So Far from SoFi is a continuing series where I check in on some things happening outside of the LA Rams organization that may still be somewhat related to the LA Rams organization. And also I do something fun for myself and if you want to skip it, no skin off my back.
There are a few NFL-related items that happen every year that I have never related to, and one of those perennial moments is investing emotion into Madden ratings. I get that those numbers can serve a function as some motivation for either celebration or determination depending on whether a player got imaginary respect or disrespect, but aren’t there already plenty of sources for that within the NFL itself?
And not with the people at Electronic Arts?
The Los Angeles Rams had two players achieve the highest-rating possible this year and I suppose that was to be expected of Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. Which also doesn’t quite make it news that they were assessed and graded as expected. The better news being that those two players are on the Rams.
It also doesn’t help that I stopped playing video games a long time ago, and never did invest as much time into them as many of my peers. I did, however, play a lot of Madden growing up and songs like “Awnaw” by Nappy Roots and “Party Hard” by Andrew W.K. will forever be burned in my brain in the parts where math was supposed to go.
I mean, I didn’t even realize that I knew the lyrics to a Good Charlotte song until just this moment. What I’m saying is this is the anthem. Throw all your hands up, you don’t wanna be you.
I have not played Madden in over a decade but I have listened to music before and recently, and one such collection of songs I spent time with was the Madden 22 soundtrack that was just released. Now to me, this is what a Madden song is meant to sound like:
What’s a football soundtrack without an artist named “Bone Crusher”?
And what’s a football soundtrack song without some allusion to football? The Madden 22 soundtrack is not that much like the ones that I used to know but it does have a few songs that make me feel like the game could party hard.
Mixed in between songs will be some news around the NFL that in some way relates to the LA Rams. This is a SCROLLER, BABY.
1. “How I’m Feelin’” - Belly with Shenseaa
Has a catchy hook like an opening Madden soundtrack song should have. I have to admit I feel somewhat ready to play a football video game after listening to this a few times. And I did listen to it a few times.
Strangely, Rich Rocka, formerly known as ‘Ya Boy’, also has a song called “How I’m Feelin’” and both him and Belly mention being worth “a couple million” in their opening lines. The songs are in no other way similar.
When I touch down
I’m gonna burn it all to the ground
make sure the whole world feel it
There’s breathing room between this and a perfect track, but I can’t complain about this being on the game. Or the album. I won’t play the game.
RAMS STUFF: Jaylon Smith on the trading block?
It is being speculated that Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith, one of the highest-paid players in Dallas, will either be traded or released before Week 1. The Cowboys added a wealth of linebackers in the offseason, including free agent Keanu Neal (who worked with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn in Atlanta) and first round pick Micah Parsons, so it looks like Smith is falling behind those two and incumbent Leighton Vander Esch. Dallas has a number of other linebackers who they can develop too, such as Jabril Cox, so the odds could be increasing that the Cowboys try to trade Smith for a little bit of salary cap relief this year.
Would Rams show interest in another linebacker reclamation project?
#2. “Mime” by Morray
Couldn’t really tell at first if the artist was named Mime or Morray. Having familiarized myself with Morray slightly now, I prefer his 2020 breakout hit “Quicksand” over this one. Bonus points for not being a football song.
Minus points for not being a song about mimes.
Football mentions: None really. But always relevant:
If I write a bad tweet, that can end my whole streak
This genre of hip hop is for a lot of people, but doesn’t strike a chord with me
RAMS STUFF: Jared Goff makes Lions debut
While the Rams rest Matthew Stafford for the entire preseason, Detroit head coach Dan Campbell feels he needs to know all he can about new Lions quarterback Jared Goff. He was one of the few starters playing in Week 1, and Goff finished by completing 7-of-9 attempts for some unimportant number of yards.
Goff’s first pass attempt was nearly intercepted, and then he was sacked two plays later to end the drive. The next drive resulted in 70 yards and a field goal and this was his best play over the weekend:
The Lions are taking a much different approach to the season than the Rams are, for obvious reasons. The running game is expected to be a staple of the offense.
#3. “Ball is Life” by Swae Lee ft. Jack Harlow
“Ball is Life” sits in the all-important three-spot of the lineup and is Madden’s first single off of the album. I’ll say that within the first minute, I knew that Swae Lee and Jack Harlow ball like every day. By the end of the song, it wasn’t even a question. They ball like every day.
You know that movie Multiplicity where Michael Keaton clones himself and they create a copy of a copy of a copy of the original Michael Keaton and each time he comes out different?
Anyways, Jack Harlow is one of the big hip hop stars now and in “Ball is Life”, the song on the Madden 22 soundtrack, his verse is about how Kendrick Lamar respects him now and how he wants to win awards for rap music. I guess it’s not that surprising, given that Harlow wrote a song for a current NBA player.
My whole team in the huddle (Beatin’ the buzzer)
I done caught over a gazillion plays (Plays, yeah)
This line by Swae Lee only gets half-credit for this being a football mention, but is then docked three credits for making a basketball reference right behind it.
Sounds like something you’re supposed to listen to when it’s dark out at 6:50 PM and you’re driving to Wendy’s, not necessarily while getting hyped for a video game.
RAMS STUFF: Morgan Fox is a starter now
What a wild 12 months it has been for Morgan Fox.
The former LA Rams defensive end emerged from a pile of linemen last season to eventually wind up as the second or third-best pass rusher next to Aaron Donald by the end of 2020. Once an undrafted free agent, Fox found himself as just a regular free agent this past March, and he signed a two-year, $8.1 million contract with the Carolina Panthers.
Now Fox, a former Division II player at Colorado State-Pueblo, is listed as a starting defensive end next to former first round picks Brian Burns and Derrick Brown and he was considered too important to dress for Carolina’s first preseason game.
The Rams chose not to re-sign Fox but it’s too soon to say if that will be a regrettable decision or not. He only started six games in four years and his career 2020 season resulted in six sacks and only nine QB hits, albeit in limited action and with a three-time Defensive Player of the Year by his side. However, he has beaten out 2020 second round pick Yetur Gross-Matos for the job so far and he has an incredible opportunity to become a mainstay in the league well beyond the end of his current two-year deal with the Panthers.
One of Fox’s teammates last training camp in LA, linebacker Clay Johnston, is fighting for a reserve role in Carolina. He had no stats in the first preseason game.
#4. “Blitz” by Moneybagg Yo ft. Tripstar
I know before I hit play that I have to give this minimum 11/22 for at least trying to write a football song. If it’s not about blitzing though, I’m going to have to take that into my decision.
This song is so much about football. Fuck yeah.
I can’t realistically give Moneybagg Yo a pass on some surprisingly choppy lyrics — it seems as though Moneybagg is rich in the letter ‘g’ but missing some syllables — but I can’t be that mad given that he probably just knew that EA would accept a first draft.
Set up the block just for my man, I bet we winnin’
Go hard or go home, it’s survival of the fittest (Woah)
This song is overly-activated with football mentions, but I need to shout out Tripstar for taking the unexpected move of being a blocker in his dreams instead of the person who scores the touchdown. Tripstar is going for “teammate of the year” here.
This song makes less than zero sense, but I made a promise and blitzing was mentioned.
#5. “8” by Tierra Whack
I just...I just can’t explain why this isn’t the eighth track of the album.
I think the Madden 22 soundtrack was clearly trending in the wrong direction over the last few songs, and I had never heard of Tierra Whack prior to this listen, but she woke me up with the best track of the album so far.
Does it bop? Yes.
Is it under 2:30? Hell yes.
Does it say “touchdown” and “winning” and “sports”? Yep.
Heels hurt, I got blisters (Damn)
Touchdown, make me richer
Couldn’t even get an 8/10.
RAMS STUFF: John Kelly could be available for Rams return
The former Rams running back had eight carries for -1 yard in Cleveland’s first preseason game on Saturday. Kelly is buried in one of the most talented running back rooms in the NFL and seems like an obvious candidate to be cut by early September.
LA may not be interested in a reunion with their former sixth round pick, but he’s familiar with Sean McVay and much of the staff, so a practice squad opportunity could make sense.
#6. “Count Me In” by TSB Tril
I think 41% of my favorite rap beats just have some sort of flute playing a nice tune over some bass. This song has some of that, with the familiar message that the artist was doubted but now he is here.
Football moments: Literally none. If only YSB Tril had a song that would have made sense to put on a football video game.
Was “Touchdown” too on the nose? Count me out.
#7. “Oh No (Madden Version)” by BRS Kash
At first, I felt this could be a catchy hit, but then after further digging it occurred to me that it only feels catchy because BRS Kash is sampling a popular TikTok song.
That’s gonna be an “Oh no” from me.
Football moments: To be honest, I’m not sure if football is BRS Kash’s sport of choice.
Bust the defense, open runnin’ through somethin’
I don’t know no plays on the field, I just freeform
Caught it with the left but I’m bettеr with my right arm (Yeah, yeah)
When thеy call Blitz, hit stick don’t mean no harm
Down set hut, kick a punt, then I make ’em catch
Five thousand ones in an hour, I’ma make it stretch
I just made a mess (Yeah), I just made a mess (Yeah)
I got cash by the bundle so I’m never pressed (Ooh-wee)
I just made a mess (Yeah), I just made a mess (Yeah)
Let’s hope that the Rams don’t make a ton of messes this season.
This was EA’s strike to get a viral TikTok song onto the game.
#8. “Down Ready Set” by 42 Dugg
First off, we’re all really confused by that title, right? It’s not just me. I don’t think that’s a football term? I know that quarterbacks could say “ready, set” and that football has four downs. I don’t know when anyone says “down ready set” but a Google search returns some dog training tips and tricks.
Football moments: Need I say more than “down, ready, set”? 42 Dugg does give some good advice though.
Don’t hit too low, know I need my legs
I like songs to keep it short and sweet, but I can’t give a proper grade for a :96 second one-verse interlude.
RAMS STUFF: Brandin Cooks starring for Texans again
Not much seems to be going right in Houston lately but Cooks has been a gravitational force of talent in the middle of the chaos. After surprising a lot of people by catching 81 passes for 1,150 yards last season, Cooks is unquestionably the go-to go on offense that won’t have a lot of other guys to go to.
Rookie third round pick Nico Collins, journeyman Chris Conley, and the recently-acquired Anthony Miller are the only known threats to take targets at receiver, while none of the Texans’ tight ends are known for being receivers.
The big question is whether or not Cooks will be playing for Deshaun Watson or someone else but amazingly he’ll find out before his 28th birthday, which still doesn’t occur until this September. The Rams acquired a 2020 second round pick in return for Cooks (used on Van Jefferson) but are sending back a 2022 fourth rounder to Houston.
#9. “JID” by Ambassel (TRACK OF THE ALBUM)
Did Madden 22 sneak the song of the year onto this soundtrack, buried under what you see above? We can never overlook JID again.
Football moments: YES.
My salary double your baby daddy, maybe triple, I’m trouble
I get the tackle and the pick and I hustle
I had to have it, had to get in the huddle
In the gravel and rubble
Got me a sack and I’m tryna be subtle
We just actin’ like a dog with a muzzle
See the back-up, put him back in a puddle
We attackin’, better stand back and watch and run
Shotgun come with the option
Send big blitz, nobody blockin’
Big win, that’s a ring and a watch
Strong end when he come in the slot
Tryna bend the corner, your limbs gettin’ ****
That’s your partner, then your twin gettin’ ****
Before he was J.I.D., he was Destin Route, a defensive back at a college that he doesn’t want to mention because he got kicked out. He made it Madden anyway.
RAMS STUFF: Arthur Smith says Dante Fowler has yet to earn a role with the defense
Should they be highly skeptical of a rebound, the Falcons could attempt to trade Fowler for a savings of less than $1.5 million, but we’ve yet to hear confirmation from Smith that Fowler has earned a role yet. It would seem that if there is any role for Fowler, it’s probably just as a situational pass rusher. Maybe new defensive coordinator Dean Pees can change that.
Between names like Fowler and Cory Littleton, the Rams don’t tend to be wrong when they let certain free agents leave for big contracts. Maybe the recent one that will hurt the most is John Johnson, but Jordan Fuller looked ready for more responsibilities.
Speaking of Littleton, he believes that he’ll bounce back from a horrid 2020 campaign now that he’s working with Gus Bradley as defensive coordinator and getting a fresh start at inside linebacker.
#10. “Number One” by Sally Sossa
Also, ‘8’ wasn’t track 8 and ‘Number One’ wasn’t track number one.
Football moments: Nah, had nothing to do with the theme, this is probably what they call a “slapper” in the industry because you just slap it on the album when you need one more song.
RAMS STUFF: Alec Ogletree has been a huge surprise in Bears camp
The former Rams linebacker went to Chicago to visit former Rams teammate Robert “Rams” Quinn just for a couple of days last month, but then he ended up signing a contract with the Bears when he was in town to see if he has anything left to give after spending some of last season on the Jets’ practice squad. Ogletree has been one of the stars of camp and there’s an increasing believe that he will make the final roster.
Chicago already has Quinn, Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith, and Denny Trevathan at linebacker, but he may be too good to leave out of the game plan by Week 1 against LA. The LA Rams.
Quinn and Ogletree used to play for the Rams. Quinn has been dealing with an ankle injury, which could even open the door for more time for his good friend Ogletree.
Justin Fields got a lot of hype in his preseason Chicago debut, will the rookie start in Week 1 vs LA? I would lean on it being Andy Dalton. For sure.
#11. “Back in a Minute” by Tank and the Bangas
Clearly another song that they added at the end to get to 11 songs, but at least has the vibe of Madden songs of past. You could bop to it and they’re having fun.
Football moments: No, not that vibe.
Full Album Rating: 14/22
I have a whole new world open to me now with J.I.D. and there are about three other songs that carry the ensemble towards a modest C-type grade. I’ll never play the game but if I did, I would probably do what I imagine many others have done since the invention of making literally every song in the world free:
Mute it and play something of my choosing.
Perhaps J.I.D. though.
New Song of the Week - “Run It” by DJ Snake, Rick Ross, Rich Brian
Just because I’m surprised it made it onto the Shang-Chi soundtrack instead of the Madden 22 soundtrack.
New Movie of the Week - Annette
75% of you might hate me for recommending this movie, but 10% of you will be relieved to watch something original.