Rapletes On The Rise: Damian Lillard & Le’Veon Bell
Since the dawn of rap, athletes have felt the magnetic pull toward the microphone. Like moth to flame, it is instinctual. It is eternal. In 2016, the hype continues to build for two up and coming rapletes. Do they have what it takes to rise to the top Bacon Sports Raplete Rankings? Only time will tell.
Le’Veon Bell aka JUICE
Much like his running style, Le’Veon Bell’s rap flow remains “patient” as his auto-tuned voice warbles over familiar beats on the newly released album titled The Interview. The mixtape is an interesting debut, but Bell’s performance in the booth lacks the excitement and awe that his performance on the field typically elicits. If you are going to go by the moniker Juice, you better be absolutely killing it, and I mean slashing up the track and murdering it twice over.
Even though murder is not the case, the quality of the product was sufficient enough to garner attention from Steelers super fan Snoop Dogg. The “Dogfather” collaborated with the All-Pro on a track that’s release is imminent. As a Steelers fan, I can’t help but fear that recording session will find Bell facing the same fate as teammate Martavis Bryant.
Perhaps Snoop acted as a hip-hop Mike Tomlin and brought out the best in Juice, because Bell’s latest single is by far his most lyrically agile. It takes a full speed run at all the “haters” in Bell’s life, including Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith. The track is titled Rubberbandz. To all the Yinzers, that is the word civilized people use for “gumbands.”
As a comic book fan, I do like how Juice is not afraid of a Marvel and DC crossover when composing his standout lyric from the song Gotham.
Rapper Comparison: Future
Best Lyric: Man, I’m Batman and you boys is Robin/But I’m gettin’ Green just like a Goblin
Damian Lillard aka DAME DOLLA
Damian Lillard’s stock is rising both on the court and on the mic. He might not have the mainstream appeal to claim Shaq Diesel’s raplete thrown, but his lyrical skills can compete with rapletes of any era.
Our rapdar blipped when he released his first single Soldier of the Game in 2015 under the artist name of Dame Dolla. That blip became a full-fledged siren when his freestyle from Sway in the Morning went viral. In truth, it clearly wasn’t a “freestyle,” but that made it even more impressive. Dame dropped knowledge in carefully crafted lines over the Jay-Z’s Dead Presidents beat. His lyrics actually have a level of intellect and craftiness behind them that sets them apart from most raplete drivel.
In 2016, Dame Dolla has released the fiery track They Sleep and the socially conscious track Bigger Than Us, both worthy of a listen. He remains one to watch as he blazes his trail as an emcee and an all-star point guard.
Rapper Comparison: Lupe Fiasco
Best Lyric: His entire verse from Sway in the Morning. Read the lyrics on Genius here.
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