A Pro Bowl caliber linebacker, and Super Bowl XLIII champion, LaMarr Woodley has stood out in his six-year career as an anchor of one the premiere franchises in the NFL. After a year in which the Steelers failed to make the playoffs, though, it will be up to Woodley to guide his team back to the postseason with his savvy defensive instincts, and veteran leadership. In his busy offseason, we caught up with LaMarr to talk about the music he uses to get ready for a game, rappers being athletes, and athletes being rappers.
Interview by Gus Turner
So what're you go-to genres in music?
Man, y'know, I'm a music guy. I like a lot of different things. It depends on the time of the day and the situation.
Alright, what were you listening to today then?
A new artist out of Pittsburgh named Simmie Green. He's a rapper.
Would you say you're primarily into rap then?
I'm a rap guy, I'm an R&B guy. I'm an old school '70s, '80s guy. I'm a little bit of everything.
When you were first listening to rap, which artist was the one who got you into it?
When I was younger I used to listen to N.W.A.
Nice! Taking it back there. Who have you been listening to the most this summer?
I usually listen to whatever's hot on the radio. I like to also find local artists that are doing pretty well and going to be up-and-coming. I'm open-minded when it comes to music.
When you're making a pre-game playlist, trying to get pumped up, who are you going with?
How many songs can I have on there?
Let's say five.
I'm gonna go with one local artist, Simmie Greene. I'm gonna go with Rick Ross.
Which track by Ross?
Uhhh...take your pick. Doesn't matter.
We'll start at the beginning: "Hustlin'."
Nah! Too old.
[Laughs.] Okay. How about his feature on "U.O.E.N.O?"
Alright, one more.
I'll go with the Game and Nipsey Hussle's "They Roll."
Solid list. What about when you're at home, trying to relax?
Let's see...well, that's usually in the morning, and I'm listening to a lot of different things like Shade 45. I'm usually listening to Sirius Satellite in the morning. The Heat usually plays good music.
So, you were involved with Snoop Lion's Youth Football Camp this past month. What was that like? How did you and Snoop get into contact?
It was a great experience. I actually met a few people from the LA area through Wiz, and they do a football camp by a guy by the name of Big U, who helps run the league for the Snoop Dogg camp, and he also does stuff through Uneek Music, and they invited me out to the camp.
And you know Wiz through doing the "Black and Yellow" video with him, right?
Yeah, we did the "Black and Yellow." We did a few things with Pepsi, and we just kept a relationship from that video.
Have you been a part of any other videos?
I was in this DJ Drama video called, "Oh My." It was Wiz, Roscoe Dash, Fabolous. Kevin Hart was in there, and I was in the scene. So I got my cameo in that.
So, going back, Wiz set you up with this football camp, and it went well?
I think it was a wonderful experience. It was at Crenshaw High School and it kinda reminded me of my high school back in the city of Saginaw. When I see other people out there, involved, and really giving their time and effort for the kids, then I don't mind giving my time and effort for the kids as well. We both have the same drive.
Speaking of Saginaw, you donated some apparel to your high school's marching band back in 2010, and you were also around the Michigan marching band tradition. Do you think that a marching band could ever fly in the NFL? Or is the league too serious for that?
For bands? Well, y'know, having bands in the NFL would take up seats. If you take up seats in the NFL, you're losing money.
True. If there was ever going to be a song that sampled "Hail to the Victors", who would you want to see rapping on it?
I might like Kanye West. And maybe J. Cole. Kanye or J. Cole could definitely do that.
Have you heard of any players around the NFL who can rap?
You gotta lot of players who maybe try and rap, but it's hard to tell your story. It depends on what you're rapping about, if it's believable or not, y'know what I'm saying?
What about yourself?
Nah, I might mess around here and there, but that's in private.
Another Michigan guy, Chris Webber, released an album in '99. Maybe you could follow in his footsteps!
Nah, after reading the Shaquille O'Neal book, I found out you don't make a lot of money rapping sometimes.
[Laughs.] Okay, last question: If you're making a football team out of rappers, who are you picking?
Hmm...I would say 50 Cent, but he lost a lot of weight. Rick Ross might be a good right guard. [Laughs.] The Game could be a good receiver. Oh, and Flo Rida could be a linebacker.
Find out more about LaMarr as he gets ready for his seventh season in the NFL by following him on Instagram at lamarrwoodley.