The Seattle Sounders drafted Jimmy Ockford for his defensive skills with their second pick of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. What the team may not have known, or did and that was another specific reason for targeting him, is Ockford is a regular renaissance man -- the rare breed of capable sports player and rapper.
Ockford is one-half of the duo known as Absolute Pursuit. My first reaction to hearing that someone pursuing a sports career and also trying out the rap game is to run, hide and cry underneath my bed until the world ends. But the difference between Ockford and the rest of his sport-rapper contemporaries is that Ockford isn't just trying this out because he has a few millions dollars to burn in the studio. Ockford didn't choose the rap game -- the rap game chose him.
Normally, a post on a little sentence in a MLS bio doesn't necessarily warrant a post. But Ockford appears somewhat serious about his rap career. Just read the answers to the hard hitting questions our own Jeremiah Oshan asked him.
on unknown question I'm assuming involves rap:
It's been a while, but we'll see what happens with that. I may be a little rusty.
on staging a training camp rap battle:
If I have to, why not?
I hear he's a good rapper, so I'm sure that's something in preseason we're going to hear in Tucson at some point. We'll see how good he is. We might have to bring (Steve) Zakuani back just for a day so they can rap against each other.
Absolute Pursuit's Soundcloud page has an impressive 10 tracks. Lyrically, they are a bit juvenile and the flow often is a bit disjointed. But overall, minus the pretty average beats, Absolute Pursuit isn't that bad. Out of all of them, I think the goofy track named Party At School might be my favorite, pretty much because of the terrible ending.
But where does Absolute Pursuit stand amongst the rest of the crowded list of sport rappers? There is a big list of big personalities, so lets have a rap battle between them and the rest.
*as a slight warning, as we are dealing with rap songs it goes without saying that use your headphones when listening to these songs if you are at work.
Chris Webber aka C Webb
First up we have noted timeout enthusiast Chris Webber, whose rap alias was easy enough to translate to a late 90s style. "Gangsta, Gangsta" was the main single off his album 2 Much Drama, and was actually quite successful -- hitting #10 on the Hot Rap Singles Chart in 1999. A large part of this was because it featured Kurupt, who actually lends a shred of credibility to the track. Overall, it is tough to gauge C Webb's lyrical skills because he swears so often that Tipper Gore went on a rampage and practically negated any of his lyrics. Judging from the video, C Webb did his homework and watched a ton of MTV, because the video has all the necessary components for a successful gangsta-rap music video. I do have to give props to C Webb's album being released on the greatest label name ever for a rap album -- Humility Records. It can't get any more perfect.
Back in the year 2000, Sony Entertainment had grand dreams. They were going to release an album called Visions and capitalize on Kobe Bryant's youth and fame as a basketball player. Unfortunately for Sony, they never actually listened to Kobe rap. He performed the song "K.O.B.E." at the NBA All-Star Weekend and not to much surprise on anyone hearing it, it wasn't well received. There are plenty of things to be critical of in the song, but lets just focus on the fact that he enlisted Tyra Banks as his female accompaniment on the album. Kobe didn't actually go with someone of actual skill, he went with Tyra Banks. Needless to say, the album never surfaced and the world was spared.
In one of humanity's lowest moments, back in 1994, Shaquille O'Neal's debut album Shaq Diesel inexplicably went platinum. It isn't that Shaq was overtly bad. He is probably one of the better NBA rappers out there, but that is also like saying you are the prettiest shade of vomit brown. His rhymes and delivery come off about as flat as his free throws, but thanks to that early 90s flavor, the production on the album makes it slightly listenable.
From the perspective of the music, it is unfortunate that Allen Iverson's track "40 Bars" never saw the light of day. It was squelched by the NBA for its homophobic remarks, which staying true to his artistic integrity, Iverson refused to change. His budding rap career crashed and burned before it ever started because of that. Ignoring the homophobic remarks and listening to Iverson's track, it is clear that he has the best natural talent of all his basketball contemporaries. He starts off the track with an accusation to ghost writing on a platinum album (perhaps directed at the skillz of Shaq) and concludes with a belligerent yell where he acknowledges murdering his beats. He speaks of jewels, cars, snipers and calls people midgets with a flow that at times borders the pleasant insanity of Kool Keith. Most of all, he has gunshot.wav echoing randomly throughout the track. Real good stuff here, and it would have been interesting to see if A.I. could stretch it out over the course of a whole album.
Ken Griffey Jr.
I don't blame this track on The Kid. This song is all about Kid Sensation not knowing what he was dealing with. Ken Griffey Jr. sounds like he is reading off of a teleprompter here. I tried to google the lyrics for this song and Google just set my computer on fire instead. Focusing on Griffey though, he falls completely short across the board. His nasally voice makes me want to stuff him a garbage can. Instead of spitting fire, he is spitting a 0.25 inch Winter Storm Apocalypse warning. He says wiggity-wack in a solid throwback to Kris Kross. I think at one point he says, "taste the beat it gets dope but not crack / I mean the kind of dope that's far from wack". Ugh. Get me to the next track.
Macho Man Randy Savage
Alright here is what I am talking about. Randy Savage comes out with flying elbow drops for everyone on the title track of his glorious 2003 album Be a Man. Macho Man takes Hulk Hogan to task and drags his reputation all over the place -- all the while reveling in the glory of Randy Savage's lifestyle. He slams Hogan's pay-per-view events, his phone commercials, his matches against The Rock and his straight-to-video movies. Best of all, Savage recognizes that at its heart, rap is for everyone. He makes sure to stray away from explicit words, relying more on little used rap terms like "butt" and "chump". He is also absolutely in love with the term "punk", using is more often than anyone word in the track. As someone who has actually listened to the whole album before, I highly recommend it.
Each artist has something going for them, kind of, sort of, not really. Allen Iverson seems to have some actual talent, sort of. Shaq Diesel sold a ton of records, so I guess that counts for something. Kobe, well, we'll forget he ever did anything. Ken Griffey Jr. -- at least you are Ken Griffey Jr. Macho Man -- don't ever stop. C Webb -- please stick with Chris Webber. Absolute Pursuit definitely stands out from the pack. They are young, they are motivated and one of them is a Seattle Sounder. That last point makes them the best of all time.
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