Ex-Rocket Steve Francis Turns Rapping Twitter Phenom

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Every rapper dreams of being a baller and every baller dreams of being a rapper. It rings true today and former Houston Rocket Steve Francis renews the saying with his recently discovered hip-hop label Mazerati Music.

Rocks Off cringed when we saw Dan Devine's Ball Don't Lie sports blog on Francis's rap video, "Finer Things." We were catching up with "Finer Things" video director Akil Ak Kurji, a young, smart and driven entrepreneur who has his hands in all kinds of businesses, at his home just a week ago.

Kurji showed us the video in passing as he talked about his aspirations to build multiple businesses. We had the scoop, but dropped it. Life goes on.

It turns out Francis's venture into hip-hop is interesting enough to the public that it trended worldwide on Twitter Wednesday and sparked tons of negative feedback. That's expected. Professional athletes are more often mocked and made fun of than praised for venturing out of bounds into the music studio.

And that's because their music usually sucks. Francis doesn't escape the tradition.

Here's a taste of the Twitter feedback.

@ESPNChrisPalmer tweets "Steve Francis was Derrick Rose with drama and distractions."

@ChessNwine tweets,"Time to check-in with Steve Francis, because he's making 90s/Bad Boy-style rap videos, obviously."

@marcel_mutoni tweets "R.I.P. rap music."

@ItsJustNoel tweets, "Artest elbow,Deion getting decked by 2 birds,Brian McKnight video & now Steve Francis. it's been a funny week so far man lmaoo"

@Noo_eL tweets, "RT @OdeiFmob: So you mean to tell me Steve Francis is a rapper now??? Hahahahaha


Rocks Off caught up with Kurji while he was in China about Francis, and he gave us insight into his relationship with the baller/rapper while defending his client.

Rocks Off: The last time we talked to you, you were making videos for Lil Flip. How did you intersect with Steve Francis and start making videos for him?

Akil Ak Kurji: My friend Maurice had introduced me to Steve Francis. Steve was interested in wanting to invest in my telecommunications company. Steve is one of the nicest people I have worked with. He has a huge heart. 

RO: How many videos have you produced for Steve Francis?

AAK: Steve had hired me and my co-director Wes "Wuz Good" Armstrong to direct and produce six videos in seven days out in Sarasota, Florida.  

RO: What's been the budget range for the videos you've produced for him?

AAK: Steve gave us a $25,000 budget for each video. 

RO: How do you feel about Steve's label and his collection of artists? Anybody worth listening to?

AAK: Steve has a talented roster of artists. Dynomite Diggs, Young Fresh and Roc Mikey are very talented and upcoming artists, three of the hardest-working individuals I know.

RO: Do you think Yao Ming should enter the hip-hop game?

AAK: These days anyone can be a rapper. Why not? China is a huge market. I am in China now and I am sure Yao will sell just as many songs as Apple sold iPhones this past quarter here in China. Look out for my new single.

Just kidding.

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

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