The 50 Greatest Basketball References In Hip-Hop History

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.

*** *** ***

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.”

[protected-iframe id=”1aeb2e5fb0fbaecddfd22ceb7cf35d8e-60970621-84525852″ info=”//” width=”480″ height=”600″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no”]

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”

6. Name of the track: “Stay Schemin”
Rap Artist: Drake
Year: 2012
Lyrics: “Kobe ’bout to lose a hundred fifty M’s / Kobe my n***a I hate it had to be him / B**ch you wasn’t with me shooting in the gym / (B**ch you wasn’t with me shooting in the gym)”

7. Name of the track: “Blow The Whistle”
Rap Artist: Jay-Z
Lyrics: “Uh! Ask my n***a Lebron! / We so big we ain’t gotta respond /
When you talkin to a don, please have respect like your talkin to your mom”

8. Name of the track: “Deadly Combination”
Artist: Big L
Year: 1998
Lyrics: I be that young, pretty, fly, smooth, glorious kid / A Bad Boy, just like Notorious B.I.G / I Roc-a-Fella like Shawn Carter / With more game than Ron Harper / The bomb sparker rapper slash charm robber”

9. Name of the track: “New God Flow”
Artist: Kanye West
Year: 2012
Lyrics: “Hold up, I ain’t trying to stunt, man / But these Yeezys jumped over the Jumpman / Went from most hated to the champion god flow / I guess that’s a feeling only me and Lebron know.”

10. Name of the track: “Steve Biko (Stir it up)”
Rap Artist: Phife verse (A Tribe Called Quest)
Year: 1993
Lyrics: “Hip-hop scholar since being knee-high to a duck /The height of Muggsy Bogues, complexion of a hockey puck”

11. Name of the track: “Im The Man”
Rap Artist: Fabolous
Year: 2009
Lyrics: You know how the man do, Coupe is on Manu Ginobilis / And the truck is on Kobes”

12. Name of the track: “Hola Hovito”
Artist: Jay-Z
Year: 2001
Lyrics: “I ball for real: y’all ni***s is Sam Bowie / And with the third pick, I made the earth sick / M.J., him Jay, fade-away, perfect”

13. Name of the track: “Mama Told Me”
Rap Artist: Wale
Lyrics: “A hundred for a deal they made a hundred on the song / N***a I’m a hundred miles far / I’m feelin’ Chris Childs, you lookin’ like Kobe Bryant jaw”

14. Name of the track: “Pump It Up (Remix)”
Rap Artist: Jay-Z
Year: 2003
Lyrics: “Hovi baby, you Kobe maybe Tracy McGrady, matter fact, you a Harold Miner, J.R. Rider, washed up on marijuana/Even worse you a Pervis Ellis, you worthless fella”.

15. 20. Name of the track: “What Means the World to You”
Artist: Cam’ron
Year: 2000
Lyrics: “Top baller in every state / in Chi i’m Mike / Boston I’m Kenny / Miami I’m Timmy, Phoenix I’m Penny”

16. Name of the track: “Return Of Simba”
Artist: J. Cole
Year: 2011
Lyrics: “Being good is good, that’ll get you Drew Gooden / But me, I want Jordan numbers, LeBron footin’ / can’t guard me, Vince Lombardi, John Wooden

17. Name of the track: “Jam Sessions”
Artist: Notorious B.I.G.
Year: 1995
Lyrics: “Rebounding, outstanding, no one surrounding / I’m screwing and doing like I was Ewing / The only one soaring and scoring is Jordan / He must of had his Wheaties this morning”

18. Name of the track: “Fireman”
Artist: Lil Wayne
Year: 2005
Lyrics: “Addicted to the game like Jordan and Payton / ya’ll in the race and me I’m at the finish line / been running for too long it’s time to gimme mine”

19. Name of the track: “Something To Ride Too”
Rap Artist: Joe Budden
Year: 2010
Lyrics: “Maybe now I see why Marvin just needed to holler and if you know me / treat a hurdle like I’m Igoudala”

20. Name of the track: “After the Party”
Artist: Little Brother (Phonte)
Year: 2005
Lyrics: “Parking lot pimps 9 out of 10 more parking lot simps / Ladies want lobster but settle fo’ shrimps, Dikembe Mutombo, blockin all attempts”

21. Name of the track: “Brand New”
Artist: Kanye West
Year: 2008
Lyrics: “The survey says, by the streets according / Kanye’s just important as Michael Jordan was to the NBA when he was scorin’ / Ralph Lauren was borin’ before I wore him”

22. Name of track: “Get It Together”
Rap Artist: Beastie Boys (featuring Tribe)
Year: 1994
Lyrics: “See I’ve got heart like John Starks / hitting mad sparks / pass me the mic and I’ll be rocking the whole park”

23. Name of the track: “Barry Sanders”
Rap Artist: Wale
Year: 2011
Lyrics: “Interscope feeling like Charlotte when they traded Kobe you know / But I let it go Rozay finna re-up / he got himself a Kobe and they stuck with Vlade Divac

24. Name of the track: “Reservoir Dogs”
Rap Artist: Sauce Money
Year: 1998
Lyrics: “Yo, the left hook will shatter your chin / Similar to Darryl Dawkins when he shattered the rim”

25. Name of the track: “The Prelude”
Artist: Jay-Z
Year: 2007
Lyrics: “Before The Answer was a 3 / I was down in Georgetown with a Hoya chick, lawyer chick”

26. Name of the track: “Raw and Uncut”
Artist: Beanie Sigel
Year: 2000
Lyrics: “I’m Scottie Pippen it’s like Magic, Worthy, Parish, Bird, B, Stockton, Malone, Who gonna stop and hold this? Game like Doc and Moses / Full court press and the Roc controls this”

27. Name of the track: “Baby Phife’s Return”
Artist: Phife Dawg
Year: 1996
Lyrics: “Like Jordan had Starks, while you playin hokey pokey / there’s no time to be dokey / Cuz I come out to play every night like Charles Oakley

28. Name of the track: “Follow Me Gangsta”
Rap Artist: 50 cent
Year: 2003
Lyrics: “My team in the cut / packin middle things / I got more foreign shooters than the Sacramento Kings”

29. Name of the track: “Unite”
Artist: Beastie Boys
Year :1998
Lyrics: “Going off the hook like Latrell Sprewell / I’ve got the ill technique so you know me feel well”

30. Name of the track: “Wish You Would”
Artist: Ludacris
Year: 2008
Lyrics: “I’m on point like CP3 and I’ll be going down in rap as the MVP”

31. Name of the track: “Dead Presidents II”
Rap Artist: J. Cole
Year: 2009
Lyrics: “My whole life practice to be the one / whats it like to be LeBron / they calling u the savior, so much pressure but u deal with it / the weight of the world on ur shoulders but u still lift it”

32. Name of the track: “Sky Club”
Artist: Big K.R.I.T
Year: 2012
Lyrics: “Another shot just before it I don’t need a chaser / Reggie Miller ain’t allowed, we don’t like the Pacers.”

33. Name of the track: “Only The Customer”
Artist: Jay-Z
Year: 1998
Lyrics: “I was raised to live, Lord I pray you forgive / If not I just handle it like Jason Kidd”

34. Name of the Track: “So Sophisticated”
Rap Artist: Meek Mill
Year: 2012
Lyrics: “Shi***** on these haters, ball hard D Waiters”

35. Name of the track: “Black Cloud”
Rap Artist: Joe Budden
Year: 2010
Lyrics: “Motivation the game was supplying me / it’s no longer providing me / Jayson Williams, something killed whatever was driving me”

36. Name of the track: “Thank Me Now”
Artist: Drake
Year: 2010
Lyrics: “And that’s around the time that your idols become your rivals / you make friends with Mike, but gotta A.I. him for your survival”

37. Name of the track: “Jingling”
Artist: Cool Kids
Year: 2008
Lyrics: “Motor city technically Rasheed Wallace / then moved to Chicago for dollars like Ben Wallace

38. Name of the track: “Errday”
Rap Artist: Wiz Khalifa featuring Juicy J
Year: 2011
Lyrics: “My mansion sittin’ on 40 acres, who the neighbors? / Kobe Bryant from the Lakers, now that’s paper”

39. Name of the track: “My Buddy”
Rap Artist: Sheek Louch
Year: 2004
Lyrics: “Went on the grind, I’m ducked out from my bucket / Glean the post, I’m smart so they call me Tim Duncan

40. Name of the track: “Pennies”
Rap Artist: Cool Kids
Year: 2009
Lyrics: “Auburn Hills, Michigan, home of the Palace / the place on the map where Isiah beat Magic / throwin’ elbows, had them Rick Mahorn habits”

41. Name of the track: “Barbershops”
Rap Artist: Ghostface Killah
Year: 2000
Lyrics: “One minute you hot, next minute you not / remind me of the New York Knicks with they jumpshots”

42. Name of the track: “Undisputed”
Rap Artist: Ludacris
Year: 2008
Lyrics: “Back to put rappers on one knee like they ’bout to run 100 meter dash / bow down to greatness / before I get pissed and run up in the stands like the Indiana Pacers.”

43. Name of the track: “Set It Off”
Artist: Action Bronson
Year: 2011
Lyrics: “Behind the back pass, Arvydas Sabonis whole smart crew, kid we smoking weed in diplomas.”

44. Name of the track: “The Dream Shatterer”
Artist: Big Pun
Lyrics: “Shatter dreams like Jordan assault and batter your team / your squadron will be barred from rap, Like Adam and Eve from the garden”

45. Name of the track: “Cold”
Artist: Kanye West
Year: 2012
Lyrics: “And I’ll admit, I had fell in love with Kim / Around the same time she had fell in love with him / Well that’s cool, baby girl, do ya thang / Lucky I ain’t had Jay drop him from the team”

46. Name of the track: “Rebel Without a Pause”
Artist: Public Enemy
Year: 1987
Lyrics: “Simple and plain / Give me the lane / I’ll throw it down your throat like Barkley”

47. Name of the track: “Today Was A Good Day”
Artist: Ice Cube
Year: 1991-92
Lyrics: “Which park are y’all playing basketball / Get me on the court and I’m trouble /
Last week fucked around and got a triple double / Freaking n***as every way like MJ /
I can’t believe today was a good day”

48. Name of the track: “Sixteen”
Artist: Rick Ross
Year: 2012
Lyrics: “Floor seat for the Heat, paper that I’m stackin / Better put away a penny for the rainy days / Pick and roll, give and go, fuck a fade away / Living like Scottie Pippen, dribble riddles for vittles / Started off with a scribble, now I’m flowing a river”

49. Name of the track: “24-23”
Artist: Young Jeezy
Year: 2009
Lyrics: “See I used to pay Kobe, but now I pay Lebron / Kobe, Lebron, Kobe, Lebron / Yeah I used to pay Kobe until I paid Lebron / Kobe, Lebron, Kobe, Lebron
24, 23 – y’all ni***s remember me”

50. Name of the track: “Kobe Bryant”
Artist: Lil Wayne
Year: 2009
Lyrics: “Two-four so nice, my flow so mean / catch me at the game sitting next to Goldstein, Kobe Bryant Nikes, purple gold strings / Kobe in the game dunkin’ on the whole team.”

What do you think?

Follow Andrew on Twitter at @Drewtheabstract.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.