Flashback Friday: Los Angeles Lakers in rap

Drake is a very popular rapper. Seriously, how do people ride for a dude who said: “Got me so many chains, they call me Chaining Tatum”?  I was listening to “Thank Me Now” off his album “Thank Me Later” (confusing, I know) and heard these lyrics:

Damn, I swear sports and music are so synonymous,
Cause we want to be them, and they want to be us

And think about how many rapper athletes there are. Now we know that some rappers aren’t cut out to be athletes (including Drake).

But what about athletes that can rap?

The Lakers have a slew of those athletes that can spit and I’m going to talk about a few of them. If you hate me and don’t want to read any of these, just go to the end. Just do me that and read the last paragraph and just laugh with me.

LONZO BALL

The kid from Chino Hills has certainly made a stir with his comments regarding his comments about Nas and the state of hip-hop, stating that the emcee from Brooklyn is outdated and “No one listens to him anymore.” This reflects in the way that he raps as he did over the beat of “Free Smoke” by Drake

Noting in that same episode of “Ball of the Family” Lonzo spoke about Future and Migos as being “real hip-hop”. I don’t know who the second rapper is on this (DC The Don) but the ad libs in the background are vaguely reminiscent of Lil Uzi Vert on Bad and Boujee by Migos, so he really does wear his influences on his sleeve. Another song that he put out “Zo2” shows this as the trap beats and piano used in the instrumental sounds like just about any other SoundCloud rapper out there.

This is what old people refer to as “mumble rap”. It’s rap that sounds like most rap in 2017 while they say that “their music” is better as if Dr. Dre saying:

“Never let me slip, cause if I slip, then I’m slippin”

…holds any more lyrical merit.

After playing against the Phoenix Suns in which Lonzo was one assist away from a triple-double, he dropped a song called “Super Saiyan”. If he really is a fan of DragonBall Z, I might like him more than De’Aaron Fox, who is the more vocal DBZ fan, but here it is. It sounds like all of his other songs except he says Super Saiyan every so few words.

LOU WILLIAMS

Although being a Laker for only 1.5 years. There wasn’t much that I knew about Lou Williams outside of basketball. I knew that Drake made a song about him to campaign for Lou Williams winning 6th man of the year, which he did. I knew he had two girlfriends and thought, “that’s a win for polygamy”. I did not know that when he was a 76er, that he spent some time in the studio. His time in Philadelphia saw him reaching out to one of the best Philly rappers of all time and even appeared on a song with him. You guessed it:

WILL SMITH

In an ideal world, Williams would have a song with Will Smith and I want that because it’s absurd but since our existence is futile, Lou Williams has a collaborated with Meek Mill, who is:

1. Meek,
2. kind of terrible. I’m not a fan of Meek Mill, as he is as much as a musician as I am a “writer”.

In the video below, are we not going to ignore how he sounds like a yelling T-Pain during the hook?

Anyway, back to Lou Trillville, he essentially is just saying “F**K SCHOOL” in his verse, but now he’s a multimillionaire making a living off of a game, so I guess he did something right.

Here’s another video of Lou rapping over the “Ima Boss” beat, another song by Meek Mill where he talks about being rich. I know what you’re thinking: “A rapper talking about having money? I have never heard that before I must give it a listen”. And that’s what I’m here for, reader- to bring you new things.

The artist formerly known as Ron Artest, Metta World Peace

Ron Artest will be remembered for a lot of things:

  • Drinking Henny during halftime of Bulls games
  • The Malice at the Palace
  • Elbowing James Harden in the face
  • When he shouted out his psychiatrist after winning the 2010 Championship
  • changing his name to Metta World Peace, then almost changing it to “The Panda’s Friend”

If you didn’t know, Ron Artest is also a rapper. I was only able to find little prior to the release of 2010’s “Champions” (which is much better than G.O.O.D. Music’s Champions). I’m going to leave here a song off his 2006 album, “My World”, while Ron Artest was still in Sacramento. This song does sound a lot like rap of the era as this would fit into Jay-Z’s “Kingdom Come” and reminded Grant Goldberg who reminded me of “Get it Poppin” by Fat Joe. The production has the more loud and bombastic horns as well as beats that sound like the music of this time.

I’m going to go ahead and say that his “Champions” song is very fond. This song came out right after the Lakers won their 2010 championship. It’s not a particularly good song.

Actually, it’s pretty bad.

The hook is done by someone that sounds like dollar store T-Pain, the video looks like it was recorded on a Motorola Razr, and the lyrics aren’t anything special, laid over a rudimentary beat. Anyway, I love this song regardless. Long Live those 2010 Lakers. I love them all.

Still remember all of these lyrics, as most of the lyrics are Ron Artest taking about other champions like Dale Earnhardt, Cassius Clay, and Michael Phelps.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bean Bryant is a polarizing figure. Any mention of him on social media is bound to start an argument. Known for being arguably one of the best players of the 2000’s, Kobe also tried his shot at rapping.

He did not have an album, unfortunately, but he DID have a single with Tyra Banks called “K.O.B.E.” Originally signed with Sony and his album “Visions” ready to go, “K.O.B.E.” flopped. You can hear that song on Youtube but I’ll show the video of Kobe performing this song in All Star Weekend 2000. This song flopped so bad that Sony pulled his album and dropped him from the label.

Notice how he is wearing a leopard print hat and a leopard print suit. This is the most 2000’s thing ever. Also an awful song.

So the thing that got me to start this article was that I found out that Kobe was on a remix of the Destiny’s Child song, “Say My Name“. This is what got me started this article. It is hilarious.

His flow is clunky at best and his voice is in his lower register so it’s hard to figure out what he’s saying. You can give it a listen but I’m going to go ahead and talk about Kobe Bryant appearing on Brian McKnight’s “Hold Me”.

His Verse starts off around 2:38.

Your love’s a sword slicing gently through my body
Burn so sweet, blood boils when you speak (yeah)
Makes me weak but I refuse to weep
Yet when I sleep I feel tears tricklin’ down my cheek (c’mon)
Stay strong, pride telling me move on
My heart’s fightin’ me, forcin’ me to hold on
Yours forever, fell for you beyond measure
Pure as ever, fazed by sins of treasure

The juxtaposition of having this R&B song by arguably one of the smoothest guys of all time then having Kobe with a fro drop a verse is just so funny to me. The fact that this verse gives us visuals of a pickup game going on the background is also great.

Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal has four studio albums, 2 soundtrack albums for “Steel” and “Kazaam”.  I’m a patient man and have listened to a bunch of these songs. Gonna embed one of his songs here from his debut album, “Shaq Diesel”.

This is quintessentially a song for the time. The production is reminiscent of the synth from “Nuthin but a G Thang”. When Shaq’s up and rapping in front of a crowd, he’s dressed like Goku from Dragon Ball Z.

ANYWAY! On to the thing that I’ve been waiting to write about for awhile. Shaq’s Kobe diss! 2008 was the hardest year of my life. I was socially awkward in high school, not as handsome as I am now, and the Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in the 2008 finals in an embarrassing fashion.

Kobe, having lost his first Finals appearance without the Diesel, was the subject of a diss track. Let me say that I am glad Kobe didn’t jump on the mic to reply because he would have lost all of my respect for him with his “boop bap bwam” kind of rhymes.

I would literally drop him out of the top 10 conversation if I had to hear Kobe rap more.

Here’s a hot take, Shaq can rap. He’s fun in what he does and his flow isn’t too bad. Note that in this, as much as everyone remembers the “Kobe, how my ass taste,” line, Shaq talks about how Kobe snitched on him causing his divorce.

THAT CERTAINLY SOUNDS FAMILIAR DOESN’T IT.

But nonetheless, the Lakers and their fans stuck by Kobe, unlike another person regarded as a snitch, who is currently thriving in a new environment.

Kobe did get back at Shaq though after the 2010 finals.

Alright y’all you ready for this gem? I can’t believe I found it. It’s so bad.

Some background: Nancy Reagan and the “Just say no” campaign to reduce drug use in America had a lot of facets. They were not short on celebrity endorsements. So,

Here

It

IS

THE 1987 LAKERS 

Keep in mind, this is just 3 years removed of Kurtis Blow’s Basketball, in which he says

Basketball is my favorite sport
I like it when the dribble up and down the court.

We as a nation need to get Kurtis Blow out the paint because that dude is lying. The dribbling up and down the court is not as entertaining as passing or dunks both of which were in surplus in the 1980’s. This was a dark time in rap where most consisted of lines like

So I went to the shoe store
And I bought me a shoe!

But as humans, we deserve better.

Anyway back to the subject at hand: the Lakers 1987 team comprised the Lakes of AC Green, Byron Scott (Booooooooooo), and Magic Johnson.

Everyone is dressed in just one color as if they’re trying to take each claim a color of the rainbow, with oversized shades,  and tight tank tops.

Kareem started us off with rhyming his name with “team” which is the most 80’s thing ever. Byron Scott is dancing in a way that looks like Shang Tsung’s idle animation from the original Mortal Kombat, and raps as well as he coaches, which is badly.

Kurt Rambis is up next, he’s looking like a grown man cosplaying as the red power ranger. Magic Johnson actually sounds like a member of the Sugarhill Gang, as he raps about not doing drugs, ironically being one of the biggest partiers in the 80’s.

Pat Riley even gets a verse in!

Just Say No,
Just say no to drugs!
Just Say Yes,
Just Say Yes to Life!

This chorus is the worst thing I’ve ever heard. I’m not pro-drugs, I believe that everyone should do whatever they please, I don’t judge. I’m anti-terrible music.

Anyway, if you stuck through this, thanks for reading this. I still can’t believe they let me write this.  Just remember, if you feel like you’ve failed yourself, you’re never going to be as bad at something as Kobe is at rapping.

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