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Style - Kicks and Gear / Nov 20, 2013 / 5:00 pm

The 50 Greatest Basketball References In Hip-Hop History

Jay-Z

Jay-Z (photo. Nike)

A wise man once said “I swear sports and music are so synonymous ’cause we want to be them, and they want to be us.” There is a lot of truth in that quote, especially considering the influence the game basketball has had on the lyrics of our favorite hip hop artists. Emcees since the beginning of time have been referencing the NBA in their music. From Kurtis Blow to Jay-Z, the game of basketball and the rap game are inextricably linked.

Hip hop culture has influenced the way players dress, talk, and maybe even move on the court as their favorite songs serve as the soundtrack to their basketball activities. There is no denying that basketball and hip hop go together, and this list shows the influence basketball has had on your favorite hip hop songs over the last three decades.

That said, here are the 50 — in no particular order — of the greatest NBA basketball references in hip-hop history.

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[ALL VIDEOS & LYRICS NSFW]

1. Name of the track: “Basketball”
Artist: Kurtis Blow
Year: 1984
Lyrics: “Just like I’m the king on the microphone, so is Dr. J and Moses Malone / I like slam dunks, take me to the hoop my favorite play is the alley-oop / I like the pick-and-roll, I like the give-and-go / Cause it’s basketball, uh, Mister Kurtis Blow.”

2. Name of the track: “Encore”
Artist: Jay-Z
Year: 2003
Lyrics: “As fate would have it, Jay’s status appears / To be at an all-time high, perfect time to say goodbye / When I come back like Jordan, wearing the 4-5.”

3. Name of the track: “Put Your Hands Up”
Artist: Jadakiss
Year: 2001
Lyrics: And y’all scared I can tell / That I’mma get Bucks like Milwaukee, cause like Sam, I ca’ sell.”

4. Name of the track: “Gimme The Loot”
Artist: Notorious B.I.G.
Year: 1993-94
Lyrics: “I’m slamming n***as like Shaquille, s**t is real /When it’s time to eat a meal, I rob and steal”

And then there’s one of the greatest basketball lyrics ever… even if it’s not technically about the NBA: Either you’re slinging crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot

5. Name of the track: “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”
Artist: Kanye West
Year: 2007
Lyrics: Oh am I late? No, I already graduated / And you can live through anything if Magic made it / They say I talk with so much emphasis / Ooh they so sensitive”

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  • rob

    One big miss: Where is Ice cubes’s “Wicked”???? “Pass me the pill I am slam dunking like Shaquille O’Neal”!!!!!

  • Deez

    Biggie- Things Done Changed: “If I wasn’t in the rap game/I’d probably have a key knee-deep in the crack game/
    Because the streets is a short stop/
    Either you’re slinging crack rock/ or you got a wicked jump shot/

  • Murrays

    Terrible. You For Method Man – Y.O.U:

    Itchin’ to start the mission, flippin’ so keep yo’ distance

    Ain’t go no pot to piss in? Ain’t got no competition

    Listen, I slip the clippin’, trippin’ you get me lippin’

    Come mis and catch a whippin’, now kids is actin’ different

    Ditchin’ them double-dippin’, chickens that keep forgettin’

    I ain’t the one for trickin’, or anybody-kickin’

    Rippin’ these compesitions, scrippin’ them paper-written

    Hold ‘em and hit ‘n stickin’, ballin’ like Scottie Pippen.

    And you forgot WU Tang- Raekwon -Triumph:

    While, my pen blow lines ferocious

    Mediterranean, see y’all, the number one draft pick

    Tear down the beat God, then delegate the God to see God

    The swift chancellor, flex, the white-gold tarantula

    Track truck diesel, play the weed God, substantiala

    Max mostly, undivided, then slide in, sickenin

    Guaranteed, made em jump like Rod Strickland

  • Liam Crane

    One Kurtis Blow reference doesn’t excuse the general neglect of the 80s and 90s in this article. Don’t write an article about the best anythings in hip-hop history without doing a little more research. Or just call the article the best NBA references in the past 15 years and leave it at that. As it is, this is like writing a best NBA players article that includes one player from pre-1990. Weak.