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Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 at 2:56 pm  |  49 responses

Kanye West’s Best Basketball References

Yeezy’s 45 nicest hoops-inspired rhymes.

Compiled by Adam Figman / @afigman

On the surface, it seems pretty unlikely that Kanye West and the game of basketball would go hand in hand. While Yeezy’s partner-in-rhyme Jay-Z’s connection with the sport is well documented, ‘Ye comes off as the member of the Watch the Throne duo more likely to prefer a front-row seat at a fashion show or art opening than a courtside spot at the NBA Finals. But a slightly deeper look proves all of this terribly wrong. The Chicago-bred rapper has indeed been photographed at many an NBA contest, but beyond that, Kanye was reportedly hooping daily through the recording process of his 2010 solo album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and he even brought a dude named Kobe Bryant into the studio when he needed some inspiration to complete the remix of his hit single “Power.” And, of course, he litters his rhymes with bball references. Roll through the gallery above to check out what SLAM believes are the 45 best of ‘em.

Previously:
Jay-Z’s Best Basketball References
Snoop Dogg’s Best Lakers References
Biggie’s Best Basketball References

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  • http://www.twitter.com/BigFutureLG BigFutureLG

    Lol Damn yeezy lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    I miss the old Kanye.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    BTW, Graduation was released in ’07

  • treetrunks

    for some reason i really hate this guy

  • treetrunks

    but he does hav funny rhymes at times

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    For some reason you hate a guy that you’ve never met in your life. What does that say about you?

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    @BlackPhantom – agreed. “The Truth” Kanye (Beanie’s debut album where Ye first got down with Roc as a producer) through Graduation Kanye was Unf★ckwitable™.
    @JTaylor – you hate Kobe, what’s that say about you?
    @Slam – y’all done this for Cormega yet? Cause if not, you need to get on that, Mega Montana always has some ill bball references.

  • http://slamonline.com 1982

    I thought he said from the “Chi, like 10 Mr. Hardaway”

  • http://slamonline.com 1982

    And pic 41, the guy riding shotgun seriously looks like a hybrid Bron and Wade.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Enigmatic, word? When did I ever say “for some reason I really hate kobe”?
    Also, you have a sweet spot for Rose in your heart, what does that say about you?

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Number 12 is definitely “I’m CHI as buck fifties and Pelle Pelle leathers”, not “shy”.
    Buck fifty – a baseball hat with a watch fixed on the front that used to be real popular in the Chi, or Chicago.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Taylor – come off it kid, we all know Seed is the Bron hater on this site, you’re the Kobe hater. I’m just calling it like I see it, my dude.
    You may not put it in those exact words, but it’s pretty obvious for some reason your dislike for Bean damn near reaches hate level, if not surpasses it.
    Don’t bother me either way, but it’s curious to see a dude question another dude’s hate for another dude when first dude strongly dislikes a fourth dude, nawmean?
    As for me being a fan of Rose, what does it say about me?
    That I support my hometown team’s best player who also happens to be from my hometown.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Sensitive much? I’m just messing with ya. I don’t care if you sleep in your rose colored jammies at night nor do I care that your favorite song is Charles H. Pace’s “The Rose That Made Me Happy Is The Rose That Made Me Sad”.

  • http://Nba.com GP23

    College Dropout was his best album. Has anyone purchased the Watch The Throne album yet?? Any reviews?

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    LMAO.
    Nah, I’m just messing with you too man. Just calling out your fouls.
    Personally, I’d rather hit up a Japanese steakhouse and have a kobe beef than have beef with Kobe.
    And do you sleep in your lebronze jammies while listening to James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James”?

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    @GP23 – really depends on what your taste is. If you like this new “pop” trend that’s prevelant in rap these days, you should enjoy it.
    Personally, I thought all the beats were wack (ESPECIALLY for a Kanye album) and the rhymes were lazy.
    It’s like them cats just said, “Yo, I bet if we put out an album together, it’ll go platinum no matter what the music sounds like!”
    Which is probably true.

  • http://slamonline Brion

    Still digesting “watch the throne” album, dont want to give my take on it til ive heard it a couple times, but so far theres one track that’s been on rewind constantly “cooke” (sam cooke sample). Also theres a funny Will Ferrell sample that had me rolling.

  • http://slamonline Brion

    Sorry if spelled cook wrong. Also I might agree w/ Enig that I was expecting more from the beats. That was my initial thought first time listening.

  • http://www.boogiewilliams.com Boing Dynasty

    @B – You spelled Cooke just fine, but the songs called Otis.
    @Adam – Howard COSELL*
    “Whats Gucci, ma n!gga? Whats Louis, ma Killa? Whats drugs, ma deala? Whats that jacket, Margeila?”

  • Riggs

    sam cooke? you mean otis as in otis redding.

  • http://philosopher.view@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    I was waiting for someone to say it, but I will.
    Kanye West, on the low, is one of the greatest rappers of all time.

  • Gaz

    I hate BETCATS and I literally know nothing related to the boy/girl/man/woman/thing, what does that say about me???

  • O

    To me, College Dropout was the best Kanye album. But to each his own. And yea, I heard Watch The Throne, and like I told my man, Guap, it was a disappointment. Though it was better than The Firm, Best of Both Worlds and the few tracks that Weezy and Juelz slapped together for the ill fated “I Can’t Feel My Face” album, it didn’t live up to the hype of superstar MC’s linking together for an album. Yeah, it had some good joints, but nothing great or groundbreaking. Real talk, it’ll probably fall into the same oblivion that claimed Blackout. But least Blackout had the classic “Da Rockwilder.”

  • treetrunks

    @JTaylor21: how do u know i never met him?

  • Yesse

    Old Kanye was dope.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    That exchange between JTaylor and Enigmatic with song titles was… awesome.

  • http://www.boogiewilliams.com Boing Dynasty

    NY buck fiftys > Chi buck fiftys

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Kanye is a moron…can’t keep his mouth shut.

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    I agree Philo, especially considering the backlash he got when he first dropped “Through the Wire” and people thought(me included) that he should just stick to producing. But the fact is, he has classic records and classic albums. He is a bit of a pompous jerk and that turns a lot of people off, but I actually like that about him. He wears his heart on his sleeve and doesn’t bite his tongue for anyone. You can’t say that about a lot of celebrities, who just try to be as politically correct as possible at all times.

  • http://slamonline.com sergio

    @The Philosopher – concur

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Nah, Philo, can’t co-sign that one.
    I’ve been following Kanye for longer than most, since Beanie Sigel’s “The Truth” when he produced the title track and others, about 4 years before his debut album.
    I was like the only cat who knew who it was that was saying the hook on Jay-Z’s “I Never Change” (
    I’m still f*cking with crime cause crime pays, etc).
    Back when I still bought cd’s and I’d look at the song credits before popping the disc in the tray I always got a smile in my face when I’d see “Produced by Kanye West”.
    I was excited when I heard Kanye was coming out with an album (The College Dropout) but mostly cause I knew the beats were gonna be hot.
    Now, he impressed me cause his lyrics were a lot better than I thought they’d be, but the production was the star of the show.
    Kanye can hold his own but to say he’s one of the greatest of all time? You can’t put him up there with Biggie, Pac, Rakim, Nas, Jay-Z, KRS (I’m talking about 90’s Nas and Jay), etc.
    Yes, he’s had some masterpieces. College Dropout and Graduation will always be two of my favorite albums, but again for me personally, when I listen to them, the production steals the show.
    I would agree he’s one of the greatest producers of all time, even if he hasn’t been that great lately, but not rappers.

  • http://bulls.com airs

    i’ll cosign philo on that one.
    but of course, its a matter of opinion.
    some don’t wanna put him up there cuz he’s so mainstream or whatever yet he still been cool with mos def and guys like that
    i think ye said it best on last call.:
    “Now was Kanye the most overlooked? Yes sir
    Now is Kanye the most overbooked? Yes sir
    Though the fans want the feeling of A Tribe Called Quest
    But all they got left is this guy called West
    Better take Freeway, throw him on tracks with Mos Def
    Call him Kwa-li or Kwe-li, I put him on songs with Jay-Z
    I’m the Gap like Banana Republic and Old Navy”

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    airs, you couldn’t put Kanye’s best verses next to Nas or Jay-Z or Biggie’s best though.

  • http://bulls.com airs

    nah, and i wouldn’t. he strays away and turns pop sometimes.
    im still a fan when he’s got his head right though.

  • seriousblack

    Enigmatic: The second verse of Diamonds From Sierra Leone is one of the greatest rap verses of all time. I could put that verse up next to almost anything.

  • Monique

    Late Registration is his best album and especially better than The College Dropout.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    seriousblack you mean on the original or the remix?
    Either way, honestly I just don’t see it. I mean, peep some of these classic verses:
    From Nas:
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Through the lights cameras and action, glamour glitters and gold
    I unfold the scroll, plant seeds to stampede the globe
    When I’m deceased, by then the beast arise like yeast
    to conquer peace leaving savages to roam in the streets
    Live on the run, police paying me to give in my gun
    Trick my Wisdom, with the system that imprisoned my son
    Smoke a gold leaf I hold heat, nonchalantly
    I’m grungy, but things I do is real it never haunts me
    while, funny style n*ggas roll in the pile
    Rooster heads profile on a bus to Riker’s Isle
    Holdin weed inside they p*ssy with they minds on the
    pretty things in life, props is a true thug’s wife
    It’s like a cycle, n*ggas come home, some’ll go in
    Do a bullet, come back, do the same sh*t again
    From the womb to the tomb, presume the unpredictable
    Guns salute life, rapidly, that’s the ritual

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    ______________________________________________________________________
    Biggie:
    I got seven Mac-11′s, about eight .38′s
    Nine 9′s, ten Mac-10′s, the sh*t never end
    You can’t touch my riches
    Even if you had MC Hammer and them 357 b*tches
    Biggie Smalls, the millionaire, the mansion, the yacht
    The two weed spots, the two hot glocks
    Ha, that’s how I got the weed spot
    I shot dread in the head, took the bread and the landspread
    Lil’ Gotti got the shotty to your body
    So don’t resist, or you might miss Christmas
    I tote guns, I make number runs
    I give emcees the runs drippin’
    when I throw my clip in the A.K., I slay from far away
    Everybody hit the D-E-C-K
    My slow flows remarkable
    Peace to Matteo
    Now we smoke weed like Tony Montana sniff the yayo
    That’s crazy blunts, mad L’s
    My voice excels from the avenue to jail cells
    Oh my God I’m droppin sh*t like a pigeon
    I hope you’re listenin, smackin babies at they christening

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Late Registration’s beats can’t touch College Dropout’s.

  • seriousblack

    The original, of course. It was just bananas. Kanye had relevant sh#t to say. When he really wants to, Ye goes in. But you know I cant argue with any B.I.G or Nas all-time great verses. That’s the music i came of age to so I can’t say Ye had any verses better than their best, but he has a couple than are in their league.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    I thought it was a great way to bring attention to something that most of us weren’t away of, the whole blood diamond / conflict diamond thing.
    In that aspect, I have a lot of respect for that song.
    Lyrically, Ye can be on point at times. I don’t put him amongst the greats but I respect people’s opinions

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    @Enig great move to bring up Biggie most famous freestyle. the wordplay and swagger in those are simply amazing.

  • BJ
  • http://slamonline Brion

    Oh s-hit it is “otis” im an idiot!

  • http://philosopher.view@blogspot.com The Philosopher

    I hear y’all.
    Lyric for lyric…
    Kanye goes in. I mean, really goes in.
    Now, I’m not saying that he’s the best of all time. That goes to Nas, in my opinion.
    But Kanye West would make my top 25 of all time.
    He’s that good.
    Lyric for lyric.
    And, he’s truly among the most original of all times.
    Shout out to Andre 3000.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Late to the party. Don’t agree that Kanye is among the best of all-time. He is good, very good and different (which is good in my book). But he is still a level below the top dogs. Btw talking about great verses, remember the Inspectah Deck verse on ‘Triumph’ (not by any chance saying that the Inspectah is one of the all-time greats, but this verse is in my opinion):
    I bomb atomically, Socrates’ philosophies
    and hypothesis can’t define how I be droppin these
    mockeries, lyrically perform armed robbery
    Flee with the lottery, possibly they spotted me
    Battle-scarred shogun, explosion when my pen hits
    tremendous, ultra-violet shine blind forensics
    I inspect you, through the future see millenium
    Killa B’s sold fifty gold sixty platinum
    Shacklin the masses with drastic rap tactics
    Graphic displays melt the steel like blacksmiths
    Black Wu jackets queen B’s ease the guns in
    Rumble with patrolmen, tear gas laced the function
    Heads by the score take flight incite a war
    Chicks hit the floor, diehard fans demand more
    Behold the bold soldier, control the globe slowly
    Proceeds to blow swingin swords like Shinobi
    Stomp grounds and pound footprints in solid rock
    Wu got it locked, performin live on your hottest block

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Yo Lz, man that Inspectah Deck verse is one of the G.O.A.T.s for sure!

  • http://www.danchamb.com.br Lz – Cphfinest3

    Agree. Truth be told the whole song ‘made me jump like Rod Strickland’, U-God for one is probably better on that song than he has ever been. But Deck’s verse is absolute skin-tight and like you say is among the GOATs no doubt.

  • andy
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