LL Cool J & The Roots Reimagine ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ for NBA In-Season Tournament Anthem


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As the NBA season embarks on its inaugural In-Season Tournament Friday (Nov. 3), the league tapped two rap cornerstones to form a triumphant anthem: LL Cool J and The Roots combine two of their classic efforts — “Mama Said Knock You Out” and “Here I Come,” respectively — to create the official anthem. The video finds LL and legendary Roots members Questlove and Black Thought joining forces to fuse their hits to create a memorable mash-up to kick off the In-Season Tournament.

Thought first leads the way by chanting the hook from the group’s “Here I Come” before LL takes centerstage to recite his striking verse from his Grammy-winning song. Instead of rapping inside a boxing ring like in his classic video, LL performs on the In-Season Tournament stage alongside the NBA Cup, the trophy given to the winning team.

According to the NBA’s press release, the anthem “will serve as the musical backdrop for the stages of the In-Season Tournament, starting with Group Play involving all 30 teams and progressing through the single-elimination Knockout Rounds, culminating in the Championship.”

“I’ve been a fan of the NBA ever since I can remember, and it’s a real honor to have my record serving as the anthem for this monumental moment,” said LL in the release. “I’m excited to see the energy of the song translate to the play on the court during the NBA In-Season Tournament.”

Earlier this summer, LL and The Roots shared the stage for The F.O.R.C.E. Tour.

Check out their mash-up above.

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