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5 Successful Athlete-Rappers We Would Listen To

With The Game cosigning Serena Williams rapping skills, we take a look at a few other sports lyricists that we'd D/L on our iPods.

The crossover (aka "The Nicki Minaj Effect") is in full swing as trapstars and actors are all considering getting into the music game. If the rap game was the crack game years ago, it's now about having that Molly for the party, as everyone is trying to crack the Billboard 100. Most recently, tennis megastar Serena Williams announced her newest hobby would "be another step in branching out," and The Game quickly gave his two cents. While it's no secret that not every champion athlete is prone to great marathons of lyrical exercise (see: Kobe Bryant), Serena's latest diddy makes us upset that we'll never get to see her star in her own music video.

We all know what happens when Serena gets in front of a camera, right?! Hopefully you all can take your mind out of the gutter long enough to cross the goal line with us as we list the 5 Successful Athlete-Rappers We'd Listen To. —Kevin L. Clark

5. Cam Newton —

The charismatic QB for the Carolina Panthers already has the ready-made package that Madison Avenue loves. His rookie season is much like the praise a certain Toronto Argonaut received when he entered into the rap game. To commemorate his lauded efforts on the field, the New Age Killa Cam can easily use his Colgate smile to spit buttery flows all over the M-I-C. If his hook game is like his throwing arm, then you got someone who could rival Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders and Brett Favre as the most entertaining rap-lete in the NFL.

4. Russell Westbrook —

It's easy to forget sometimes that the Oklahoma Thunder's starting point guard is only 23-years-old. He's quick like Isiah Thomas, brash and a determined leader on the floor. But after that clip of Westbrook crooning Nicki Minaj's pop ditty went viral, we can only imagine the Olympic gold medal winner would want his true rap self to reign through strong! Maybe the speedy PG could drop double-time raps over Tyga's "Rack City"...? Or he could go throwback and rehash a Big Daddy Kane classic? No matter what the future Western Conference champion may choose to rap over, as long as he stays away from those Roman Zolanski cuts he'll be a certified rap all-star.

3. Alexander Ovechkin —

Tired of everyone using his name in songs and not getting no credit, the captain of the Washington Capitals set off to show how icy he was on the mic by rapping on his own. At the beginning of 2012, Ovechkin provided a guest rap in Russian rapper Sasha Belyi's "Champion," and even appeared in the music video. Now looking to make a Stoli-like sweep of the U.S., the Calder Memorial Trophy winner could easily call anyone in rap to hip-hop into the booth with him for a quick song. Our hope is for an Ovi and Yela collaboration! The two gritty grinders may surprise folks with just how sharp they are on thin ice.

2. Gina Carano —

The mixed-martial arts fighter is equally as deadly as she is devastating. Her awesome star turn as Mallory Kane in Haywire managed to place the spotlight on Carano, making her the "Face of Women's MMA," and a possible threat to female MCs. Okay, we're only kidding about that last part, but it's not out of the realm of possibility to see Conviction Carano becoming an American Rap Gladiator. Her first single could be a throwback of the days of Crime Mob, as Gina delivers a destructive 1, 2 K.O. punch to the industry alongside co-stars Diddy and Waka Flocka. Let's hope her raps aren't as stiff as her dialogue delivery!

1. Floyd Mayweather —

With or without 50 Cent by his side, the undefeated champ and his Money Team could be just the shake-up the rap game needs. Sure you have crews like Young Money, Slaughterhouse and those MMG guys, but Mayweather's foray into hip-hop's squared circle would shake things up. As the first pugilist rhymeslinger with a reality TV show on HBO, Floyd and his cavalcade of characters could rival DJ Khaled for most dopest studio guest appearance. If anything, we can at least expect Ray J to sit this one out on the bench!

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34 black female cadets from West Point's Class of 2019 pose at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.
Cadet Hallie H. Pound/U.S. Army via AP

Black Women Cadets Make History At West Point Graduation

A record number of black female cadets are set to graduate from West Point (The United States Military Academy). After completing four years of education and "testing their limits," 34 black women will be walking across the stage at the 2019 commencement ceremony for the first time in the school's 217-year history.

Earlier this month, the black female cadets came together for a pre-graduation group photo. Little did they know, the photos of them in traditional Old Corps uniforms with ceremonial sabers would make their rounds on social media.

“My hope when young Black girls see these photos is that they understand that regardless of what life presents you, you have the ability an fortitude to be a force to be reckoned with,” shared one of the cadets, Tiffany Welch-Baker, in an interview with Because Of Them We Can.

Although West Point admitted its first black cadet until 1870, the academy didn’t graduate its first black cadet until the Reconstruction in 1877. In 1979, Vincent K. Brooks was made the first black captain of the Corps of Cadets. In 2017, Simone Askew became the first Black woman to lead the Corps of Cadets.

Senior cadet Stephanie Riley told The Associated Press in another interview: “I just showed myself and those who thought I couldn’t do it initially that yes, I can. And not just, ‘Yes, I can.’ I can show other little girls that yes, you can come to West Point. Yes, you can do something that maybe the rest of your peers aren’t actually doing. And yes, you can be different from the rest of the group.”

The class of 2019 includes a total of 223 women, another milestone since the first female cadets' graduation in 1980. The total number of graduation African-Americans doubled to 110, while the number of graduating Latinos became the largest, 88, in the academy's history. West Point also appointed Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams as its first black superintendent in July 2018.

Not only will West Point be graduating its 5,000th female cadet, but it will also have its highest number of female Hispanic graduates, 19. The commencement ceremony is set for Saturday, May 25, with Vice President Mike Pence delivering the commencement speech.

Congratulations to the black ladies of West Point's graduating Class of 2019!

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Art At Work: Kadir Nelson And Hennessy Unveil Marshall "Major" Taylor Sculpture at NYC's WTC3

Last spring, VIBE was invited to the screening of a Hennessy sponsored screening of a mini-commercial documentary on one of the most unsung athletic hero's of African-American history in Marshall "Major" Taylor. The seven-minute doc, explained the life and legacy of the first international African-American superstar. In the late 1800's Taylor dominated the cycling scene with power and endurance. With the viewing happening at the New York Times building, a special treat was waiting to be shown to the excited crowd. World renowned visual artist, Kadir Nelson made a monument for Taylor, the man that broke barriers with his pedals and passion.

Fast forward to May 15, 2018, Nelson was celebrated for that same Hennessy commissioned statue (which went along with Hennessy's Wild Rabbit campaign, narrated by Nas) of Taylor and it being permanently placed in New York's World Trade Center 3 (WTC3). Known as one of the world's busiest travel areas, the World Trade Center is a landmark destination for millions of visitors who will now see the immortalized cyclist's frame, sculpted  by Nelson. “The Major” will be displayed starting later this year near the north entrance of 3 World Trade Center, with the Oculus and National 9/11 Museum in the background. The sculpture will live in WTC as part of the Silverstein family’s World Trade arts initiative, entitled The Silver Project. The piece is the towers first installment of art and will shine as a beacon for all creatives and those seeking inspiration in all walks of life. Nelson will also have his first studio space in the same building.

 

To witness the amazing life of Marshall "Major" Taylor, watch the doc above.

 

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FX's ‘Pose’ Unveils Gripping Season 2 Trailer

Pose fans’ patience will be alleviated with the second season's premiere next month. To get viewers ready, FX debuted its 45-second trailer on Thursday (May 23), packed with an array of moving storylines.

Set in New York City’s ‘90s time period, the characters will explore life-altering changes in their careers and health. For Blanca, the status of her HIV-positive diagnosis will take precedence as the House of Evangelista begins to navigate a newfound arena of prominence in the ballroom scene.

In an interview with Billboard, producer and activist Janet Mock dished on what to expect for the upcoming season. "There's a rule in the writers' room that we do not talk about what we're going to do, but I think that it's really going deeper every episode,” Mock said. “As viewers kind of notice, we tend to focus in on a character that we may not have known as much before, right? For example, this week will really be central around Lil Papi’s character, his relationship with Blanca and things [that] have been alluded about throughout the season. There will be some of the origins stories of characters that we may not have heard as much from before, but whom people of course love because they are either on Team Abundance or Team Evangelista.”

Ahead of its June 11 return on FX (10 p.m. EST), watch the trailer above.

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