Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden is making moves outside of his basketball career and has dabbled into one of his other passions, rap music.
Sure, he can be seen on social media rocking out with all sorts of rappers from Jay-Z to Tsu Surf, but recently he went from being simply a music lover to a music executive.
Harden explains why he chose to work with these artists, shifting his aim from the netted basket at the Barclays toward the Billboard charts.
“From the beginning, I’ve had a passion for basketball, and music has always went hand and hand with it,” Harden shares. “It drives me on the daily to continue to be the best at what I do, to always strive for more. I see that same passion in Lil Baby & Lil Durk.”
That passion that he sees in Lil Baby helped the Quality Control artist to win the BET Best New Artist Award in 2019, the BET Hip Hop Awards’ Impact Award in 2020, and the iHeartRadio Music Award for Best Hip Hop Album of the Year in 2021.
Lil Durk’s passion is seen in how resilient he is. After experiencing controversy after controversy, hood angles constantly pulling him back into hood drama, he has successfully created a lane for himself that has even earned him two GRAMMY Nods and an NAACP Image Award nomination for his hit song, “Laugh Now, Cry Later” featuring Drake.
There is a kindred spirit that resonated so much with Harden, who despite his gifts on the court often ruffles feathers of the mainstream.
He continued to share with AllHipHop.com, “[I] can honestly say that I’m a true fan. The initial idea was to get the two together to make a few songs. But with their work ethic and undeniable talent here we are.”
Believe it or not, that “we” is justified. He didn’t just put up the money, but he rocked with them to ensure that they produced magic.
“From late nights in my studio in Houston, the two of them being by my side as I transitioned from Houston to New York,” the 3x All-Star marveled. “It was truly an honor to watch them in their element. Countless hours in the studio watching them create was an absolute privilege, to say the least. They put the same work & dedication into their craft as I do.
“Leaving all-night studio sessions going straight to practice with the songs they made gave me a newfound motivation.”
Harden has nicknames for the rappers: The Voice & The Hero. He rationalized that it made good sense to put “two killers at the top of their game the collaboration.”
So what’s his hope for the project?
Sure the awards and accolades would be nice. The baller confesses, “I just hope the same impact they have on me, they have on the world.”