On Valentine’s Day, the original god emcee Rakim, or whomever runs the joint Twitter account with his old partner Eric B., dropped a now-deleted tweet excoriating contemporary popular hip-hop music.

Rakim thegrio.com

The tweet might as well have come from me after listening to Born 2 Ball, the new album (mixtape?) from Zo, aka Lonzo Ball, current Los Angeles Laker and member of the infamous Ball family. Zo essentially made a trap-rap album, which, to me, is indistinguishable from all the other countless trap albums adorning the spin-class playlists of Sarahs and Kaitlins across the nation.

It’s like Zo spun an arrow on a game board for every verse and rapped about whatever it landed on: Ice on the neck, chicks dropping their panties, “grind like me,” triplicate flow, ultra-repetitive hook, rinse, wash and repeat for 17 tracks. I suppose it’s possible Zo may somehow be better than other trap rappers, but my old grandpa ears can’t tell the difference. I know I’m certainly not surprised that a 20-year-old who wore this blasphemous shit and said this blasphemous shit created something so sonically forgettable.  

Born 2 Ball features whole songs designed to promote The Big Baller Brand; “BBB” and “ZO2” are basically commercials that you can buy on iTunes. Combined with a final track named “LaVar” that honors his colorful, loudmouthed paterfamilias, LaVar Ball, it feels like daddy’s foot was on the gas with this album as it is with everything else in his boys’ lives.

Lonzo Ball is far from the first NBA baller to attempt a rap career and I’m sure he won’t be the last. It should come as no surprise that most of these rap “careers” flame out quickly like the dumpster fires that they are. But, well, not all of them are terrible. Here’s a look at seven NBA rappers and their varied levels of success.


4Chris Webber

AUBURN HILLS, MI – JANUARY 20: Chris Webber #84 of the Detroit Pistons is on the court during the game against the Sacramento Kings on January 20, 2007 at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Detroit won the game 91-74. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Ah, C. Webb. He released just one album, 2 Much Drama, in 1999. He had a charting single, “Gangsta! Gangsta!,” with Kurupt, which is funny considering he attended a posh private school in Detroit, as well as Michigan’s best public university. On his “ladies” track “Feel My Vibe,” he raps, “I got plenty of protein for yo’ nutrition.” Someone give this man a Grammy.