Growing in Popularity
The NBA is now the 2nd most watched sport in America boasting an average of 1.32 million viewers for a regular season game. In 2017, Hip Hop surpassed rock and roll as the most popular genre of music. Last year, more than 30% of all on-demand audio and video streams in the United States were R&B or hip-hop tracks.
The NBA and Hip Hop have some of the biggest names in the Entertainment industry today. It may be harder at this point to find someone who doesn’t know LeBron James Or Drake. These two industries have catapulted to the top of their respected fields over the years, and have done so together. In this blog, Hollywood Branded shares 4 times the NBA and the hip-hop world have collaborated.
Forever - Drake, Lil Wayne, Eminem
In 2009, filmmaker Kristopher Belman came out with, More Than a Game, a documentary about 24 year old LeBron James... AKA the Goat. “ Last name ever, first name greatest,” rang throughout middle schools all over the country when “Forever,” the film's hit single, was released. Featuring a stacked lineup of Drake, Kanye West, Eminem and Lil Wayne, “Forever” reached number 42 on the billboard charts and sustained its run for 15 weeks. The best part of it all is the music video, which has reached 320,474,868 views and counting on Youtube. LeBron is the focal point of the video by showing highlights of his career up to that point. Already an NBA fanatic in 2009, a music video featuring LeBron and my favorite musicians was something I'd never seen done before. Sprite eventually caught on and recruited Drake to do a commercial using “Forever” as the theme song and it ingrained, “Last name ever, first name greatest,” into my mind for the rest of time.
Photo Credits: Vevo, YouTube
Tenet - The Plan
Travis Scott, one of the biggest and most controversial artists of my generation, is a genius when it comes to marketing himself. During the 2020 NBA playoffs, in anticipation of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, the NBA, Travis Scott and Tenet collaborated. Travis recorded a single for Nolan and his film alongside Oscar-winning composer Ludwig Göransson. During the halftime show, the last and final trailer for the film was shown with Travis’s “The Plan” set as the background music. Not only was this a new and exciting way to get people ready for the film, it pulled in 3 different audiences in that of NBA fans, Film buffs and hip hop lovers. “The Plan” reached number 92 on the charts and stayed there for 2 weeks straight as well as pulled in 21 million views on YouTube.
Photo Credits: Vevo, YouTube
Lebron James - Scorpion
The Staples Center is packed on October 14, 2018. Sicko Mode is at peak popularity and Drake is in town touring for his new album Scorpion. Drake puts on "Sicko Mode," and out comes Travis Scott to perform his part of the song alongside him on stage. It’s already surreal to see two of your favorite artists performing together, but to put the cherry on top of the sundae, LeBron comes running out. At this time, LeBron had just left Cleveland for the Lakers and was about to start his LABron saga. The crowd erupts as he finishes out the song with his typical dad dances before Drake says a few words, and he leaves. Although this isn’t a typical collaboration, the event blew up the next day on social media, gained 25 million views on YouTube and left me jealous that I wasn’t there to witness.
Photo Credit:Lebron James Instagram
NBA superstar Damian Lillard takes collaboration between the league and hip hop to a whole other level. In 2016 he released his debut album The Letter O with features from major artists such as Lil Wayne and Jamie Foxx. The album boasts song titles that fit in perfectly with who Dame is like, “Loyal to the Soil” and “Growth Spurt.” Lillard, who goes by the moniker Dame D.O.L.L.A., made the whole album clean to ensure that all audiences can take part. Since 2016 he has released 3 more albums, Confirmed, Big D.O.L.L.A. and Different On Levels The Lord Allowed, with features from more big artists, notably Snoop Dogg, Jeremih, Lil Durk and 2 Chainz. Dame has shown how deeply intertwined these two industries are and why they will continue to be in collaboration for a long time to come.
Photo Credit:Jennifer Cingari Christie, ESPN
Eager To Learn More?
As the NBA and Hip-Hop continue to grow both domestically and internationally, so too will the collaborations. In the meantime, check out these 5 blogs for more information
- Brand Sponsorships: Sports and Athletes
- The Top 10 Highest Endorsed Athletes And Their Brands
- 3 Examples of eSports And Its Massive Global Marketing Reach
- Learning From The NBA's Marketing Strategy In China
- Top Five Music Videos With Brand Exposure
Are you a pro podcaster? Want to share your marketing tips? Apply to become on our show "Marketing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)!"