6 Ridiculous Albums Released by Professional Athletes
Recently, as if world-class athletes didn’t have enough to do during the offseason, two NBA players — Portland’s Damian Lillard and new Indiana Pacers’ guard Victor Oladipo — released ambitious hip-hop and R&B music projects. With both Damian “Baby Dame Dolla” Lillard and Victor “Mr. Feathery (no joke, look it up)” Oladipo showcasing some unexpectedly decent musical talent, it got me thinking (which is never a good thing).
No, it didn’t get me thinking about some of the world’s best albums from athletes, but instead about the most ridiculous and unnecessary. Strap in, this is going to get weird. Here are six of the most ridiculous musical efforts from professional athletes…
Stephen Jackson – Stak5 – Jack of All Trades
As a former NBA player best known for his role on the Indiana Pacers side of the infamous Malice at the Palace, Jackson channelled his tough persona on the court into a rap career off it. Going under the moniker Stak5 (sure, why not?), Jackson released his debut mixtape Jack of All Trades on February 13, 2013, just in time for all the lovebirds to bump his tunes on the way to their Valentine’s Day dinner reservations.
Okay, we guarantee that didn’t once happen, but the effort behind this tape might surprise you. Clearly, Stak5 knows people thanks to his NBA days, as the tracks are well produced and Southern rap legend Bun-B makes an appearance on “T.R.I.L.L.”
What’s that? You want to know what T.R.I.L.L. stands for? I’ll let the hook of the song answer your question.
“T is for the true/R is for the real/I double-L describe a n**** best because I’m ill“
Chris Webber – C. Webb – 2 Much Drama
It turns out the one of my favorite players growing up, five-time NBA All-Star Chris Webber, is not also one of my favorite rappers.
Rounding out the 90s trend of every NBA player releasing a hip-hop album, C.Webb — a bit on the nose, yeah? — took the world by drizzle when he dropped his debut, 2 Much Drama. Much like our boy Stak5, C.Webb had some pull in the entertainment world, grabbing guest spots from both Redman and Korrupt.
The latter was featured on the lead single “Gangsta! Gangsta! (How U Do It),” which combines three of the greatest stylistic things you can have in a song title: excessive punctuation, a parenthetical, and a purposeful misspelling of a word.
The song titles honestly are the best aspects of 2 Much Drama. Despite “Gangsta! Gangsta!” reaching #10 on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart, not one of the 21 (!) songs is good for more than a laugh or two. Seems like Webber got the message that he should focus more attention on his NBA career, as his debut album would wind up being his only one.
NOTE: He did produce two tracks for Nas, one of hip-hop’s legends, which is pretty cool.
Metta World Peace – Ron Artest – My World
The rebranding of Ron Artest into Metta World Peace didn’t take shape until this other Malice at the Palace veteran took a shot at a rap career. On Halloween 2006, then-Artest released My World on Lightyear Records. Yeah, it wasn’t exactly a hit.
Led by the single “Fever,” My World was a self-admitted mistake for Artest, filled with your typical lyrics about guns, girls, money, and cars. It was nothing the world hadn’t heard a million times over by much more talented artists. For a quick laugh, check out the track listing which includes titles such as “Hood Luhv” and “I Like My Song.” He was a bit self-aggrandizing on that last one.
But, for your sake, check out the video for “Fever.” It legitimately looks like a parody of mid-2000s rap videos, and it’s punctuated by this ingenious chorus:
“Do your thang, ma/Do your thang, girl/Do it/Let it do/What it do?:
Admittedly, I can’t get it out of my head and it’s ruining my life…
Deion Sanders – Prime Time
You won’t find quite as many NFL players with forays into the music industry, but one of the most high-profile efforts came from Hall of Famer, Deion “Prime Time” Sanders. In 1994, the cornerback released the aptly titled Prime Time, which was immediately — and universally — panned by both critics and listeners.
The only single, “Must Be the Money,” failed to even reach the Billboard charts. I mean, I’m not sure where to begin with Deion. Listen for yourself, but the guy seriously could not rap. This album was nothing more than a novelty, both for him and for everyone who listened to it.
Prime Time is one of the greatest defensive backs to ever put on pads but Prime Time is certainly one of the most unnecessary rap records to hit people’s ears.
FACT: This record was released by Capitol Records. Capitol Records! It’s the only major-label release featured on our list.
Alexi Lalas – Ginger
While writing this article, I couldn’t wait to get to this release. Former U.S. soccer standout — and former beard enthusiast — Alexi Lalas is actually a somewhat accomplished musician, having played in bands since college and releasing three records since 1998.
Lalas released his debut album, Ginger — get it? Because he’s got red hair — in 1998 and, well, it didn’t do well. In fact, it didn’t get great reviews. After a listen to it, though, it’s certainly not the most ridiculous album we’ll discuss. It’s influenced completely by 90s rock, especially bands like Pearl Jam and Oasis. The lyrics aren’t anything to write home about, but it’s clear that Lalas can competently play guitar and has an adequate singing voice.
Sure, it’s not a glowing recommendation for his music, but if you’re curious about what one of U.S. soccer’s big names from the 90s can do, check out “Pretty Mess,” the second single from Ginger.
Roy Jones Jr. – Round One: The Album
It’s no secret that world class boxers are grandiose individuals. They pretty much have to be, considering they’re put on display in front of millions who come to watch them get punched in the face for 12 rounds. Six-time former world champion Roy Jones Jr. was — well, is — no exception. However, his grandiosity hit a new level in February 2002, when he released his debut hip-hop record, Round One: The Album.
A quick thought: I think my favorite trait that all these athlete-turned-rappers is that they have a need to remind people of the fact that their athletes. Jones Jr. does it in the album title, of course, but then takes it further with the first track “Who Wanna Get Knocked Out?”
The lone single, “Then and Now,” features a surprisingly R&B vibe with a bunch of guest spots that culminate in Roy’s verse. The thing is, he’s not a bad rapper from a technical standpoint. But his lyrics, wow. Here’s a couple of bars from that single…
“I wasn’t carin’ about how none of them felt/They wanted to hang around me like they was one of my belts“
Unlike many on this list, R.J.J. didn’t stop after one album, releasing an album in 2004 with his group Body Head Bangerz. Leaning into the Southern hip-hop style, this album featured guest spots from Petey Pablo, Juvenile, and Lil’ Flip. It wasn’t very good, either.
There you have it: our list of some of the most ridiculous albums released by athletes. If you’re thinking, “Hey, how is Shaq not on this,” I don’t put him in the same category as the aforementioned athletes because he’s always fully leaned into his absurdity and, frankly, I admire him for it.
If you want to listen to a couple of legitimately great efforts from former professional athletes, Yankees great Bernie Williams released a lovely, jazz-inspired album entitled Moving Forward that features a guest appearance from The Boss — Bruce Springsteen — on a cover of “Glory Days.”
Also, the late Wayman Tisdale — a 1985 draft pick of my Indiana Pacers — was an accomplished jazz bassist and released eight albums showcasing his talent. In 2001, his album Face to Face reached #1 on the Billboard contemporary jazz charts.
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(Image courtesy of Eric Wong via Flickr.)