Cassius Clay released "I am the Greatest" on Columbia Records in 1963. Billed as a comedy album, the record features the future-Muhammad Ali rumbling his way through bluster heavy proto-rap, poetic verses, fight music, standup monologues and even Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me”—all to the delight of a live audience who cheer, chuckle and ballyhoo behind Clay’s boisterous horn-tooting. Apparently, Ali opened Pandora’s box set. Athletes of all stripes have since felt the need to rock the casbah. I've stacked up a six pack of questionable releases that managed to find their way out of the locker room.
Oscar attempts to follow the heart-throbbing beats of Marc Anthony and Enrique Iglesias, but it ends up sounding like karaoke crooner night in East L.A.
Signature lyric: “And With these hands I will fight for you/And with these hands I will hold you.”
–With These Hands
Scouting Report: “A series of sugary ballads and barely mid-tempo dance-pop, it's as full of proclamations of romance as it is devoid of real emotion."
Style/Inspired by: The ego-tripping G-Funk of N.W.A.
Signature Lyric: “Diamond Rolex, with 'gators on my feet/ I got two pair for every day of the week.”
–Must Be The Money
Scouting Report: “The worst aspect of the album is that it seems to be one giant love letter to Deion Sanders from Deion Sanders”
-Dayton Daily News
Shaquille O’Neal Presents his Superfriends, Vol. 1.
"Diesel" is pictured (couldn't find good pic of Superfriends. Diesel was a better album cover anyway)
Style/inspired by: Chronic melodic rhymes inspired by pals Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, George Clinton, Common, and Dr. Dre who all appear on the album.
Signature lyric: “Fake niggaz and women, they trynna hit me for my cream.”
–In the Sun
Scouting report: “His Superfriends manage to take Shaq to the next level, from unlistenable to nearly tolerable”
Style/Inspired by: Eddie Vedder, Chris Cornell, Kurt Cobain and every other broody baritone who wore plaid in the '90s.
Signature lyric: “And I wonder if everything could ever feel this real forever,”
–covering Everlong by the Foo Fighters.
Scouting Report: “He rocks soulfully on the album, especially on Pearl Jam's "Black" and Stone Temple Pilots' "Plush," which he learned as a 15-year-old kid. Arroyo is grown up now, but he still has the spirit of a teenager on these well-produced, finely executed tracks.”
Style/Inspired by: Smacks of early Everlast, EPMD and Eminem chin music.
Signature Lyric: “Lay yo' ass down for the three second tan”
–The Time is Now
Scouting Report: Even with his goofy in-ring, hip hop persona, he's strictly an undercard performer who can't scribble up better rhymes than those of the "we're Bentleys and you're a beat-up Chrysler" variety.
Style/inspired: A pair of deuces: 2Pac and Too Short.
Signature lyric: See them numbers on my back? That's your first sign/Get out the way, yo, Reggie Swinton's too fast/Quicker than a bullet or a lightin' flash."
Scouting report: “Whatcha gone do? The answer I came up with after an hour of listening: pack my bleedin' ears with gauze”
– Dallas Observer