Sound For Sound is a recurring column that further explores the relationship of rhythm and boxing by celebrating the music that influences and motivates fighters as they prepare for, and to excel under, the game’s brightest of lights
Been a long time, but I had to drop off a S4S column before 2023 arrives. Thanks to up and coming Detroit, Michigan emcee Mickey Diamond (aka Diamond Dallas) and his chief second, prolific producer Big Ghost LTD, I found a project that inspired a new installment in this series.
I would urge any head worth his salt to listen to the new 10-track Gucci Ghost album in its entirety. The collaboration – the latest ’boutique rap’ project I’m spending major time with – is outstanding.
For the purposes of S4S – which involves a direct tie-in to boxing – I’ll focus on (what I believe to be) the lone boxing reference on the LP’s penultimate track “GG Buckets.” Gucci Ghost being solely produced Big Ghost LTD elevates Diamond beyond Detroit, and serves as a statement to the emcee’s peer group.
Keyshawn Davis – Future of the Boxing Business, Man?
This Saturday, VA-based Tokyo 2022 Olympic Silver medalist Keyshawn Davis (6-0, 5 KOs) takes on veteran Juan Carlos Burgos (35-6-3, 21 KOs) at Madison Square Garden as a special feature of Top Rank on ESPN’s Teofimo Lopez vs Sandor Martin card. Burgos’ total rounds of 301 towers over the 25 professional rounds fought by Davis. Per Burgos’ CV, this fight presents “The Businessman” with his opportunity to make his statement to the Lightweight division.
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“As a pro fighter, he’s definitely the toughest fighter I’ve fought. He’s definitely going to bring new challenges to the ring that most likely I haven’t seen before. He’s a vet. He’s fought Mikey Garcia and a lot of other champions. I’m happy he took this fight, and I’m excited to see how things will turn out.
More specifically, statement-wise, Davis told BoxingScene.com, “I feel like how I really make my statement is to stop this guy. He’s never been stopped before and he’s fought a lot of people that can punch, a lot of great fighters in general. I feel like my real statement is going to be stopping him. No one has done it, and he done fought Mikey Garcia, he fought Devin Haney, he fought [Xavier] Martinez.”
We can see whether Davis is successful by sticking around after ESPN’s presentation of the Heisman Trophy Award. Lopez vs Martin airs at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT, and can also be streamed on ESPN+. The broadcast also includes bouts with undefeated Heavyweight sensation Jared Anderson and Puerto Rico’s promising Junior Middleweight Xander Zayas.
Starting at 6:00 p.m. ET on ESPN+, fans can catch Davis’ Olympian teammates Bruce Carrington and Tiger Johnson, in a pair of 8-round bouts, as they take the next steps in their exciting young careers.
Mickey Diamond – Detroit’s ‘Next Man Up’
Nobody out of Detroit’s been busier than Boldy James. Boldy dropped well-received albums Fair Exchange No Robbery and Mr. Ten08 in late-September and early-November, respectively. Producer Apollo Brown teamed up with The CHI’s Philmore Greene to release the very timely, and weighty, Cost of Living.
Seemed like the schedule couldn’t hold any more work from the Mitten State. Then, I heard a new voice spitting, “…anything inside of 15 feet I’m splash on, you looking at the ‘new Rip’…”
Admittedly, I’ve only really known about Mickey Diamond for less than 96 hours. Basically he’s been the soundtrack for this week’s two visits to the gym. Besides that, I was only introduced to the Motor City artist by an Instagram post from Big Ghost LTD. The innovative producer, originally a blogger and hip hop critic, doesn’t need anyone to talk for him, so I encourage you to hear his pitch for Gucci Ghost, as well as his cosign for the skill level of Diamond, from the horse’s mouth. I mean, it’s definitely eye-catching to use an image of Eric B. & Rakim as part of the announcement for any forthcoming project today, right? But nonetheless…
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As I alluded to earlier, I’m calling attention to “GG Buckets” because it has an interesting boxing reference at the tail end of the track’s second verse.
…I got a hunger for more/the rap Jeffrey Dahmer with bodies under the floor./I unplug the mic and strangle you with the cord./Entanglements with the law/gold medals on my neck, Kurt Angle – rawest wars /rap money long as train smoke “All Aboard!”/in a Ford 350 knockin’ mightier than a sword/the whole world shut the fuck up when I record/Big Ghost on the boards/I’m hittin’ like Mickey Ward/restore the feelin’/y’all was doing trap songs and drillin’/I had 20 Gs and vintage cheese packed to the ceiling/that’s when I used to sell clothes, but now I rap for a living./My whole camp independent./Who brought a strap in the building?/Bullets flyin’ over ya head like clever rap n***a lyrics./Heads boppin’ so hard, ya neck cramp when ya hear it (Diamonds)./We let this ghost in a shell capture ya spirit…
Fans might have “Buckets” as a fourth-, fifth- or even lower-ranked track on the set. The album’s standout record is undeniably the lushly crafted “Maurizio’s Ghost”, featuring its mix of beautiful Tuscan-themed strings and horns backed by a gritty drum beat, then masterfully scuffed up with an array of poignant zigga-ziggas by DJ Swab.
Fans get a taste of Diamond’s expansive subject matter on the first track with vocals “The Invisible Man” (contains the ‘new Rip’ bar), “Vineyards in France” and “Deluxe Flux” serves as tent-poles for the LP’s first and second halves, and then the finale “Chain Gretzky” brilliantly hearkens back to Big Ghost’s searing “Kill All Rats” single from February 2021.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Big Ghost produced my favorite track (if more of my “favorite produced”) from 2020 in UFO Fev’s “Dxngxr” (The Ghost of Albizu) – which was less than two months before the “Rats” record. Furthermore, with ’boutique rap’ projects featuring luminaries such as Conway the Machine, Griselda (Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine and Benny the Butcher), a Game of Thrones-inspired album with Ransom, and several others comprising Ghost’s catalog, you get the idea of why Gucci Ghost a statement.
For my listening tastes, Mickey Diamond or Diamond Dallas, got his knockout. Tomorrow we’ll see what young Davis does live from MSG on ESPN.
Featured image and all others by Mikey Williams/Top Rank