The Athlete’s Guide for Listening to A$AP Rocky

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    PREGAME

    It’s 20 minutes before the tip-off. You’re about to lace up your Jordans or cleats and head out onto the court. You need a song to calm your nerves, but hype you up so much that you forget about those nerves. The way to accomplish this is to find something with crazy lyrics on top of a flowing production, which is exactly what A$AP’s record “Peso” gives us.

    Longtime fans, I understand you were rolling with him before “Peso” dropped, but this four-year-old classic will end any athlete’s pregame playlist with a bang, leaving them ready to get out there and perform. I like to think that all sports are 50 percent mental. “Peso” turns that into 30 percent. It will leave your mind ready and your body taking control. Don’t believe me? Try ending your pregame playlist with a little Rocky.

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    TIMEOUT

    It’s the end of the first quarter. You played well. Not great, but good enough. The first quarter nerves have worn off and you’re now two minutes into the second quarter feeling great. Momentum is starting to build…and coach calls a timeout. Brutal. Your teammate was messing up a routine play. You’re doing everything right. You start zoning out for the last 25 seconds of the timeout. What pops into your head? This song by none other than A$AP Rocky.

    With a chorus that will inspire you and features from the likes of Kendrick Lamar and 2 Chainz, any athlete would be ready to finish out the half strong.

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    HALFTIME

    It’s halftime. The second half can’t be won in the locker room, but it can sure be lost. Halftime is all about learning from your mistakes during the first half, fixing them, and getting your mind right and motivated to get out there and either put on a comeback for the record books or finish the beatdown that you’ve already started. Either way, what goes on in the locker room at halftime is going to play a big part in what happens in the crucial stages of the game. A$AP Rocky’s track “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2” will get you beyond that next level that you need to be at going into the second half.

    Flacko lays down a first verse that leaves you looking like this no matter how many times you hear it, and as the song continues, it builds just like your performance could in the second half with the right motivation.

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    FOURTH QUARTER

    It’s crunch time and the game’s on the line. You’re trying to stay calm and focus on the task at hand: getting the W. What keeps popping into your head? “Anything is better than that 1Train…” Lyrics from Flacko’s track “1 Train” with Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, and Big K.R.I.T., which is a slow, methodical flow of rhymes from a stacked group of artists led by our man, A$AP Rocky. The song is almost a metaphor for how any athlete wants to approach the fourth quarter. Slow (production), one play (artist) at a time, yet effectively (each artist slays their verse), all with the end purpose of winning the game (an insane track). Rocky’s song will push you and keep you grounded during the craziest parts of the competition.

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    POSTGAME

    The game’s over. You’re back in the whip about to drive home, scrolling through your playlist trying to find the perfect recovery song. Whether you won or lost, the song should be the same. It should be that track that makes you feel unstoppable, like this is only the beginning. Something that BANGS. A record that makes you go hard if you won or, at the same time, helps you release some of the frustration if you lost.

    It’s a tough task to find a song that can flip both ways, but the A$AP Mob gives us one. If that doesn’t seal the athlete mentality after a tough battle, I’m not sure if there’s a song that will. It’s a track by artists that view themselves as a team, all lead by a captain (A$AP Rocky). Sounds pretty similar to you on the court.

    Don’t feel like you’re the captain of your team? Well, you obviously don’t have enough of Pretty Flacko on your playlist. With these songs lined up for you, and a new album, I think we just about made you into a captain. (Or at least the captain of a championship-winning playlist.)

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What you do, how you do it, and how you look while doing it are three of the biggest concepts in any athlete’s mind away from the game. Most successful athletes have a sports idol: Someone they look up to and admire for a variety of reasons, usually for things they do on and off the court. What makes someone a sports idol? Maybe it’s the story of where they came from or the legacy they’ll leave behind. Either way, there are special qualities that make that individual different, qualities that make that person separate from the rest in a way that’s inspiring and gives you a sense of jealousy.

As up-and-coming athletes drive to become household names, they need someone to focus on, someone to hype them up when they need motivation, someone to give them the drive to thrive in their next big game. And that inevitably leads them to music–music and sports go hand-in-hand. They always have and always will. Find me an athlete that doesn’t listen to some type of music before a game and I’ll call you a liar.

However, not all artists are created equal in this department, and I’m here to tell you why A$AP Rocky is the best hype man you could possibly have for the big game.

With his new album A.L.L.A. – At. Long. Last. ASAP out now, this dude is about to be all over your next playlist. He’s the guy who’ll make you wonder “Why am I thinking about/listening to a kid from Harlem before/after the biggest game of my sports career?” In the end, you’ll know why. He kills his music, has a crazy style, and rolls so deep it’s impressive. So here is an Athlete’s Guide for Listening to A$AP Rocky. Take notes and pay attention.

Follow Bowen on Twitter at @bowenbaily

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