The cultural connection between basketball and hip-hop is undeniable, and since the 90’s the NBA has seen numerous players attempt to bring their superhuman talents from the court to the studio. There have been players that just stepped into the booth a few times like Kobe Bryant, Lance Stephenson, Chris Webber, Tony Parker, Josh Smith, or Steve Francis who have seen limited success; the list goes on and on. Then there are some legends you may not have known had some real skills when it comes to rap. Lou Williams can do more than hold his own on the microphone, and the one-and-only Allen Iverson, who went by Jewelz during his brief rap career, has a track named 40 Bars that might just impress you.
But it is Shaquille O’Neal himself who put out three full rap albums over 25 years ago and laid the blueprint for the NBA players we see today that are trying to have real hip-hop careers. Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers, Lonzo Ball of the New Orleans Pelicans, Iman Shumpert of the Houston Rockets, and an emerging Marvin Bagley III of the Sacramento Kings are all making their presence felt in the music industry.
Image via CBS
Bagley goes by MB3FIVE, and you may have recently discovered his musical abilities after his quick back-and-forth with Dame D.O.L.L.A. this summer. The two exchanged two tracks each within 24 hours and actually took the spotlight away from the hectic 2019 rendition of free agency. Regardless of who you think won the battle, it’s clear that the two are at the top of the league’s rap game and that Marvin Bagley III is no joke.
Despite just a recent break onto the rap scene after a successful NBA rookie season, Bagley is no rookie to the rap game. He first put out songs on Soundcloud back when he was in High School, and on the first listen one can tell that his musical potential and message were special. The Sacramento Kings’ star has been dropping more and more music throughout the past year, including multiple singles, remixes, and an EP, but all of it was leading up to his debut album that dropped Thursday.
The album, Big Jreams., has 14 songs and spans just over 40 minutes with features from Iman Shumpert, Famous Los, and a few other rising artists. It’s available for listening on all major streaming platforms.
I spoke with Marvin after the album was released and asked him a few questions regarding his music, his message, and his plans for the future. Oh, and for those of you wondering if he misspelled dreams, he didn’t. See the interview below to find out what Big Jreams. means to him.
Roman: First off, the album is fire, I have to get that out of the way.
Marvin: I appreciate you, my guy.
Roman: I just wanted to ask a couple of questions. How long did you work on the album and how does it feel to finally release it to the public?
Marvin: I’ve been working on the album for a minute now. I was working on it all last summer, parts of this summer, and throughout the year. You know, I’ve put a lot of work into it when I had free time. It was something I wanted to be good and something I wanted people to like because I definitely put a lot of time into it.
Roman: What does ‘JREAM’ mean to you and what do you think it can mean to the people that are listening?
Marvin: ‘JREAM’ stands for “Jesus Rules Everything Around Me”. That means a lot to me. You know you grow up and you see a lot of stuff, you’re around a lot of stuff, you’re exposed to a lot of stuff and sometimes you can forget who you are and where you came from. You can lose track of that. For me, “Jesus Rules Everything Around Me” keeps me grinding, knowing where I came from, knowing my background and my roots growing up. That’s what it means to me and I want it to mean the same thing for other people, whether it’s adults, kids, boys, girls or whoever. Knowing yourself, being comfortable in your own skin, and not having to change for nobody. It’s just being who you are and knowing your values and your morals are not changing for nobody.
Roman: How motivated are you to keep putting out music and keep getting your message out to the people?
Marvin: I’m definitely motivated to continue to make music and hopefully be known as an artist and not so much as a basketball player who raps and makes music. I kind of want to separate the two so whenever they hear my music, they see me as the artist making good music for the public and for the people who might be going through something, have a story to tell, or can relate to my story. This is just the beginning. This is my first album, I’m excited about it and I hope it’s successful. I’m just going to keep going through life, keep experiencing stuff, keep putting it in songs and keep sending these messages out to these people who might need them.
Roman: We all know what happened this summer, but we also know that it’s all love, so do you think we’re ever going to get Dame D.O.L.L.A. & MB3FIVE on the same track?
Marvin: You know, music is music. I’m willing to make songs with anybody who makes quality music, who has a story to tell, and who has a message just like me. So yeah, I’m still open-minded about that and if it happens, it happens and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t, but that would be cool.
Roman: To talk about basketball for a second, how ready are you for year two with the situation you guys have going on in Sacramento? We know there is new coaches and players and we all know you’re going to be solid. The West is competitive, but I know you’ve been putting in that work and you’re up for a great year. How ready are you for that?
Marvin: I’m definitely excited about this upcoming season and year two. It’s going to be a lot different from year one in my opinion with a lot of new staff on board. We have a lot going on, with the coaches, the new players coming in, and the young talent we have. I’m definitely excited about moving forward and trying to make that jump for the playoffs and just competing to get better every game. It’s going to be an exciting year and I can’t wait.
Image via CBS
The biggest take away from all of this is that Bagley is creating his self-image as an artist and a basketball player. He respects those that approach their craft with dedication and a will to share their story with the world. Bagley knows that basketball has created a platform that is historically challenging to achieve for individuals that share his background, so he is using that platform to promote his virtues while never changing who he has always been inside. Those morals are heavily reflected in his art. Between the powerful lyricism and motivational dialogue, the album radiates a spiritually uplifting and inspirational vibe.
As for the basketball side of things, Marvin was a member of the All-NBA Rookie 1st Team last season and showed flashes of greatness with those rookie minutes. The power forward averaged 14.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game in just 25 minutes a game off the bench, not to mention shooting 31% from three, for the Kings. In the four games he started, he averaged 20.0 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, which is a limited sample size, I know, but it’s evident that the more he plays, the better he plays.
With Luke Walton coming in as the head coach, the opportunity for Bagley to play and produce at a higher level is looking really good. Walton’s ride with the Lakers was unsuccessful in terms of winning percentages, but his role in the development of their young core (even if they aren’t all rocking purple and gold anymore) is a great sign as he takes the reigns of a Kings team with one of the better, if not the best, young cores in the NBA. The potential for Bagley is through the roof and he’s been working nonstop this summer to take his game to the next level. Expect a big second year from the rising star and know that he is going to play a major role in Sacramento’s playoff push and formation of a young dynasty.
If you haven’t listened to Big Jreams. by MB3FIVE yet, I encourage you to click the link below and take a listen. You might just find out he is the best rapper in the NBA.
Listen to Big Jreams. by MB3FIVE now –