Baseline to Bassline
Curators:
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Duration:
2 Hours
Floor:
Level 0

Baseline to Bassline
exhibit now closed

75 Years of Music and the NBA. To celebrate the NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland this year, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame built an exhibit that explores the crossover between music and basketball. This new exhibit, Baseline to Bassline, presented by Mountain Dew, runs February 17 through April 1.
About the Exhibit

From Cab Calloway’s Zoot Suit and will. i.am’s “Let’s Get It Started” All-Star promo outfit to Chuck D’s Air Jordans and players’ favorite songs, explore the cultural impact of the sport, the swagger behind athletes and artists, and the power of rock & roll.

The experience begins with a look at the cultural impact of the sport. It takes fans back to music and language pioneer Cab Calloway as you explore his “Hepster’s Dictionary” and zoot suit worn in Janet Jackson’s “Alright” video, spotlighting hip-hop's origins and the beginning of basketball as entertainment with the Harlem Globetrotters.

Like rock stars or hip-hop kings and queens, you’ll discover the swagger behind NBA champions. Check out artifacts worn or used by players at NBA events and promos, such as will.i.am’s outfit from the Black Eyed Peas’ 2004 NBA All-Star Game “Let’s Get It Started” promo. You can also get up close with diamonds and bling and step into the sneaker culture’s longstanding relationship with the music scene with Air Jordans worn by Chuck D and a pair worn by Kelis in her “Milkshake” video.

Then, get pumped for the All-Star Game as you explore what players listen to before they hit the courts to get into the zone. You can scan QR codes in the exhibit to take the music with you via Spotify.

This exhibit closed on April 1, 2022.

Sneaker Auction

We teamed up with local artist Van Taylor Monroe for a sneaker auction benefiting our education programs and the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning. The auction was live on Thursday, February 17th through Thursday, February 24th

“Music and sneakers are artistic forms of expression that bring together two cultures that have a lot in common,” said Van Taylor Monroe. “I’m proud to be a part of this collaboration that provides a fantastic opportunity to support my community and the fantastic work that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning do.”

Each pair of painted leather acrylic sneakers are designed to evoke the spirit of rock & roll. The first pair, “Elements,” explores the blended dynamics of hip hop, basketball, and fashion through symbolic imagery representative of each culture. The second pair, “Cleveland: The Album,” imagines Cleveland as a visual album with a tracklist of historical moments and monuments. Fans can also bid on a “Home Court” themed basketball that pictures the world as a basketball court with everyone as the home team.

Sneakers and music have a longstanding relationship dating back to 1986 when Run-DMC rocked Adidas kicks to the many Air Jordans that danced their way through hip hop videos and stages. Today’s collaborations with musicians are some of the most hyped and coveted fashion items.

 

Highlights

Cab Calloway Suit, 1989. Collection of The Cab Calloway Foundation   Jazz singer, bandleader, and actor Cab Calloway was also a talented athlete. After excelling on his high school basketball team, he joined the Baltimore Athenians pro team his senior year. He later turned down an offer to play for the Harlem Globetrotters to focus on his music career. Calloway wore this zoot suit in the Janet Jackson’s music video for “Alright.”
Chuck D of Public Enemy Shoes, c. 1990. Design by Nike; Collection of Public Enemy Public Enemy frontman Chuck D, a devoted New York Knicks fan, wore these Air Jordan IV sneakers around the time PE’s third studio album, Fear of a Black Planet, was released. Renowned for socially conscious and politically charged lyrics, Chuck D has also supported organizations like Rock the Vote, the National Urban League and the Stop Mass Incarceration Network
Caption from image
'Shaq Diesel' Vinyl, 1998. Shaquille O'Neal. Courtesy of The Holders’ Record Collection Shaquille O’Neal showed his considerable skills as a baller with the Orlando Magic and L.A. Lakers, as well as other NBA teams. Shaq Diesel, O’Neal’s debut album, allowed him to show his skills on the mic as well. The album reached Number 25 on the Billboard 200 chart and was certified platinum.
will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas Clothing, 2004. Design by Lor-e Phillips and will.i.am Gift of Black Eyed Peas “Let's Get It Started,” the fourth single from the Black Eyed Peas’ third album Elephunk (2003), became the theme of the 2004 NBA playoffs. It also won a GRAMMY for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. will.i.am wore this clothing in television promo spots for the 2004 NBA Championship Games.
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ROCK HALL EDU

Educators & Students: Download our "PUMP UP THE JAM" Playlist Building activity on Rock Hall EDU now!

More About Baseline to Bassline

“This timely exhibition illustrates the crossover between music and basketball and how, together, they have impacted the global cultural landscape,” said Greg Harris, President & CEO, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. “We welcome fans from around the country to Cleveland to celebrate their teams, the players, and the power of rock & roll during NBA All-Star Weekend and beyond.”

The exhibition also nods to the Rock Hall’s It’s Be Said All Along: Voices of Rage, Hope & Empowerment exhibit, highlighting how musicians, basketball players, and the industry have responded to social injustice, using their voices and actions to influence and inspire the nation.

   

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