Grizzlies

5 Songs That Describe the Grizzlies’ 2019-2020 Season

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The Memphis Grizzlies have established a new culture both on and off the court. One big aspect of the new culture is music. Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. have been at the forefront of the new musical movement in Memphis. Sticking with that theme, here are five songs that describe the Grizzlies’ 2019-2020 season.

1. Heatin’ Up (ft. Gunna) – Lil Baby

“I’m heatin’ up…”

It is impossible to discuss music and the Grizzlies without mentioning Lil Baby. Ja Morant has tweeted about his fandom towards the Atlanta rapper numerous times. So far, their careers share similar trajectories. Morant had built up hype following his sophomore season at Murray State, but leapt into the national spotlight after the Grizzlies started winning in late December. Lil Baby has been a staple in hip-hop for a few years, but skyrocketed to national acclaim in 2019, receiving nominations for multiple BET awards. Baby solidified his place in the industry following the release of My Turn in February.

Heatin’ Up wasn’t released as a single for My Turn, but the video to the song dropped on the same day as the album. Baby and Gunna have established a reputation as one of the best duos in hip-hop, collaborating on over 20 songs (including a full album) in the past few years. Heatin’ Up is a display of confidence, full of references to expensive items and outdoing their opponents. Like Gunna and Baby, the Grizzlies had a hot streak that was one of the best in the league. Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr emerged as one of the league’s dynamic duos as the team surged to the eighth seed in the West.

 

2. Shake the Room (ft. Quavo) – Pop Smoke

“I bet I shake the room…”

Pop Smoke is nearly as synonymous with the Grizzlies as Lil Baby is. Pop Smoke’s music had been heard in various videos throughout the season. Jaren Jackson Jr. reportedly carried a speaker around team facilities playing it. Jackson cited Pop Smoke music as a key to performing well on-court. Shake the Room is one of the best hype songs of the year, and the team officially adopted it as their own in mid-February. The combination of Quavo’s snappy flow, Smoke’s deep rasp and bass-heavy production come together beautifully on the track.

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Jaren may have been onto something. His tweet came the day after a win over the Phoenix Suns, which turned out to be the second of seven in a row. The Grizzlies finished that month with an 11-3 record, and won 17 of their last 28.

3. Wassup (ft. Future) – Lil Uzi Vert

“Uh, I’ma make sure they remember me…”

Another song full of confidence, Wassup details how haters want Uzi and Future to fail, but they continue to rise above the competition. Uzi’s opening verse details being targeted by opponents while winning. Interestingly enough, Uzi acknowledges that he may lose occasionally, and notes how hard the opponents tried to finish him. He goes on to explain his drive comes from his desire to remain above the enemies. He closes with a reminder that his newfound money and fame allows him to create distance from them, and he refuses to interact with the “lies and the frauds”.

Future picks up the second verse and immediately flaunts his expensive habits. He explains that he is far ahead of any competition, and no one can catch him, even the cops. He promises big things going forward, promising “You know we comin’ in number one/You know we gon’ kill the whole summer too/You know I’m blowin’ up like an atomic bomb”. Those lyrics, combined with the overall confidence of the song, align perfectly with this Grizzlies’ team. The team started by winning the Summer League championship, then blew up the league during the regular season. The team went from an afterthought to a competitor and got more attention than anyone expected them to. Jaren Jackson Jr. has also expressed a love for Uzi in the past:

4. Black Qualls (ft. Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington, Childish Gambino) – Thundercat

“‘Cause I’m young enough and I’m old enough, both at the same time…”

The only non-rap song on this list, Black Qualls is a unique, funky song about defeating paranoia and fear. While the song’s meaning is much deeper than basketball, the lyrics can be applied. The song’s blues-like production fits Memphis pretty well. It’s unique sound and lyrics perfectly describe what the Grizzlies have become known for:

I know I give a different vibe, yeah
I’m doin’ what I like, woah, woah, woah
I don’t need your co-sign
‘Cause I’m young enough and I’m old enough, both at the same time
Hey, don’t trip on my aggression, baby, oh
‘Cause I can go in different directions, baby

The Grizzlies got over their fear and followed a similar trajectory this season. The first two months were rough for the young team as they found their footing. Once they figured it out, though, they turned into one of the league’s most exciting, competitive teams. They played with a confidence far beyond their years. As a budding star, Ja Morant displays an aggression and shiftiness that falls perfectly in line with the last two lyrics above.

In the third verse, Steve Arrington breaks out, stating “The box you tried to throw me in don’t fit me no more, no”. That fits the young Grizzlies’ stellar season perfectly.

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The song also asks the question, “If we don’t talk about it, then who will?” This question could be applied to how mainstream media treats Memphis teams.

5. Hard in Da Paint – Waka Flocka Flame

“I go hard in the mother f***ing paint…”

The oldest song on the list, Hard in Da Paint came out in 2009. It was originally released on Waka’s Lebron Flocka James mixtape, but blew up after being released as a single for his album Flockaveli in 2010. The song is an aggressive expression of confidence and a reminder that Waka isn’t to be messed with or taken lightly. Not only does the song match the Grizzlies’ swagger, but it aligns perfectly with their playstyle. The franchise has established an identity on playing hard down low. As much as things have changed, they’ve also remained the same. The team has led the league in points in the paint this season.

The Grizzlies average 56.3 points in the paint per game. They have five players in the top 100 in the stat, which was tied for best in the league. Of those five teams, the Grizzlies have the highest average player position (47.8) and points (8.9). Jonas Valanciunas consistently bullies opposing bigs down low, and leads the way with 11 points per game. Ja Morant is a close second, averaging 10.6, which leads all rookies with 20+ games played. His flashy handle and athleticism makes each drive a highlight. Fellow rookie Brandon Clarke is next, averaging 9.1 points per game. He was one of Morant’s favorite pass targets and the two had numerous alley-oop connections.

Follow us on Twitter @Grizz_Lead for the latest Grizzlies news and insight.

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About Richmond Bailey Caldwell

Die-hard Grizzlies fan since 2009. Aspiring basketball writer and coach. University of Georgia sport management alum. Perennial first team all-defense selection.

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