By making plays, movie soundtracks and Madden hits, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud III has demonstrated that his passion knows no boundaries. McCloud III's story transcends the gridiron as he crafts his path in the world of music.
Growing up, the wide receiver was surrounded by an atmosphere that was nothing short of electric. His journey in sports began by learning football from his dad and playing alongside his siblings. The art of music ran in his veins as well, with his father and uncle producing music for professional artists and having a hand in the creation of the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, a Grammy winning group of producers and instrumentalists from Tampa, Florida.
"It's just something that I was born into," McCloud III said. "My dad was in music for a long time, he had artists on Capitol Records, Dogg Pound, Universal Music Group... That's how me and Snoop Dogg got a relationship. But he helped make J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League from scratch, they did a lot of music for Rick Ross like Diced Pineapples and Aston Martin Music."
The two worlds of football and music collided, igniting the spark that would fuel McCloud III's life.
"I feel like I have a gift from each of my family members," McCloud III said. "My dad is a sports guy, I got sports from him. And my uncle was also in music, so that's helped me sing and just be creative."
At just nine years old, McCloud III took his first step into the world of music. He created his very first song titled "Check it Out." The track was a testament to his early creative prowess, and in the ninth grade he fed that passion even more. In his early high school days, McCloud III formed a music group with his closest friends named Legend Tribe. What started as a passion project soon gained popularity within their neighborhood. It was during this time that the wide receiver realized the power of his creativity to influence his community.
As McCloud III pursued his football career, his dedication to music never wavered. He found art in the game of football and always found a way to nurture his creative side. A few years into his NFL journey, the wide receiver started the Legend Tribe back up, rekindling the fire of musical creativity within him and his friends. Together, they began making music for movies, contributing their unique sound to the world of cinema. A song from the music label even landed on the soundtrack of BET's Devon's Day: A Juneteenth Film.
McCloud III's creative journey reached new heights when he collaborated with fellow NFL athletes to create music for "Madden NFL 24." Ahead of the video game's release, The NFL, Interscope Geffen A&M Records and Electronic Arts Sports joined forces to empower athletes to explore their artistry.
McCloud III, alongside Miami Dolphins tackle Terron Armstead, Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Chark Jr., linebacker Melvin Ingram and New York Giants tight end Darren Waller collaborated on an extended play project named Crowd Control. Songs from the EP, executive produced by Derrick Milano, were included in "Madden NFL 24," which was released at the start of the season.
"I felt so blessed to actually do something I love. Music is something that I've been doing since before sports," McCloud III said. "It was just surreal to do something I love on a game that I grew up playing my whole life."
Releasing his first EP showcased not only McCloud III's talent, but his ability to bridge the gap between sports and music.
"Of course football is my first love... But I think all art articulates in all different ways," McCloud III told TMZ Sports. "Even when I'm playing football, when I'm running routes, it's a certain type of art. When I'm running the ball, it's a certain type of art – creating space, creating anything, I just love creating. And that's where, in the music world, I want to create new sounds and new waves, a mood."
Being creative is an integral part of who McCloud III is. The wide receiver's journey in music and sports has demonstrated that true passion knows no bounds and creativity can thrive in even the most unexpected places. As for now, McCloud III shared he's dedicated his full focus to the game, but may release some of the art he's created over the years soon.
"I've just been focused on football," McCloud III said. "But my next project is coming out sometime before Christmas, I've been working on that for about two years."
Whether it's scoring touchdowns on the field or making hits off the field, the Faithful can expect superstar moves from McCloud III. Check out one of the wide receiver's "Madden NFL 24" songs from Crowd Control here: