RAPPING ATHLETES

Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram (54) takes a defensive position during an NFL game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019 in Chicago. Besides sports, Ingram has a love for Hip Hop music.
Margaret Bowles via Asociated Press

“Athletes want to be rappers, and rappers want to be athletes,” a lifelong mantra that quite a few renowned athletes, such as Melvin Ingram, have shared throughout the decades.

For National Football League (NFL) athletes, like Ingram, Hip Hop has always served not only as a passion but also a potential career.

From notable names such as Le’ Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Cole Beasley, Deion Sanders, William Perry and Andre Rison, the ever-growing list of NFL players tapping into the lane of Hip Hop has never been kept secret, according to Marie Driven, managing partner of PlaybookMG, a Brooklyn-based entertainment company.

“However, nobody has attacked it as thoroughly and tenaciously as Melvin Ingram,” said Driven, stating that Ingram grew up not only athletically inclined but music savvy.

“From writing raps on pen and paper growing up in North Carolina, Ingram always imagined that he would make it in music before sports,” she added. “However, his athletic career has led him to garner multiple pro bowl awards and regarded him as one of the best players in the NFL.

“Usually, when you’re that good in sports, you’re not as focused on music,” Driven continued. “This is where Melvin Ingram separates from his peers, as his focus is not only to be the best rapper in the NFL but in sports overall and eventually the whole industry.”

In a 2017 interview in popular media publication Complex, Ingram said that he was out to prove that he is “the best rapper in sports.”

“He is not only tackling stigmas that athletes can’t rap in the general public’s eye but also sacks the competition away with an embellished sound,” Driven said.

“People always look at it like I’m ain’t trying to hear this,” she quoted Ingram as saying. “But I would think the same thing if I was a real musician and hit me. But my music speaks for itself.”

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley (10) crosses the goal line to score a touchdown ahead of Denver Broncos cornerback Davontae Harris during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y.Associated Press / John Munson, File

“Unlike most athletes who turn into artists, he doesn’t put one side over the other,” Driven said. “Also, he values the quality of the content he curates in music.”

According to Ingram: “To me, rapping is more of a way to vent and express yourself, and some people will understand you.

“It’s a way to tell your story more than anything,” he said.

Passionate about the crafts he grew up on, Driven said Ingram is not interested in self-glory “as he humbly accomplished accolades in his football career that few players have touched.

“He applies this same mindset to music, and it has given him critical praise,” she said.

Driven said it’s the same humility and hunger he showcases in his latest single, “Painting Pictures,” in which he dedicates “heartfelt lyrics over the soddy beat to reach the souls of listeners while telling bits of his life story”.

Similar to sounds curated by Rod Wave and Kevin Gates, Driven said Ingram “dabbles into melodic rhymes schemes while narrating situations to where anybody of any background can relate to, therefore, creating a single showcasing his passion for smacking sonically pleasing and well-written music.

“Melvin Ingram is not only an award-winning athlete who makes good music but also a revolutionary icon who is taking it to the next level,” Driven said. “His aspirations are set high, and his passion will take him far.”

More from Around NYC

>