How has Hip-Hop Changed Sports?

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Updated: October 2, 2014
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Sports and music have become synonymous with each other over the past three decades. Artists in every genre love sports, and athletes love music. The marriage between two was bound to happen. Hip-Hop artists are no different in their love for sports. Rappers like Jay z, Nelly, Will Smith, Lil Wayne and Drake are minority owners of sports franchises, own sports agencies, and are regular attendees at high-profile sporting events. The aforementioned rappers are just a few of the big name hip-hop artists that ensure the sports world has forever been changed by Hip-Hop.

References to athletes in verses or even songs named after specific athletes are much too common in today’s music landscape. The honest truth is the cross marketing between sports and hip-hop hasn’t hurt either market; business wise it’s makes a lot of sense and has generated a lot of income. It’s enhanced the brand of both athletes and the rappers. The more marketable an artist or an athlete are, the more money in endorsements and contracts will come their way.

Jay-Z is Doing A Lot With Sports…

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We all know the wonders Jay-Z has done for the Brooklyn Nets, and the off-court popularity of the Nets brand. I don’t know too many people who wouldn’t have wanted a marketing tool as popular as Jay-Z helping them market a former New Jersey to a New York City show piece. It was a business savvy and amazing move by all the parties involved. The Nets were languishing away in New Jersey with low fan attendance and no flair about them. The move to New York, a city rich in Basketball culture, was the perfect place for the franchise to thrive.

Not to mention their rivalry with the New York Knicks since coming to Brooklyn have not only provided great games from a sporting aspect, it has also added a celebrity feel when stars like Rihanna, Chris Brown, Jay-Z’s super-star Beyonce Knowles, and The Kardashians show up to the games in Brooklyn. And now that the Nets have arrival of the Nets, and the power of the Jay-Z brand, the Nets have become big business. Jay-Z mentioning his ownership stake (regardless of how small a stake it was) in the Nets numerous times in his music and interviews brought a lot of wanted attention to the team.

I mean who hasn’t Jay z signed on his management team? Kevin Durant, Victor Cruz, Robinson Cano, Gieno Smith, Skylar Diggins and the list goes on. He has made some big moves in the Sport industry that doesn’t go unnoticed. Forget no Major Hip-Hop artist ever being this big in the Sports industry, can you imagine the amount of Hip-Hop fans that don’t watch sports have now heard of those names. Who knows they may even watch sports now to see how Jay z players do, at the very least they at least know who those players are now. Or even people in the Sports world that know Jay z now, the audience for each market expanded in such a fast time.

When the Cross-over Pays Dividends…

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Not everything is peaceful between the artists and the athletes. During the Miami Heat’s reign as champions and the most hated team in the NBA, star forward Chris Bosh and hip-hop artist Lil Wayne had a falling out. Wayne made some disparaging remarks about Bosh after Wayne was asked to leave a Miami Heat game. That spat between the two celebrities spawned Internet articles galore? Like the old adage says, “no press is bad press.” And that episode between star basketball player and star rapper received plenty of press. The Lil Wayne drama only added to noise around the Miami Heat.

In my opinion people who aren’t die-hard sports fanatics only talk about or care about athletes when the games are being played. Rappers on the other hand are synonymous with their activities outside of the studio. So anytime an athlete and rapper can get into a situation that brings added media attention, the athlete definitely benefits. Lil Wayne even made a song for Kobe Bryant that I personally played almost every day before I went to basketball camp as a kid. From that to Wayne’s numerous times on ESPN’s SportsCenter, to his constant presence at games across the country, and his friendship with numerous athletes, It’s difficult to deny an artist like Wayne’s impact on Hip-Hop helping bring sports more universal.

I can keep going in naming ways Hip-Hop artist has helped Main Stream Sports and its stars with its actions wither they were good or positive. It goes from Nelly getting a share the Bobcats at one time, Will Smith and his wife Jada getting a piece of the 76ers or Drake being a team Ambassador for the Toronto Raptors. Anyway, Sports has always ruled this world for centuries, we can go back to the Romans & their sick Man vs Beast Coliseum games. Now we add the biggest Hip-Hop stars right now doing commercials with athletes and buying sports teams we will now see an unprecedented popularity in sports. Please trust me when I say this too, the take-over Hip-Hop is doing in the sports world is only the beginning.

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