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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D'Angelo And Maxwell Were Originally Scheduled For A 'Verzuz' Battle

It's no secret. Swizz Beatz and Timbaland have been working hard to pair up some of hip-hop and R&B's biggest stars for their Verzuz celebratory battles. To date, the duo has successfully hosted 24 of these events on Instagram Live and their streaming partner, Apple Music. Now, what you rarely hear about are the matches that could have been. In a live conversation following D'Angelo's damn-near-solo set—that many R&B lovers didn't know they needed—Swizz Beatz and Timbaland revealed how the soulful crooner was originally scheduled to take part in Verzuz alongside fellow "neo-soul" singer Maxwell.

"I'm not gonna lie. That sh*t took very long. Let's give people the story," starts Swizz. "What was supposed to happen was D'Angelo versus Maxwell on Valentine's Day. That didn't work out, but the fact that D'Angelo was still ready to go and still motivated, we had to celebrate him— matter who was on stage with him. We had to celebrate that king because, as you can see, those songs that he played tonight, man, that's real music."

He continues: "This is a celebrational stage and we couldn't play around with him. We had to let him get his garden because he showed up and showed out. That man pulled up to Verzuz three hours early. D'Angelo was the earliest person in Verzuz history tonight so don't get him showing up [at] the time he did mixed up with the pre-show which was by DJ Scratch."

Message received, but could you imagine how many more ladies would've gotten their lives on that night of love? Can you imagine the attempted falsetto singing done by viewers on that special and rare night? It would've been nice to see D'Angelo and Maxwell on the same bill, that's for sure.

Watch Swizz and Timbo talk about the match that could have been while clearing the air about D'Angelo's start-time at around the 4-minute and 20-second mark of the video below.

 

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Rapper Bobby Shmurda poses backstage at Power 105.1's Powerhouse 2014 at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on October 30, 2014 in New York City.
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Bobby Shmurda Returns Home After Serving 6 Years In Prison

After serving 6 years, Bobby Shmurda is finally out. The rapper, born Ackquille Pollard, was granted a conditional release from the New York state prison, Clinton Correctional Facility, on Tuesday morning (Feb. 23) and will serve the remainder of his 7-year sentence on parole. According to reports, Shmurda “will be under community supervision in Kings County until he completes his sentence on February 23, 2026.”

In true celebrity fashion, Shmurda was brought home in a private jet this morning. Earlier this week, Migos' Quavo told Billboard that he would do the honor of picking him up upon Bobby's release. "I'm going to get my guy. I'm personally gonna go pick up Bobby Shmurda. I'm bout to go get him. I'm gonna let him show you how I'm gonna pick him up, yessir. It's gonna be big."

And that he did.

 

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In December 2014, Shmurda was arrested at New York City's Quad Studios and was charged with conspiracy to murder, criminal possession of a weapon, criminally using drug paraphernalia, and reckless endangerment follow a two-year probe by the New York Police Department. In 2016, the former Epic Records signee and his childhood friend Rowdy Rebel accepted a plea deal and were sentenced to 7 years in prison.

“They kind of did it dirty at the end of the day,” Bobby explained in a phone interview with VIBE back in 2016. “They had offered me five (years) but then they said if I take the seven, then I’ll be taking it so that they could give Rowdy seven because they were going to offer him 12. I didn’t want my bro to do 12 years because at the end of the day, we didn’t really do nothing, but they playing dirty. So I’m going to take one for the bro.”

Now that Bobby is out, he'll be spending time with family and friends and getting his head back into creating new music. Watch his FaceTime call with his mother, Leslie, down below.

Welcome back, Bobby.

Bobby Shmurda on facetime with his mom after being released from prison pic.twitter.com/YvdaBzo1Y4

— Bobby Shmurda Updates (@bodboybobby) February 23, 2021

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Fred The Godson attends the Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Launch at The Griffin on March 31, 2014 in New York City.
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Fat Joe, Jim Jones and Bronx Community Celebrate Fred The Godson's Street Naming On His Birthday

Today (Feb. 22), the great MC, Fred The Godson, was honored posthumously with a street naming by his Bronx community and hip-hop industry comrades. Among the dozens of those that showed love to the rapper that passed away in April 2020 due to COVID-19 were BX native Fat Joe and Harlem repper Jim Jones. The street's South Bronx location of Leggett avenue and Kelly street will now also be called Fredrick "Fred The Godson" Thomas Way.

While snow fell heavily, the crowd of supporters and the organizers stood strong and watched as the sign was unveiled to cheers of joy. The Fred The Godson Foundation worked hard to make this day happen on what would have been Fred's 36th birthday. "Shortly after Fred’s passing, the Fred The Godson Foundation was created to carry on his legacy for his children and family, and the commitment to his dreams for the Bronx," says the foundation's mission statement. "The mission is to inspire, empower and nourish individuals, children and families in underserved communities, starting with Fred’s birthplace. The foundation will foster community unity through the common pursuit of wellness, prosperity, and opportunity."

 

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Known for having one of the most celebrated flows that included a barrage of double entendres and metaphors that were rarely matched, Fred was a respected MC with enormous skills that were able to get him featured on the famed 2011 XXL 'Freshman' class magazine cover along with Meek Mill, Mac Miller (RIP) and Kendrick Lamar. Jim Jones had some heartfelt words for the one named 'Gordo' at the ceremony, "Fred inspired me to do this music, a lot all over again. There was a time I really didn't want to do no music...and Fred would say, 'Nah, you gotta get in that booth Capo.'"

 

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The Thomas family announced thank you's and love to Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr. of District 17 in the South Bronx, Bronx Borough President Ruban Diaz, NYPD's 41st Precinct, and the Bronx community for helping make the Frederick “Fred the Godson” Thomas Way street co-naming possible.

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Much respect to the legacy of the husband and father, Fred The Godson.

 

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