Top 10 Derrick Rose rap references
Bigger than basketball
Derrick Rose wasn’t just a transcendent basketball talent.
For his meteoric four-season rise, and the years that have succeeded it, he was also a cultural touchstone in the city of Chicago and beyond.
His impact went global with mega-sponsorship deals that have made him an athlete of import in China, specifically. Allusions to Rose’s greatness also permeate the music world, especially in hip hop.
Here are the top 10 references to Rose rap songs.
10. Peace of Paper/Cup of Jayzus – Lupe Fiasco
Sometimes dreams, peace of paper I got reams / Where the D go?, Put that on a rose now you / Pronounce it hero, you see?
I’m still trying to fully wrap my head around this bar, which is what makes it a Lupe song (and this nearly-seven-minute-long opus is one of his best).
The essence of it, though, is a play on attaching “D” to “rose” (D-Rose) and getting a hero. Rose is certainly that for many in his and Lupe’s hometown of Chicago.
9. Church – BJ the Chicago Kid feat. Chance the Rapper
Never sang, Kirk F, bang like Kirko / Ankle like Kurt, came back like Derrick Rose
This is off a BJ the Chicago Kid track, but rapped by Chance. The song was released in 2016, so Rose had endured most of the substantial injury woes we’ve seen in his career so far. But the comeback was just beginning — four years later, Rose averaged 18.1 points and 5.6 assists in just 26 minutes per game for the Detroit Pistons, and is firmly in the Sixth Man of the Year conversation.
Still, this song is as Chicago as it gets. Passing shoutouts to Kirk Franklin and Kurt Angle are appreciated.
8. Furthest Thing – Drake
I had to Derrick Rose the knee up before I got the re-up
Another comeback bar. Rose spent the entire 2012-13 season rehabbing the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee he sustained in the first game of the 2012 playoffs. Drake also (mostly) sat out 2012 between dropping “Take Care” in 2011 and “Nothing Was The Same,” the album this song is from, in 2013.
7. N***** in Paris – Jay Z, Kanye West
Just might let you might Ye / Chi-Town’s D-Rose / I’m moving the Nets to BK
Almost a dynamic duo as Rose and Jo. On one of the defining tracks from “Watch the Throne,” Jay analogizes Kanye to Rose's significance to the latter two’s home city of Chicago. The album’s release came in August 2011, on the heels of Rose’s MVP summer, and at the peak of his talents and popularity.
A year later, in an “I Don’t Like” remix featuring Chief Keef, Pusha T, Big Sean and Jadakiss, Kanye shoutout out Rose, himself, rapping “Shoutout to Derrick Rose, man, that ***** nice.” That doesn’t make this list, but warrants mention.
6. Derrick Rose – Meek Mill
I’m balling on these ****** like I’m Derrick Rose
Blunt, to be sure. But Meek penned an undeniable anthem here that, even eight years later, YouTube commenters galore return to upon signature Rose performances.
Honorable mention for this list (and the specific category of songs named after Rose): “Derrick Rose,” by Chicago native Yung Berg. In a 2011 interview with Billboard, Berg said said he authored the track in honor of Rose’s MVP season and hoped to get it played in the United Center or on ESPN — even calling it his "Black and Yellow."
5. The Waters – Mick Jenkins
Everybody want to be the back of a D-Rose / But I can’t go, Van Gogh how I handle / Paintbrush when I paint flows
In the title track on Mick’s 2014 mixtape “The Waters,” the Chicago native flashes a nice bit of wordplay. “Everybody want to be the back of a D-Rose” translates to “Everyone wants to be No. 1,” given Rose’s jersey number.
That Mick then continues that internal rhyme through “can’t go” to “Van Gogh” to “paint flows” is just a touch of the smooth artistry he typically spits with.
4. Want You Back – Fabolous
When you crossed me, you lost me / Now if I was guardin' Derrick Rose / I would be more understandin' but you ain't Derrick Rose / You was my number one, but uuuhmm, you ain't Derrick Rose / You try to make a point again, you ain’t Derrick Rose
More clever wordplay here, this time from Fabolous. Possibly referring to an ex-girlfriend, Fabolous works the double entendres “crossed” (to be betrayed/a crossover move) and “point” (one's side of an argument/point guard), along with a play on Rose’s jersey number into a single stanza.
3. Traumatized – Meek Mill
I rose from the jungle like Derrick
Even hailing from Philadelpiha, Meek clearly relates to Rose, especially his experience growing up in Englewood. He conveys that here with a slick turn of phrase amid one of the rawest songs he's put out in his career.
2. Blue Sky – Common
Open my eyes, yes sir this is what I’m made for / To go hard in the paint like D. Wade / D. Rose, from the same / International heroes at world primos
This bouncily-sampled track comes from another Chicago native (sensing a theme?) in Common and shouts out Dwyane Wade and Rose, both products of the city. In typical Common fashion, it’s packaged and delivered in inspiring fashion.
1. Hey Ma – Chance the Rapper
7-7-3, Oh, since Kanye was a three-old / Down the street from D-Rose, was practicing his free throws
A classic, the first non-Rose-titled track that comes to mind when one thinks of Derrick Rose rap references. This is one of the signature songs on Chance’s inaugural mixtape “10 Day,” released in 2012, and memorializes his growing up in the same city as Kanye and Rose in the same breath.
The song as a whole, poignantly tributes Chance’s upbringing, and the experiences and people that made him who he is. That Rose gets a shoutout is touching and a testament to his influence.