Commentary: NBA players rapping almost never works, so why do so many keep trying?

Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Kevin Durant, Gary Payton, Brian Shaw, Dana Barros, Dennis Scott, Malik Sealy, Elton Brand, Steve Francis, Isaiah Rider, Tony Parker, Iman Shumpert, Damian Lillard and, of course…Shaq have made rap singles and in some cases, entire albums.

Here, we aim to explore the finer points of 5 additional NBA rappers & their songs that warrant commentary.

#5:  Cedric Ceballos, Flow On from the 1994 album “BBall’s Best Kept Secret” (featuring Warren G)

Surprisingly good.  Yes, he takes the rather obvious approach of weaving basketball into the song and video but he pulls it off.  A graduate of Cal St. Fullerton, Ced spent 10 yrs in the NBA as a player but after retirement was hired by the Phoenix Suns as their in-arena emcee.  CC prob could have had a full career in music if that whole basketball thing didn’t happen.

#4: Joe Smith, Heart of a Lion from the 2009 album “The Beginning”

Surprisingly not awful.  Although not flawlessly executed, Joe scores bonus points for degree of difficulty by choosing such a rapid pace.  This could have gone horribly wrong for him…instead it was just good enough to avoid national ridicule which, frankly, should be the goal of all these guys.

#3:  Chris Webber, Gangsta Gangsta from the 1999 album “2 much drama” (featuring Kurupt)

Not surprisingly, it’s bad. Somewhere between calling a phantom time-out and calling games on TNT, this happened.  Not horrific…but just not for him.  Those flailing arms fail to keep the proper rhythm and he’s talking about babysitters and lettuce and whatnot.  Nice try but thank you for stopping.

#2: Jason Kidd, What the Kidd Did from the 1994 album “BBall’s Best Kept Secret” (featuring Money B)

Predictably awful. The breathy-whisper approach may have worked w/ a few ladies over the years but it’s creeps me out in a rap song.  Secondly, using his last name as a play on words in the song and the title is the most unimaginative move in the history of sound.  We’d all be better off if What the Kidd Did was not rap.

#1: Delonte West, Livin Life Fast from the 2011 album “The Lockout”

Oh boy.  This would be an example of that whole ‘national ridicule’ thing if he were a bit more famous but most casual bball fans only know him as the guy with neck-tats who has OCD and banged LeBron’s mom.  Easily the scariest thing about this…it was just 4 yrs ago. Many of these other mis-guided rap songs/vids can be laughed off as “back in the day” kind of stuff.  Not this one. While high and playing video games at Fuddruckers they thought…hey let’s shoot a rap video.  Really Livin the Fast Life at the arcade bruh.

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1984 Hoyas “feeling it” v Kentucky. So were the Fat Boys.

Old sports clips/pics can really take you back.  Old songs can do the same. Combine the two (from the same year) and it’s like hopping in a time machine.

The 1984 Final Four saw 1 seeds Georgetown and Kentucky battling nip and tuck for a trip to the title game.  Until the Hoyas went on a 23-3 run to close out the game in stunning fashion.  Safe to say they were “Feeling it” in the second half:

Coincidentally, 1984 also saw the release of the Fat Boys top single, “Can you feel it?”. Guessing coach Thompson played this for his squad at halftime.  Genius.

5 minutes of funk. VCU buzzer beater. 1984 NCAA tourney. Whodini vs. Peppas ?

Five minutes of funk.  1984, the 6th seeded VCU Rams squared off vs. Reggie Lewis and the Northeastern Huskies in the 1st round of the NCAA tournament.  VCU wins on a Rolando Lamb jumper at the buzzer but the final 5 minutes features Lamb v Lewis in a great back & forth:

Meanwhile in 1984, the Peppas weren’t yet the Peppas we’ve come to know & love but a few hundred miles up rt 95 in Brooklyn, Whodini was releasing their “Escape” album with the classic track “5 minutes of funk”.  Players riding to these games w/ headphones, heads bobbing…yeah, pretty sure this was on repeat mode for most of em:

All of this made us wonder.  The VCU athletic band (Peppas) and bandleader Ryan are known for being unconventional…and they already have a DJ.  Might we hear them play some Whodini at the 2016 Atlantic 10 bball tourney? Imagine the Gold Rush Dancers moving to this?  OMG.

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Top Rap hits –> Top bball recruits to Big East: 1987-88. Word Up.

The Sr. HS class of 1987-88 put several great players into Big East programs, led by the quartet of Mourning, Owens, Sealy & C. Smith.  (UPDATE: Eric Murdock, PC guard)

That same year also saw top hits released by Big Daddy Kane, Eric B & Rakim, LL Cool J, Kool Moe Dee and Public Enemy.

Old school player bio’s are fun trips down memory lane but we can take an even more vivid visit by linking players to top releases of that year.  Ones they likely had in their cassette decks. (I know we did)

Alonzo Mourning probably practiced those mid-range jumpers to Kool Moe Dee’s release “how you like me now”.  Cool, but with a little attitude…sounds about right.

alonzo mourning

The late Malik Sealy (boogie-down Bronx) may have been drawn to the smooth but powerful style of Big Daddy Kane (Bed-Stuy Brooklyn) who released “the wrath of kane” in 1988 before heading to the Redmen (storm) of St. Johns.

malik sealy 

Chris Smith, the consummate floor leader for Uconn, HAD to like the beat of Eric B and Rakim’s “follow the leader” released earlier that year.  Smith prob got an early copy since his Bridgeport facility was only a short ferry ride across the LI Sound to Eric B/Rakim’s studio in Long Island.

chris smith

Finally, the “chill” nature of one LL Cool J had to appeal to Billy Owens; known to be relatively quiet/relaxed but still dominant on the floor.  “Going back to Cali” was a hit in 87 while Owens was considering “going up to Syracuse”.

billy owens

UPDATE: Eric Murdock (aka the man of steal) was a sophomore at Providence College in 1988 when Public Enemy released “It Takes A Nation of Millions…” album.  Safe to assume the man of steal spent more than a few car rides head-bobbing to P.E.’s classic track “black STEEL in the hour of chaos”.

eric murdock