At age 34, Bradley Wright-Phillips is on point when he refers to himself “one of the old guys” on the New York Red Bulls. This mentality shines through to his classic taste in music. Wright-Phillips grew up with and still loves the authentic, raw feel of England’s grime music. He loves it so much that he’s even been known to take the mic up himself.
It’s easy to see how grime’s raw, direct delivery resembles Wright-Phillips’ aggressive style of play. The same relentlessness found in his favorite genre of music is what led him to become the fastest MLS player to 100 goals. We sat down with Wright-Phillips to get his take on all things music. He shared how his upbringing shaped his love for music, his favorite song of the moment, and the best concerts he’s ever been to.
My favorite genre has got to be grime. I can relate to it a lot more than I can to other music. I grew up in the era when it was in its early stages, so I grew with it. It’s something I can relate to, I know what people are talking about when they talk about their experiences in the songs. Plus the beats are good so it’s easy to dance to.
I’m not sure if many Americans know what grime is, can you describe it for us?
It’s hard to put into a box… but think of American hip hop in the early days. Something raw, like a guy on a mic backed up by music with 140 bpm beats. Guys talking about their lives, their upbringings, their experiences.
Who are your favorite grime artists and songs right now?
There’s just too many artists to list, and I wouldn’t want to be disrespectful and leave anyone out. But my favorite song right now is "No One," by P Money.
You’re so passionate about music. Where does that come from?
I just grew up in a house where my mom would always play music for us. My dad would play music for us in the car. My brother, Shaun, had a set of decks that he used to mix on and play old school garage beats and jungle instrumentals. I’ve just grown up with it. Even at my grandma’s house, she’d play us old reggae every Sunday.
If you weren’t a professional footballer, would you be working in the music industry?
I don’t know, it’s hard to say. I would like to have some kind of role in the music scene. That would be so cool.
Do you have any music that’s your guilty pleasure?
Probably Cyndi Lauper. "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" is definitely in there.
In the Red Bulls locker room, who’s in charge of the AUX cord?
There’s a couple, but I’d say Derrick [Etienne Jr.]. Derrick always knows the new songs that are out, and he’s always up to date with the new hip hop scene.
Who should definitely NOT be in charge of the AUX cord?
Probably one of the older guys. Me or [goalkeeper] Luis [Robles]. It’s not our thing.
What’s better right now, the American hip hop music scene or the English?
UK now. I think the American music scene is a little... it’s all gimmicks. It’s kind of feels like hashtag music to me. It’s a bit more real in England at the moment.
What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
I went to Watch the Throne, which was good. I also saw 50 Cent a few years back. When he was wearing the bandanna… that’s 50 in his prime.
Trap music or old school hip hop?
Old hip hop, definitely.