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.
Given G-Unit’s cultural cache during the era we’ve generally blocked off as the “Throwback Jersey” era, it’s damn near shocking that their work has yet to appear in this space. Matter fact, it’s a shame. Led by famous frontman 50 Cent, G-Unit dropped Beg For Mercy in 2003. Appropriately, the CD’s first single was a simply-titled track called “Stunt 101.”
Naturally, the video features adequate levels of stunting—from piling cash to the ceiling to fancy cars and beautiful women (word to Brandy). And while two-thirds of the G-Unit trio featured in the song opt for less athletic hood garb, Nashville native David Brown aka Young Buck slipped on a navy blue uni that was true to his come-up.
Young Buck — Jevon Kearse, No. 90, Tennessee Titans
By the time Stunt 101 was released, Kearse had piled up a Rookie of the Year Award, a Defensive Player of the Year award, three Pro Bowl trips and a Super Bowl appearance with the Titans (XXXIV, a loss to the Kurt Warner-led Rams). That, plus the fearsome rep that earned him the nickname “The Freak,” was more than enough for his No. 90 to become a favorite in the streets.
As for YB, after earlier stints with Cash Money Records and UTP Records, he landed with G-Unit in ’03, bringing his dirty South style to the G-Unit crew. Part of that style included a closet full of throwbacks. How do I know? Shit, Buck says so in this very song:
Chain so icy, you don’t have to like me
In a throwback jersey, with the throwback Nikes
If that’s not enough validation for all our hard work with—and original inspiration for—Throwback Jersey Thursday, I don’t know what is. Sure, in this case the Kearse joint is an of-the-era selection, but the point is that Young Buck, like many others in the rap game, was about that distinctive look of baggy uni, baggy pants, fresh kicks.
Buck released his first G-Unit solo album, Straight Outta Cashville, in ’04, then slowly receded out of the limelight as G-Unit broke apart in the late ’00s. He’s currently serving out an 18-month prison sentence in Mississippi for weapons charges. (Sadly, Kearse has fallen on hard times, too, reportedly going broke after earning millions on millions of dollars in the NFL.) The day Buck is a free man, he’ll also be a free agent in the rap game. But fear not, for until then you can let Young know you appreciate his taste in throwbacks via his Twitter page—or better yet, hit him via snail mail, as he suggests:
Write Me >> David D.Brown FCI Yazoo City Low Federal Correctional Institution. PO Box 5000 Yazoo City,Ms. 39194 Inmate#20669-075
— The Real Young Buck (@youngbuck) February 21, 2013
Here’s to this pair of Tennesseans: should they both get back on their feet, and let us remember a time when they were Titans.
Abe Schwadron is the Online Editor of TDdaily.com. Follow him on Twitter @abe_squad.