Big Zuu & Callum Hudson-Odoi Explore The Relationship Between London, Music & Football In COPA90’s ‘The Crossover’


Words: James Keith
Photography: Kiera Liberati

Music and football have always been closely linked, particularly in the UK. While your first thought might be the dubious quality of World Cup songs, nowadays the relationship is a lot more authentic.

An appearance on the FIFA soundtrack has become a badge of honour for artists, and an accolade that’s perhaps even more valuable than the spike in streams that it brings. Even on an individual level, players’ pre-match playlists are discussed and dissected almost as much as the games themselves.

In light of that, COPA90 have launched a new video series called The Crossover, which explores the relationship between music and football and how that plays out in cities around the country. For the first episode, which focuses on London, they’ve teamed up with Big Zuu and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi to lead the conversation. The video, which you can watch above, also features contributions from West London singer Lava La Rue, No Signal host Scully, writer Seun Areoye and singer-songwriter Olivia Dean.

Connecting via video chat, Zuu and Hudson-Odoi describe the influence of the areas they grew up in on their passions for both music and football. Although Zuu is a proud Liverpool supporter, his local area is clearly a point of pride for him as he describes the sights and sounds of his local high street, the mesh of cultures, languages and cuisines, with a broad smile across his face.

The link between football and music isn’t a coincidence, either. In fact, they’ve always had a lot in common and both require a bit of star quality in those who reach the top. “The grime mandem wanna play football,” says Zuu. “We wanna be ballers, and I know a couple of ballers who wish they could spit some bars.” It’s why rappers like Don Strapzy, Kamakaze, Terminator, Don EE and Joe Black have all dipped their toes into both careers, and it’s why their transitions were so readily accepted.

Another connection, as No Signal host Scully explains, is that both football and music are seen as paths to success that aren’t blocked off for young working-class kids. “If you’re a yute from ends, the two things you know you can do regardless of your background is sports and music,” says Scully. With the barriers of wealth and nepotism removed, it doesn’t matter what your background is—if you’re talented, you can make it.

Hit play on episode one at the top and keep it locked on the COPA90 Football YouTube channel for future editions.

Posted on January 19, 2021