By Chris Yuscavage
Wiz Khalifa has the whole city of Pittsburgh behind him. And we’re not just suggesting that figuratively.
In the new video for his single, “Black & Yellow,” – which pays homage to the intimidating black and yellow colors sported by the National Football League’s Pittsburgh Steelers, Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates and the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins – the Pittsburgh MC flies the flag for his city by inviting the entire town (well, at least it looks like the entire town) to stand behind him. They circle Wiz as he raps and wave their Terrible Towels, a time-honored Steelers tradition, to show their solidarity as a city.
With Wiz preparing to drop his as-yet-untitled major label debut next year, it’s probably a good idea for the Taylor Gang’s Commander-in-Chief to make sure that the Steel City has his back. But Wiz also isn’t the first rapper to employ this strategy, either. Over the years, there have been plenty of rappers who have showed love to their hometowns by writing songs devoted to the places that helped make them who they are.
Here at RapFix, we came up with a list of some of our favorite hometown anthems. Like “Black & Yellow,” these are the types of rap songs that make us feel right at home.
Song: “Empire State of Mind,” featuring Alicia Keys
Yeah, we’re sick of it, too, but you can’t make a list of hometown anthems and leave this one off. Just a year ago, this Hov classic was blasting out of every car in the Big Apple. Jay and A-Keys even got to perform the song before a NY Yankees playoff game to help get the crowd behind the team. Shortly after, it got played out by radio stations, but it’s safe to say these two native New Yorkers knocked this hometown anthem out of the park.
Song: “St. Louie”
The second song from Nelly’s Country Grammar wasn’t a huge radio hit, but it did help introduce the world to a city that wasn’t exactly on the map in terms of producing rap legends in the early 2000s.
Artist: Jermaine Dupri
Song: “Welcome to Atlanta,” featuring Ludacris
If you needed to know what nights to visit which clubs (and, of course, strip clubs!) in Atlanta back in 2002, all you needed to do was give this a spin and let JD give you the lowdown on what nights were poppin’ in the A.
Song: “California Love”
Forget showing love to an individual city. 2Pac showed love to the entire state of California on this cut from 1996’s All Eyez on Me, which helped cement him as the savior of West Coast hip-hop at the time.
Artist: Young Jeezy
Song: “Put On,” featuring Kanye West
Much like JD and Ludacris, Jeezy put on for the city of Atlanta on this appropriately-titled single from his 2008 album, The Recession. But, more importantly, he rapped about the importance of repping your city, no matter where you live.
Artist: Yo Gotti
Song: “Walkin’ In Memphis,” featuring 8Ball & MJG
Playing off the success of folk rock singer Marc Cohen’s 1991 hit, “Walking In Memphis,” Gotti, Ball and G rapped about growing up in the M and making a way for themselves in the hip-hop community while taking you on a tour of their city.
Song: “Brooklyn,” featuring Jay-Z and Uncle Murda
Simply repping the Big Apple wasn’t enough for F-A-B-O. He had to break it down and rep his borough alongside two fellow Brooklynites. More than 80 mentions of the borough later, a BK anthem was born.
Artist: Lil Wayne
Song: “Tie My Hands,” featuring Robin Thicke
Not all hometown anthems are about claiming your city and telling the world how great it is. On this cut from Tha Carter III, Weezy broke down and revealed the state of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. And while it didn’t get as much love as some of the album’s other tracks, it was one of the most passionate displays on the album.
Song: “Virginia,” featuring Pharrell
Like St. Louis, Virginia wasn’t exactly a hotbed of hip-hop talent before Clipse came onto the scene. Alongside fellow VA artist Pharrell, Pusha T and Malice exposed the rest of the world to the place they call home. All we learned: Virginia is definitley not just for lovers!
Artist: Young Chris
Song: “Philly Sh-t”
Wiz Khalifa isn’t the only rapper that dropped a hometown anthem this month. Former Roc-A-Fella Records rapper Young Chris of the Young Gunz also put out an anthem about a city in the state of Pennsylvania. He dropped “Philly Sh-t” to show his love for the City of Brotherly Love and to coincide with the MLB Playoffs featuring his hometown Philadelphia Phillies.
Have a hip-hop hometown anthem that you’d like to add to this list? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or tell us in a comment below!