Fish Rapper

FAYETTEVILLE — A local rap duo came up with the idea for the song in May, then recorded it late last month. It didn't take long for "I Ball" to spread across the state.

Within days of the song surfacing on the Internet, it became a hot topic on Arkansas fan message boards. Local TV station KNWA made a video for the song, which was viewed several thousand times on before it was taken down because of copyright issues.

And for $1.99, listeners can download "I Ball" as their cell phone ringtone.

Who knew that Arkansas backup wide receiver Reggie Fish could make such a splash as a rapper who goes by the name Show Stealer?

"Initially, I didn't think (the song) would blow up as big as it did and get all on the news and stuff like that," Fish said. "That initially wasn't my thing. My thing was to give it to the team and use it as motivation."

Arkansas players have known for some time that Fish can rap. He said he recorded a couple of mixtapes while at Mesquite (Texas) High, and it's not uncommon for the 5-foot-7, 163-pound senior to spin a few rhymes when he's hanging out with teammates.

But most Razorback fans didn't know about Fish's hobby off the football field until "I Ball" — a 4-minute, 45-second song devoted to Arkansas football — made its way onto the Internet.

"I'm a fan of it. I like it. It's a song about us," said fellow Arkansas wide receiver Jarius Wright, who's mentioned in Fish's rap. "I know other teams have songs, so why not make our own?"

All of a sudden, Fish has become known for something other than taking part in the "Woody" trick play to help upset Auburn in 2006 and then fumbling a punt that changed the momentum in that year's Southeastern Conference Championship Game.

Like any good rap song, though, "I Ball" is a bit controversial. It's because of a few lines that LSU fans could take as some trash-talking by Fish, who's competing for playing time this season.

After a verse from another rapper known as Kenyon The Dawn, Fish gets on the song and raps: "I'm telling ya the truth, we're gonna keep that Boot. It will be three years in a row that we beat LSU."

Fish said he didn't have any reservations about recording a song that features a guarantee from him that Arkansas will keep The Golden Boot trophy by knocking off LSU in Baton Rouge on Nov. 28.

After all, he said "I Ball" was intended for Arkansas fans and teammates.

"I knew in my verse I didn't really have too much out there besides a few things like we want to keep the Boot. But I mean, that's obvious," Fish said. "I'm not downgrading any other teams or any other schools in my verse."

Arkansas wide receiver London Crawford — whose last-second touchdown catch allowed the Razorbacks to shock LSU 31-30 in 2008 — said he has no problem with Fish making the guarantee on the song.

"I mean, honestly, he's confident. Without a doubt, we do want to keep The Boot," Crawford said. "So I back him up 100 percent on what he says."

Fish debuted the song for his teammates one day over the summer when they were in the weight room, taking part in an offseason workout. He brought in a CD and asked Arkansas strength and conditioning coach Jason Veltkamp if he could play it over the loud speakers in the weight room.

Veltkamp agreed to play it.

"I had no idea it was (Fish) on the CD," Veltkamp said. "He's kind of got that light voice, and (I) actually said, 'Fish, is this a group of little kids?' And he's like, 'Come on, coach, this is me.' And I was like, 'OK.'"

Fish said "I Ball" won't be his last rap. It's not going to be the senior's swan song.

"Definitely I think I'll record again," Fish said.

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