FORMER Liverpool ace Ryan Babel has released his autobiography… as a rap record.
The Dutch star, 34, always held an interest in hip-hop and toyed with the idea of releasing music as he juggled a career in football.
Ryan Babel has released his autobiography as a rap recordCredit: Alamy
Dutch star Babel played for Liverpool between 2007-2011Credit: Getty
But, with the game taking up most of his time, he instead set up a record label when he was 22 and appeared on other artist’s songs.
Now, with his career winding down, Babel has stepped up to the mic with a truly inventive idea.
On The Autobiography – Chapter 1, the Netherlands international sings about his relationship with Rafa Benitez, how Louis van Gaal didn’t believe in him and aims a dig at former team mate Ibrahim Affelay.
BORN OUT OF LOCKDOWN
It was boredom that inspired Babel, who had two spells in the Premier League with the Reds and Fulham, as he twiddled his thumbs during the first lockdown.
He was on loan at Ajax from parent club Galatasaray, where he plays today, when a journalist asked him if he planned on penning his memoir.
At the time he thought he was too young. But when football stopped, last year Babel got creative.
He rang up his pals in the music industry and told them of his novel plan to detail his life story in a hip hop album.
“I was aware that, if I wanted to make it authentic, I had to share stuff that maybe isn’t always comfortable to tell,” he told The Guardian.
“But at the same time I was prepared mentally to do that and the process of writing was very inspiring with the people who were involved. I’m really proud of what I was able to tell in the final product and the way I was able to tell it.
During the first lockdown, Babel admitted boredom got the better of himCredit: Alamy
Already interested in music, Babel set out making a record about his careerCredit: Instagram @ryanbabel
The Autobiography – Chapter 1, album cover shown, is the fruit of Babel’s laboursCredit: Instagram @ryanbabel
“In the past when I was making little things in the studio it was more like bragging, you know how rappers do in general.
“It’s easy to lie and say, ‘Oh, I’m rich this and rich that’ but that wasn’t interesting for me and definitely not what I wanted to do. I wanted to be as authentic as possible and share my truth.”
NO ONE’S SAFE
During his storied career Babel has played for, and with, some of the most famous names in football.
Open Letter, the third single to be taken from his debut LP, was the one that caused the most stir in his homeland.
In the song, he bashes Louis Van Gaal and Rafa Benitez – but saves his more potent venom for Ibrahim Affelay.
“Open Letter is a song that is divided into two parts and has two different beats,” Babel said.
“The first part of the song is basically me taking you back on a journey I have walked from the very start. I describe moments where I felt certain coaches didn’t believe enough in me.
“I describe conversations with old football players like Winston Bogarde, who had a tough conversation with me and told me that if I wanted to make it I needed to step it up.
“I involve the current head coach of the Netherlands, Louis van Gaal, who at the time was the sporting director of Ajax and didn’t believe enough in me to give me a contract but still did because the coach, Danny Blind, believed in me.
Babel leaves no stone unturned with some of his controversial lyricsCredit: Instagram @ryanbabel
Ibrahim Affelay and Babel in better times before the rapper dissed his former team mateCredit: Alamy
“I talk about those things that happened back in 2003-2004 and I have never shared before.
“There is also a moment where I describe my little relationship with Rafa Benítez at Liverpool, and then you go to the second part of the song which is more about the current time and where I give my opinion on journalism in Holland and a situation with an old colleague who became a journalist (Afellay).
“People in Holland took it as a diss-song but it was more an expression of my disappointment in this individual because we had been teammates for so long and now he turned into a pundit who, in my opinion, tried to score points to make his position look good in the pundit world.”
STRUGGLES WITH RAFA
Babel was signed by Benitez for £11.5million in 2007.
However, he struggled to set England alight with the Reds – despite an early prediction from Liverpool legends Kenny Dalglish that he had the potential to set the Premier League alight.
Babel is believes he could have got more support from the Spanish manager during his time at Anfield.
“It was, in my opinion, a weird relationship [with Benítez] because when he signed me I looked at him as the big uncle who wanted to give me a chance and help me succeed,” Babel divulged.
“But then as we went on he left me totally on my own and only judged me for the things I didn’t do right instead of telling me how to solve or improve the things I had to improve.
After arriving at Anfield in 2007 alongside Yossi Benayoun, Babel struggled with boss Rafa BenitezCredit: PA:Press Association
Babel, still only 34, currently plays for Turkish side GalatasarayCredit: Rex
“I was very young and I just needed guidance. I don’t want to blame the coach for me not having the ultimate career at Liverpool but I felt it could have been closer in terms of guidance and support.
“You can compare it to when you’re trying to teach someone something and it doesn’t stick, but then someone else says the same thing in a different way and all of a sudden it clicks.
“The way the coach at that moment tried to make things click, it didn’t click.”
Ryan Babel’s The Autobiography – Chapter 1 is out now and available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Deezer.
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