Pittsburgh Steelers star running back Le'Veon Bell called up Billboard on his day off several days after releasing his Until the Post Interview EP. Spitting under the rap name Juice, a nickname given by Coach Mike Tomlin during his second year in the NFL, Bell says music has long been a part of his DNA.
"When I was younger, my friends and I were 12, 13 years old and we would always make beats with our pencils on our desktops in our class and we used to freestyle all the time. That was really where the motivation came from," the Ohio native recalled. He also revealed that the first freestyle that he had recorded on a phone with his friend was called "Eat a Booger" (sample line: "I went to school, had to take a test so I pulled out a booger"). He added, "I recorded my first song when I was 13, 14 years old and I've been running with it ever since."
The Michigan State alum -- whose 1,361 rushing yards were the second-most in the NFL last year -- says he listens to all kinds of music and that pursuing a rap career was a childhood dream as much as making it to the league. "I didn't want to limit myself to one thing," says Bell, who even dreamt of being in the NBA.
His musical palette veered toward hip-hop, especially Lil Wayne and 50 Cent whose 2003 debut was the first album that Bell purchased with his own money at Walmart. While he has yet to meet his rap idols, he already has worked with Snoop Dogg, efforting a Wiz Khalifa collaboration and considers Mac Miller (a Pittsburgh rep) a close friend.
Bell admits it only takes about an hour on his laptop for him to whip up a song and that he sometimes records from his hotel room. After releasing The Interview mixtape in March and his recent EP, he says his album The Post Interview is done and will drop on his birthday, Feb. 18. He's also set on ending the 2016-17 season with his team on a strong note. "I make a lotta songs -- I got like 50 songs on my laptop so I wanted to give people something and then get ready for my actual album when the season's over and we win the Super Bowl," he says with a laugh.
Before chopping it up with Bell, the ladies of Ballin' Out also discuss Drake Night 2016, Rae Sremmurd's rock star anthem "Black Beatles" becoming a viral phenomenon and Hot 100 No. 1 hit as well as the state of America post-election.
Feast your ears on Episode 14 below and on iTunes here.