NFL Star Bryant McKinnie Talks Music And Serena Williams’ Rap Skills
Bryant McKinnie has some impressive hardware: he picked up a Super Bowl ring this past season as the starting left tackle for the champion Baltimore Ravens, but he might be the only NFL player who can pair that ring with three Grammy Award nominations.
“A real Grammy,” says McKinnie. “That’s my ultimate goal. I’d put it with the Super Bowl ring – I’d probably take a picture and Instagram it!”
The massive NFL veteran checks in at 6’8 and 360 pounds, but he’s got a deft touch in the studio. McKinnie started his own label, BMajor Music Group, and currently manages four artists when he’s not protecting Super Bowl MVP QB Joe Flacco. So what’s more difficult – running a music label, or blocking NFL defensive ends?
“Probably running a label at this point, because I’ve been blocking defensive ends for so many years now I have a great idea of how to do that!” he says with a hearty laugh.
McKinnie is no amateur when it comes to music. He was a co-executive producer on former Pretty Ricky star Pleasure P’s solo debut, “The Introduction of Marcus Cooper,” which received three Grammy nods in 2010. From there, McKinnie began managing his own artists, including Los Angeles rapper Young Lace, Jacksonville R&B crooner TyRell, Queens artist Bri Beauty, and former Da Band member Freddy P.
McKinnie met Young Lace on Twitter, and linked with Bri through their mutual friend and G.O.O.D. Music artist Teyana Taylor.
“Teyana was like, ‘I have a girl that’s pretty good that I think you’d like to work with,'” says McKinnie, “And she introduced us.”
McKinnie made the conscious choice to work with lesser known artists in order to help them further their careers.
“Pleasure P, he was in a group that already had a fan base,” says McKinnie. “So coming from that, I wanted to find somebody that people didn’t know and start working with them, and building them up. That’s what I’m in the process of doing now.”
The Pro Bowl tackle is hands-on as a producer, and has written and helped arrange songs and albums for his artists. He balances his football career and his music career by using his free time after practice to swap beats via email and offer comments on new tracks. He’s even gotten a few fellow athletes into his home studio – including tennis star Serena Williams.
“We were over here at my home studio, and we were talking about people who aren’t really known for music,” says McKinnie. “Her friend had put out a song, and she said ‘I should try my hand at it, just for fun!’ We were going through beats, and she was writing, and that was her first time recording anything. The song came from that. I would definitely work with her again – I don’t know if she would pursue music more, I know she’s more into fashion and things like that. You never know, she might come back to the music.”
As for his Ravens teammates, he’s a bit more skeptical.
“Everybody on my team wants to be a rapper!” he exclaims. “They rap for me and tell me why I should sign them – we should have done a remix of the ‘Super Bowl Shuffle’ after we won the Super Bowl, to see who can really rap.”
“When I was on the Vikings,” he continues, “Fred Evans, he used to rap and he was OK. On the Ravens, I don’t know.”
Not even QB Joe Flacco?
“Nah, not Joe,” he laughs.
And as for his label’s name, B Major?
“It’s a music note, and it’s a positive message to be major in everything you do,” he says. “Go hard in everything you do. I came up with it because I wanted to have a more universal sound, not just rap and hip-hop. I want to eventually get rock bands, country music, different types of artists.”
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