***SARCASM ALERT! SARCASM ALERT!***
The Los Angeles Chargers are currently in the middle of OTAs and their elite edge rusher, Melvin Ingram, is still missing in action. The absence of Ingram is not so alarming, being that these practices are voluntary and are more for the younger players. Frankly, it would be more surprising if Ingram did show up for OTAs during his current contract negotiations with L.A.
However, just because Ingram is away from the team, does not mean he is not perfecting his craft this offseason. In fact from his latest video on Twitter, it appears during this offseason, Melvin Ingram has been putting in some major work... in the booth that is.
Over Memorial Day Weekend, Melvin Ingram released a video of him doing the “Free Smoke Challenge.” I am not going to lie, I had no idea what this challenge was so I took it to the streets to ask the younger kids about this “Free Smoke Challenge.” They basically informed me that people just “jump on the track called Free Smoke by Drake and spit some bars yo.”
So I decided to listen to Melvin Ingram’s attempt of this challenge and give my critique for the Bolts From the Blue fan base. Now I am a 33-year-old man that was born in Brooklyn and moved to the plush suburbs of New Jersey where I have been living comfortably the last 32 years of my life. So if there is anyone who knows anything about rap it is me.
FLOW- Melvin Ingram comes screaming right off the line of scrimmage as soon as you hit play. The first thing you notice with Ingram is the tone he sets; his voice has a grittiness to it and sounds like a legit rapper (well at least how rappers sound nowadays, not the good rappers from back in the day- Biggie, Nas, Tupac, etc). The versatile Ingram shows numerous times throughout the song that he can switch up his flow and quicken the pace of his raps (as seen at the 10-21 second mark and the 36-50 second mark). According to Pro Football Focus, Ingram had 3 instances within a 1:58 time span where he sped up his rhymes which would have ranked him second overall in the NFL with an 84.7 grade (Le’Veon Bell ranked first with an 86.2 grade).
LYRICS- I might be a little biased because I grew up on the east coast, but lyrics are the utmost important aspect of a hip hop song. A good lyricist trumps a catchy beat in my opinion. Melvin Ingram is extremely inconsistent as a lyricist. There are many times when he flashes on the track (“The Chargers had to throw the tag on me, I ain’t really trying to brag homie, young Mel chasing the cash homie...”). In addition, he made use of some good metaphors throughout the song as well (“Diamonds clear like glass homie...” or “new whip and its two-tone, saving GIRLS like coupons, squash-ish like Group Ons”).
However, those clever use of words were few and far between and often he rhymed the same words at the end of each bar too many times (rapped the word homie with homie) which is a pet peeve of mine. I think the thing that separates an elite lyricist from a good lyricist is the number of metaphors they use in a song. Elite lyricist like Von Miller averages about 3 metaphors per song. Here Melvin comes up short and fails to reach that magical number of 3.
PRODUCTION QUALITY- This is where Melvin Ingram falls apart. The video he released was shoddy in production. The camera was shaking too much and was a desperate attempt to get the viewer “hyped.” It was an outdated technique that hasn't been used since the early 2000s by Three 6 Mafia. I also noticed there were times where it looked like Melvin Ingram missed his assignment and forgot the lyrics to his own song. A professional cannot treat his rap video like its Lip Sync Battle; come on man that is amateur hour!
OVERALL- There were some really good moments during Ingram’s performance but he needs to continue working hard if he wants to get paid like the elites.
3.5 Bolts out of 5