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Monday, May 27, 2024

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Arts + CultureMusicRed-and-gold needle drops for your 49ers NFC Championship tailgate...

Red-and-gold needle drops for your 49ers NFC Championship tailgate playlist

Saweetie, E-40, George Strait, even the Gay Men’s Chorus are bringing the anthems for Sunday’s kickoff.

Here we go again. Over the last five years, the 49ers have reached the NFC Championship game four times. To date, it’s yet to result in the team once based in San Francisco netting their elusive sixth Super Bowl victory.

However, this Sunday, they’ll once again have a chance to punch their ticket to the proverbial big dance if they can topple the Detroit Lions in what’s sure to be another heart stopping display of playoff football. (Our poor arts editor, Marke B., is a Detroit native who will be rocking the Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hanging On” and crossing his fingers in honor of decades of what-seemed-like-futile fandom.)

To keep the Faithful pumped, we’ve put together a curated playlist of tunes to help soundtrack your tailgates and house parties ahead of another must-win game this weekend. Turn ‘em up and get loud!

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1. E-40, “Niner Gang” (Spotify)

Released in the fall of 2019, E-40’s “Niner Gang” has subsequently cemented itself not only as an anthem for the red-and-gold, but as a veritable catchphrase too. To see a 49er do something incredible on the field is to know there’s a “Bang Bang Niner Game” soundbite coming later that night. Capable of putting a car’s subwoofers to their absolute limit, vehicles are sure to be shaking to “Niner Gang” again this Sunday.

2. Saweetie & P-Lo, “Do It for the Bay” (Spotify)

New playoff run, new anthem! For the 2024 edition of the 49ers ongoing quest to bring a another championship home, local hip hop heavyweights Saweetie and P-Lo have combined forces on the aptly titled “Do It for the Bay.” It features copious amounts of swag, a familiar beat, and the Santa Clara born Saweetie dropping lines like “Got a lot of sauce like it’s pasta / Pretty little face and I’m stacked like the roster.” Always nice to see a buzzy Grammy nominee and a prolific rapper getting Bay-triotic together.

3. Travis King, “Put On” (Spotify)

On his website, Bay Area musician Travis King bills himself as “Mr. 49er Faithful himself, [delivering] soul gripping, confidence gathering, Deebo smashing music for the fans of San Francisco.” It’s not bluster. Last year’s “Put On” has all the hallmarks of a song you want to play while guzzling, grilling, and counting the seconds down to kickoff at Levi’s. Featuring DJ Hypeman and guest verses from Dave Canal, Tommy Nello, Barritz, and Eye of the Niner, this is indeed a cut tailored made to be paired with a bruising Deebo highlight reel. Here’s hoping #19 suits up on Sunday.

4. NBA Youngboy, “Won’t Step on Me” (Spotify)

If you haven’t heard, the 49ers enjoy taking the field for games with a large boombox in tow. The songs being blasted on a given day are selected by star 49ers Trent Williams and Deebo Samuel, who only change the tune following a loss. In 2022, the team went on a 12-game winning streak while bumping “Won’t Step on Me” by NBA Youngboy, so we’re throwing it back in the mix in hopes it may still have some magic left.

5. The San Francisco 49ers Sing, “We’re the 49ers” (YouTube)

In 1984 — a year before the Chicago Bears released their imminently popular “Super Bowl Shuffle” — 14 members of the 49ers, including Pro Bowl defensive back Ronnie Lott, headed to the studio of producer Narada Michael Walden. Their purpose? To sing a little ditty known as “We’re the 49ers.” The results truly speak (or at least sing poorly) for themselves. Incredibly, Walden has kept the party going, releasing several timely remixes, including this version in 2020.

6. Travis King ft. E-40, “49er Faithful” (Spotify)

Having already proven their might at crafting solo anthems devoted to their favorite football team, what else could Travis King and E-40 do other than team-up for 2023’s “49er Faithful”? Trading verses over a booming bass line, King sets the table with autotuned couplets before ceding the stage to E-40, who makes a meal of the word “intercepted” among other gems. Bonus points are also due to King, who manages to fit in a rhyme that namechecks the surname of 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga.

7. George Strait, “Amarillo By Morning” (Spotify)

What would the 2023-2024 49ers’ season look like without QB Brock Purdy? Drafted with the final pick in the 2022 draft, football’s “Mr. Irrelevant” is now back in his second NFC Championship game in as many seasons. To celebrate his impressive return to form following a devastating injury in last year’s playoff run, it’s only fitting to include a track from Purdy’s self-proclaimed favorite musician: country legend George Strait. Hailed by Rolling Stone readers as the artist’s best, here’s hoping “Amarillo By Morning” inspires Purdy to reach Las Vegas by February.

8. San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus ft. Bernard Green and the NFL Marching Band, “49ers Fight Song” (YouTube)

More research is warranted to learn all the details of how this gem came to be, but in 1985, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus recorded a fight song for the 49ers. Appropriately titled “49ers Fight Song,” it features lyrics by Tom Spinosa, music by Martin Judnich, and Bernard Green conducting the NFL Marching Band. Recorded at Hyde Street Studios, the rare track was pressed on vinyl but is best found on YouTube today. Repress please!

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Bonus picks! Once the clock hits 0:00 on Sunday evening, the mood will call either for celebration or despair. 

If victory is achieved, prepare for this year’s Super Bowl halftime show with a dose of “Yeah” by Usher (Spotify). Let the Lil Jon flow through you — you’ve earned it.

Should the unspeakable come to pass, then it’s time for Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye” (Spotify), which the group performed live following the final 49ers game at Candlestick Park in 2013. If it must hurt, at least let it hurt good.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Zack Ruskin
Zack Ruskin
Zack Ruskin is an award-winning drugs and culture reporter living in San Francisco. His bylines on weed, music, books, and more can be found at Leafly, San Francisco Chronicle, Variety, KQED, Cannabis Now, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, California Leaf Magazine, and numerous other publications. From 2016-2021, he wrote SF Weekly’s “Pacific Highs” cannabis column, which was recognized with a California Journalism Award in the Best Column category (2020). Follow him on Twitter: @zackruskin

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