Behind the Lyrics: Zo — Born 2 Ball (2018)

Go deep into the mind of rap sensation and NBA star Lonzo Ball.

usic. We all listen to it, but at times it can be difficult to decipher what exactly our favorite artists are talking about in their lyrics.

Particularly when a legend of the rap scene like Lonzo “Zo” Ball drops a new project, millions of fans across the globe will listen intently to glean every ounce of profundity hidden within his words.

Have no fear! I have intently studied every line of Zo’s critically acclaimed masterpiece debut record, “Born 2 Ball”, and will now present you with the undisputed meanings to the hottest bars from the rap sensation (and basketball player).

They may surprise you.

Song: Grind Mode
Lyrics: “Get to the bag, get to the paper”

In this environmental anthem, Zo is critical of those who litter, incrementally tarnishing the natural landscape. With this line, Zo encourages a global movement of collecting trash, advising everyone to “get to the bag, get to the paper.”

Climate change presents a massive threat to the health of our planet, and for us to successfully respond, humanity needs to collectively enter “grind mode” and work on solutions.

Song: ZO2
Lyrics: “Switching lanes, ZO2”

At certain times in life, we all need to make changes. Whether that be with our job, school, relationships, or simply needing to shift our focus or state of mind, we need to switch lanes.

This isn’t always easy — in fact, it rarely is. Zo knows this. While there can be a lot of uncertainty when it comes to making these changes, it’s important to always have faith in yourself and trust that you’re making the right decision.

“Switching lanes, ZO2” is a testament to the confidence that Zo has in himself to tackle any challenges or setbacks in his life and persevere, taking the right path for him.

Song: ZO2
Lyrics: “All my socials got the check”

While some people may believe this line is in reference to social media, Zo is really trying to convey how much he appreciates the love and support from his family and close friends.

Those in his social circle have long supported Zo, and now that he has achieved massive amounts of success as a rapper, he is more than happy to repay them, in a literal sense, helping everyone surrounding him live comfortably.

Song: Puttin In Work
Lyrics: “Don’t be flexing when you in my church”

Zo isn’t a fan of virtue signaling. It’s upsetting for him to see influencers and others claim support of causes solely to project a certain image and without any substantive action behind it.

Particularly as a person of faith, Zo wants people to be respectful of the church instead of attending just to tell people they were there or use it as some sort of moral licensing to justify actions that go against the teachings of the church.

Song: Better
Lyrics: “Got some people sendin’ subs / But I could never let ’em swap me”

It’s a too-common predicament. Your meal arrives, but it isn’t what you ordered. When faced with this scenario, a person has two options: eat what was delivered or say something and try to get what was asked for.

Zo believes in exercising the latter option. Whenever he incorrectly receives a sandwich, Zo makes a point to be in control of the situation, rather than passively let things happen to him.

It’s simple, but it also helps him learn to stand up for himself in other, more important circumstances.

Connor Groel is a graduate student at Northwestern’s Medill School. He is the editor of the Top Level Sports publication on Medium and host of the Slept On Sports podcast. His debut collection is available on Amazon.

Sportswriter. Medill graduate student. Host of the Slept On Sports podcast. Relentlessly curious. My book: