Restructuring the Game: Hip Hop vs. NBA

The grass roots of Hip Hop grow deep within Ballers of every generation. It’s the bass bumping in our oversized headphones before game time, it’s the echo of “Bring ‘em out” pumping through the gym speakers during warm ups, it’s the celebratory anthem blasting at the after party when the Championship is won and it becomes our therapist on the bus ride home when we are defeated.
Hip Hop’s prevalence and importance in the lives of all athletes is undeniable but the symbiotic relationship between Hoopers and Hip Hoppers ultimately makes basketball the MVP. Basketball’s style keeps musicians freshly fitted with Jordan’s and jerseys and we’ve all seen the music videos of Ron Artest, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and many others attempting to rap. The rap world is saturated with basketball references and the metaphors range from coast to coast.
With the NBA Lock Out, many of the Pro talents are finding themselves back on the court with fellow athletes, musicians, potential draft picks and high school recruits. Whether Chris Brown is getting loose at Nike’s Real Run, Lebron James and Game are showing up at the Drew League or Kevin Durant is averaging 60 points at Rucker Park we are experiencing a retrograde of basketball back into the streets where it all began.
The Lock Out may be a hack to their paychecks but it is obvious that the love for the game reigns supreme over money. For all rappers and athletes who dishonestly claim “Money over everything,” it should be viewed as a reality check. Regardless of financial backing from the NBA for health insurance, training facilities, etcetera basketball players are nevertheless continuing to hoop and, I’m sure if put in a similar situation with their record labels Hip Hop artists would continue to write, rap and perform. The only contextual difference in content would be the stories being told and the venues and resources they are allowed access to. Although money has become the primary motivator on a global scale no one in this world has to be paid millions of dollars to do what they love.
It is about time to water the Hip Hop roots. With the direction the music industry and the NBA are growing a timeout needs to be called. The playmakers, the CEO’s and the corporations behind the scenes have corrupted every aspect of the Hip Hop culture’s image to revolve around materialism and stereotypes rather than progression and positive change. The mainstreams distortion of Hip Hop has polluted our airwaves and iTunes libraries with a lack of inspiration and substance for long enough!
As today’s conscious hip hop warms the bench civil rights abuses continue to surface everywhere and Americans remain too distracted by social static to realize its current potential to alter the starting lineup. Professional athletes are worshipped as if they were Gods and rappers are quoted as if they were Socrates or Plato, so it is only fitting for them to begin to live up to the hype. With the Lock Out giving these players an opportunity to rethink as well as restructure the National Basketball Association’s organization and with Hip Hop artists’ influence and authority to move the masses to an elevated intellectual level there is no better time than now for a modern Renaissance of The Game. <3AK

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