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From Hoops To Hip-Hop: Is Kevin Durant Trying To Follow Up Gold Medal With Gold Album?

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While cruising the music blogosphere today, I stumbled upon the new track “Rolls Royce” from Philadelphia-born rapper Privaledge (sic) with a feature from Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

My first thoughts?

“Better than French Montana, at least” and “I’d much rather face Durant in a rap battle than a game of one-on-one”.

Durant isn’t the first NBA player to try his hand in rapping, as he joins a long line of basketball players that have attempted to crossover (get it?) into the music industry. However, what makes Durant’s foray into hip-hop different than the attempts of most players is the relatively quiet demeanor that Durant maintains on the court.

Most of the players who have made the transition from the court to the studio have attitudes and personalities which match up to rappers so weren’t really shocked when you heard the news.

Allen Iverson had plenty of time to record the track ’40 Bars’ while he was skipping practices. Lou Williams already had Meek Mill’s voice, so it made sense for them to release a couple of tracks together.

Beyond them; you can ask the fans in Detroit, Ron Artest has always had punchlines (and elbows) and can ‘Go Loco’ without warning. And let’s be honest, we’ve all been waiting years for Stephen Jackson to finally admit that he was a rapper, it was only a matter of time.

But that is what makes Durantula (probably not his first choice for a rap moniker) spitting rhymes so surprising. You watch him on the court dominating opponents with a quiet intensity, then tearing up and hugging his mom after big wins and losses, and it is difficult to imagine him in the booth.

Before I listened to any of Durant’s verses (he has a handful of features with Privaledge), I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would he go the Aaron Carter route (‘That’s How I Beat Shaq’) and brag about his basketball accomplishments? Or was I in store for a club hit about making it rain in the strip club during long Oklahoma droughts?

The result? Generic punchlines about how much money he is making, the choices he has to make between cars everyday, and how he is (supposedly) staying humble.

Honestly, it isn’t that bad. Durant has a steady flow throughout most of his verses, and he doesn’t force many rhymes. That being said, I was really hoping for him to sprinkle some basketball-related punchlines throughout his verse. Maybe something along the lines of:

“Coming through the lane with my head down, I’m bargin’ in/
Try to take a charge, the situation gets hairier than Harden’s chin/

Making money for the family so you know we all rich/
You think i’m joking? I ain’t never playin’, like Cole Aldrich”

No offense to Cole of course. Keep your head up, they’ll need you one day!

The reality of the situation is that the emotion which Durant plays with is not evident in his songs, and as a result Durant finds himself in the weird middle-ground of rap music. Not good enough to gain an underground following, but not bad enough to get radio play.

It will be interesting to see if Durant releases any solo projects in the future, but until then I have one piece of advice for him. Don’t pass the mic to Russell Westbrook in a cypher, he may never pass it back…

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