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A Rappers’ Union? Bow Wow Wants One That Models Sports Leagues

On Saturday, the “Let Me Hold You” rapper said he wants a players association for rappers. There is one in existence but it remains to be seen if he will create his own.

Ohio-born and Atlanta-raised rapper Bow Wow wants hip-hop to have its own workers union similar to the ones that most sports leagues have. Most noteably, the rapper born as Shad Moss used the example of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA).

The tweet read, “Hip hop needs a board! No different than the NBA w/ the players association. A committee. That can set rules and keep things in control and protect this thing we call hiphop! And have a retirement plan for the og rappers. I hate seeing my heroes liqour’d out no money just washed.”

Players associations in both the NFL and NBA function differently but ultimately fight similar battles.

The NFLPA outlines what it does on its website, noting that the organization:

  • Represents all players in matters concerning wages, hours and working conditions and protects their rights as professional football players
  • Makes sure that the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) are met
  • Negotiates and monitors retirement and insurance benefits
  • Provides other member services and activities
  • Provides assistance to charitable and community organizations
  • Enhances and defends the image of players and their profession on and off the field

On the NBPA’s website, it reads, “The NBPA mission is to ensure that the rights of NBA players are protected and that every conceivable measure is taken to assist players in maximizing their opportunities and achieving their goals, both on and off the court. Whether it is negotiating a collective bargaining agreement, prosecuting a grievance on a player’s behalf or counseling a player on benefits and educational opportunities, the NBPA advocates on behalf of the best interest of all NBA players.”

What does a hip-hop union would look like? Well, there’s an example set by Chuck D, Kurtis Blow, and KRS-One who founded The Hip Hop Alliance (HHA). The organization deems itself as ” a strategic partnership that represents the needs and concerns of the hip hop and R&B workforce through advocacy information and service. We’re passionate about our mission to improve the working lives of creators.”

The site continued, “[Our] mission is to promote and secure the strongest protections for our members… whether it’s education on music rights/law, health and pension benefits, assistance retrieving unclaimed /royalties or protections from unauthorized use of work. The Hip Hop Alliance strives to engage members so that they know and understand benefits that may be available to them.”

Thus far, membership to be part of the HHA is free.

Bow Wow did not tweet any follow up responses pertaining to if he is going to create his own union or promote or join the Hip Hop Alliance.

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About The Author
Randall Williams
Randall Williams
Randall Williams is a Staff Writer covering sports business and music for Boardroom. Before joining the team, he previously worked for Sportico, Andscape and Bloomberg. His byline has also been syndicated in the Boston Globe and Time Magazine. Williams' notable profile features he has written include NFL Executive VP Troy Vincent, Dreamville co-founder Ibrahim Hamad, BMX biker Nigel Sylvester and both Shedeur and Shilo Sanders. Randall, a graduate of "The Real HU" - Hampton University - is most proud of scooping Howard University joining Jordan Brand nearly three months before the official announcement.