Three-division titleholder and part-time rapper Adrien Broner is joined on stage with Soulja Boy during the 2013 America’s Most Wanted Musical Festival. Since suffering his first loss, one of his rapper peers has taken a verbal jab at him in song.
It was bad enough that Adrien Broner couldn't open up a Facebook account for weeks without being inundated by the deluge of memes that ridiculed the brash young fighter's loss to Marcos Maidana last month.
But when Grammy-nominated rapper Fabolous immortalized the lowest moment of his career in a newly released song "The Hope," the former three-division titleholder Broner was sent over the edge.
Fabolous, whose real name is John David Jackson (not to be confused with the former junior middleweight/middleweight titleholder), spit the line “N____s looking washed up, it’s something in the soap/You looking like Adrien Broner in the ropes.” The song is featured on the mixtape The Soul Tape 3 and features rapper Jadakiss.
The 23-year-old Broner, who has recorded rap songs of his own with artists like Soulja Boy and Meek Mill, took umbrage to the diss track, tweeting “@myfabolouslife n___a had a bad night and you jumped ship smh my n___a I thought you watched my fight to see me win……”
Broner has since deleted the tweet, but the song will live on forever. The insult is just the latest in a long tradition of intertwining hip hop music with boxing. It makes sense, as both art forms thrive in similarly gritty environments.
Hip hop can elevate a boxer, just as it did when LL Cool J's “Mama Said Knock You Out” glamorized the sport in his 1990 song, or it can be used as a vehicle to kick a fighter when he's down.
Below is a look at some of the more notable songs where lines were crossed between rappers and boxers.
- “New York” (2004) – Ja Rule featuring Fat Joe and Jadakiss: “Even Roy Jones was forced to lean back…”
Roy Jones Jr. had been boxing’s Superman from the moment he turned pro following the 1988 Olympics until the moment Antonio Tarver shattered his aura of invincibility with one left cross in 2004.
Not too long after, New York-based rapper Fat Joe released one of the coldest lines in hip hop history, saying “Even Roy Jones was forced to lean back” on the popular anthem “New York” by Ja Rule. The line, which was both a reference to Jones' KO loss and his own song Lean Back, drew the ire of the four-division world champion.
Ed Lover, then a DJ at the New York hip hop station Power 105.1, first spread the rumor that Jones had confronted Fat Joe (real name Joe Cartagena) at a record release party, which was confirmed by Fat Joe in an interview with XXL magazine. Fat Joe apologized shortly after for the insult.
“Rappers, we use lines and think it makes a hot song, but you have to really account for the s__t you be saying sometimes. You get approached,” Fat Joe said.
Years later Roy Jones Jr. would get the last laugh, when he knocked Fat Joe’s friend Felix Trinidad down twice en route to a dominant decision win in 2008.
- “Go (War Remix)” (2009) – Rick Ross: “Holler ‘Mayweather’ when you see a fake hundred”
This feud seems to be rooted in Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s alignment with rapper-turned-boxing promoter Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, whom the Miami-based rapper Rick Ross (real name William Leonard Roberts II) had long exchanged insults with.
Whatever the impetus, the first hint of discord between Ross and Mayweather was 2009’s “Mafia Music,” when Ross said “That Mayweather money lookin’ funny in the light.” The line poked fun at the $6 million that Mayweather reportedly owed the IRS prior to his bout with Juan Manuel Marquez in 2009.
Shortly after, Mayweather countered by assailing the rapper’s credibility, telling AllHipHop.com “If I need someone arrested, I’ll call him,” a reference to Ross’ former career as a corrections officer at a Florida
That was all just a prelude to Ross’ knockout blow, when he released a song titled “Go” where he jabbed at reports that Mayweather had thrown fake money into a crowd as an act of bravado. “Holler ‘Mayweather’ when you see a fake hundred,” said Ross in a boxing-themed music video that lampooned the reigning pound-for-pound best boxer.
On another track “Shot Caller Remix,” Rick Ross calls Mayweather’s chief rival Manny Pacquiao “the world's greatest.”
In a bizarre twist, Mayweather and Ross seem to be friendly today, with Ross having teamed up with Mayweather to insult 50 Cent on Twitter following the dissolution of Mayweather’s friendship with him.
- “Lighters” (2011) by Eminem and Royce Da 5'9": “Classic now, always down for the catch weight like Pacquiao”
Mayweather wasn’t the only person to take Pacman to task over his catchweight meetings with Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito. Royce Da 5'9" of Detroit took a shot at Pacquiao in the 2011 song Lighters. The lyric was both a critique of Pacquiao and a double entendre for the drug trade.
Perhaps even more incendiary was his lyric on the song “Acapella,” where he alluded to the steroid accusations against Pacquiao by saying “I will drink Manny Pacquiao's blood and watch my muscles grow.”
Pacquiao never made his own diss track to respond to Royce Da 5'9" and likely has never heard of the underground rapper.
Photo / Imeh Akpanudosen-Getty Images
Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to The Ring magazine. He can be reached at email@example.com. An archive of his work can be found at http://www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.