All Star weekend has just passed and at Stacks, we thought it would be the ideal time to take a look at the best (and look at some of the worst) rappers to ever grace an NBA floor. We have seen a lot of NBA stars pick up the mic with mixed receptions. Let's get into it!
The Answer brought hip hop culture to the NBA more than any other player before him and his influence on that cannot be underestimated. Tattoos on show, big chains, braids, durags, oversized everything, Iverson was probably the coolest person on the planet in his MVP season in 2001. It is often said that rappers want to be hoopers and hoopers want to be rappers, everyone wanted to be Iverson...
He pissed off David Stern so much that the NBA brought in a dress code for players. Rapping under the name Jewlz, AI released 40 bars in 2000, if you don't know it, here it is.
The album/mixtape never dropped because David Stern and the NBA intervened and basically told AI he would be banned from playing if he dropped the album. It was never released. Iverson has since said that releasing it would have been embarrassing but from the limited evidence we can state that, for an NBA player, AI could spit. 6/10
The man who almost took the Sacramento Kings to the promised land, C Webb is worthy of consideration. Before Iverson, the Fab 5 were the coolest thing in basketball, if you don't know about that, check out the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary (it is on Disney+). He released an album in 1999 and is almost impossible to find online but the single with Kurupt is here.
We love dance routines in big suits in this video which have a similar vibe to Jay-Z and Foxy Brown's video but honestly (sorry C Webb) his voice and content are not exactly going to blow anyone out of the water. It is fine. The reason C Webb is important to have in this list is because of his production skills because that is where Webber really earns his stripes producing two tracks for the first son of Queensbridge, Nas with Blunt Ashes on Hip Hop is Dead and Surviving the Times the opening track on Greatest Hits. Props to C Webb! But from a rap perspective 4/10
Oh dear. One of the best to ever do it in the NBA. We are going to try and something nice about Lebron rapping...he tried. KD is also on this track and the contrast makes it more evident that Lebron should avoid the booth. Do you want to check it out? Here it is Lebron starts...talking...at 1:42. The beat is nice enough so we guess Lebron knows what a good beat sounds like and there we go, a compliment for King James's limited rap career 1/10
Ron Artest / Metta World Peace / Metta Sandiford-Artest
One of the most memorable players of the 2000's, Metta World Peace has always had more than a toe in the music industry, the former DPOY has managed artists with his media agency and of course, in 2006, released a rap album. Did he make it during is NBA suspension following the Malice in the Palace? He certainly asked for some time off before that incident to promote an R&B group he looked after. His verse on this Blaq Poet joint is decent and he holds his own for sure
One of the most fascinating characters in basketball 6.7/10
Stak5 has probably released more musical content than any other NBA player (not fact checked this) putting out a load of work from 2011-2015. He is a decent NBA rapper.
But let's get to what can only be described as the title decider (sorry everyone else). In the yellow and gold corner we have the man with more nicknames than ODB, Shaquille O'Neal! And in the Red and Black corner, representing the Town and Portland, Damian Lillard.
Shaq has a couple of things going for him. number 1, he had Biggie on one of his tracks, he had RZA and Method Man on a track, he had Ice Cube and B-Real on a track, he was on a Fu-Schnickens track...Dame cannot match that. Number 2, Shaq is a performer. All these videos in the 90's Shaq seems like a cross between a WWF wrestler/rapper/NBA player. A proper showman one can only imagine what a 1995 Shaquille O'Neal tour would have been like...
You might think that surely this is the killer blow, the list of artists that have collaborated with Shaq is just too much to overcome but Dame Time is here and Lillard is not afraid of the grind and is certainly used to being underrated. Dame Dolla has ripped it on Sway in the Morning twice. Putting out music since 2015, Dame is genuinely good at rapping and puts the same grind into his music that he put into his basketball.
It really is tough to split it but if Shaq didn't have the feat. on his tracks would we listen to a whole album? We would listen to a Dame album, we have, today...Shaq 8/10 Dame 8.3/10
Shout out to all the NBA players we didn't review: Kobe (RIP), Iman Shumpert, Sweet Lou Will, Ben Mclmore, Lonzo Ball, Miles Bridges etc.
We put together a playlist for all these NBA players on Spotify just for you here!