Face the music: The Rebels need new tunes

TULSA, OK - MARCH 18: A UNLV Rebels band member performs during the second round game against the Illinois Fighting Illini in the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at BOK Center on March 18, 2011 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Everything is good, everything is great, but something need to be pointed out and has lots of room for improvement. A glaring area is the music played at the Thomas and Mack center during the basketball games. I’m not talking about the band whose normal standards include the fight song, Reeebbels, and Viva Las Vegas - I’m talking about the AV people. 

The particular bone I have to pick with the T&M crew, is the music that was picked seemingly for the student section is dated, boring, and does not help anyone get into a cheering or winning mindset.

The songs that have been played (and frankly played-out) are Biz Markie’s – Just a Friend; and Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff’s theme to Fresh Prince. From what I’ve seen, they are played sometime during the second half and the student section sings along with these tunes. Does anyone else see a problem with this?

Let’s look at each one and highlight why it’s a bad choice for Rebels games.

Biz Markie’s – Just a friend

This is the song that everyone loves to sing along to, it has that going for it, but is it really right for a sporting event? This song is about a guy who finds out his relationship with a girl is less exclusive than was believed. The reason why the song was catchy was that people could relate to the theme, the silliness of Biz’s voice, and the campy piano music. What the heck does this have to do with sports, let alone the Rebels – not a damn thing. The song moves along at a snails pace, clocks at 86 B.P.M. which is tame enough for an old folks home. As far as old goes, the song debuted on the charts in 1989, so the song is approximately 22 years old. This slow old school jam has no place at a Runnin’ Rebels basketball game.

Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff – Theme to Fresh Prince of Bel Air

A catchy tune that educates the viewers as to how Will Smith, a kid from Philly, ends up living with relatives in Bel Air, CA. Its only tie to basketball, is that Will happens to be playing basketball when he is roughed up by some troublemakers in his neighborhood while playing basketball (poorly). Ironically, he seems to be awesome on his preppy high school team, even though he is lousy on the show’s intro. Besides people remembering the lyrics to this theme, there is no real reason why this song has any place at a Rebels game. The internet lists the speed at 112 B.P.M. which is generous for this sleepy little irrelevant tune. The show and the song were on the air from 1990-96, but have been in syndication ever since.  The theme from a mid-90’s comedy sitcom just isn’t right for Runnin ‘Rebels basketball.

Speed / Standards

Looking at what needs to be played, you need quick paced music to give a boost to the fans and the players. Count out all slow-jamz, unless remixed to make them play quicker, and definitely quit the TV theme songs. In a perfect world, music that would be played would be something that did have some crowd participation, such as "the hey song" or the "ole ole" song commonly played at soccer games. T&M staff could pick one or two songs for the entire season, maybe something by Kanye West, Jay-Z, the Black Eyed Peas or even something by Daft Punk, Modest Mouse. It would be nice to get the entire arena singing, not just the student section. There is a lot of gray-hairs (not that there is anything wrong with it) in the RAF seats, the music needs to be something they can sing along with as well. Someone has to find a song that the young and old alike are comfortable and proud to sing together, maybe that’s why ‘the hey song’ as endured.  

Player’s tunes

UNLV has always done cutting edge things, they put the spectacle into basketball and were ahead of the game entertainment value-wise before even some NBA teams. How about this for an idea, in Major League baseball they often times will play a piece of music specific to a player when he comes to bat. Music is extremely important to athletes, a lot of the time you’ll see a player be they amateur or professional come to practice or to a game sporting headphones listing to their favorite jam to hype them up, calm their nerves, or get them in the right mindset. How about the arena put together a mega-mix or mashup of players favs to pump them up, and then play that mixtape every game at the designated timeout.  

The blowout tune / clip

How about a clip / music for a blowout? Most fans will sing ‘na na na na hey hey hey, goodbye’ when it’s a blowout, the Celtics have a great clip from Soul Train in the 70’s where a guy named Geno dances and he is essentially their ‘victory cigar’. We need to get something. How about Wayne Newton signing Danke Schoen, very Vegas, very classy.

Music and sports go hand-in-hand. Changing the music costs basically nothing, and takes a few minutes - let’s make a change for the better, Rebel fans. 

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