A.G.E.R. -- Strictly Business
Catching up today with Maurice Ager, who is going full blast with two careers and whose musical stylings will be all over MSU athletics in the year to come and perhaps for many more.
One thing that may seem strange about this story is how Ager, a former first-round pick and a guy who is right in the midst of his athletic prime, would have playing time issues in Spain. He and friend/manager Dan Dugger didn't want to get into specifics on that. It was an amicable parting and Ager may need to return to Europe in the near future to play.
But if I may speculate for a moment, his former team's roster is not full of guys who are being chased down by NBA execs. What happens sometimes in Europe is one agent will rep coaches, personnel people and several players on the same team. And that agent can then essentially dictate playing time. Not saying that happened here, but that's one of the pitfalls for American players there.
You may remember one of the other Americans on Ager's team, by the way -- former Michigan big man Josh Asselin. Asselin had problem for a while with his paperwork, but the team had Ager sit for a month instead of Asselin while things were cleared up, because the team had a bigger need for post players.
On the musical side of things, you can hear some Ager beats for yourself at Mark Dantonio's official site and, of course, at the online home of Ager's new company. Dugger was a student intern for MSU's athletic communications, and he and former boss John Lewandowski made the deal happen. First, younger ears more attuned to hip hop than Lewandowski's -- belonging to Ben Phlegar and Dave Diffenderffer, among others -- approved of the sound.
Having heard the music for the football theme song (pre-lyrics), which will be unveiled some time in August, I believe it will be a crowd pleaser. For those of you who like that sort of thing. If so, see what you think of my Top Ten Favorite Rap Albums. Very, very tough to chop to 10.
1. Wu-Tang Clan -- "Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)." Easy to put this No. 1, though. A masterpiece from start to finish, this one started it all in 1993.
2. Beastie Boys -- "Paul's Boutique." Back when sampling was unrestricted, these guys took it to a level that never would have been duplicated, anyway. It still confounds me that anyone was disappointed with this album after "Licensed to Ill."
3. Dr. Dre -- "The Chronic." Ah, college.
4. A Tribe Called Quest -- "Midnight Marauders." Most people consider "The Low-End Theory" their defining work, and it certainly broke ground. But I think this was their best and most enjoyable album.
5. Public Enemy -- "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back." Instant adrenaline, all-time classic. No one will ever duplicate Chuck D.
6. The Pharcyde -- "Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde." Everyone knows "Passing Me By," but this entire album is melodic, inventive, awesome. Pick it up.
7. De La Soul -- "De La Soul is Dead." So difficult to choose between this and "Three Feet High and Rising," and "Stakes is High" is another great work. But this one manages to have fun amid lots of serious subject matter. For anyone who thinks rap can't deliver a positive message, listen to a De La Soul album.
8. Black Eyed Peas -- "Behind the Front." Before Fergie and Leno and exhaustive radio play, BEP released this 1998 debut album. It's 100 times better than anything they've done since -- or will do again, I'm guessing. This is all you need from BEP.
9. The Roots -- "Things Fall Apart." Don't hate them for hanging out with Jimmy Fallon. They've produced tons of great music over the years, and this is their finest hour.
10. Notorious B.I.G. -- "Ready to Die." So many possibilities for this spot, but this album never gets old.
And on an unrelated note, is this guy just completely out of his mind or what? Just stop talking.