Best Songs From NBA 2K Soundtracks


(Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

Orlando Magic player Daniel Tlais (DT) screams during the NBA 2K “The Ticket” competition at Full Sail University on Thursday evening, June 13, 2019 in Orlando, Fla.

Amari Sewer, Staff Reporter

The NBA 2K series saw massive success during the 2010s as they usurped the NBA Live series. One thing that made NBA 2K games great was the selection of songs on their soundtracks that are synonymous with the games they were featured on, and I am going to talk about my favorite song from each NBA 2K game from NBA 2K11 to NBA 2K20.

NBA 2K11: Champions – Ron Artest

Honorable Mention: Over – Drake; Game Time – Cassidy; Little By Little – The Chicharones

NBA2k11 had so many great songs that it was difficult to pick my favorite, but after thinking about it, I settled on Champions. Former NBA player Ron Artest released this song after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals. The song is about what it takes to be a champion when the lights are brightest, and he compares him self to athletes such as Mike Tyson, Michael Phelps, and Dale Earnhardt because of his drive to win against the greatest of competition. I chose this song because whenever I heard it, I felt determined to defeat my opponent on the virtual hardwood. Combine Artest’s victorious verses and a catchy hook and you have the greatest song by an NBA player ever.

NBA 2K12: Fast Lane – Bad Meets Evil

Honorable Mention: Basketball – Kurtis Blow

This selection was the easiest because I didn’t play NBA2K12 a lot, so I only know two songs. The reason I took Fast Lane over Basketball by Kurtis Blow was because of how much of an ear worm the hook was. As a kid, I didn’t care much for Eminem and Royce Da 5’9″ verses, but hearing the hook play during a game of 2k was always a fun time for me.

NBA 2K13: Public Service Announcement – Jay-Z

Honorable Mention: The World Is Yours – Nas; Viva La Vida – Coldplay; I Ain’t No Joke – Eric B and Rakim

Jay-Z did a fantastic job picking songs for the NBA 2K13 soundtrack, and Public Service Announcement was my favorite from this collection of music. What makes this song my top choice is that it’s played in the intro of the game. The combination of Jay-Z rapping and the NBA’s elite players of that time dunking, scoring, and celebrating created my favorite 2k intro. Just listening to the song today brings back so many memories of me and my friends playing against each other. I would definitely be excited if Public Service Announcement showed up in a future NBA 2K soundtrack.

NBA 2K14:  Who Do We Think We Are – John Legend ft. Rick Ross

Honorable Mention: Not Afraid – Eminem; Now or Never – Kendrick Lamar; Hate Me Now – Nas

I don’t have too much experience with NBA 2k14 as I do with other games, but I do remember how great this game’s soundtrack was. I decided to go with Who Do We Think We Are mostly because of the hook, but John Legend’s overall performance on this track makes it very enjoyable to me.


NBA 2K15: Scenario – A Tribe Called Quest ft. Leaders Of The New School


Like with NBA 2K12, I didn’t play this game a lot, and this was the only song I could remember from my limited experience. Scenario is one of my favorite songs from A Tribe Called Quest, so I enjoyed hearing it while playing the game.


NBA 2K16: AEAO – Dynamic Duo

Honorable Mention: Rise and Shine – J. Cole; Made You Look – Nas; Hold The City Down – DJ Premier

DJ Premier, DJ Khaled, and DJ Mustard were the ones who made what I consider to be the greatest NBA 2K soundtrack ever. There were so many songs that I could’ve for this post, I had to go with AEAO. What made me choose this song over the rest was the production from DJ Premier and the catchy verse from Dynamic Duo member Gaeko. There would be times that I would sit at the home screen and listen to the song in its entirety. This song instantly triggers memories of me going home on weekends to play NBA 2K16 for countless hours I’m glad that AEAO was in my favorite NBA 2K game of all time.

NBA 2K17: Bands – White Dave

Honorable Mention: Heart Of The City (Ain’t No Love) –  Jay-Z; Shutdown – Skepta; Troop (Instrumental) – DAXZ

I had a hard time choosing my favorite song from NBA 2K17 because while it was a great soundtrack, I had a hard time finding a song that stood out to me. Ultimately, I chose Bands because of the energy that the beat brings, which makes it fun to listen to while playing MyCareer or MyPark. Bands is also able to bring me back to the days of traveling to different parks with friends.

NBA 2K18: Nas Is Like – Nas

Honorable Mention: So Fresh, So Clean – Outkast; 93 ‘Til Infinity – Souls of Mischief; Livin Like Khaled – Cousin Stizz

Even though NBA 2K18 is the worst game I’ve ever played, it still had a solid soundtrack. I went with Nas Is Like because it is one of my favorite Nas songs, and . I was able to relax myself during the rage inducing moments that I experienced while playing NBA 2K18. It’s unfortunate that the song is associated with a game that I hate.

NBA 2K19: Really Got It – Jerreau

Honorable Mention: Stargazing – Travis Scott; Big Tymin’ – Nef The Pharaoh; Anti – SOB X RBE

Unlike most songs on my list, I don’t remember hearing Really Got It a lot. Whenever I was tired of the same 10 songs on repeat, it was my go to song on the soundtrack. I remember hearing this song in 2016 after seeing the video of LeBron James dancing to the song, so I was excited to find out that I could hear it while playing NBA 2k19. It’s too bad that I almost forgot about this song because of the poor randomization of the songs.

NBA 2K20: Digital – IDK

Honorable Mention: Grinding All My Life – Nipsey Hussle; Proud of U – Earthgang; Rule The World – 2 Chainz

I didn’t necessarily have a favorite from this soundtrack, but Digital would get stuck in my head a lot, and the same could be said for a couple of the songs of NBA 2K20. I could just leave the game on the home screen and listen to some good songs. What makes digital my favorite track is the delivery from IDK, which makes the song more enjoyable.