Jocks Who Rock pt. 1


By Mike Dojc
Cassius Clay released I am the Greatest on Columbia records in 1963. Billed as a comedy album, the record features the future Muhammad Ali rumbling his way through bluster heavy proto-rap, poetic verses, fight music, standup monologues and even Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” all to the delight of a live audience who cheer, chuckle and ballyhoo behind Clay’s boisterous horn tooting. Ali opened Pandora’s box set. Athletes of all stripes have since felt the need to rock the casbah—this year brought us WWE Superstar John Cena’s rap opus You Can’t See Me and Red Sox hurler Bronson Arroyo’s grunge encomium Covering the Bases. We stack up the best releases to find their way out of the locker room.

Artist: Deion Sanders, the only athlete to play in both a World Series and a Super Bowl.
Album: Prime Time (Bust It, 1995)
Style/Inspired by: The ego-tripping G-Funk of N.W.A.
Signature Lyric: “Diamond Rolex, with 'gators on my feet/ I got two pair for every day of the week” –Must be the Money
Scouting Report “The worst aspect of the album is that it seems to be one giant love letter to Deion Sanders from Deion Sanders”
-Dayton Daily News
Final Score 7 out of 10

Artist: Oscar de la Hoya, the WBC & WBA super welterweight champion
Album: Oscar de la Hoya (2000)
Style/inspired by: Oscar attempts to follow the heart throbbing beats of Marc Anthony and Enrique Iglesias but it ends up sounding like karaoke crooner night in East L.A.
Signature lyric: “And With these hands I will fight for you/And with these hands I will hold you.” –With These Hands
Scouting Report: “A series of sugary ballads and barely mid-tempo dance-pop, it's as full of proclamations of romance as it is devoid of real emotion –Miami Herald
Final score: 3 out of 10

Artist: Shaquille O’Neal, 12-time NBA All-Star selection.
Album: Shaquille O’Neal Presents his Superfriends Vol. 1 (Trauma, 2001)
Style/inspired by: Chronic melodic rhymes inspired by pals Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, George Clinton, Common, and Dr. Dre who all appear on the album.
Signature lyric: “Fake niggaz and women, they tryna hit me for my cream.” –In the Sun
Scouting report: “His Superfriends manage to take Shaq to the next level, from unlistenable to nearly tolerable” --Blender
Final score: 6 out of 10

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