Nothing represents the inner city like hoops and hip-hop, which is why the two have been intertwined since DJ Kool Herc first started spinning records in the South Bronx four decades ago.
In the ’70s, Herc’s breakbeats quickly made their way from house parties to the playground courts, then the surrounding New York boroughs, until hip-hop was played over terrestrial airwaves.
In 1984, Kurtis Blow’s “Basketball” hit the scene and hip-hop and hoops were bound forever.
The music’s popularity branched out to other sports and soon football teams were rapping their season theme songs and baseball players were having hip-hop blared over the PA system as they walked to the plate.
Rap returned the love.
MCs have used sports references in their songs for years and reflect their affiliation with a city or team (or that team’s colors) in videos and on stage through jerseys and hats.
In fact, for a long period of time in the late ’90s until the mid-’00s, you couldn’t watch a rap video without seeing a sports jersey worn by the artist and, in some cases, they wore several over the course of the track.
Like all things fashion-related, however, the jersey fad faded and although we see it peek its head around a few corners, it’s basically stayed in its lane – or field – for the most part.
Here are the most iconic jersey fad moments when sports ruled the hip-hop fashion school:
“Let’s Get It”
Artist: G-Dep featuring P. Diddy & Black Rob
Jerseys: Charles Woodson – Raiders (NFL), Tim Brown – Raiders (NFL), Tim Duncan – Spurs (NBA)