The trend of athletes wanting to be musicians has been around since the "Must Be the Money" days, but it seems like this movement is now more popular than ever. Current NFL players who have recently taken their talents from the gridiron to the recording booth include Le'Veon Bell, Martellus Bennett, and Melvin Ingram. Cam Newton opted to go the safer route by shooting his own music video instead of actually laying down vocals.
The Checkdown is taking this trend to the next level by giving your favorite NFL stars their own album covers. From The Life of Peyton to Gronk Calling, check out our NFL Album Cover Re-creations.
The parallels go beyond the surface though. The King of Pop was 24 years old when he released Thriller, OBJ is 24 as he enters his fourth season in the NFL. Last year, Beckham became the first wide receiver with at least 80 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in his first three seasons. MJ was known for breaking a few records too... Thriller is the best-selling album of all time.
The Life of Peyton
Original Album: The Life of Pablo by Kanye West
Release Date: 2/14/2016
Player Featured: Peyton Manning
The life of Peyton Manning involves ordering delivery from Papa John's, plenty of "Omaha!" yelling at the line of scrimmage, and stability through insurance. The life of Kanye West involves spending $3,000 on intercontinental food delivery, plenty of yelling at the paparazzi, and general unpredictability. Despite seeming like polar opposites, these two G.O.A.T.s have one thing in common--success. West has 21 Grammys while Manning has five MVP awards and virtually every major NFL passing record.
Gronk Calling, The Spike
Original Album: London Calling by The Clash
Release Date: 12/14/1979
Player Featured: Rob Gronkowski
British punk band The Clash released London Calling a decade before baby Gronk came into this world, but there is no player in football, or any sport really, that we would rather see smash a guitar.
Fun related fact: Wide receiver Homer Jones became the first player to spike a football in celebration on October 17, 1965. Around that same time (mid-60s), Pete Townshend of The Who was the first rocker to start the trend of smashing guitars.
Original Album: DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar
Release Date: 4/14/2017
Coach Featured: Dan Quinn
"Damn" was all millions of viewers could say after the Patriots completed the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history over the Falcons. Atlanta fans were humbled and left sporting expressions like Kendrick Lamar's on this cover. Only time will tell if redemption is in the DNA of coach Dan Quinn and the Atlanta Falcons. OK, I'll stop.
Original Album: Freedom of Choice by Devo
Release Date: 5/16/1980
Player Featured: Devonta Freeman
Cam Newton grabs headlines for his eccentric style, but his outfits pale in comparison to the odd fashion of Devo. If someone really wants to get people talking about their wardrobe during the 2017 season, they need to wear a Devo hat (a.k.a. an energy dome) to their first postgame press conference. I'm looking at you, Devonta.
4 My Receivers Only
Original Album: 4 Your Eyez Only by J. Cole
Release Date: 12/9/2016
Player Featured: Dak Prescott
Dak Prescott and the 2016 Cowboys were 11-1 when J. Cole dropped his fourth studio album, 4 Your Eyez Only. Cole's album went on to go platinum and Dak only threw four interceptions throughout his very impressive rookie campaign. His four picks placed him second among quarterbacks with at least 250 pass attempts last season.
The Nuk, DEANDRE
Original Album: The Chronic by Dr. Dre
Release Date: 12/15/1992
Player Featured: DeAndre Hopkins
Original Album: Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper
Release Date: 5/13/2016
Player Featured: Cam Newton
Newton hasn't professed his love for hats, but the man behind Cam's headwear spoke to ESPN about the method behind the quarterback's one-of-a-kind accessories.
Legend of Beast Mode, Marshawn Lynch and the Raiders
Original Album: Legend, The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers
Release Date: 5/8/1984
Player Featured: Marshawn Lynch
Bob Marley had a well-known passion for soccer, but the late singer's connection to American football is a bit under the radar. Marley's son, Rohan, played linebacker for the Miami Hurricanes in the early '90s and was teammates with Ray Lewis, Warren Sapp, and Dwayne Johnson (yes, The Rock). Rohan's son, Nico Marley, played linebacker for Tulane and signed with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent this offseason, but he did not make the team's final roster.
Nico's iconic grandfather had a beastly output--the Jamaican singer released 11 albums from 1970 to 1980. Between 2010 to 2014, when Marshawn Lynch was growing into peak Beast Mode form, the running back averaged over 275 rushing attempts, 1,200 yards, and 10 touchdowns per season. Legends.