Posted tagged ‘lakers’

Worst Rapper Gets Shoutout from Kamenetzky Brothers!

April 10, 2009

Our quest to find the worst rapper of the decade is more defined by its means than the end. That is to say that the journey and discussion that comes from our hunt provides us the satisfaction and validation we need. To that end, we’re overjoyed that the LA’s very own Kamenetzky Brothers gave us a shout out in their ESPN podcast.

For those of you who aren’t in Los Angeles or aren’t fans of LA’s sports teams, Andy and Brian Kamenetzky preside over local sports analysis through print journalism, podcasts and blogs with ESPN and the LA Times. They spent the last quarter of their most recent podcast expanding on our arguments for Kobe and Shaq being the worst rappers of the decade, even suggesting other candidates (I need to track down Ron Artest’s music!). Many of their points were even better than ours! We definitely appreciate the shoutout.

We encourage you to download and listen to their ESPN AM710  podcast.

Click here for the podcast.

Also, check out their Lakers blog.

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Kobe and Shaq Are The Worst Rappers of the Decade

March 8, 2009
Rap battle?

Rap battle?

That Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant should share this honor is fitting. Shaq and Kobe were an indomitable force on the basketball court, playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. You might say they made sweet, Championship music on the basketball court. Off the court, though, their music was less than pleasing. In fact, their output was so bad, that Kobe and Shaq just may be the Worst Rappers of the Decade.

Shaq, first. At some point, Shaquille O’Neal must have heard someone call him an Everyman and decided that an everyman was a man who did everything. When he burst on the scene in the early nineties, he made it known that he would be more than the guy who shattered backboards for a living. He would be a movie star and a rap star… who rapped about shattering backboards for a living. What’s funny is that people actually gave him movies to star in, which should make you question the very fundamentals of Hollywood’s power structure. Anyone who has ever seen Shaq in an interview knows that 1) he’s charismatic 2)he’s articulate and 3)he drones monotonously. It doesn’t matter how many “a’s” you put in it or how many exclamation points you put after it, “Kazaam!” is going to come out, “kazam

As I mentioned, Shaq also tried his hand at rap throughout the 90’s. Despite having the lyrical prowess of an insurance salesman singing karaoke, Shaq managed to send two albums past the platinum mark. In doing so, Shaq Diesel would create the template for the basketball-playing rapper. 1) Make sure to mention basketball as much as possible and 2) bring your fancy friends along to grant you the cred that you lack from your non-involvement in street gangs and/or crime. Shaq has released a ton of singles that you probably don’t remember. In fact, I’d wager that his most memorable appearance was on a song that wasn’t his: What’s Up Doc (Can We Rock?). That song met both rules. Shaq rapped along side the Fu Schnickens and made sure to make reference to his basketball career.

It’s not that Shaq was horrible–he wasn’t. He was mediocre, but Shaq put out enough material in the nineties that he was able to release a greatest hits album! He did all that in the nineties, the result of the irrational exuberance and fiscal irresponsibility that led to the dot-com crash and our current economic stagnation. His last album, Shaquille O’Neal Presents His Superfriends, was slated to be released on September 11th, 2001, but Osama Bin Laden got it pushed back (and eventually shelved) in an uncharacteristic show of mercy. Let us leave Shaq, there, for now.

Fresh out of high school, Kobe Bryant grew up in Shaq’s considerable shadow on the Lakers. One thing he must have learned from Shaq is that it’s not enough to make people drool with your superhuman feats of physicality. No, you must also make them cringe with your inhumane feats of musicality. Kobe did just that with the release of K.O.B.E. ft. Tyra Banks (yes, Tyra Banks) in 2001.

Uh, what I live for? Basketball, beats and broads

From Italy to the US, yes, it’s raw

I’ma search for the one that make my wealth feel poor

Who can ignore the spotlight like my Grandma

I guess it’s honest, but it’s also artless, and Kobe’s delivery is more wooden than baseball player making a cameo in a movie in the fifties. Actually, it’s more wooden than the bat held by the baseball player making a cameo in the fifties. You should note that Kobe has fulfilled both requirements necessary for basketball rapper songs: fancy friends and basketball references.

Take Will Smith, subtract twenty years of rapping and making hits, throw away the charisma the Fresh Prince has always exuded through your speakers, and add four to five strained basketball metaphors, and you have Kobe Bryant, who actually managed to squeeze out a couple other songs. One is “Thug Poet,” which features 50 Cent, years before Wanksta, and opens with “my microphone is my glock nine” (and you handle them both so well, Kobe!). He also managed to get himself featured on other people’s songs, including a remix to “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child.

Basically, Kobe spent much of 2001 sucking the charm out of hip hop. For every breath Jay-Z and Missy Elliott breathed into hip hop that year, Kobe’s well-conditioned lungs sucked an equal amount back out. To his credit, he put the microphone down and hasn’t yet picked it up again. He’s a looming threat, but not a clear and present danger.

Shaq, however, has picked up the microphone again. No one in his life is brave enough to tell him that there are some things that are better left hidden in your den, performed in the middle of the night, when Jack Daniels is the only person in the audience. Instead, last year, Shaq grabbed the mic and aimed a freestyle at former teammate, Kobe Bryant.

“Kobe, tell me how my ass taste?” This is probably the most ambiguous diss ever levelled in rap. First off, is this a request for information or a command? A little further…

Check it you know how I be.

Last week Kobe couldn’t do it without me.

I’m a horse…Kobe ratted me out..thats why I am getting a divorce.

He said Shaq gave a bitch a mill…I don’t do that…cause my name’s Shaquille

Freestyling is about being able to be clever, quickly. This fails in both regards, reminding us that basketball players should never rap. Thankfully, Kobe didn’t respond. That freestyle alone was worth being nominated worst rapper.

Shaquille O’Neal created the mold of that basketball/rapper that many would copy. His success encouraged far too many basketball players to waste studio time that might otherwise have been used to record a new Fugees album. Kobe Bryant took the baton from Shaq and ran straight into a brick wall. Shaq created the opportunity that Kobe capitalized upon to show America and the World that basketball and rap only work well together when hip hop is the background music underlying basketball action. Shaq, for the quantity of his mediocrity, and Kobe, for the depth of his suckage, are the worst rappers of the decade.