The All New York Hip Hop Starting 11 (and Bench) / by Alex Chang

The folks over at Dirty South Soccer recently released a pretty strong all-Atlanta hip hop starting 11.  Atlanta certainly has a pretty strong hip hop scene, and we are known to be fans of it ourselves.  However, hip hop started in the Bronx, and New York lays claim to some great hip hop.  There are too many great artists from NYC to count, so here is not only a starting 11 for New York's hip hop super team, but also the bench players.  Of course, we set a couple of ground rules:

  1. All rappers must be alive.  There are of course great rappers who have passed on, but they can't play soccer from the grave
  2. Unfortunately, we're limiting our selection to male rappers.  Nicki, Kim, Remy Ma, and Young M.A. are great, and we'd just put a starting 11 of just them if it were up to us, but soccer is segregated right now, and we simply have so much talent to pick from that we needed to cut something based on arbitrary distinctions.  We are aware of the misogyny within hip hop and its culture, and we recognize that that also leads to low female representation, but for the purposes of this exercise, we will contribute to the hip hop patriarchy.
  3. We decided to go with a 4-2-3-1 because, like New York hip hop set the standard for hip hop, it set the standard for modern soccer formations.

So, without any further ado, here it is (be sure to peep my reasoning under the graphic):

Forwards

Strikers

Leading the attack for New York is 50 Cent ("Fifty" in our diagram because Lineup Builder wouldn't let us put a number in the name).  50 Cent is ruthless, can take many hits from defenders, and will act as a strong number 9 for the city.  He is a prolific rapper, and definitely has the ego and selfishness we need from a great striker.

Backing up Mr. Curtis Jackson are DMX and A$AP Ferg.  Both loud, proud, and prolific rappers of their own.

Midfielders

Attacking Midfielders

Wingers

Out wide, we have a young, flashy winger on the left and a speedy vet on the right.  A$AP Rocky as our left midfielder is the type of dude to do you in with a couple of stepovers, nutmeg you into the shadow realm, and leave you in the dust as he cuts in and scores a screamer.  His backflip celebration is topped off by the shine from his diamond grill.  Behind him on the depth chart are Q Tip and MF Doom, both creative and technically skilled vets who despite their age haven't lost a beat.

On the right is Busta Rhymes.  Busta has been in the business forever, but his blazing speed and technical ability is unmatched, and he will blow past you like his syllables and rhymes blow past mach speed.  He's getting up there in age, but will still put in a stellar cross after beating his man to the touch line.  Backing him up are Desiigner, a raw talent with a high ceiling, and Papoose, who is in NY because his passion for the city is immense.

Central Attacking Midfielders

GZA, the genius, is our obvious number 10.  Just absolutely brilliant, his mind is unmatched and his creativity overflowing.  GZA will give our attackers the through balls that nobody can think of, but also has the talent to take on defenders one-on-one and come out with the ball afterwards.

Our bench players are no slouches either, and are constantly fighting for the starting spot.  We have Immortal Technique, who, as his namesake suggests, has insane technical skill.  Many would consider him the GOAT, many would consider him overrated, but he can challenge for that starting spot.  Also on the bench is Pharoahe Monch.  He's one of those dudes who's been around a surprising amount, and definitely has the talent and creativity, but he's been plagued with injury, and has played on-and-off for most of his career.

Defensive Midfielders

The greatest midfielder pairing of all time.  They push each other to be better, and they even bicker often.  But these two are the two pillars of New York hip hop.  Jay Z and Nas each deserve a statue, and while the chemistry between the two of them started off poorly, both are such tremendous players, that they make the best pairing of all time.  Backing them up are another pairing of Talib Kweli and Mos Def, who are possibly some of the more underrated players in the game, but both of them have great chemistry together, having played for so long together.  In the reserves are Swizz Beatz and RZA, who while strong in certain ways aren't the best on the field for their abilities on the ball.  Gritty and persevering, they are good guys to have in the fold and in the locker room.

Defenders

Centerbacks

New York's centerbacks are scary, man.  They will kill you, and they are immense.  Fat Joe and Ghostface Killah both have seen everybody come and go, but one thing remains constant: they are still there.  Our centerbacks will absolutely bully you, and Donald Trump can only hope to build a wall like this.

Backing them up are no slouches as well.  Jim Jones might be from The Diplomats, but there is no diplomacy when it comes to stopping a counter attack.  Action Bronson is obviously the guy to step up after Ghostface Killah.  Rev Run is a vet who's mostly there for locker room orale, and Joell Ortiz, despite his great form, can't seem to make it off the bench.

Fullbacks

Fullback is not a particularly deep position for New York, or anywhere else.  Going for experience over youth, Cam'ron and Jadakiss are both on their own amazing one-on-one defenders.  Cam'ron will frustrate you and will make u mad when he stops your attack, and Jadakiss is just absolutely ruthless.  When there's a need for more attacking fullbacks, we have French Montana and Joey Bada$$, who are highly aggressive and will overlap well with the wingers we have on the roster.  Juelz Santana is a veteran presence who can still contribute, but has seen his production drop off in recent years, and Troy Ave is one of those, couldn't-play-other-positions-well-enough-so-let's-try-him-out-at-fullback players who plays an occasional cup game.

Keepers

KRS-One, the teacher, is our man between the poles.  He is a shot-stopper, but he can also spray a ball to midfield effortlessly.  He's been around forever, but his game is timeless, like the verses that he spits.  KRS-One is a living legend, and deserves a statue outside the stadium.  Behind him is Puffy, or Puff Daddy or P. Diddy or Diddy, who has been known to pull the strings of a successful attack.  Unfortunately, he has always tried to put himself in drama, and has never had loads of ability, so he is riding the pine.  Also available for selection is Aesop Rock, an underrated talent, who unfortunately has never really grown more than a niche support despite his talent and influence.

On the IR is Bobby Shmurda and Max B after suffering from a prison sentence earlier in the season.  Also in the reserves are Flatbush Zombies, the rest of Pro Era, Method Man, and others.

So, what do you think?  Are we right, do you have other ideas?  Tweet them to us @ViewFrom202 or email us at contact@viewfrom202.com