Kendrick Lamar wears a Los Angeles Kings jersey in the music video for "Backseat Freestyle".
I spotted it the first time I saw it, and it got me thinking: had Kendrick grown up a little further north, I'll bet there would have been a whole lot more hockey than that. The track is rapped from the perspective of his teenage self growing up in Compton, and it's primarily obsessed with his vain, youthful dreams of money and power. But if he grew up in, say, a suburb of Vancouver like I did, one assumes his teenage self might have been dreaming of a Stanley Cup.
And since there's nothing else going on today as we wait for the Stanley Cup Final to begin, I present "Playoff Freestyle", which reimagines his classic jam as an ode to hockey, and its holy grail, in a music video by the excellent Samir Javer that features clip from this year's NHL playoffs.
Why did I do this. I do not know.
Many thanks to the excellent Bryan Binnema, my frequent collaborator, who recorded, produced and mixed the track, and somehow managed to make me sound not terrible.
Anyway. The good news is that the people telling me to stick to writing when I sing will probably tell me to stick to singing now that they've heard me rap. This can only work out for me.
Here are the lyrics to this half-baked attempt at emceeing:
Paul Martin had a dream
Paul Martin had a dream
Rick Nash have a dream
All my life I want the Stanley Cup
Respect my drive to lift the grail up
I pray my team play better than Gordie Howe
So we can go get drunk for seventy-two hours
Goddamn I feel amazing, damn it's the postseason, my team is sitting higher than nine, so this team is never on vacation, come in and take the body and -- boom boom -- I'm checkin, poppin bottles if lucky when I play for forty-five seconds, and I beat you suckas with skating, shooters are getting through ya, Jesus Christ hit the blueline and its Swede like Johnny Oduya -- play big like Radko Gudas, shifty like Tyler Ennis my opponents is losers, all my teammates is winners
Goddamn I got finish, damn I got finish, damn I got finish, high speed dangles and dishes
We got 23 players on the roster, yessir, go at defenders fast, make 'em pass under pressure, and I got that hockey ass that a ruler couldn't measure, and it helps me keep my balance when I battle in the corner, and you have to get some luck like Toronto's winning record, right before they start to suck and succumb to that regression, we rollin' four lines out, controlling possession, our depth is impressive, the puck y'all, it goes in
I roll in over the blueline and I blow you up like a landmine, there's a war going on in this place it's a sudden death overtime, playoffs, no wait, playoffs, no wait, playoffs, no wait, playoffs, okay I'm never giving up this game, it's a failure even if I'm maimed, I can tell you who, what, where, when, how to go if you tell me stay -- playoffs, go play, playoffs, go play, playoffs, go play, playoffs -- I'm TJ Oshie pushin' tempo cause I'm pushy, it's another odd man rush with me, back d-men off them and I got options like an audible I be, s-t-a-n-l-e-y I win then crow at your defeat, s-t-a-n-l-e-y, hometown parading in the street, yellin'
Anyway. I like hockey.