As the year comes to a close, the time has come to take a look at 2019’s best — from boots to kits to freestyle videos. Back for another installment, the Urban Pitch Year In Review continues with the best football-adjacent music of 2019.
Well another year has passed with some great music! We didn’t get all we hoped for out of 2019, but we still got some gems.
The soundtrack of the football world was sprinkled with a little bit of everything from household rap names to the continued growth of the UK grime scene. The relationship between the beautiful game and the music world grows closer and closer each day as MLS teams enlist local talent to create anthems, international stars make FIFA references in global television shows, and we continue to receive flat out good motivational music. Here are 10 songs that held 2019 down:
10. Dave – “Professor X”
London grime rapper Dave has built a case for himself as next up. The 21-year-old is not only a skillful rapper, but also but a deft producer. One of his creations, besides his incredible Psychodrama album this year, was “Professor X.” The song was chosen by everyone’s favorite (or not) cultural curator Drake to be part of the soundtrack for the revival of the popular drama Top Boy for Netflix. On the track, Dave throws in a shoutout to the FIFA video game and the ubiquitous red and blue of Barcelona.
9. Jez Dior – “Don’t You Worry”
Jez Dior made a return to the spotlight this year with the release of his Handle With Care album. It’s a very personal project where he openly discusses his struggles as a starving artist, financial difficulties, and feelings of loneliness. “Don’t You Worry” is a soulful track that exemplifies the themes while pointing to the silver lining and a message of encouragement. It may not directly contain any footy references, but Dior is a big Inter Milan supporter who’s been rocking kits on stage before it was a popular trend.
8. GoldLink – “Zulu Screams”
Another football fanatic, GoldLink released Diaspora LP in June, which made our best albums from the first half of 2019 list. “Zulu Screams” is a nice bouncy track that gets the blood pumping. Maleek Berry and Bibi Bourelly offer their talents to create a true celebratory feeling.
7. Stormzy – “Wiley Flow”
London’s finest Stormzy may have only just dropped his Heavy is the Head album, but the single “Wiley Flow” created plenty of hype for the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Gang Signs & Prayers. The song is flex after flex after flex all with a fierce flow that only Stormzy can deliver. Now if only his Man United could match his energy on the pitch…
6. Cousin Feo x Lord Juco – “Legions in Rome”
Cousin Feo and Lord Juco have something really special going with their monthly Death at the Derby series covering different rivalries throughout the football world. In September, they dropped “Legions in Rome,” perhaps their fiercest track of the year. The duo released their final track of the series, “Murda in Milan” yesterday, and they have confirmed that we’ll be getting a vinyl of all 12 tracks by the end of the year. We can finally appreciate greatness in its physical form.
Both artists had a busy 2019, releasing solo projects of their own in addition to the Derby series. We could’ve easily sprinkled this entire list with tracks from Juco’s White Walls or Feo’s Provoleta and Choripan, but for the sake of diversification, “Legions in Rome” represents both of their stellar years.
5. Dreamville – “Costa Rica”
Well, we finally got Revenge of the Dreamers III that we were anticipating throughout the year. One of the standout cuts was definitely “Costa Rica,” a posse cut with Dreamville’s Bas and JID, rising star Guapdad 4000, lyrical titan Mez (he had that infamous Arthur’s fist line as well as the Future/Larsa Pippen wordplay), Compton’s creative force Buddy, AND MORE. Several of the artists featured on the project have ties to the beautiful game, including Dreamville boss J. Cole.
4. Vince Staples – “So What”
Unfortunately, we didn’t get a full Vince Staples project in 2019, but we were gifted with two episodes of “The Vince Staples Show,” a series where the Long Beach star released short films to debut new songs. “Sheet Music” was solid, but it’s a smoother vibe whereas “So What” is more of a hype track worthy of a football playlist. Here’s to hoping for more Vince in 2020.
3. Little Simz – “Venom”
Little Simz is killing the game. Besides having a small acting role in Top Boy, she wowed with her GREY Area album, released in the spring. “Venom” is a fierce, no-nonsense cut asserting her staying power as a woman in the rap game. The song is also featured on the Top Boy soundtrack because it’s just so fire.
2. Skepta – “No Sleep”
We promise this isn’t a sponsored post for COLORS. They just happen to have really dope videos for really dope songs. And a big love for the beautiful game. Skepta further established himself as an international superstar with his Ignorance Is Bliss album this year, including standout track “No Sleep.” The clanky beat is the perfect backdrop for Big Smoke’s fiery bars about the reality of the hustle, and why the hard work is worth it.
1. ScHoolboy Q – “Floating”
ScHoolboy Q migHt’ve grown up playing American football, but He’s a big fan of soccer, especially wHen His daugHter is playing. Q led tHe TDE camp tHis year with CrasH Talk, which contains a multitude of bangers. Out of tHem all tHough, “Floating,” tHe album’s tHird single, is especially Heavy-Hitting. WitH a brooding beat from Cardo and JoHnny Juliano, Groovy Q gets gritty, letting listeners know tHis is not a song for Kidz Bop before 21 Savage comes in and, well, goes savage. Definitely wortHy of topping tHe best football-adjacent music of 2019.