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HOT or NOT: Rapping Ballers?

Basketball players want to be rappers. Rappers want to be ball players and film stars. Film stars know not to touch the mic. Amidst the hoopla around Artest and AI's shortlived rap careers and the controversy around images of "hip-hop" in the NBA and how basketball players want to look "ghetto" on the sidelines, a rapper (can't remember the name) responded and said (loosely) "(we) want to have the fine suits and the guaranteed contracts. Why would you want to look poor?"

This is by no means a moral judgment on what people should and shouldn't wear on the sidelines or neither is this an anti-hip-hop diatribe or a jab at the poor, destitute, and oppressed.

Seriously though, why do ball players think they can rap? Second, what type of expectations do we bring to rappers and those who aren't rappers first?

As scholars, critics and artist themselves have written, the craft of hip-hop inflected in part by the culture industry of mass music is built upon certain expectations-- whether its having skills, flow, charisma, novelty or even a particular race, class, gendered background. Despite the discourse that claims that hip-hop is "universal" or an "American" grammar, it's undeniable that the culture, or more precisely the industry deliberately contains the representations of rap music to specific generic conventions, or rather the vestiges, of historical legacies and stereotypes of a urban (meaning poor) black (meaning thug) masculinity (meaning a whole bunch of other things). But besides the stereotypes, you ALSO got to come correct. As much as people might bump "Chicken Noodle Soup" or Mims "This is Why I'm hot" at the club, in cars, or on the (historical) bloc, its evident by record sales alone that their shelf life is shorter than raw meats outdoors. Not surprising how less mainstream artists like Ghostface Killah push more records by quite a large margin.

Ballers-cum-rappers tend to say nothing at all or offer some of worst lyricism ever, sticking to cliches of images commonly circulated throughout rap but with b-rate video vixens, cars, and directors (see Roy Jones Jr. "Y'all Must've Forgot").

From the good friends over at the Poplicks blog, I came across a post about Tony P(arker)'s new rap album. For release in France, but his music videos are circulating across the globe as we speak. I had to see for myself.

As expected, it contained the cliche sports and hip-hop motifs. Basketball hoops, cheerleaders, a few basketball references (its in French but you can hear things like "slam dunk") in addition to the conventional music video stuff like fine women, cars with big big wheels, and of course the possee. Surprisingly, no Spurs players are present, probably cuz Brent Barry, Tim Duncan, Oberto, et al. aren't really street cred worthy. I think it goes to show that image isn't EVERYTHING and that being having lyrics as crafty as your game on the court could probably go a long way.

With that said, GSoM presents Tony P. Is he "HOT" or "NOT"??? I think you already know what I think...

"Top of the Game"
- Tony P. featuring Fabolous & Booba

"Balance Toi" - Tony P.

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