Plenty of basketball players have crossed into the rap game when they have some free time. While not everyone is as accomplished on the mic as Damian Lillard, using music as a form of expression and a hobby pursue has piqued the interests of a number of dudes in the NBA.
This list includes LeBron James and Kevin Durant, who famously teamed up to record a track earlier this decade. The catch: No one has ever, you know, released the song in full, save for a 30-second clip that got posted on the internet last year.
But because nothing is able to stay hidden for too long in the lives of famous people in 2018, the track has finally been released. It’s lived on the Soundcloud account of Ohio-based producer Franky Wahoo for the last week, and it’s not bad. Here it is, if you’d like to listen to the full thing.
It’s not exactly “Sicko Mode” or anything like that, but it’s still pretty solid, and even includes a shoutout to Jamaal Tinsley, which should be required for every song that drops from now until the end of time. On Friday, Franky Wahoo sat down with Noisey to discuss the track, how it came to be, and why it’s hitting the internet now. Wahoo says that James’ agent, Rich Paul, even floated the idea of using it in some capacity with NBA 2K19, but that never came to be.
There was nothing I could do, a lot of celebrities retweeted it, comedians retweeted it, Ellen retweeted it. So I was like, I can’t feel bad now. It kept going viral and Paul finally called back saying “yeah don’t leak it we kinda wanna do something with” it because there’s a 2K game coming out [with LeBron on it] and there are different things we could implement this in without actually putting the track out. So they may have put it in a 2K commercial as background music but they didn’t want the song to be downloadable or streamable.
So for two years, they went back and forth with me. They’d come up with an angle like “oh we’re gonna try to do it on this blase skit” and weeks of email with them and I’m like “what the hell man.” Then I’d see Cleveland DJs playing it at clubs. So I talk with my manager and he’s like “there’s no paperwork on this that they bought this off you or anything.” The big thing was like one of the friends [of LeBron] that’s a DJ here, we were scared that they were gonna publish [the remake] without crediting me, which could easily happen.
It would have been something else to fire up NBA 2K19 and have the first thing you hear be a long-lost song recorded by Thunder forward Kevin Durant and Heat forward LeBron James while they had some time to kill at the start of the decade, but instead, we’ll just settle for it existing on a Soundcloud page.