And rappers know this, too -- which is why Rose has appeared in no less than nine music videos, beginning in his rookie season in Denver all the way to his post-retirement days. In that span, he was witness to the rise and fall of many hip-hop trends, from Sega Genesis to No Limit to throwbacks to Auto-Tune.
"And I never, ever tried to put out an album or a single," he's quick to add.
We're thankful for that, Jalen. Here, the lifelong hip-hop junkie breaks down his music-video cameos throughout the years ...
Video: PMD, "I Saw It Cummin'" (1994)
Cameo moment: 3:00
Jalen says: I became friends with multiple artists who appreciated the Fab Five, appreciated me as a ballplayer. I was friends with EPMD. I went to East Islip (Long Island) a couple of times, even when I was in college. I remember a game in particular where my uncle had passed away on a Thursday or Friday and — this is my junior year — we played against Duke on Saturday in Ann Arbor. And my friend Parrish (Smith, a.k.a. PMD) actually came to Ann Arbor with my homeboy, and they were at that game. I got a SkyPager from EPMD. Literally.
This song came out when EPMD were going their separate ways, but I was one of the people who still had a solid relationship with both of them. In the video, Ice Cube and I were actually playing the game ["Lakers vs. Celtics" on Sega Genesis]. Anybody that follows me nowadays knows that I’m still friends with Ice Cube — fast-forward to me being in "Barbershop" — so it was just a good opportunity for me. At that time, Cube was just coming off his situation with N.W.A and his solo album.
Video: Master P, “Goodbye To My Homies” (1998)
Cameo moment: Throughout
Jalen says: This is the time when Master P was the hottest artist in music, definitely in rap. Master P also has an interest in basketball. That summer, I was staying in L.A., hanging out with P. He came over to my place and vice versa multiple times, playing me the album. We played ball multiple times. For somebody that transformed from being an entertainer to a basketball player, P actually did pretty good. He played in the minors, he tried out for the Hornets.
P’s brother (Kevin) had passed away. They said I reminded him somewhat of his brother, so they wanted me to play him in the video. It was at a huge mansion somewhere in California. And I was there to represent for my friend. The reason this song didn’t get more traction is because it sampled Boyz II Men “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” and there was some situation with that hook.
I ended up meeting Lil Romeo when he was a youngster and he shouted me out on his first album. I knew about it because my nieces and nephews told me.
Video: Jadakiss feat. Styles P, “We Gonna Make It” (2001)
Cameo moment: 3:02
Jalen says: This was a relationship through hip-hop — running into them at a couple of venues, going to a couple of their shows, being a fan of their music. Being friends with them to the point where they’ve been to my house in Indiana. I’ve been out to hang out with them in Yonkers and kick it at the studio. I wrote my name on the wall 10 years ago, I’m part of the family. I’m fortunate enough that not only Styles P but also Sheek Louch has mentioned me on records.
When it was time to shoot that video, we were all in Miami at the same time, it only made sense. They shot it, if I’m not mistaken, during Memorial Day weekend. “My bathtub lift up, my walls do a 360.” I knew this was gonna be a classic. That’s my family still to this day.
Video: Styles P, “Good Times” (2002)
Cameo moment: 2:42
Jalen says: I’ve already established my relationship with Styles. DJ’ing is my hobby, so that’s why I played that role in that video. The Lox’s DJ, Killa Touch, is my homeboy also. He actually has been to a couple of my places to hook up my equipment for me. I don’t know anything about fixing the stuff but I know how to operate it when it’s hooked up.
I did think about [the subject matter of the song] but since I was not participating and I am over 18, it was almost like ... I remember growing up and seeing all of the Parliament and Funkadelic records, seeing Rick James’ “Mary Jane” record, and not truly knowing what it meant.
Hip-hop wasn’t as mainstream then as it is now. Now, a professional athlete — in particular, me — I probably wouldn’t be able to do that. The backlash on Twitter, and on Facebook — it would be a lot more negative feedback than I would need. So if I was approached about that same song today, obviously that’s something that I would not be able to do.
Here’s the hypocrisy — and I don’t wanna go Chuck D/KRS-One on you, but I am. Hip-hop is what mainstream America uses to sell all of their products now. You’ll see Nicki Minaj and Big Sean on an adidas commercial, or Lil Wayne on the Mountain Dew commercial. You’ll see Wayne or Nelly or Snoop Dogg on "First Take." When you walk in an NBA arena, that’s the music that’s playing. The line is really gray. We want to embrace hip-hop because hip-hop is now mainstream, but we want to censor how you embrace it.
Video: Ludacris feat. Mystikal & I-20, “Move B***H” (2001)
Cameo moment: 2:13
Jalen says: Just small-world theory: In the early ’90s I became friends with Naughty By Nature. I still have that “Hip Hop Hooray” "19 Naughty III" plaque up in my house. I used to go to the barbecues at Kay Gee’s house. I'm friends with Latifah; I'm friends with Shakim, who is Latifah’s partner at Flavor Unit. He's also friends with Chaka Zulu, who’s Luda’s righthand man. So I’m in Atlanta, and they let me know about the shoot. I went down to represent. That’s really how it went down. I was wearing the Randall Cunningham throwback.
As we talked about, a lot of these videos wouldn’t be things that at this point in my career, obviously, that I’d be able to do. But if I was still a player — if I was in my fifth year as a player and Luda was a friend of mine and he asked me to come be in that video, I would still do it.
Video: Nelly, “Hot in Herre” (2002)
Cameo moment: 2:47
Jalen says: When I had a celebrity game in Chicago, [Nelly’s clothing line] Vokal actually did the uniforms. Also, through Nelly’s cousin, I became friends with Carmelo Anthony while Melo was in college. I was actually talking to Melo while he was making his NCAA tournament run. Somebody had told me a statistic: Only three players as freshmen have ever led their teams to the Final Four and been the leading scorer of the team. He would’ve been the third one, behind me and Magic. So I was encouraging him.
I’m friends with Ced the Entertainer, who played the DJ in the video. It’s a club scene. I was like, I’m gonna lay low and enjoy the party. If you’re in a video, you know where you can stand to be seen. So I really was not standing probably where I should be to be seen. But I know where I am in that video. That’s me.
Video: Fabolous feat. Diddy & Jagged Edge “Trade It All, Pt. 2” (2002)
Cameo moment: 1:32
Jalen says: I had just got traded to the Chicago Bulls. They were shooting that movie in Chicago. I’m friends with Ced and Ice Cube, as I’ve mentioned. So it definitely made sense to have me in it once I got traded to the Bulls.
The thing I remember about that video was that it was really the first to use the platform of music and hip-hop to promote a liquor. And it was Hpnotiq. I’m about to give you some real game. Diddy’s righthand man to this day, his name is Nick Storm. Nick was the person who basically was one of the people to introduce Hpnotiq to the masses. Now he’s Diddy’s righthand person helping introduce Ciroc to the masses. And now you see how they’re doing the flavors with the Ciroc? That’s how Hpnotiq first started.
Video: Scarface, “My Block” (2002)
Cameo moment: 3:30 (blink and you miss it!)
Jalen says: I give big credit to my people in Philly at Mitchell & Ness. In the early ’90s, people weren’t rocking jerseys like that. If an artist was a Michigan fan and had a video, he’d have a Michigan hat or a Michigan shirt. The jerseys weren’t ready-made like that. I give Mitchell & Ness a lot of credit for bringing them to the masses. In the Face video, I was rocking a Pete Rose.
Face is a legend and a lot of people may or may not know this, but the Geto Boys’ "We Can’t Be Stopped" album was the theme album for the Fab Five. And “Gota Let Your Nuts Hang” was our theme record. When we brought it in, we used to say, “1, 2, 3, nut check!” That was our record. And Jimmy King and Ray Jackson are both from Texas. So I even know about Texas rappers like Gangsta N-I-P.
I met Face through hip-hop and through all of these different situations. When he was shooting the video, he asked me to come down. I was in Michigan, he flew me down and I went and kicked with Scarface in the Ward for a couple of days.
Video: Jamie Foxx feat. T-Pain, “Blame It” (2008)
Cameo moment: 3:22
Jalen says: I'm still friends with Jamie. We shot it in L.A., it was an all-day shoot. T-Pain was on the hook. A lot of actors and actresses, people from the Hollywood world that don't necessarily have anything to do with music are in the video. I was kind of popping my collar, rubbing my chin, something like that.
The great thing about these videos is, these are all personal relationships and personal phone calls. It’s not like I was that video vixen that started getting $200 and before you know it I was getting $2,000. These are all friends to this day.