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January 30, 2013 | 4:29pm ET
Love affair between hockey and hip-hop
By Molly Melissa Mandell
TheFourthPeriod.com

DALLAS, TX -- As with many -- think Tiger Woods -- this love affair is one you might not have seen coming.

When you think hockey, you probably don't think hip-hop. However, the signs are all there, and they have been for a while.

Hip-hop made a name for itself throughout NHL events last year.

At the 2012 Winter Classic in Philadelphia, the Grammy award-winning group, The Roots, played in between periods. Later, in January, Canadian rapper Drake performed hits like "Headlines" and "The Motto" at the NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa.

But that was just last year... Let's go a little farther back.

We'll start with 2Pac, one of the most legendary and perhaps most influential rappers in hip-hop history. In 1994, 2Pac left court in a Detroit Red Wings jersey. We can all thank 2Pac for spitting on reporters as he headed out because his time spent repping the NHL was well documented.

Over the years, many rappers, from Pimp C to Young Jeezy, have sported NHL jerseys. Yes, maybe it is just a trend, but it's one we can all respect.

Fashion statements aside, many rappers have made hockey references in their lyrics, too. Wayne Gretzky is an all time favorite in hip-hop, receiving shout-outs from Asher Roth, Fabolous and Cam'ron, to name a few. Lil Wayne has also made his fair share of hockey mentions, including the Maple Leafs and Sidney Crosby in his lyrics.

In his song "Back in the Go-Go," Maybach Music Group's Wale raps, "I do it for the capital, Wale Ovechkin!"

Wale probably didn't know that the Washington Capitals star winger, Alex Ovechkin, would become a rapper in his own form. Last winter, a Russian music video was released for Sasha Belyi's song "Champion," in which Ovechkin showed off his talents.

And Ovi isn't the only NHL player to have debuted his rapping abilities (although, he probably is the best). In 2010, then Chicago Blackhawks player Kris Versteeg rapped his own version of LMFAO's "Yes" at the Stanley Cup Parade. A year later, in the 2011 parade, Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand entertained with a few lines from Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow."

While not all NHL players are quite so talented, they have other ways of showing their love for hip-hop.

Many players reference hip-hop on Twitter, often quoting lyrics.

Some decide to make more bold statements. In the Lockout 2012 edition of The Fourth Period Magazine, San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture shared the Top 10 songs he listened do over the summer, nine of which came from hip hop albums.

And just last week, Winnipeg Jets sniper Evander Kane shaved "YMCMB" into his head. YMCMB stands for "Young Money Cash Money Billionaire" and alludes to Lil Wayne's record label. This is probably the most audacious tribute to hip-hop so far.

Who knows what's next in this ongoing affair.

Molly Melissa Mandell is a contributing writer for The Fourth Period.


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