Examining the intersection of sports and hip-hop with Lil Jon

By Mike Oz

Lil Jon’s music is unavoidable. Even if you’re the most sporty sports fan around and never turn on the radio other than to hear your favorite team’s game, you know Lil Jon.

It’s damn near impossible to watch any kind of sporting event and not hear either “Yeah,”his 2004 collaboration with Usher that still gets so much burn you’d think it came out this year, or “Turn Down for What,” his more recent 2013 hit that would be all over “Jock Jams” if that were still a thing. 

While Lil Jon’s music has a very big presence in the sports world, he’s a producer and DJ first and foremost. He’s from the hip-hop hotbed of Atlanta, a region that has constantly been ahead of the curve in hip-hop trends, whether we’re talking about OutKast 20 years ago or Migos two years ago.

Sports in Atlanta are right there on par with hip-hop. So when I crossed paths with Lil Jon recently at MLB All-Star Week in Miami, where he had a DJing gig, it gave me a nice opportunity to talk about to Lil Jon about a few of these things.

We talked about Atlanta sports and his love for the Atlanta Braves of old (shout out Dale Murphy). We talked about him living near John Smoltz and whether John Smoltz gets crunk. We talked about the intersection of sports and hip-hop, because you know rappers love mentioning sports in their lyrics just as much as athletes like listening to rap. And, of course, no conversation of hip-hop and sports in Atlanta would complete without talking about Deion Sanders.

Take a few minutes and watch our conversation above. If you like both hip-hop and sports, you’ll probably dig it.