From the outset, the 2017 MLS Cup looks exactly like the 2016 MLS Cup: As they did last year, the Seattle Sounders will visit Toronto FC at their home BMO Field, this Saturday (Dec. 9). The rematch will kick off at 4:30 p.m. ET, and from there, Toronto has the opportunity to give the 2017 MLS Cup a different ending than in 2016 (where they lost to Seattle in penalty kicks).
One thing that never looks the same from year to year, though, is the world’s musical landscape, which means the locker rooms prior to the MLS Cup will have a totally different feel than in 2016. MLS and Billboard have teamed up to provide you with some of the essential songs that will be played by each club prior to the biggest game of the season.
For Toronto FC, forward Raheem Edwards is in charge of the pre-game soundtrack. Toronto born and raised, Edwards’ teammates trust him to be in tune with the best vibes of the city. “Obviously, in the music industry right now, Toronto is kind of like the new wave worldwide,” Edwards tells Billboard. “Me being a Toronto boy, I guess they thought I’d be very cultured and familiar with music… so I just got pushed into this role.”
Edwards says the club’s music is heavily Toronto-based — featuring popular native artists like NAV, Drake and Tory Lanez — all season long. For the Cup, Edwards threw in two from the 6 God (More Life highlights “Free Smoke” and “Portland”), and three from NAV (“Hit,” “Myself” and “I Am”). Other contributors not tied to Toronto include Jaden Smith (“Icon”), Kendrick Lamar (“DNA.”) and Travis Scott (“Butterfly Effect”).
“It’s mostly rap,” Edwards notes. “No one would want country to hype them up before a game.”
Edwards adds that while the playlist is updated throughout the season as new smashes emerge, there are definitely a few staples: “Wins & Losses” by Meek Mill is the song always played just before the club heads out to the pitch.
Seattle’s DJing is more of a collective effort, courtesy of defenders Tony Alfaro and Oniel Fisher, with assistant equipment manager Gerrit Mahling at the helm. Alfaro and Fisher say that there’s primarily a mixture of Spanish and hip-hop music prior to games, but mostly — with Mahling’s final say — it’s “first come, first serve.”
Regardless of rooting interest, these songs are sure to get you in the zone. The MLS Cup will air on ESPN in the United States and TSN in Canada.
Listen to both clubs’ Starting XI Playlist (Toronto FC top, Seattle bottom) below: