Metta World Peace Declares War on Good Rap
It’s been repeated to the point where it’s something approaching conventional wisdom: “All rappers want to be basketball players, and all basketball players want to be rappers.” While that’s sort of a racist assumption, it’s undeniable that a shit-ton of NBA players have released rap songs, and there is a very competitive celebrity basketball league that has both Jim Jones and Asher Roth in it. The deeper truth here is that no one is ever happy with his job, even when that job consists of “dunk really awesomely” or “be Lil Romeo.”
While the Nas of NBA players-turned-rappers is indubitably Shaq—dude rapped like Lil B crossed with U-God and actually got to mumble a probably-ghostwritten-by-Method-Man-or-somebody verse on a Michael Jackson record one time—there is an illustrious history of NBA players making sorta-goofy rap songs that are interesting mainly for their what-the-fuck factor. Allen Iverson made a Ma$e-Will Smith mashup track that David Stern stopped the release of (presumably because it was too competent). Tony Parker did a rap thing in French and it was the worst. Did Gary Payton put out something that sounded vaguely like G-Funk? Yes, Gary Payton did.
These days, it seems, the NBA is in something of a rap renaissance. Marquis Daniels raps sort of well, at least by the standards of an alternate universe where everything is shitty. Delonte West could be a very thin-voiced Future. Iman Shumpert of the Knicks does spoken-word poetry and has been known to kick a freestyle or two. Kevin Durant raps and it’s not too shabby—he recently collaborated with Stephen Jackson on a song about winning at life and also presumably sports, which is the topic of 99 percent of NBA raps.