NBA 2K23’s release is right around the corner, and with it, an all-new soundtrack to ball out to. Here are eight perfect songs that should be on the game’s rotating playlist.
NBA 2K has become well known not just for being the best (and only) basketball sim on the market, but for its modern and heavily curated music playlist.
Typically rap and hip-hop-focused, music icons like Pharrell, DJ Khaled, and Jay-Z have curated playlists for the game in the past creating some incredible soundtracks over the years.
Here, we have eight songs from the last year we’d like to see in the 2023 version of the game including some real bangers including songs from superstars of the trap game Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt, and many more.
Kendrick Lamar – N95
Kendrick Lamar dropped his first studio album since 2017 with Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.
While the album is a complex emotional journey, that doesn’t mean it’s completely lacking bangers. N95 has emerged as the biggest song off the album, rocking over 38 million views on its gritty black and white music video. The song is absolutely perfect for NBA 2K23 and no doubt deserves a spot.
Earl Sweatshirt – Titanic
Sweatshirt’s latest album, SICK!, nails exactly what the 28-year-old has become known for – clever and often dark bars over eclectic beats that wouldn’t dare stretch beyond the two-minute mark.
On the track Titanic, upbeat production by Black Noi$e allows Earl to be the most lively version of himself. Although this track is quite short, it certainly deserves a spot on NBA 2K23 as it’s not often we got as hype a song as Titanic from Sweatshirt.
Waasi – CASAMIGOSFREESTYLE
Virginia-based rapper Waasi’s smooth and lowkey flows are ready-made for a spot on an NBA 2K playlist. Waasi might be the lowest profile musician on this list, but his bars stand up to the rest of the bunch. Hop on the bandwagon early before his spot blows up, 2K.
Conway The Machine – John Woo Flick
Griselda’s own Conway The Machine came through on God Don’t Make Mistakes with one of 2022’s best rap projects. While there are a handful of tracks that could be hand selected for NBA 2K23, the one that stands out is John Woo Flick, featuring fellow Buffalo acts Benny the Butcher and Westside Gunn.
The collab track rocks tons of sports references, with callbacks to three-point legend Kyle Korver and the Detroit Pistons.
Benny The Butcher & J. Cole – Johnny P’s Caddy
Another Griselda member makes the cut, this time it’s Benny The Butcher with Johnny P’s Caddy from his latest project Tana Talk 4.
Benny delivers on this track what he’s grown a following for, sharp and painfully realistic bars about his glow-up from Buffalo drug dealer turned music industry giant. What makes this song so worthy of a spot on NBA 2K23 is the J Cole feature, which is one of his most impressive to date. The pair’s flows are brought together via production by The Alchemist, one of the best active producers in all of music.
Pusha T – Diet Coke
Pusha T’s Diet Coke was the lead single off his 2022 album, It’s Almost Dry. Production was done by frequent collaborators Kanye West and 88 Keys, who admitted the beat was crafted some 18 years ago and repurposed for this new release.
Pusha T’s slow delivery and repetition of the chorus in his signature style always hits a bit different, and would hit even harder while playing NBA 2K.
Fivio Foreign, Kanye West, Alicia Keys – City of Gods
Whenever Kanye West needs a hook for an absolute banger of a track, he calls up Alicia Keys. On City of Gods, Alicia belts out the catchiest hook of the year about the most important city in the world, New York City.
What brings real flair to the track is NYC’s own Fivio Foreign, delivering his classic off-beat rapid flow. I can easily see playing NBA 2K23 while this blares in the background.
Kanye West – Off The Grid
Kanye has produced some of the greatest beats of all time, but man do I have a soft spot for this one. All three performers, West himself, Fivio Foreign once again, and Playboi Carti, shine to their fullest extent and Kanye’s faded signing on the refrain is a heavenly touch.
Fivio’s inspiration verse towards the end of the track delivers the kind of punch you’d feel on a usual NBA 2K song. Also, you cannot go wrong when Kanye decides to deliver bars about God over a drill beat. Get this song in 2K23.
Although these songs would be incredible for the upcoming NBA 2K23 soundtrack, ultimately, it will be 2K and developer Visual Concepts that decide the fate of the sound of the game.