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  • Writer's pictureRETRO FOOTBALL GANG

The Overlap between Football & Hip Hop: Andy Cole

There’s no denying the crossovers between Football and modern Hip-Hop culture. From Drake and Kanye referencing Lionel Messi in their songs.


"I talk to God every day; he is my best friend. They play football in my backyard, I think I see Messi," – Kanye West – ‘Off the Grid’

 

"I'm just all about my goals like I'm Messi, what.

"Bein' messy, s**t do not impress me, what." – Drake - ‘I’m on One’

 

to Snoop Dogg performing in Football kits all over Europe.

 


But what led us here? The relationship between Football and Hip-Hop culture has deep roots and during the 90’s, a crossover between the two worlds began to take formation.


Cultural Opposition

Football in Europe was associated with traditional values and decorum, while hip-hop was seen a voice for the marginalized. This contrast made it challenging for footballers to link-up the two. In the public eye, footballers were viewed solely as athletes and any ventures off the pitch were seen as a distraction.


"Footballers have to be disciplined both on and off the pitch. Distractions can derail careers." – Roy Keane


Andy Cole & 90's Hip-Hop

Known for his defining years at Manchester United, the decorated number 9 scored over 100 goals for the Red Devils. Cole won every top-level competition imaginable and still holds the record for the most goals scored in a Premier League game. (5)



That Andy Cole chip...



With an illustrious career seemingly coming to an end, Cole released “Outstanding” with MC Harvey in 1993. Produced across the Atlantic, Cole embodied all the themes we’re used to seeing in an OG 90’s Hip-Hop track. BMW’s, gold chains and nightclub scenes – “Outstanding” echoed the tactics used in music videos from rap’s ‘Golden Era.’






Cole reached #68 on the UK Singles chart, paying homage to his beloved Reds. Featuring lyrics like,

"United forever, whatever the weather, less than 100%, never.

Blurring the lines between Football & Music

Overshadowed by his accolades in the football world, his music endeavors didn’t achieve the same commercial success. After releasing just one EP, the striker’s legacy will likely be remembered for his contributions to the treble-winning campaign in 1999. Although, the noise created by Cole’s venture into the music industry is part of a broader trend, with more footballers like Romelu Lukaku and Memphis Depay dabbling in hip-hop today.



Perhaps their authenticity or a more genuine connection to the culture, the two were better received by rap fans around the world. Rap critics have praised Lukaku's ability to express his life experiences through rap. On the other hand, Depay’s dedication to the craft shines through his lyricism and polished production.



What was once seen as a cultural divide has now become a middle-ground for creativity and expression. In the football world, a transition into a hip-hop career is yet to eclipse one's success on the pitch – but it’s clear that the lines between the two worlds will continue to blur.


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