Listing the 19 Hip-Hop Songs That Describe Each MLS Team
Hip-hop has managed to incorporate itself into different facets of our daily lives. Now, it's Major League Soccer's turn.
This article will feature 19 hip-hop classics that have been specifically matched with an MLS team. Current form, recent history and individual talents have been considered for each selection.
The list will allow those currently without a favorite MLS franchise to quickly identify their newest craze. For those already bleeding their team’s colors, you will officially have your anthem for matchday.
So, grab your Lasonic TRC-931 ghetto blaster as we compile the greatest mixtape in MLS history.
Note: Due to the explicit nature of some of the selected songs, not all videos have been featured. Hyperlinks have been added in order to identify the selection. All teams have been listed in alphabetical order.
Chicago Fire: 'On Fire' by Lloyd Banks
It’s in the team name, so how difficult can this choice be?
Much like Lloyd Banks in 2004, the Chicago Fire have been “on fire” since their inception.
The club was founded in the early days of MLS’ existence (1997). Sixteen successful years later, Chicago boasts an MLS Cup (1998), Supporters’ Shield (2003) and four U.S. Open Cup trophies (1998, 2000, 2003, 2006).
Now, they have the anthem to match.
Lloyd Banks provides it with this successful 2004 release.
Chivas USA: 'Killing Me Softly' by the Fugees
The Fugees were “killed softly” by a song in 1996. Chivas USA are being “killed softly” by their owner Jorge Vergara in 2013.
It’s only Week 14.
Ongoing rumors about a potential takeover prompted a response from MLS headquarters last month.
The team isn’t going anywhere yet. But given their recent form and attendance records, the next move might be to the morgue.
Colorado Rapids: 'Y.N.R.E.' by A$AP Twelvy
The acronym for A$AP Twelvy’s "Y.N.R.E." is simple: Young. (Expletive). Run. Everything.
Youth has been served at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Colorado Rapids are currently holding the final playoff spot in the Western Conference thanks to the contributions of Clint Irwin, Dillon Powers, and Deshorn Brown.
The trio’s success has led many to dub this 2013 version the “Colorado Rapkids.”
Congratulations, Rapkids. It looks like you finally have your hip-hop anthem.
Columbus Crew: 'Grindin' by the Clipse
No team relies on the image of grit, hard work and determination more than the Columbus Crew. It’s in the team’s crest for crying out loud.
In the hip-hop culture, we summarize all those attributes with one word: "Grind."
And no one was grinding harder than hip-hop duo the Clipse in 2002.
The Virginia Beach natives spit enough fire in "Grindin" to light up the scoreboard at Columbus Crew Stadium...again.
DC United: 'Things Done Changed' by the Notorious B.I.G.
The Notorious B.I.G.—the greatest rapper of all time—summarized DC United’s 2013 campaign with three words in 1994: “Things done changed.”
One of MLS’ most esteemed franchises has fallen on hard times. Long gone are the days of four MLS Cup trophies.
A nightmarish 1-10-2 start has altered the perception of this once-proud franchise.
Like the 42-year-old still wearing his high school varsity jacket, it’s time to let go of the past and deal with the reality of today.
Sorry. But "things done changed," DC.
FC Dallas: 'Hometown Hero' by Big K.R.I.T.
FC Dallas currently sits atop the Supporters’ Shield standings with 28 points. You can thank a league-best 7-0-1 home record for that surprising start.
Just for some perspective, Dallas is a pedestrian 1-2-3 away from the friendly confines of FC Dallas Stadium. But inside the borders of Frisco, Texas, the Hoops have been unbeatable this season.
They truly are “hometown heroes.”
Houston Dynamo: 'Respect My Conglomerate' by Busta Rhymes
If there is any team that is justified in demanding respect, it’s the Houston Dynamo.
The team has appeared in consecutive MLS Cup finals, yet they receive minimal media coverage. Especially when you compare it to the amount of coverage the Galaxy or New York Red Bulls receive.
In hip-hop, we don’t ask for respect. We demand it.
So, make sure Busta Rhymes' “Respect My Conglomerate” is blasting through your speakers the next time you feel slighted, Dynamo fans.
Los Angeles Galaxy: 'Money, Power, Respect' by the Lox
Speaking of respect, the Lox informed us that money, power and respect are “the keys to life” in 1998. The Galaxy boast all three in spades.
The AEG ownership group has the money to field the second-highest payroll in MLS. Head coach Bruce Arena has the power to not even show up to a U.S. Open Cup match, and the franchise has won four MLS Cup trophies.
That’s more than enough hardware to earn the respect of the other 18 MLS franchises.
Montreal Impact: 'Bet They See Me Now' by Kwame Darko
Before the season started, no one outside of Montreal pegged the Impact as one of MLS’ contending squads. The team failed to make the playoffs in 2012.
Eight wins, 26 points and a Canadian Championship later, the Impact sit atop the Eastern Conference.
No one saw it coming. But a scorching start has every Montrealer saying, “I bet they see us now.”
You’ll have to look no further than Kwame Darko’s latest release to soundtrack that sentiment.
New England Revolution: 'Swagger Like Us' by T.I.
In 2008, no one on the corner had “swagger” like rappers, Jay-Z, Kanye West, T.I. and Lil Wayne.
In 2013, no one on the pitch has swagger like the New England Revolution.
The club boasts exuberant talent at almost every position. Juan Agudelo (20), Diego Fagundez (18), Andrew Farrell (21) and Kelyn Rowe (21) highlight a young roster currently competing for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
But have you seen the hair on these kids?
Now. That’s. Swag.
New York Red Bulls: 'Mo' Money, Mo' Problems' by the Notorious B.I.G.
The Notorious B.I.G. said it best in 1997: “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems.”
No team in MLS embodies that philosophical wisdom better than the Red Bulls.
They boast the highest payroll in MLS. But the team has procured more problems than hardware in 18 years of existence.
Look no further than the walking debacle that was Rafa Marquez if you need proof.
Until New York delivers its first title to a miserably-faithful fanbase, this anthem will be blasting through the speakers on matchday.
Philadelphia Union: 'You're Da Man' by Nas
This selection is an ode to one man and one man alone: Jack McInerney.
The young forward currently leads the MLS Golden Boot race with 10 goals. Even better, five of them have been of the game-winning variety.
As a result, the Philadelphia Union currently hold the final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
This instant classic from Queens legend Nas is for you Jack Mac. You truly are “da man.”
Portland Timbers: 'Slam' by Onyx
Few hip-hop songs can match the intensity of the Timbers Army.
Thankfully, Onyx released “Slam” in 1993. The anthem is fitting for MLS' most fervent crowd.
But that’s the Timbers Army for you, so “let the boys be boys.”
Real Salt Lake: 'Can't Nobody Hold Me Down' by Puff Daddy and Mase
It was a busy offseason for Real Salt Lake. Swift moves saw the team jettison midfielder Will Johnson, defender Jamison Olave and forward Fabian Espindola.
But even with all that shuffling, the Claret and Cobalt still sit near the top of the Western Conference.
You can try, but you simply cannot “hold them down.” They’ve “got to keep on moving” toward another MLS playoff appearance.
San Jose Earthquakes: 'Till I Collapse' by Eminem
It’s called “goonie time.”
The San Jose Earthquakes have made a habit of dramatic finishes in recent years. That trend has continued in 2013. The Quakes are amongst the league leaders with 7 goals in the final 15 minutes of games.
They refuse to quit, and they’ll “collapse” before they do.
Seattle Sounders: 'Gang Green Season' by Lloyd Banks
It’s called the “Emerald City” for a reason.
The color green dominates the city of Seattle, so it’s not just the beginning of another MLS season for Seattleites come March.
It’s “Gang Green Season.”
After a sluggish start, the Seattle Sounders have bounced back. Rave Green sits just two points back of the Colorado Rapids for the final playoff spot with two games in hand. Their chase for the first MLS Cup trophy in franchise history—as Lloyd Banks said in his 2006 release—“starts now.”
Sporting Kansas City: 'Work Hard, Play Hard' by Wiz Khalifa
The franchise was once called the Kansas City Wiz, so it’s only right that Wiz Khalifa is the artist responsible for Sporting Kansas City’s selection.
And if there’s two things Kansas City loves to do, it’s “work hard" and "play hard.”
The team has successfully clinched a playoff spot in each of the last two seasons. But that hasn’t stopped them from enjoying some off-the-field antics.
Be sure “Work Hard, Play Hard” is on your playlist the next time you’re on your way to Chipotle for some free food courtesy of Kei Kamara.
Toronto FC: 'Ugly' by Bubba Sparxxx
No one concedes late goals like Toronto FC.
Opposing teams have scored nine goals in the final 15 minutes of games against the Reds.
That’s enough to lead the league. It’s also responsible for the team’s abominable 1-7-5 start.
It's not going to "get ugly in here," Bubba Sparxxx. It already is.
Vancouver Whitecaps: 'Pain' by Tupac
The 33-year-old veteran had aspirations of building on last year’s all-star performance. But it took all of six minutes for that dream to fade.
Without their best defender, the Vancouver Whitecaps started the 2013 season with an an average record of 3-4-4. But it appears the Whitecaps are also “tired of the strain and the pain.” An impressive 2-1 victory over the Red Bulls in Week 14 moved Vancouver back into the Western Conference playoff picture.
Your MLS hip-hop mixtape is officially complete. If you are not satisfied with your team's selection, be sure to comment below with any suggestions.
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