Drake, Balotelli, and Football in America
By Alex Fairchild
Football is growing in America. The TV ratings are on the rise, and will do more so come NBC's takeover of the English Premier League, but there has been a more recent outburst by a certain Grammy-winning artist. It has boosted soccer's exposure to the eye of the American public.
Last year, the world watched as he struck up a relationship with Mario Balotelli, the troubled Italian youngster, who has since found form with AC Milan. The two seem a bright duo, both members of popular culture who have influence over their respective regions.
Aubrey Graham, otherwise known as 'Drake,' has took the hip-hop, rap, and R&B worlds by storm. His verse off of 'The Motto', a track from his second album 'Take Care' led to the use of the term YOLO (you only live once), which has permeated American society.
Meanwhile, Balotelli's swagger and antics, Toronto FC, his hometown's team, as they play a team dressed in blue, who may or may not represent the Canadian team's rivals, Montreal Impact, though none of that has been confirmed. Their charge forward begins behind half, presumably representing the bottom, and ends with Drake striking the ball past the keeper, before being lifted by his fellow teammates.
Drizzy does not stop with soccer there, as he throws down a line in his unreleased track '5AM in Toronto,' which must reference Balotelli. After beating his chest for the majority of the freestyle, which he has every right to do, he pauses to ask, "Straight, Y pree? Why is it always me?" Presumably, Drake is speaking of his Italian friend's famous or infamous, depending on how you view it, celebration against Manchester United in that legendary 6-1 victory at Old Trafford.
This is not Drake's first Balotelli line, as he begins his guest verse in Aaliyah's 'Enough Said' with the words, "Went from my [boy] serving it by the tele/to venues in Manchester just swerving with Balotelli." Dropping the UK term, before referencing Balotelli's former city (the song was released before Mario's move home), Drizzy continues to show his love for the game, as he alludes not only to one of its top talents, but also to their personal connection. Drake and Balotelli's first known public appearance was made nearly one year ago. For football's sake, let us hope that artists like Drake continue to refer to the beautiful game in their top records. The popularity of such stars and their relationship with the sport can only aid soccer's status in the States.