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.
Valentine’s Day is day of heartwarming love. And most times, that’s a sentiment not entirely congruous with the world of hip-hop and its throwback jersey-bearing brethren. But there are of course exceptions. Because at the height of the Throwback era, jerseys were accepted as commonplace garb anywhere from the streets to the sheets. Which is why today’s Throwback Jersey Thursday is a special one, devoted to all of you out there with someone special that comes to mind when you see R. Kelly doing his thing (no, the singing thing). With that, we offer this trio of V-Day inspired, throwback-sprinkled videos, plus one for the road. Love y’all!
R. Kelly — Ignition Remix
There’s nothing more sensitive than comparing love-making to starting up a car in that very special way. At least, it seems that way when Kelz is on the mic. Released in early 2003, the Remix to Ignition was that crass song you could vibe to without shame amongst your boys but also smooth enough to play when your lady was around. And the video is an all-out celebration of “Ignitiation.” It’s admittedly NBA-heavy in the throwback department, but we caught a couple gems that flashed across the screen.
First up, peep the baby blue Houston Oilers No. 1 Warren Moon jersey this anonymous stretch limo partygoer has on. Defunct franchise, legendary quarterback, classy colors and the numeral 1? Moon’s Oilers uni is an all-around great choice. This dude is doing it.
Skip ahead to the club, and catch a glimpse of another quality jersey—Curtis Martin’s No. 28 New York Jets in the home white. In ’03, Martin posted his ninth of 10 straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Not unlike R. Kelly, he was a model of consistency. Well, until that whole Trapped in the Closet series…
Jennifer Lopez + LL Cool J — All I Have
If we’re talking labors of love and rappers, it’s hard not to include LL. Since, you know, ladies love him. Mr. Cool J proves that being a soft, lovey-dovey type can be done in proper hood attire, donning a pair of New York Giants jerseys in the video for “All I Need” with the lovely Jennifer Lopez. He goes way back in time for this Sam Huff No. 70 New York Giants long-sleeve (one we’ve seen in several videos before), which isn’t a bad choice for the “grown man” throwback wearer—the mature, classy, take-you-out-to-dinner uni-rocker.
For the remainder of the video, though, LL wears a current G-Men jersey that’s mysterious only because we never get a good look at it. Our best guess: Giants running back Tiki Barber’s No. 21. At the time, back in ’02, Tiki was selected to the first of his three NFL All-Pro teams, and was in the prime of a 10,000-plus rushing-yard career. And, yes, you’re welcome for this legendary screenshot:
Nelly + Jaheim — My Place
Valentine’s Day isn’t always straightforward. Sometimes, like Nelly does in “My Place,” you
gotta buy a new pair of insanely baggy shorts/pants? win back your girl’s affection. And as we all know, that generally happens within the span of about a 5-minute video. That is, as long as you have Jaheim following you around and laying vocals while rocking a classic John Elway No. 7 Denver Broncos jersey in that instantly recognizable bright orange. Clearly, Jaheim has mastered the art of “peacocking” to get females’ attention. Just like Elway did with his wife, a former Oakland Raiders cheerleader.
Fat Joe — All I Need
Okay, so there aren’t any throwback jerseys (of the NFL varitety, at least) in this video, but what would Valentine’s Day be without Joey Crack spitting that thug love ish? On this special occasion, Joe’s old-school Cleveland Browns hat is enough to qualify this video for TBJT. Plus it’s just a good song.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Peace, love and throwback unis for all!
Abe Schwadron is the Online Editor of TDdaily.com. Follow him on Twitter @abe_squad.