While the Cleveland Cavaliers dominate the Pistons in the first round playoff series, one member of the team is doing his thing off the court.
His name is Joe Smith, a veteran power forward who's played for 13 years in the league, bouncing from team to team, including Golden State, Detroit, Milwaukee, and now the Cavs. Last Wednesday (April 15), Smith hit the recording studio, and came out a few hours with the team's anthem for the Playoffs, courtesy of his rapper alter-ego Joe Beast.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the NBA baller released a mixtape titled The Beginning in December 2008, and taking his love for the hip-hop genre public with his playoff song and recent CD.
With a long history of athletes taking a stab at rapping in the past, Smith is aware that people are gonna be somewhat hesitant when it comes to his music.
He swears, though, that he's nothing like Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Tony Parker, or Ron Artest, all of which have tried to spit rhymes.
"I'm not like the rest though, not like them," Smith raps on his mixtape. "I put my heart in this. I put my soul in this. So before you classify me with the rest -- don't do it. I want you to be open-minded."
Others NBA peers, such as Oklahoma City wing Desmond Mason, praised Smith's skills as a rapper, saying he has enough talent to step into the hip-hop game.
Mason appears on The Beginning mixtape, and helped pen several hooks for other Smith tracks.
"People don't take it seriously because we do what we do [basketball]," Mason said. "From a rapper standpoint, we're just intruding on their space. But that's not the case here. Joe is talented enough to really step into that space. I think he can step into that hip-hop space."
Oklahoma City-based DJ Switch -- who helped Smith create the music project -- looked at the player as a bored millionaire who wanted to express his musical aspirations. He didn't think it was anything serious, until he saw how much effort he put into it.
Switch began working with Smith, in the studio, during downtime between games and practices with his team earlier this season, the Oklahoma City Thunder. According to the DJ, they'd stay in the studio until 4 a.m. working on getting a song just right -- all on the same night he got back from a game in another city and had a practice at noon the next day.
"His work ethic is absolutely amazing," DJ Switch told the Detroit Free Press. "I've never seen someone in 10 years of DJing, someone who is a millionaire 10 times over, put that much thought and heart into a CD."
Smith's The Beginning mixtape is available for free download on his official MySpace page at MySpace.com/JoeSmithAKAJoeBeast.
Tell us what you think in the comments.