By Phil Bausk

It’s 15 minutes until game time. You are sitting in a gym, waiting for your recreational league basketball game to start after you had a long day at the office. As you watch the previous game finish up, you need something to get your blood pumping. A day of work and a 25 minute subway ride isn’t going to get you jacked up to make  some type of noodles for dinner, much less a competitive basketball game.

This is where music and sports go together like lamb and tuna fish. Some songs get you to nod your head and give you that swagger that gets you ready for any sort of sporting event. You aren’t going to listen to Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” to get ready for a baseball game (Unless you’re Alex Rodriguez). You need something that makes you grind your teeth, pound your chest, and pump your fist.

Not to sound racist, but in my opinion, a lot of these songs come from the urban culture, as there is a lot of angst in its music. There is a need to boast about one’s self over and over,  in order to reaffirm the fact that black culture is here to stay, even if some people just don’t want to accept it. Rappers have become mainstream over the last 20 years, and groups have been formed over those years to try and prevent rap music from being listened to by our nations youth, especially by white people.

These factors have led to the type of music we here today on urban radio stations. While some of it is brash, offensive, and degrading, there is a lot of quality rap music that attempts to get across a message that can be defended by its supporters. Artists such as Drake, T.I., Kanye West, and others have songs that are both inspiring and revolting in terms of lyrical content, though I feel they do it to try and connect with a demographic of their audience that has an affinity for the “not-so-finer” things in life and while I understand why many would oppose this type of music, I don’t think in any way should they be censored as it wouldn’t be very American to do so.

But these men have given us some of the greatest motivational music of our generation. The sports world should be very appreciate of artists like this, as it gave the NBA that confident poise that is has had ever since rap became more mainstream. Rap music and basketball are synonymous with one each other. Drake puts it best in his song “Thank Me Now” by saying, “damn, I swear sports and music are so synonymous ’cause we wanna be them and they wanna be us.” That sums is up as athletes have attempted (and failed) to become rappers, and rappers have attempted (and failed) to become athletes.

So what are some of these anthems that get us strutting around the streets and hopping up and down in the locker room? I think it’s easiest to start with the anthem of one of this year’s Super Bowl teams…

Wiz Khalifa- Black and Yellow

I hate the Steelers, I hate the city of Pittsburgh, and I am skeptical of anyone with the first name Wiz, but I am giving this man credit for the Pittsburgh anthem he made this year. It has a quick pace, a good beat, and you can really nod your head quickly to get yourself amped up for a game. The song’s popularity has even sprung a remixed version with Snoop Dogg and T-Pain, so you know it has some credibility. All I know is that the somewhere in the city of of Pittsburgh, someone will be blasting this song just minutes before kickoff.

T.I. Ft. Rick Ross- Pledge Allegiance To The Swag

This is a song that I have been listening to for the past few months, and no matter what I am doing, whether it be walking from the subway to work, eating some McDonald’s french fries, or lifting weights at the gym, it always manages to get me swaggeriffic (Rappers, you are welcome to use that word).

I have to say, if it wasn’t already painfully obvious, I love this term “swagger.” It has only come about within the last few years, but it has already changed the way broadcasters, rappers, and and athletes talk. Some may thing that it is just another word for confidence, but I don’t see it that way. I see the difference between swagger and confidence very similar to the difference between Coke Zero and Pepsi Max. Coke Zero is confidence, it tastes good, has zero calories, and will get you where you want to be. However, was it picked number 1 overall in the Soda Draft??? I think not. Pepsi Max has a better taste, gets you to where you want to go and then some, and runs a better 40 time than Yamon Figurs.

Drake Ft. Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy- I’m Goin’ In

When William Shakespeare first sat down with his quill and small canister of ink, and wrote the words to his first sonnets, I am sure he knew he was spawning such works such as the lyrical adventure that is “I’m Goin’ In.” This song starts with a futuristic sound that will get you out of your seat, and then Wayne, Drake, and Jeezy spit lyrics that you didn’t think were possible to be said by a human being. Lines such as, “Making hoes wobble like a bridge in an earthquake,” and, “It’s Weezy F. Baby come to take a shit and urine,” blow your mind as you hear them, but you just don’t care because at this point, you are already swaying from side to side, getting ready for whatever you have to do next in life.

50 Cent- If I Can’t

Perhaps one of the first songs that had swagger embedded in his beat and in its lyrics. This was on 50 Cent’s first, and best, album, “Get Rich or Die Tryin.” If 50 just made this album and retired, he wouldn’t have made so much money but maybe he wouldn’t have become a joke in the rap world.  This song has the beat of how someone should walk when they are strutting with confidence and is basically telling the world, if I can’t do it, then face it, you don’t have a shot at doing it either so just give up. Well, I guess that means no one shoulder bother making movies anymore right Fitty?

DJ Khaled and Company- All I Do Is Win (Remix)

The artists adding to this collaboration of swaggitude (Call me Daniel Webster) include, T-Pain, Nicky Minaj (AKA the future Mrs. Phil Bausk), Fabolous, Busta Rhymes, Fat Joe, Rick Ross, Jadakiss, and the incomparable Diddy. I mean, just look at that list and tell me you aren’t filled with swag. All of the verses are pretty solid, but that point where T-Pain yells, “And they hands go up….” That pause creates such great tension you can’t help but put your hands up, and apparently keep them there.

I know this song excluded any white people songs, so please, if you have any rock songs that you can put on here, feel free to comment and I may not consider it racist, depending on the song selection.

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