Star Crossed Lovers
Throughout history, there have been instances where two things fit so perfectly together, you rarely ever hear mention of one without the other. Instantly, we think of iconic duos, such as bun and cheese, rice and peas, and milk and cookies.
Yes, all my examples are of food, but my love for food aside, the point is there are things that naturally fit together, as if they are each other’s missing puzzle pieces.
Music and sports have shared a long and storied history, complementing each other in a way that lingers continuously. Both are forms of expression that offer an escape and allow persons to enter a place where they are free from the stresses of their day to day lives, even for a little while.
If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that entertainment and recreation are critical, because of their positive influence on mental health. In addition, this connection is easily made, when we consider the huge role music plays in getting athletes in the ‘zone’ before they go out and perform.
We often see athletes in warm-ups and during pre-game activities with headphones on, trying to create the conditions necessary for optimal performance. NBA arenas typically have musical accompaniment during the games, as it adds to the atmosphere, pageantry and suspense of the activities.
Furthermore, many Basketball players have forayed into the music industry, with the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Damian Lillard, as some of the most notable NBA superstars that have released music.
Sports has also been the inspiration behind many musical hits and timeless ‘quotables’, that hold relevance to this day. Drake is notoriously synonymous with witty sports references, that have become a key part of pop culture. The hit song “0 to 100” gave us the gem “I been Steph Curry with the shot, Been cookin’ with the sauce, Chef Curry with the pot, boy”
Hip Hop legend Lil Wayne also has a song titled “Kobe Bryant” and wunderkind Jack Harlow’s single “Tyler Herro”, named after the Miami Heat Guard off his debut album, is one of the latest examples of how sports and music intertwine.
The recently concluded Tokyo Olympics brought back memories of Usain Bolt’s ode to Dancehall music when he celebrated his wins at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, with popular dances such as his Nuh linga, Sweep, and Gully Creepa.
In similar fashion to Bolt’s playfulness, the Jamaica Women’s 4x100m relay team, while being introduced to the crowd before the running of the final, were captured doing the Dirt Bounce, a dance popularized by the track of the same name by Dancehall Artiste Laa Lee.
Dancer- turned- Deejay Ding Dong said in an article published in The Jamaica Observer that, “What Usain Bolt had done when he won his first 100 metres when him Nuh Linga and Sweep…when Bolt did that, it shed a different light on dancers in Jamaica. That brought the attention to us, that people started to wonder what that person (Bolt) was doing. He just won a 100 metre and this was his celebration. So, you know people fly down after the Olympics to find out wah gwaan”.
Bolt, wanting to find another niche after retiring from an illustrious athletics career, has chosen to try his hand at music. Bolt has executive producer credits on a number of musical compositions, one of which is his Olympe Rosé riddim, which featured many heavy hitting Reggae and Dancehall acts such as Ding Dong, Chris Martin, Munga Honourable and Dexta daps. More recently, Bolt has been promoting his new track “It’s a Party”, with long time friend and manager, Nugent ‘NJ’ Walker.
The relationship between music and sport is one that is symbiotic by nature, due to sports’ heavy influence on popular culture and music being an art form that reflects culture. Its dynamics continue to fill the pages of history, and the love affair produces moments that bring people together in celebration.