This guest-post is part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page. Also, please note that the opinions and statements of the writer are not necessarily those of the Baseball Continuum or it’s webmaster.
As someone who loves both hip-hop and baseball, it’s a daily disappointment that these two lanes of my life don’t intersect more often.
It happened recently, when Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman made his rhyming debut, dropping a verse on Mike Stud’s “These Days” remix from his new album of the same name. There’s more here than just the same ol’ story of an athlete thinking he can spit a few bars. Stud is the nom de rap of Mike Seander, who was a college teammate of Stroman’s at Duke University.
After Duke, Stroman went on to a successful MLB career and Stud became a notable figure in the Drake-influenced frat-rap scene. So more than baseball players trying to get into rap, this was two friends reuniting for fun. Nonetheless, Stroman was surprisingly good. Better, in fact, than you’d think.
Using Stroman as a jumping off point, this seems like a timely opportunity to talk about other baseball-rap crossovers. Please enjoy this Abridged Version of the History of Baseball Players Rapping.
1. DEION SANDERS
When Prime Time jumped into the rap game, no one took it all that serious. He was hanging with MC Hammer and had already established himself as a profession-juggler. So, rapping, why not? He released an entire album in 1994, aptly titled “Prime Time” that people will mostly remember for the somewhat popular song “Must Be the Money.” It wasn’t good, but it was at least ahead of its time in the sense that modern day hip-hop also values people who rap about being rich even if they have no actual talent.
Notable lyric: “Hey, my snakeskin shoes gonna change into gators / Hey, my library cards gonna change into credit cards
/ You know what I’m sayin?”
2. KEN GRIFFEY JR.
Somehow, The Kid’s foray into rap doesn’t get nearly enough attention. In 1992, Seattle rapper Kid Sensation got Griffey to jump on a track called “The Way I Swing.” How that happened? Emoji shrug. History doesn’t remember any of this too well, but you know what? The beat to the song isn’t bad. Griffey isn’t a Hall of Famer spitter, but this is at least somewhat respectable.
Notable lyric: “Ken Griffey is a swinger, not a singer / A def rhyme bringer / A home-run hitter but I’m not a dope slinger.”
3. COCO CRISP
As part of the 2005 album, “Oh Say, Can You Sing,” veteran outfielder Coco Crisp showed his flows on an original song called “We Got That Thing.” This might be baseball’s version of Cedric Ceballos rapping on that NBA rap CD where you’re like, “Huh? This guy is rapping and … he’s not bad.” It’s bouncy and interesting and actually sounds good more than 10 years later. Well done, Coco.
Notable lyric: “That chain you wear is dental floss to me.”
4. JOSE REYES
It’s a surprise we don’t hear more Spanish-language rap coming from Latin baseball players. We do get it from Jose Reyes, though. His history in rap is more prolific than most people here, as he’s appeared on a number of different songs, usually as an offseason hobby. It’s hard to judge his lyrics, as a non-Spanish speaker, but his flow doesn’t sound bad.
Notable lyric (translated): “There are no friends / A friend is a dollar in my pocket / As soon as you turn your back your friends want to stab you in the back.”
5. TREVOR BAUER
The now-Indians pitcher made headlines a few years ago for his hobby rap tracks. There was even one that was perceived as a diss to former D-backs teammate Miguel Montero. That would be a baseball first. Bauer isn’t very good. Even he admits that. And these days, he seems more focused on pitching than rapping, but he at least has proven he can be his team’s hip-hopping cheerleader.
Notable lyric: “So what do y’all know bout Swisher and his swag / Smokin pitchers like cigars / Are you picturing that?”
6. MARCUS STROMAN
This brings us back to Stroman who, compared to Bauer, is easily the best rapping pitcher in the game. He doesn’t plan to rap a bunch — he’d much rather lead the Jays back to the postseason — but Stroman did sound at ease on his Mike Stud cameo.
Notable lyric:“Yeah, my vision is to get it while I’m living / I’ll keep winning / Legendary comeback, ACL incision”
This guest-post has been part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page. Also, please note that the opinions and statements of the writer were not necessarily those of the Baseball Continuum or it’s webmaster.