Which Rappers Use Ghostwriters? (Info on 30+ Rappers)
Many rappers use ghostwriters to compose their lyrics.
A rap ghostwriter is someone who writes songs for a rapper but is not credited on the finished product, so as not to steal glory from the star.
Which rappers use ghostwriters?
Let’s look at a comprehensive list of which rappers use ghostwriters and which do not.
Rappers Who Use Ghostwriters
Ghostwriters are generally anonymous, but some rappers have gone public with their use of them.
One of the best-known examples of this phenomenon may be Diddy’s, “I’ll Be Missing You,” a tribute song to Biggie Smalls.
His verse was ghostwritten by one of Jay-Z’s associates named Sauce Money.
Some other notable examples include:
- Tung Twista (Used Ernest Wilson, aka “Slow Jammin’” Eddie Sermon)
- Outsidaz (Aspiring rapper Young Noble outed his group for using ghostwriters)
- Biz Markie (Teamed up with MF DOOM to write lyrics for Biz’s album, All Samples Cleared! )
These are just a few examples. The use of ghostwriters is nothing new: artists have been using them since way before hip hop even started.
Many rappers write some or most of their first albums, but then hire ghostwriters for future albums.
Almost all artists eventually hire ghostwriters.
For example, Motown songs were mostly written by the studio musicians at Berry Gordy’s “hit factory.” Even further back than that, people like Cole Porter used ghostwriters.
Let’s get into some of today’s well-known rappers who have been accused of using ghostwriters, and some who have openly admitted to using them.
Here is a YouTube video by HipHop Madness about the ghostwriters behind your favorite rappers:
What Famous Rappers Have Ghostwriters? (All the Answers)
Most artists use ghostwriters at some point in their career. Rappers are no different.
Here is information about what rappers use ghostwriters.
Does Drake Use Ghostwriters?
No, according to Drake.
But, yes, according to other sources and rappers who have called him out.
It has been reported that Drake uses ghostwriters, and his friend Quentin Miller claimed he wrote many songs for Drake’s album, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late .
However, Drake has (for the most part) always credited his writers, which means they do not fall into the ghostwriter category.
Does Kayne Have Ghostwriters?
Yes. Kanye does not write many of his songs.
Most of his lyrics are written through a collaboration between himself and ghostwriters.
CyHi (CyHi Da Prynce), Cons (Consequence), and Pardi (Pardison Fontaine) are a few ghostwriters that Kanye has used in the past.
There is also Rhymefest who wrote Kanye’s infamous song, “Jesus Walks.”
Some of his songs are completely ghostwritten, but he retains creative control throughout the writing process.
Does Future Have Ghostwriters?
No. Future does not use ghostwriters.
In fact, Future has ghostwritten for other rappers. He has openly appeared in interviews confirming that he has written for YC.
He also wrote Beyonce’s, “Drunk in Love,” and is not credited on the track.
Does NF Have Ghostwriters?
No. There are no claims that Nathan Feuerstein, better known as NF, had a ghostwriter.
There is no solid evidence that NF has in the past or currently uses a ghostwriter to help him with his tracks.
It’s no surprise that he doesn’t since one of his biggest influences is Eminem.
Does Kendrick Lamar Use Ghostwriters?
No. Kendrick Lamar has never used a ghostwriter, nor will he ever consider it.
He has a very close-knit circle of collaborators, who help him produce his music.
His main collaborator is Punch from TDE, and he also mentions Terrence Martin as a great songwriter on “Control” (he also wrote the hook of “Complexion”).
Does Eminem Use Ghostwriters?
Yes, but he has never used a ghostwriter on his albums.
Eminem is very open about using ghostwriters for his mixtape/street album, Infinite (he even says it on the intro of “D12 World”).
However, he does not use ghostwriters for his main projects.
Eminem has served as a ghostwriter himself for several other artists.
Does Cardi B Use Ghostwriters?
No. Although she has been accused of using ghostwriters, she denies using them.
Cardi B has weighed in on the debate of whether her long-time co-writer Pardison is actually a ghostwriter.
According to Cardi, he is not because he recieves credit for everything he works on for the rapper.
Does Nicki Minaj Use Ghostwriters?
This is still up for debate.
Nicki says no, but Nicki Minaj’s ex-boyfriend claims otherwise. He has openly stated that he ghostwrote on The Pinkprint . For example, he says that he wrote lyrics for the album in his song,”Lifeline.”
In the track, Samuels raps: “My bars on The Pinkprint no one will ever match.”
Does Post Malone Use Ghostwriters?
Yes, he uses ghostwriters.
Post Malone used a ghostwriter for “Rockstar” (featuring 21 Savage).
Joey Badass and T-Pain have claimed to be the ghostwriters for the song. Joey openly posted this claim on his Twitter account.
Does Jay Z Have Ghostwriters?
Yes, Jay Z uses ghostwriters.
Many people credit J.Cole for helping Jay Z with his 4:44 album, but it was actually Memphis Bleek who wrote most of the songs (with help from No I.D.).
Jay Z has also used many other ghostwriters throughout the year.
Writers like Nas, Talib Kweli, and Mr. Porter have been credited for their contributions.
Does Chris Brown Have Ghostwriters?
Yes. There are many reports of Chris Brown using ghostwriters, but the main writer has always been Eric Bellinger.
This is because they used to be in a group together called “Bar Society” before it disbanded.
Many of Breezy’s songs like “Loyal” and “Don’t Judge Me” were ghostwritten by Bellinger.
He is also responsible for songs like “Liquor,“ “Roses,” and many more.
Does Playboi Carti Have Ghostwriters?
No. There is no evidence that Playboi Carti has a ghostwriter.
However, Playboi Carti has been accused of ghostwriting for Drake. He’s also been accused of having his own ghostwriters.
Does J Cole Have Ghostwriters?
Like Nicki Minaj, this is still up for debate.
There have been claims that J Cole uses his close friend and Dreamville artist, Bas, as a ghostwriter.
However, they have denied these claims on Twitter.
Does Snoop Dogg Have Ghostwriters?
Yes, Snoop Dogg uses ghostwriters.
A writer named Problem has openly confirmed that he wrote for The Doggfather in a 2013 interview.
Although he didn’t name anyone specifically, in a 2009 interview, Snoop also said Malice In Wonderland was written by others.
Does Polo G Have Ghostwriters?
Yes. Polo G has said in an interview that he writes his own lyrics, but others write the melodies for him.
This is because he has trouble coming up with catchy hooks on his own.
Polo still manages to rap over these beats, however, showcasing his talent.
Does Juice World Have Ghostwriters?
No. Juice World has said many times that he writes his own lyrics but doesn’t plan anything beforehand.
He prefers to freestyle everything so it comes off more natural.
Juice has used a co-writer though. Justin Strawn has helped him with songs like “I Like Girls” and “My Last Love.”
Does Lil Uzi Have Ghostwriters?
Yes. Even though he hasn’t been open about it, many of his old songs had lyrics written by others.
He has since hired Charlie Heat as a writer for his music, and credits him on the song, “XO Tour Llif3.”
There are also rumors that Don Cannon helps with his music too.
Does NBA Youngboy Have Ghostwriters?
No. NBA Youngboy has stated that he writes his own lyrics and doesn’t use ghostwriters for anything.
He does, however, get help from other producers like MexikoDro and Dubba-AA.
Like many other rappers, NBA Youngboy has been accused of using ghostwriters to help him write his songs.
Does Lil Nas X Have Ghostwriters?
No. In an interview Lil Nas bluntly confirmed that he never uses ghostwriters.
He says the inspiration for his songs comes exclusively from his friends, family, and the streets.
Does Will Smith Use Ghostwriters?
Yes, Will Smith uses ghostwriters.
Will Smith has often borrowed the talents of another famous rapper, Nas, to help him with the writing process of some of his biggest tracks.
Nas has stated that he helped write the song, “Getting Jiggy Wit It.”
Nas also takes credit for other tracks on Big Willie’s Yes, Yes Y’all , Miami , and Chasing Forever .
Does Dre. Dre Use Ghostwriters?
Yes. There are many reports of Dr. Dre using ghostwriters throughout his career.
One of his most infamous ghostwriters is Jay-Z.
The rap superstar was responsible for Dr. Dre’s hit, “Still Dre.” Another rapper who has written for Dre is Eminem on the hit song, “Forgot About Dre.”
Which Rappers Use Ghostwriters (Table)
Here is a table that shows which rappers use or have used ghostwriters:
Rappers Who Don’t Use Ghostwriters
All the rappers listed above have been accused of using ghostwriters. However, many other famous rappers have never used one before.
We’ve mentioned artists like Drake, Nicki Minaj, and J Cole where there is debate about whether or not they hire ghostwriters.
Then there are rappers who have a good reputation for not using a ghostwriter include:
Why Do Rappers Use Ghostwriters?
Ghostwriters help rappers who want assistance in executing hit songs.
There are a number of reasons why rappers use ghostwriters:
- Ghostwriters are talented artists
- The rappers get too busy with other priorities
- The rapper may not write good lyrics
After an artist becomes popular, recording music and touring often takes priority over creating original lyrics.
Some rap ghostwriters are also famous rappers themselves. For example, Jay-Z and Nas.
Ghostwriters are often hired by artists, who give them an outline of how they want the song to go and what kind of lyrics they want in it.
Some ghostwriters are also “freelancers,” which means their tone or style can be suited for different rappers who require a ghostwriter.
However, not every rapper uses ghostwriters.
Final Thoughts : Which Rappers Use Ghostwriters?
When it all comes down to it, whether or not to hire ghostwriters is up to the artist.
Using a ghostwriter does not take away from the talent, hard work, or artistry involved in producing and performing hit songs.
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NBA YoungBoy and the Music Industry’s Unseen Stars
By Sheldon Pearce
Only two artists have released No. 1 albums in each of the last three years. The first is Taylor Swift , who has as many Album of the Year Grammys as any soloist in history. (Her peers in that category are Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, and Paul Simon.) The other is a twenty-two-year-old performer who goes by NBA YoungBoy. (The “NBA” stands for “Never Broke Again.”) His hit records include “AI Youngboy 2,” “Top,” and “Sincerely, Kentrell.” But, despite his achievement, shared with one of the most widely recognized pop artists of all time, YoungBoy remains broadly unknown.
YoungBoy is a disciple of Baton Rouge hip-hop stars such as Boosie Badazz and the late Lil Phat, and his sound isn’t a dramatic departure from the rap music of the moment. His music is trap-adjacent, bounce-heavy, and Auto-Tuned, and his nasally singsong voice intensifies into a snarl. With his professed fervor for retaliation, YoungBoy has earned a rep as a single-minded aggressor, but his more confrontational songs are blunted by a soft side. He also has a seemingly inexhaustible work ethic—he has released nineteen full-length solo projects in just under seven years. Since 2017, he has secured four Recording Industry Association of America-certified platinum albums and mixtapes, along with nine platinum singles, six of which went multiplatinum. By most numerical benchmarks, YoungBoy is among the most successful artists working today. Why doesn’t it feel like it?
YoungBoy is one of the most extreme cases of a recent developing phenomenon: invisible music stardom. It is easier than ever to be a hit by all of the industry’s standard performance metrics and still go unnoticed by the general public—to have an enormous following that barely registers within the wider pop-culture ecosystem. This occurrence is, first and foremost, the by-product of a streaming infrastructure that uses a plays-per-song model to approximate record sales—a system that allows artists to bypass the old display stand, even if they risk anonymity. But it also illustrates a gap between what is promoted and what is popular.
The music industry has always had its unlikely cult favorites, but only in the streaming age can an artist enjoy similar success to pop stars and have little to no cultural footprint beyond the community that is tuning in. (There are artists putting up smaller numbers than YoungBoy who are considered more in vogue: critical favorites such as Vince Staples , Freddie Gibbs, and Phoebe Bridgers , or off-center pop stars like Lana Del Rey .) At least some of this is because of streaming’s intangibility. When the industry was built on physical sales, an artist big enough to get a million CDs shipped out to stores was guaranteed a natural level of ubiquity, and an entire marketing apparatus existed to make such artists and their projects visible. Although we can imagine CDs stacked high, collected streams feel a bit like matrix code.
In 2014, as physical album sales dipped below streaming for the first time, the Billboard 200 premièred a new formula for measuring music consumption. The metrics, which have been updated through time, attempt to approximate digital units as album sales: track equivalent albums ( TEA ), for example, counts ten song downloads from the same album as a single album sale, whereas streaming equivalent albums ( SEA ) counts 1,250 premium streams, or 3,750 free streams, from the same album as a single album sale. In 2019, video streams were added into the equation. The tracking of physical sales hasn’t changed, but, these days, such sales make up only ten per cent of all music revenue.
For a little while, it seemed as if music streaming could democratize the listening experience, and become a direct pipeline to the mainstream for unlikely stars and artists from foreign markets. As streaming rose, so did Black music’s metric standing: nearly a third of all 2020 audio streams, for example, were hip-hop and R. & B. (And nearly thirty-four per cent of video streams came from the same genres.) K-pop acts such as BTS and BLACKPINK have benefitted from streaming platforms’ playlist framework, and the music-sharing site SoundCloud gave bedroom artists such as Billie Eilish and Post Malone a megaphone to reach a national audience overnight. But there remains a colossal gap between megastars and D.I.Y. music creators. Data collected in 2020 revealed that ninety per cent of streams go to the top one per cent of artists. Artists like YoungBoy find themselves somewhere in the middle: they have carved out a share of the streaming pie, but it hasn’t resulted in any discernible cultural saturation.
In 2020, YoungBoy made nearly as much as Taylor Swift did in streaming revenue, according to Billboard . (The difference is that streaming revenue accounted for nearly all of his revenue for the year, and less than half of hers.) Similarly, the bluesman Florida rapper Rod Wave, whose last two albums débuted at No. 1 and No. 2 on the charts, made his big splash in 2020 without selling a single physical album, thanks to video streams (which accounted for twenty per cent of his streaming plays). In a year with limited touring, both YoungBoy and Rod Wave made gains as some of music’s top earners. Their success is largely owed to one of the industry’s most under-recognized platforms: YouTube .
Though Spotify remains the dominant music platform in terms of subscriber numbers, YouTube has a far bigger reach, and, in September, 2021, YouTube Music, the company’s music-only streaming service, passed fifty million subscribers , up twenty million from the previous year. (This marked a significant gain on competitors like Apple Music and Amazon Music, which have more than seventy-eight and sixty-eight million subscribers, respectively, according to recent estimates. However, Spotify is still way out front, with a hundred and seventy-two million paid subscribers.) YouTube, which has lenient upload limits and allows musicians to collect revenue on both video and audio streams, has become something of a haven for niche artists with huge, devoted fan bases, especially rappers and Latin-music performers in genres such as reggaetón. Late rappers such as Juice WRLD and Young Dolph, embattled provocateurs such as Kevin Gates and Kodak Black, and regional phenoms such as Lil Durk and Moneybagg Yo are headliners on YouTube Music and its chart, mixed in among superstars such as Ed Sheeran and the Weeknd .
YoungBoy, who has dominated YouTube’s music space for the last several years, is the kind of artist that the algorithm loves—consistent and prolific, generating feed for endless playlists. He routinely appears atop the platform’s “Top Artists” chart , which tabulates views across official music videos, live performances, remixes, user-made videos, album songs, and collaborations. Most of YoungBoy’s own videos are low-budget; many feature the artist by himself, rapping directly into the camera. One of YoungBoy’s video directors, LOUIEKNOWS, has said that the rapper has no release strategy other than to simply churn out content, just as any other YouTube vlogger or influencer does.
There’s an unsavory edge to the rapper’s stardom, too. YoungBoy has a long rap sheet, which includes aggravated assault with a firearm, in 2017, and an attack on his girlfriend that was caught on camera, in 2018. He was in jail when his 2021 album, “Sincerely, Kentrell,” dethroned Drake from the Billboard 200. But none of this has stopped the rapper from reaching his listeners. One clear by-product of direct-to-consumer streaming, especially on platforms such as YouTube and SoundCloud, is that artists can circumvent controversy and cultural gatekeepers who might attempt to police them out of the public sphere. YouTube, in particular, has several attributes that make it attractive for contentious cult favorites such as YoungBoy: a low barrier to entry, a built-in social mechanism, and a community feature that promotes content directly to fans. YoungBoy, then, provides a blueprint for other backlash-prone artists: ignore the mainstream apparatus entirely, and upload straight to your supporters.
The fans, in turn, have earned their own notoriety. In keeping with the rapper’s own reputation, YoungBoy’s supporters have become known for being defensive and territorial. That their artist of choice is so underappreciated is part of the appeal: they wear their aggrievement like a badge of honor. The memes portray these fans as belligerent, bringing unnecessary hostility to everyday tasks—they are aggressive not only in their fandom but in everything they do. An exchange on Twitter from April, 2020, sums up the dynamic perfectly. One user reposted a video mocking the passion of YoungBoy fans, suggesting that they jog, eat, and park their cars with gratuitous antagonism. Another responded, “Who the hell is youngboy.”
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EXCLUSIVE: NBA YoungBoy Says His Mental Health Is Deteriorating Under House Arrest
Posted: November 1, 2023 | Last updated: November 1, 2023
Chart-topping rapper NBA YoungBoy has petitioned the court for adjustments to his house arrest terms, citing a decline in mental health after almost two years of confinement to his Utah residence.
Since October 2021, his moves have been severely limited because he is on 24-7 house arrest, drastically impacting his music career and personal well-being.
The saga leading to NBA YoungBoy’s house arrest began with a Baton Rouge police operation in 2020, culminating in charges of firearms and narcotics possession. A federal indictment followed, leading to further legal entanglements, including an arrest in Los Angeles where a firearm was found in his possession.
Subsequent legal proceedings saw NBA YoungBoy subjected to stringent bail conditions significantly restricting his movement.
Despite facing these challenges, NBA YoungBoy’s defense insists he has been compliant with all pre-trial conditions, notably since his acquittal on the California charges in July 2022.
The request for house arrest modification is a response to over a year of adherence to his conditions, an effort by his defense to ease the limitations that have placed a strain on his mental health and impeded his professional endeavors.
Under the current house arrest terms, NBA YoungBoy is only allowed to leave his home for specific reasons, which have impeded his ability to record new music, shoot videos, and make personal appearances —activities integral to his career as a recording artist.
“Being confined to his home and unable to complete his employment obligations has led to
great anxiety, depression, loss of weight and sleep. [NBA YoungBoy] has been visibly stressed and has
expressed concern and loss of hope that he will be able to return to his contracted employment
obligation,” his lawyer James P. Manasseh explained.
The requested modifications center on broadening the scope of “employment-related activities” for greater flexibility and participation in his professional obligations.
Government lawyers have expressed concerns regarding the potential broadness of activities classified as “employment-related,” suggesting a risk of loosening the restrictions more than intended.
NBA YoungBoy’s legal said they are willing to negotiate precise definitions, assuring continued GPS monitoring and limited geographical movement. However, an agreement remains elusive, with the government declining the proposal.
A judge has yet to rule.
The post EXCLUSIVE: NBA YoungBoy Says His Mental Health Is Deteriorating Under House Arrest first appeared on AllHipHop
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NBA YoungBoy Has Snowball Fight With Fans During Video Shoot
He reportedly invited fans to film a music video outside of his home.
He's come a long way from fighting a federal case and NBA YoungBoy is enjoying the good life. The Lousiana hitmaker is preparing the release of his first 2023 effort, and he's doing so with his fans by his side.
YoungBoy recently shared that tomorrow (January 6), he'll drop his album I Rest My Case . It looks as if he's been working on visuals for the record because, according to reports, he invited several of his fans to his home to shoot a music video.
Read More: NBA Youngboy Announces New Album “I Rest My Case”
Social media outlets have shared snow-filled videos of YoungBoy surrounded by dozens of his admirers. In one clip, the rapper showed off the excited crowd as they battled the cold weather.
No one seemed to mind because they were having a once-in-a-lifetime experience with their favorite artist.
Read More: NBA YoungBoy Gearing Up To Drop First Album Of 2023 This Friday
In another video, a more playful side of YoungBoy is seen. He was embroiled in a snowball fight with his fans while his music played loudly in the background.
I Rest My Case will add its name to the growing list of back-to-back releases from NBA. He's dropped eight records within the last 12 months alone—a feat that isn't for the faint of heart. It has proven successful for the top-selling artist, and it's clear he isn't slowing down anytime soon.
Check out more from YoungBoy's snowball video shoot below.
- Link Copied to Clipboard! Copy URL
- NBA Youngboy
- video shoot
How YoungBoy Never Broke Again Hit No. 1 From Jail: Fans Had His Back
The 21-year-old rapper, currently awaiting trial on gun charges, has tallied billions of streams and just scored his fourth chart-topping album despite having little mainstream profile.
- Share full article
By Joe Coscarelli
YoungBoy Never Broke Again, one of the most popular rappers in the country, is by some measures still obscure: At 21, he has almost no mainstream profile, his songs receive barely any radio play and he has never performed on television.
In and out of jail since he was a teenager, YoungBoy, or YB to his most dedicated fans, is also currently incarcerated in his home state of Louisiana, awaiting trial on charges that he possessed a gun as a felon. Federal prosecutors have called him “a danger to the community.”
Yet YoungBoy’s new album, “Sincerely, Kentrell” — for his real name, Kentrell D. Gaulden — just became the rapper’s fourth release in less than two years to hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart . In between, he reached the Top 10 with two additional mixtapes, an undeniable run that has solidified him as a poster child for a new kind of streaming-era stardom even as he remains an industry outsider and exception.
Overall, YoungBoy’s violently brooding music has been streamed more than six billion times since last September, including over one billion video streams, but received just 55,000 radio airplay spins in the same period, according to MRC Data, Billboard’s tracking arm. On YouTube, where he has nearly 10 million subscribers and has uploaded almost 100 music videos since 2016, he frequently outpaces artists like Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift.
Narrowly edging out the fourth-week sales of “Certified Lover Boy,” by the chart juggernaut Drake, “Sincerely, Kentrell” ended its first week with 137,000 in total units. That debut also bested the rollout earlier this month of the much-hyped first album by Lil Nas X, who has been widely recognized for his marketing genius . And unlike his chart competitors, YoungBoy included no guest features on his album in a moment where buzzy collaborators are thought to be a cheat code to streams for would-be blockbusters.
“I haven’t really seen something like this in hip-hop,” said Lanre Gaba, the executive vice president of Black music at Atlantic Records, YoungBoy’s label, comparing his die-hard supporters to those of the K-pop group BTS . “He hasn’t always been the artist that some of the gatekeepers have let into these other spaces. That makes his fan base even more rabid.”
Using that passion and the artist’s unavailability as a rallying point, YoungBoy’s team tapped into his deep reserves of audio and video material while communing directly with his listeners to shape the new album and its release strategy.
Label executives maintained collaborative group chats with the rapper’s obsessive fan pages on social media to stoke and magnify their existing grass-roots marketing efforts. And YoungBoy’s musical brain trust relied on those same loyalists to help select the track list.
In some cases, they even used fan-generated titles from what are known in the rap world as snippets — partial, unofficial versions of unreleased songs that may have been played in passing on Instagram and are then lusted after for months, or years, by listeners.
YoungBoy — widely known as NBA YoungBoy, his name before copyright concerns became an issue — also participated heavily in the planning, keeping up with his team in marathon daily calls from jail, each routinely interrupted by the 15-minute time limit.
“YB makes music for YB,” said his go-to audio engineer Jason Goldberg, known as Cheese. “But when you take into account what the fans want and it correlates, it’s this huge explosion. Everybody’s been involved. Then we didn’t let them down.”
Cheese said “Sincerely, Kentrell” was formed from some 150 possible songs recorded in hotel rooms, on moving tour buses and in studios across the country before YoungBoy was arrested in March.
On one track, “Life Support,” the engineer said, “you can hear some of the road underneath a few of those lines.” For others, he ran 50-foot cables out of a second-story window so YoungBoy could rap in the front seat of a parked Range Rover, because smoking was prohibited inside his Airbnb.
The entirely freestyled songs, filled with trauma, threats and regrets , are taken from the roiling life of someone struggling to change — a combustible mix of street politics, ceaseless personal tragedy and sudden riches. Raised by his grandmother in north Baton Rouge, La., YoungBoy dropped out of school in ninth grade and started rapping at 14 on a microphone from Walmart .
But even as his music took off online, leading to a $2 million deal with Atlantic in 2016, he struggled with serious legal problems.
In 2017, facing two counts of attempted first-degree murder for his role in a nonfatal drive-by shooting, YoungBoy pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of aggravated assault with a firearm and received a suspended 10-year prison sentence , plus probation.
After additional arrests, including one for domestic violence in 2018, and another shootout in which the rapper’s crew was found to be acting in self-defense, YoungBoy was ordered to spend 90 days in jail and serve the rest of his probation on house arrest. (He later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery for slamming down and scuffling with a girlfriend in the 2018 incident.)
“You have a choice to make,” a judge told him at the time . “You can either be Kentrell or NBA.”
The rapper replied, “I feel the same way. I can’t be both.”
Most recently, in March, YoungBoy was taken into custody by federal agents in Los Angeles after a high-speed chase for charges stemming from an arrest in Baton Rouge last September, in which the rapper was among 16 people accused of possessing guns and drugs at a video shoot.
Lawyers for YoungBoy have argued that he was unfairly targeted — pointing to the authorities’ name for the operation, Never Free Again, “an obvious take off on Gaulden’s highly successful music and marketing brand” — and are seeking to suppress evidence they say was unconstitutionally obtained. They called the F.B.I.’s pursuit of the rapper in Los Angeles a “massive and wildly unnecessary militaristic display of force and intimidation.”
YoungBoy’s real-life profile has at once created commercial hurdles for his career and heightened his outlaw aura, drawing comparisons to Tupac Shakur, Gucci Mane and Lil Wayne.
“They break the rules, they do it their own way and the people pick that,” said Alex Junnier, a manager for YoungBoy. “There’s nothing anyone can do to stop it.”
Still, there has been wariness from corporate partners like Spotify, Apple and even YouTube, where YoungBoy nonetheless dominates . “His image would stop me from getting anything for him — it was blocking ads, anything we wanted to do,” Veronica Lainey, the rapper’s product manager at Atlantic, said. “His streak of getting No. 1s, that’s really helped change the narrative.”
But the years of volatility also required the label to be nimble with its handling of an iconoclastic artist and his precarious career.
“He is never going to be told categorically what and when and where something should happen,” said Shadeh Smith, YoungBoy’s video commissioner at Atlantic, recalling the days when she would wake up to a new video the rapper uploaded online himself. “Now I’m lucky most of the time I get a heads up that something’s coming, but that wasn’t always the case.”
With YoungBoy away for the rollout of “Sincerely, Kentrell,” the label had to again tap into its flexibility and creativity, seeking to “take the online conversation to the streets,” Lainey said.
Atlantic put up billboards with the slogan “YB Better,” a line the rapper’s fans use to spam comment sections across the internet, and used the N.C.A.A.’s new name, image and likeness rules to turn college athletes into influencers by paying them to post about YoungBoy’s music. (The prevalence of YoungBoy memes on TikTok grew organically, they said.)
When the chart race with Drake for No. 1 turned into a nail-biter, the YoungBoy team and its faithful went into overdrive.
To garner additional interest and activity, the label added two bonus tracks to the album midweek, including one, “Still Waiting,” that YoungBoy had recorded over the phone with Cheese from jail. And the fans did their part, urging one another to listen to “Sincerely, Kentrell” on loop, with some participating in group streaming parties to boost the numbers.
“They picked him, so they’re not going to let him down,” Junnier, the rapper’s manager, said. “Someone like him wasn’t supposed to be here.”
Joe Coscarelli is a culture reporter with a focus on pop music. His work seeks to pull back the curtain on how hit songs and emerging artists are discovered, made and marketed. He previously worked at New York magazine and The Village Voice. More about Joe Coscarelli
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No, ‘The Story of Top’ NBA Youngboy Netflix Documentary Isn’t Real
- music documentaries
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Word on the street is that Netflix has come out with a brand new documentary following rapper YoungBoy Never Broke Again, AKA NBA YoungBoy. This rumor has arisen recently, perhaps in correlation with the rapper’s own ever-rising star and acclaim
So is The Story of Top an real upcoming Netflix documentary about NBA YoungBoy, or is it just his loyal fans’ wishful thinking?
Who is NBA YoungBoy?
NBA YoungBoy was born Kentrell DeSean Gaulden in Louisiana in 1999. Despite his young age, he has already made quite a name for himself, with established big-time rappers like Snoop Dogg even naming the young musician among the top rappers coming up in the music industry now.
Early in his career, he earned a cult following after releasing six mixtapes independently between 2015 and 2017. In 2018 he released debut studio album Until Death Call My Name , and since then, has been on a roll, collaborating with rapper like Snoop, Meek Mill, 21 Savage, Lil Baby, and Lil Wayne. He has won two different music awards for his collaboration with Juice WRLD on 2019 single “Bandit,” and earned his first Grammy nomination this year in the Best Melodic Rap Performance category as a part of Tyler, the Creator’s 2021 single “WusYaName.”
Outside of music, NBA YoungBoy has been embroiled in legal issues, and has had multiple arrests.
Is The Story of Top a real Netflix documentary?
No, it is not. As much as many of NBA YoungBoy’s fans would like to see a documentary about him, there is currently nothing in the works, as far as we know. The rumor probably comes from this viral fan-art which popped up on Reddit a month ago, and seems to continue to be passed around without context.
Where did the name The Story of Top come from?
People are likely pulling this made-up title from NBA YoungBoy’s second studio album, which was released in 2020 and called Top . The album, which included guest appearances from Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne, was a commercial success, debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200.
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YoungBoy Never Broke Again
Best Music of 2022
How niche rap stars quietly conquered 2022, the prolific, enigmatic artists beating the streaming game from the sidelines.
YoungBoy Never Broke Again (aka NBA YoungBoy) is among a handful of rappers who achieved massive streaming numbers in 2022 while remaining nearly invisible to the pop establishment. Simone Noronha for NPR hide caption
YoungBoy Never Broke Again (aka NBA YoungBoy) is among a handful of rappers who achieved massive streaming numbers in 2022 while remaining nearly invisible to the pop establishment.
If you can't find the emergent rap stars in 2022, you might be looking in the wrong place. A recent Billboard feature about hip-hop's status as a market leader suggested that a generation of rap stars is aging out and few new ones are filling the void. But scan lists of the most streamed artists of the year and, between the boldface names of artists like Drake, Future, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar, you will find a few whose presence feels less inevitable. The metrics for stardom have always required specific machinery, but that machinery has been altered in the 2020s, thanks in large part to changes in streaming infrastructure. The digital paths we came to recognize in the last decade tended to aim at an eventual level-up: leveraging a base on SoundCloud into radio play, or turning a viral video into a TV spot. For some in this latest generation, that kind of signal boost is beside the point.
The 20 Best Hip-Hop Albums of 2022
To be fair, it is true that hip-hop is facing some critical challenges that have curbed its star power in recent years. Its lyrics have become a favorite tool of the carceral system, both stateside and abroad. An obscene number of young rap stars have been killed by gun violence and opioid abuse — though, importantly, that rise has been commensurate with record deaths in both categories nationwide over the same period, according to The Gun Violence Archive and the CDC , respectively. (As usual, rap is merely reflecting the values of American culture.) Meanwhile, a few of rap's biggest names have tanked their own careers in public lately. DaBaby talked his way into oblivion. Questions remain about Travis Scott's culpability in the deaths of concertgoers during the Astroworld festival in 2021. His mentor Kanye West, or Ye, spent months effectively self-identifying as antisemitic, before capping the year with a note of praise for Hitler that seemed to stun even the notorious far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
But beyond these complications, the idea that rap stardom at large is dwindling must come down to the model used to measure it. For most of pop history, the household name has been fashioned by a combination of radio plays and TV appearances, awards show nominations and "it" moments — signifiers that add up to an artist as a cultural force, prominent in ways that can't be ignored. And by those standards, there are still those whose ascendancy has been presented in familiar terms. Lil Baby, Gunna and Jack Harlow, each riding a comfortable upswing, all scored hit albums and singles this year. Megan Thee Stallion remains an A-lister, her name and music at the center of discourse despite the chaos of her situation. Polo G and Playboi Carti made such dominant showings in the early COVID era, they were able to take 2022 off and still feel unavoidable. 21 Savage, coming off a long break, reaffirmed his status with Drake at his side.
But at the fringes of that more recognizable sphere of celebrity, a new kind of star has been hard at work: the platform-conscious niche star, whose massive fanbase only looks small when compared with total ubiquity. Hip-hop has some precedent for such figures, embodied in those regional successes who operate without much concern for crossing over. And the diminished visibility of many of these niche stars has at least a little to do with their aversion to press, or the press's aversion to them. But if you believe there's a meaningful distinction between what is outwardly omnipresent in culture and what is reaching people — between what is promoted and what is actually beloved — the fringe rap star is a living test of this principle, the kind of artist whose success manifests in being actively listened to by 100 people, rather than casually heard by 1,000.
In 2022, YoungBoy Never Broke Again (or NBA YoungBoy ), Rod Wave , Lil Durk, Yeat and a resurgent Kodak Black stood out among a cohort of artists who are finding ways to connect with legions of listeners while the wider pop cultural apparatus mostly ignores them. Their central appeal is their music, all varying strains of melodic rap. Their success is tangible, at least by the streaming era's murky math: Of the 13 albums certified by the RIAA this year, Durk's 7220 was one of only five to go platinum. YoungBoy scored two of the eight gold plaques, and Rod and Kodak each nabbed one more. The stars behind these numbers have each produced their own distilled sound, and though their paths differ, their stories overlap. Through the gaps in social platforming and the increased sprawl of the streaming model (with direct-to-consumer meeting word-of-mouth), these performers took the leap, some despite significant controversy, to help define the year in rap for those who took notice.
NBA YoungBoy is the archetype for this phenomenon. The Baton Rouge rapper's total streaming numbers are second to only Drake's among all artists, and yet he is hidden. He has no radio presence. He isn't even in the Top 20 on Billboard 's year-end artists list. Nor is he one of Spotify's Top 5 most-streamed artists in America. Where sheer numbers are concerned, his competitive edge against music's one-percenters lies in a machinelike productivity. YoungBoy seems to have the upload button held down: He's prolific but consistent, always active and always online, rolling out content at the algorithm's desired pace. Musically, there is a subtle ranginess within his squawked, autotuned performances that has kept him clear of stagnancy, a contrast you can hear in his last two solo projects — the Cash Money-inspired 3 800 Degrees is belligerent and burly, whereas Ma' I Got A Family is more subdued and tender. It's that duality that has helped sustain his nonstop creative march.
Rod Wave has picked up a reputation as rap's resident melancholiac, so much so that he announced that his August LP, Beautiful Mind , would be his last " sad-ass album ." It might be more accurate to call his music yearning: He is certainly a bluesman, but often his songs are about pushing forward through tragedy and bearing the brunt of loss. It's easy to understand how that approach has resonated in these pandemic years; Rod has had an album debut in the Top 2 on the Billboard 200 every year since 2020. Unlike many other rappers in this conversation, he seems to create in isolation — his records barely have any features, and he nixed a Drake collab on the grounds that he wasn't satisfied with his own contribution to the track. His music is sympathetic and accessible, vulnerable in an almost ordinary way. It feels characteristic of the artist who makes it, cautious and homespun.
Lil Durk's rise started out a bit more traditional. The Chicago rapper was initially swept up in the drill gold rush of the early 2010s, but his career stalled; A&Rs didn't seem to know what to do with him, and he was released from his Def Jam deal in 2018. He has been steadily resurfacing ever since: five Billboard Top 5 albums in four years, three of those certified platinum, including a collaboration with Lil Baby. This year, he sold out the United Center for the hometown show of his 7220 tour. Similarly to Rod, Durk's success is built on openness, but his music sets a far colder mood, hardened against the harsh realities of the violence its words brush against. As drill continues its global expansion, Durk has developed in meditative directions. He does have a bruiser mode where he cuts the autotune and reflects on the cruelty he has experienced, but his most reflective mode, the default one that earned him the nickname "The Voice," is poignant, droning singsong. Both qualities have made him a reliable foil for rappers like Drake, Cardi B, Gucci Mane and Meek Mill.
Somewhere beyond the currently quantifiable lies Yeat. A former Slayworld affiliate, his music pries open rage beats (cascading electronic production often resembling 8-bit video game music) and tunnels through their vortexes, his wheezing flows opening portals to realms as vivid as Castlevania 's gothic horror or Doom 's hell-raising pandemonium. Yeat songs are soundscapes for a digital world, so it's unsurprising that the native ecosystem for his music is TikTok, where songs can exist almost purely as trend fuel or edit glue. He has carved out a distinct niche as a meme rapper — his song "Rich Minions" prompted zealous, suit-wearing teenagers to mob screenings of a Despicable Me prequel — and on YouTube he is a king of the fan-made AMV, or anime music video. As surreal and stupefying as his rise has been, there is something genuinely mesmerizing in the music, whose Simlish cadences really do feel equipped with the power to make memes real.
If there is an exception that proves the rule, it is Kodak Black, whose ignominy often overshadows the music he makes. The Florida rapper reemerged at the top of the year from an incarceration-induced down period, and with "Super Gremlin" notched the year's biggest YouTube hit to not have come from the Encanto soundtrack. He is a melodic rapper's melodic rapper: Roddy Ricch dubbed him one of their generation's big three (along with YoungBoy), and Drake separately delivered his own endorsement: "You really all that for this generation and the next one if we being honest," he wrote . Kendrick Lamar must feel similarly, since he used Kodak as a proxy on his crucible of an album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers , a decision that received considerable backlash , but one that, in its own way, seems to wrestle with star power and celebrity responsibility and cult followings, with Kendrick himself longing to retreat to the periphery.
The notoriety that Kodak does have, or the infamy he has earned, is rooted in a buffoonery that has stretched into lawlessness. He has a long rap sheet, including a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct (which he pled down to first-degree assault and battery last year) and a firearm charge (which was commuted by then-President Donald Trump in 2020). And, frankly, he is incendiary and exasperating: The rapper has an extensive history of ignorant, colorist, sexist comments. All that baggage is saddling one of the most talented prospects in recent years, a rapper beloved by critics until he made himself unlovable. The same impishness that has made him a super gremlin in public seems to govern his songs; his croaked raps are charged with a mischievous energy. Kodak likely benefits most among his peers from operating on the fringes, where his nonstop antics don't have to face the more searing scrutiny of the megawatt spotlight.
In that way and others, staying out of the public eye can be a PR strategy for circumventing the demands made of headliners. Talk of the ethics of streaming tends to center on the platforms, but on the user end there seems to be a disparity between the way people talk about music and the way they listen, or perhaps between those doing the talking and those doing the listening. Kodak is a streaming mainstay despite his history. YoungBoy and Rod Wave have been similarly detained . Even Durk isn't free of controversy . Rap has long been a business that courts provocation to build momentum, like a wrestling heel on a promo run. But the opposite can be true, too: Sometimes the best way to maintain momentum is to create as little friction as possible, to avoid controversy at all costs. Yeat often can't even be bothered to show his face.
Still, beyond the bad behavior, there is something subtler and more fascinating at play: All of these fringe rappers have a sound that is supported by the ways our consumer models are currently designed. They feed into the autoplay function, absorb into the cracks around everyday life. Put YoungBoy or Rod Wave on shuffle and the songs can begin to bleed together. The artists are making distinctive, captivating music within their concealed little nooks, but they are using defined formulas to do so. It is the perfect balance for remaining hidden in plain sight. Their work never feels out of place on any modern rap playlist, but click away from the infinite wade of the stream and into their individual discographies, and a secret little sphere is unveiled.
- NBA YoungBoy
NBA YoungBoy And Nicki Minaj “WTF” Review
- Music , New Music Reviews and Ratings
- April 18, 2023
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As the loyal Barbz are dying for the next studio album from Nicki Minaj , the Queen of rap has wasted no time this year releasing new music and hopping on fresh collabs. “ WTF” by YoungBoy Never Broke Again (NBA YoungBoy for short) featuring Nicki Minaj was released on April 7, 2023, and was quickly streamed over one million times on Spotify within the first 72 hours of the song’s release.
Produced by an entire army consisting of Yetty, Kenoe, Yo Benji, Wayv, Dom Wise & D-Roc, the song is short and to the point, clocking in at 2 minutes and 41 seconds, with each artist dominating half of the song. Contrary to the WTF that we are all used to, where the “w” stands for “what”, “WTF” comes with the question of “who” as YoungBoy and Nicki address the ops… again.
WTF Single Review
The first half of the song features NBA YoungBoy ’s thoughts on the opposition that he has been facing throughout his career. Though heavily autotuned, “WTF” has a “Do We Have a Problem” vibe, like someone sitting in their studious library, surrounded by mahogany while fire blazes in the ornate fireplace and our protagonists study the crimes against them and come up with a plan of action to nip the disrespect in the bud.
In his verse, YoungBoy lays down biting bars like:
The fuck they think they playin’ with? Bitch, I make millions
I been plannin’ on stackin’ bands ’til my ceilin’
Thinkin’ ’bout my lil’ brother Kendell, I start ventin’
In the second half of the song, Nicki matches YoungBoy’s flow, ditching the stylistic autotune to show off her show-stopping pipes. Staying true to the theme of the song, Minaj lays down lyrics like:
Cross YoungBoy, then you cross the Queen (Queen)
All them internet games turn boys to memes (Memes)
Keep sleepin’ on the team, we gon’ pause your dreams
They want action, tell my niggas, “Cause a scene”
Nicki Minaj’s “WTF” Verse Dissected
Going above and beyond the expectation, the release date of the single brought with it the official visuals for the song as well. In true Nicki Minaj fashion, the visuals for this song are stunning. The music video depicts YoungBoy reflecting on his journey as Nicki teaches a ballet class, one of the most grueling performance arts to learn. The symbolism of this is subtle, yet bold since they are portrayed teaching a prestigious art form, which clearly defines the narrative of this song as a tale of the best of the best reminding their students that they have not yet achieved the skill level of their teachers.
It is a very powerful statement, to say the least. However, at the risk of having my “Barb-Card” revoked and losing the ballet slippers badge on my BarbieScouts sash – this song did not do it for me. “WTF” doesn’t possess the same freshness as the other Nicki Minaj releases of 2023, and doesn’t really leave anything for me to hold onto other than the imagery of the music video. And, given the previous collabs between the two artists, I was expecting more from this new single.
However, Nicki’s respect for YoungBoy is very apparent in this track. Normally, if a collab featuring Nicki doesn’t do it for me, I can count on her verse blowing the rest of the song out of the water. “WTF” is the first collaboration that I can remember where Nicki’s presence doesn’t completely overshadow the song. The way she matches YoungBoy’s flow and energy on this track is commendable (to say the least) and reminds me of John Popper sharing the stage with Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd.)
I will also add that, as a fan, I am growing weary of the “ops-era.” Initially, when songs like “Do We Have a Problem” were released, I ate them up and welcomed the era of standing in our power and setting good personal boundaries. Now, a little over a year later, I feel as though this topic has played out.
In conclusion, “WTF” is the right song for the right people. If you have an “addressing the ops” playlist, this song might even find its way into the mix. Personally, I prefer the collabs like “SFG (Queen Mix)” and “Likkle Miss Remix (Fine Nine Mix)” over songs addressing the ops, but that’s just me. And I have to add that, given time, it is possible that this new track will grow on me. But I am not going to go out of my way to listen to it again.
With a central theme of:
I don’t f*ck with them, I’m too real
I know that this song will give power to those who need it most this year.
Eirian Naomi Omid
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The Kid LAROI’s “Tragic” Featuring YoungBoy Never Broke Again & Internet Money | Watch Now!
This week’s (09/26/20) 5 must-hear debuts on the hot 100, youngboy never broke again’s “all in” | watch now, youngboy never broke again’s “kacey talk” | watch now, future’s “trillionaire” featuring youngboy never broke again | watch now, youngboy never broke again’s “bout my business” featuring sherhonda gaulden | watch now, youngboy never broke again’s “rough ryder” | watch now, youngboy never broke again’s “diamonds” | watch now, this week’s 5 must-hear debuts, youngboy never broke again’s “long rd” | watch now, latest news, billboard 2023: the covers.
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Five Reasons Why 2023 Has Yet to Yield a No. 1 Hip-Hop Album or Single
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- By Andrew Unterberger
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YoungBoy Never Broke Again’s ‘Don’t Try This’ Debuts at No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart
- May 4, 2023 7:14 pm
Morgan Wallen’s ‘One Thing at a Time’ Hits Eighth Week at No. 1 on Billboard 200
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Will It Be Agust D’s ‘Day’ on the Billboard 200?
- Apr 26, 2023 2:19 pm
Drake, Suga, YoungBoy Never Broke Again & More: Which New Music Release Is Your Favorite? Vote!
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- Apr 7, 2023 1:59 pm
YoungBoy Never Broke Again Recruits Nicki Minaj For Hard-Hitting Single ‘WTF’: Watch
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- Apr 7, 2023 1:37 am
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- Feb 3, 2023 11:48 am
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Best Halloween costumes from athletes 2023: Giannis Antetokounmpo dresses as Hulk, Joe Burrow dons alien mask
These athletes went all out for spooky season.
Per tradition around this time of the year, athletes are getting creative with their Halloween gameday fits. Stars such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joe Burrow are starting to show off their costumes, and so far the results have not been disappointing.
Some costumes are funny, some are nostalgic and some are scary, but the whole point was to not take the process too seriously -- unless you are New York Jets linebacker Quincy Williams , who dressed up as the Joker from DC Comics.
"Why so serious? Because it's game day," William said before the Jets' game against the Giants .
View this post on Instagram A post shared by New York Jets (@nyjets)
Speaking of the Jets, Jermaine Johnson, Will McDonald IV and Bryce Huff decided to do a group costume. The three of them walked in dressed as Akatsuki, a fearsome group from the anime "Naruto."
View this post on Instagram A post shared by NFL (@nfl)
San Antonio Spurs rookie star Victor Wembanyama took advantage of his height and slender figure to dress up as fictional character Slenderman.
Wemby as Slenderman for Halloween 👻 pic.twitter.com/wHWfjybW3g — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 31, 2023
Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow showed up to Levi's Stadium with a look that was out of this world. He arrived to the game against the San Francisco 49ers wearing an alien mask paired with a NASA shirt and some colorful pants.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Cincinnati Bengals (@bengals)
After leading the Milwaukee Bucks to a 122-114 win over the Miami Heat on Monday, Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo showed up to his postgame press conference dressed in an Incredible Hulk costume.
Giannis Antetokounmpo just did his full media availability with an Incredible Hulk mask on his face. Remained earnest and serious throughout the entire session. pic.twitter.com/qa7URaQFS1 — Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) October 31, 2023
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James wore an incredibly detailed costume inspired from the Tim Burton film "Beetlejuice."
View this post on Instagram A post shared by 👑 (@kingjames)
Legendary boxer Mike Tyson decided to, in the words of the great Muhammad Ali, sting like a bee this Halloween.
"Happy Halloween. Bee the force that cannot bee stopped." pic.twitter.com/r0rSDgySL2 — Mike Tyson (@MikeTyson) October 31, 2023
Carolina Panthers wider receiver Laviska Shenault Jr had fun hiding inside a puffy Minions costume.
The reveal 😂 @Viska2live https://t.co/Ymip4oQpDw pic.twitter.com/p1j3cSidrn — Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) October 29, 2023
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett fully committed to the spirit of Halloween as The Creeper from the "Jeepers Creepers" horror franchise.
Chicago Bears conrnerback Kyler Gordon dressed up as Spider-Man, which has been his nickname for a while because of his agility and speed.
Kyler Gordon's spidey senses are tingling 🕷️ @kyler_gordon pic.twitter.com/7kXOjwaFB5 — NFL (@NFL) October 29, 2023
The Toronto Raptors are taking Halloween seriously, as Gradey Dick showed up to the team's Halloween party dressed up as Scooby-Doo. Meanwhile, Scottie Barnes went as Frozone from the "The Incredibles."
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Toronto Raptors (@raptors)
Scottie Barnes, meanwhile, went as Frozone. pic.twitter.com/uRXz6CBWgE — Adam Laskaris (@adam_la2karis) October 23, 2023
In one of the funnier bits this spooky season, New Orleans Pelicans guard Trey Murphy ran out of the tunnel before Monday's game against the Warriors wearing a referee's outfit.
Trey Murphy ran out of the tunnel wearing a referee costume 😂😂 #Pelicans #NBA pic.twitter.com/ibgx3PbOth — FT Sports (@FreeTimeSports_) October 31, 2023
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