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Celebration Bowl playlist: These songs get players, coaches hyped up on game day

North Carolina Central, Jackson State teams listen to hip-hop, gospel, R&B

When the players from Jackson State and North Carolina Central universities arrive at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta for the Cricket Celebration Bowl, their pregame routines will consist of warmup stretches, position drills – and music.

Players are curating special playlists to listen to during the bus ride to the stadium, in the locker room and on the field before spectators file into the stands, choosing songs that instill confidence, calm the athletes’ nerves and hype them up for the game.

Here are some of the songs players and coaches will be listening to ahead of their Celebration Bowl matchup on Saturday. Listen to the full playlist here.

“Give or Take” by Giveon (album)

Davius Richard, North Carolina Central’s quarterback and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference offensive player of the year, creates his playlist the day of a game.

“My game day playlist depends on how I’m feeling when I wake up,” Richard said. “Sometimes it’s slow, sometimes it can be amped.”

Richard said he listened to Giveon before North Carolina Central’s game against Morgan State in October, during which he threw for four touchdowns and rushed for two more scores.  

“Not just one song, like his whole album. Just sitting in a locker room listening to it all right before we went out there,” Richard said. “You see what kind of game I had that game. Giveon is the GOAT [greatest of all time].”

“When I Rose This Morning” by Mississippi Mass Choir

“When I’m on the bus ride to the stadium this is my go-to pregame,” said North Carolina Central head coach Trei Oliver. “I’ve been on this gospel kick for the last, like, four or five years. That’s all I really listen to now.”

“Freestyle” by Lil Baby

“I just like the flow of it,” said Jackson State kicker Alejandro Mata. “Every time it comes on in the weight room everyone starts rapping to it and it’s just a pretty cool experience.”

“No Weapon” by Fred Hammond & Radical for Christ

North Carolina Central running back Latrell Collier: “I listen to that song because no matter the attack that may come my way, the Lord will not allow those who plot evil against me to succeed with their bad intentions.” 

“Intro” by Meek Mill

Jackson State running back Sy’Veon Wilkerson: “The intro of it, for the most part, it says, ‘I can feel it coming in the air tonight.’ It brings me chills.”

“Endzone” by Big Scarr

Jackson State linebacker Aubrey Miller Jr.: “It’s just hard, bro.”

Other songs players and coaches cited include: 

– “O Let’s Do It” by Waka Flocka

– “Ain’t Enough” by Real Boston Richey

– “Dreams and Nightmares” by Meek Mill

– “300 Blackout” by Kodak Black

– “Sincerely Face” by Babyface Ray

– “Silencer” by Kodak Black

– “Could of Been Different” by Kodak Black

– “Hustle & Flow” ( soundtrack album)

– “Here I Go” by Mystikal

– “Victory Lap” by Nipsey Hussle

– “3 Peat” by Lil Wayne

– “Jordan” by Ryan Castro

– “Hey Mor” by Ozuna

– “Frozone” by Big Scarr

Liner Notes

Cricket Bowl Celebration

When: Noon EST, Saturday.
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta.
Watch: ABC.
Information: www.thecelebrationbowl.com

Mia Berry is the senior HBCU writer for Andscape and covers everything from sports to student-led protests. She is a Detroit native (What up Doe!), long-suffering Detroit sports fan and Notre Dame alumna who randomly shouts, "Go Irish."