- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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Some sad news to report on this beautiful Monday morning, guys: Tennessee forward Renaldo Woolridge is putting his "Swiperboy" moniker -- and his career in rap music -- to bed.
You might recognize the name from the handful of blog posts we've written about his music career to date. There was the time we first learned of Woolridge's enthusiasm for rap music, the time he released a lively remix of "Rocky Top" and the time he dropped a thoughtful tribute to the troops in the wake of the operation in Pakistan that killed Osama Bin Laden. There was also the time Swiperboy's rap career nearly landed Tennessee in some (more) hot water with the NCAA, but the school eventually found no violation had been committed.
So why is Woolridge giving up his second love? To focus on basketball? No so much. In fact, Woolridge seems disillusioned by the current state of the rap game, a notion he shared in a farewell post on his blog Sunday:
Now I know what you all are thinking, "Wow..did SB just give up on a dream and quit??"... No, thats not the reason. In all honesty I feel extremely under appreciated when it comes to the talent I was given for music. There are a lot of artists in mainstream america who are TERRIBLE, but have more shine than the sun reflected off a mirror in the middle of July has.... MEANING, if I have to stoop down and be "wack" to "make it", then I don't want that.
There's something admirable in there somewhere -- I'm pretty sure Kurt Cobain felt exactly this way about Nirvana's popularity -- though I would politely disagree that modern rap dynamics make it impossible for talented artists to succeed. Sure, there are a lot of silly dance tracks out there. But there's also "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," or pretty much anything Lil' Wayne releases when he's half-conscious and actually trying. (And hey, "Watch the Throne" drops today.) You can be popular and good, Renaldo. Don't give up yet!
Fortunately, Woolridge isn't leaving his fans high and dry. In fact, he's announcing his retirement just as he prepares to release what he says will be his final mixtape. It's titled "Zazzles." The sales pitch from Swiperboy himself:
I AM THE BEST NEW RAPPER ..I have to say new because for whatever reason mainstream america wants to continue to sleep on me and consider me as such. I WILL GO BAR FOR BAR, PUNCHLINE FOR PUNCHLINE, SWAG FOR SWAG with ANYONE in the game. Period. None of these new rappers impress me...but it's all good. Cuz like Drake says..maybe they'll "miss me a little when I'm gone". So with all that being said, "Zazzzle" will be my final mixtape. When I finish it, I will blow anyone who listens to it away. It will be my blood, sweat, and tears..final masterpiece to show the world what SB truly had to offer. There will be 15 tracks, all of which are my best recorded lyrical and delivered material up to date.
So there you have it. Here's hoping Swiperboy can overcome his disillusionment with pop music and chart a new course for musical success in the future. Or he can just play basketball at Tennessee. As Plan Bs go, that one's not so bad.