Those of you who have heard me talk about London Calling in the past know that the odds are stacked against The Chronic here as giving Dr. Dre this matchup in Round 1 is like Radford pulling the Tarheels in Greensboro in this year's tournament. Joe, Mick and Co. really trot out a murderer's row of standouts on London Calling... all of which would make brilliant BEST songs on any decent album. So let's go ahead and give love to the the favorites in both the Mens' NCAA Tourney by comparing them to the favorite in America's second favorite tournament*, the Top 30 or So bracket
"London Calling" --> Tyler Hansbrough - The gritty, gutty, face of the team here. Because it seems like he has been at UNC for a Ron Pawlus-esque 15 years or so it's recently become easy for me to forget about what this guy does for his team just like I find myself oddly forgetting how much I love this song in spite of its title track status.
"Rudie Can't Fail" --> Ty Lawson - Just as Lawson is incredibly fun to watch and the cog in the machine that seems to make everything work at its best for the Heels, Rudie Can't Fail is the song you would tell someone who hasn't heard this album to listen to first. It's fun, relentlessly catchy, and brings together the punk energy of their earlier efforts with the ska and reggae influences that are all over London Calling
"Spanish Bombs" --> Ed Davis - Every time I see this guy in the game, I'm blown away at just how different he is than other college basketball players I've seen. The Richmond product might already be the best inside defender in the ACC after only one year and while the Heels aren't necessarily going to ride this guy to a title, when he's in the game you can count on him doing something that no one else on the court can do. Spanish Bombs pulls off this trick with great aplomb by being that one track on the album that fits into the arc of the album only in the fact that it doesn't fit at all and with its bilingual vocals and its pummeling staccato arrangement it is a truly unique bit of musicianship.
"Train in Vain" --> Tyler Zeller - This song is perhaps the single most recognizable by the masses on the album but I don't know that anyone instantly thinks of this song when they think of London Calling which always leads to a "wait a second... THAT song is on the album too? SWEET!" This is exactly the feeling I get when I realize that as good as Carolina has been this year they've done it all without a great deal of contribution from Zeller, one of the top recruits in the nation.
"Hateful" --> Bobby Frasor - Being lined up near Rudie Can't Fail on the track list of the 17 song epic is almost unfair; add to this the fact that the two are similar stylistically and it's easy to hate on Hateful. Just as comparing all-world athlete and playmaker Ty Lawson to second unit floor general Frasor really diminishes the fact that Frasor (as was evidenced in the first two rounds of the tourney) is more than capable of doing some fine work on the court.
So how is The Chronic supposed to step to this? Simply put... it's not. The Chronic has its own murderer's row** of tracks including perhaps three of the 10 greatest raps of the 90s in the form of Nuthin but a G Thang, Let Me Ride, and Fuck Wit Dre Day but that line up as well as spotty depth (seriously there are a few tracks that are completely skippable) and too many skits*** make this contest a rout... Just as Radford put together a great season in the Big South, Dre put together a great gangsta rap album and that's certainly achievement but gangsta rap doesn't even touch the pinnacle of 70s punk success just like the Big South ain't the ACC.
*NOT the All Valley Karate Tournament
** seriously I think they actually ARE murderers
***is there ANYTHING more repugnant than the rap album skit?