Since its launch in early 2010, Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" campaign to end childhood obesity has included a variety of partnerships with American professional sports leagues, including clinics and public service announcements through the NBA and WNBA, NFL, MLB and NHL. It has also featured a musical component, with the Beyoncé/Swizz Beatz-produced "Move Your Body" released in 2011 to promote the campaign's "Flash Workout" event.
Iman Shumpert will look to combine the disparate strands of youth-targeting this fall, when the New York Knicks guard and frequent recreational rapper makes a guest appearance on "Songs for a Healthier America," an album created as a collaboration between the Partnership for a Healthier America and Hip-Hop Public Health that aims to "get your whole family moving to the beat." No, for real.
Here's more on the album, from XXL:
"We believe that music built on cultural cues can inspire kids and families to make healthy choices," said Dr. Olajide Williams, founder of Hip Hop Public Health, in a statement. "Its ability to immerse and transport the mind is a great attribute for any educational tool. Throughout history, music has been a great teacher and motivator, from ABC’s and nursery rhymes to religious hymns and national anthems. It is time to harness this power for health."
That makes sense, but still, this is all quite weird — that the First Lady is behind a rap album, that this rap album will come with an "accompanying curriculum toolkit [...] designed to inspire and educate children to eat healthy and exercise regularly," and that the list of artists featured on the record includes noted poopsmith Dr. Oz, Matisyahu, Ashanti, Nils Lofgren from the E Street Band and a Knick with a Johnny Bravo tattoo. But, hey, the children are our future, Shumpert's a (somewhat) recognizable young athlete with flow and we already know he's a very committed teammate, so I guess that if this thing is happening, getting him on Team Rap Game First Lady makes perfect sense.
1. “U R What You Eat” f/ Salad Bar (Matisyahu, Ariana Grande, Travis Barker)
2. “Everybody” f/ Jordin Sparks, Doug E. Fresh, Dr. Oz, Ryan Beatty, Hip Hop MD
3. “Let’s Move” f/ Doug E. Fresh, Artie Green, Chauncey Hawkins
4. “Just Believe” featuring Ashanti, Gerry Gunn, Artie Green, Robbie Nova
5. “Veggie Luv” f/ Monifah and J Rome
6. “Hip Hop FEET” f/ DMC and Artie Green
7. “Stronger” f/ Shayna Steele, Jeremy Jordan, Our Time Theater kids, and E-Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren
8. “Give Myself a Try” f/ Ryan Beatty
9. “Jump Up” f/ Brady Rymer and the Little band that Could
10. “Hip Hop LEAN” f/ Artie Green
11. “Pass the Rock” f/ Iman Shumpert and Artie Green
12. “Good Living” f/ Ashton Jones
13. “Beautiful” f/ Daisy Grant and Artie Green
14. “Change the Game” f/ The Happiness Club, featuring Naledge
15. “Wanna Jump (Let’s Move)” f/ Paul Burch
16. “Mother May I” f/ Amelia Robinson
17. “We Like vegetables” f/ Los Barkers!
18. “Get Up Sit Up” f/ Babi Floyd
19. “One Step Forward” f/ Samite
It's just a bummer that FLOTUS herself isn't spitting bars. (Unless, of course, album host DJ Skee has a hidden track up his sleeve.) And seriously — Stephen Jackson can't get a feature? C'mon, Michelle. He'll eat these dudes alive — just ask him.
You can listen to snippets from each of the songs at the Partnership for a Healthier America's website, but be advised that "Pass the Rock" cuts off just as Shump's beginning his verse. There's some fun Marv Albert and Mike Breen sampling, though, so feel free to enjoy that if you'd like.
Also, given the content of the album and Shump's new position as a nutritional ambassador, let's check in: Hey, Iman, how do you feel about tomatoes?
I hate that tomatoes are considered fruits instead of veggies. #iAlwaysHatedTomatoes
— Iman Shumpert (@I_Am_Iman) August 5, 2013
Good to know.
(If you want to hear Shump's most recent non-health-related rap release, here's "Versace," which features a bit of language that Dr. Oz probably wouldn't appreciate.)
Hat-tip to r/NBA.