Tag Archives: Joe Budden

10 Excellent Rap Lyrics Referencing the NBA

In the midst of a stellar NBA Playoffs, something great happened. No, not the triple overtime Thunder/Grizzlies game or Dirk making Chris Bosh cry. I’m talking about a 2010-11 Bulls theme song recorded by Chicago rapper Twista, some guy named Mario Winans and … power forward Carlos Boozer.

Obviously, when Booz raps, we need to listen.

Here is what he rhymes says:

Mike check one, two, one two
Mike check one, two, one two
Dream it, believe it, do it, let’s go
Already know I cross ’em over, take ’em to the hole
Look back, thank God — look forward, trust God
That’s why when I’m in the paint, ya know I go hard
Might go baseline one time and abuse ya
Run back down the court like ya know it was Boozer
I used to be another lil fella with some hoop dreams
Now I’ve got the game laced up, shoestrings

As far as NBA rappers goes, his flow is actually not horrendous. By comparison anyway. Luckily, there are actual professional MCs who rhyme about the Association as well.

Those of you who have been reading this site for a while are aware of the ongoing NBA Lyric Project. We’re trying to compile as many references to the league and its players as we can. So far we have a bunch. But I’ve been slacking off on this for awhile, slowing accumulating some in a Word file as I hear them but not really adding much to the online list. There are a ton more from the comments on that page as well, but below is a big list of the ones I just now added.

And since the actual basketball is over for the year and LeBron being the Antichrist is boring to talk about … here is a list of the my 10 favorite lines of this recent lyric dump. Joe Budden gets the MVP with Tash being Sixth Man of the Year. As for Redman? I still haven’t figured out how a guy who put out Muddy Waters could give us that “Mrs. International” verse.

I’m not mad, Reggie. Just a little disappointed.

10. Royce Da 5’9″ – “Second Place”

“You about to see how far that Paul Rosenberg’ll go
The height of my game is like a Demar ‘Rozen vertical”

Thoughts: Royce has been increasingly spitting NBA lines since combining with hoops-heavy lyric generator Joe Budden in Slaugherhouse — a group you can tell I’ve been listening to a ton lately. (See also,  #7, #4 and #1.). This “Second Place” track is the much-anticipated Premo-laced leak from Nickel Nine’s upcoming solo album Success Is Certain.

9. Tash – “Hip Hop Drunkies”

“I’m death-da-fyin, you rappin like my client
Tryin to scrape me for the style that slam harder than Kobe Bryant
BE QUIET. This is Likwidation from the West
Muthafuck ya bougie show, I got my own special guest”

Thoughts: I have no idea how this wasn’t already on the list. Perhaps it just goes to show that even I underrate Tha Liks — and especially Tash as a lyricist — as much as I criticize others for doing. This (as well as “Awww Shit,” which has an NBA lyric of its own listed below) appears on their stellar LP Likwidation.

8. Ludacris – “Trill Represent Trill”

“I’m shiny star spanglin, ding-a-ling danglin
Luda the sheet swisha, broke the record of Wilt Chamberlain”

Thoughts: Luda is usually at his best when acting like a third-grader, as he does here by rhyming “ding-a-ling danglin'” with the Stilt’s surname. It’s on Bun B’s first (and weakest) solo effort, Trill. The second offering of Bun’s “Trillogy” is my favorite although most seem to prefer the third.

7. Royce Da 5’9″ – “Not Tonight”

“The mixture of Magic and MJ passion
Get in the way it’s gonna be tragic as MJ passin'”

Thoughts: I personally didn’t find it all that tragic — not as much as the man’s late life — but Royce has a good line here delivered with his signature good flow on a great album.

6. J-Live – “The Zone”

“It aint no doubting that my life is charmed
My passport got more ink than NBA arms”

Thoughts: Not the greatest or most original line, but you should be reminded to listen to J-Live more often so I included it anyway. Then What Happened features this track and is fantastic, but The Hear After is probably an even better release.

5. Sean P – “Fuckin Wit A Gangster”

“Listen, everything I spit is real and I mean it
Jigga paying Dwyane, I’m paying Gilbert Arenas”

Thoughts: For the full background on the genesis of hip hop’s ongoing jersey number/price of cocaine meme, check out this post. But the short version is that Atlanta trapper Young Jeezy once said he could buy a kilo of coke for $23,000 (LeBron’s jersey number at the time) while BK entrepreneur Jay-Z countered by saying that he is such a big-timer in the dope game that the same weight only costs him $3,000 (Dwyane’s number). Both guys were lying. And Brownville’s “Broken Rapper You Know” Sean P ups the fib ante here, saying that he doesn’t even pay for his blow — it costs him $0 (Gilbert’s number at the time) because he just robs other drug dealers. (This track is from the overlooked but rather decent Ruste Juxx/Marco Polo collabo The Exxecution.)

4. Joe Budden – “Something to Ride To”

“In New York, they say I’m crazy, like Rodman was
In New Jersey, I’m what Petrovic, Drazan, was”

Thoughts: When starting out this project, I said we were only going to include stuff from studio albums. Mostly that was just because I didn’t want to be responsible for going through Lil Wayne’s 5,000-mixtape catalog and transcribing all of his estimated 748 NBA references. And there was no way I was going back to listen to all that Dipset nonsense. But Joey’s Mood Muzik “mixtapes” are basically albums anyway and this line, along with some others from his most recent edition, deserve to be cataloged. RIP Drazen.

3. Vinnie Paz “Children of God”

“I heard children sing Allahu Akbar in Turkey
One had a Russian AK, dirty Iverson jersey
I don’t know if it made me proud or if it disturbed me
I guess it’s not as bad as kids being fucked by the clergy”

Thoughts: Jedi Mind Tricks front man Vinnie Paz has a couple of my favorite NBA lines: “I point, god, like Brevin Knight” and “call me Mike Fratello baby, ’cause I call the shots” among them. This one, appearing on Vinnie’s Heavy Metal Kings album with Ill Bill, is only slightly related to hoops, but it is now one of the deeper/more uncomfortable rhymes on a list that is mostly just braggadocio.

2. Tash – “Hip Hop Drunkies”

“See this the type of shit niggas don’t try at home
I come funkin’ up the spot like Micheal Jordan’s cologne”

Thoughts: We all know one kid who actually bought this foul-stankin’ garbage back at a time when anything with MJ’s name on it moved units. Imagine if LeBron tried this? Or Lamar Odom. Oh wait …

1. Joe Budden – “Black Cloud”

“Motivation the game was supplying me, it’s no longer providing me
Jayson Williams, something killed whatever was driving me”

Thoughts: This line on Mood Muzik 4 floored me when I first heard it. Damn.


(And here are all the other new additions. I still have a bunch more to add, but feel free to drop favorites/omissions in the comments.)


Go ahead jump
No matter how high you get you gonna come up short like Spud Webb

Royce Da 5’9″
“Above the Law”
Hell: The Sequel (Bad Meets Evil)

My daddy got a bad back so it’s only right that I write
’til he can march right into that post office and tell em to hang it up
Now his career is LeBron’s jersey in 20 years

Royce Da 5’9″
Hell: The Sequel (Bad Meets Evil)

Each region breeds some MCs that wanna be, though it means that they wanna breathe our air
With these ideas, anybody thinking’ the game don’t need
the Bad and Evil regime
that’s like saying the Bad Boy Piston team didn’t need Isiah

Royce Da 5’9″
“Welcome 2 Hell”
Hell: The Sequel (Bad Meets Evil)

Yo, I need dollars
So I beasted niggas up in the game with a tech like Rasheed Wallace

Sean P
“Mad Mann”
Monkey Barz

When the god squeeze the tool
Set it off on a midget, the Kareem Abdul
Jabbar, pa
Sean the star — without the necklace
Catch a rapper slippin’, his ass is breakfast

Sean P
“M.A.S.T.E.R. P”
Master P

Maybe now I see why Marvin just needed to holler
And if you know me, treat a hurdle like I’m Igoudala

Joe Budden
“Something to Ride To”
Mood Muzik 4

Remain focused, that’s what I tell myself now and then
Don’t wanna go back to that block like where Varejao defend

Joell Ortiz
“Sound Off”
Slaughterhouse (

The real crack music, approach the fiends,
they approaching me I approach a beef around there
Nigga your career will go down hill like Kobe’s team

Black Milk
Popular Demand

So here’s the deal like Shaquille O’Neal
If you don’t know whatcha doin, how the hell can you be real?

Hard to Earn (Gang Starr)

They love me cause my swag is so jockish
Freshman year saw a ring like I’m boxing
You voted most likely to never ever top this
I’m Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman … in my hometown

Big K.R.I.T.
“Hometown Hero”
K.R.I.T. Wuz Here

This is the concrete jungle
The game don’t fumble
Stand tall like Mutumbo
Reportin’ like Bryant Gumble

Jim Jones
24 Hour Karate School (Ski Beatz)

Went on the grind, I’m ducked out from my bucket
Glean the post, I’m smart so they call me Tim Duncan

Sick Pulla
“A-Town Stomp”

Of course my metaphors are tight
Awesome, right?
I got em in awe — my aura’s Jordan-like

Nino Bless
Halfway House (Joe Budden)

I ain’t being distracted by nothing
Midget-size to Dikembe, I ain’t back up from nothing

Young Chris
“I Can’t Go on This Way”
The B. Coming (Beanie Sigel)

Who Riders get it poplin’ like Bugaloo shrimp
We got a permanent job in rapping, you just a temp
And I pimp the flow like Imp the Dimp
And I run around with 40s like my nigga Shawn Kemp

“Likwit Ridas”
Likwidation (

But still I got to pull my brew out the chiller
Tonight it’s goin’ down like the house of Reggie Miller

“Awww Shit”
Likwidation (Alkaholiks)

Parking lot pimps
9 out of 10 more parking lot simps
Ladies want lobster but settle for shrimps
Dikembe Mutombo, blockin all attempts
Niggaz ain’t pimps

“After the Party”
The Get Back (Little Brother)

I aint playin’, I can look Yao Ming straight face up
I’m back like Kobe Bryant after rape case, boy

“Used to Be”
UGK 4 Life (UGK)

Spark the game like CP3 from Tennessee to New Orleans

Illa J
“R U Listening”
Yancey Boys

Girl, ya so fast, but now you out of breath
I got ya ass, I got a fast first step like Monta Ellis — with the rock

Illa J
Yancey Boys

Hey Miss Thang, hey Miss Thang
How ya gonna miss me, I got tickets lets roll to the Knicks game
You Tina Marie and, baby, I’m Rick Jaaaames

“Mrs. International”
Blackout 2 (Method Man and Redman)

The LeBron James/Magic Johnson Parallel

Despite the triple double LeBron James notched last night in Miami’s Game 5 loss in the NBA Finals, many people are (justifiably) crucifying him for his play throughout the series. In my eyes, he played well, if not amazingly (for him) through the first three games before looking absolutely awful (for him) throughout Game 4. He just failed to assert his physical dominance and force the Mavs to stop him off the dribble in a game during which he scored only 8 points and too-willingly swung the ball around the perimeter.

Even he knows he played like trash.

“Eight points is definitely inexcusable to me. I hold myself to a higher standard than that,” James told reporters at a team press conference, according to the Palm Beach Post. “I didn’t play well. I know that. I was hard on myself all last night.”

Game 5 was somewhat of a different story.

He played better, putting up the aforementioned triple double and generally being more aggressive with the ball while playing excellent defense at times. This was by no means LeBron at his best, or perhaps even his typical (and he got inexcusably SMOKED by Jason Terry on perhaps the biggest play of the game … which came one possession after LeBron missed a long three). But it wasn’t the “no show” that so many people were calling his Game 4 display. He shot poorly but played fine overall. Not great, but fine. And you can’t validly tell me a player was “passive” throughout crunch time when he committed a powerful offensive foul at the rim with 150 seconds to play and took three other shots in the games’ final three minutes.

Although more active, he remained atypically unproductive late again, however — which continues his trend throughout this NBA Finals. And now, if Miami can’t win two in a row at home to come back and win the title, LeBron will be undoubtedly be hit with a tsunami of criticism larger than I can remember any athlete ever facing for his on-court failings.

That’s what I was thinking last night anyway.

Then, this morning, @bandwagonknick posted something that made me, not change that opinion, but reconsider it slightly. Apparently, back when I was in kindergarten, Magic Johnson was similarly ripped apart by the press for coming up short when the sport was supposed to matter the most.

Whatever hurt Johnson felt [when LA lost to Boston in the 1984 NBA Finals] was only to intensify as the summer went on. He was stunned at the way he was carved up by the press that had once doted on him. He was particularly wounded by the suggestions that, with the championship at stake, he had choked. “I sat back when it was over,” Johnson says, “and I thought, ‘Man, did we just lose one of the great playoff series of all time, or didn’t we?’ This was one of the greatest in history. Yet all you read was how bad I was.”

It’s funny how history and time (and, ya know, winning three of the next four NBA titles) changes things. Magic is now the beloved, happy-go-lucky, HIV-surviving, bafflingly uninsightful guy on my TV who most everyone believes could do no wrong on the basketball court. He and Larry Bird “saved the NBA” that Michael Jordan would soon own. He was Showtime. He is a fantastic citizen.

He couldn’t have ever been the guy the media would “carve up.”

But he was.

And we are about to see something similar — on hyperdrive given today’s media landscape — for the next (at least) 12 months if the Heat don’t win two more games this year. It will be an annoying thing to see play out, but unlike the scorn thrown at him last Summer for The Decision, this time, there will be a lot more legitimacy to it.

He is earning this.

LeBron hasn’t played well in the Finals.

For him.

Post-script … Oddly, I was listening to a mixtape by the hip hop super-group Slaugherhouse this morning and, right as I was reading the Magic story that @bandwagonknick tweeted, the Joe Budden diss track “Pain in His Life” came on. (It’s hard to keep track of Budden’s rap feuds but this joint is about Saigon. The two MCs later made up and recorded a track together that features Sai spitting one of the illest verses I’ve heard in years.)

The opening lyrics of that song are eerily descriptive of stuff you could say about LeBron right now:

“It’s like a lose/lose, already my rep ruined
How I beat dude we know will accept losing?
Under Achiever was a underachiever
Almost thought you would come with the Ether

Rep ruined? Check.

Dude we know will accept losing? Check.

Underachiever? Check.

Almost thought he would come with the Ether (in Game 5)? All the checks.

NBA Postcard Preview ’09: The Central

Unfortunately, I’m not a professional NBA blogger yet. No, no. This nonsense is pure amateur hour. In my actual career, I’m a mailman. A letter carrier. A master of the postal arts. Il postino.

It’s not the best job, but I make it much better. I steal. A lot. I’d say that out of any given ten letters I pick up, I thieve seven or eight. And ya know who writes a ton of letters? NBA players. I was shocked too. But I’m talking, like, a ton. In fact, the only thing they mail more than letters are postcards. Yup. Postcards. They send em to everyone. They send them to each other. They send them to their coaches. People send postcards to them. And sometimes they even send postcards to themselves.

These are the ones I stole last week.

Chicago Bulls



Cleveland Cavaliers



Detroit Pistons



Indiana Pacers



Milwaukee Bucks



“Your Apathy Speaks Volumes”

Unfortunately, this year’s NBA Draft day video from the Stephen A. Smith Heckling Society is sort of like the Godfather III of the series — we are all obligated to watch it and, ultimately, it’s not even horrible, but the bar had been set so high by its predecessors that you cannot be anything but disappointed.

Aside from the line that became the title of this post and the line about Rubio, there’s not a lot here.

But, much like Godfather III did for Godfathers I & II, this one does at least remind you that you should go back and re-watch the originals. Another silver lining: No Sofia Coppola.

In other post-Draft news, this happened. You gotta love it when Joe Budden comes off as the articulate one. Now, normally, I would be the first one to kid around about this cause there are some pretty funny lines in there, but since most people are obviously going to be in an uproar about this and take it all seriously and talk about how this represents not only why Brandon Jennings himself is a failure at life but why this whole generation of NBA players has sullied the good name that the NBA had back in the days of Larry & Magic even though Larry Bird likely said stuff that was worse than this about other players every day and Magic cheated on his wife constantly, let’s all just pre-emptively calm down and realize that a throwaway conversation between Brandon Jennings and Joe Budden is really not that serious. He was speaking off the cuff in a laid-back setting and just talking junk as people are wont to do. Is it funny? Certainly. Is it major news? Certainly not.

Meanwhile, it looks like Brandon was incorrect in prognosticating that his new team would re-sign Charlie Villanueva, who was not given a qualifying offer by the Bucks today and has already said his goodbyes to his cheese- and beer-loving fans. Looks like Buddens was spot on that “that bum-a** n****” Luke Ridnour will not be backing up Brandon at the PG this year and, instead, the Bucks will be throwing all their available cash at Ramon Sessions to be the starter…further proving my theory that Joe Budden knows more about the NBA than Stuart Scott.