(Above Photo Credit – USA Today Sports – Kirby Lee)
By: Patrick Waring
Like many rap music fans, I’m counting down the days to August 14, 2015. That’s the day that Straight Outta Compton will hit theaters and tell the story of N.W.A to the world. The legendary group started with Arabian Prince, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube and later added MC Ren (please don’t make the mistake of leaving out Ren). It’s hard not to picture or talk about N.W.A without thinking about the Raiders. Now in Oakland, the team was then in Los Angeles and the group wore their apparel like it was their uniform. It was almost impossible not to catch at least one of the members without a silver and black hat or jacket. And if it wasn’t the Raiders, it was the Los Angeles Kings. The group had the same attitude and approach as the NFL team. Hardcore and didn’t take any crap from anyone. Former owner Al Davis probably set that tone more than the players. Ice Cube and the others are big sports fans and will always be associated with the Raiders.
There has always been a relationship with sports and music, and rap has seemed to be the easiest to notice. Artists often wear gear of their favorite teams and add names and situations into their lyrics. For years you could open a magazine or tune into music videos to see several examples. You regularly see athletes making appearances in videos and see rappers sitting courtside or ringside at sporting events.
As an A Tribe Called Quest fan, I always remember Phife Dawg wearing jerseys in videos or daily photos. No real Tribe fan can forget Phife standing on top of a roof in the Check The Rime video wearing a Seton Hall basketball jersey. Pete Rock has always been a big fan of sports and current Twitter followers can read his thoughts and updates on New York teams.
Before the start of last season, the Washington Wizards announced that D.C. native and rapper Wale would be the team’s creative liaison. Wale has been a supporter and loyal fan of D.C. teams. Known for attending games, hanging out with players and representing his favorite teams by wearing merchandise, Wale seemed like the perfect man for the job. One can only hope that Wale may have a trick up his sleeve to help get Kevin Durant in a Wiz jersey after next season. Also to note, Wale played football at Robert Morris University and Virginia State University.
Maybe it’s the similarities in the two. Rappers are looking to make another hit album or record just like athletes are looking to win games or championships. Competition drives both and they are certainly looking to increase their savings accounts. It could also be the culture or shared environments growing up. I think some see the same in each other. Rappers that were once athletes and athletes that rap or want to jump into that arena. Some have tried and failed (some very miserably), but it’s the common interest in each other.
Whatever it is, music and sports will be forever joined together at the hip. Athletes listening to music before games, rappers wearing hats and shirts in public, and both being mentioned and observed together. For a fan of both, like myself, it’s a good deal.
You can follow me on Twitter @WaringPatrick