Football and Grime: An alliance looking into the future
Can’t be naive, can we? The football and music industries are monsters that almost literally rule the world: the numbers they reach and their media presence is pair to none, as football players start looking more like rockstars and rockstars themselves (or popstars, or DJ stars, maybe) are frequently seen rubbing their shoulders with the ball lads at parties. We watch red carpets unfold for both categories and it’s not baffling to see romance pop between the two kinds.
Union between the worlds of football and music has brought us rather praiseworthy concerts at the openings and endings of important events (World Cup, Champions’ League) and more recently, there’s a tendency to announce player acquisitions from a certain team paired with the music of chart climbing artists. England’s Manchester United featured Stormzy, one of Grime’s farthest reaching artists, on the announcement of Paul Pogba’s arrival to the team.
Grime music had its inception around the beginning of the 2000’s, on London’s East End with a very under tinge to it. It represented the assimilation of a prominently American hip-hop culture mixed with the distinct electronic music sounds of the UK and the rest of Europe, whilst being a beacon for the less privileged, communicating their hardships among what would otherwise appear a rather uneventful first world country.
It’s been a long path for the guys and gals on the Grime scene, which find common grounds in their voyages from small towns looking for better opportunities and the promise of fulfilling their artistic aspirations. This is where the current relations among the music and football industries has favoured the growth of this new talent.
Recently, Tottenham’s Hotspur Club decided to take part in this ideal coupling of football and music by signing a deal with MC AJ Tracey to announce their new line-up for the current season.
The track “False 9” – which alludes to a center-forward field position/role – was the one chosen for the feature, as the lyrics represent a homage and remembrance of the game’s notable moments and players: “I used to hold up the line like Puyol / Bet you thought I was gonna say Dier” or “ Been a legend and I still am, like Figo / I’m a midfield maestro like Eri/ Bet you thought I was gonna say Modrić”.
And it doesn’t end there. Tracey stands as the most representative player in this kind of alliance, with tracks like Champions League, throwing accounts of David Beckham’s and Alan Shearer’s exploits, and what might be his greatest hit, Thiago Silva, walking around the streets of Paris wearing the PSG’s kit.
Among the factors contributing to the development of this union between worlds – besides the grandeur and engagement that both rappers and sportsmen naturally evoke – we might point out that much is due to the fact that Grime has become a legitimized and very popular genre, and that is, on a great measure, the result of Skepta’s collaborations with the A$AP Mob and Kanye’s famous presentation on 2015’s Brit Awards, when he shared the stage with the MCs Jammer, Shorty, Krept, Novelist, Konan, Stormzy and Fekky.
The Premier League is eyeing Grime artists and producers as their future allies, a future where the line between rockstars and football players grows thinner and thinner, save for the mere formalities of each vocation. 2018 has the world cup on hold, waiting for us, promising us a great spectacle and the next evolution of the alliance of music and sports.