what the coolest alias in hip-hop his, but I'm pretty sure "The Chef" is in the running.
5. Lil B, "California Boy"
I mean, Lil B is basically the best at playing a joke on all of us, right?
(p.s. Going from a Raekwon video to a Lil B video is like going from a Raekwon video to a Lil B video.)
Shea Serrano is a writer living in Houston, TX. His work has appeared in the Houston Press, LA Weekly, Village Voice, XXL, The Source, Grantland and more. You can follow him on Twitter here.