Krept & Konan review, Olé : Football anthem is both playful and vibrant

 (Press image)
(Press image)

You wouldn’t think football and music mix well. Beyond beery shouts of “It’s Coming Home” or “World in Motion”, songs attached to major sporting events generally turn out to be duds. You only need listen to this year’s official Euro 2020 song from U2’s Bono and The Edge, and, erm, Martin Garrix. The eager young Dutchman’s collaboration doesn’t so much fly as sink like a stone, bogged down with Bono’s usual dose of stomach-churning sincerity. Other attempts now feel painfully dated (Fat Les’s “Vindaloo”) or painfully bad (Ant & Dec’s “We’re on the Ball”).

Three cheers, then, for hip-hop duo Krept and Konan. Their “Krept & Konan present: Olé (We Are England) x S1lva x M1llionz x Morrisson” track – released just in time for England to take on Germany in the last 16 – is a catchy, contemporary rap track that manages to make football sound sexy, even to the most reluctant of fans. At the same time, it captures the excitement and sense of community that England fans will recognise, regardless of whether they’re into rap.

In a BBC documentary on the making of this track, the duo asked England coach Gareth Southgate for tips on how to approach the song. “You shouldn’t worry about what’s been important in the past,” he replied. “To be English now is different: our team is more diverse, our culture is more diverse. What will appeal to the audience you’re seeking is different to what it was back then.”

Krept & Konan clearly took this to heart, but that doesn’t mean they’re ignoring tradition entirely. “Olé” is both playful and vibrant, riffing on the genre-blurring nature of pop music. There are juddering trap beats, samples of whistles blowing and fans cheering. Fellow rappers S1lva, M1llionz and Morrison serve as temporary substitutes – “look who’s stepped on the field” – adding slick bars of their own. Fans will be jamming to this long after the final whistle.