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 Playlist #2 is Jaguars wide receiver (and #ClassicMan) Allen Robinson.
(Scroll to the bottom for a Spotify playlist with all of Allen’s songs.)
1. “Control,” Big Sean ft. Kendrick Lamar and Jay Electronica
Sean’s a Detroit guy, like me. He talks a lot in his music about growing up in the city and about how, even though everyone thinks it’s such a dangerous place, and there aren’t too many positive things coming out of there. There’s more to Detroit than meets the eye. You look at just the NFL alone, especially these last few years, there are a lot of guys coming up who are from that area. Big Sean cuts through all of the noise, and makes music for the kind of Detroit I want to come from: a place where good things still happen, and stories can still be about success.
2. “All Day,” Kanye West
Big Kanye fan. I think “All Day” is a song that really defines, really gets at, the experience of being an athlete — of just being a competitor in general. Being in the NFL is all-consuming: There’s offseason, there’s preseason, there’s practice, there’s transactions — and, of course, there’s game day. Thursday. Sunday. Monday. But any day. It’s all day. And if you want to compete, you’ve gotta come bring it. That to me is what “all day” means.
3. “New Slaves,” Kanye West
Yeezus is a record about frustration. As far as what Kanye’s trying to accomplish in life — not even just music, but with his trying to jump into the fashion world, jump into other lanes, and feeling boxed out. And he made this whole album about the struggle that he was going through. But whether you’re an artist, or an athlete, or anything, the reality is that sometimes you’re not going to be able to accomplish all of the things you want to. Frustration is a powerful emotion. And I don’t think anyone has been able to express that on record better than Kanye, with Yeezus.
4. “Dreams and Nightmares (Intro),” Meek Mill
Grit. That’s the word I’d use for this. Meek brings that grit.
5. “6 Man,” Drake
With Drake, it’s all about versatility. Just the fact that he’s able to make songs that you can, you know, get motivated to, but then he can also slow it down a little, and do that effortlessly, while still staying true to himself. “6 Man,” off his new album, is a good example of that. It’s almost two different songs, in one. I’m really impressed with If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. For me it’s the best Drake album yet.
6. “Go Harder,” Future
Everyone is on Dirty Sprite 2, and I’m still processing that, but for me nothing from Future tops “Go Harder.”
7. “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love),” Jay Z
The Blueprint is the first album I ever physically owned. I got it as a Christmas present when I was six or seven, and as soon as I unwrapped it, I put it on and I loved it immediately. And I’ve been on Jay ever since. “Heart of the City” is probably my favorite song from it — they used it in a Chrysler commercial that featured Detroit a few years ago, so in a way it’s become an unofficial Detroit anthem. But The Blueprint is an album where, track for track, you can’t go wrong. I got lucky — not a lot of people can say the first album they owned was a classic.
8. “Holy Grail,” Jay Z ft. Justin Timberlake
The biggest thing that draws me to Jay Z is consistency. He’s been around for, what, 20 years now? And he’s always managed to keep up a consistently high level of quality with his music. From Reasonable Doubt, to Blueprint, to The Black Album, to even a couple years ago with Magna Carta Holy Grail. So there’s a credibility that comes with a new Jay record that might not be there for other artists. When he drops, it doesn’t matter what the single is, it doesn’t matter where radio is. You just already know, “Okay, this is worth my time.” Consistency is underrated.
9. “U Mad,” Vic Mensa ft. Kanye West
“U Mad” is the first Vic Mensa song I’ve gotten into — I mainly got into him through Kanye — but it’s been a big one for me. For me, after being hurt last season, this song perfectly captures how I’ve felt throughout the offseason: just blocking everything out, having tunnel vision, and making sure that I come back as the best player I can be — that I’m better than I was before. This is my workout song, but it’s also more than that: it’s my comeback song.
10. “Classic Man,” Jidenna
Guilty pleasure. Can’t deny this one. It’s summer.
Complete Spotify playlist: