Bryant McKinnie played left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens during the team’s run to the Super Bowl XLVII title. As McKinnie was protecting quarterback Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco during his historic postseason run, the New Jersey native was also developing his B Major Music Group, whose roster includes R&B acts TyRell and BRI, as well as rapper Young Lace.
McKinnie grew up listening to such artists as KRS-One, A Tribe Called Quest and Wu-Tang Clan, among others. In an exclusive interview with HipHopDX, the Pro Bowl offensive lineman names his favorite rappers of all time.
“Number one, Biggie,” says McKinnie, who is 6’8’’ and weighs approximately 350 pounds. “Lyrically, I loved his style, first of all ’cause he was a big dude. He was a dope emcee, great at storytelling. When you hear his lyrics, you are able to visualize exactly what was going on. He had [the song] ‘I Got A Story To Tell’ and he rapped the whole situation which was very creative. I feel like now a lot of these artists use a whole bunch of metaphors and things that rhyme, but they ain’t really talkin’ about nothin’.”
McKinnie keeps it in Brooklyn and names another lyrical heavyweight as his second-favorite rapper. “Jay Z is number two,” says McKinnie, whose Ravens play its NFL preseason game today (August 8) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “He had great lyrics and also changed into a Hip Hop mogul. He showed it was more than just Rap. He has such a great influence. He showed that Hip Hop was actually a voice, that Hip Hop has a voice. He started helping people get on Ace of Spades. He is also talented lyrically, as well. He’s classy. When you watch his videos like [Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie”], he’s in a shirt, tie, suit thing. He makes things look classier. I also liked the video ‘Excuse Me Miss’ [because he’s wearing] suits and ties and stuff like that.”
For his third-favorite rapper, McKinnie chose an artist whose versatility impresses him. “Drake because he was able to show you can rap and sing and sound good and be creative,” McKinnie says. “I feel like for 25 and under, he is that younger generation, where Jay Z and Biggie were people who are in their 30s…He’s more recent.”
As McKinnie works on building B Major Music Group, he says he wants the imprint to have staying power. “If Biggie was around, he would have had longevity,” he says. “That’s something I look at for my label. I want something to be around for a long time like Def Jam. You still know what that is and what it was about. I want this to have impact on the Hip Hop industry. There are certain labels that made a big impact and I want mine to be one of them.”
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