Wack-Ass Wednesday: Yo! NBA Raps

06/08/2011


As sure as it’s hot as a bitch outside, DLT90s is still here, and this is another installment of Wack-Ass Wednesday. With the retirement of Shaquille O’Neal last week, and with the NBA Playoffs in effect, no time like this week to cover what became a disturbing trend throughout the last half of the ’90s. Yeah, you guessed it: the trend in which every basketball player who could freestyle a few bars in the locker room decided it was a great idea to make music.

It all started with Shaq. One night, he’s on Arsenio talkin’ about his love for his favorite rap group of the time, the Fu-Schnickens. Next thing you know, he’s on stage rappin’ with ’em. Then, he appears on a Fu-Schnickens single called “What’s Up Doc? (Can We Rock)”, which for some odd reason was a hit. Long story short, this chain of events led to his big non-rappin’ ass dropping like five albums.

And this was no situation where some athlete just came out with a bunch of amateurish beats and lame raps. Shaq (and/or the label) knew that his shit was gonna need a LOTTA help… and that he got. As a true hip-hop fan at heart, Shaq worked with a laundry list of respected MCs and producers on his albums. This included Biggie, Erick Sermon, Redman, Method Man, RZA, Rakim, DJ Quik, Jay-Z, Trackmasters, Mobb Deep, Warren G, Easy Mo Bee, and more. Not the dumbest move in the world, although it was usually the only reason to listen to a Shaq record (unless, of course, you just wanted to have a good laugh).


Anyway, after the success of Shaq-Fu the rapper, shit went crazy for the remainder of the decade. I guess everyone figured “shit, if he could do it, why not me?”  The most flagrant violation was in ’94- a compilation album called B-Ball’s Best Kept Secret. It was like the Superbowl Shuffle, but with basketball players. Better yet, it was like my favorite wack-ass movie Rappin’, when EVERY-body in the fukkin’ movie rapped in the final scene. It was heavily promoted, and even had some OK production, but nobody (except for those who really wanted to know if Gary Payton could spit) went out and bought it. After the Best Kept Secret project flopped, the trend died down for a while, but came back strong by the late-’90s with equally awful music by the likes of Chris Webber, Kobe Bryant, and Allen Iverson. Jeesh.

You know how some people talk about back in the days, and how (insert lame new rap nigga here) woulda never been signed back then, because “you had to have skills to get on”? Yeah, well that’s bullshit, because if (insert lame new rap nigga here) was in the NBA, he coulda at least got to drop a single. But don’t let me force-feed you this line of thinking- listen for yourself. Below, I give you five incredible moments of lyrical exercise by some of the best MCs the NBA had to offer.


Shaquille O’Neal “I Know I Got Skillz” (1993): Oh, word? Yeap, this was the official beginning of Shaq’s illustrious solo career. Along with Def Jef, Shaq attempts to crush the critics by showing his “skillz” on the mic. The key points of this song include: A) he’ll punch a chick in the stomach and he don’t give a heck, and B) knick knack Shaq Attaq, give a dog a bone. Whether or not he had skillz still hasn’t been answered, but the real question now is: with his retirement, does this mean we get another Shaq-Fu album?

Cedric Ceballos “Flow On” (1994)
: And this was the piece-de-resistance of that Best Kept Secret album, video and all. I guess it should be a plus that Warren G only produced it and didn’t rap on it… but Ced is hopelessly corny all up and through this song. Imagine Warren’s lyrical wizardry (haaaa!) mixed with some Melle Mel-esque vocal inflections and some tiggity-tounge twistin’ shit thrown in. I dare you to get past the part where he says his rhymes are finger-lickin’.

Jason Kidd “What The Kidd Did” (1994): In an unbelievably wooden performance, Jason Kidd connects with Digital Underground‘s Money B. The message in this song is that Jason is paid and nice as all hell on the court. In a completely unenthusiastic tone, he even reminds us midway through that ain’t no party like a J. Kidd party, cause a J. Kidd party don’t stop. As true as that may be, nothing can save this from being possibly the most sleep-inducing party joint ever.

Chris Webber “2 Much Drama” (1998): Aight, he tried to create some kinda emotion here… but Tupac he was not. Here, C. Webb talks about his tough life as a highly-paid athlete- even the misery that is sitting at home lonely although lots of chicks wanna bone him. The pressure is mounting, and he can’t seem to find answers anywhere- not in church, not from his friends, and not even from sitting outside in the rain. Tear.

Kobe Bryant feat. Tyra Banks “K.O.B.E.” (1999): Two things are for sure: Tyra Banks is not a singer, and Kobe Bryant is not a rapper. But why should that stop ’em? KB was actually signed to Columbia Records and being produced by the Trackmasters, even appearing on a Brian McKnight single in ’99… but once this masterpiece here debuted, the unanimously poor reception killed any chance of him dropping an album. In a incredible display of quality control by a major label, Kobe was dropped from Columbia because his music sucked. By the way, what does K.O.B.E. stand for… Kobe On a Bitch Eatin’?

I doubt these dudes really cared, because rap wasn’t their first profession anyway, and they were likely just doin’ it for kicks. Still, damn near ALL these projects were evidence that there was a reason why them NBA niggas got paid to hoop… because music sure as shit wasn’t their calling.

-D!


Wack-Ass Wednesday: Bustin’ Out!

01/19/2011

With the new year, also comes new features on DLT90s… thus spawns today’s entry. As much as I love the ’90s, hence the name of this site, there is one thing I do not like: those who act like eyyyyyy’thing from back in the day was classic. For example, you can go to just about any old video- and I mean ANY old video- on YouTube, and there’ll be at least 5 comments about how wack today’s music is and how the video in question is so incredible in comparison. Comments like that make sense when it’s in reference to, say, “Time 4 Sum Aksion” or somethin’… not so much when in reference to something like the video I present to you on this afternoon.

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The ’90s Loved The ’80s: #FAIL

10/07/2010

I gotta say… sampling got a lil’ out of control in the late-’90s. Not that sampling is a bad thing, but many artists/producers thought they could get away with damn near anything if it was a hit the first time around. Previous hits being recycled to make new ones became a huge trend, but it wasn’t for everybody. In a few cases, them shits shoulda never even been cleared. Take for instance, these five situations here. I don’t know about y’all, but in my humble opinion, any one of these would make a great case for why strict sampling laws should be enforced. Wow.

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Bobby & Whitney: A Tale of Blood, Sweat, & Hell To The Naw

07/07/2010

Y’know… far be it for me to be into relationship drama involving artists who decide to shack up. I see the headlines like everyone else, but I’d be hard-pressed to remember much about what Jay-Z and Beyonce do, or who Lil’ Wayne will be knockin’ up next. I find the Nas/Kelis shit to be pretty got-damn wild because of how brutally Nasir’s been gettin’ his pockets raped since last year, but that’s about it. HOWEVER- there was one couple from the ’90s that always brought the laughs and SMH moments- the duo of Bobby Brown & Whitney Houston.

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The Grandmaster

05/20/2010

Happy belated 5th birthday to YouTube. While video streaming was around on the net long ago, it’s the Tube that is thee all-time shit.

Think about it- how many things has YouTube brought into your internet experience that wasn’t there before? And if you happen to be a nostalgia addict like myself, well got-damn… how much old stuff that you forgot all about, haven’t seen in a long time, or didn’t know about in the first place has YouTube provided you the chance to see? For me, between random old wrasslin’ shit to videos I hadn’t seen since forever ago… I don’t even remember what the hell I used to do on the internet before YT came along. Which brings me to today’s entry…

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It’s The Hard Knock Life.

05/03/2010

Any of y’all ever seen Backstage? That documentary on the goings-on behind the scenes of the Hard Knock Life Tour? It wasn’t quite a must-have, but if you’ve ever wanted to see Dame Dash shit on DJ Clue‘s multi-directional haircut game, that’s the DVD for you. I was watchin’ it a couple nights ago, and it reminded me of how hyped I was to see that concert when it came here on Friday, March 26, 1999. My brother went and got both of our tickets a couple weeks prior, I had my new Phat Farm shirt on, and I was ready to go that afternoon.

But there was only one problem: I didn’t get to see the shit.

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What’s Beef?

03/09/2010

So it’s March 9th, most remembered in hip-hop as the date on which Bow Wow was born in 1987 The Notorious B.I.G. was murdered in 1997. As a fan of Big, and as a fan of hip-hop in general, it was just as major to me as Tupac‘s death was six months prior. You’ve prob’ly read a million times over how huge of a loss those deaths were, and you’ll prob’ly read it a million more, so I’ll spare y’all that. Matter fact, at the risk of bein’ a lil’ strange, I’d rather do my B.I.G. entry on his birthday than the death anniversary (make a note of May 21st). But if there is one good thing that came out of those events, it’s that the whole East Coast/West Coast shit started coming to a close.

I know people have since said that the “East Coast/West Coast War” was an isolated incident that was blown up by the media and hyped for the sake of controversy. There’s a good deal of truth in that statement, but let’s keep it one-hunnid: March 9, 1997 was the climax of some shit that had been quietly building up for years. Let’s talk about it…

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