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Looking at some of the Lakers' memorable rap performances

June 16, 2011 |  1:59 pm

Had he not been gunned down in Las Vegas, rapper Tupac Shakur would've turned 40 today.

Many on the Lakers, and athletes from all sports, frequently listen to his songs during workouts and while sitting by their lockers. In the Lakers' case, many of them have plenty of connections to the hip-hop community. Kobe Bryant often shakes hands with Jay-Z anytime he sees him at an NBA game. Ron Artest can often be seen chatting up the likes of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Interscope's Jimmy Iovine courtside at Staples Center. And plenty of the Lakers, including Artest, Matt Barnes and Shannon Brown, appeared in music videos. That ranges from the three kicking it with Snoop Dogg and Game for the "Purp & Yellow" video, as well as Brown appearing on "Love All Over Me."

But there have been a few memorable Laker rap singles, not always for the better. Below the jump are four  of them that stand out.

1. Ron Artest's "Champion"

Memorable lyric: "I love the fourth quarter; I love the ninth inning/I love Game 7; bring on the competition/'Cause in my heart, can't nobody do it better/can't slow me down, won't stop me never."

Take: The song itself is actually pretty decent. Dr. Dre's production brought the best out of Artest and many in the hip-hop community, including Master P and Romeo, immediately praised it.

The actual story behind the song proves more riveting. Artest first recorded it  immediately after signing with the Lakers in the 2009 off-season, but decided to hold off on the song since he hadn't actually won a ring. After his memorable Game 7 performance of the 2010 NBA Finals, Artest visited Dre, and finalized the song in the early hours of the morning. Its immediate release came at the height of Artest's popularity among Laker fans.

2. Shaquille O'Neal's "Can't Stop the Reign"

Memorable lyric: "You can't stop it, block it, when I drop it/ anytime I go rhyme for rhyme on a topic/You ain't even fit to step in Shaq's arena/I look into your mind and I see your shook demeanor"

Take: What, you thought I'd feature Shaq's obscenity-laced freestyle ripping Kobe Bryant after the Lakers lost in the 2008 NBA Finals? That one doesn't pass the censors with The Times and it was far from any lyrical poetry. No one's ever going to tout Shaq's five rap albums as actually good, even if his first CD, "Shaq Diesel" earned platinum status. His songs were often generic and cheesy. But this one single in particular passes the test because it features Notorious B.I.G. on it.

3. Kobe Bryant's "K.O.B.E"

Memorable lyric: "Real love last, now do you love me or my cash?/My name, fame, drop top, Benz or the wooden dash?/You know my stash, from Georgie cash platinum, U.S. express, no paper cash/Spend it all now, or kiss to be rich cash Hash, stocks and bonds, laugh when they crash"

Take: The only reason the above lyric is memorable is because it's horribly bad. The lack of flow and rhyming "cash" four separate times are reasons enough Laker fans are thankful Bryant never ventured his hip-hop interests past this song. Bryant has no need to fret, however. He's pretty good at his day job.

4. Lakers' "Just Say No to Drugs

Memorable lyric: "I'm Kareem, I'm the captain of the team/I don't need drugs, I got a higher theme/My sky hooks make the team look good/But there's a hook we gotta shake from the neighborhood."

Take: Ridiculously awful, funny and entertaining at the same time. Nothing is more amusing than seeing the 1987 Lakers perform a Sesame Street-type song with offbeat and cheesy lyrics.

RELATED:

Ron Artest striving to maintain balance with devotion to basketball and rap music

Ron Artest releases 'Go Loco' music video

Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks debate 2Pac versus Notorious B.I.G.

-- Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com


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