Antonio Brown’s Post-Football Rise Has A Musical Reality Check | “Stay Tuned, Business Is Boomin”?

(TMZ Video /Screenshot)

It has been a heralded, albeit social media-produced, marketing effort to rebrand Antonio Brown from exiled NFL player to creative cultural figure.

From his many sightings courtside at NBA games to being seen with insiders in the music industry, Brown is outside. However, another thing is to translate the energy generated by partnerships with Kanye West and co-signs from Floyd Mayweather into his music career.

Recently, footage of Brown performing at rap artist Gunna’s cannabis strain launch in downtown Los Angeles on 4/20 went viral. Brown performed before a less-than-enthusiastic crowd gave a glimpse into the reception of his debut album, “Paradigm.”

The Real Paradigm

The album is loaded with top features from artists like features verses from several established rap stars like Keyshia Cole, Young Thug, Fivio Foreign, DaBaby, and French Montana.

However, at the recent concert appearance, Brown performed to low energy from the crowd and an apparent lukewarm reception to him being a rapper.

Wearing overalls and a red cap, Brown awkwardly danced for a crowd of non-believers. The image was jarring based on his affiliations in music and, according to him, an album produced by West.

Football Star To Pop Star

“Ye overseen the whole infrastructure,” Brown said to TMZ. “He paid for a lot of studio time. A lot of these tracks were made at the Soho, so Ye had a lot to do with a lot of his production, a lot of his backing, and a lot of relationships with some of my close brothers. So I want to thank Ye, Donda Sports, and everyone down with this project.”

It opens the door to a question: Is the new AB journey a quest to create believers or capitalize on popularity and opportunity?

Antonio Brown was caught smoking numerous times and promoting cannabis products before rapping for the crowd in downtown Los Angeles.

Just Theatrics

While reciting his first-ever single, “Whole Lotta Money,” Team AB threw a bunch of money at the sparse crowd who didn’t even care to rush and pick the bills up.

The gimmick of AB is more of a vessel for polarization and brand marketing than redemption and entrepreneurial insight. Although he is staying busy while hoping to get back on an NFL roster, the public smoking doesn’t help persuade any general manager or coach that you are a team player.

Later, during the performance, Brown asked fans their thoughts about his football career.

Still A Baller?

“What you guys think I should do? Do you think I should play football? What do you think I should do? If you think I should play football, say ‘yes!'” Brown told the crowd.

They responded with a convincing “Yes!”

“I still got a lot of room left to play. There’s a lot of growth left but in the meantime, we’ve got to take advantage of opportunities,” he said before brandishing branded cannabis products.

Antonio Brown is still seeking an opportunity to play in the NFL and is staying busy in the interim. Let’s not forget he’s also president of Ye’s Donda Sports Academy. Checks are coming in. However, the major question on his mind should be whether his cultural visibility hurts his prospects of getting back on a team.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.