Athlete Rappers Who Don't Suck
Last week, Swagger ranked athlete rappers from worst to worstest.
The defense of John Cena was so impassioned that we had to do a follow up.
While the athlete-turned-rapper scene is a mostly sad sight, there are a few shining beacons in the swampy abyss.
This list spotlights athletes who either vaunt some level of artistic integrity or are so brazenly psychotic that their music is entertaining.
It's a pathetically low standard, but here are the athlete rappers who don't suck.
"Macho Man" Randy Savage
Standout Lyrics: "Hot diggity damn Hulk I'm glad you set it off (set if off)/Used to be hard Hulk now ya done turned soft/Doin' telephone commercials I seen ya/Dancin' in tights as a ballerina"
Sure, Macho Man’s flow is somewhere between a lifetime smoker rapping through his electronic larynx and the guttural final gasps of a dying elephant seal.
But, this guy has the reckless audacity to release an album chock-full of Hollywood Hogan diss tracks.
While Pusha T and Kendrick Lamar maybe, possibly, sort of sneak diss Drake, Macho Man calls out his adversaries with the subtlety of a Flying Elbow Drop to the balls. This maniac is naming names, brother.
Standout Lyrics: "I'm in her skin like ink, though/She want me at her crib every week, bro/In the kitchen by the sink, yo/Splash like Nash at the free-throw"
In Stevie Johnson's "Run it Back," I count eight referential analogies to the sexual prowess of fellow athletes.
But, if you can ignore the bizarre imagery, this song will make your neck move uncontrollably for four minutes.
William "The Refrigerator" Perry
Standout Lyrics: "I eat lineman for lunch, I eat quarterbacks for dinner/To wash it all down, I drink paint thinner"
As an emcee, William “The Refrigerator” Perry was way ahead of his time.
Decades before the effect became commercially popular, Perry slowed down his voice for emphasis like a physically imposing version of A$AP Rocky.
And bars like, “When I first arrived, they made fun of my weight/But then they saw me play, and knew I was great,” still hold up today.
Standout Lyrics: "This kind of murder don't need no hook/Just 40 [bleeping] bars from the mouth of a crook"
Whoever said happiness is a myth never listened to the hook on "Jewelz" while moonwalking around his or her apartment.
David Stern grounded Allen Iverson's rap career before it even started, which is unfortunate.
In the early 2000s, this guy had a pop-hop sound that was equal parts LFO and DMX.
Standout Lyrics: "At St. Joe’s the [girls] treated me different/But I was good on the dribble like an infant/And it went all down accordin to plan/At UC-Berkeley I was the m- I was the man"
If a plumbing line ruptures during your wedding, spilling sewage all over the reception hall, all it takes is a DJ mix of “What the Kidd Did” to bring everyone back to the dance floor.
If coaching doesn’t work out for Jason Kidd, the guy has a serious future flipping ‘90s era Death Row beats and selling them as ringtones.
Standout Lyrics: "'T' is for the time that she stayed up at night/And took my temperature when I wasn't feeling right/'H' is for the hard earned money she spent/To keep clothes on my back and try to pay the rent"
Is your mortgage under water? Are you trapped in a dead-end job? Did Starbucks misspell your name on a cup again!?
When life has you down, Mr. T is there with an inspiring (albeit small) catalog of conscientious poetry.
The attached song is about mothers. If it doesn’t move you to hug the one person in the world who knows it’s your birthday without a Facebook reminder, then you’re a conclusively horrible person.
Standout Lyrics: "We sittin' in the KFC parking lot/Man, I just spent a fat knot/About 47 dollars/At the KFC you better holler"
Like Nicolas Cage movies, freestyles work best when you have bottomed out expectations.
So, if you embrace the ridiculousness of Delonte West's impromptu ode to fast food, it's rather entertaining.
With a little studio help from Mike Will Made It, "Hot Sauce in My Bag" will be the summer jam of 2014.
Standout Lyrics: "[Mary J] ain't the way for me/I gets high off my jumpers and my dunks you see/So when the fans start to scream with the ooh and the ahh/It's like the bop bop, bop bop baa"
Lyrically, Cedric Ceballos is so farcically ridiculous that his art has to be a brilliantly self-aware satire.
And, the premise for this music video is just as awesomely absurd as the poetry.
In sum, a random dude wagers his car in a game of one-on-one basketball against Ceballos. The former Los Angeles Lakers forward, rather predictably, defeats his challenger by an enormous margin. Then, the two guys—now friends?—go back to Ceballos’ palatial mansion for a party where the girl to guy ratio is 60-to-1.
This is a rare case in which “best” and “worst” mean the exact same thing.
Standout Lyrics: "It amaze me, to see my name in flashing lights/Sitting in a Phantom jamming "Flashing Lights"/Used to be on a street corner, dodging flashing lights/But, now I'm dodging these boppers 'cause my cash is right"
In this viral video, Stephen Jackson raps about "thousand dollar ascots" while drinking 1800 Tequila in a bottle service booth by himself.
Or, in other words, this dude gives zero [bleeps] about what you think.
One has to respect that level of undiluted self-confidence in an artist.
Standout Lyrics: "On the low right beside a cat, ain't no problem for me to scrap/Fall back, people say we don't know how to act, see the skills we got be the skills they lack"
Warning: Do not listen to Ron Artest rap records while operating heavy machinery.
His bars hit so hard that you’re likely to anchor your foot against the gas pedal or drive a forklift through a warehouse wall out of pure hysteria.
Remove all sharp objects from the room before bumping My World. Please, this is for your own safety.
Standout Lyrics: "Do me a favor, look up ‘Shaq’ in the dictionary/I’m sure you’ll see a picture of me, brother/I love Lucille Harrison (Who's that Shaq!?)/That's my mother"
Shaq Diesel is something you listen to if you want to add 180 pounds to maximum bench press in four weeks.
Between "I'm Outstanding," "Shoot Pass Slam!" and "Game Over," this album is a testosterone enema for your ears.
This is music created by a backboard-shattering colossus for the backboard-shattering colossus.
Standout Lyrics: "Standing on this platform with bone Jeremy Scott's on/And the yo, here we goes, there we go, here goes another platform/Two in one, who is son? I always get it done/Every track is red rum, backwards rule of thumb"
There's nothing underhanded or ironic about crowning Iman Shumpert the de facto king of athlete rappers.
In a kitchen full of chefs inadvertently setting grease fires, this guy calmly chars eggplant to pair with a roasted lamb dish.
The New York Knicks guard isn't going to headline Coachella. But, Shumpert's The #Post90s mixtape is a promising and relatively well-executed creative endeavor.