There’s a popular belief—backed up by countless songs and YouTube videos—that all athletes want to be rappers and all rappers want to be athletes. It’s true: The worlds of sport and hip-hop often collide. And during the late ’90s and early ’00s, throwback football jerseys were the norm in urban fashion. You couldn’t turn on MTV or BET without seeing the biggest rap acts in the world smothering your television screen with classic Mitchell & Ness throwbacks or unis from the NFL’s most popular players of the era. With that in mind, TDdaily will break down one such video per week as part of our #ThrowbackJerseyThursday series.
Lil Jon & the Eastside Boys’ 2001 album Put Yo Hood Up didn’t pop the way Kings of Crunk would a year later, but the trio’s third full-length release laid the crunktastic roots—well, solidified the roots; said roots were probably laid during the previous half-decade—for what would become a huge musical movement, both for Lil Jon (and his two overweight buddies) and the city of Atlanta as a whole.
Speaking of! This week’s #ThrowbackJerseyThursday shows love to all things ATL, with both the video above (how much more ATL can you get than Lil Jon + The Eastside Boys + a smattering of kids wearing Falcons and Braves jerseys + early 2000s-era crunk music?) and the throwback uni Jon dons in the “Put Yo Hood Up” visual:
Deion Sanders was a member of the Atlanta Falcons from 1989-1993. They weren’t very good during that time period, with a combined record of 30-50. The Florida native also spent some time playing for the Atlanta Braves during those years, because he was an incredible athlete, but more so because he was trying to become as Atlanta as possible with hopes that one day an Atlanta-based rapper/producer/DJ/screamer-of-single-syllable-words would wear his jersey in a music video. It worked.
Team wins and losses aside, Sanders’ stay in the A earned the then-up-and-comer plenty of individual accolades—he was selected to the Pro Bowl in ’91, ’92 and ’93—and it helped lay the groundwork for a career that’d help the outspoken cornerback attain a well-deserved spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Not-very-but-maybe-almost-slightly similarly, the “Put Yo Hood Up” video, and album of the same name (which hit No. 6 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart), performed mildly well but still pales in comparison to Lil Jon & The Eastside Boys’ subsequent album and the everlasting cultural impact that came with its success. Word to Dave Chappelle.
Adam Figman is an associate editor at TD Magazine and SLAM Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @afigman.