We can go on for a minute about the parallels between sports and hip-hop. There's the superhero mystique that follows the best of the best from both professions. There's the need to sell their talents and just be interesting (side eye to swagger-less Kevin Durant) to connect with an audience—or a demographic in marketing-speak. But the similarities don't mean much of anything if they're not entertaining, and many have been enjoyable through the past two decades in which hip-hop in advertising have become prevalent.
It's especially fascinating how versatile associating sports and hip-hop in advertising can be as much as both professions have been stereotyped—they're both more complex than people give them credit for. They're bizarre (shoutouts to Rick Ross), inspiring (see: “Umi Says”/Air Jordan XVI), and adrenaline-pumping (JUST BLLAAAZEE). Allen Iverson was the first to provide a pure distillation of the hip-hop/sports advertising mixture when he famously appeared on the SLAM cover with the blown out ‘fro and the Mitchell & Ness jersey, but there have been a few other TV spots that played up the hip-hop aesthetic to humorous peaks and passion-appealing success. From Styles P rapping Kevin Garnett’s theme music to The Neptunes at their finest, here are the Best Sports Commercials Featuring Rap Songs.