MartysaurusRex and the history of athletes in the booth

The average NFL fan might know who Martellus Bennett is. The average hip-hop fan definitely does not know who Martellus Bennett is, but that might be changing.

Several days ago, Bennett released a mixtape under the alias “MartysaurusRex”. Year of the Orange Dinosaur is a collection of 17 tracks that Bennett explains on his soundcloud account as, “A collection of songs that I’ve done over the years. I just felt like sharing ’em with the world as I celebrate my creative freedom.” Bennett doesn’t want to be known as a rapper per se, but as an artist.

If I wrote for Rolling Stone I might be lenient and give Marty one out of five stars. However, I write for isportsweb, and I think it is awesome when players share parts of their creativity and life, outside the sidelines. The lyrical prowess Bennett possesses is far from crafted but the creativity is definitely apparent. Athletes are more than just a jersey number, and more than a bench player on your fantasy team. Many athletes have tried their hand at everything from fashion (insert any NBA player’s name here),to co-owning a NASCAR team (Randy Moss), to owning real estate (Antoine Walker…unsuccessfully). Athletes have a long history of trying to flex in the booth.

Chicago Bears

Shaq Diesel

Shaquille O’Neal is still the greatest of all time: his first album, “Shaq Diesel,” reached 25 on Billboard Top 100 and a year later it went platinum. Few artists ever reach that echelon of success, and he is just a basketball player. No athlete has been able to duplicate the swagger and charisma that Shaq portrayed through his raps but then again, O’Neal is the ultimate entertainer.

Lately, Iman Shumpert, AKA 2wo 1ne, of the New York Knicks can call the top spot his. His mixtape, Th3 #Post90s was full of creative lines like, “Speak direct when talking to me because my time is minimal / Won’t deal with the bulls***, y’all be on your Thibodeau”.

He definitely has a career waiting for him after he leaves the court. Ron Artest (when he was still Ron Artest) released the song “Champions” after winning the 2010 NBA finals, amassing over one million views on Youtube.

Chris Webber produced “Surviving the Times” for Nas, one of the best emcee’s of all time. Interestingly enough, the song ended up making Nas’s Greatest Hits album.

Deion Sanders was successful: his album Prime Time did well enough commercially to put him in second place behind Shaq in sales.

Kobe and Allen Iverson both recorded unreleased albums that you can dig for on the Internet. We as fans should continue to push for athletes to follow their dreams in anything, especially art or music. If it turns out well, we’ll all enjoy it. If it turns out bad, it gives me something to write about. Win-win.

They might not succeed, but they might not fail, and around these parts I give A’s for trying. Hopefully MartysaurusRex continues to give us something to pay attention to, both on and off the field.