At The Players’ Tribune, we know that music and sports have always been great teammates. That’s why we’ve created Playlist, a series where we ask our contributors to look inside their phones, cars, workout mixes and whatever else — and share some songs they’ve had in heavy rotation.
Here with this week’s Playlist is LA rap enthusiast and Redskins safety Dashon Goldson.
(Scroll to the bottom for a Spotify playlist with all of Dashon’s songs.)
1. “GOAT” – 2 Chainz
In the locker room, guys will debate a lot of stuff, but perhaps no topic more than rappers. Who’s hot. Who’s the greatest. Who’s the better rapper. We’re always going back and forth. And I’ve always got one response: 2 Chainz.
His style is different, his delivery is unmatched. But most importantly, 2 Chainz is like the thinking man’s rapper. He’s not gonna spell it out for you in his songs. With the stuff that he says, you really have to understand what he’s talking about, you have to put two and two together. Do your homework and come prepared if you’re gonna put on 2 Chainz.
I’m really into his most recent mixtape, Trapavelli Tre. Like the rest of his music, there’s a lot on there I can relate to. “GOAT” is probably my favorite track on there.
2. “Really Out Here II” – RJ
It’s one thing to listen to a rapper from afar, it’s another to really know them and know that the story they’re telling is real. And RJ is that artist for me.
He’s from LA like me, so I know from the get go I can relate to a lot of what he’s talking about. But he also happens to be friends with my younger brother, so I’ve really gotten to know him as a person and understand his music so much more.
His music really focuses on what he’s dealing with on a regular basis. Whether it’s people trying to drag him down, or women, or the neighborhood he grew up in, it’s his experiences. The place where he’s from in LA has a lot of gangs, so he talks a lot about the struggle of trying to get away from that environment, but being drawn back into it.
So to see him and then to hear him rap, you know it’s a true story. He wants to be great and he wants to be heard.
3. “Thug Cry” (f/ Lil Wayne), “Blessing in Disguise” (f/ Scarface) – Rick Ross
Listening to Rick Ross means zero disappointment. All his albums are legit, from start to finish. No letdowns. He’s probably the most consistent rapper in the game. He’s like a walking business model: Know what works for you and just stick to it. He doesn’t try to step out of his comfort zone, and we just keep coming back for more.
However, no one is perfect and Rick Ross is not without his missteps. Releasing Hood Billionaire so soon after Mastermind, in my opinion, was not a good move. Mastermind was a work of art. Like, Mona Lisa-level. You had “Thug Cry” with Lil Wayne and then “Blessing in Disguise” with Scarface. Both solid tracks that showed Rick Ross is as good as he ever was and still on top of his game.
But I don’t think he gave Mastermind time to really marinate. People were so drawn to Mastermind. I was still stuck on it — and just like that, Ricky Rozay was ready to move on.
4. “Face the World” – Nipsey Hussle
Nipsey Hussle has a pretty fitting name because he legitimately hustles. He’s an independent rapper, so he does everything himself and selling mixtapes out of his trunk is how he really got on. So I can respect that grind.
And again, like me, he’s from LA, so a lot of the stuff he’s talking about, I can relate to. I’m obviously really drawn to West Coast rap, and this guy is going to be big. You heard it here.
5. “Dance For You” – Beyonce
I feel like she’s singing to me personally.
6. “Troublesome” – 2Pac
Speaking of West Coast rap, the game was written and defined by 2Pac. Pac is huge for me. He was one of the first rappers who I realized was just real. Everything he did came from the heart.
In many ways, he was the people’s rapper. He is one of those artists that cut through every ethnicity. Everyone could respect what he was saying. He went where other rappers were afraid to go. He touched on a lot of things: poverty, — a lot of things that were going on in the world.
He wasn’t just a smart rapper, but a smart person.
But let’s not forget, 2Pac can also just get you amped up. “Troublesome” is one of my favorite songs ever and a track that I’m always playing to get in game-time mode. I get really relaxed during the week, so come Sunday, this song gets me ready and in the zone.
There was no one like 2Pac before he came up, and I’d say there hasn’t been anyone like him since.
7. “Iesha” – Another Bad Creation
Growing up, me and my two younger brothers thought we were going to be the next Another Bad Creation, the next Kris Kross, the next Immature. My mom had us set. I mean, I don’t think I can stress enough how hip we really were. We had the Gumby haircuts — you know where it’s cut and faded to the side? The whole deal.
ABC had this one song, “Iesha,” and when we were younger, we just played that song out. No regrets. No shame.
And if the ABC guys are reading, I’m still waiting for reunion. Call me. I’ll be ready.