UK rap and football have enjoyed a history of brotherly proportions. From Yannick Bolasie and Bradley Wright-Phillips sparring against each other on classic ‘Lord of the Mics‘ sets, right through to the likes of Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford being boys with Stormzy and Not3s in 2018, the two worlds continue to come closer together.
With most UK Rappers having kicked ball growing up, and most footballer’s car stereos regularly heard blasting out the latest Yxng Bane or MIST on the way to training, the two worlds now enjoy a relationship that is firmly joined at the hip.
Nowadays, you’d find it difficult to listen to a new Mixtape Madness exclusive and not hear a football-related rhyme. With DigDat, Headie One and KO leading the new gen and following on from the likes of Dave and AJ Tracey’s lyrical antics in the last few years, UK rappers have relentlessly reeled off baller-inspired bars over the years.
There’s now so much football-themed point-scoring you could comprise an entire UK Rap league table of lyrics. So with that being said, we’ve rounded up 50 of the best football-inspired bars from grime, drill and UK rap for you to run through.
1. Wretch 32 – ‘Behind Barz’
“From relegation to eviction to the title race / Tottenham is Man’s City but I got Arsenal faith / I got an Ox in the Chamber don’t make me blast away”
Wretch’s lyricism has never been in question, much like his fervent support of the Gunners. Here, he lists off three teams and his own allegiance in quick succession before breaking down former Arsenal player Oxlade-Chamberlain’s name with a clever double entendre.
2. MIST – ‘P110 #1TAKE’
“N*ggas call me Stone Cold, girls call me stunner / Support Man U, but you know I’m a gunner”
One of the first freestyles that put MIST on to a mainstream audience, MIST revealed who he supports with clever wordplay that also encompasses Steve Austin and his street status. Up there with his best bars.
3. CASISDEAD – ‘All Hallows’
“Yeah we fucking party, middle fingers up like fuck the Tory party / They’re about as far right wing as Nani, so we start riots like we just lost the derby”
More visceral grittiness from CAS, who spits his archetypal greaze by comparing the Tory party’s politics to the ex-Manchester United winger’s on-field position.
4. Dave – ‘Attitude’
“I made 50 clean, that’s a Lampard, that’s a Bentley, Aston, Jaguar / I go Trapstar, and get my girl clothes, And spend the Paul Pogba, that’s a Peugeot”
Dave concludes ‘Attitude’ by listing off motor brands alongside a host of players “named because the cars are from their country”.
5. Headie One – ‘Know Better’
“Know better, Anything (shh shh) / Excellent finish, Mo Salah”
The track which propelled Headie to mainstream success contains his now iconic reference to Liverpool’s Egyptian King, comparing his potency on the mic to Mo’s goal-scoring prowess.
6. P Money – ‘Straight Bars’
“I was shooting Dele in the Alli from an Eriksen / Age 16 picking Harry up”
Clever wordplay from P, who reflects about life on the roads by reeling off a host of references to players and old mobile phones (Eriksen/Ericcson) from his least favourite team in the league.
7. AJ Tracey – ‘You Don’t Know Me’
“Man I live a movie like Pixar / Never took an L, I’m Victor Wanyama defending that fixture”
While Victor Wanyama has taken fair few Ls in his time as a Spurs player, including his name in a bar takes tekkers, with AJ comparing Spurs’ holding midfielder’s defensive ability to how he blocks taking Ls.
8. Kamakaze – ‘Warm Up Sessions’
“Doing Giggs after games like his sister-in-law”
Kam’s wordplay and flow stays incredibly on point throughout this one, and he’s the only guy on this list who can reel off this bar with conviction and honesty, when he refers to Ryan Giggs’ infamous off-field antics to his own lifestyle, where he regularly tears up shows after playing professional football for Dagenham & Redbridge.
9. Stormzy – ‘Know Me From’
“Look I don’t rate them boys, bare wasteman, bare pagan boys / I come to your team and I fuck shit up, I’m David Moyes”
One of the first songs that put Big Mike on the map coincided with the departure of his favourite team’s worst-ever manager, who endured a train-wreck of an experience at Old Trafford.
10. Dave – ‘Thiago Silva’
“Champagne popper, .44 chopper in the black Nike bomber, heartbeat stopper / Half-heart MC dropper 45 wapper, leave you in states like Kaká”
Arguably the best bars from one of young Santan’s strongest verses, Dave compares leaving rival MCs in “states” to Kaka’s move to the MLS with Orlando City.
11. YGG – ‘Kiss Grime Freestyle’
“LS’s a left striker, MCs get Blaised like Matuidi / Tekkers are Manuel like Lanzini, man wanna bread, what a panini / Goku’s wife, them man are Chichi / I’m the Lyrical Streezy, that’s why your girl’s on my balls, She can get the sack, like Manuel Pellegrini”
Covering both the worlds of football and Dragon Ball Z, Lyrical Streezy demonstrates YGG’s attacking potency on the mic in this sick freestyle.
12. 23 x M Huncho – ‘Recognition’
“I ain’t never-ever solo, me and my bros are like Kolo / That’s Yaya Toure, Bro just scored another court case”
23 compared he and his team’s brotherhood to two of the best siblings to ever kick ball: Kolo and Yaya Toure.
13. AJ Tracey – ‘False 9’
“Chop left, sent to the shop, go Matalan / Pace abuse, I chase cheques like Aubameyang”
AJ draws parallels with how quickly he chases cheques to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s searing pace.
14. Big Narstie – ‘Don’t Fuck Up the Base’
“Winning! Smoking the Apple-Jack / Kick man’s face like Hasselbaink”
This purely makes the cut due to the mention of a legend from the yesteryears of the Prem. Those old enough to watch 90’s ‘Prem Years’ will understand the power of a Jimmy-Floyd thunderbolt.
15. Dave – ‘My 19th Birthday’
“F*ck the road but if anybody’s testing me / It’s one step away like a 5-a-side penalty / Every Santander Nationwide remembers me / Right pocket full of cards, I’m a referee”
Dave compares how close anyone beefing with him on roads is to the usual protocol of how you take your 5-a-side pens. Genius.
16. Skepta – ‘English Breakfast’
“My man are United like Giggs, I will never leave my Young Gunners like Thierry”
Skepta’s not exactly renowned for his football bars – he doesn’t even support a team – but this surprise bar from back in the day references Giggs’ one-team-man antics with Manchester United as well as Thierry Henry’s decision to leave Arsenal for Barcelona.
17. Stormzy – ‘Wickedskengman4’
“Look at the size of my fist, I will spark you, I’m the grime scene’s Lukaku / 6’5” black guy, mad fly, put me up top man down, everybody down when I buss shots”
Big Mike addressed the comment that every basic lad still leaves under his posts by comparing himself to United striker Romelu Lukaku.
18. KO x Unknown T – ‘9er Ting’
“When this ting sneeze you can get more than a flu or fever / Catch a shot like a ‘keeper”
KO alludes to his oppopents taking bullets like goalies deal with shots if he is to let his strap “sneeze” on this sick link up with Unknown T.
19. Dave – ‘Peligro’
“Remember when man came through, not one of them girls were flirtin’ / Til Jus pulled up in a Jurgen Klopp BM, that’s an angry German”
Dave’s progressed massively since bursting onto the scene back in 2016, with this bar comparing the growl of a BMW motor to the Liverpool manager’s occasionally-prickly nature.
20. Headie One – ‘Back 2 Back’
“All I know is O, when I spot man’s goal it’s nothing but headlock / treat these packs like Zidane in the World Cup final, they get sent off / treat these opps like United at a home match, it’s nothing but red tops / OFB just step too frosty, and I ain’t chatting ’bout Kellogs”
More gems from Headie, who compares his efficiency in moving weight to Zidane’s infamous dismissal in 2006 with a sly Frosties reference.
21. Youngs Teflon – ‘Daily Duppy’
“I’m out here tryna bag all the looty, we on the other side playing real Call of Duty / My young g that’s my smallest shooty, he go hard for the team so I call him Rooney”
Renowned for backing United to the hilt, Youngs work rate when it comes to reeling off football bars is reminiscent of Rooney in his prime.
22. Dru Blu – ‘SBTV F64’
‘My dargs got big tools that will crack a lorry, yeah I’m Savage Robbie / I got a team in the blue, and I’m the boss, Ancelotti’
Hailing from the blue borough of Lewisham, Strapzy, under his Dru Blu alias, features one of the least and most successful figures in the game in just a few bars.
23. Merky Ace – ‘None of That’
“Faze told me I’m the player of the year, And he ain’t lying, I should win that Ballon / Dior? Nah, Armani jeans on me”
A slick play on words from Merky, who riffs on the best individual award a player can win in the game alongside the high fashion brand and his choice of trousers.
24. Headie One – ‘Tracksuit Love’
“Touch road push weight like a Sumo, I see you n*ggas get defensive like Gatusso”
Headie’s work rate this year has been similar to the Italian midfield general’s in his AC Milan days, with this collab with Kenny Allstar a certified percy.
25. AJ Tracey – ‘The Lane’
“Man get eat up when the TEC patter / Controlling the game like Sepp Blatter”
AJ illustrates his control of the music game by comparing it to ex-FIFA boss Sepp Blatter, which will probably be the first and only time Sepp will be mentioned in a grime bar.
26. Chip – ‘Hat-Trick’
“Young Gunner going Super Saiyan levels on him / Man United with the flow, I done the treble on him”
The third in a week-long series of responses to Bugzy Malone’s “Relegation Riddim,” Chip references United’s treble-winning antics back in 1999 to claim victory over Bugzy.
27. Kamakaze – ‘Grime Show’
“Man said he’s got a pistol boy, and he’s sharp when he shoots Van Nistelrooy / Dickhead you don’t wanna see me get mardy, Man chat shit get banged I’m Vardy”
Kam is a diehard Leicester fan, which explains his shout out of Vardy’s infamous Facebook status from before he ripped up the Prem with the Foxes.
28. JME – ’96 Fuckries’
“Call me a rude kid or a maniac but beats?, I ain’t sharing ’em like Teddy / The only thing I will share like Jack is lyrics, I’ll spray whenever you’re ready”
Stellar wordplay from another Adenuga who isn’t really renowned for his love of football, shouting out Sherringham (sharing ’em) and Wilshere (will share).
29. Dave – ‘Tequila’
“Don’t worry what a hoe say, ’cause me and you both know you’re the special one / And if I can’t get a ring for your hand, you can leave Chelsea and fly into Milan”
Clad in an England shirt while playing FIFA with his “Spanish girl” in a Columbia kit, Dave alludes to Jose’s tenures at both the Blues and the Nezzazzuri.
30. Frisco – ‘Introduction’
“I beat shots likes Gerrard / and when I say move with dogs I don’t mean Wellard”
Big Fris shelling back in 2009, when Gerrard was in his Liverpool prime and Wellard was still the Eastenders dog. Serious throwback.
31. Headie One – ‘Golden Boot’
“Any sight of the goal man shoot / Perform this excellent finish I do it like Kane or Lukaku / Old-school like Bergkamp and Henry / Ammunition stays on me”
Shouting out clinical strikers from times past and present, Headie has fast become one of UK Rap’s deadliest frontmen, particularly when unleashing bars like this.
32. Sam Wise – ‘Rack Up’
“She caught a cheeky snap I never should have let her / Old school shooters that I know they kick like Gerrard”
We all know Gerrard had some serious power in the glut of long range goals he scored down the years, with Sam Wise likening his shooters’ strike rate to Stevie G’s.
33. S1 x Sav12 – ‘Next Up?’
“Stepped on the field with tekkers, mummy should have named me Neymar / If I buck jakes, I turn into a skater”
Saving one of the best til last in the “Next Up,” S1 compares his skill out avoiding the police on road to the PSG talisman.
34. Dave – ‘Game Over’
“I made the girl come round and go low / Now I just call her Kanté”
Riffing off Kante’s first name with “and go low” (N’Golo), it’s double entendres like this that make Dave’s football references up there with the very best.
35. C1 – ‘Hide N Seek’
“Talk on my name get touched / You can get dipped like Ronaldo shots”
We all know CR7’s iconic free kick technique has that notorious dip, with C1 stating that anyone that talks dirt on his name will face the consequences.
36. RV – ‘Assist’
“Name an opp block I can’t go to / If I didn’t score that point on an opp, hop out of the whip like Ozil”
RV compares his ability to assist with dealing with opps to the Arsenal midfielders playmaking antics.
37. T Mula – on ‘Badness’
“Free b he’s on savage shit, he make a n*gga do the mannequin / I treat your girl like a footy team and like Mourinho man a manage it”
T Mula explains this one himself in this bar, which shouts out a manager in Jose Mourinho who may not be “managing it” for much longer.
38. Ghetts – ‘Death Penalty’
“11-a-side / Man United with the devil and strike / I’m in another man’s city, no home advantage / One shot, man’ll bring out his feminine side”
Listing off both Manchester clubs before saying he’ll happily take on opps away from home, Ghetts treated us to a rare array of football bars on “Death Penalty.”
39. Unknown T & DigDat – ‘Kenny Allstar Freestyle’
“I’m like Messi on the field with sticks / On the pitch do skills and tricks”
DigDat states that he’s really out here, comparing his weapon arsenal “on the field” is as strong as one of the game’s best-ever players.
40. Big Zuu – “Blatant Truth”
“Run ’em in the field like Kimmich / Old school, man ah clap man like Vidić”
A pair of football references from Zuu comparing his work on the roads to that of tireless German full back Joshua Kimmich, and comparing his OG status to Nemanja Vidic – one of the Prem’s best-ever centre backs.
41. Merky Ace – ‘Play Your Position (Beckham)’
“Yo, get a boot in the face like Beckham / Take man down in less than a second”
Referencing Beckham and Ferguson’s infamous dressing room bust-up, Merky says that his enemies will be getting the same treatment as Becks did from Sir Alex back in the day.
42. Youngs Teflon – ‘Marcus Rashford’
“Score bare goals last year, got charged up and crashed it / Now they playing up front, coming like Marcus Rashford”
Penning a song in the name of the young striker when he first started making his breakthrough, Youngs compares his young bulls to the Rashford, who is now an established Prem player.
43. KO – ‘TSM’
“On numerous events they couldn’t defend / We had to leave a pool like Sturridge”
KO’s wordplay is some of the best in drill at the minute, here breaking up “Liverpool” into “Leave a pool”, illustrating that he’ll leave the scene red.
44. Dave – ‘JKYL + HYD’
“Them youths look raggo, them boy there plateaued / Died in battle, I still wonder why we had burners from young, like Alexandre Pato”
Alexandre Pato was once one of European football’s biggest prospects – and Dave compares the future of young kids out on the road to Pato’s now-plateaued career.
45. Devlin – ‘FU’
“Know what history is, some distant kids surrounded by risky shit / I smoke a spliff that’s big then I’m feeling on top of the world like Bobby Moore in ’66”
Not a complicated one here: Devlin compares easing off with a spliff to the highs of England’s heroics in ’66.
46. AJ Tracey – ‘Fire In The Booth’
“My grip tight, loose grip on the glass / El Shaarawy man skip, then blast”
Here, AJ compares his speed with a strap to electric Roma winger Mohamed El Shaarawy’s ability to skip pass defenders and score.
47. DigDat – ‘Tactics’
“When we step ’round der set piece, I swear me and bro did tactics / Creased up 20’s and 10’s in plastic, Got dem in thick elastics”
DigDat has often been compared to the Mbappe of the drill scene – and here he talks about the meticulous planning that goes into making his money.
48. Eyez – ‘#FootballMadness’
“Yats lick man / start fucking ’em / Spur of the moment / Might end up with a tot in ’em”
Some straight greazy freestyling from Eyez over that classic “Ante Up” beat, who produces probably the only sexual ineundo Tottenham Hostpur with ever recieve in a set of bars.
49. Don Strapzy – ‘Anything Football Freestyle’
“It’s cool let your bredrin know / I’ll be back in the set with something longer than Wenger’s coat”
The whole of this freestyle is full of some of the coldest football wordplay you’ll hear, but this bar is a particular stand out. Make sure you listen out for the Dickov and Wanchope bars too!
50. Dave – ‘100M’s’
“My striker’s 18 with a hightop, this kid’s looking like Marcus Rashford”
Dave’s 18-year-old shooter has the same hairstyle that Marcus Rashford had at the same age before firing his way to getting the club’s number 10 jersey this season.