At The Players’ Tribune, we know that music and sports have always been great teammates. That’s why we’ve created Playlist, a series where we ask our contributors to look inside their phones, cars, workout mixes and whatever else — and share 10 songs they’ve had in heavy rotation.
Here with the latest Playlist is Titans tight end Delanie Walker.
When I was a young kid, my mom and grandmother would fill the house with upbeat Motown music that would get you dancing. Those are times I still look back on fondly, and to this day have influenced the kind of music I listen to when I’m unwinding. There’s enough aggression and anger in this world — particularly when you spend many of your days on the football field — so when I need to relax, I’m all about positive music that soothes your soul. I get sick of every song being about popping bottles and touting gold chains. Everyone’s doing that. For the most part I like to listen to music that makes you feel something. That’s what I’m into.
If I’m putting together a playlist, the first song I’m adding is: “Coming Home” by Leon Bridges
Leon is a modern artist who has that Motown sound you don’t really find that often anymore. I got turned on to him a few months ago when someone told me they knew about this artist that sounded like Otis Redding. Of course, that’s pretty high praise, but if you listen to his songs you’ll probably hear that resemblance as well. He’s really a talent and I’m glad I was exposed to him.
If you have a record player, I highly recommend picking up his album on vinyl.
Right now the song I’m listening to over and over is: “Love TKO” by Teddy Pendergrass
This song just picks me up. I’ve been listening to it since I was a kid, so it takes me back to that time when things were pretty simple. It’s all about positive vibes. “Love TKO” can make even a pretty bad day seem bright and happy.
If I’m working out, I’m listening to: “America’s Most Wanted” by Tupac
I’m a west coast guy, so of course there’s going to be some Tupac on here. It’s a different vibe than most of my music, but I love it when I lift. It makes me feel like the baddest man on the planet.
My guilty pleasure song right now is: “Hello” by Adele
So I was playing this song at practice after it came out, and I could tell it turned a few heads in the locker room. Whatever, man. Adele is dope. “Hello” is a great song, and her first album was amazing. I mean, I’d listen to Adele while I lift weights. Good music is good music.
I’d be completely satisfied if I never heard this song again: “Hit the Quan” by whoever it is that sings that song
Where did this come from? Who came up with this? Why is it popular? This song just gives me so many more questions than answers.
A song that reminds me of my hometown is: “Why U Bullshittin’?“ by Suga Free
I think most people have a song lyric about their hometown that makes them feel nostalgic. For me, it was “Quik gave me a beat, now Pomona’s on the set.” I’m from Pomona. I grew up in a not-great neighborhood. I’ve got school knowledge and street knowledge. I’ve seen both worlds. This song brings me back to those roots.
If I’m studying for something, I’m putting on some: Sam Cooke or Otis Redding
Either, or. Put it on low volume in the background, give it some time, and whatever I need to know will be learned.
If I’m on the dance floor, I’m hoping they play: “Shout”
It’s old school, but this song will get everyone going. It doesn’t matter your age, race or background, this song will make you want to start dancing.
If I was a boxer, my entrance music would be: “Started from the Bottom” by Drake
Easy. This song is catchy and the message would get me in the right frame of mind heading to the ring.
If you listen to this song, you’ll want to hear every song by this artist: “Backlash Blues” by Nina Simone
I was in a dive bar in Los Angeles the first time I heard Nina Simone. It was one of those things where you hear a song you like, then try to quickly find out who it is before it ends. I thought she was a current artist, but found out she’s a jazz singer who has been around for decades. I dove into her collection and have found so many great songs. Her voice is both silky and soulful. I can’t get enough of it.
When this song comes on, I have to start singing: “Hotline Bling” by Drake
Come on, nobody’s staying quiet during “Hotline Bling.”