In Drake's "Thank Me Now," the Canadian rapper says, "I swear sports and music are so synonymous/Cause we want to be them, and they want to be us."
Unfortunately (or fortunately?) for musicians, professional sports have barriers to entry that transcend cash and industry connections. If you can't compete on a high level and curb your consumption of liquid codeine, then securing a roster spot is impossible. A platinum album doesn't do anything to improve one's chances of seeing the field.
However, the entertainment business—as proven by the commercial success of Brad Paisley—is much easier to penetrate. So, athletes who want to be musicians are just a phone call and studio session away from beginning their crossover careers.
And, when it comes to rap music, athletes have a long and shameful history of rocking the mic wrong. This list examines the struggle bars and painful flow of sports' most embarrassing "rapletes."
Let's blow the roof off this sad, sparsely attended house party.
Standout Lyrics: [unintelligible]
Full disclosure: I don't speak a lick of French.
It's entirely possible that Tony Parker is spitting pure poetry, like a dribble-driving Talib Kweli.
But, if his Tony Montana aviators and all-over print hoodie are any indication of the song's lyrical integrity, Parker is Ke$ha with a crossover.
Standout Lyrics: I win/I really mean it/Swag out this world, you should call me Venus/That's my sister, my name is Serena/On the court I serve 'em up, no subpoena"
LOL when Serena Williams says, "I cook the track up like a frozen pizza."
However unintentional, that is one of the most brilliantly self-aware lines in rap history. Like a Totino's Crisp Crust, this joint is only tolerable if you're eight years old or irresponsibly drunk.
Standout Lyrics: "[Bleep] need to read the scripture/Word to Allah, I seen yo ass in Yahweh/A one-way ticket/And like Burger King, you can have it your way"
Lamar Odom looks higher than Apple's stock price in this video, but—no matter the handicap—this is an indefensibly weak performance.
Even by the pathetically low standards of a DIY bathroom freestyle, Odom gives an "F-" effort.
Standout Lyrics: "I'm a mountain man from west VA/They call me Hurk and I came to play/I learned long ago to ram it just right/You can ram it all day and ram it all night."
Sure, "The Super Bowl Shuffle" and "Buddy's Watchin' You" are cringeworthy reminders of what sports-entertainment crossover looked like during the cocaine '80s, but "Let's Ram It" is where hackneyed spirit videos hit rock bottom.
The double entendre of "ramming it" is lost on everyone, and each featured rapper is so embarrassed by the project that they rush through their lyrics faster than Mac Lethal on Red Bull.
Next time your parents lament Miley Cyrus' twerking, show them this video. The '86 Los Angeles Rams are a sobering reminder of just how deplorable the entertainment industry used to be.
Standout Lyrics: "Think soccer ain't a sport?/Then, why'd Nike sign me?/Cause I got on my job and made the game ferocious/I was born with the drive, I got that from no coaches"
In 2006, Nike attempts to broaden its marketing reach by producing a music video with the rap stylings of United States national team midfielder Clint Dempsey.
With a Casio preset beat and bars like, "Haters wanna hate, but man I'm feeling great/Thanks to soccer I'm around more ice than a hockey skate," this song is an appropriately sad anthem for the USA's opening-round elimination in the 2006 World Cup.
Standout Lyrics: "The ice cold receiver/Got them money best like I'm freezing/Them cold nights and them sunny days/That jackpot moment got me buzzing"
DeSean Jackson's sample size is small (the guy only contributed six bars to his own banner song), but the flow is so clumsy that it should come with crutches and an ice pack.
Not even Snoop can save this one.
Standout Lyrics: "Your girl was impressed when she met us/Woke up and made breakfast/My fellas, you can't forget us/Fetish for lettuce/From the home of J. Rose and Jerome Bettis"
C-Webb's persona is so overcrowded with rap cliches that it's almost a satire.
In other words, Webber acts like Jay Pharoah in a Saturday Night Live Digital Short, only he's dead serious.
Give Kurupt credit for trying to save this sinking ship, but it's totally unsalvageable.
Standout Lyrics: "You know who it is, your boy he's back again/Crisp hundred dollar bills in a stack of ten/She got everything she own from a [unintelligible] stash/come get a glimpse of this incredible pimp flash"
This video is gorgeous, and best watched with the sound off.
Standout Lyrics: "And then we go to Wrigley Field/I got the wiggly feel/We got them Cubs/And you know it's all about them loves/And then we what?/We went to New York/And then we came out and showed off our heart"
Granted, freestyling is to hip-hop as Pop-Tarts are to breakfast. We're willing to compromise a quality product for the sake of time and effort.
But, Juan Pierre has the improvisational grace of a bewildered Miss Teen USA contestant.
There is no shame in using the pad and pen, JP.
Standout Lyrics: "Buy a brother a Benz/I wish I would be/Media TakeOut be with the bull [bleep]/I got some new act/Lil' mama super cute..."
Chris Johnson sounds like he phoned this verse in from atop Machu Picchu on a BlackBerry.
And lyrically, I'm pretty sure the Titans running back is just reading random tweets out loud.
The beat is fire, though.
Standout Lyrics: "Don't get me mad cause I'm amped already/Took titles from fighter who was champs already/The heart and soul of boxing on HBO/What these others fighters take me for, a joke?"
Mike Tyson owned three Bengal tigers. Evander Holyfield bought a 109-room mansion with two bowling alleys. Adrien Broner once flushed a handful of $20 bills down a hotel toilet for no apparent reason.
But, Roy Jones Jr.'s purported rap career is boxing's most inexplicable waste of time and resources.
Unless you yearn for a more hoarse sounding Ja Rule and own at least five velour jumpsuits, don't waste your time on this one.
Standout Lyrics: "Right now, forget the ends and the Benz/Pop a cold one, man/Toast wit'cha real friends/Call your folks/Tell 'em you tight now/Cause everything looking pretty good right now"
"Right Now" is an anthem for guys who keep a pair of cargo jean shorts in heavy rotation and have at least two misspelled tattoos.
This is Kanye West's "Family Business" for guys who have to pass a breathalyzer for their cars to start.
I'm going to stop now, mostly because I weigh 155 pounds and am wholeheartedly aware of John Cena's ability to Five Knuckle Shuffle a hole in the back of my skull.
Standout Lyrics: "I don't know, yo/These women come and go/Like the wind they blow/How do I know for sure?/When God talk to me, give me a signal/But until then, all my ears hear is just let me flow"
"K.O.B.E.," the ill-fated collaboration between Kobe Bryant and Tyra Banks, is what happens when the unyielding hubris of a first-round draft pick collides violently with the fame-hungry desperation of a washed-up model.
The result is a vacuous black hole of self-admiring struggle, and wordplay cheesy enough to make Will Smith sound like DMX by comparison.