CJ Miles in his Escalade. Photo: Jesse Anderson
I know what you are thinking: Mike Brown somehow tricked a Jazz player by the name of CJ Miles to buy him dinner at the Cheesecake Factory just so he could meet Deron Williams and sit in CJ’s Escalade. So not true! First off, I did not sit in the Escalade. I did lean against it though. And this story is not about D-Will, he just happened to be eating cheesecake at the same spot as us. But D-Will did come up to our table during the interview and I said something stupid in front of him.
Don’t quit reading yet—this article isn’t about sports or triple doubles or trade rumors or even that love poem I wrote for Kyle Korver a few years back. SLUG is mostly a music magazine dipshit, so I thought it would be cool to find out from a direct source some of the correlations between NBA ballers and the men who rap about being ballers, and the few and far between who can do both.
There’s nothing too new about pro athletes cutting albums in the off-season. Have you ever seen the Chicago Bears from ‘85 do “The Super bowl Shuffle”? I was six years old when the shuffle hit the streets and I loved it. My own private collection of vintage Jazz memorabilia also includes three amazing cassette tapes. You Gotta Love It Baby! dropped in 1990 and featured an amazingly terrible beat with samples of Hot Rod Hundley’s voice. That same year, an equally bad cassette tape was made called Karl Malone is …The Mailman.
My favorite Utah Jazz cassette tape in my collection has to be two singles put out by The Jazz Brothers. It’s called Keep Fightin, but also features the 1987 hit no one ever heard called “Keep it Sexy.” The Jazz Brothers are primarily “Big T” Thurl Bailey on lead vocals with backup vocals from Dell Curry, Rickey Green, Darrell Griffith, Carey Scurry (whoever the fuck that is) and Karl Malone! If technical fouls had soundtracks, they would be these songs. But the point I’m trying to make is that ballers have been hitting the studio for a while now.
As far as current NBA players who are putting out tracks, I knew about Ron Artest and Shaquille O’Neal, but I found out some other interesting names from CJ—JR Smith, Rashad McCants and Carmelo Anthony to name a few, and Allen Iverson made a CD that got him in trouble with the league a few years back.
I’m willing to bet that Ron Artest’s album could get him in some trouble too, but it’s so bad that no one, including the NBA commissioner, has really listened to it. The same week the Ron Artest dropped his album, Britney Spears’ ex Kevin Federline, or K-Fed, as I like to call him, outsold Ron’s album by 6,435 copies. That’s saying a lot, given that Ron sold 343 copies that week.
On the other side of that though, Shaq’s album Shaq Diesel went platinum. I’ve never heard the record but numbers don’t lie. Some still might feel that NBA players have no business rapping. That’s fine and you and your opinion will always coexist. I am of the opinion that Ice Cube, or anyone else that was in NWA for that matter, shouldn’t be in any more Disney movies. But fuck, I’m sure the Cube made a shit ton off of Are We There Yet? so what do I know?
CJ’s been making music for about three years now. He’s been somewhat low key about it, but that isn’t to say he isn’t proud of what he’s put out or worked on musically so far. He sees making music as something he does for himself first and foremost because he likes writing and rapping. He’s good at it, (which honestly surprised me) but he doesn’t take it too seriously. CJ also told me that he will never rap about anything he hasn’t seen or done, which got my respect—especially after I found a video on Youtube of Chris Webber rapping about being a gangsta.
When the mainstream media first found out that CJ was making music, a story dropped about how he was doing it to try to get out of Utah. He said it was completely untrue but the story somewhat forced him to be less open with what he wanted to do. CJ told me that he would and could rap wherever he was at so that wasn’t an excuse to leave.
CJ has also established some local connections through his music as well. DJ Brisk, a long time respected staple of the local hip-hop community, has been working with him on most of his tracks. He’s also collaborated with DJ Juggy as well. CJ played me some of the stuff he’s been working on with Brisk and the beats are solid. It’s mastered well too, blending CJ’s style and flow to create a vibe that’s more backpack rap than gangster. I’m not just kissing ass for lower bowl tickets when I say I liked it.
As far as getting a hold of any of his music, hunt CJ Miles down on Twitter (twitter.com/CJmiles34). I don’t tweet so I can’t help you there.