Dana Barros – In 1994 some NBA players got together for the ill-conceived B-Ball’s Best Kept Secrets with many of the ballers trying their hand at rapping and falling flat. Dana Barros was one of the standouts. The diminutive guard goes in over this hard-sounding backpacker beat. Could easily see him as a feature on a Artifacts, or DAS EFX track in the mid 90s.
Kevin Durant – When it’s all said and done, KD might be the most accomplished basketball player to ever rap. Durantula is about 1/3 as good on the mic as he is on the court, and considering his immense ability to drop points from virtually anywhere, that’s pretty damn solid. Here’s Durant dropping bars on a track posted on HNHH back in February.
Gary Payton – The Glove was renowned for his defense, as well as his non-stop trash talk on the court, so it's only natural that he tries to transfer that ability to the mic. Here’s another cut from B-Ball’s Best Kept Secret where GP rhymes over a beat that you half-expect to hear Nate Dogg on the hook, with this Cali baller flowing smooth over this G-funk inspired tune.
Brian Shaw – Recently he was overlooked by the Lakers as their next head coach, but back in the day this Oakland native dropped one of the standout tracks on B-Ball’s Best Kept Secrets. This tune sees Shaw opening up about deaths in his family as he rhymes over a classic-sounding mid-90s Cali beat.
Cedric Ceballos –One time Dunk Contest winner, Ceballos is another West Coast baller repping the vintage funky Cali sound of the mid-90s. Forgive the video which is some kind of send up of “White Men Can’t Jump”, Cedric flows smooth on this cut which sounds like it could have been a bonus track on the “Menace II Society” soundtrack.
Lou Williams – Former Sixers sharp shooter, and now logging minutes for the Hawks in Atlanta, Lou goes in on this beat like he did off the bench on Philly – guns a blazing.
Stephen Jackson – Had to put a Captain Jack track on here, if only because the man has a tattoo of hands folded in prayer with a gun between them, covering his entire chest. The Malace at the Palace brawler has several mixtapes and considers himself the best NBA rapper going. Far be it for me to argue with him.
Ron Artest – Boggles the mind to think that Ron-Ron and S-Jax were teammates, and they literally went into the stands in Detroit and fought fans, as depicted in this track, “Touch the wrong person Steve Jack had my back/ O’neal and AJ with the counter attack." Here, Artest rhymes about the incident and drops perhaps my all-time personal favorite lyric by an NBA rapper, a shot directed at the NBA Commissioner: “David Stern damn David Stern/I gotta teach you about the ghetto some things you should learn.”
Iverson – Iverson’s always been a problem on and off the court, hell as Jadakiss raps in the old Reebok commercial, “they even put a zone in the league to try to stop ‘em.” Here he appears as “Jewelz” and does a more than decent job dropping hard rhymes over this slow thumping beat. Known as one of the pioneers in NBA/hip hop culture, Ivy was no stranger to the streets and it shows in the lyrics on this tune.
Shaq – He wasn’t the first NBA player to take his skills into the booth, but he was the first big name player, and Shaq didn’t just drop a couple freestyles, he recorded complete albums (plural). His results were mixed, but some of his joints were like him and Charles Oakley in the post – banging. Of course there’s his introduction into the game, his collabo with Fu-Schnickens, but it was his effort on “(I Know I Got) Skillz” that cemented Diesel as a force on the mic “all you jealous punks can stop my dunks.”
A look at 10 NBA players who have shown talent off the court and on the mic.
“A rapper”. This is
the common response an NBA player gives when asked “what would you be if you
weren’t in the NBA?”, (with “actor” a close second). Many ballers have put their money where the
mic is and tried their hand at rapping, an even a few have started up their own fledgling labels. We take a look at the NBAers who have shown some promise on the mic.
HNHH takes a look at 10 NBA Players who have shown some ability in the booth. This is a volatile list as one NBA player’s attempt at rapping may be decent, and their next effort could be downright awful, so there is some overlap between "The Best" and "The Worst" ballers who rhyme.
Make sure to check back as we will be posting a follow-up look at the worst NBA would-be rappers.