There Ain’t Enough Auto Tune In The World: Celebrities Who Had No Business Making Music In The Studio
Achieving fame in sports, acting, television, or modeling is not a prerequisite for a music career. In fact, your expertise in those areas likely suggests that you will not be an equally dominant force behind the mic, yet many celebrities have tried — and failed — anyway. This list is about them. To be fair, not all of the songs recorded by these stars were complete flops… but so many of them were.
This past May, a clip from a rap song recorded by tennis superstar Serena Williams was leaked. In the 1 minute and 10 second snippet, Serena boasts her on court tennis success and wealth, and shouts out her haters. The clip was taken from one of seven songs recorded by Serena last year at the in-home studio of Baltimore Ravens lineman Bryant McKinnie whom she later criticized for putting her on blast.
Memorable line: “I cook the track up like a frozen pizza”
It must not have been easy for whoever managed Kim to keep a straight face while telling her it would be a good idea for her to release a song. She released a track in 2011 entitled “Jam (Turn It Up).” This four and a half minute pop track produced by the Dream incited mostly terrible reviews and ridicule.
Memorable line: “Imma burn it out tonight, it’s going down by live via satellite.”
Shaquille O’Neal is undeniably one of the best basketball players in the game. More debatable however, is the success of his rap career. From 1993 to 2006, Shaq recorded four studio albums, two compilation albums, two soundtracks, one unreleased album, and nine singles. His first two albums, Shaq Diesel (1993) and Shag Fu: Da Return (1994), were his most successful; achieving Platinum and Gold certification respectively. His subsequent musical work performed moderately well to horribly – some singles charted and many didn’t.
Memorable line from “(I Know I Got) Skillz” off the Shaq Diesel album: “You don’t like Shaq, frankly I don’t give a damn. I know I got skillz man”
Like Shaq, Kobe has tried his hand at rapping; but unlike Shaq, Kobe has yet to release a platinum selling album – or even record one. In 2000, two songs from Kobe’s debut album – that were never released – surfaced. The first song, “K.O.B.E.”, featured Tyra Banks and was performed by the duo live at an NBA event. The second song, “Thug Poet”, was much less publicized – and for good reason. Ultimately, both singles were declared fails.
Memorable line from “K.O.B.E”: “What I live for – basketball, beats and broads”
“Don’t Be Tardy For The Party” spent four whole days at number three on the iTunes dance chart in 2009 (before being removed by its producer for Kim’s refusal to pay him) but certainly not because of Kim’s vocal talent. The song’s success was more the result of it’s expert development by Kandi Burruss and other music industry professionals, and the constant exposure it received on the Real Housewives of Atlanta. In an attempt to strike gold twice, Kim later released a second single titled “Google Me.” It was a flop.
Memorable line from “Don’t Be Tardy for the Party”: “Lookin’ like a Covergirl covered in diamonds and pearls”
We all know Eddie Murphy is an actor and comedian, but how many of us remember him in his singing days? There was the 1982 comedy album, Eddie Murphy, which included the songs “Boogie In Your Butt” and “Enough Is Enough;” and the 1985 album, How Could it Be, on which Eddie’s two hit singles appeared: “Party All The Time” and “Put Your Mouth On Me.”
In the early 90’s, Eddie recorded a third album, Love’s Alright, that failed to reach the top of the Billboard charts and received mostly bad reviews. Its two singles, “Whatzupwifu” and “I Was a King” featured Michael Jackson and Shabba Ranks, respectively.
Memorable line from “Party All The Time”: “My girl wants to party all the time party all the time”
In 2006, Paris Hilton released her 11-track debut studio album entitled Paris. The album sold over 600,000 copies worldwide and sat on the Billboard chart at number 6 for a week. The first single “Stars Are Blind” was an international success – making the top ten chart in seventeen countries.
Critics’ reviews were mixed, however: some thought the album was unexciting and dull-sounding, while others hailed it a musical success on par with albums released by Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson.
Memorable line from “Stars Are Blind”: “Those other guys they all wanna take me for a ride. But when I walk they talk of suicide”
Ron Artest is yet another basketball star who attempted to forge a rap career for no particular reason. Following the Lakers’ 2010 championship win, Artest took to the music booth to record “Champion;” a bass heavy track infused with lyrics both rapped and sung. Critics had good and bad things to say about the basketball star’s music debut – some found it to be original, while others found it to be a joke.
Memorable line: “My name is up in lights. My face is well known. You see us Super bowl dancing in the end zone”
In 2004, Tyra Banks recorded her first single titled “Shake Ya Body.” The video featured the final six contestants from Cycle 2 of America’s Next Top Model, and world premiered on the now shutdown UPN television network. The single received mostly moderate to terrible reviews, though in all honesty, it sounded no worse than anything else released around that time. Tyra abandoned her singing dreams soon after.
Memorable line: “Shake my body body. Move my body body”
Before Paris Hilton and way before Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan recorded and released her debut studio album. Speak featured twelve singles; two of which (“Rumors” and “Over”) achieved worldwide success, reaching the top of multiple charts. Album sales and chart performance were fairly impressive; the album sold one million copies in the US and peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 chart for twenty weeks. Critical reviews, on the other hand, were mixed; the positive ones focused mainly on the album’s production quality instead of Lindsay’s vocal abilities.
Memorable line from “Rumors”: “I’m tired of rumors starting. I’m sick of being followed”
Meghan Williams is a freelance writer living in Florida. Follow her on Twitter at @Meggsndbacon.