When former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow picked up the phone Thursday night as the Cincinnati Bengals called to officially select him with the top overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, he sported a white gold chain with his No. 9 hanging at the bottom. It was a gift from one Bayou icon to another -- rapper Boosie Badazz.
“It was just a special season,” Boosie told ESPN of LSU’s 2019 championship season. “I just felt like I had to bless him with something, so I blessed him with a chain.”
Boosie grew up within earshot of Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. When he was a child, he said he used to listen to the sounds of game day from the steps of his housing project on Roosevelt Street.
Throughout the season, Boosie and Burrow struck up a relationship and talked occasionally as the Tigers were in the midst of an undefeated run. Boosie was watching Burrow lead LSU to a national championship when the rapper had the urge to give Burrow a token of gratitude for the historic 2019 run, one the rapper called his “triumph year.”
“I’ve been getting down by Alabama so much, and they [the fans] have been shredding me so much on social media,” Boosie said. “So this was my stand-up year to punch everybody in the face.”
He asked for a phone to call notable Houston jeweler Kashif Ghafoor, better known as "Iceman Nick," who has designed pieces for stars such as LeBron James and boxing champion Errol Spence Jr. He said other first-round picks such as Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb and Isaiah Simmons were recent clients.
Nick was also watching LSU win the title when Boosie called in January. Within the next 10 days, Nick got Burrow’s number from Boosie and worked with Burrow on what kind of chain he wanted.
“You know, he’s a simple guy,” Nick told ESPN. “He’s not too flashy.”
They settled on a 14-carat rope chain with the 1-inch pendant at the bottom that was also 14-carat white gold. The “9” was covered with approximately 6.5 carats of VS1 diamonds, Nick said.
The jeweler and quarterback tried to link up at the beginning of the offseason and finally made it happen in Miami around the Super Bowl festivities in January. Nick said he showed him other pieces, but Burrow was still two months away from becoming a multi-millionaire.
Burrow’s chain is more or less a testament to the connection he developed to the state of Louisiana during his two-year tenure at LSU.
For his final home game, the nameplate on the back of his jersey read “Burreaux” as a tribute to the area’s Cajun culture. LSU football’s social media team used Boosie’s “Set It Off” for Burrow’s hype video leading up to the Heisman Trophy ceremony. Shaw Givens, Boosie’s manager, said the artist was more than happy to provide the clearance for the video that has been viewed 3.8 million times.
He Has Set College Football Off— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) December 9, 2019
A Name You Will Never Forget pic.twitter.com/PN7cif69v2
Givens said Burrow sent a couple of LSU jerseys to Boosie, who believes Burrow will succeed with the Bengals.
“He has no fear,” Boosie said. “When you call him before the game, he’s not afraid. It’s just like he’s going to class, man. He’s regular. He’s built for these situations. That’s why I know he’s going to be a big quarterback in the NFL. He’s good under pressure.”
Boosie gained a new audience, too. Givens said some of the older songs in Boosie’s catalog spiked in listenership by 300% (“Set It Off” came out in 2006). Boosie’s Instagram followers also jumped by two million, Givens said.
But those were just byproducts of Boosie’s joy after Burrow led his beloved Tigers to the pinnacle of college football.
“There will never be another Joe Burrow to come through LSU, I don’t think, as long as I’m living,” Boosie said.