Meet The Sound of ESPN's Road to The Super Bowl: Ensemble Mik Nawooj
  • MONDAY, FEBRUARY 01, 2016

  • Posted by: Don Saas



If you're anything like my roommates, you're probably going to be watching a lot of ESPN in the next week or so. The Super Bowl is on Sunday. You've got the hot young buck, Cam Newton, taking on the seasoned veteran, Peyton Manning, in what will likely be the vet's last Super Bowl appearance. Does the torch pass to Cam and the Panthers or does Manning secure his legacy once and for all? But ESPN is going to be the home for all of that coverage in the week leading up to the biggest sporting event of the year. And if you're on ESPN this week, you're going to hear "California Soul" as performed by Bay Area hip-hoppers Ensemble Mik Nawooj a lot in the days to come.

We've got the exclusive premiere of their cover of the Marlena Shaw throwback track. As a Bay area act (with a Super Bowl 50 that's taking place in San Fran), the group was commissioned by ESPN to tackle the track, and although I mentally checked out of the NFL season a bit when my Vikings fell apart at the last minute against the Seahawks in the playoffs (which, to be fair, meant we didn't wind up getting embarrassed by the Panthers later on), this is a tune that's got me excited to see what goes down. Baeble doesn't have a horse in this particular sporting competition, but at a personal level, I'd love to see Cam bring the W back to Carolina. He has to deal with a lot of haters, and I'd love to see him shut every last one of them up.

And while you're getting prepped for the big game, dig into this quote from the act about this new tune. "ESPN reached out to us about a month ago asking if we'd be interested in doing our version of "California Soul" for their 2016 NFL programming to which we said, yes. The main objective was to create a song that embodied a strong sense of energy with varied moods while using 2 primary musical elements from the original track. The result, we believe, is an exciting and upbeat piece which pays homage to the diversity and generous spirit of California. It's our love song for Cali."

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