Lissssssst By Brian J. Barr
Successful athletes are like successful actors--they aren't happy until they make at least one painfully unlistenable album. Given the track>"/>
Lissssssst By Brian J. Barr
Lissssssst By Brian J. Barr
Successful athletes are like successful actors--they aren't happy until they make at least one painfully unlistenable album. Given the track record of such fence-hopping, you'd think somebody would advise them to stick with what they're good at. But no.
While NBA stars take the cake for the worst forays into hip-hop (Shaquille O'Neal being the reigning champ with four--yeah, FOUR--albums to his name), the NFL has been known to harbor its share of wannabe song-and-dance men. Others were forced into singing as a team, with embarrassing results.
So, with NFL playoff fever in full swing (and your beloved Seahawks managing to be involved . . . somehow), we at Seattle Weekly's music department decided to examine what happens when great footballers step to the microphone.
Chicago Bears: "Super Bowl Shuffle" (Above)
Recorded in 1985, this pop-rap tune was meant to energize fans as the Bears headed to the playoffs. It worked, selling a half-million units and charting in Billboard's top 50. They went on to win their first Super Bowl that year, which is amazing considering their performance here.
With Walter Payton and Jim McMahon adopting the rap monikers "Sweetness" and "Punky QB," respectively, the team sounds about as menacing as a Saturday-morning cartoon villain. Willie Gault boasts that he's "smooth as a chocolate swirl," while Otis Wilson's greatest threat is that he's "Mama's boy Otis." Steve Fuller deserves a special nod for his poetic greatness: "I'm not here to feathers ruffle/I'm just here to do the Super Bowl Shuffle."
Deion Sanders: "Must Be the Money"
In 1995, Deion Sanders became the only athlete to play in a World Series and Super Bowl. Thus the timing was ripe for Neon Deion to step to the mike for a "haters gonna hate" single. "Must Be the Money" contains all the money-changes-shit lyrics Jay-Z would later perfect. "Diamond Rolex, with 'gators on my feet/I got two pair for every day of the week," raps Sanders. But ol' PrimeTime lacks the hustler's flow to pull off the kind of lyrics that make you wanna roll with him.
Make no mistake, Deion was the shit in '95, but his rapping was about as lackluster and convincing as a Backstreet Boy's--you can't tell if you're supposed to be proud of him or sympathetic. And strutting around in your video shirtless under a maroon sport jacket alongside hot babes doesn't help matters.
Los Angeles Rams: "Let's Ram It"
Unfortunately, the "Super Bowl Shuffle" launched an epidemic of bad raps from NFL teams throughout the '80s. But none packed a bigger what-the-fuck factor than a dance single from the '86 Rams, "Let's Ram It." As the title suggests, the Rams are singing about how good they are at "ramming it." This might be OK if 1) they were a gay disco group, or 2) at some point in the song they sang about "ramming" something specific (like, say, the helmets of their opponents!). Instead we get a bearded man in yellow tights swiveling his hips, rapping, "I like it to ram it as you can see/No one likes to ram it more than me." If that weren't enough, we also get a mustachioed man in tights boasting that he "can ram it all day and ram it all night." It's open for interpretation . . . not to mention ridicule.
Cincinnati Bengals: "Fear Da Tigers"
Apparently, the Bengals marketing team didn't get the memo that NFL teams had pretty much stopped releasing these songs more than a decade prior. For this 2005 effort, the Bungles recruited Cincinnati-born funk legend Bootsy Collins. On paper it seems like a recipe for greatness. But alas, it's about as disappointing as the Bengals themselves, only worse because Bootsy should know better.
For such a pioneering musician, Bootsy leads the team through a song that makes everyone involved sound clueless and out-of-touch with "modern music." It sounds every bit like the aforementioned NFL fight raps of the 80s--only with a little more bass and buoyant production. It is possible Bootsy was aiming for irony (after all, it incorporates the '80s Bengals fan chant "Who Dey?"), but if so, he fully missed the mark. Aside from a numbingly repetitive beat and uninteresting lyrics (y'know . . . players rapping about how unstoppable they are), the director thought it would be a good idea for the players to dance with inflatable carrots. Furthermore, they can't even boast with accuracy: "We're ready to rumble, cause we're king of the jungle." Umm . . . guys? Bengals are tigers, not lions.
Here's the problem: Pittsburgh Steelers legend Terry Bradshaw can sing. With a tender voice somewhere between Johnny Mathis and Glen Campbell, Bradshaw recorded an album of country covers--1976's I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry--that really ain't too terrible. Twenty years later, however, he was a three-time divorcee prone to anxiety attacks and frequent sobbing. Hate to knock a guy down on his luck, but recording an Xmas album for kids during this period wasn't the wisest move.
With schmaltzy backing, Bradshaw truly sounds disturbed, like a lonely old man in a cruel world seeking solace in the open-heartedness of children. Plus, bald middle-aged men should never, ever sing "All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)". Unless, of course, you are Jack Lambert.