Part I: B.Lloyd Takes the Rap
Receiver by day. Rapper by night. That's a dual identity that belonged to Brandon Lloyd toward the end of the 2004 season, and it promises to become even more prominent in the life and future of the flashy third-year veteran. During those cold, dark days last December when the 49ers were well on their way to securing the team's worst record in three decades, most players were only too eager to escape to their San Francisco Bay Area homes on Monday nights, knowing that an awaiting Tuesday off day would provide some solace and sanctuary from the numbing weekly grind of a hopeless team practicing to go nowhere. But it was much different for Lloyd. While the 49ers were playing out the string as the worst team in the NFL, Lloyd was finding inspiration. The thought of some free time on Monday nights after another embarrassing Sunday defeat provided motivation and opportunity rather than a reason to seek refuge. Or, in Lloyd's case, perhaps he actually was finding some refuge from a hugely disappointing season as he hopped in his Hummer vehicle and drove down the peninsula from the team's Santa Clara headquarters to a recording studio in nearby Campbell. It was there that Lloyd began laying down the tracks on a personal dream come true. "I would go there on Monday nights and record until 3 o'clock in the morning," Lloyd said. "I could stay up there as long as I wanted and then chill out on Tuesday and then get back to work. And then I'd put it away, and get back to work. "But it got to the point on Monday nights where I'd be driving home and a police officer would stop me and say, ‘What are you doing, Brandon? You're always coming down here at 2 in the morning, 3 in the morning.' I'm like, ‘I just got out of the studio.'" Lloyd has spent quite a bit of time in the recording studio during the 2005 offseason. And, while he continued his development on the field as a starting receiver the 49ers will be relying upon heavily this upcoming season, Lloyd also developed a musical style that could push him into the mainstream of the burgeoning hip-hop music scene. Working with Adam Weisner, a young Southern California producer who also is rising quickly in the business, Lloyd has completed more than 16 tracks for his debut rap album, "Training Day," which he is preparing to release on his own Flight 85 label by the end of this summer. Before going any further, Lloyd – who goes by the alias B.Lloyd when he's rapping – wants to make one thing perfectly clear to those wondering about yet another athlete taking on the challenge of mixing music with professional sports. "I'm a football player, first and last," he said. "But I love music, too." When SFI asked for a distinction on whether he expects to be known as Brandon Lloyd, rapper/receiver or Brandon Lloyd, receiver/rapper, Lloyd didn't hesitate in his reply. "It's going to be Brandon Lloyd, receiver," he said. "But you can find the music out there if you look hard enough." The way the production of Lloyd's album appears to be going, you might not have to look very hard at all to find it. The way Weisner tells it, it may actually become difficult to avoid Lloyd's music in the popular mainstream. "I'm really happy with the project," said Weisner, founder of Prophecy Productions and the Future Noiz Records label. "I think it's going to be huge. This is majorly mainstream. Is it hot? Oh, my goodness. People are going to have to bring their fire extinguishers with them to Wherehouse Music to pick up this CD." Lloyd realizes, because of the relative wealth football has brought him, that he has a rare opportunity to follow another pursuit while also seeking NFL glory. But, as Lloyd himself says of his offseason project, "It's got to be hot." That's not always – and certainly not usually – how it turns out when pro athletes delve into making music. There is a long and embarrassing history of athletes dabbling into musical ventures, from the highs of Shaquille O'Neal's generally well-received five albums to the musical misadventures of Ron Artest, Allen Iverson, Deion Sanders and many others. Lloyd – also an aspiring sports broadcaster who has appeared on an ESPN morning show, among other assignments – believes he can make his mark with a memorable sound rather than forgettable fluff that would only tarnish his image. FRIDAY: Part II - Music man in the making SATURDAY: Part III - Football comes first
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