Beats and Buckets: The Culture of Winning

Whether it’s sports or music, success doesn’t come without the right mindset 

Justin Scott, Columnist  // Album cover provided by So Loki 

With the NBA now back in full swing, sports headlines are once again being frequented with names like James, Curry, Leonard and Butler. Although the majority of the narratives linked to the league’s premier players relate to predictions of successful seasons, Jimmy Butler has found himself in something of an awkward, yet familiar situation. Having demanded a trade a few weeks back, he’s been in team-limbo. Rumors of potential trades have been swirling, but nothing’s happened yet and he’s started the season as a Minnesota Timberwolf. The thing with Butler is, this isn’t a new story. He claims to be frustrated with his teammates not working as hard or being as focused on winning as him, yet he’s never really won anything himself. 

It’s situations like these that show how special organizations like the San Antonio Spurs are. With a selfless work ethic that emphasizes a shared goal of achieving greatness instilled in every player and a strong selection of veteran leaders, the Spurs truly have a winning culture. It’s this kind of culture that many teams, including those Butler has played for during his time as a professional basketball player, simply don’t have – and it shows. Butler, who’s never had a strong leader to learn from, currently has two of the most naturally gifted young players in the league on his team and rather than working with them and trying to achieve greatness as a team, he’s demanding a trade.  

The need for a strong culture to achieve success is no different in the music world. When you look at cities that are the “home” of certain genres, it’s clear that finding success in the music industry is rarely achieved alone. Look at Nashville and country music, Atlanta and hip hop or hubs like Los Angeles or New York for music in general. However, what’s often more exciting than an artist coming up through an existing culture is when they make their own. 

Vancouver’s hip hop scene for example, has been thriving for years. But, only on occasion do artists break out of the community that’s supported them. There’s no version of the Peak Performance Project for up-and-coming rappers in the City of Glass. However, one local group has been hustling for a few years now and it’s clearly paying off.  

So Loki have established themselves as an institution in Vancouver’s music scene and are continuing to get more successful with no end in sight. The duo hasn’t been working just for their own success either. They’re fostering and promoting their city’s vibrant hip hop scene with every chance they get. The latest example of this took place on Oct. 6 in Chinatown’s El Kartel. 

For one night, the clothing store transformed into a DIY concert venue that also hosted the launch of the group’s capsule collection with Obey Clothing. Performances from local up-and-comers Yurms, Juelz and Raiden carried the attendees through most of the evening, making the event just as much a showcase of local talent as a clothing release. This style of party is nothing new for So Loki. 

For the launch of their last EP Planet Bando, the group had a release party in the basement of Celebrities Nightclub. Once again, the evening was filled with performances from local artists, sharing the spotlight and the night with their fellow Vancouver creatives.  

It’s this culture that’s grown in Vancouver’s hip hop community that’s so exciting. Rather than seeing their fellow artists as competition, Vancouver’s rappers, producers and DJs have embraced one another and are fighting for each other just as much as they are for themselves. It’s this same mentality that NBA teams embarking on a new season will need to find success. 

Rather than belittling his teammates, Jimmy Butler should be taking them under his wing, mentoring them and trying to teach them to be as focused as he is. Half the reason this year’s Lakers are so intriguing is because every basketball fan in the world is curious to see how Lebron is going to lead his band of youngsters, castaways and misfits.  

In the same sense, it’s an exciting time for hip hop in Vancouver. There’s no doubt that So Loki’s Sam Lucia and Geoff Millar are currently the city’s poster boys for their genre, but what’s really encouraging is how they’re clearing the way and facilitating for their fellow artists. If the duo can mentor Vancouver’s other talented up-and-comers and inject their work ethic and knack for viral marketing into their peers, there’s no telling what the future holds. 

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