Major League Baseball and Chuck D have inked an agreement to “connect the culture & game.”
This is the latest step by the league to celebrate hip-hop’s 50th anniversary. The first and noisiest step was MLB’s involvement in scheduling the official celebration that took place at Yankee Stadium. Usually unavailable for performances, the iconic venue opened its doors for music for the second time in 2023. Of course, following the Jonas Brother’s stay earlier this year.
First up in Chuck D’s responsibilities in this new role was serving as “special correspondent” for that celebration. Across social platforms and MLBTV, he reported live from the event. All the while giving a unique perspective on the festivities as one of the most celebrated legends of the genre. But his duties extend beyond just one night. Alongside the announcement of the rapper’s new role, the MLB signalled their intentions to continue celebrating rap throughout all of 2023. As that continues, Chuck D will collaborate with the league on new content and music focused on the crossover between these two institutions
A Relationship That Extends Into The Studio
Chuck D’s appointment here is far from a ceremonial one, too. Just a few months back, the Public Enemy alum released his latest full-length, We Wreck Stadiums, another opportunity to mesh golden age rap with America’s pastime. Conceptually, it centered around baseball, and on the project, both Chuck and his collaborators took plenty of chances to weave metaphors and allusions to some of the sport’s greatest. Willie Mays, Reggie Jackson and Pete Rose, among others, had their names dropped over the album’s span. All of that culminated in the closer, “ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Theme,” which is as it says on the tin. Deployed liberally over the network’s showcase games, the song is the height of these two worlds colliding.
As hip-hop has ascended to becoming the dominant force on the charts, it’s all the more important to give flowers to those who originated the form. The MLB has made the right move in aligning themselves with Chuck D as the genre celebrates its half-century mark.