Mikhail Prokhorov has to wear a hard hat whenever he rhymes, because he tears stages down. (Getty Images)
We've long known that Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov was world renowned for his metal-mining empire and business acumen, but it wasn't until this past February that we found out that, much like Rakim, the Brooklyn Nets owner is internationally known when he be on the mic. Thankfully, Prokhorov took it upon himself to spit a little during an appearance on a Russian talk show, introducing the NBA world to the truth that there's more than one Nets owner who can kick bars.
The other, of course, is minority owner Jay-Z, who's slated to christen the Nets' new home, Brooklyn's Barclays Center, by performing in eight concerts during a nine-day span between Sept. 28 and Oct. 6. We don't know yet who'll be opening for or appearing alongside the 13-time Grammy winner, but it sounds like his Russian business partner's got at least one name to suggest.
According to Mr. Prokhorov, a reprise [of his talk-show rap] is in the works, but this time in downtown Brooklyn, where Jay-Z will open the $1 billion Barclays Center with a series of sold-out concerts this fall. "Yes, I will rap at his concert," Mr. Prokhorov informed Crain's via email. "I am in rehearsals now 10 hours a day and plan to demand joint billing."
This is clearly a goof, via "10 hours a day" and "demand joint billing" — c'mon, Mikhail, any hip-hop head knows you should only be interested in top billin' — but it wouldn't be at all surprising if Prokhorov shows up on stage at some point over Hova's nine-night stand.
For one thing, he owns (part of) the place, so it's not like anyone will tell him he can't. For another, when you drop $340 million in combined salary over the course of one offseason, you're entitled to at least one public appearance during which a crowd of excited onlookers applaud you for making it rain on what has been a talent-parched Nets roster. Seems like the least the legions of new-look Nets fans could do would be to let him kick a few bars.
That said, it would seem much more in character for Prokhorov to just show up on stage, joined by some backup dancers, and just smirk his way through an ovation or two. Especially since the lyrical content from that talk-show appearance — "Mr. Jay-Z, this rap is for you ... Mr. Jay-Z, this is the first presentation / of real rap music from Russian Federation / Mr. Jay-Z, you are not alone / Mikhail Prokhorov on the microphone" — leaves a little bit to be desired. Then again, maybe he was deliberately dropping some brand new doo-doo in deference to the Beastie Boys, the inspiration behind all that Nets swag. (Also, forever and always, RIP MCA.)
One thing's for sure: Even if Prokhorov shows up onstage and chokes like B-Rabbit, he'll still get more love in New York than has ever been shown to James Dolan at a Straight Shot show. By a factor of a hundred thousand trillion.
Hat-tip to NetsDaily.
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