Beginning in 2006, Philippe Gnannt has unfolded a lengthy and successful career in freestyle as one of the sport’s more tenured athletes. While he has competed in major events like Super Ball, Gnannt has also traveled the world as a judge as well as performed for major brands like Audi, Google, and Coca-Cola.
Originally born in Rwanda, Gnannt now lives in Germany, where he placed second in the 2014 National Championships, and only looks to improve. Gnannt also uses his position as a globally-recognized freestyler to give back to younger generations, which he takes very seriously.
“The most important things for me are that I consistently improve and am able to inspire others,” Gnannt said. “I think sports are the best way to teach kids discipline and get them on the right path. I’m blessed to be able to do that.”
Gnannt’s playlist is riddled with hip-hop giants, including Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, and Future. It’s pretty obvious to see the influence hip-hop has on Gnannt, who is known to “hit them folks” or “dab” after landing a particularly saucy combo (peep around the one-minute mark in the above video).
However, Gnannt will often change up his playlist to some more unfamiliar songs, as he can’t help but sing and dance along to the tracks he knows and loves.
“I have to watch out that I don’t always play my favorite songs,” Gnannt says. “It’s hard to practice and rap and dance at the same time. It’s all about finding that balance in music that pushes you but doesn’t distract you.”