Review: ‘Born 2 Ball’ has no bounce

Helicopter parenting meets hip-hop.

Haley Bennett

Lonzo Ball, son of LaVar Ball, is twenty years old, and the point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. 

It’s hard to find an article on Lonzo Ball that doesn’t also mention or consult his father, LaVar. 

America likes family-focused franchises, at-home drama that takes place in the public eye. The Balls are the latest manifestation of this fad. LaVar Ball, otherwise known as basketball’s Kris Jenner, juggles three sons — Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo — as well as the clothing line he runs, Big Baller Brand. (It’s a play on words. The boys are big, they ball, they’re baller and their last name is Ball. Tricky stuff, huh?)

Oh, and they’d better add baby bibs to the brand because Lonzo Ball’s girlfriend Denise Garcia is four months pregnant.

Whenever the boy has his feet back on solid waxed wood, LaVar has to start some international drama or another, such as insisting to the press that Lonzo will no longer play for the Lakers unless the team guarantees spots to his other two sons.

All of this doesn’t leave much time to make good music. And yet…

And yet nothing. Born 2 Ball is as bad as you’d expect it to be. 

In interviews, Zo comes off as a gentle guy. He describes himself as “family oriented,” which makes sense.

From the first track, the songs are so easy to tune into the background that it’s almost impossible to pay attention to them. Is it even right to have a strong opinion about something this unimaginative?

It’s the hip-hop album that everyone’s high school boyfriend made with his friends in their basement or garage, sneaking joints between Mac-recorded tracks, writing rhymes in the back of chemistry class. This album deserves about as much attention as those did. 

“You can catch me in the gym/know I gotta get it in,” he says on “LAML,” which is great, and we’re all proud of him for knowing what he wants. But it’s evident enough in his life as a celebrity. Some things don’t have to carry over into the studio.

This is like the worst of Drake—the nasally drawl in particular. You’ll have to listen to every Kendrick album in reverse chronological order just to wipe your ears of this.

The eagle screeches thrown into the first few seconds of some tracks are pretty entertaining. But the kid can’t keep a beat like he dribbles. 

As much as he’s in grind mode on the court, it’s pretty clear he didn’t bust his balls over this album. And who can blame him? We may never know whether he wanted to make music, or whether LaVar thought this would be a good way to keep his son’s name in the public’s mouth once March Madness subsides. This album is more or less an advertisement for LaVar and BBB. 

In fact, the album’s final track, named after Daddy Ball, follows the one called “BBB.” It’s an ode to the tinder that LaVar adds to his celebrity bonfire: “Pop’s workin’ every week doin’ different shows/Firin’ up the fans, firin’ up the foes.”

How LaVar refers to his three sons, two of whom are legally adults, as a unit — “my boys” — makes it easy to imagine that he sees them foremost as a source of revenue, given that family is his brand.

Either way, it looks like the Big Baller Brand doesn’t need to add a music label to its assets.

Grade: D