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Our Favorite Musicians Talk World Cup #BecauseFutbol

by Alexis Stephens | 71 days ago

The World Cup invokes some of the most passionate fandom of any global sporting event. This year’s tournament kicks off two days from now, on Thursday June 12, when Brazil faces off against Croatia at Arena Corinthians in São Paulo.

MTV Iggy will be launching a daily music digest on Thursday called “Battle Mundial,” which will serve as a music playlist for each day of the tournament. Obvious choices like soccer anthems will be included, but there will also be songs about finding inspiration in sports and nation, and just some straight-up pop gems from countries like Uruguay, Korea, Greece, Belgium, Colombia, and more.

The popularity of soccer anthems, nationalist chants, and international collaborations that pop up around the World Cup are proof of the inextricable link between music and soccer. In advance of our Battle Mundial series, we asked some of our favorite musicians from around the world to provide some context to explain the music-futbol link and what they are looking forward to in this World Cup.

Pearls Negras (Brazil)

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Pearls Negras are one of the hottest groups to come out of Brazil this year, impressing us with their fierce rap-meets-trap brand of baile funk. Alice and Mariana from the group mentioned some of the social tensions brewing in the host nation and their hopes for the country and team’s future:

Alice: “It will be great to host the World cup here in Brazil, but they must not forget that we want good things for society — not only for the period of the event.”

Mariana: “It is very gratifying to know that the World Cup will be in our country. People here are already in preparation, painting streets and houses; there are flags of Brazil on every corner. The Cup is very important, especially being in Brazil, but we are also fighting for improvements in our country. If we can have a World Cup, we should also have schools, hospitals and a better living wage!”

D’Banj (Nigeria)

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Nigerian pop star D’Banj is extremely passionate about soccer, just see his song “Top of the World.” In 2013, he played in the Friends Africa World AIDS Day “Superstars Play for Life” celebrity match as well as performed at the closing ceremony of the African Cup of Nations in 2013:

“I am a huge football fan and I see music and football as providing entertainment to millions of people around the world. When I perform at a concert or watch a football match you can feel and see the passion that it generates. This is because music and football are both played with the heart. I hope to go to Rio for the World Cup. It would be a dream.”

Polock (Spain)

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Spanish dance rock band Polock, isn’t as convinced that there’s a direct link between music and soccer:

Singer/guitarist “Papu” Sebastián Barrachina: “I don’t find any relation between football and music. At least not a synergistic relation. I come from Argentina where rock fans in the ’90s used to behave as football fans. Antagonistic spirit, even in its purest ancient Grecian form, has nothing to do with music. On the other hand, we like football. From time to time we enjoy watching together a good football match. We carry a football on our van to have some fun during the stops on the road. For the World Cup we would like Spain to be a winner again, but we think that Brazil is the favorite this time.”

The GTW (United States)

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Soccer is one of the most important inspirations to Chicago’s The GTW. Case in point, “Neymar Night” an ATL Bass track by the Chigerian musician is named after Brazilian superstar, because a “Neymar night” is one where a couple just “kicks it”.

“I wouldn’t be making music seriously if it wasn’t for the World Cup. I released my first GTW mixtape for the World Cup in 2010. I found out about a lot of music through playing video games related to soccer. The music resonated with me because it was from all across the world. I’m going to be supporting Nigeria, any African team, and Brazil. I’ve been a fan of Brazil for the past 15 years. It’s weird, because there are a lot of protests down there for economic reasons, but when the game gets turned on, they’ll all be in the game, cheering. I’m expecting them to win because they have talent. I think an African team advances past the quarterfinals, because no African team has done that.” 

Mi Casa (South Africa)

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South African house band Mi Casa has become a go-to group for performing at soccer games in 2014, having performed at the opening ceremony of the Africa Nations Championship in January and a friendly match between South Africa and Brazil in March.

Portuguese singer J-Something: “Music and sport go so well together. If you are winning, what do you do? You sing the team’s song. If you want to cheer them on, you sing a song. The World Cup is such a festive event and music brings everything together! I am looking forward to see how Brazil, with its culture and arts, interprets the World Cup.”

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Artist of the Week: Vote for Your Favorite

by Alexis Stephens | 75 days ago

We know you’ve been waiting all week with baited breath, but you have to wait no longer! The Artist of the Week poll is here! You have until 11am EST next Friday to cast your vote and choose the best of of this week’s featured artists. Choose from:

Good Throb

People say punk is dead but rest assured, Good Throb is the next generation of miscreants who’ve decided to bellow “CLEAR!” and pump power back into its mainline. Their appropriately titled album, Fuck Off is an utterly nasty hiss of discontent moored to wax. Angular guitar careens through pared down, feral drumming. The bass plods through it all, creating an insatiable vortex of gutted punk that will suck you in for a convulsive twenty-two minutes.


The Turin-based trio first started as an experimental dance punk act, kicking out aggressively upbeat jams like their 2010 single, “Hello Hello.” But four years later, these Italian gents have swapped out their angsty kicks in favor of a slower, more sensuous stride. Released last fall (and again in 2014) through Foolica Records, their Bad Boys LP is sun-kissed all over, its brisk, tropical synth arrangements much more fitting for a summer soundtrack.

Neon Bunny

Trying to place Neon Bunny within the hierarchy of Korean music isn’t an easy task. She’s not K-pop, at least not the dominant brand type that has become South Korea’s biggest pop-culture export in recent years. Yet the music made by Yoojin Lim is far more polished and radio-ready than what one usually expects from an “indie” artist. Her latest  “It’s You” manages to be a fantastic pop statement that reinforces her uniqueness.

Slow Club

A thoroughly modern meditation on heartache inspired by all manner of Motown, Slow Club’s third album Complete Surrender proves that adding a bit of angst to the process isn’t always a bad thing. Charles Watson provides a quiet counterpoint to Rebecca Taylor’s from-the-gut emoting, his leads on stripped-down songs “Paraguay And Panama” and “Number One,” playing like a cried-out postscript.

Vic Mensa

Conceived during a session on mushrooms at a friends house, INNANETAPE is psychedelic, slacker hip-hop in which teen spirit smells like orange soda, weed, and pheromones. His quicksilver verses on “Lovely Day” and “Hollywood” show off his thoughtfulness and intellect. Just as he’s entered rap’s inner circle, he’s thrown out another curveball. His latest single, “Down on My Luck,” is…hip house.

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Artist of the Week: Vote for Your Favorite

by Alexis Stephens | 82 days ago

As the world turns, we’ve launched yet another Artist of the Week poll! You have until 11am EST next Friday to cast your vote and choose the best of of this weeks featured artists. Here’s the stiff competition:


Young Belgian MC Coely spits fire but sings like heaven. In the video for “Nothing on Me,” Coely reigns as a Mechanic Queen in a dingy garage, and struts through a boxing club like it’s no biggie. She runs through her lyrics like winged victory, bounding towards the finish line of each song with both grace and grit.


Datapanik is a project of Amsterdam-based producer and vocalist Michael Lampe (also known under his DJ moniker Fellow). He and his bandmates take the rhythms and melodies of traditional crioyo music and hits the refresh button on them by adding hip-swiveling electronic beats. His latest EP, Fuente, is propelled by a romantically-strung guitar, marching percussion, and effusive pride in Aruban identity.

Dream Koala

Yndi Ferreira has credited indie household names like Toro y Moi and Washed Out as inspirations, yet has shaped a singular sound outside that mold. Dream Koala is futuristic but terrestrial, both whimsical and logical. Within Earth. Home. Destroyed., there’s a devastating sadness in the lethargic tempos of both “Saturn Boy,” and the soft-sigh quality of Ferreira’s vocals on “Earth” recall the jazzy soul of Sade.


Drenge imbues their post-rock with a near-tender sentiment. Substantive melodies birthed of slow, almost dragging, guitar tempos and a soothing bass drum lull the listener, like a rock lullaby. Eoin Loveless’s throaty tenor croons rock ‘n’ roll with a healthy dose of some of the same heavy, bluesy sadness that brings to mind legends like BB King.


Swedish-born, London-based singer Fatima Bramme Sey manifests a supreme balance of earthy, acoustic, corporeal soul and digital-savvy, globally-networked, socially-alienated alt-R&B. Within her new album Yellow Memories, you’ll find an impressionist, gauzy audio slideshow that shifts between ’70s jazz-funk and left-field electro beats. Over it all, Fatima’s voice hangs like nectar.

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Artist of the Week: Vote for Your Favorite

by Alexis Stephens | 89 days ago

We’ve reached the end of yet another week and the beginning of yet another Artist of the Week poll! You have until 11am EST next Friday to cast your vote and choose the best of of this weeks featured artists.

Princess Nokia

Like a cyber-archangel, Princess Nokia seems to be dispatched from the 22nd century, delivering food for thought in the form of techno-laden R&B. Though its feel is futuristic, her latest LP Metallic Butterfly rocket launches itself deeply into the past, spanning three decades worth of pop culture references, including sound clips from Dragon Ball Z and 1982 film The Dark Crystal.


A piano-playing grime MC since the age of 11, who counts Wiley and Pink Floyd, Thom Yorke and The Streets as influences, Blizzard has been on a road to self-discovery with his music for near-on a decade now. The lyrical firecracker released his much-hyped debut EP, the rowdy Sooner Than Never in 2012, which was followed-up in March, 2014, with the highly introspective set, Testing The Water.

Tony Molina

A long-standing member of the Bay Area’s punk community, 28-year-old Tony Molina’s fronted an array of bands since 2002. His latest work, Dissed and Dismissed,  sounds like archival materials from the life of a boy who grew up in a bomb shelter, with only Big Star and Metallica records to keep him company. By the power of thick, muddy distortion, he packs a punch into every modest minute.


German-Ethiopian rapper/producer Biniyam is on one. He released his eponymous debut EP earlier this year at the tender age of 18.  If the record was transformed into an animal, it would be a regal cat left to wander the lonely halls of some Afro-futurist temple. Through the seven tracks Biniyam raps as if he’s trapped in a solitary shrine, shadow-boxing with the hip-hop gods over heady, brooding beats.


The London-based group bundles together bombastic bass lines, slick falsetto, and dance floor horns to create a delicious slice-and-dice vibe. Is it R&B? Soul? Dance? I don’t know — is Pulp Fiction a comedy, crime film, or art house flick? No matter what label you attempt to throw at it, you’re still in for a wild ride.

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Artist of the Week: Well$

by Alexis Stephens | 89 days ago

The man of the hour is Well$ for becoming our newest Artist of the Week! The timing is just right as the Charlotte-based just released his debut MTSYD: The Revenge Of The African Booty Scratcher. His distinctive flow is the star of the mixtape, but don’t let that distract from his philosophical reflections, the stories of his experiences as Congolese-American, or the advanced beats by producers like DJ Dahi and Ryan Hemsworth.

Find the recline button on your chair, and take a listen to “Temporary Forever / xxMONOLOGUExx”:

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