Hip-Hop songs inspired by basketball – part 1

Hip-Hop songs inspired by basketball – part 1

Basketball and music intertwine since the 80’s and it seems that even today one can’t go without other. You probably noticed that LeBron published on his social media about Drake’s new album “Scorpion”. For a reason, in song “Nonstop” one verse says: “How I go from 6 to 23 like I’m LeBron?” (LeBron wore number 6 on his Miami Heat jersey, with Clevland Cavaliers he wears 23).  It wasn’t the first time Drake is using basketball references in his songs, but as we said it is not new. It was hip-hop, above all others music genres, that found the biggest inspiration in basketball, on the other hand, basketball players were influenced by hip-hop – not only in the matter of what they listen but also how they dress and even how they talk.

There are a bunch of songs that had basketball references or are inspired by basketball, we choose some of the most popular rap songs from the 80’s and 90’s. This music choice will partially bring you back to the old school hip-hop.

Kurtis Blow – Basketball – year 1984

Song of a rap icon Kurtis Blow is probably the first rap homage to basketball. A lot of people consider this song to be the one who made an unbreakable connection between this sport and music. It was published in the year when NBA started gaining big popularity. Later, this song was used for NBA promotional videos.

The Notorious B.I.G – Jam Session – year 1992

This wasn’t the first, nor the only time Biggie Smalls made references to the basketball in his songs, but it is one of the most recognizable.

“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”

Riff – White Man Can’t Jump – year 1992

The main track from the soundtrack of the movie with the same name. White Man Can’t Jump is one of the most popular basketball movies. If you watched the movie, you’ll know the song. If you haven’t watched it – do yourself a favor and watch it.

Ice Cube – Today was a good day – year 1992

Ice Cube is without a doubt one of the guys with the biggest respect for the game. He even has his own 3×3 league, BIG3 that features mostly retired NBA players. We agree with you Ice Cube, every day that we play basketball is a good day, and we hope that one day you’ll accept Bulut’s challenge – that would be an amazing day.

Skee-lo – I wish – year 1995 

Skee-lo feeling sorry for not being a better basketball player was pretty popular song back in the 90’s.

Quad City DJs – Space Jam – year 1996

This was the main theme for one of the most popular basketball movies of all time. Space Jam (the movie) is a phenomenon and we’ll write about that on some other occasion, but we will mention that the whole generations of basketball players were inspired by this movie. Here is an interesting story, when song “Space Jam” was published in 1996, Zack LaVine was only one year old. However, when he was getting out on the court during NBA All-Star Dunk contest 2015 he was wearing Michael Jordan Tune Squad jersey while “Space Jam” was playing in the background. That night he won the contest.

Wu-Tang All Stars – Soul in the Hole – year 1997

This is one of the songs that describes the unbreakable bond between basketball and hip-hop in the best possible way. It was a soundtrack for the movie of the same name, about basketball coach Kenny Jones.


Alan Parsons Project – “Sirius” – year 1997

It is not a rap song, nor it’s inspired by basketball, but it became a basketball anthem, at least for the players and fans of Chicago Bulls. Rock band Alan Parsons Project made song “Sirius” in 1982 but that song was used as an introduction theme for Chicago Bulls during the NBA finals in 1997. Since then it became known as the anthem of the team. Draymond Green and Steph Curry call it “The Jordan Song.”

To be continued…

Photo by: Mike Wilson on Unsplash

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