Funny thing about Americans – we really hold our passions close to our heart, to feel the thump, thump, thump of a collective beat. Football, process meats, beer, weekends, all this stuff are like sacraments you don’t screw around with. Maybe you can sneak in something like Taco Tuesday, or monster trucks, but as they say, when it’s lit, it’s lit, and people want more, and more. Globalization of culture brings things to the forefront in this same manner. Technology brings the game home, right to the palm of our hand.
But what happens when something that has been steadily building, through the process of globalization, just makes itself as natural as breathing? Let’s drop some knowledge then – the sport of soccer, and the phenomenon that’s spread across cultures, known as hip-hop, are two items that have become global game changers. These two things have permeated not just our cultural, but worldwide, interweaving themselves into sports, music, fashion, design, and more. Soccer and hip-hop have become world beat institutions, giving such mega-businesses as the NFL, rock n’ roll, even the food industry cause for a pause. Consider the fundamentals - soccer and hip-hop are something you can do almost anywhere, anytime, and in any capacity. To their stripped down versions, both do not require a lot of equipment to perform. For soccer, there’s a ball, players, and some field, any field, big enough to start a game. For hip-hop, even if you threw away the electronics, you can beatbox, and rap, really all by yourself. The beauty of function is why these two staples can be played, regardless of economic strada, or your place in society. They are the heartbeat of the rich, poor, and middle class, throwing away regulations to gender, and color.
Turn on any sports news, fashion, music, or cultural channel or stream at any point on a given day – listen to the background music, watch for ads, see who’s team is playing whom around the globe for a soccer match, and observe how seamless the influences of soccer/hip-hop have become, especially over the past 20 years. The obvious in music – Kanye, Drake, even the show “Empire”- and the not-so- obvious: Taylor Swift, Disney, the flavor-of-the-month kid band. Watch NBC Sports, ESPN, Fox Sports – soccer has become more and more of a draw, especially as these channels expand their reach in the United States, and beyond. Sure, there’s money involved, that’s given, and any good business knows to follow it’s customer base, or establish a new one. But it seems that, like peanut butter and chocolate, these two things have gotten mixed up in the pop culture blender, to come up with something bigger, powerful, and far-reaching. To wit, it’s smack-your-face obvious how these two dance partners got together.
Soccer’s origins can be traced back 2,000 years, where ancient China, Greece, Rome, and central America all stake a claim in inventing the game. It’s what the rest of the world terms “football,” and it plays from the slums of Italy, to the high plateaus of Mexico. Simple, deceptively so upon first glance to the uniformed, soccer is a game more inherently complex, with it’s subtle nuances honed over years of practice. The fact that it be played practically anywhere allows its players the time to hone skills. And for fashion, you are just as likely to see as many soccer jerseys worn as NFL jerseys. Throw in Anderson .Paak, or Snoop Dog as the daily bread soundtrack, and you’re in the skin. Given hip-hop nascent beginnings – the Last Poets, Kool Herc, beatbox rhythms, and DJ’s mashing up vinyl – the street corner music sermons grew out of 1970’s New York to take over the world. Tech and electronics have helped, as well as the side development of fashion with the music. Hip hop has entered the pantheon of serious music art form. The stars of hip hop are this generation’s Beatles. Unlikely to those not observing, soccer embraced hip hop, and vice versa, shaking hands and agreeing to an unparalleled team-up. For the foreseeable future, it doesn’t look as if this dynamic duo team up shows any signs of slowing down as a cultural force, here or globally. As they say, the streets don’t lie, and it’s truth to power now for soccer and hip hop.