Does Lonzo’s rap game match his basketball game: Born 2 Ball comprehensive review


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By Zach Horowitz ’19

 On Thursday Feb. 15, the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Staples Center. Lakers Rookie point guard (PG), Lonzo Ball was sidelined with a knee injury, but his stat line wasn’t totally empty. Ball temporarily traded in the court for a studio, releasing his debut album, “Born 2 Ball.”  

The first song of the album, titled “Grind Mode” starts off with a choppy beat, most likely sampled from the plucking of an electric guitar. The song, presumably meant to represent Ball’s work ethic, features his high school classmate and teammate, DC the Don. During the chorus, Ball raps, “They know (grind mode)/Move fast/Too slow/Unload (grind mode).” As I listened to the song, I could not put my finger on what it meant, besides the fact that he was whispering “grind mode” every 8 beats. The song could be effective pre-basketball game, other than that, it is pretty meaningless.  At this point in the album, I had yet to see talent.

The next song, titled “Get off,” starts with a piano riff, which made me optimistic at first. Around one minute into the song, Ball raps, “ooh, ooh/ Z-O get off get off.”  “Get off,” happens to have the star next to the title on Apple Music which symbolizes that it is one of the most listened to songs on the album. The song is just as meaningless as the previous, but once again, has the potential of hyping up a locker room.  

A few months prior to the release of his album, as he began his NBA career in Los Angeles, Ball and his family’s apparel company, and overall brand, “Big Baller Brand”, released the ZO2, a basketball shoe being sold for the price of $495. On Born 2 Ball, Balls raps about the shoe in the song,  ‘ZO2.’ The song is repetitive, but at least it has meaning. Ball raps about the effects of his shoes on his basketball game, obviously praising them.  He raps, “What you rockin’?/ZO2s I’m blowin’ past in ZO2s/You know I got it, ZO2/Pay respect and pay your dues.” While listening to this song, I had a realization. It had some sort of meaning.

The most important song on the album comes towards the very end. It’s titled, “Lavar”, and it was this song, that made me begin to respect Ball, and his rap aspirations. Anyone who knows Lonzo Ball also knows his father, Lavar. Lavar Ball is a character, who never fails to entertain, and most importantly, brags about his three sons on any sports talk show that will take him. His personality is the exact opposite of Lonzo Ball’s. Lonzo Ball is quiet, humble and shows his talent on the court. On the other hand, Lavar Ball is loud, obnoxious and claims that he would beat Michael Jordan in 1-on-1 basketball. However, in the song “Lavar”, Ball raps about how his father is simply misunderstood. Ball raps about the media criticising Lavar to generate views and likes, “Y’all can hate him, that’s my pops though/ First one that’s there for me once it got cold /Listen to the story, not just how it’s told /Yellin’ he the devil, but yet you the one who sold your soul.” This song has meaning, and has teased at a glimmer of talent in Ball’s rap game.

Overall, I’m giving “Born 2 Ball” a 6/10. Individually, I’m giving “Lavar,” a 8/10. I think for the most part Ball’s lyrics are meaningless, but the producers of the album did a good job with creating beats.

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