In a 2014 interview with ESPN, Lil Wayne famously said, “Athletes wanna be rappers, rappers wanna be athletes.” That sentiment has especially reigned true in recent years in hip-hop, as Brooklyn Nets basketball phenom Kevin Durant is the latest athlete to dip his toes into the creative process of a rap album.
On Oct. 18, Young Stoner Life rapper T-Shyne announced on his Instagram that Durant would be the executive producer for his upcoming album, which he said will arrive soon. The post was accompanied by a couple pictures of the duo working together in the studio.
T-Shyne has not released an album since his debut The Immaculate in 2018, but his recent collaborations have boosted his popularity substantially.
Not only was he featured on YSL boss Young Thug‘s album Punk last week on “Stressed,” but he landed on two tracks from YSL’s April compilation album Slime Language 2. T-Shyne was featured on tracks “Warrior” with Big Sean and Lil Keed, as well as “That Go!” with Young Thug and Meek Mill — which was released before the project as a promotional single.
There is already precedence for basketball players helping to make albums with rappers, as Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is currently in the process of curating his Culture Jam album, expected to release on Oct. 22, with potent features from NLE Choppa, Lil Uzi Vert, Gunna, Polo G and more.
Also in 2019, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was the A&R for 2Chainz‘s fifth studio album Rap or Go to the League.
While Kevin Durant may be in unfamiliar territory off the court, he looks to build off other examples set by his NBA peers — dabbling into the careful and charismatic production of rap albums.