Wu-Tang Clan frontman GZA once said that the goal of hip-hop is to "deliver the truth in a brutal fashion." In other words, rappers rap what they know—which is why sports is like a lyrical backbeat for hip-hop artists. Jay-Z has shout-outs to everyone from LeBron James to Harold Miner. Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa saluted the Steelers last year with "Black and Yellow"; Lil Wayne answered with "Green and Yellow" for his Packers before this year's Super Bowl. And musicologists could spend days sifting through the many athletic allusions of Jersey City rapper Joe Budden. Here's SI's ranking of the best sports name checks.
15. "There's more to me than you'll ever know/ And I've got more hits than Sadaharu Oh"
Hey Ladies, Beastie Boys
14. "Money green, yellow broad/Aaron Rodgers, MVP award. . . . Terrible towels, that s---'s borin'/We got the ball, you know we scorin'"
Green and Yellow, Lil Wayne
13. "I'm buzzin', Dirty Dozen, naughty, rotten rhymer/ Cursing at you players worse than Marty Schottenheimer"
Just Don't Give a F---, Eminem
12. "I ball for real, y'all n----- is Sam Bowie/And with the third pick I made the earth sick/M.J., him Jay, fade away perfect"
Hola' Hovito, Jay-Z