The NBA and the Hip-Hop world have had close ties for years, and the merging influence has been obvious for sometime.
Iverson’s rapstar-like cornrows, to players wearing ‘urban’ brands and ‘baggy’ attire, all the way to the BEATS phenomenon. Rappers wearing NBA jerseys, quoting players in lyrics and being seen at games. The two go hand in hand.
But what about NBA players spittin’ venom on the mic?
Well that’s just it…… quite a few have, and not many quite live up to the hype.
Here are some of the NBA players that have ‘graced’ the mic:
Allen Iverson - Jewels
Iverson was the one baller who wore his Hip-Hop influences quite literally ‘on his sleeve’. To the rags he rocked, the hairstyles, the swagger, just his whole demeanour. So it was no surprised when he announced in late 2000 he had plans to release his debut solo album. The album that was due to be released under his rap monicker ‘Jewels’ never saw the light of day, but certain tracks were leaked. David Stern was said to be furious when he learned of the lyrics on AI’s track ’40 Bars’, and demanded he changed certain lyrics. While AI actually has a decent sounding voice, his flow was pretty stuttered and the beat was tired, considering he raps about his ‘millions’ you would think he would have paid for a better producer huh?
Everybody stay fly get money kill and fuck bitches
I’m hittin anything in plain view for my riches
VA’s finest fillin up ditches, when niggaz turn to bitches
DAie for zero digits, I’ma giant ya’ll midgets
I know killaz that kill for a fee
That’ll kill yo’ ass for free, believe me
How you wanna die fast or slowly?
Fast as a rolie, slow as a rolie polie
Ron Artest -
Metta World Peace (Artest) has on occasion called himself the best rapper in the NBA, which could well be true but it wouldn’t be too much of a title to take home and put up on his mantlepiece. In 2006 he released his debut album entitled ‘My World’ and featured impressive guests P.Diddy, Juvenile, Mike Jones, Nature and Capone. While having some of the slicker production amongst the NBA ‘rappers’, World Peace’s tracks are definitely on the cheesy side. His mic skills are no way near up to scratch and his lyrics are pretty weak.
I’m so Cassius Clay
I’m Tyson in 5th round
You don’t leave with it
I’m Barry Bonds with mine
I beat the buzzer, baby
My stroke is hole in one
Tony Parker -
San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker entered the rap game and gave it a different twist to most other NBA players. He rapped in French. Releasing his debut album ‘Tony Parker’ in 2007 it featured single ‘Welcome to Texas’ featuring Fabolous, but it quickly came apparent Parker’s rap skills didn’t quite match his ball skills.
Chris Webber – C-Webb
C-Webb is one of the ‘better’ NBA rappers. While not being that highly skilled flow-wise, he actually had pretty decent production, more than credible guest appearances (Kurupt and Redman) and had fairly MTV looking videos (Gangsta, Gangsta). The single ‘Gangsta, gangsta’ actually reached no.10 on the Hot Rap single chart when released. Not bad going for a baller.
Brandon Bass -
One of the new skool NBA rappers, and isn’t all bad. Releasing ‘Billion Dollar Dreams’ during the lockout, he surprised a few of the fans with his slick video, good production and not bad rap skills. Sounds a bit like Brandon has been listening to nothing but J. Cole.
Marquis Daniels – Q6
Marquis ‘Q6′ Daniels is probably the most prolific baller/rapper to date. Having put out to date 4 mixtapes, ‘Quis doesn’t look like quitting the mic anytime soon. After his horrific spinal injury Q6 found himself with time on his hands during rehabilitation and hit the studio, mix tapes of an ok standard were the result. Daniels also uses his twitter account to spread the word on his new rap releases, to what seems to good effect.
Kobe Bryant -
Long before the mutterings of ‘Is Kobe better than Jordan?’ or the 5 championship rings, Kobe dabbled in the rap game. Rather embarrassingly he fronted like he was top of that game too, which he quite obviously wasn’t. Guest appearances on a Brian McKnight track ‘Hold Me’ and various leaked ‘freestyles’ lead Kobe to finally give us the cheesy ‘K.O.B.E’ which featured Tyra Banks. Kobe even performed the song live.
During the days of Kobe and Shaq going at each other they technically had a rap beef too -
Shaquille O’Neal -
O’Neal was one of the first ballers to grace the mic, and while he never really much cop he actually was partially successful. At a time when he was appearing in movies, comic books, toys and a ton of other NBA merch, he was also dropping rap albums. His debut album ‘Shaq Diesel’ went platinum and he went on to release 5 albums in total. Shaq even guest appeared on a Michael Jackson track ‘2 Bad‘ on Jackson’s album HIStory. To be fair to Shaq, most of his rap albums were no better than his free throws!
Did I leave out your favourite baller/rapper, leave us a comment below and tell us who should have been added to this list and why?!