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If The Rap Game Was The NBA

Hip Hop is by far the most competitive form of music, from the genre's origins of battling to artists competing for the best verse on the same song and even the bragging rights of first-week sales on the release of a new project, all these elements are part of the game that is Hip Hop. Fans have debated for countless hours about their favorite artists like kids playing with trump cards on a primary school playground, we decided to put together this article to put things into perspective as it pertains to Hip-Hop and the sport of basketball. You may be asking, why this sport in particular?... well for many reasons. Hip-Hop and basketball have been synonymous almost since the beginning of the genre, we have all heard the lyrics about how the only positive ways out of poverty were rapping or going to the NBA, and basketball superstars have been referenced in rhymes for decades. Rappers will often compare themselves to NBA stars to illustrate their capabilities or stature within their field.

Rappers and NBA players often have an "I'm tryna be like you bro" relationship, from the highest tier to newcomers in the game. In an era where Lebron James playing your song on 'Taco Tuesdays' is as fruitful as being listed on the hottest playlists on Spotify, the parallels are even more glaring. In addition to that, the Mount Rushmore conversation, picking the top 4/5 at any point, is a conversation that relates most to these crafts. We take a new angle on this bond between competitive contact sports, instead of picking out the top artists in the Hip Hop genre and comparing them to an NBA counterpart. We bring to you the starting 5 rappers in each major city within the Hip-Hop genre. These teams are also given an offensive, defensive, and coaching score, the offense rating is determined by the accolades and status of the artist listed, their level of talent and chemistry. The defensive rating is determined by the staying power of the artists and the overall potential to make a lasting impact whether they are relevant or not. Lastly, the coaching rating is determined by the resume of the iconic rapper in question and their status in and out of music.

Disclaimer - If basketball analogies aren't your thing, this may be a difficult read so be sure to have google in the tuck.

"I'm a freak like Greek" - Cardi B

New York Knicks

PG - A Boogie

SG - Lil Tjay

SF - A$AP Rocky

PF - Young MA

C - Cardi B

6th Man - Fivio Foreign

Coach - 50 Cent

Offence: B

Defence: C-

Coaching A-

*6ix9ine scoring 30 at Rucker Park

The New York Knicks in real life is still known as a major laughing stock in the NBA, however, the Hip hop version of the starting 5 is rather healthy with Bobby Shmurda coming back from his suspension. A Boogie is at the point, taking control of the tempo currently, preparing to upgrade from a rookie contract to a very respectable deal. A$AP Rocky is a seasoned veteran at Small Forward, although his numbers may be declining - he is invaluable to the team's DNA. Known for his influence within fashion, he probably designed the jerseys. Cardi B is also a powerhouse on this team, however, we are yet to see if her monstrous rookie year was a flash in the pan or if she can be a consistent All-Star.

50 Cent coaches this team with a young backcourt and a more seasoned frontcourt. With his accomplishments in the Hip Hop NBA, receiving two rings, and getting to the conference finals once as a player, he knows what it takes to win. However, if the team goes on a losing streak, he may have the tendency to demolish the team morale and lose the locker room. Outside of disputes with the coach, the backcourt has also been known to go back and forth during time-outs. Synergy is an issue for the Hip Hop New York Knicks.

"Bentley Spurs and Phantom, Jordan fadeaway" - Future

Atlanta Hawks

PG - 21 Savage

SG - Gunna

SF - Future

PF - Young Thug

C - Lil Baby

6th Man - Playboi Carti

Coach - Gucci Mane

Offence: A

Defence: A-

Coaching: B

The Atlanta Hawks are definitely the most balanced team in the Hip Hop NBA, with players that are at least top 5 in the league at each of their positions, they are a force to be reconded with and have the highly decorated Future leading the team out for every tip-off. The chemistry of this team is second to none as they share the ball better than any other team in this league, behind the back passes, ally oops, you name it. The Hip Hop Atlanta Hawks have been contenders in the league for decades, the scouting team has been able to discover and develop talent year after year from the draft classes. Gunna takes shooting guard as he seems to be having his most efficient year from the field and stepping up as a starter on the team over Quavo. Lil Baby takes the center position as he continues to do all the dirty work for the Atlanta team with his grit and hunger. Young Thug is a brilliant stretch 4 on this team that isn't afraid to shoot from any part of the field, although sometimes inconsistent he has recently been offering the team a consistent 25 (points) and 10 (Rebounds). Carti is waiting for his turn as a starter, as a player with great potential the expectations are sky-high for the player approaching the end of his rookie contract.

Gucci Mane coaches the team and although as a player he was unable to get past the second round, he inspired every player in the current starting 5 with amazing highlights and Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. As a player, he was never afraid of a suspension and had multiple technical fouls. Although he is currently a much more reserved and structured individual, he still has a tendency to wild out on the refs in high-pressure situations.

“Back to back like I’m Jordan ‘96, ‘97” - Drake

Toronto Raptors


SG - Tory Lanez

SF - Drake

PF - Amir Obe

C - Belly

6th Man - Roy Wood$

Coach Kardinal Official

Offence: A

Defence: C

Coaching: D+

The Hip Hop Toronto Raptors boast a multiple-time MVP of the league, 10 time All-Star in Drake and one of the most underrated and versatile players in the league in Tory Lanez. With these two, the Hip Hop Toronto Raptors have no issues about making the playoffs every year, however, the balance of the team is where they fall short as we get deeper into the postseason. With Nav at the point, the Toronto Raptors have a highly inconsistent half-court game, causing Drake to bring the ball up on almost every inbound while Tory looks for the perfect shot at the basket. Nav's turnovers and inability to create his own shot hurts the team although he ranks high in the league for assists. Amir Obe at Power Forward is a very talented player but often goes missing in action during the postseason. Belly is a brilliant utility player that consistently knocks down his free throws but is often caught ball watching as Drake and Tory dominate possession. Chemistry wise, the team is unbalanced with various players looking to take similar roles at one time. Defensively the team is very average with many teams capable of exposing their defensive deficiencies. On the topic of coaching, the Toronto Raptors have Kardinal Official taking the helm. Yeah, not great.

"I want Jordan numbers, LeBron footin’/Can’t guard me, Vince Lombardi, John Wooden"

Charlotte Hornets

PG - Rapsody

SG - YBN Cordae

SF - J Cole

PF - Da Baby

C - Stunna 4 Vagas

6th Man - Lute

Coach - 9th Wonder

Offence: A

Defence: B+

Coaching: A

The Hip Hop Charlotte Hornets have an excellent balance of veteran players and new blood injected into the team. With a great understanding of the fundamentals of the sport, they consistently make it deep into the playoffs and have the ability to sweep teams in the early rounds if firing on all cylinders. J Cole takes the leadership role on this team and does so with a great understanding of the game as an extension on the Hall of Fame coach 9th Wonder on the court. With a highly-skilled ball-handler in the backcourt, Rapsody, their halfcourt game is second to none and have a dominant post-game in Da Baby, who isn't afraid to back down a defender and slam it down. With J Cole as a multiple-time scoring champion with very little assists to his points, he is able to take control if it gets close in the 4th quarter. Also boasting one of the best young talents in the league, YBN Cordae, The Charlotte Hornets have a great mix of energy and Hip Hop IQ. However, issues may arise in the lack of efficiency and a seemingly outdated playbook.

"Tables turned, lesson learned, my best look / You jumped sides on me, now you 'bout to meet Westbrook /

Go celebrate with your team and let victory vouch you" - Kendrick Lamar

LA Lakers

PG - Roddy Ricch


SF - Kendrick Lamar

PF - Tyler The Creator

C - Schoolboy Q

6th Man - Tyga

Coach - Snoop Dogg

Offence: A

Defence: A

Coaching: A-

The Hip Hop LA Lakers are a team full of seasoned veterans and most are still in their prime. This team also boasts the current rookie of the year Roddy Ricch who seems to have a very promising career ahead of him. Kendrick Lamar sits at small forward and is as reliable as they come, constantly revolutionising the position and reinventing his skill set every season. Although he has multiple MVP trophies in his cabinet, he has been load managing for the past few years, which has had an effect on his regular-season statistics. Tyler The Creator has developed into a stellar two-way player and YG may not have had a better season than his breakout year in 2014, but is the defensive backbone of the team and can hit open shots with ease. Schoolboy Q keeps the balance in the team with his high free throw percentage and rebounding. Tyga is a great player to add to the rotation, liable to get on a streaky run every so often.

Snoop Dogg takes the coaching position for the team with his unique coaching style and an abundance of knowledge of the game. As a part of many championship-contending teams, Snoop has the right temperament to control the team and raising the moral with state of the art medicinal practices. The biggest downfall of the Hip Hop LA Lakers may be their hunger for the top spot after such a successful run.

"You love being Kobe when you make the lay up / Till you realize everybody in the world fuckin hates the Lakers" - Chance The Rapper

Chicago Bulls

PG - G Herbo

SG - Polo G

SF - Lil Durk

PF - Mick Jenkins

C - Chance The Rapper

6th Man - Saba

Coach - Common

Offence: B-

Defence: B

Coaching: B+

The Chicago Bulls in our parallel Hip Hop NBA are an exciting young and athletic team with room for development. The team has recently gone through a rebuilding process for the past few years, but they have many things to be excited about for the upcoming seasons. Although Chance the Rapper at a time looked to be next in line to be considered in the top 5 in the league, his lackluster season opened the door for others to take that position. With highly skilled young talents like Polo G and Saba, the Chicago Bulls fight for every point and have a never say die attitude. G Herbo, Lil Durk, and Mick Jenkins also have a few years in the game and have been steady producers for the team with each outing. Issues for this team arises with their lack of star power, causing them to be on the losing side if the matchup turns into a back to back scoring fest.

Common handles the playbook for this team, a well-respected mind in the league, capable of getting through to almost every individual. An amazing understanding of the technical aspect of the game and able to give the most inspiring speeches to fuel the team towards greatness. Although he has had a very fruitful career, a downfall is of the coach of this team is not having that championship pedigree.

H-Town my second home like I’m James Harden

Houston Rockets

PG - Don Toliver

SG - Megan Thee Stallion

SF - Travis Scott

PF - Sauce Walka

C - Maxo Kream

6th Man - Young Deji

Coach - Trae Tha Truth

Offence: A

Defence: D+

Coaching: C

The Houston Rockets are a team with great offensive capabilities. Travis Scott leads the line as a top 5 player in the league, recently securing his first MVP trophy, he has proven himself to be a top tier All-Star and consistently ranks amongst some of the top assist makers in the league. Megan the Stallion is the team's second-leading scorer with a solid points tally and popular amongst the fan base. Playing in a contract year, this season had raised her level of play to the benefit of the team. One of the best prospects in the league Don Toliver takes the point position, causing the Houston Rockets to have a very solid backcourt. However, the frontcourt leaves much to be desired. Sauce Walka and Maxo Kream take the power forward and center positions and play hard, but the talent level compared to other counterparts leaves much room for improvement.

Although they are offensively deadly, the Houston Rockets have a tendency to lose composure when down and are prone to unforced errors. Trae Tha Truth coaches this team and has had a few playoff appearances but not many accolades after that. However, he will be a voice of reason in the locker room and an exemplary professional, also known for his team-building abilities.

"I had a basketball dream they deflated / I wasn't good as Michael Jordan so they faded" - Meek Mill

Philadelphia 76ers

PG - Tierra Whack

SG - Lil Uzi Vert

SF - Meek Mill

PF - PnB Rock

C - Lil Dicky

6th Man - Poundside Pop (Rookie)

Coach - Beanie Sigal

Offence: A-

Defence: C+

Coaching: B

The Philadelphia 76ers are definitely a difficult team to beat right now, with some great skilled players in the starting line up. Tierra Whack is well respected at the point guard position, a quality skills player with high basketball IQ. She holds down the backcourt along with Lil Uzi Vert who is one of the scoring leaders in the league right now, putting up big numbers consistently. Meek Mill is the leader of the squad and has been holding the team down for years. Although very talented, the frontcourt has a tendency to be very inconsistent but have highlight moments, Beanie Sigal is the perfect coach for this team as he embodies the identity of the 76res in the grit and hardnosed approach to the game. Beanie also has a new deep playoff runs on his resume and knows what it takes to build a successful team. However, his downfall may be his reliance on coaches rather than taking charge of the situation.

"I ain't from Miami, but i be riding with that heat" - Kodak Black

Miami Heat

PG - Denzel Curry

SG - YWN Melly

SF - Kodak Black

PF - Ski Mask The Slump God

C - Rod Wave

6th Man - Lil Pump

Coach - Rick Ross

Offence: B

Defence: B

Coaching: B+

Much like the Chicago Bulls team, the Miami Heat of the Hip Hop industry is a very young and skilled team with great potential. Although this team is liable to suspensions and fines, they are a vigorous team that is fearless and willing to go against the best of the best. Kodak is the leader of the team in points and rebounds and Denzel Curry is one of the best at iso ball. Ski Mask is the energy of the team and Rod Wave brings the muscle and passion in the paint. Defensively, expect a few elbows and hard screens.

On the touchline for this team, you can expect Rick Ross smoking a cigar, laid back and always composed as his team fight for every loose ball. Ross is the perfect coach for this team as he is a well-respected figure in the game, reaching great heights and All-Star appearances.

London Lions

PG - Dave

SG - J Hus

SF - Stormzy

PF - Headie One

C - Unknwn T

6th Man - Octavian

Coach - Skepta

Offence: A

Defence: A

Coaching: A

This list wouldn't be right without adding the London franchise to the NBA. The flights to the city may be difficult but we'll work it out somehow. The London Lions may have one of the most balanced teams in this league, with Dave and J Hus out of the backcourt. This team's offensive and defensive capabilities are up there with the best. The frontcourt is one of the most aggressive in the league with both in the top 10 for rebounds and put-backs. Although they're a throwback to the old school, gritty frontcourts of the past, they do so with the finesse of the new era, able to pull up from mid-range consistently. Stormzy is the leader of the pack with many accolades and accomplishments, his IQ is one of the best in the league. Although his free throw shooting and shooing from beyond the arch may be suspect based on his talent level, he continues to dominate with an impressive double double average.

Octavian is the first off the bench for this team as he prepares for his opportunity in the limelight. Skepta holds the clipboard for this team with years of experience and an understanding of what it takes to be the best on this particular team. Although his relationship with his star payer may not be as prevalent as we would wish, his tactical awareness and ability to relate to the different personalities in his team is a huge strength.

In conclusion, Hip Hop and the NBA will forever have a close relationship and the major cities are very well represented by rappers making an impact in their city and beyond. Let us know what team you think is the best and who deserves to be on the starting line up for each city.

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