NBA Player Brandon Bass On Writing Raps And His Love For No Limit
Brandon Bass is a 10-year veteran NBA player who has been one of the poster boys for the concept that hard work pays off. Born and raise in Baton Rouge, La., the power forward for the Boston Celtics has seen the bright lights of the hardwood as a starter for the 2012 Celtics on their way to the Eastern Conference finals and playing along side NBA Hall of Famers like Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. His game on the court is just like his demeanor: calm and collected.
However, what's not so widely advertised about him is his love for writing music. Growing up in the South, the former LSU Tiger became a diehard No Limit fan, listening to every street tale by Master P. That inspired the stoic big man to pick up a pen himself and he hasn't quit since. XXL got Brandon Bass on the phone to talk everything No Limit, the impact of Boosie Badazz and how nutrition changed his life. —Emmanuel C.M.
XXL: What do you do outside of dropping buckets in the NBA?
Brandon Bass: Outside of basketball, besides spending time with my family, I like to spend time in the studio and write music. I also like to inspire the youth to chase their dreams, whether its basketball, music or anything.
How long have you been writing music?
I’ve been writing music since I was maybe 11, 12 years old. I started recording music when I was about 16, 17 years old. That’s when I started going to the studio. I went with one of my homies who was trying to pursue a music career. Going with him took away my shyness. Me seeing him record, I started to record. Then when I started to record, I fell in love with it and I kept going.
What type of music were you listening to growing up?
I was listening to a lot of No Limit, Tupac, Boosie and Lil Webbie. When I first started, my cousin used to have me go to the record store and get all the Master P records that came out that week or month. We used to listen to the whole album in the kitchen, front to back. After listening to the album we'd pull out the artwork and it showed when the next album is coming out.
One of the first beats I actually wrote a rap to is a Master P beat. Before that I was just writing verses to no beats. I bought a cassette of Master P and it had an instrumental on the end of the tape. I wrote to it and that was the first time I did that.
What’s your favorite Master P album?
Probably Ghetto D. I feel like, front to back, it was one of Master P’s best albums. But man, it was so many records that I really liked and so many artists I really enjoyed [from No Limit]. It’s so hard to pick one song even from one artist. I went from liking Master P to C-Murder to really liking Mister Magic. They were coming out with a lot of music at one time.
How big was No Limit when you were growing up?
Master P really made me believe I could make it from where I’m from. I felt like we had similar story, coming from the hood and not being raised by your parents. He grew up with his grandmother. I grew up with my Aunt. He plays basketball I play basketball. He raps, I rap. He made it out. He inspired me.
I was a big fan of Master P mostly because of his story. C-Murder, I liked him because he just reminded me of Tupac back then. I was a big Tupac fan and he gave me that real street, heartfelt type of music. I gravitated to him. Artists like Mac, I liked his flow and storytelling and guys like Mr. Magic and Fiend, they had rap skills and were animated at the same time. It was a bunch of guys. P had a crazy roster.
Why did you turn to songwriting? What do you rap about?
My raps are always about my life. My day, what I saw growing up, that’s what it's usually about. All my music on YouTube, if you go listen to it you get to know me. It comes from me. Being fan of the guys I was growing up, they taught me that. I feel like that’s what you do when you rap. You tell your life. Be true to yourself. I spend a lot of times talking about wanting to make it from where I was from, to my mom; just things of that nature.
When did you choose basketball over rapping?
As far as music, I always did it for fun. I never wanted to pursue a career in music. I just really love music; it's therapeutic for me. I get my moments now. I just love to write. I might hear a beat and not even listen to the lyrics. I might buy an album today or tomorrow and go through the album and if I like the beat I might write a verse.
As far as basketball, from 8th grade to 9th grade I grew to 6’3”. So I was a regular bad little neighborhood kid but when I got my growth spurt, I told myself I need to take basketball really seriously. When I grew six feet, that’s when basketball became life. I felt like I could do something with this and haven’t looked back since.