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Every year more athletes make the jump to music, occasionally musicians make the jump to sports, but who’s the best right now? This week the new NBA season kicked off and during the pre-season current star Damien Lillard battled OG Shaq about who’s better. So who will it be? Shaq? A.I.? Kobe? Let’s run through a few making waves right now.
Possibly the biggest star in the league that’s making music right now, Dame seems to take his rhymes just as seriously as his jump shot. His sound is the most commercial & well rounded since…well Shaq. He makes music that sounds like what’s going on now but he doesn’t seem like he’s mimicking anyone. Verses from Lil Wayne, Jadakiss, & Benny The Butcher shows he has the respect, if only a little, from full time rappers. He sounds like Oakland. He feels genuine. It gives him more personality than we get from his game due to the graveyard Portland is for media coverage.
This standard is not reserved just for rappers. Vic is a smooth operator. The R&B vibes are not lost, or wasted, on me. He’s managed to be an Allstar level player and put out project with features from big names like Trey Songz & 2 Chainz. V.O. is one Roc Nation two way management deal away from being a full on star in music & ball.
While his NBA career is somewhat in flux and he’s more known for his full time musician and star wife, Iman. has his own aspirations and credits in music. He’s high energy and animated on the court but his rap is more laid back & vibey. He seems to fall closer to hipster/backpack rap than the mainstream you might expect. He knows his sound but it’s not quite polished right yet. Maybe during this free agency he‘ll have time to clean it up.
So he may be the first NBA producer. Credited as Pierre, it’s hard to really gauge the music he’s released because he isn’t so much rapping or singing like the others but he did manage to put out a full album with major talent on his production. TK Kravitz, Eric Bellinger, & Nef the Pharaoh all lend their voices to him to showcase his production. He’s also playing the executive role as he runs Pierre Music with artists of his own. Many athletes have funded labels before, few have been as hands on as JaVale seems to be.
While much of his life in the league has been minimized to jokes or overshadowed by his dad, Lonzo has been a fixture in at least giving hot takes on music and hasn’t been shy about his sometimes controversial opinions. During his rookie season he released a rap album and surprised many of us. While it wasn’t groundbreaking, it did not turn out to be the dumpster juice most expected from the kid who rarely spoke at the time. ZO hasn’t released much since but now that he’s out of the LA pressure cooker and in a cultural melting pot like New Orleans maybe he’ll be able to blossom on the court & in the booth.
I’m sure there are more options, but I went with 5. Who else should’ve been listed?