The line above was one of my favorites in the song (I know I got) Sillz, by Shquille O’Neal. It was the feature track on his mid-90s hip-hop album. Of course, we all know that Houston’s Ron Artest has his own record label, as it was shaved in to the back of his head for a considerable amount of time and he actually took time off (from the NBA!) to work on his album. But while those two NBA ballers are the more recognized to mesh the game with the game, Cavaliers forward Joe Smith is apparently not too far behind.
Reportedly a main feature in Cavalier pre-game warm-ups, Joe Smith, or “Joe Beast” as the alter ego that shares the same name as his tattooed arms, has recently put out a new mixtape titled “The Beginning.” Smith has apparently been writing and recording songs over his entire career. He estimates that he has written upwards of near 500 songs over the 14-year span, chronicling his journey through the league as he has suited up for nine different teams. Whether it be on flights, team bus, or in his hotel room, Smith can frequently be seen with pen to paper.
The opening track, also titled “The Beginning” features NBA forward – and former teammate – Desmond Mason. Mason feels that Smith could actually have a career after this one comes to an end.
“People don’t take it seriously because we do what we do [basketball],” Mason said by telephone last week. “From a rapper standpoint, we’re just intruding on their space. But that’s not the case here. Joe is talented enough to really step into that space. I think he can step into that hip-hop space.”
When in Oklahoma City, Smith reportedly befriended several DJs that would play his tracks. One can bet that now Smith has come public with his other love in Cleveland that he will be getting considerable play in the near future as well. For a sampling of his music, head over to Jodie Valade’s piece over at Cleveland.com.
Chris Littman over at First Cuts has a link for those that would like to download the entire mixtape. Other cuts are also available on Smith’s MySpace page. Make sure to give it a listen as Smith proves that Shaq isn’t the only big man with Skillz.