There aren’t many good ways to introduce a rap song about an NBA player who died of a cocaine overdose 26 years ago, so I’ll just tell you that this is song, “Len Bias” by Chicago rapper Longshot, is really good. Good rapping, good beat, good storytelling. Just listen to it.
If you had no idea what happened to Len Bias and this was this was your first exposure to his story, paying close attention to the lyrics would be a pretty good primer on what went down. It’s one of the saddest sports stories ever, but Longshot does an excellent job of showing why Bias’ overdose was important to the culture of the 80s, how it helped explain the dangers of cocaine.
It’s the kind of narrative that hip hop often touches on — a young promising kid taken down by the streets — so it’s no surprise that this could be any other mid-90s conscious rap track. The worst stuff often makes for the best songs and this is no exception.