The Long List of NBA Rappers

The list of NBA rappers is long. Too long. Way… Way… Too long.

But It’s not a numbers issue. With around 5000 players having officially played in the NBA since the birth of the league in 1946 and only 25ish names on this list, that works out to around 0.5%. That’s not a lot of traffic on the hooper to hip hopper pipeline.

No, there’s a quality issue here. Out of that 0.5% of the NBA that’s trying to rap, approximately 0% is putting out anything that is legitimately satisfying to the horizontal head holes.

And please believe that I don’t take it lightly to dump on anyone’s creative work. The truth here is evident. Unlike the relationship between music and acting where there is clear overlap (Will Ferrel has a beautiful voice and we’ve all seen Tupac in Above the Rim), whatever it is that makes you a great athlete doesn’t seem to port over to musical ability.

Also, these guys are all legends on the court, so it’s not like they’re hurting for adulation. If this was a list of bad rappers with nothing else going on in their lives, I’d feel much worse about pointing out that they’re not very good at what they’re doing. But these are all incredible basketball players and they can handle the truth that they are mediocre rappers.

Even Dame, maybe the undisputed headliner of this list, who has teamed up on the mic with the likes of Q-Tip and Lil Wayne, is just kinda okay. I don’t think you’d have a hard time arguing that. Dame can rap, fine, but he is mostly just decent at it.

I’ve been digging through this stack for months, subjecting my subtle being to a grating onslaught of ego-serving battle beats trying to find something that really kicks. There’s a hook or two in here and a few quotable lyrics, but rarely in the same song. And the overwhelming tendency here is towards hack beats and aggressive lyrics. that is all to say that while you can find a couple of slaps in the catalog, especially if you want songs about basketball, I can’t find a single banger.

Slaps but no bangers… Shameful.

Damian Lillard – Dame D.O.L.L.A

Supposedly, Dame has been making beats since he was a kid growing up in Oakland. And he’s got plenty of credibility with millions of Spotify listens, a legit Billboard appearance, and a solid basketball classic in the track Kobe (featuring Snoop and Derrick Milano).

Lillard produces under the moniker Dame D.O.L.L.A. And admittedly, D.O.L.L.A has made it into some of my personal mixes. But I’d still rather enjoy him dropping shots from the outer rim than beats.

He tends to be the subject of dis tracks and battle challenges from other players on this list who apparently want a shot at the Hooper Rapper crown.

Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland – Bizzy

A relative newcomer to the league, going at 26 to the Nuggets in 2021, Bones produces under the name Bizzy.

I’m a little biased, just because I like the Nuggets and I like the kid’s attitude. But Bizzy does stand out from the NBA rapper crowd here. His beats tend to bring at least a little something.

Most of the names on this list fall within a very narrow style band of commercialized, ‘boats and hoes’ hip hop. Bizzy is at least arguably divergent. His multiple albums come off a little more personal and I do detect some funk in his beats.

Marvin Bagley – MB3Five

This Duke alumnus went 2nd to Sacramento in 2018. He comes in at number 3 here. Not that the ordering really means anything. His rap name MB3Five is a nod to the number 35 that has followed him throughout his career on the court.

He’s got a couple of albums listed on Spotify, but his most notable works seem to have emerged from the rap battle that got stirred up between him and Dame D.O.L.L.A back in 2019.

Iman Shumpert

Shump released the song “Knicks Anthem” in 2012, after going at pick #17 to the iconic Knickerbockers. He also dropped a mixtape Th3 #Post90s the same year.

And his flows are decent. The 2019 release HandelBars runs a little flat, but there’s an artistic flare there that warrants acknowledgement. It’s a little annoying that over 10% of the words in the song are the same word. But what do I know?

Javale McGee – Pierre

JaVale is refreshingly reserved in promoting his producer alter-ego Pierre. There are some tracks I skip, but 2018’s Pierre is the only album in this list that could make it into my regular rotation.

Pierre’s songs are upbeat and his style is among the more unique approaches here. He still suffers from the fixation on money and hoes, but I guess you gotta write what you know, and the life of a baller is the life of a baller.


The big man has been rapping since the early ’90s with the release of his debut album Shaq Diesel.

Shaq has the most legitimate claim on an actual music crossover career. But he mostly plays off his superstar status and his unique voice as opposed to anything resembling a true talent.

Still, he has had collaborations with the likes of Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, RZA, Ice Cube, KRS-One and plenty of other legitimate hip-hop legends, making Shaq’s rap cred through the peak of hip hop influence undeniably impressive.

Andre Drummond -Drummxnd

Andre Drummond is a great rebounder. And back in 2016, he absolutely robbed Wilt chamberlain of the coveted record for the most free-throws missed in a single NBA game. But you may not know that Andre Drummond has also dabbled in music.

His 2018 released F.Y.I. has gotten some appreciation for not being as bad as the typical baller album. He still leans on basketball references but manages to go a little deeper.

There are some tracks in here that can at least function in a club atmosphere without making you wonder what the hell the DJ is thinking. You still get the requisite auto-tune abuse and the tired beats, but it functions. I should mention that this genre is one of the few that doesn’t really do it for me, so my evaluation might be untrustworthy, but I declare there to be some bearable beats in this drop.

Victor Oladipo

Victor is more of an R&B artist. By his own admission, he intends to “sing your panties down”. And so I debated whether to include his work on this list.

But he intends to “sing your panties down,” so how can I not include him on this list?

I suppose you can do it all: two-time NBA All-Star, and apparently he’s been singing panties down since he joined his church’s choir in Maryland at the age of 5.

But seriously, he has a pleasant voice and his jams groove alright, given the proper context. That context being, “singing panties down”?

Kyrie Irving

When he’s not ripping some of the sickest handles on the planet, teaming up with LeBron to give Cleveland their first pro sports title in generations, and bumbling through a nonsensical and anti-semitic conspiracy-based belief system, he makes some beats.

Well, not really. He’s just kinda appeared in some beats, most notably the track Ridiculous from his Uncle Drew side project. but that track is one of the most listenable on this entire list.

Kevin Durant

Kyrie’s buddy and Nets teammate, Kevin Durant is apparently pretty legit on the mic. He hasn’t put out a ton of tracks, not that are easy to find at least. What he has put it out is worth listening to. I have to appreciate one of the baddest hoopers of all time, just being a little more reserved with his attempts at further fueling his ego.

LeBron James

LeBron is really only on here because of KD. His contribution to the It Ain’t Easy recording is entertaining though.

Aaron Gordon

Evolving into something of a dunk legend, AG has dropped plenty of doubles, and just a few singles.

2020’s ‘Pull Up’ is his most notable track. This thing is thumpy and plodding. It’s not the worst, but it’s also not the best song called ‘Pull Up’. Similarly, his collaborative partner Moe does not appear to be the most notable rapper that goes by the name Moe.

Lonzo Ball – Zo

Rhyming with Moe, Lonzo goes by Zo. And that is more interesting than most of his rhymes. He generally raps about his family and their brand. There’s not a ton of substance here.

Lonzo’s debut EP, Born 2 Ball, dropped in 2018. It’s mostly worth skipping and seems to suffer from the same affliction as the majority of hooper rapping endeavors. The Production lacks uniqueness and the lyrics are superficial.

Lou Williams

Over 15 years in the league, Lou dropped a decent claim for all-time sixth man. In his last year with the Hawks in 2021, he beat out Dell Curry to set the new record for number of games played off the pine at 1001.

His bench virtuosity even inspired Drake’s track ‘6 Man’ in 2015. Williams spent the 2014-2015 season with Drake’s beloved Raptors, claiming the 6th Man of the Year Award that season.

But Lou has released a few of his own tracks. Most notably, he appeared on his buddy Meek Mill‘s single “I Want It All”.

Lance Stephenson

There’s a crazy trend here to choose rap names and song names that have already been taken. Lance’s stuff is hard to find for this reason.

His tracks have featured at his own NBA appearances over the years. A couple can be found on Spotify. His most popular track came from a team-up with Lonzo called ‘Swerve’. The 2019 release is relatively serviceable. I’d argue it’s Zo’s best work.

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade has been called out on enough tracks to warrant a spot on this list. This is probably owing to his “five finals, three rings” contribution to Miami. He’s been mentioned in songs by Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, and plenty more.

But he also features in Rick Ross’s 2020 track ‘Season Ticket Holder’. He probably doesn’t claim much creative input there, but the song is good enough.

Tony Parker

French national and four-time NBA All-Star Tony Parker is a man of many talents. Rapping is apparently not one of them.

His album, TP, was a decent hit in his native France, featuring collaborations with some of France’s most successful hip-hop artists, as well as (oddly enough) Jamie Foxx.

But the album is widely considered among the worst hooper hip hop attempts. Je suis désolé Tony.


Mamba was not known for his rap career, but the five-time NBA champion and 18-time All-Star did have a few runs at the mic. His 2000 recorded gangsta rap album surfaced posthumously. It includes collaborations with some of the biggest names in hip-hop including Nas and 50 Cent.

The project, spearheaded by Columbia music, was likely inspired by his teammate Shaq’s critical success with Diesel. Columbia ultimately elected to ice the album owing to it very obviously not being any good.

He’s also been mentioned in countless songs and made appearances in several music videos including Destiny’s Child’s 1999 video for Bugaboo and Master P’s 1999 video for Basketball.

Allen Iverson – Jewelz

Iverson’s rap career was short-lived and really quite offensive. His single ’40 Bars’ does more to showcase his homophobia than anything that could be considered MC chops.

Iverson himself admits that his musical endeavors were mostly in poor taste and that they likely contributed to building tension with the league. You might say the venture gave him a ‘bad rap’. At minimum, the debacle almost certainly cost him a lot more than he pulled in on the release.

Joe Smith

Joe Smith played in the NBA. We have to clarify that. He has a very generic name which he shares with a legendary jazz trumpeter. He also played on a record 12 different teams, so he might have even slipped notice on some basketball fans.

Joe goes by Joe Beast in the rap world. He put out a few albums. Oddly, they feature some of the worst album art work in this list. His most popular track, ‘No’ appeared in Snoop Dogg’s 2000 comedy, The Wash.

Metta Sandiford-Artest – Metta World Peace

Metta, formerly known as Metta World Peace, formerly formerly known as Ron Artest, is the founder of Metta Media Group, a small production studio. But he’s also responsible for the 2010 single Champions.

After helping Kobe and the Lakers take home the 2010 title, Metta dropped Champions. The song featured on NBA 2K11 and it holds a lot of nostalgia for gamers and basketball fans alike. Champions is still appreciated as one of the great hooper raps of all time.

Stephen Jackson

Backing up Metta here like he backed him up in Detroit…

Stephen Jackson goes by Stak5 on the mic. And he’s been quite productive. He’s had a bunch of collaborations and features and a new album. 2020’s Good Trouble is heartfelt and unique, totally worth listening to. But it is super monotonous.

He also hosts a podcast with another former player Matt Barnes called All The Smoke. I tend to prefer the podcast personally, but Stak5 might work for you.

Chris Webber – C. Webb

Chris Webber (or C. Webb if you will) released an album, 2 Much Drama, in 1999. The album features Kurupt and Redman. Apparently the single “Gangsta, Gangsta (How U Do It)” did alright on some obscure rap charts, I dunno.

He’s also collaborated with some big names, notably producing a number of tracks for Nas.

Troy Hudson – T-Hud

Troy Hudson released his first album, Undrafted, in 2007. The title references his tough grind to the NBA, going undrafted in 1997 and playing his first season with the Yakima SunKings of the Continental Basketball Association. He managed to secure a brief stint with the Jazz the next year, and bounced around for several years before finding a solid role with the Timberwolves in the early 2000’s.

Under his rap name T-Hud, Troy has recorded hundreds of songs, releasing under his own label, Nutty Boyz Entertainment.

Delonte West – Charlee Redz

Delonte West has struggled publicly with drug abuse and mental health issues. And it is just as difficult as it is with the rest of the NBA rap scene to determine where to be concerned and where to take a work seriously.

The KFC drive-thru free style was his first big drop. Definitely not to be taken seriously. But it made the rounds on social media and it is kinda entertaining, just also a little disturbing. You can also find some fairly respectable flows out there under his rap name, Charlee Redz.

Elton Brand

Elton Brand keeps it mostly underground. He does have some legit producer friends though and claims to have had some of his lyrics jacked by Metta. But his biggest claim to rapping fame is a rap battle with Shaq at an event in Toronto.

Larry Sanders

When Larry Sanders left the Bucks for a hiatus from the NBA during the 2015 season, he produced an album with Canadian artist PARTYNEXTDOOR.

It’s actually kinda alright. The production feels a little wonky, in the way that someone who is really good and talented at basketball might struggle a little to do something that’s entirely different than basketball. But hey, Larry’s a lot better at both basketball and music production than yours truly.

Marquis Daniels – Q6

Marquis has been known to drop tracks under the Q6 moniker, or in some cases Lambo 6, or even Quis. It’s tough to figure out what he can take credit for or where to hear his beats, due again to the classic situation of picking a rap name and song names that already have legit claims. And then, on top of that, pulling out multiple rap names.


Honestly, I can’t really get down with much of this stuff, but it is fascinating to dig into. I wish I liked it more. Even the tracks that are decent are in a style that’s just not really my jam, so feel free to call out if you are of the belief that I’m not offering fair due.

If you’re looking for more content on the intersection between music and basketball, I’ve assembled all of my posts on the topic under a main umbrella post, where you can examine the topic from a number of different perspectives. I’ve got articles on the best basketball songs, the best albums to hoop to, the best basketball podcasts and more