Greetings! It is I, the man of a thousand nicknames, Speed on the Beat.
Now, after working the “Athletic Princes of Hip-Hop Royalty” post, I started to wonder “besides the usuals (2 Chainz, Game, Master P, etc.), who else has actually played competitive sports, but decided to hang up the Jordans for a pair of Beats and a mic, even if just for a moment?” Ladies and gentlemen, I present “Rappers Who’ve Balled So Hard,” which is not to be confused with “Rappers who ball so hard,” because that’s a completely different thing. I will not include myself, although, in my
skinnier younger days, I was quite athletic (before, you know, puberty, music, video games, and porn other activities took hold).
Known for his poetic flows, the sometimes-controversial Wale, before dropping Seinfeld-related mixtapes, played high school and college football in DMV region. Per an interview he did with Athletes Quarterly, Wale often performed “wedge buster” duties. Essentially, he was the guy who ran with reckless abandon to break up the “wedge” that protected the return man on kickoffs. Think NFL Blitz when your linebacker ran through half the team to sack the quarterback and that’s what Mr. Folarin did. In addition to this, Wale also played running back, and saw some D-II time at Robert Morris and VSU. Remind me to keep that in mind the next time someone calls him “soft.”
Sticking with Double M, Rick Ross and Stalley also made some noise in their collegiate careers. Ross played for Albany State University on a football scholarship, while Stalley tried his hand at basketball for the University of Michigan and Long Island University. Stalley also had the opportunity, being from Ohio, to play against LeBron James.
Big K.R.I.T., sometimes thought to be the Second Coming of Pimp C, played baseball for a while while growing up. Some time before his first mixtape, See Me on Top Vol. 1, Krizzle decided that he wanted to do nothing but make music. Thus, instead of seeing Justin Scott slug homers out of, say, Oriole Park or Yankees Stadium, we see him rock shows and learn us a bit about that “Country Sh*t.”
The Man Who Made My High School Life, Musically, More Bearable (a/k/a Cam’ron) played high school basketball against Stephon Marbury that one time. Like many other athletic rappers, stats are hard to come by. If you want to see a bit of Killa Cam rocking the rim, just check out the first bit of Killa Season (note: not an endorsement of that movie) and watch him and Ma$e play together in high school.
Jay Harris (a/k/a DatBull) decided to run from West Chester, Pennsylvania and turn down a full scholarship to Michigan State University to drop bars. Whether or not that was a wise decision remains to be unseen. Why? Well, Harris’s mixtape Camplife has been lambasted on DatPiff and his career has become more about how he lost/gave up his scholarship to deliver raps. When you’ve got a Division I school saying “no mas,” internet rap message boards saying “no mas,” and Charlamagne Tha God eviscerating your dreams and aspirations, you may want to reconsider your life choices. At least he decided to go back to sports (and, you know, school). Maybe we’ll hear more from DatBull 4 Lyfe, once he’s had a chance to mature. At the moment, however, it looks as if he’s heading back to sports.
Most remember Allen Iverson for being one of the first people to make Michael Jordan look foolish. That’s fair, considering he’s potentially one of the greatest players of the past couple generations of basketball. However, many either fail to remember or try to put out of their heads that AI was also a relatively-skilled, albeit “controversial” rapper as Jewelz. Now, Iverson’s bars did go off-beat sometimes, and he relied on the “trigga/n****” rhyme pattern a lot. But, overall, he’d have to be one of the better rapper-athletes that actually made music while still playing sports.
If you can think of any more artists with sports backgrounds aside from these, feel free to tweet me. They may be featured in a future post.
Until next time
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