Sounds Like Team Spirit! The Soul Rebels’ “Greatness” Powers ESPN’s College Basketball Campaign

The likes of Nas, Metallica, G-Eazy, Katy Perry and many more have collaborated with this New Orleans-based band; here's why TSR likes working with ESPN

ESPN’s “Blockbuster Theater” campaign touting the best regular-season college basketball matchups is in full swing – and it boasts a distinctive soundtrack.

ESPN collaborated with The Soul Rebels – New Orleans-based musicians who have worked with seemingly everyone from Nas to G-Eazy to Metallica to Katy Perry – to feature their new song “Greatness” off their latest album “Poetry In Motion” as part of the campaign (watch video above). They answered Front Row’s questions about their music and working with ESPN as a collective below:

Why did you want to work with ESPN?
It’s an honor to be working with ESPN. ESPN feels like home to us. When we’re on the road touring, ESPN is our go-to for comfort, to catch our games and keep us informed.

We’ve gone weeks without seeing our families and loved ones while touring, but it’s ESPN we can rely on to always be there to entertain, inform, stimulate and humor us.

We’ve gone weeks without seeing our families and loved ones while touring, but it’s ESPN we can rely on to always be there to entertain, inform, stimulate and humor us. As a band, we gather around a TV or laptop or iPhone to watch our games, all huddled around in our dressing room watching the big games right up until we need to walk on stage.

We are sports fanatics. Like music, following sports is part of our culture, style, and lives. We even write music with athleticism and sports in mind, consciously and subconsciously. It’s part of who we are and connected to our competitive nature. We deeply recognize the incredible commonalities between musicianship and athleticism.

ESPN is synonymous with sports, and we feel that ESPN shares these values within its programming and content. This is why ESPN feels so natural to us.

What makes brass such a great fit to reflect the sound of college basketball?
The sound and power of brass is explosive, courageous, royal and mighty. Brass is sophisticated. Our music has power, motion, movement and has a commanding dynamic. It’s powerful. A big brassy sound can be heard as a call to action.

Brass can be rhythmic and have a flow, like basketball players, brass is forceful. Also, the legacy of brass and drums at sports games is very meaningful. The marching band sound and history of brassy pep bands at big games will always have a connection. Also, brass is often performed in harmony with multiple brass horn instruments, and the quality of performing in harmony is reflected on the court as well between the players, and practicing teamwork. A brass band playing and working in harmony as the players play in harmony on the court. I think the fans and listeners can hear that.

The Soul Rebels’ new album “Poetry In Motion” features the tune “Greatness,” which provides the soundtrack for ESPN’s College Hoops Blockbuster promotion for the 2019-20 season. (Louis Browne)

The Soul Rebels’ Bucket List ESPN Appearances

The Soul Rebels have collaborated with a variety of musicians including Nas, Robin Thicke, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Mobb Deep, Metallica and Marilyn Manson. (Louis Browne)

If you were going to play an ESPN live telecast at any sporting event or show, what would it be and why?
All of these below would be a dream for us. Not only because we’re huge fans, but because these shows and events support the type of music we love and do. If Stephen A. Smith was a playlist, that would be our playlist! And Stephen loves our guy [New Orleans Saints quarterback] Drew Brees.

  • NBA All-Star Week coverage
  • The ESPYS
  • First Take
  • NBA Finals coverage
  • Super Bowl coverage
  • Bowl Game coverage
  • Jordan Brand Classic
  • NCAA Final Four coverage
  • McDonald’s All-American Game coverage
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