There’s a reason why most people don’t enjoy hearing NBA players rap. That reason? NBA players don’t really have a whole lot to say. They’re multimillionaires who spend their days working out in the gym and crisscrossing the country on their quests to try and win championships. So when they hit the studio and try to rap, they don’t have much substance in their music. It’s why we’re hesitant to give them a chance, even when they promise to take rapping seriously.
With that in mind, we didn’t expect a whole lot from Stephen Jackson when he re-released his song, “America Da Beautiful,” today with a guest verse from Scarface and an accompanying music video. The first version of “America Da Beautiful” was fairly solid and featured Jackson taking a series of shots at then-Clippers owner Donald Sterling. But even with a contribution from Scarface on the updated version, our hopes weren’t all that high for the song.
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That being said, Jackson—or Stak5 as he refers to himself—surprised us. From the social commentary that the song provides (it’s not just one long middle finger to Sterling anymore) to the images that Jackson chose to include in the video to the Scarface verse and video appearance, there’s some substance here that you don’t often see in rap videos today, let alone rap videos created by NBA players.
Is the video perfect? No. Could Jackson have tweaked it, made the video a little bit shorter, and improved his overall message? Yes. But we appreciate what Jackson did here and like that he came with something that we weren’t necessarily expecting from him. And it’s why we won’t be so hesitant the next time he puts out a rap project.