Issue 139: Spotify Wrapped, Basketball Edition

If you’re a Spotify user, you recently got a recap of the previous year in your inbox.

This is called Spotify Wrapped, and it’s a delightful (read: horrifying) reminder of how much you listened to specific songs and artists. Mine is always skewed because I use Spotify to practice my band’s songs (here’s a shameless plug), so those songs often clog up my top spots.

Even so, I’ve enjoyed the commentary around Spotify Wrapped. There were many tweets about how much of a red flag it was if Morgan Wallen—who in the past two years has been booted from SNL for not following COVID-19 protocols and casually used the n-word—was in your top artists, and folks were critical of Spotify’s copywriting team, who tried very hard to fit in trending topics like NFTs or understanding the assignment.

Both of those things are stupid, by the way.

However, the excitement of Spotify Wrapped got me thinking — what would be some of the top basketball highlights?

Here’s the Crisp Bounce Pass edition of Spotify Wrapped! I’m also going to link these songs to YouTube in case you don’t have Spotify, because it’s nice to be considerate.

Monica, “For You I Will” from the Space Jam soundtrack — The Song You Play While Standing Outside Someone’s Window with a Boombox (37,065,731 streams)

This is the most streamed song from the Space Jam soundtrack. Well, outside of “I Believe I Can Fly,” but since R. Kelly is a pretty terrible human being who took advantage of young women, we’re gonna go with Monica here.

I remember as a kid thinking the line “for you I will follow, for you I will die” was DRAMATIC. Like, come on, Monica—I get a fight with Brandy over a boy, but this is over the top.

Now, though? That hits me right in the feels. You sing it, girl.

Dame D.O.L.L.A., “Money Ball” — The Song You Put On When Everyone Wants to Sing a Verse (11,821,950 streams)

You might recognize Dame D.O.L.L.A by his NBA name of Damian Lillard. His biggest bop, “Money Ball,” is not a recounting of the early 2000s Oakland Athletics, though it’s a catchy jam nonetheless. It also features SEVERAL guest stars: Jeremih, Danny from Sobrante, and Derrick Milano. Everyone gets a turn on the mic!

This is a nitpicking aside, but D.O.L.L.A stands for “Different On Levels the Lord Allows.” Each letter stands for something (with a bonus “the” thrown in there). Why does the “A” not also have a period after it?

NGTMRE, Shaquille O’Neal, & Lil’ Jon, “BANG” — The Song You Can Nod Your Head To (10,850,743 streams)

I’ve been trying really hard to envision a world where this is objectively considered a good song, and I just can’t do it. It’s mainly Lil’ Jon telling us to nod our heads with various levels of cursing and an EDM beat even most rave purists would consider offensive to the ears.

But the music video with Shaq is lovely! So maybe click on the link and watch it on mute? Although…somehow this song has been played over 10 million times on Spotify, so I don’t know—you could end up enjoying it with the sound on, too.

Ali Siddiq, “Basketball” – The Song That’s Actually a Standup Comedy Bit (19,340 streams)

I’m not familiar with a ton of Ali Siddiq’s work, but every clip I’ve heard of him has me nodding in agreement AT LEAST once, if not twice or thrice.

In this case, it’s experiencing back pain while playing a pickup basketball game. I remember one time in college I played nine pickup games in a row. My friend and I then went to the dining hall and consumed—inhaled, really—about seven pounds of food in 45 minutes. We then went BACK to the gym and I played six more pickup basketball games.

Just typing that sentence right now caused my muscles to seize up like they’re about to sneeze, although there’s none of that sweet ach-oo release.

Fresh Kitchen Beats, “Basketball” — The Song That’s Also Kinda Educational (421,616 streams)

By this point, we’re all pretty tired of Spotify Wrapped. We’re likely looking around the empty room, wondering when it’s going to be over with.

So, let’s wrap it up (heh, I’m a riot) with a truly confusing masterpiece that has still racked up nearly half a million views in two years. This minute-long track is nothing more than a half-hearted synthesizer and the sound effects of basketballs being dribbled while a somewhat robotic voice sort of…whispers the rules of basketball?

I don’t get it and I don’t think I even particularly like it, but I’ll be darned if I don’t admire what Fresh Kitchen Beats has done here.

Now, that’s a wrap! (Sorry, I did it again.)

P.S. Did you enjoy this article? You might like my book, too! Get your copy here.