Interview with Antonio Brown: Rap career, Kanye West, return to the NFL

Antonio Brown is obviously in a good mood. Sitting in a luxury office building on the afternoon of January 20, he smiles and cracks jokes, using words like “grateful”, “excited” and “at peace” to describe his current state of mind.

You wouldn’t know it by his calm demeanor right now, but 2022 has already been a tough year for the 33-year-old NFL star. On January 2, he took off his jersey and walked off the field in the middle of a game against the New York Jets, abruptly ending his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Days later he released a statement, saying he was too badly injured to continue playing, and claiming Bucs coach Bruce Arians ‘kicked me out like an animal’ before finally committing in a “continuous concealment” of the situation.

Brown was suddenly out of a job, but not in the public spotlight. Just hours after leaving the game, he released a new song called “Pit Not the Palace”. And in the weeks that followed, he was everywhere: filming music videos, performing in clubs, entering the studio with Kanye West, appearing on viral podcast episodes, striking deals with brands like Fashion Nova, and more. Moreover.

“Pit Not the Palace,” a hard-hitting song with an undeniably catchy hook, isn’t Brown’s first attempt at making music. Back at the University of Central Michigan, he used to kill time by going to teammate Tyler Reed’s studio and recording raps. And in late 2019, he started releasing his own songs, including “Whole Lotta Money,” a melodic cut that was good enough for Rick Ross to jump on the remix.

Unlike some of his NFL peers who released underwhelming music, there’s something about AB’s songs that stands out. His larger-than-life persona (and knack for coming up with catchy phrases) lends itself well to the studio, and you can almost imagine an alternate timeline where he chose music over football and carved out a path for himself in rap. .

Brown makes it very clear that his main priority remains football, and that music is just something he does on the side. He says he’s grateful for music as a creative outlet, but once his ankle heals, he wants to return to the NFL. And according to Brown, “a few teams have called” already.

However, he is at a crossroads. It’s the second time in three years he’s left the league amid controversy, after being dropped by the Patriots following a sexual assault trial in 2019, and many are starting to question his prospects. future in the NFL. As he plans his comeback, Brown seems to be pretty zen about it all. “I feel really good,” he said. “I have a new job, it’s called living. It’s our only job in the world, it’s just to live. These are not things that we take seriously. Life is a blessing in itself.

In the meantime, he is preparing a new album entitled Himmothy 2 featuring artists like 42 Dugg and Jacquees. Complex caught up with AB on Zoom for a chat about rap, life and a return to football. The interview, slightly edited for clarity, is below.

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