Basketball players trying to rap has a sordid history since the genre hit the mainstream back in the 80s. Sure, you had Shaquille O’Neal and now Damian Lillard with major releases, but then you had an entire CD back in the 90s with a whole group of basketball players rapping badly. It seems like for every basketball player who can actually rap, there’s five more who ruin it for everyone else.
Enter Marvin Bagley III, the freshman phenom who was so cold in high school that he reclassified because he was tired of dominating inferior competition. Okay, that’s not entirely accurate, but instead of thinking about high school proms, Bagley is thinking about his freshman year for the Duke Blue Devils and their newly minted No. 1 preseason ranking.
Something Bagley III is also dominating is the classic Faboulous and Just Blaze beat “Breathe.”
To be fair, using a Just Blaze beat to announce your introduction into the rap game kind of feels like cheating. Just Blaze beats are generally used for the Drakes, Jay-Zs and Rick Rosses of the world, but Bagley shows that he’s no slouch on the mic on a classic track.
Bagley flows effortlessly over the track as he rhymes the typical braggadocio of not being cocky but confident in himself. The 19-year-old himself notes on the track that he’s been “holding this in me for a long time,” which makes listeners wonder when the next freestyle is coming.
Regardless, the world must feel like one big oyster for the Duke freshman, especially when the start of college basketball season is so close. If Bagley balls out like expected, there may a legitimate question whether he’s a better rapper or ball player.