At The Players’ Tribune, we know that music and sports have always been great teammates. That’s why we’re introducing Playlist, a new series where we ask our contributors to look inside their phones, cars, workout mixes and whatever else — and share 10 songs they’ve had in heavy rotation.
Kicking things off with Playlist #1 is NBA forward (and rap artist) Brandon Bass.
(Scroll to the bottom for a Spotify playlist with all of Brandon’s songs.)
1. “Black Heaven,” Lil Boosie
Lil Boosie is from Baton Rouge, my hometown, so I’ve been a fan since he first came out, back when I was in high school. He is reality rap. He tells his stories authentically. You feel like you’re family a little bit — like you really know him — which you don’t get from most artists.
2. “Dead Presidents II,” Jay Z
The first Jay Z album I bought was Kingdom Come — a weird introduction to Jay. I remember arguing about it with Chris Paul during my rookie season in New Orleans. I used to think Boosie was the best rapper. Chris loved Jay Z. So I’m on the team plane, talking about Boosie, and everyone else is talking about Jay Z. And I’m like, “Yeah man, he aight” — because other than Kingdom Come I’d never listened to him. But then I got Reasonable Doubt and it was like, “Oh, now I see what everyone’s talking about.” That’s still my favorite Jay album.
3. “Love Yourz,” J. Cole
J. Cole’s 2014 Forrest Hills Drive is the album of the year so far. The production is crazy. Lyrically, it’s great. I like his vibe and I feel like the beats he raps on, I could rap on.
4. “You and the 6,” Drake
Drake’s the best out. To me he never had a bad verse. He’s on a run like Wayne was on before he dropped Tha Carter III. Killing everything.
5. “Dear Mama,” 2Pac
If you from the South, you’re listening to more 2Pac than Biggie.
6. “Nuthin’ but a G Thang,” Dr. Dre
This was the first song I learned to rap. I was seven years old and I memorized it. The one word that comes to mind is: smooth. I think that’s why the South likes West Coast music so much. With East Coast music, their lyrics are crazy, but their style of beats — we couldn’t get with that down south. One time I actually ran into Jadakiss and I told him, “You’ve gotta get on some down South beats, man.”
7. “Magic,” Coldplay
I like Coldplay. This is one of my favorite songs right now. You surprised? Their new album is cool and I even wrote my own verse to that song.
8. “King Kunta,” Kendrick Lamar
What Kendrick put out this year is what 2Pac would have put out if he was living right now. Just how deep it is, how conscious, how funky. It feels like art.
9. “Groove With You,” The Isley Brothers
Laid-back music. I can get with any genre, as long as it’s got a laid-back tempo to it.
10. “Bout It Bout It,” Master P
Man, growing up I was a big Master P fan. My older cousin used to say, “Brandon, go get me this new Master P CD.” This is when I was about 12. And I’d ride my bike to the record shop, and when I got back we’d listen to the whole Master P CD, front to back. Master P was the first person who made me think I could make it out the hood. He was rapping; he played basketball. I was rapping; I played basketball. I felt like, if he can make it I can make it.