Casinos are among the favorite themes of hip hop artists in their music. There have been several artists in the past who have used the casino games as inspiration for their single or as supporting prop in their music videos. What fans don’t know is that this love for anything casino can also be seen outside of their favorite artist’s music. To celebrate the influence of hip hop to the casino scene and vice versa, below are three hip hop artists who have been known for their music as well as their moves in the casino.
ShawnCarter, or Jay-Z to many, has been a fan of casino games for years now. In 2008, he made his love for the card games blackjack and poker public in London, with the occasion of a tour in the United Kingdom. When interviewed about this experience, he said “I am a pretty good player, almost professional. I won’t give names because I don’t want to ruin it all, but they’re here (i.e. in London) all sorts of private clubs in West End, where you can go and play and where the atmosphere is super cool.”
Since his tour in the United Kingdom, the “American Gangster” rapper has been a regular in live casinos in the United States and abroad. Jay-Z is also an active participant of poker tournaments for charity purposes. With the help of Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, he even organized a poker tour for celebrities in his club in New York with the goal of raising money for charity. Some of the celebrities who were invited to this event are Nelly, Ashanti, Cedric the Entertainer, and Steve Harvey.
American rapper Nelly is as tough in the poker table as his image in the hip hop scene. One of the major tournaments that Nelly has participated in is Rolling Stone’s Celebrity Poker Tournament, in which he came out as the winner. This was an event hosted at the Hard Rock Casino last September 2007 as part of the magazine’s 40th anniversary celebration. Cee-Lo Green, Ryan Cabrera, System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan, Panic! At The Disco bassist Jon Walker, Peter Bjorn and John leader Peter Morén, and Three 6 Mafia’s DJ Paul, among others have also participated in this tournament.
In the same year, Nelly decided to take his shot at the main event of the World Series of Poker, the largest poker tournament in the world. Unfortunately, the action was getting too “hot in herre” for him as he was immediately eliminated on his primary tournament day. Nelly, at some point, has also tried online casino games via partycasino and similar sources.
Aside from his single “Gangsta’s Paradise” and a few acting gigs, Coolio is also known for his skills at casino tables. According to an article posted on HotPokerClub.com, “Coolio believes that in order to gain an advantage in the hip hop industry, rap musicians need to have the skill to recognize opportunities, and in times of difficulties, they should not show any sign of weakness. These are the same characteristics that poker players should have. Coolio definitely possesses these characteristics, which make him a proficient rap artist and poker player.” This belief seems to be working for him as he has shown noteworthy plays in recent years.