Reminiscing on what has been an incredibly eventful year in football, we have compiled a list of the year’s best — from boots, to kits, to freestyle videos. We conclude the Urban Pitch Year in Review by looking back at some of the best football-inspired songs from 2018.
Whether it’s footballers getting into the rap game or vice versa, we’ve extensively covered the close relationship between hip-hop and the beautiful game. From pure creative freedom to an escape from daily life, football and music are supported by similar core pillars — ones that allow you to express yourself in whichever way you choose.
With this in mind, it’s not a surprise that a football influence was present in quite a few songs from 2018 — whether in lyrics, music videos, or from the actual artists themselves. On the final day of the year, let’s take a look back at some of our favorites.
10. Action Bronson – “Ring Ring”
One of hip-hop’s busiest figures, New York City rapper/chef/TV host Action Bronson’s fifth studio album, White Bronco, received a warm reception upon its release in November. On “Ring Ring,” the quasi-renaissance man raps, “If you need me, I’m at the bottom of Lake Titicaca, watching Euro Cup soccer, Portugal won it was a shocker,” referring to the Ronaldo-led Portugal’s upset victory at the 2016 Euro Cup tournament.
Bronsoliño is a known football head, having performed at adidas’ Tango League in his home borough of Queens earlier this year. Gourmet chef, certified rhyme spitter, and football fan? What’s not to like about Bam Bam?
9. Stix – “My Home”
After falling in love with the club’s fans and culture, Watts native Stix knew he had to contribute to LAFC in some way. From sampling chants from the 3252 to shouting out club Executive Vice President Rich Orosco, “My Home” was just that, an upbeat anthem that fully captured the supporters’ passion and energy displayed at every match. Could we see more from the Stix-LAFC partnership? What up Rich?
8. Memphis Depay – “No Love”
Coming in just before the new year, Memphis Depay’s “No Love” sees the Lyon forward flex his bilingual muscles, spitting in Dutch and English over a hypnotic trap beat. Shouting out his haters as well as discussing his abusive childhood, the song provides an introspective look at the dichotomy between his lavish life as a pro athlete and rough upbringing.
A member of our hypothetical footballer rap supergroup, we can only look forward to Memphis’ continued success both on the pitch and in the booth.
7. TheColorGrey – “New Levels”
Hooking up with PUMA, Belgian artist TheColorGrey cooked up “New Levels,” a smooth track that shouts out his fellow countryman and PUMA athlete Romelu Lukaku. The two faced similar hardships growing up in Antwerp, and TheColorGrey played professionally as well, making for a natural synergy between the pair. Lukaku has tried his hand at rapping himself, although he’s got a bit of work to do if he wants to get a record deal.
6. Nines – “I See You Shining”
Perhaps the most radio-friendly track off of his 2018 LP Crop Circles, “I See You Shining” is Nines at his most braggadocious, rapping about his luxury lifestyle since he’s made it as one of the UK’s biggest grime stars. While the song itself doesn’t contain any references to football, Nines has had plenty in the past, and he isn’t too big to turn his nose up on an occasional pickup game in the streets.
5. MHD – “Bella”
The self-proclaimed king of afro trap, MHD’s summer hit “Bella” shows off the French phenom’s softer side, crooning after the song’s titular woman that stole his heart. Though we don’t get any nods to the game in the song or video itself, MHD is a documented fan and player, and he’s got the skills to back it up. He got a chance to train with Cameroon’s national team last year, bringing his trademark charisma and dance moves to liven up the session.
4. Warm Brew – “The Roots”
Earlier this year we caught up with Serk, member of LA rap trio Warm Brew, to discuss how the beautiful game gave him a unique approach to music. We can see that team-first approach in action in “The Roots,” the final track off of Warm Brew’s 2018 LP New Content. Serk closes the song out in style, but the entire track as a whole is beautiful — from the boom-bap production to the vivid lyrics.
3. Bas featuring J. Cole – “Tribe”
With a Brazilian bossa nova sample that oozes good vibes, Bas’ “Tribe” is a perfect song to ball out to. But simply being a solid soundtrack to a pickup game isn’t enough to make our list. Enter J. Cole. For the music video, Fayetteville’s very own dons a PSG away kit from the 2017-18 season, a perfect complement to the video’s tropical backdrop.
2. Feefa – “Bum Bum Tam Tam Freestyle”
Back in January, LA’s very own Feefa dropped the epic video to his version of MC Fioti’s hit “Bum Bum Tam Tam,” featuring ground move phenom Ice Cold and Urban Pitch pro freestylers Caitlyn Schrepfer and Lizzy Calderon. Besides the dope visuals, Feefa does his thing on the mic, spitting his trademark bilingual lyrics over the sharp Latin-infused instrumental.
Feefa had a solid 2018, dropping his debut LP Estilo de Vida, one of our favorite albums of the year. We’ll definitely keep an eye out for what he’s got in store for 2019.
1. J.I.D – “Working Out”
Prior to dropping one of the year’s best projects in DiCaprio 2, Atlanta rapper J.I.D teamed up with adidas and COLORS Studios to debut “Working Out,” which would later be featured on the album. A stark contrast to his usual banging, fast-paced tracks, J.I.D proves his versatility while effortlessly rhyming over a laid back, jazzy beat in a Real Madrid kit.
What was your favorite football-influenced song of 2018? Let us know in the comments!