Published January 22nd, 2021 at 10:00 AM
In his Wednesday press conference, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill was adamant that the defending Super Bowl champs are focused on the task at hand.
With another trip to the big game on the line, Hill said there’s no way the team is looking past Sunday’s AFC title match against the Buffalo Bills.
And that very well may be the case.
The nature of preparing every week for an opposing team’s best shot should require full focus for Andy Reid’s group. Kansas City has posted a 25-3 record in its last 28 games.
While the separation of confidence and cockiness is crucial in the locker room, that distinction isn’t a factor for Atlanta rapper Cellus Hamilton.
Hamilton, a KC-born, Atlanta-raised rapper and card-carrying Chiefs fan, just dropped “Run It Back (KC Chiefs),” a two-and-a-half minute ode to his team that leans a bit to the cocky side.
The track opens with a sample of a broadcast call by CBS play-by-play commentator Jim Nantz.
“MAHOMES — NOW IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIELD — HE’S GOT HILL.”
Then, from the roar of the Arrowhead crowd — and a brief Shaquille O’Neal, hot wing-eating cameo — Hamilton is off and running like No. 10.
He starts by calling out any bandwagon Chiefs fans. (Lifelong Kansas City sports fans can be forgiven for considering this a pretty foreign concept.)
Hamilton says the opening bars were inspired by a recent walk through uptown New York. On the sidewalk, he spotted a couple of people wearing Chiefs hats.
He was initially angry.
“Now ya’ll want to come out? This is our moment of glory — you know?” Hamilton said. “But now I think that just comes with the territory. Lifelong fans have endured.”
A fan from “out of the womb,” Hamilton stayed true to his Kansas City roots, rocking a Chiefs jersey at Falcons games and standing up for his notoriously not-that-good in the postseason team.
Although he recently moved to New York, Hamilton’s track stays true to the Atlanta sound. “Run It Back” features Hamilton’s lyrics over an all-gas trap beat that is accompanied by an epic, ready-for-battle string-section sound courtesy of fellow KC-native producer Guvinchi.
Following plenty of player shoutouts and preluding a catchy, high-pitched hook, Hamilton talks his talk:
“All of these would have been, could have been, never been good enough teams, I ain’t gonna call ya’ll out. Someone tell these weak AFC teams, they better stop running they mouth.”
Hamilton let out a laugh when considering the line between confidence and cockiness in regard to his song. Putting it plainly, he admitted it’s thin.
“If you go into a game without feeling like you’re the best is it even worth playing?” Hamilton said. “It gives energy. You know what you’ve been doing and we’re doing that.”
Hamilton’s “Run It Back,” available on major streaming apps, is on-brand with the Chiefs’ 2020 moniker #RUNITBACK, which can be seen flying on flags and painted in tags across the city.
The track joins generations of Chiefs anthems, ranging in genre from polka to pop-rock.
Ahead of last year’s Super Bowl run, Flatland reached out to Chuck Haddix, the region’s premier musicologist and host of KCUR’s “Fish Fry,” who gave his thoughts on the history of the home team and its hype songs.
The songs “reflect how times have changed,” Haddix noted.
“Politically incorrect by today’s standards, ‘Chiefs Are On The Warpath’ hearkens back to the days when the Chiefs began each home game and celebrated touchdowns by having their mascot, the horse Warpaint, ridden by a Caucasian in Native American regalia complete with a war bonnet, take a turn around the field…The rapper Tech N9ne’s ‘Red Kingdom’ and rocker/gay rights activist Melissa Etheridge’s ‘Chiefs Are Going To The Super Bowl’ represent today’s diverse fan base. Like most Chiefs fans, they know that after 50 years the Chiefs going to the Super Bowl is something to sing about.”
In a 2014 essay, onetime Vibe and Billboard editor Danyel Smith penned an essay for ESPN on the bond between sports and music, specifically when it comes to hip-hop and rap.
On the business side of things, Smith wrote, “Hip-hop raises a challenge to athletes, to be real and demand their worth.” He follows that up by saying professional athletes have seen the challenge and raised it.
For Hamilton, hip-hop and rap strikes the right chord when it comes to sports on the personal level. He calls music the soundtrack for life’s moments, especially when it comes to sports.
“Growing up and being an athlete, music is a big part of getting your mind ready to do what you have to do,” Hamilton said before casually mentioning how cool it would be if Reid’s group bopped to his song before kickoff.
“They are so deeply intertwined because the music fuels the fire in you to compete.”
Kansas City-born rapper Tech N9ne is a well-known supporter of area teams. The 48-year-old chopper-style, hardcore rapper could be seen sitting behind home plate during the pair of Royals World Series runs in 2014 and 2015, during which he released “KCMO Anthem”. Tech’s hit single “Hood Go Crazy” featuring 2 Chainz and B.O.B. closely followed and went where no other Tech N9ne hit had gone before, leaping to No. 90 on the Billboard Hot 100. Unlike other recent odes to the Chiefs, Tech’s track dropped ahead of the team’s 2019 AFC Championship loss against the Patriots. This time around the Chiefs lived up to “Red Kingdom’s” chugga-chugga trap beat and Tech’s behind-the-mic hype.
Just 72 hours after the Chiefs clinched their first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years, Mac Lethal, a KC rapper and former collaborator with Tech N9ne, dropped a Chiefs track of his own, titled “Kansas City Chiefs Anthem 2020.” The video garnered more than 35,000 views in its first five hours — a viral showing not at all unfamiliar to Lethal, who made appearances on CNN and “The Ellen Show” after his ultra-quick, quirky raps gained a solid YouTube following. He finishes the nearly three-minute rap over “The Chop” with 49 seconds of breathless bars (literally).
Kansas City pop group Yes You Are takes as much pride in the Chiefs as it does in constantly redefining the genre. Like “Red Kingdom,” “Chiefs Kingdom Comin’” popped up in January of 2019 in a DIY fan music video, which features front woman Kianna Alarid grooving in front of the glowing red and yellow Kansas City Downtown Marriott Hotel. The track is certainly catchy, running up and down the Chiefs’ talented Super Bowl-bound roster, sandwiching a change-of-pace Alarid rap verse that opens, “Remember when you thought we were nothing?”
Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and gay rights activist Melissa Etheridge woke up the morning after the Chiefs clinched their first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years and called the “Dan Patrick Show” with a little diddy for her hometown titled “Chiefs are Going to the Super Bowl.” The bluesy, acoustic phone jam covers everything from California weed, to the franchise’s 50 years of woes, to the Chiefs’ choice to trade up for Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Led by aging Joe Montana and Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen, the 1993 Chiefs were the last squad without a guy named Mahomes to knock on the Super Bowl’s door. Released on New Year’s Day 1993, The Step Brothers’ “Schottenheimer Polka” is an accordion-happy, traditional polka nod to head coach Marty Schottenheimer. The late pass rusher Derrick Thomas probably bopped to, “Defense pumped up to the max, they’re such a rowdy bunch, Derrick n’ Neil, wheelin’ dealin’, eat the QB’s lunch..”
American jazz and cabaret singer Marilyn Maye recorded “Chiefs Are On the Warpath” following the club’s 1969 Super Bowl IV win over the Minnesota Vikings. The American Jazz Museum Lifetime Achievement honoree’s vocals, accompanied by the Tony DiPardo Orchestra’s tribal rhythm, certainly celebrates her team – though it wouldn’t pass muster in terms of political correctness by 2021 standards.