Wale is Grandmaster of the sports reference. No musical artist brings as much wit, depth and knowledge to the craft. For instance, in the recently released ode to the former St. Louis baseball hero, "Albert Pujols," Wale slangs this gem:
"John Rocker, Atlanta Bravest knows that I'm awesome/ Better be like Fenway out in Boston, my green is a monster/ We don't speak to informants, they just look for a way out/ They just hating on the game, they just way too Canseco."
Of course, it's completely reasonable for a St. Louis hip-hop head to boycott this song, on the same grounds Alex Rodriguez probably avoids Super Bowl halftime shows starring Madonna. Too many memories, too much pain.
Not to worry. Wale, who played running back at Robert Morris University and Virginia State University, has produced plenty more fantastic sports references for the world to appreciate. He doesn't just drop names and lazy metaphors-- none of that "I'm the greatest like Jordan" shit. He weaves the references tightly around his lyrical narrative. Sometimes he builds an entire song around a sports reference. Sometimes he peppers them so subtly as to be nearly imperceptible.
To illustrate the depth of Wale's sack of sports references, here are names from lyrics that didn't make the cut: Tommy LaSorda, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, A-Rod, Jeff Gordon, Sean Taylor, Michael Strahan, Tony Romo, Joe Louis, David Carr, Ben Roethlisberger, Mars Blackmon, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Eric Mangini, Randy Moss, Adam "Pac Man" Jones, JaMarcus Russell, Troy Aikman, Bo Jackson, Dikimbe Mutumbo, Willie Beamon, Sacramento Kings, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Tony Dungy, and so on.
Here's the list of his 25 best, along with some honorable mentions:
"Dark liquor 'til we're busted/ 'Til I get a buzz like that nigga Chris Mullen."
("Chillin'," Attention Deficit)
"Without effort, this is something you ain't fooling with/ Young Ben Gordon, I play through all the bull shit."
("Night Life," Back to the Feature)
"What' you sippin' on? It's no problem/ Black and gold bottles like I'm pro-New Orleans/ But shawty I'm far from a Saint."
("Pretty Girls," Attention Deficit)
"And she swallows everything like Kirby, not Puckett/ but I hit it then I duck a bitch."
(Triumph, Attention Deficit)
"Standard stances, staying on the track like Gatlin/ Prior to that mad quick fast too."
(The Freestyle, The Mixtape About Nothing)
"Women be here, they be jockin'/ And they be hawkin', I call them hoes Josh Smith."
("Pot of Gold," Back to the Feature)
"I'm at Dulles with luggage, flying straight to the money/ You don't understand my slang, my colloquial's lovely/ So they quote me and love me like I'm a poet or something/ Ho, I kick it, I punt it like Reggie Roby or something."
"You niggas mad 'cause you not me/ I remain a Giant, you are Jeremy Shockey."
("Chillin'," Attention Deficit)
"Fresh out the airport, fresh out the chair, with the clippers/ Like Shaun Living, thinking/ Hm, I'm tryna get it like Shawn get it."
("Beautiful Bliss," Attention Deficit)
"And a nigga really don't need no slut/ Unless I need a b.j. like Bogut."
("O Let's Do It Freestyle")
"The revolution has arrived/ Luchador like I been masked but still remain fly/ Thus, flyer than a wreslter, you don't wanna mess with young Rey Mysterio."
(The Cliche- Remix, The Mixtape About Nothing)
"Wale you so arrogant/ Rozay told me, 'break a leg,' and wonder why I Kerrigan."
("F ck You," Eleven One Eleven)
"I can change a broad's life in about an hour/ I turn Ducks into Bucks, Luke Ridnour."
("The Black N Gold," More About Nothing)
"I kick it, I kick it like Olindo/ I wear my Nike boots and Gucci, I don't wear no Timbo."
("TV In The Radio," Attention Deficit)
"Still high two-steppin' it/ Do it for the capital Wale Overchkin/ SB, Hundreds, yes dear, I'm on that venison/ More or less Lindros, Flyer than the rest of 'em."
("The Heavy Song," The Mixtape About Nothing)
25) "I never back-up, like Cleo Lemon, on myself/ Lemonade connoisseur, life's lemon coming out."
("The Artistic Integrity," The Mixtape About Nothing)
24) "Don't know what y'all tribe called, but I be spittin' Phife, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Q-Tip I'm tryna follow/ I be so Ivan Drago, this beat gon' be Apollo." ("Pick Six," Eleven One Eleven)
23) "Smart nigga, brain power, this is work, yo/ I forever Pernell a nigga with my Whitaker."
("The Freestyle," The Mixtape About Nothing)
22) "So while the world goes Drake crazy/ I'm Danny Granger, I'm just working with a different pacer/ Speed up, patience, pleased 'cause/ Slow and steady wins this race, fuck leading."
(New Soul, Back to the Feature)
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