There are a lot of perks that come along with being a world-famous NBA player like Kevin Durant. A big paycheck? Of course. Your very own signature sneaker line? For sure. The love and adulation of millions of fans? You bet. But there’s one other really big perk that comes along with KD’s job—he gets name-dropped in rap songs all the time.
Over the last few years, Drake, Jay Z, J. Cole, and many other rappers have used KD’s name in their lyrics, and according to KD, it never gets old (other NBA players like Draymond Green would agree). So when Genius caught up with KD for a sit-down interview recently, the site asked him to react to some of the times rappers have borrowed his name. Genius artist relations’ manager Rob Markman went line-by-line with KD and asked him about several specific songs. Here were just a few of KD's responses:
On Drake name-dropping him on “Weston Road Flows” ("A lot of people just hit me up when my name is mentioned/Shout out to KD, we relate, we get the same attention"):
When I have a game, he texts me or Snapchats me and we talk about stuff. I’m sure when he got in the booth, he was feeling it a little bit and put it in there. It went together nice. I guess he just wanted me to hear it as I was going through the album. Once I heard it, I was like, 'That was dope.'
On Jay Z name-dropping him on “Crown” ("It's a new day, hit up KD"):
That was wild. When I heard that one I was like—Jay Z, that’s somebody I’ve been listening to since I was 10 years old. I didn’t care what the beat sound like or anything. It was just that he put my name in the song. That was a moment for me.
On J. Cole name-dropping him on “Fire Squad” ("Meets '02 Lil Wayne, in a new white tee/Meets KD, ain't no nigga that can shoot like me"):
J. Cole, I feel as though he’s in the top tier of rappers. You gotta do a lot of work to catch up with him. He can play [basketball] a bit, he can play. There’s a few guys that can play and there’s a few guys that’s just flat-out terrible. But he can play.
I wouldn’t say it means more coming from Cole than it does from Drake or Wale or anybody else, because all those dudes, they actually work for something to get to where they are. They had to go through the rough times to get to where they are so I respect their opinions just as much as basketball players’ opinions. Because whether you’re shooting ball or rapping or whatever, you still got to put the work in, you still got to perfect your craft. They perfected their craft, it’s just in a different profession.
You can check out the video above to hear what else KD had to say about rappers using his name in songs. KD also spoke with Genius about what he has on his pre-game playlist, and you’ll probably be surprised by some of his selections (think: more Teddy Pendergrass, less rap). You can check out a video of him talking about it here: