Like Darwin, Einstein and that crazy guy on the corner yelling about the apocalypse, I have a theory. A theory so ground breaking, so epic, so ingenious, that it might change the way we all look at the world. Centuries from now, when they are sacrificing goats at the feet of my statue, you will look back at today, at this article, and say, "That was the day the world changed forever."
And that theory is...
Dope music makes you better at FIFA
While I used to be a huge gamer, sadly, I just don't seem to have the time for it any more. I guess this is growing up (cue the Blink 182). Still, from time to time, I get the craving to blow some shit up or hop on the pitch and play a few games of FIFA. Today I'm in the mood for the latter.
Whenever I play FIFA I always have music playing because I love music and I don't need to hear some 13 talk shit to mec. Throughout all my games of FIFA I have found that nothing makes me more on point with the sticks than having a dope song or album bumpin'. If I'm not feeling the music, I'll probably give up a goal or two. If I'm feeling it, it's a god damn clinic; I'm the FIFA Pele. The better the music, the better I play, the more I win. Or at least that's my theory.
Now like any theory, the only way to prove it is to test it over and over and over because science; yeah science!. So today, for my job that I get paid for, I am going to play FIFA and listen to Jared Evan & Statik Selektah's new collab album, Still Blue. If my record at the of the day is winning, this album passes the FIFA test. I've done a gillion reviews in bad places, but what about a review in a dope place? In this case, my bedroom, with FIFA, performance enhancing(?) drugs and a new album in Still Blue.
So here's how it's going to go down, I will play one half with each track on the album on repeat. For that whole half, I will play one song and one song only. After each game, we'll do a little recap. Cool? I hope so because that's how its going down. This is my science experiment and you can't have it.
Kick Off Time...
Game 1 Songs: "Still Blue"& "Scene"
Teams: Colombia (me) vs. France
Halftme score: 0-0
Result: 3-1 Loss
Just an total and utter collapse after halftime. It wasn't so much me, or my opponent, as it was Benzema. He's good. Not really sure how that happened because I was digging "Scene" way more than "Still Blue." So far my theory sucks worse than me at FIFA. I'm chalking this one up to FIFA cheating - I mean fuck, with the way he was getting every bounce, I wouldn't be surprised if he had Gameshark - and my rust because these two songs are awesome. Honestly, I've always enjoyed Evan's singing more, but that verse on "Scene" is perfect; love that Lloyd Christmas line. Beat-wise Statik is fool for this one. He is specifically foolhardy with those horns and when he lets the sample breathe at the end? How good is that flip? Well, let's just say the guy scored on a free kick and I watched the whole replay and didn't mind because that sample was just so clean. Anyone who has every played FIFA once knows the stewing, brooding anger when you are forced to watch some douche watch a cartoon score a goal 15 times; news flash, you didn't actually do that thing the player did; you pressed four buttons. Sorry for the rant, but as you can see replays make me mad, so when I don't give one shit thanks to a rap beat, you know that beat is great.
Game 2 Songs: "Baggage Claim" & "Moneyball"
Teams: Florentina (me) vs. Tottenham
Halftime Score: 0-0
Final Score: 4-1 Loss
Fuck FIFA man. Guy get's a red card and still manages to score four goals? Two missed penalty kicks by yours truly? Sometimes FIFA just picks a winner. I know I didn't score in the first half, but "Baggage Claim" proves my theory. I mean, I had five shots and missed a penalty kick, but I was still in my happy place and it's because this song knocks. I was just feeling it. They way those drums made Jared's vocals pop, had me flowing. I was getting corner after corner - I couldn't put it in the net, but the chances were there - and playing perfect D. I was on point like Chris Paul's jersey.
Then in the second half, I played like crap. I think it's because FIFA just decided he was going to win. It didn't help that I wasn't all that into "Moneyball." The beat was solid, but I think I like a more faster pace Jared than the slow and soulful one. His voice is really refreshing has a lot of vibrancy to it, so I think the beat needs to match it. This one was just a bit too flat for me to get into.
Also, if you play FIFA, you need to play with Florentina. Bobacar is a beast.
Game 3 Songs: "When In Rome" & "The Background"
Teams: Real Madrid (me) vs. Bayern Munchen
Halftime Score: 1-1
Final Score: 2-2 Tie
Just as I say I don't like the slower stuff, Statik and Evan come with two milky bangers. That bass line on "When In Rome" is bananas (no pajamas). I swear to god that's a Biggie sample, right? The vibe here helped keep me chilled out; a key to winning in FIFA. After all, it's a thinking man's game. "The Background" is probably the most slow, soulful tune yet and it really works. Jared's verse at the end really ties it all together. It must be difficult to plot where and when to rap versus sing, but Jared does a great job of picking and choosing when to do both. I like a healthy dose of both styles versus just one and the switch up is just what the song needs to keep me until the end. FIFA, the least user-friendly game in the history of videos games, won't let you play overtime, so it's a tie.
Game 4 Songs: "Bass Is Low" & "Outside"
Teams: Real Madrid (me) vs Bayern Munchen
Halftime Score: 0-2
Final Score: 3-2 Win
There we go. Just had to shake the rust off. Nothing like a three goal second half: flexin, I'm just flexing. I know I didn't play well in the first half, but "Bass Is Low" is crazy! I always think of Statik for slap yo mamma bangers like "Birds Eye View," but has some seriously hazy, R&B vibes; still there is a nice, hearty, punch to it. On "Outside" however, it sounds like good old Statik thanks to Ransom's more forceful flow. I think it's interesting Jared only did the hook and some change. I like that though it's his album, he's willing to let a guest take two verses. I guess when your hooks are that good it doesn't matter how many guests there are; you will always shine.
A win makes these songs all the more sweet.
Game 5 Songs: "Layover" & "No One Else"
Teams: Netherlands (me) Vs. Belgium
Halftime Score: 1-0
Final Score: 2-1 Win
God damn I'm so good at FIFA. Sure the score was close but really, I dominated. He got one goal late after I had already checked out mentally. Way back in the second listen of "Layover" I got the one goal and coasted. This song just makes we want to chill with a one goal lead and a big smile one my face. I love Jared's voice on that one so much so I seem to sing along because after belting out "This landing's only temporary" about 800 times, the dude I was playing politely asked me to "shut the fuck up." I forget they can hear me with this new Xbox; whoops. "No One Else" feels more like an outro to me, but that flip from Statik makes it repeat-worthy. He used so many different effects: horns, chimes, all sorts of stuff. Here is your friendly reminder he has flip game like a Dolphin.
Total record: 2-1-2
Goals Scored: 9
Goals Given Up: 12 (those first two games killed me)
So, does my theory hold true?
Short answer, no because this is a ridiculous video game where pixelated players kick a pixelated ball and there is zero correlation between music and skill. Long answer, I don't know, because I ended up with essentially a 500 record. I can tell you I had a blast playing and a blast listening. This album is very fresh. It might not be the most hard-hitting, and some spots feel a little flat (aka "Moneyball)", but my god is this a blast to listen to. It has soul, but a lighter, more vibrant kind of soul - as the kids definitely don't say anymore, it's "funky" - and yet, a hip-hop pursuit could enjoy this because the beats are so technical and clean; sample 101. I will take bits and pieces of this album, and have them in steady rotation, but really the whole album, cover-to-cover is so refreshing and easy to listen to. It's the kinda stuff you may not play all the time, but when you do, you always have a good time; like video games to a mid-twenty-something-year-old.
Some people make spreadsheets for work, some people drive trucks, some even save lives. Me? I play video games in my boxers and listen to music. Point, game, me.
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is “College Dropout,” but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.]