NFL

Cole Beasley’s rap album shows the other side of Bills wide receiver

Cole Beasley plays wide receiver like someone with good rhythm. Clean footwork and precise timing allow the diminutive wide receiver to almost always create separation from his defender. As it turns out, Beasley definitely has good rhythm.

You see, in addition to Beasley’s day job as Buffalo Bills slot receiver, he’s also a professional rapper. He’s not hard to find — no special nickname or moniker — just search “Cole Beasley” in your preferred music service and he’ll pop right up. Beasley has his own record label, ColdNation Records, and he’s already released one album with new singles coming out even as Buffalo makes its playoff push.

Beasley’s latest two singles, “Sometimes” and “Ghosts,” both were released midweek between Bills playoff games in January.

“It’s something this man truly loves to do,” Dallas-area producer Victor “Phazz” Clark told ESPN in 2019. “He will be the first NFL guy to really successfully cross over into the music world and really be big — like Shaquille O’Neal was back in the day.”

Cole Beasley’s music

Beasley’s first album, “The Autobiography,” was released in 2018. Beasley himself told ESPN that he didn’t really have a plan for it — he made songs and threw them on there, hoping to get his work out in the open.

He considered using an alias, according to ESPN, but decided that he’d just roll with his own name. Beasley’s first album reached No. 7 on the iTunes Hip-Hop/Rap charts. 

“It was cool for my first thing, but it’s not something I would be like, ‘Hey, go listen to this,'” Beasley said in 2019.

Since then, Beasley has released a number of singles, including two since the calendar turned to 2021. The first came out on the Wednesday between Buffalo’s win over Indianapolis and win over Baltimore in the playoffs, and the second on the next Wednesday, ahead of a matchup with Kansas City in the AFC title game.

The first single, “Sometimes,” allows Beasley to display both his singing voice and rapping chops, along with lyrics that get serious and personal. It opens with a piano backdrop and Beasley singing, “Sometimes I’m in my feelings, and other times I’m numb.”

After about 30 seconds of singing, Beasley begins to rap, “At times I really want to quit, at times I really want this s—,” and he continues on vocalizing internal battles he’s dealt with himself.

Beasley explained to ESPN in 2019, “A big part of my life and me coming up how I did was about proving people wrong. I would just become so fixated on proving those people wrong that I’d probably grind way more than I should at times. I kind of would beat myself to death to kind of prove to everybody what I think of myself.”

The most recent single, “Ghosts,” is a more rap-focused song with a heavy bass track. Beasley again embraces the underdog mentality in his lyrics, beginning the song, “Shouldn’t be this, man, I shouldn’t be that. I took that underdog s— to the max.”

It’s not always clear whether Beasley is attacking those who didn’t believe in him as a football player or as a rapper. Might as well be both. On his first album, Beasley did directly allude to his football career on a number of tracks, but his recent singles don’t do more than have occasional lines, like “past secondary, how ironic” in “Ghosts” that could’ve used language intentionally to point to football but wouldn’t have had to.

“Apparently, I’m only doing what I’m not supposed to,” is one of Beasley’s main hooks in “Ghosts.”

Beasley, 31, likely has at least a few years left in his NFL career. The way he gets open won’t just go away overnight. 

But when Beasley decides to hang up his cleats, he’ll still have another pursuit that allows him to prove people wrong and display his world-class rhythm. Stay tuned.

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