New York Knicks In Hip Hop

New York Knicks In Hip Hop

While New York is the birthplace of Hip Hop, Madison Square Garden, the home of the New York Knicks, is considered the Mecca of basketball. Even though the Knicks have not always shined throughout their history, they are still a legendary team with two NBA championship titles won in the 1970s. They are also one of two NBA franchises, along with the Boston Celtics, to have never moved.

The Knickerbockers, named after Father Knickerbocker and the city’s oldest families, are definitely one of New York’s biggest sports and pop culture icons. Club legends such as Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, Willis Reed, Earl Monroe or more recently Carmelo Anthony are among the players who have thrilled the Madison Square Garden by wearing the mythical blue and orange Knicks jersey. They have marked all generations since the creation of the NBA under the colors of the city of New York. Many tourists stop by Madison Square Garden during a trip to New York because of the symbol the team represents for New York.

The Brooklyn Nets, originally from New Jersey, have more recently become a symbol of popular culture by representing the underprivileged with a more street image, and therefore closer to Hip Hop. But the Knicks, because of their attachment to New York, remain the most legendary team of the city and one of its most powerful sports symbols. For my part, it is this symbol that made me dream from a very young age. Having discovered the NBA in the mid-2000s, the Knicks went through some dark periods, roaming the bottom of the standings before coming back under Carmelo Anthony’s era in the 2010s. But even though I discovered the team in its dark period, it is this franchise that I have supported with conviction during all these years, precisely for the symbol it represents. The idea is to illustrate that New York has one of the most loyal and committed fanbase in the NBA, and in American sports in general.

Because of this legendary status and symbol of New York’s popular culture, there are many references in music and especially in rap music. Other than the anthems Go New York Go which is reworked almost every year by new performers and Take Me Home by Doug E Fresh, the club and its floor legends have been quoted in many Hip Hop tracks throughout their history. Going back in history a bit, I’ve listed the fifteen biggest references to the mythical club in rap songs:

15.  Basketball, Kurtis Blow

Or when, Willis Reed stood so tall / Playing D with desire, it’s basketball

14.  Anything Can Happen, Wyclef Jean

Will the Knicks win the championship this year? / Say what, say what, anything can happen

13.  Is That Your Chick (featuring Jay-Z, Twista and Missy Elliott), Memphis Bleek

From hanging out with chicks who be swallowing dicks / From catz who order Cris play the floor with the Knicks

12.  Independent, Salt-N-Pepa

Now wake up from your dreamin’ ’cause you’re dealin’ with the Pep  / Like Oakley from the Knicks, yes, I’m havin’ a ball

11.  Lick A Shot, Redman

Or when, Willis Reed stood so tall / PlayingAs dark as it gets, you slept in the Bricks / Now you lose – like e’ry year, you betin the Knicks D with desire, it’s basketball

10.  New York Shit (featuring Swizz Beatz), Busta Rhymes

Hustle with Timbs and hoodies on my New York flip : Rubber band stack money with my New York clique / Yeah! I’m on my New York shit / I rep the Giants, the Jets, New York Knicks

9.  Dead Bodies (featuring The Game and Prodigy), The Alchemist

She from Compton just like me / Caramel wit extensions just like Eve / She want to go to a Knicks game, sit next to Spike Lee / Well do the right thing, blow a nigga out his Nikes

8.  Don’t Need Your Love (featuring Faith Evans), The Game

I heard they got Bloods in New York now / Red rags in Uptown Harlem now, I need that love / Front court at the Knicks game, new chick, French name / New car, new house, and sometimes friends change

7.  What You Need Is Jesus, Public Enemy

Hear them nets rip, like a butcher / Gettin’ all the chips musta been a road trip against the Knicks

6.  Un Bon Son Brut Pour Les Truands, IAM

Celui qui nique ma zic, votre shit, les sales flics / Chez nous se prennent des coups de Predator Kick / Fixe ou je te mystifie comme un Twix, aussi sauvage que les Knicks / Le Manimal revient avec sa clique

5.  8 Million Stories, A Tribe Called Quest

Where the hell can Nicki be? I’m gonna smack her up / I got the tickets for the Knicks and she cold stood me up

4.  Welcome to New York City (featuring Jay-Z & Juelz Santana), Cam’Ron

At the Knick game, big chain and all my splender / Next to spike and the pen left to write / I own / Madison Square, catch me at the fight / But damn once again if you pan left at the ice

3.  Rapper’s Delight, The Sugarhill Gang

So after school, I take a dip in the pool, which is really on the wall / I got a color TV so I can see the Knicks play basketball

2.  Empire State Of Mind (featuring Alicia Keys), Jay-Z 

Say what up to Ty-Ty, still sippin’ Mai Tais / Sittin’ courtside, Knicks and Nets give me high five / Nigga I be Spike’d out, I could trip a referee  / Tell by my attitude that I’m most definitely from

1.  I Got A Story To Tell, The Notorious BIG

The shit she kicked, all the shit’s legit / She get dick from a player off the New York Knicks / Nigga tricked ridiculous, the shit was plush / She’s stressing me to fuck, like she was in a rush

See you in the comment section for your favorite tracks!

By Grégoire Zasa

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