Stevie Johnson on 'Run it Back' with Game
July, 10, 2012
By Lynn Hoppes | ESPN.com
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson isn't quitting his day job, but he does occasionally love to dabble in music.
In 2011, Johnson released a mixtape called "Why So Serious" with G5Gi, and he has worked on mixtapes with his cousin, Bay Area rapper Ya Boy.
And now he recently released a song and video with Game called "Run It Back."
"I'm not trying to step in their lane," said Johnson, who signed a five-year contract with the Bills in March. "I've been writing and rhyming since high school. I have always had a pen and pad with me."
That's one reason why NOC -- the YouTube entertainment channel that focuses on the personalities and lives of athletes -- wanted to work with Johnson.
"Stevie is a young, exciting player on the field who exudes style and freshness off it. He was the perfect athlete to launch our channel," said Erik Kesten, NOC executive producer on the project. "We knew Stevie had legit rapping skills -- far better than most athlete-wannabe-rappers. So we thought it would be fun to get him in the studio with a rapper who could mentor him through the process of writing and recording a track -- just to see how good he really can be."
For Kesten, Los Angeles-based Game -- who was discovered by Dr. Dre and has been making hits for years -- was the obvious collaborator.
"Game was the perfect choice because he's helped mentor quite a few young rappers," Kesten said. "After a few months of trying to coordinate their schedules, we finally got the two to meet up at Game's studio in L.A. We were all blown away by how good Stevie was -- both in his preparation, lyric writing, and ability to flow. Game gave Stevie the ultimate approval by writing and recording a verse for the track on the spot."
That's exactly what you see in the video. Both are reading lyrics on the iPhones they just wrote.
"It all came together so easily," Johnson said. "I had never met him before but it worked beautifully. It was a lot of fun."