Before the NBA season tips off tonight, one fan made an entire hip-hop mixtape about every single team in the league.
The project, which was released on Oct. 10, explores all the best narratives and has something to offer even the most casual fan. The lead track, about the Golden State Warriors, earned over 9,000 streams in less than one week. For someone who isn’t a full-time rapper, the reception has been excellent.
“It was really nice to have some of the lines land with the people who listened,” said Matt Johnson, who goes by Mattafact. “You never know how the internet is going to react to something you share, so it was a good feeling to not have been downvoted into oblivion when I posted it on NBA Reddit.”
Johnson is a television reporter and has been a longtime fan of the Los Angeles Clippers. While he originally wrote sad songs about the Clippers, which were well-received on Reddit, a friend inspired him to write about the entire league.
He worked on the mixtape for over a year, which was especially challenging because the teams kept changing during a rollercoaster offseason with many players changing teams via trades and free agency. As the sole writer of the lyrics, Johnson calls the project “the hardest thing” he’s ever done because it was mostly made between midnight and 4 a.m. after a full day at work.
Some lines, like a shout out to Ringer reporter and noted Knicks fan Jason Concepcion (@netw3rk), demand an understanding of some nuanced NBA humor. But others are just strong, relatable writing poking fun at familiar characters in the basketball community.
“I don’t have [former Clippers owner] Donald Sterling to go after anymore so it was fun just going all in on another awful owner like James Dolan for the Knicks song,” explained Johnson. “Any time you can make fun of a guy for playing the kazoo you gotta do it.”
His jokes about Dolan’s side project as a musician especially resonate considering this is his side project, too. But the ambitious idea turned into a hilarious, well-produced and enjoyable listen.
With more exposure and hard work, it’d be awesome to hear him collaborate on a track with NBA star Damian Lillard, who is also impressive on the mic. Listen to the entire mixtape below.