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Baylor Football In Hip-Hop: Episode 4

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Comparing memorable Baylor Football games to iconic Hip-Hop songs

Kansas State v Baylor
Nick knew. He always knew.
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

I can count on one hand the number of games that I will never have a chance of forgetting for the rest of my waking days. Regretfully most of those examples end in either heartbreaking defeat (looking at you Michigan State) or a walk-off winner against TCU.

Fortunately for all of us, this week will not include either of those categories. In order to get in the right headspace for this one I need you to close your eyes, think of the most 2004 thing you can conjure up, and set your AOL Instant Messenger status to “Away--- call if you want..” because we’re about to spend a few minutes observing a few perfectly preserved relics of days past. Lace up your Starbury kicks, make sure no one is using the home phone, and throw on those uncomfortable headphones before you leave the house: we’re talking about Baylor vs Kansas State 2012 and Still Tippin’ by Mike Jones featuring Slim Thug and Paul Wall

Because I consider myself a courteous pen-dipper, I went ahead and threw a few links your way to refresh your memory of our two all-timers. If you haven’t been so lucky to hear Still Tippin’ in your life yet, I pray this song punches you in the teeth as hard as it did me and my loved ones when we were first blessed with it:

One small caveat I’ll add here for anyone who is going into this song blind is that it does kick off with a particularly vulgar line—stick with me and you’ll be glad you let this sweet siren song into your heart.

Baylor vs Kansas State 2012:

Still Tippin’:

The Bears

I was a Freshman at Baylor in 2012. We had just catapulted ourselves into the national conversation with the saga of RG3 and were hoping to build off the momentum with a 2012 campaign to show the nation that we were ten-toes-down on the football field and not just a blip on the radar. Candidly, the first half of that season was a wild ride. We looked serviceable in our non-conference slate of SMU, Sam Houston, and ULM, but didn’t necessarily do anything to instill confidence that we were going to make a ton of noise in any college football conversation worth a damn. After the expected-but-not-impressive 3-0 start, Baylor marched into Morgantown for their first-ever matchup with their newly added Big-12 foe West Virginia. I’ll save you about 1500 words of reading here and just tell you this was the most stupid game of football ever played. Baylor lost 70-63 and if the universe was a justice-filled vacuum, both teams would have been given two losses for their defensive performances. Our defense played so bad that there were legitimate conversations for a few weeks about whether or not Geno “Glass-Jaw” Smith was a Heisman contender. Big yikes, gang.

That trash can fire of a game was the first of a five-game losing streak for your Bears that felt a little to familiar to fans who had been around for more than 2 years, and while the team could score points on just about anyone at will, the defense and special teams play regularly dug holes that Nick Florence and company simply were not able to climb out of.

Let me get something off my chest really quick if that’s ok with you.

While we’re on the subject, Nick Florence was that dude. Nick could make every single throw on the field, would run right-the-hell through your face if you even hinted that you didn’t account for his legs on any given play, and (most importantly) was a proud torch bearer of the Bad Beard Club. In the 2012 season, Nick Florence threw for more passing yards that any Baylor Quarterback ever has with 4,309 with 1,832 of those going to his #1 target Terrance Williams. If Nick wasn’t forced into action (resulting in a burnt redshirt season) in 2011 against Texas Tech after a dirty ass hit took RG3 out of the game briefly, I think we would have enough data points to have a consensus that he is the second best QB to ever put on the Green and Gold. Unfortunately, we only got one full season of the single-glove slinger.

Ok, thanks for letting me tell my truth. Back to it.

Anyway, we were pretty bad there for a while in the 2012 season, gang. That was until about 7:00pm CST on November 17th. Without spoiling the third stanza of my piece, I’ll just let you know that starting that night, Baylor won 13 straight football games as well as 26 of their next 30 contests. This game was the slingshot that threw your beloved Bears into the nightmares of every poor head coach tasked with containing them for 4 quarters a week.

The Beats

Let me get this out of the way on the front end – my brain simply doesn’t have the words in it to ever accurately describe the importance and hip-hop ripple effect that early 2000’s Houston rap has had on the industry at large. You see traces of Houston’s influence everywhere you look. Whether or not you know that you love Houston rap, I can promise that you do. Still Tippin’, to me, is a perfect distillation of everything that built Houston into a hotbed of hip-hop both today and yesterday. If Austin is the live music capital of the world, Houston is the heartbeat of Texas hip-hop that has been the launching pad for some of the best to ever do it.

As a community, we might never ever fully appreciate how beautiful it is that the universe was gifted a song with Mike Jones, Slim Thug, and Paul Wall on the same beat, but here we are. All three of these lyricists are certified kings of their domains and warrant a smooth 2500 words a piece but none of us have the time or attention span for that today so let me just say: make some time in the next few weeks to run through their discographies a handful of times. I’m begging you.

Still Tippin’ was released on November 12, 2004 when Mike Jones debuted his first studio album “Who Is Mike Jones?” and boy oh boy let me tell you the world hasn’t been the same ever since. The song includes verses from both Slim Thug and Paul Wall which automatically qualifies this song for the rarest of all praises, but what people may not realize was this was actually the first song that Paul Wall ever blessed us with commercially.

I can’t believe I’m typing this, but if you aren’t entirely familiar with the work of one Paul Wall, he is one of the most beloved people to ever come out of Houston. He has built a career as a rapper and DJ, spending most of his early career with All-Time Rap Group Swishahouse. His solo career started off with a #1 debut album “The Peoples Champ” on the Billboard 200 featuring yet another perfect song “Sittin’ Sidewayz.”

For those who don’t necessarily identify as hip-hop lovers, you might best remember Paul Wall for his verse on “Grillz” from the year 2005 when he and Nelly had the top-40 charts in a full-nelson headlock.

While all three the verses are standalone slappers, I’d like to zoom-in on Slim Thug for a few hundred words with your permission. Slim Thug, to me, has 10 toes firmly planted on the top of the Houston Hip-Hop Mount Rushmore. When he was still in highschool, he gained notoriety performing freestyle raps at parties before signing to formally begin his rap career with Swishahouse. Once he got wise to how much money was on the table for him if he could make and distribute his own mixtapes, he carved out his own lane in the industry when he formed his own independent music label Boss Hogg Outlawz.

No one on the planet had a better 2005-2006 than Slim Thug. Not only was he featured on Still Tippin (which will echo in the chambers of the hip-hop hall of fame for always and eternity), he also had the distinct honor of being featured on Beyonce’s “Check Up On It” alongside fellow hip-hop legend Bun B. The song hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is an all-time ass kicking of a jam.

Okay now that we are on the same page let’s get cooking on why this song is perfect. It gets the party started with a signature sound of Houston and homage to the late DJ Screw with a slowed down and chopped up baseline. For a good example of what I mean when I say something is “Chopped and Screwed” I’ve provided you with a second link to this song below so you can see how it differs from the original version.

If you can’t exactly put your finger on why the strings in this song sound familiar, let me save you some time: they sampled a 1990 recording of Gioachino Rossini’s intergenerationally loved “William Tell Overture.” How wild is that lol.

Slim Thug opens up the first verse with his patented silky-smooth flow where one line bleeds into another as your eyes glaze over while you try to just keep up with the cadence and beauty of it all. Try as you might, your head is going to bob to this verse- lean into it. Slim Thug is just so damn surgical man. The way he delivers bars has the listener simultaneously positive about where the punchline is headed and also still impressed with how he gets there. He also delivers a personal favorite line of mine in hip-hop history: Blowin on that Endo- Gamecube Nintendo. I don’t have any analysis here I just really love that one.

One chorus later, we get prime Mike Jones and are better for it. While Still Tippin’ was Mike’s first big banger, his name is written in the books of rap history for his work on his 2005 magnum opus “Back Then.” You might not think you know Back Then, but I know that you do. If you can finish this lyric “281 - ??? - ????” you know Mike Jones.

When Mike Jones is spitting, he has this incredible and all-supreme delivery that I can only equate to filling your mouth with as much honey as you can find and then just letting the words fall out at their own pace. The way he speeds up and slows down his delivery to make sure the listener doesn’t blink is so uniquely him and I am so thankful to have heard it. Mike also made a whole living off of a single line that he features exactly four times in this song:

“Back then hoes didn’t want me. Now I’m hot hoes all on me.”

Not only does he repeat this four times in Still Tippin’, but his signature song “Back Then” also features this exact line 32 more times. No one does that except for Mike Jones. That’s how iconic this line is. He dares you to get bored of that line and you still don’t do it. Unreal.

The third verse is spearheaded by the aforementioned People’s Champ, Paull Wall. Even though Paul was in the early stages of his career at the time of this studio session, he still went toe-to-toe with 2 industry titans. Paul does the unthinkable on his verse: he compares himself to an insect because he is low to the Earth and still manages to make it sound hard as hell. The combination of these three rappers dropping this much heat back-to-back is rarified air, gang. We are all witnesses to history today. Take some pride in that, ok?

The Battle

Now Look Who Creepin’ Look Who Crawlin’ Still Ballin’ In The Mix

Buckle up gang. This is the greatest win in Baylor football history and we’re going to treat it as such. Kansas State was a Swiss-Army knife made up of hand grenades coming into Waco, with their eyes squarely on the BCS National Championship Game. They were undefeated on the season and had the frontrunner in the Heisman race under center. Baylor, uh, did not. Baylor had lost 5 straight games to start off the conference slate that year and there was not exactly a ton of optimism that we were going to be able to get ourselves together enough to take down a team that was running QB Power over everyone in the country so far.

Quick Sidebar:

Not sure how seared this next image is in your head, but this game was also protested by the Westboro Baptist Church. Lmao. Freaking Dweebs. That was the worst tailgate I have ever been to in my entire life. Nary an adult beverage in sight and the vibes were totally off, honestly.

Ok thanks again.

This is typically where I would say something like “The atmosphere in Floyd Casey was electric, and everyone within viewing distance of the field knew something special was brewin,” but that’s just like not true. It kinda felt like most people had already come to terms that the RG3 tenure was the exception and not the rule. Boy were they the wrongest anyone had ever been.

Pretty much as soon as toe hit leather we were all over them, gang. Baylor received the ball and was letting Nick call the shots as we marched down the field. Kansas State, who is historically known for playing disciplined football, had two flags called on them on the first two plays of the game and frankly looked #not #great. In a sight that became all too familiar in Waco, Tevin Reese snuck behind the defense and got us on the board at 7-0.

After that, something happened that no one really talks about because it didn’t work, but Baylor actually tried to follow up an opening drive score with an onside kick. It was ultimately unsuccessful, but I remember there was like a 45 second gap after the play ended where you could hear about 35,000 different voices saying a version of “man what the hell was that but also could you imagine”

Kansas State meandered out onto the field and local Wacoans were blessed with a truthfully cool moment. The feature back for the Wildcats that season was Midway High School legend, John Hubert, who was lined up against about 7 total former teammates who stuck around the 254 to play ball. Most notably was the matchup of Hubert against Ahmad Dixon. At that point in time, both athletes were the best to ever do it at Midway High and seeing them get one last chance to duke it out in Waco gave warm fuzzies to anyone privy to this bit of trivia.

The Baylor defense, expectedly, did not do much of anything to stop K-State on that initial drive and the score was tied in the blink of an eye. Baylor decided that they had no choice but to run the following kickoff back for a touchdown and that is exactly what my beloved Antwan Goodley did but it got called back for holding. Real shame.

Not to brag, but the end of the following Baylor drive is when I first knew in my heart that we were going to be a damn problem. Look at the perfect executed fist pump that Nick does as he walks into the end-zone. Nick knew it was scary hours for the fighting Snyders.

I have long thought (and been proven correct time after time) that if you get Kansas State in a position where they have to throw the ball to have a chance to win, you’ve got them right where you want them. Now that I think about it, Kansas State having a Quartberback almost win the Heisman Trophy despite not being able to reliably throw a football is peak Kansas State. The drive sputtered and we got the ball back.

After a prompt 3-and-out from Baylor, Kansas State got the ball back and it felt like we were settling into what this game was going to be: fugly. That was until my close personal friend and all around baller Joe Williams ran a perfect route and took the ball away from the Kansas State Receiver. Baylor ball, gang.

What felt like some real life momentum for your Baylor Bears was quickly squashed out after Nick damn near got decapitated on a late hit and responded by throwing a 40 yard arm punt to give the ball back to the Wildcats. Kansas State then did what they do best: stall out on offense because (again) they refuse to take the field with a quarterback who knows how to throw a football well.­­­­

Side note here: it really is bananas that Kansas State (who I like and is good) has not had a quarterback worth a darn in my adult life. They want dudes who can go out and throw a screen pass or run it 6 yards at a time, but they have not had a vertical threat worth typing here since Josh Freeman. Kansas state has had one (1) quarterback throw for 3500 yards in a season in program history, and that was when Jake Waters threw for 3,501 yards in 2014. Blake Szymanski’s 2007 season (2,844 yards) would rank 4th all-time in Kansas State history. Lol. Lmao.

After the aforementioned punt by Kansas State, Nick made a personal decision to send those boys to hell and that’s exactly what he did. A few plays later, Florence found a streaking Terrance William between two safeties and put the good guys up by 14.

Kansas State, yet again, went 3-and-out on account of not being able to throw a football very well, and then Baylor proved that they could run it up the gut as much as they want for about 9 plays before Glasco Martin found the end-zone to put the Bears up 28-7. Scary hours, indeed, for the #1 team in the nation.

Even though the final score looked like a blowout, Baylor really didn’t put those dudes in the dirt until later in the 3rd quarter, and Kansas state actually scratched back into this one before half – hanging 10 more points up to hit the locker room only down 28-17.

This is when shit really hit the fan for Bill and his band of cornfed athletes.

Immediately after receiving the second half kickoff, Colin Klein decided that he wasn’t all that interested in getting cardio in and threw an absolute stinker over the middle that fell right into the lap of Sam Holl. Real sicko stuff here, gang.

Baylor made and executive decision that these bums weren’t going to stop us anymore and let Glasco do Glasco things until he reached the endzone again. 35-17 good guys. Colin Klein hadn’t yet decided that the second half had started so Kansas State gave us the ball back after holding onto it for 3 plays. The good news here for the fighting Snyders is that they punted the ball all the way to the Baylor 1 yard line.

I would like to now introduce you all to a new segment here that I have decided to call: The two dumbest plays I have ever seen in my entire damn life. Join me.

Backed up on their one yard line up 18 points against the number 1 ranked team in the nation, a person with a fully functioning brain would likely to decide to run the ball up the middle a few times to drain the clock and create some space. Well, folks, we didn’t do that. What we chose to do, instead, was to throw a quick screen on first down that fell incomplete. Pretty weird, but like no harm no foul I guess. After what could have been a really bad play for your Bears, we decided to run the same damn play again and threw an interception. Yep, we threw two WR screens from our own end-zone and the football Gods correctly decided that we deserved punishment for that. One play later, the Wildcats punched it in and our comfortable lead was reduced to just 11 points with more than a quarter of football left. Big yikes.

Kansas State would not score again.

One Aaron Jones 50 yard atomic bomb later the Bears had yet again increased their lead to two touchdowns with about 8 minutes left in the third quarter. This is precisely the moment the party got started in Waco gang.

Kansas State opened their next drive with a very dumb and not smart double end around that was snuffed out for an 11-yard loss. The gang in Waco knew that we were cooking with grease. The question after this play wasn’t whether we would be able to pull of the upset. The new question buzzing around the stadium was by how much were we about to embarrass these chumps.

Kansas State punts after three plays and the Glasco punched that sucker in to increase the lead to 45-24. The moment he walked into the end-zone is one that I wish we could bottle up relive forever when things are going badly. I don’t think I’ll ever fully be able to wrap my head around exactly how special it felt in Waco when the entire stadium realized we were breathing rarified air. It was special, man.

I would now like to introduce yet another segment that I am going to call The Two Best Plays In Baylor Football History:

At this point in the game, we knew we were going to win. Kansas State knew we were going to win. They were asking for mercy and we simply would not give it to them. Sorry it had to be you, Bill.

Let me set the scene for you, team. The Wildcats were actually putting together a pretty good drive. They moved the ball down the field pretty efficiently, getting 13 plays off in about 3 minutes. Things weren’t going great for them, but this was a pretty encouraging sequence for them. They were going to lose the game, but they were able to put together a fairly competent offensive drive to build on.

That was until they got the Joe Williams kiss of death. The next play not only set off a trillion fireworks in Waco, but also sealed the deal on Mr. Williams actually being named the National Player of the Week for his performance. Joe picked off that chump in the end-zone. Game, blouses.

Then it happened. The most special play in Baylor history happened. With two minutes left in the third quarter, Baylor was happy to eat up the clock, keep the team healthy, and celebrate at Scruffy Murhpy’s until the cows came home. Instead, Lache Seastrunk decided he wanted to get in on the fun and took a simple handoff 80 yards to the house. It was magnificent. It was perfect. I could have died in that moment a happy man. Let’s pull up a chair and watch this two-play sequence together as a family:

Here’s Lache’s play in gif form so you can watch it as many times as you want.

Not only was the game incredibly over at this point, but Kansas State also actually waved the white flag after this one. Rather than pretend they were interested in a comeback, they chose to put together a 21 play, 8-minute drive to try and win back some dignity with a touchdown to take home to their families. Baylor, again, had different plans for the Wildcats. After 20 whole plays, Kansas state wanted to punch it in on fourth-and-goal for their self-esteem’s sake, but that simply wasn’t going to fly in Waco. The Bears stopped the now former Heisman front-runner and took the ball over on downs.

Here’s the entire goal-line sequence if you want to light up a cigarette and take a few minutes to yourself. I won’t judge you.

The rest of the game was pretty uneventful with both teams running the clock out in a gentleman’s agreement. Imagine that.

A truly perfect game start to finish. Sic ‘Em Bears baby.

Still Tippin’ featured three bonafide legends coming together to catch you off guard with a molasses like flow that teleported you to a special place and demanded your attention for a full 3 minutes and 34 seconds. It also put Paul Wall on the map and let him build a hall-of-fame career on the heels of the song’s performance. Similarly, Baylor was catapulted from “Pesky team that you can’t necessarily sleep on” all the way to a 13 game winning streak and 2 consecutive Big-12 Championships. Both of these masterpieces deserved to be preserved for the rest of recorded human history, and today we all did our part in making sure that happened.