The worlds of hip-hop and sports are unavoidably intertwined. Many athletes want to be rappers. Many rappers want to be athletes. The cultural influence that hip-hop has on sports should come as no surprise. Many who aspire to be athletes often aspire to be musicians and vice versa. Drake highlighted this reality in his hit "Thank Me Now," where he stated, "Damn, I swear sports and music are so synonymous/Cause we want to be them and they want to be us." Perhaps this is because for many, becoming a rapper or a professional athlete appears to be the most viable career path to success and acquiring generational wealth.
For example, rapper 2 Chainz latest studio album was entitled Rap or Go to the League. The title of the album is the personification of those two options. NBA star LeBron James served as the album’s A and R. There again highlighting the unavoidable relationship between hip-hop and sports. Thanks to athletes like Allen Iverson, the relationship between hip-hop and sports is ever apparent and growing stronger. Given the relationship, it should come as no surprise that hip-hop artists have begun to enter the business of sports. Specifically, hip-hop artists have begun to create sports agencies.
Hip-Hop Artists Who Have Created Sports Agencies
In 2013, newly minted billionaire rapper Jay-Z started Roc Nations Sports. Rapper Lil' Wayne followed in Jay-Z's footsteps in 2014 when he started Young Money APAA Sports Agency. Now rapper Jeezy has become the latest rapper to announce his foray into athlete representation with his new sports agency, Sports 99. Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and Jeezy all have one thing in common. That is they want to help athletes.
Jeezy stated he is starting Sports 99 because he wants to help “athletes accumulate real wealth and life skills needed to invest in their future." In an interview, Lil Wayne stated that he started Young Money Sports because he realized that he could help the athletes "shine off the field." Jay-Z too stated that he realized he could help athletes after having conversations with multiple athletes at his famed 40/40 club. Why do these artists believe that they are qualified to help athletes in their careers on and off the field? Are they, in fact, qualified to help athletes forge their careers on and off the field?
Are Rappers Qualified to Represent Athletes?
The answer to this question is yes. The answer is yes, for the very reason that is at the beginning of this article. That reason is the relationship between sports and hip-hop. The relationship is born out the fact that for many, sports and music are viewed as the most viable paths to success and generational wealth. Many artists and athletes have the same experiences and struggles. Many come from similar backgrounds where sports and music are very attractive paths to a better life. This common ground makes it easier for rappers like Jeezy to relate to similarly situated athletes. In Lil' Wayne's interview, he stated "We all cut from the same cloth...We all from the same place." It is that commonality that makes rappers and hip-hop artists some of the best people to represent athletes' interests.
In addition to sharing a common background, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and Jeezy all possess the business acumen to help athletes be successful off the field. Jay-z has become a self-made billionaire through a series of investments and business decisions he made throughout his career. Lil' Wayne used his business savvy to acquire a net worth of approximately $150 million. Jeezy used his business acumen to garner a Fitness Water deal and to gain an advisory role with the Avión tequila brand. It is very clear why an athlete would sign up to work with these very successful businessmen who are cut from the same cloth. Hip-hop's foray into sports representation only makes sense and will likely continue to grow.