Bleacher Report Serves Up a Riotous Remake of Blackalicious’ ‘Alphabet Aerobics’

Talk about devastating the defense

"A" is for advertising. "V" is for … viral video?

Blackalicious' frenetic 1999 tongue-twister "Alphabet Aerobics" gets a sporty update in this animated music video from Bleacher Report.

The two-minute clip, "Sports Alphabet," was created by ad agency barrettSF and production house Gentleman Scholar. Debuting today online, and during tonight's NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat on TNT, the work marks the Turner Sports site's first major push into brand advertising. 

As in the iconic original, Gift of Gab's rapping gains intensity and speed as he burns through lyrics tied to letters of the alphabet. The original's dizzying cascade of cultural references and nonsense rhymes, however, have been replaced by sports-themed lyrics, with fabulously fun, vivacious visuals driving the message home. 

For example, the first verse, "Alley-alley-alley-alley-oop on amateurs/Air above all and any actors that's average," features alley cats playing basketball. The second, "Big barbarian basically beasting/Biters get blown up being brave, beatings," shows a helmeted behemoth mercilessly trampling his gridiron opponents, even tossing one into orbit. (We can safely assume the NFL approved neither the sentiment nor the imagery.)

"The Bleacher Report brand is getting bigger and louder, so we needed a spot that was big and loud," Bennett Spector, the site's creative marketing adviser, tells AdFreak. "Hopefully the spot feels authentic to the new wave of sports consumption." 

Indeed, the pop-culture tie-in and nod to '90s/'00s nostalgia feels like a winning play.

"As the social voice of sports, our focus is on content that triggers social action," Spector says. "We knew from Daniel Radcliffe's viral performance of 'Alphabet Aerobics' on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that this spot would have the potential to explode."

Fallon's clip from a year ago garnered more than 50 million views on YouTube alone. Can Bleacher Report's brand-slam remix hope to scale such heights? 

"We want the viewer to be genuinely entertained," Spector says. "People should want to watch this commercial over and over, not fast-forward. If the viewer walks away wanting more, then we've done our job." 

Credits—and lyrics!—below. 

LYRICS: "Sports Alphabet"


Now it's time for our wrap up.

Let's give it everything we've got.

Ready? Begin.


Alley-alley-alley-alley-oop on amateurs

Air above all and any actors that's average

Big barbarian basically beasting

Biters get blown up being brave, beatings

Casually, I chef cash cheddar, fools get

casualties and caught off guard with chin music

Dirty when I drop dimes damaging the dang earth

Devastate the defense detonate danger

Entertainer entertaining everyone and every mass

Enemies is envious ain't even peep the elbow pass

Fire en fuego flick of the wrist foes in

Fear of the fury left flattened and frozen

Gloves off for the glass jaw by the goons

G.O.A.T of all G.O.A.T.S gone giddy gettin' through

Human joystick, heating up, heat check BLAM

Hit 'em hard, hella hyped, hero going H.A.M.

I'm isolated on islands it's over, it's over

Ice in your veins getting colder

Juke jock jerk to those who aren't worthy

Jamming through my journey in a jet black jersey

King Kong of K.O.s kid kiss the ring

Knuckle up now with the knuckle buck king

Lemme live a long life leading with my laces out

Right now losers look up cause it's lights out

My moves marvelous, money shot, massive

Main event, moon-shot, MVP, master

Nails in the coffin knots in their knees, triumph

Nutmeg through their knees nothing but nylon

Opposition oft on the ropes in the octagon

One-two, punched out, lights going off and on

Pillow picked passes of prolific poetry

Power plays, pickpocketing petty phonies

Quest for the cup, it's quantum y'all, quote me

Quiet all quitters feeling qualms when we're quarreling

Raw ringside riots relish and remain

Rallying, rough rated rhymes make it rain

Swishin' on simple soft suckers spitting swag

Slice dice shimmy nothing-but-net, splash.

Turnt up, taking out timid minds. Twister.

Leave 'em turnt out, they are truck stick victims

Unstoppable ups, stay uninvolved

Unanimous, universal, year of the underdog

Vicious and vital, victories calling

Volley y'all out victorious velocity

Bob and weave well, wide receiving words woven

Moonwalk when I whip, get the world open

X-celling, X-treme, X-tra X-plosive

X-hilarating X-out competition so quick

Yolo pass rhymes, y'all young bucks fall

Yoga stretch rhymes yelling yiggy yes y'alls

Zero zero zero on the clock, game's over

zoomin to the zenith, zero out, in my zone, ZONING!!!


Ha, ha, ha, ha. Good. Can you say it faster?


Title: "Sports Alphabet"

Client: Bleacher Report

Creative Credits: Bleacher Report "Sports Alphabet"

Agency: barrettSF

Agency Location: San Francisco, CA

Executive Creative Directors: Pete Harvey & Jamie Barrett

Associate Creative Director: Brad Kayal

Senior Copywriter: Jake Reilly

Art Director: Byron Wages

Senior Producer: Nicole Van Dawark

Producer: Patrick Wilkinson

Associate Producer: Charlotte Dugoni

Managing Director: Patrick Kelly

Account Director: Molly Warner

Production Company: Gentleman Scholar

Directors: William Campbell & Will Johnson

Executive Producer: Jo Arghiris

Head of Production: Rachel Kaminek

Associate Creative Director: John-Patrick Rooney

Art Director: Jordan Lyle

CG Supervisor: Tim Hayward

Producer: Nikki Maniolas

Associate Producer: Nicole Smarsh

Design: Trevor Conrad, Chris Finn, Sarah Beth Hulver, Jordan Lyle, Macauley Johnson, John-Patrick Rooney, Calla Donofrio, Hana Eunjin Yean

2D Animation: Chris Finn, Sarah Beth Hulver, Jordan Lyle, Macauley Johnson, John-Patrick Rooney, Shawn Kim

Cel Animation: Tristan Balos, Taik Lee, Stephanie Simpson, Harry Teitelman

Character Animation: Blake Beynon, James Lane

Music: Blackalicious

Sound Design: Barking Owl

Sound Designer: Michael Anastasi

Creative Director: Kelly Bayett

Producer: KC Dossett

Audio Mix: One Union Recording

Engineer: Matt Zipkin

Executive Producer: Lauren Mask

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@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.