NBA Rap-Off Cypher | 6th Hashtag Sports Awards

NBA Rap-Off Cypher

Bleacher Report

The 6th Annual Awards

Nominee ✨
  • Best Short-Form Video
  • Best Use of Culture Music or Entertainment


To celebrate the start of the NBA season and 50 years of Hip-Hop, we combined the two by creating a 3D animation of the NBA’s top stars having a Rap Cypher in which they battled each other to state their cases as top contenders ahead of the 2023-24 season.


How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

The NBA and Hip-Hop fan community are notoriously the hardest to impress. In addition to the analytics presented in the previous section, the overall reaction from both groups was resounding. If you scroll through the comments of each post, most of our fans were either praising the lyrics or calling out their favorite lines. In addition, we had legendary hip-hop artist and critic Jay Blac do a full reaction video breaking down the complexity of each line. Throughout the entire process our entire goal was to maintain authenticity throughout the piece. By utilizing true battler rappers and the knowledge of our NBA producers, our audience felt that throughout the piece. We hope the industry notices this and finds ways to inject authenticity into any content they create moving forward.


To engage our rabid NBA audience and super-charge their excitement heading into the 2023-24 season by creating an animated rap cypher between top NBA stars that paid homage to the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop.

Strategy & Execution

2023 is the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop. The old saying of “Rappers wanna be Ballers & Ballers wanna be rappers” was a major inspiration of the premise to this idea as the NBA is heavily influenced by Hip-Hop culture. The cypher resembled the style of iconic BET Rap Awards Cyphers and the XXL magazine Freshman Class Cypher. We began by recruiting professional battle rappers to collaborate on the lyrics for each character we selected. . Several brainstorming sessions with both parties allowed us to land on some clever lyrics for each specific player that touched on their career narratives heading into the season. The next step was creating our storyboard (setting, environment, players, etc) in collaboration with a top-tier animator (Alitomineek) to bring the storyboard to life in a unique animation style. After months of work, we released our project to our audiences the morning of the first day of the season to a resoundingly positive reaction.


  • Bleacher Report


  • Alitomineek
  • Rap-Off TV


Keith Trawick Jr.
Senior Producer
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Varoon Bose
Coordinating Producer
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Adrian Cortez
Associate Producer
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Simran Dave
associate producer
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Celebrate in NYC

Join us for the 6th Annual Hashtag Sports Awards™ on the evening of June 6, 2024 as we celebrate finalists and reveal the winners of this year's awards live during the show.