"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

For all the deacs

Ranking the best Wake Forest name drops in hip-hop history
Adam Coil
It’s been a week since Drake released his latest album, “For All the Dogs.”

Forget the U.S. News & World Report — there’s a new metric in town, and it’s far more influential — the infamous Drake namedrop. 

Okay, technically it was J. Cole who said the line, but it’s still a pretty big deal. Whether you choose to believe the “First Person Shooter” lyric to be a diss or a compliment is up to you, but what you can’t deny is the popularity and mainstream attention the reference brings to a small, private, liberal arts school. 

It’s only been a week since Drake released his latest album, “For All the Dogs,” and the sixth track is already doing numbers. At 36 million Spotify streams, “First Person Shooter” is the third-most-listened-to song from the album and landed at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 List.

It may be safe to assume “First Person Shooter” is the biggest Wake Forest name drop in hip-hop history. But is it the best? Check out the top 10 below.  

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10. “Pay For It” — Real Boston Richey (2023)

“Been on top of my grind, n—, I ain’t never have to fake for it / F— up when I got the ball, I took off just like Wake Forest”

Real Boston Richey may be well-known for getting the entire Florida A&M University football team suspended earlier this year, but don’t worry, his association with the Demon Deacons isn’t as controversial. It may be a reference to this past weekend against Virginia Tech when Demond Claiborne took off for Wake Forest’s first kick return touchdown since 2021. “Pay For It” was released in January, so it is most likely just a reference to the athletic program’s general rise, but who knows for sure?

9. “Checclist” — Wacotron (2021)

“I can tell you the type to go and pray for it / Shot and shot back like Wake Forest”

As Wacotron shows, the easiest way to elevate a rather simple and somewhat confusing bar — the Texas rapper quickly switches the metaphor from basketball to football — into one that has people nodding their heads and singing along with some umph. The emphatic flow and 808-heavy beat can get you ready to run through a wall by the end of it. Don’t be surprised if Reynolds Gym starts playing this through the speaker system.

8. “Pictures” — Berner feat. Styles P & Dave East (2017)

“Brought the Phantom to the beacon / Since Tim Duncan was a demon deacon, I done seen the precinct”

Unless Dave East has access to WFUPD records from the ‘90s and knows something about Tim Duncan that the general public doesn’t, I don’t really understand this bar. The rest of Dave East’s verse is solid and fits well over the piano-plucking melody, but this isn’t a song people are asking to be put on aux. Props for name dropping Wake Forest’s most dominant athlete, but the alliterative “D” sound is just a dash distracting.

7. “Fully Loaded” — J.R. feat. Nelly (2021)

“N— don’t believe me / Wait for it / I’m collegiate with the trees / Wake Forest”

Damn the small class sizes, student-professor relationships, liberal arts education or any of the athletic programs, the best quality and most successful selling point of Wake Forest is its gorgeous campus. It’s literally a part of the school’s identity. When Nelly was writing his verse for “Fully Loaded,” it is clear he was picturing a beautiful spring day on Davis Field fully loaded with students playing catch and catching rays, sprawled out in hammocks and blankets — just enjoying the college with the best trees. R.I.P. Davis Field. 

6. “The Power” — Wale feat. Avery Storm (2010)

“A real life viking, shout out to St. Paul / Foamposite Max like I’m out of Wake Forest / That’s Duncan for slow-mo’s, mine be so OG / That they probably be in the closet of old folks”

Just like his game, Duncan’s clothing style was straightforward. Knowing his aversion to the runway collections, it makes sense that the NBA Hall of Famer’s signature shoe looks just as simple. Wale, who loves to rap about sports stars and Seinfeld, references a pair of Duncan’s shoes in the outro of his “More About Nothing” mixtape. It may be fair to lump fans of the lego brick look-alike shoe with the elderly but certainly not the power forward himself. After “The Power” dropped, Duncan would play six more seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, be named to three more All-Star teams, add one more championship ring to his hand and be name dropped by Wale once more. 

5. “Wait for It” — Berner feat. The Game (2018)

“That was cool, I just ran in the house and got a K for it / Gangbangin’, I was made for it / Runnin’ from them demons and the deacon like a point guard at Wake Forest”

It seems like in order to be a feature on a Berner track, you have to show love to Wake Forest basketball greats. On “Wait For It,” The Game gives his flowers to the floor general Chris Paul. During his two-year stint as a Demon Deacon, the Point God averaged 15.3 points, 6.6 assists and 2.4 steals per game — good enough for 2005 consensus All-American. Opposing defenses did not want any part of the Wake Forest backcourt — especially Paul — and it’s understandable why.

4. “Heisman Watch” — Wale (2016)

“Speed kills, I’m a speed demon / And what you deem a deacon I see as a Duncan, big / Fundamentals, longevity in abundance and”

There’s a specific formula necessary to play professional basketball for 19 years, and, as Wale says, it isn’t speed — it’s the fundamentals. Luckily Duncan, aka “The Big Fundamental,” has it down pat. “Heisman Watch” is a treasure trove of old athlete references, although it serves as a cautionary tale for college athletes that quick success is not everlasting. The subject matter may be for a niche audience, but it is quite entertaining to hear Wale list all the “forgotten” names off in a rhyming succession.

3. “First Person Shooter” — Drake feat. J. Cole (2023)

“The Spider-Man meme is me lookin’ at Drake / It’s like we recruited your homies to be demon deacons, we got ‘em attending your wake”

The debate on whether this was a diss has been solved. The homies are not being recruited to “beat Demon Deacons,” although isn’t that a badge of honor in itself? Even without the Wake Forest reference, “First Person Shooter” is one of my favorite songs off Drake’s latest album. This is both rappers at the top of their game, and the Fayetteville local is still undefeated on features.

J. Cole’s namedrop is one of the most, if not the most, creative bars on this list, and shows that he is still undefeated on features. Both rappers are at the top of their game on this song, but it doesn’t feel the most complete. J. Cole floats on the first sample-driven half of the beat, and Drake kills the “Her Loss” beat switch on the back half of the song. It still goes on the workout playlist, but it won’t go on the top of this list.

2. “1010 Wins” — The Alchemist feat. Domo Genesis, Action Bronson, Mayhem Lauren, Roc Marciano, Despot (2013)

“Mutherf— I’m a great artist / I fixed the game between Georgia Tech and Wake Forest”

You heard it here first, Action Bronson was the reason for Wake Forest’s 30-16 loss to Georgia Tech on Parents’ Weekend. Okay, maybe not, since the rapper has been known to embellish on other posse cuts — “Outstandin’, I fixed the game between Georgia Southern and Gramblin’” on A$AP Rocky’s “1Train” — but it’s still worth an investigation. 

Between The Alchemist’s spacey synth beat and all five MCs taking turns to be braggadocious gangsters, “1010 Wins” can get pretty crowded. The short and simple name drop, coming at the end of Action Bronson’s verse, provides a needed reprieve. There’s no fancy wordplay, the bar isn’t stretched, and while the rhyme isn’t typical (emphasis on the elongated “or” sound, not “st”), it fits perfectly with Baklava’s thick New York accent. It’s unique but not exorbitant, and in the age of flash, that’s appreciated. 

1. “The Ultimate High” — Nature feat. Nas (2000)

“From St. John’s to Wake Forest, wait for us / Straight ballers, you hearin’ it first / Nate flawless in almost every event / Puttin up points, while n— like y’all stay scoreless”

At first glance, there may not be much in common between the two East Coast schools, but Nature’s triple entendre says otherwise. As Nature says earlier in the opening verse — “At the airport, minutes before my flight leaves / Round-trip tickets to who knows where” — he needs a destination and stat. Yet with the departure board at his fingertips, the Queens, N.Y. MC somehow lands on Winston-Salem. Any ‘90s college basketball nerd would know this isn’t the strangest destination choice, since the programs had a bit of overlap.

Wake Forest and St. John’s combined for 13 NCAA Tournament appearances over the decade, and although the two squads never played one another, St. John’s did play two tournament games at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in 1993. This could have been where Nature and Nas — two Queens natives — met “The Ultimate High” producer Ski Beatz — a Greensboro native — and started laying the groundwork for their grimy, timeless anthem. Even if that isn’t the story of “The Ultimate High,” it’s still the best Wake Forest name drop in hip-hop.

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About the Contributor
Cooper Sullivan
Cooper Sullivan, Sports Editor
Cooper Sullivan is a senior from Winston-Salem majoring in Communication with double minors in Journalism and Art History. He enjoys long walks on the beach, dancing like no one is watching and "committing to the bit".

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  • L

    lukeOct 25, 2023 at 8:20 pm

    Need more of this

  • M

    Max LemmensOct 25, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    Is this the best article the OGB has ever produced? Yep.