My Favorite Rap about the Saints

The best $5 I’ve ever spent was on a two-song rap EP. It was 2011, and I was at the Howlin Wolf for Hot 8 Brass Band’s regular Sunday-night gig. At intermission the band introduced local rapper Bossman Superior and he performed this song:

Bossman’s song about the Saints contained all of the touchpoints of a classic fan anthem, complete with a call-and-response chorus and a shout out to nearly every player on the roster.

“Mark Ingram, Colston, Meachem, Sproles, Ivoryyyyyyy, Vilma, Moore–I can name everybody!”

I had been back in New Orleans for a few months, and although I followed the Saints from Washington D.C., I was eager to assimilate into full New Orleanian Saintsdom. Obviously, this meant I had to buy the album.

The two songs* on the album cycled over and over in my car throughout that football season. Every turn of the ignition was met with “The lock out over now babyyyy… OoooooHHHH OOOOOooHHHH, Send ‘em out there, Sean Payton!” Bossman’s thick New Orleans accent and his song’s references to local culture made my heart swell with city pride. Each year, I look forward to football season because it’s time to put “Black & Gold” on rotation.

Other Saints Raps
“Black & Gold” is just one of many rap songs associated with the Saints. Arguably, the most famous is the Ying Yang Twins “Halftime (Get Crunk),” re-recorded in 2009 by NOLA rapper K. Gates as “Black and Gold (Who Dat).” It’s become the unofficial anthem of the team.

I visited NOLA a few weeks before the Saints won their first Super Bowl title, and I remember hearing the song at a party. Everyone shrieked and started talking about the Saints chances for the Superbowl. “How does everyone in this room know this song? ” I wondered. “What does it have to do with the Saints?”

Do Other Teams Have Raps?
Is it common for NFL teams to have fan-penned songs that penetrate the local zeitgeist? Some meager You Tube searches reveal other fan bases certainly have songs about their teams, but is it as pervasive as it is here? Perhaps it’s the city’s ties to the team or the city’s strong musical traditions. (Although, I bet Steelers fans have put together some good raps.)

The only other fan song I know is the Dolphins cheerful fight song.. It written by a fan in 1972 and that still reeks of that time period. Growing up in Miami, this was the only song I ever heard about the Dolphins.

Does your NFL team have a fan song? Can you recommend any other songs about the Saints?

*The second song on the album is a ridiculous track about getting a girl in bed. It contains many quotable lines, but it deserves its own blog post.

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Kind of New Orleanian Interview: Rachael Kansas, New Orleanian (Part 2)

Hey guys!

This is the second part of my Kind of New Orelanian interview with Rachael Kansas. Check yesterday’s post to read my introduction to this new feature and learn what brought Rachael back to New Orleans, two years ago.

Part 2

You went to Ben Franklin High School. I know it’s a really big deal here which high school you went to and what that says about you. What’s the stereotype of someone who went to Franklin?

Nerdy.

Is it? It’s a public school, right?

It’s a public school, but it’s a magnet school. We were all over the news in the last 3 or 4 years—we were number 16 in the nation, so it’s a smart school. You have to test to get into it. It’s the best public school in the state, pretty consistently. We don’t have a really strong football team or anything, but we have some sports that we are good at. I know soccer is a big deal. But so is Mu Alpha Theta.

I know you’re a big Saints and Hornets fan, but there’s not a lot of Hornets fans out there. I feel like your family is really dedicated. What is it about the Hornets that you love?

I don’t know, it’s just something fun to do to mix up your week and go to a game. It’s really interactive. You’re a lot closer to the action. It’s a smaller, more involved experience to go to the game. Also, the sport is great, although I think the NBA shouldn’t have as many games in their season.

A lot of people say that New Orleans isn’t a two-sport town, it’s a one-sport city. But I’ve seen when the Hornets have been in the playoffs, how much enthusiasm people could have for it, so I don’t know—I think people are out doing too many other things to get excited. But, it’s a long season with a lot of games.

Speaking of the Saints, what do you think of the whole bounty thing?

It breaks my heart. On the one hand, I know it’s probably true that every team in the whole league does it to a certain extent. But it hurts that we’ve been doing it and got caught. It’s sad and I’m really upset that they haven’t been able to sign a contract with Brees. And, then, of course Sean Payton lied to everyone and Goodell.

In a perfect world I would love to see Goodell to have to hand over the Lombardi trophy to Benson in the Superdome next year, despite all of the scandal. That would just be the ultimate like, F-you man. We still did it.

Rachael loves Drew Brees.

It’s easy to see why the Saints are so beloved post Katrina and the Superbowl win. Do you remember it being as big of a deal growing up?

Growing up the rule was that if we didn’t sell out the Dome, they wouldn’t show the game on TV. It’s ridiculous to think of now tickets go for so much and we have a full, sellout season every year. But growing up, if we didn’t sell out they’d only play the games on the radio. It was like punishment if we didn’t buy tickets. We’d have to sit at home and like listen on the radio, which my dad always made us do. My family was always out fishing on the weekends so we didn’t go to games growing up until more recent years. But, yeah, we were always Saints fans.

What are some touristy things in the city that you’ve not done?

I’ve been plantations to before, for weddings, but I’ve never been on a plantation tour. I’ve never even been to Oak Alley. I know I’ve been to Jean Lafitte Park for something in elementary school. But I’ve never been on the traditional “swamp tour.” But I grew up going out in the marshlands with my dad on a boat and seeing alligators and nutria, and fishing and crabbing. It seems silly to pay to do something that I did all the time with my dad. But maybe it’s different to go on a swamp tour versus being out in the marsh.

There’s definitely a lot of places where growing up I never went to, but I go there now. Like, I never went to the Bywater growing up. And now I go there all the time.

One of the things I’ve been very preoccupied with is that New Orleanians have this kit of things they bring out with them, especially in the summertime.  They have a hat, their koozies and fold-out chairs. I know you keep koozies in your car! Is there anything else you don’t leave home without?

Bug spray. I am really prone to getting chewed up alive by mosquitos. I have one to two cans of bug spray in my house and my car at any given time. They come with me in my purse.

The bugs or the spray?

Both. If I were more responsible, I’d probably add sunscreen to that list.

Rachael's RE/MAX koozie.

What do you like about living in Mid City?

I love Mid City. I love that it’s a neighborhood that people are so proud of and a real community. I love all the little historic homes. The people that live here are just real local, been-in-Mid-City-forever types. When I moved in—and I’ve lived in a lot of addresses across the country— I got four housewarming gifts from different neighbors.

I love that I can walk to a couple places. I love taking the streetcar. I’m a big streetcar rider for Saints games, for Red Dress Run, for Running of the Bulls, for Mardi Gras Day. Basically any time I know I’m going to have a couple of beers, I’m going to take the streetcar downtown.

What do you do with your Mardi Gras beads?

I don’t bring them in the house. Every year I only physically walk in my car or my house with something unique. I’ll catch a lot of beads, but I’ll leave them at my friend’s house, or put them on other people or on someone’s gate. You know, the gates on St. Charles that will all have beads on them anyway. At my friend’s house she’ll put out trash cans and I think she recycles them.

What’s your favorite Mardi Gras parade?

I like Muses because it’s like the beginning of the big weekend. It’s fun to see women partying at night. My dad’s in Endymion, so that’s my favorite. It’s always a good time to be out at the parade or at the Dome. There’s something different because it’s such a big parade, the floats are incredible, it’s the only one in Mid City and my dad’s in it. I get like, real excited. Real crazy. Endymion is definitely my favorite.

What do you hope for the city?

I hope for the same thing everybody else wants… better education and less crime.

What about recycling? People in San Francisco would judge you for not saying that.

More recycling! How could I forget? And, also, I hope that real estate prices continue to go up and up and up.

Does anything in the city surprise you anymore?

Um, not really. Last year I saw a guy in costume in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week. He was waiting at the busstop and I just thought “Eh, New Orleans.”

Actually, I’m surprised when people are rude! I’m like, “Why are you being so rude? There’s no reason to be rude!”

I feel like people here are really assholes on the road. Why is that?

Yeah, they are. See, I’m not surprised by that because we’ve always been notoriously bad drivers.

I always wonder– if everyone here is so nice, why are they dicks in the car? If you put your signal on, they speed up!

I know, people are so rude in the car. It’s weird. But if you were stopped in traffic for two hours, you would roll down your window and become best friends with the same guy you were calling an asshole ten minutes ago.

This interview has been edited for length.

Nothing is Too Overboard for The Saints

In a few hours the Saints challenge the Detroit Lions, in the Saints first playoff game this year. I’ve written before about how much this city loves the Saints, but sometimes I’m still surprised with the lengths people go to to express their devotion. Just before the holidays I bought some gifts at Fleurty Girl, a shop that sells New Orleans-inspired t-shirts and accessories, and I saw these fake tattoos, inspired by the famous birthmark on the face of beloved Saints quarterback, Drew Brees.

I laughed and asked if I could take a photo. The salesperson immediately asked if I wanted to buy one.

“Nothing is too overboard for the Saints,” she reminded me.

Follow Up Files: Sucre Gets Saints Cupcakes Right

A few weeks ago I wrote about unappetizing Saints-themed cupcakes I’d seen around the city. Just yesterday I was chatting with a friend who administers social media strategy for Sucre (the tasty sweets boutique–did you guys know they have a location by the Lakeside Mall?) and when I mentioned the post I did about Saints cupcakes, she whipped out her phone and showed me this picture.

Holy cow, Y-U-M. Not only do they look beautiful, but just looking at them makes my stomach growl. White icing with gold sprinkles, plus a chocolate fleur de lis? Sucre, you nailed it.

Runner Up
In the original cupcakes post I referenced a friend who suggested that bakeries use white frosting with the colored sprinkles of the team. On my recent road trip I stopped at Publix in Atlanta and found these cookies.

These are obviously Gator cookies, given that they are blue and orange and I was in Atlanta. There were red and black Georgia cookies, but I did not take a picture because I considered those unappetizing.

So, (as we already know about this fine grocery store chain) Publix gets it done too.

The Sweets of Saints Season that are Kind of Gross

Today is the official start of the Saints regular season. As I’ve written before, New Orleanians are very into their Saints. This expression of love comes in many forms. Bumper stickers, tshirts, songs… and cupcakes? I never thought I’d be turned off by a baked good, but there’s something about black and gold that does not translate to vanilla frosting. At two different grocery stores I’ve photographed Saints cupcakes, but I bet there are more around the city! The “black” icing  makes the cupcakes look dusty, and the “gold” looks more like old milk. A friend suggested that New Orleans grocery stores use vanilla frosting with black and gold sprinkles for a more appetizing treat.

Cupcakes at Rouses

Cupcakes at Robert

Black and Gold to the Superbowl. Black and Gold to the grocery store? No.

Who Dat Going to a Saints Game?

My dear friend offered my boyfriend and me a pair of Saints tickets for tonight’s pre-season game vs the Titans! I have never seen the Saints play in a home game. I know it’s pre-season, but as I’ve mentioned before, Saints fans get up for all games, pre-season or not. I went to my first NFL game last year, in Baltimore, where I saw the Saints lose to the Ravens. It was sad and it was COLD–football is not supposed to be played in the cold!

All five of these parked cars sport Saints regalia. This is not unusual.

It does seem like everyone here loves the team. Miami and D.C. (the only other places I’ve lived) are  filled with transplants who already have a team they follow or people who just don’t care about football (granted, I haven’t been to Green Bay.) At the 504ward dinner the other night, I asked the New Orleanians at my table (in this case, I’ve defined them as people who were born in the city) if they were Saints fans. Somebody responded, “Do you have to ask? Everyone is a Saints fan!”

I think there are so many fans because the Saints are the oldest pro franchise in the state and New Orleans has so many Louisiana-born citizens. Becoming as Saints fan is part of loving the city and adopting it as your hometown. That’s easy for me to say though because it’s only in the past handful of years that I’ve followed the NFL. I like the Dolphins to do well, but I don’t care if they don’t (although I feel sad for my brother, the biggest Dolphins fan in the world.) I’m ripe for the picking!*

There are other cities, such as Chicago or New York, where if you move there you might purchase a  Cubs or Yankees hat as a sign of city pride, but not really follow the team. You’ll pick those teams because they are the media favorites, ignoring the much more exciting White Sox or the down-on-their-luck-now-but-I-still-love-them, Mets. But I haven’t seen that here. If you own Saints gear, you are a fan. Because why wouldn’t you be? In other cities I’ve encountered the accusation of becoming a bandwagon fan, since their 2009 Championship, but here no one thinks of that (as far as I’ve seen). A New Orleanian IS synonymous for being a  Saints fan, and they are both welcome you and encourage you to join the community.

*It wouldn’t be a post written from me if I didn’t mention that I will NEVER become in LSU fan. Go Gators!

Saints are in the Air

As I walked in the CBD with my boyfriend and his visiting family, we all felt some vibrancy in the streets. “It’s Friday,” one of us realized. Between me and my unemployed boyfriend, his retired father and mother on summer break from teaching, it took us a moment to realize it was Friday. Ah, yes,I thought.”The joy that comes with the end of a long work week.”

But that wasn’t all there was. There’s was a little something extra in that joy. A little lagniappe, if you will. The Saints. In a just a few minutes, the Saints take the field at the Superdome for the first game of the preseason.

It’s not unusual to see Saints gear around here, but this was the most excitement I’ve ever seen for a preseason game. Up and down the streets of the Warehouse District and inside the exhibitions at the World War II Museum, we all spotted black and gold. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool college football fan, so I can definitely appreciate the electricity that comes with the first week of football season… but I’ve never felt such enthusiasm for a preseason game. Maybe there were so many people out because the  Superdome is located in the middle of the city and I was downtown. Or maybe because people are relieved the NFL lock out didn’t hold. But it’s probably just because New Orleanians want a glimpse of their beloved team.

In Miami or DC, I would’ve given this game a miss. But right now I’m going to change into my “Who Dat” shirt and follow the devotees to the bar. Just for a glimpse, anyway.