Photo: Maddie Meyer / Staff via Getty Images
  /  08.02.2023

In the spirit of celebrating hip hop’s 50th anniversary, Boston Celtics shooting guard Jaylen Brown revealed that rap has been an essential part of his life and discussed how significant it is to champion Black media outlets.

Following the two-time NBA All-Star’s appearance at Pharrell Williams’ first fashion show for luxury brand Louis Vuitton in Paris back in June, the small forward flew to New Orleans to attend the annual ESSENCE Festival of Culture (EFOC). The overall theme and focus of this year’s event paid homage to hip hop’s 50th birthday. During his time there, Brown took a moment to talk to REVOLT for an exclusive interview and shared how the music genre has been major for him.

He disclosed that rap is a part of his everyday routine. Before giving an inside look at his musical palette, Brown expressed how grateful he is for every artist who contributed to making hip hop America’s most beloved genre.

“I appreciate everybody that’s contributed to the art form throughout time. Hip hop music in general has been a part of my life. It’s how I start my day; it’s how I get ready for my workouts, and it’s part of the reason I’ve been able to grow as an athlete. My taste, my love has evolved with hip hop, and I just want to give my appreciation first,” he said.

Brown talked about some of the artists he grew up listening to before he gave Tupac his flowers, naming him one of his favorite rappers. The semi-vegetarian admires the late “Changes” icon for not just releasing catchy music, but including valuable messages that hopefully became prevalent in the minds of all who listened to him.

“I grew up listening to [a mix] of things like 50 Cent, Lil Wayne and Kendrick Lamar. And being from Atlanta, André 3000, Gucci Mane, T.I.,” he said. “One of my favorites is Tupac because he was an activist and also a man of the people, so growing up, his music would always hit different. One, his music always had a message in it, and two, it was also dope [and] influential, so I’m going to go with Tupac.”

Brown admitted that he takes pride in being from the South, especially since he grew up in one of the biggest hubs for hip hop.

“Atlanta influences everything. Atlanta has been a staple, a hub for not only music, but for Black people in general with artistry from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and on up. From like Ray Charles all the way up until whoever’s currently doing whatever right now,” the Georgia native told REVOLT. “My first concert was an Outkast concert in Piedmont Park when I turned 16, so that was my introduction to music… when I went to see them. André 3000 is one of my favorite rappers of all time, so yeah…the South got plenty to say.”

Encouraging people — most importantly, his community — in some way, shape, or form is something Brown hopes to do during his career and in general. This is one of the main reasons he enjoyed his time at EFOC. To witness a sea of Black people show up and show out to support Black businesses, get informed about various topics, have fun line dancing together, spend time with their families and show him love was like a big family reunion.

“It’s amazing. Black is beautiful. I love being around my culture, being around everybody who feels the same things you feel. So, being here and being able to share my journey, connect with people, have a good time, hear some good music, and eat some good food sounds like a good weekend to me,” the All-Star added.

He also opened up about uplifting Black media platforms like ESSENCE, REVOLT and others. After all, they’re valuable because they amplify the stories of African Americans to the masses. He was adamant about Black people backing ventures that push their narratives to the forefront because Black voices matter.

“A lot of the versions of stories we hear, they’re not curated to us. We always complain about [it], but we never support the media bases and the companies that are doing their thing,” he explained. “Shout to all the media companies out here trying to make an impact and trying to make our voices a lot louder, we should all support it.”



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