Baseball Preview: MLB Teams as Hip Hop Labels

Nobodys smiling

Nobody's smiling

With the 2009 major league baseball season underway, I felt it was essential to give my thoughts on my 2 favorite pasttimes: baseball and hip hop record labels.  Though they have warts, they rarely let me down.  I’ve survived the Steroid Era and the unforseen popularity of No Limit Records with equal parts valor and perservance.  Assisting me on this excellent quest are my homies from The What? aka Team Passion: Jeff Weiss, Jonathan Bradley, and Doc Zeus.  Any teams/labels we left out, let us know in the comment section.
Let’s get it!

 Baltimore Orioles = Death Row Records

Home of big talent and a perennial playoff team during the mid-to-late 90s and have been completely irrelevant in all facets since the beginning of the millennium with no real hope in sight.

Washington Nationals = G-Unit Records

Both squads were hot when they first came out: the Nats were in first place for much of ’05 season after moving from Montreal.  50 Cent’s unit bubbled after he moved to Shady/Aftermath from Columbia in ’03.  Both teams sputtered by taking on also-ran talents no one actually wanted to spend money to see: Christian Guzman/ Ronnie Belliard/Austin Kearns = Hot Rod/Ma$e/Tony Yayo.

Oakland A’s = Stones Throw

Led by an innovative management team (Billy Beane = PB Wolf/Egon), these guys always put up big numbers and acquire huge payoffs with little investment (Scott Hatteberg/Frank Thomas/Johnny Damon =Madvillainy/Donuts/Quasimoto).   They don’t always make the playoffs (’07/’08 season =M.E.D/Roc C albums) but are never down and out for more than a year or two (Matt Holiday trade/Beat Konducta 5 &6).

The Cincinnati Reds = Delicious Vinyl Records

O.G. but what the fuck have y’all been doing since 1993?”–Jeff Weiss

The New York Yankees = Aftermath

Dr. Dre is the Steinbrenners–he only wants proven commodities and is always on the verge of replacing young talent (Alfonso Soriano/Dioner Navarro/Melky Cabrera =Bishop Lamont/Hittman/ Stat Quo) for big name stars (Gary Sheffield/Jason Giambi/Carl Pavano = Eve/Busta/Rakim) that don’t usually pan out so well. 50 and Eminem are A-Rod and Jeter, the old guards making shitloads of cash with dimishing skills and unrealized results the past few years.

The Florida Marlins = Definitive Jux

A few All-Stars (Aesop/ El-P/Cage = Hanley Ramirez/Dan Uggla/Jorge Cantu) scattered amongst a mostly unproven roster that has potential to make a serious push towards greatness. Both squads make big noise every 3-4 years but struggle at carrying over the success in their ultra-competitive divisions (NL East = indie hip hop). They are notable for serious roster changes of young talent (goodbye Miguel Cabrrerra, Dontrelle Willis, RJD2, Murs). Everyone’s always got their eyes on them though.

The Texas Rangers = Murda Inc.

Both owned by guys who have been/should be indicted.”–Jonathan Bradley

The Detroit Tigers = Koch Records

They jampacked their roster with All-Stars everywhere (KRS-One/RZA/Xzibit = Dontrelle Willis/Kenny Rogers/Edgard Reneteria) ready to take the title only to have the bottom fall out almost overnight (Dipset broke up/CD sales plummet =  pitching staff fell apart/Gary Sheffield died).

The Pittsburgh Pirates = Anticon

We’re not even sure that what they’re doing belongs in the game“–Jonathan Bradley

Anything released by Anticon in the scope of “hip hop” = The Pirates big signing this offseason of…Eric Hinske.

The Atlanta Braves = Roc-a-Fella Records

Thee elite home for East Coast dominance for a large part of a decade.  Bobby Cox = Dame Dash.  The blueprint for a dynasty: Maddux/Smoltz/Glavine= Jay-Z/Kanye/Just Blaze.  Check out the resumes of former Braves and Roc artists since leaving the squad.  Also, the Tomahawk Chop = the Roc-a-fella chain.

The Boston Red Sox = So-So Def

The right combination of self-loathing and entitlement“–Jeff Weiss

Jermaine Dupri has sold a TON of records and is always salty when people overlook his contributions to hip hop (Da Brat, Xscape, Kriss Kross, Bow Wow, pulling Janet Jackson).  The Red Sox and their rabid media and fanbase have clamored for respect and attention for 86 years between World Series wins.

Remember when he said he was better than Dre and Timbaland. It’s like, hey dude, I loved “Funkdafied” too but….”–Jeff Weiss

The Minnesota Twins = Duck Down Records 

They’re never as great as people want you to believe but are always lauded by traditionalists for playing “the right way.” They compete well with homegrown talent (Heltah Skeltah/Black Moon/Smif N Wessun = Joe Mauer/Justin Morneau/Francisco Liriano) mixed in with some savvy free agents/trades (Kidz in the Hall/B-Real/Torae &Marco Polo= Joe Nathan/Joe Crede/Delmon Young).  And Dru Ha is Ron Gardenhire.

Shouldn’t the Twins definitely be Rhymesayers? Isn’t that screamingly obvious?”–Doc Zeus

I’m not sure besides Atmosphere and Ali what homegrown beasts Rhymesayers has produced. POS?  Musab?  The Twins always have 3-4 developed All-Stars, much like Duck Down. Plus, thumbs down to the entire Rhymesayers label for never making ONE reference to any hometown teams in 10 years.

“I can’t imagine Slug would ever be into sports. Who has time to root for baseball when you have a girlfriend to bitch about? I’d spit up blood if I ever saw him sporting a Twins fitted. Besides would YOU want to give a shout out to the Timberwolves if they were from YOUR hometown? I don’t think so.”–Doc Zeus

The Seattle Mariners = Disturbing the Peace

“A label with a huge star that still can’t manage to do shit”–Jonathan Bradley



  1. So So Def? So So Def? Wow. I almost wanna cry @ seeing that. Of all the possible labels in Hip Hop history that have been on “top” that no one really gave props to y’all picked So So Def? To represent BOSTON? So So Def? *Walks around room for a while, then clams down and gets back to keyboard* So So Def? Aw man. I would’ve been cool with Brick, Landspeed, Babygrande, Think Differently, Nature Sounds, Amalgam Digital, Wu Tang Records (remember them?), Loud/RCA, the possibillities were endless.

    So So Def? Y’all did the Sox dirty, man. Other than that? Hilarious.

    But So So Def? Really? F’real? *fights back tears*


  2. I knew Dart and Nico would take the So-So Def claim the hardest. That was actually my pick. Jeff just threw out the grenade with his comment.

    *Waiting for someone to rag on the Dodgers now…

  3. i’m glad rhymesayers ain’t get a team…they deserve to be the billings montana mastadons….

    Anotha Time,


  4. Sadly enough, I agree with the Anticon thing for the Pirates…..or maybe Nasty Mix, a label that couldn’t run itself to save its ass….Fuckin’ Pirates

  5. Out of my healthy respect for Dart Adams, I’m gonna refrain from comment on the So-So Def comparison, but don’t think I wasn’t laughing my ass off….good job, Z

  6. Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after checking via some from the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I am certainly glad I discovered it and I will be bookmarking and checking back often!

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