Hip-hop definitely does have a family and friends package. Only the real get to experience the luxury of not being an artist while being embraced by those who are. Admission into this club varies, but what’s the criteria?
For some like political commentator Ari Melber, it’s the fact that they show enough love to get it in return. During his segments on MSNBC, Ari always uses lyrics from renowned rappers and songs to get his point across. Over time, he’s developed a lot of appreciation from rap fans for bringing the genre into a sphere where it’s usually critiqued the most. He notes The Throne duo of Kanye West and Jay-Z as two of his favorite rappers.
For others celebs that hip-hop community praises, it’s the mutual experience of being one of the most notable in their respective game. The chronic has connected the dots between people like Seth Rogan and rappers like Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg. Even with that aside, Seth had access to hearing Ye's unreleased music in 2014. Those are just some of the perks that come with it.
The strands of rap music and comedy are braided together constantly as well. Through the course of history, comedians have always been drafted to deliver skits on albums. As of late, more funny men are being utilized to add firepower to music videos and album rollouts. Take for example the viral sensation that is Druski, who arguably got the biggest look of his career so far by working with Drake in the "Laugh Now Cry Later" video, on top of other endeavors.
Those names are just a few examples of the rap-adjacent stars that exist in the game right now. Looking at a list of political figures, actors, comedians, athletes and musicians, below you can see other people that will always be invited to the cookout in that regard.
For those who don’t know, Ari Melber is a standout MSNBC correspondent. He has his own show called The Beat With Ari Melber, and whenever his segments allow, he uses rap lyrics to drive his points home. On air and through the years, he’s quoted greats like Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G. and Nipsey Hussle and heavy-hitting tracks from them like “99 Problems,” “Warning” and “FDT,” respectively. He stamps other artists like Kanye West, old Mos Def and Tupac Shakur as his favorites in hip-hop. Plus, Melber keeps other spitters like Drake and Future in his rotation as well.
Over the last few years, internet comedian Druski has gone from a viral sensation to one of pop culture’s most notable figures right now. Along the way, his success following skits and showing up in Drake's "Laugh Now Cry Later" video has naturally brought him closer to rappers and the hip-hop scene. He’s also hosted rap celebrations like A$AP Mob’s Yams Day and Rolling Loud, and has become the face of friendship goals with his buddy Jack Harlow. On top of that, Druski even started his own rap imprint, Coulda Been Records, with a logo that mimics the infamous Cash Money brand. The label is the center of skits Druski does on Instagram Live, where people share their talents in hopes of getting signed.
Seth Rogan has a pretty interesting history when it comes to rappers. For starters, most probably remember finding out that Seth is a member of the gas gang and has survived dream rotations with Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa. Things go deeper than sessions though. Looking even further, Seth once auditioned to play Cheddar in Eminem’s 8 Mile. In 2014, he experienced a one-on-one listening session with Kanye West to hear some new music. Seth also names Wu-Tang Clan's Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), A Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders and The Roots' Do You Want More?!!!? as some of his rap favorites, further proving his affinity for the genre.
The relationship between rap music and sports has been cemented for nearly 50 years. If an artist or athlete is a G.O.A.T. in either lane, chances are they're fully aligned with others across industries who are making just as much noise in their occupation. A fitting example for this points to LeBron James. The current Los Angeles Lakers player is constantly posted up with rappers like Drake, brings in his birthday parties with performances from acts like Lil Wayne and even gave advice to 2 Chainz on a deluxe album. Additionally, Eric B. and Rakim were his favorite artists growing up. Biggie, Tupac and Jay-Z are among his favorites of all time, too.
Everybody loves Rihanna and when it comes to hip-hop, she gives that love right back. Jay-Z knew she was a superstar from the jump and signed her to Roc Nation the label in 2014. Initially, he welcomed her to Def Jam in 2005 when he was then-president. On top of the records they’ve pushed together, like classics “Umbrella” and “Run This Town,” Rih has collaborated with every relevant rapper that one could think of. Drake (“Work”), Eminem (“Love The Way You Lie)” and Future (“Selfish”), to name a few. The result has been an abundance of diamond and platinum plaques, and counting. Her baby will also be born into the rap family, thanks to the additional legacy of the child’s father, A$AP Rocky.
Things were much simpler when Barack Obama was the president of the United States, and the first Black one at that. With such a remarkable feat, it comes as no surprise that hip-hop embraced him with open arms and still does. 50 Cent, T.I., Hov and Nas are some of the artists that endorsed him during the campaign days. Obama’s yearly playlist always shows love to the genre and the artists within it, with last year’s soundtrack including bangers from Lil Nas X (“Montero [Call Me by Your Name]” and Isaiah Rashad (“Headshots [4r da Locals]”). Acts like Chief Keef and Blueface also have songs named after him in his honor. In addition, during Obama’s administration, Big Sean became the first rapper to perform at The White House. Lastly, he even recruited the most trusted voices in hip-hop to talk about criminal justice reform at some point.
James Harden has never shied away from his off-the-court antics, especially when it comes to showing big love to hip-hop. An aspect of that happens to be his everlasting relationship with rappers. Travis Scott (“Way Back”), Post Malone (“White Iverson”) and Polo G (“Go Stupid”) are just a few of the artists that have given him shout-outs and lyrical references over the years. And we all know how tight he is with Lil Baby. Last year, Harden even served as the executive producer on Baby and Lil Durk’s chart-topping collaborative effort The Voice of the Heroes. The former MVP also stamps Tupac as his G.O.A.T.
Dave Chappelle is easily one of hip-hop's favorite comedians. He’s elite on the mic, as artists are. The infamous Chappelle's Show launched decades ago and featured plenty of appearances from rap legends like Mos Def, Q-Tip and RZA. One of the most popular skits from that show even traces back to Diddy’s Making The Band reality TV hit. Shout-out to Dylan. Furthermore, acts like Drake (“Mob Ties”), Nas (“Nobody”) and Lil Wayne (“Drunk In Love”) have used Chappelle's name on wax. He’s good everywhere he goes in the rap sphere. Believe that.
There aren’t many interviews that are as peculiar and refreshing as those done by Nardwuar. He tends to know the most obscure, random facts about rappers, which astounds them every time he's got one on camera. For that reason, rappers have gravitated to his one-of-one style and on-camera personality. The Canadian native, who is most known for his phrase "Doot doota loot doo" has created viral moments with Jay-Z, J. Cole, Tyler, The Creator and A$AP Rocky over the years. He occasionally dabbles outside of the hip-hop genre and even to other fields, but the best moments on his track record come alongside the game’s most notable rappers. Simply put, the best entertainers are more prone to vibe with others who can relate.
Rappers have surely given Ed Sheeran his invite to the cookout. Everyone remembers the viral clip of Kodak Black singing “Shape of You" in 2017. Another Florida-bred rapper by the name of Rod Wave also shares a similar respect for Sheeran, calling him an idol and citing “U.N.I.T.Y.” one of his go-to tracks. On the contrary, the pop singer names Eminem as his favorite rapper of all time. Sheeran even crafted an LP, No.6 Collaborations Project, in 2019, on which he worked with revered rap faces like Travis Scott, Chance The Rapper, Young Thug, Meek MIll and more.