Actor/Singer Rotimi made his name a familiar one back in 2015 when he booked the role of Andre “Dre” Coleman on the Starz Network hit series Power. His character transitioned from a member of a crew to one of the most hated villains on the show. In addition to his career as an actor, Rotimi, whose real name is Olurotimi Akinosho, made an impact on the music scene as an R&B artist, but his most recent musical release has garnered a great deal of public criticism.
The National Football League (NFL) kicked off their 103rd season this past weekend. Prior to the start of the games, the NFL and the individual teams created multiple ways of marketing the start of the season in order to generate a high level of fan anticipation. Rotimi was the chosen one in regard to singing a new hype song for the Atlanta Falcons. The promo video was published on the team’s Instagram account on September 9, and Rotimi posted a comment using the fire emoji.
The 33-year-old seemed to be pleased with his version of the new team anthem, but the fans of Atlanta didn’t share the same enthusiasm. In the musical clip, Rotimi is wearing a Younghoe Koo number 7 jersey, sitting on the throne, and singing the chorus ‘Rise Up.’ The comment section was immediately filled with thousands of statements that consisted of fan disapproval and confusion. The fanbase didn’t like the song because it doesn’t fit the up-tempo style of music that they are accustomed to.
In addition to disliking the song, the fans were puzzled by the musical artist who was selected to perform the new promo video. Atlanta is a city where a number of incredibly talented rappers and singers reside, but for some reason, the team organization went out of city limits to recruit Rotimi. When you talk about the Atlanta music scene, you’re talking about Outkast, T.I., Ludacris, Usher, Gucci Mane, Jeezy, 2 Chainz, Lil Baby, Future, and The Migos. With all of these talented in-house artists who are familiar with the culture of Atlanta, why would you go against the grain and choose a person who doesn’t have a strong connection to the city?
When a critical error occurs, a natural tendency is to find someone to blame. The Atlanta fanbase isn’t blaming Rotimi, but they are placing the Falcons organization at fault. The fans feel as though the organization made a bad choice, and as a result, they unfairly placed Rotimi in the line of fire. Atlanta-based rapper T.I. sided with the fans as he addressed the song by way of an eleven-minute video. He didn’t have an issue with Rotimi, who is a New Jersey native, but he does have a problem with the people who selected Rotimi over A-listers who are locals.
“We have so much culture, so much talent in the city, man. So many hardcore, die-hard Falcon fans that happen to be A-list talent in the city.” T. I. went on to ask, “Who did you call? I know Quavo would’ve did it. I know 2 Chainz would’ve did it. I know Killer Mike would’ve did it. I mean I would’ve did it. I know Jeezy would’ve did it. N***a, bruh, who approved that? Who’s sitting in these meetings?” T.I. also spoke on how the organization’s decision not to choose an Atlanta native to perform the song could create a wedge between the fans and the team.
On the football field, the Atlanta Falcons opened their season with a home game against their longtime rivals, the New Orleans Saints. After the Saints all-purpose player Taysom Hill scored on an 11-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to give the Saints a 10-3 lead, the Falcons defense proceeded to shut the Saints offense down. The Atlanta offense led by Quarterback Marcus Mariota and Wide Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson went to work, and with 12 minutes and 41 seconds left to go in the game, the Atlanta Falcons held a 26-10 lead.
Unfortunately for the Falcons, the Saints stormed back and took a 26-27 lead. With 2 seconds left to go in the game, Rotimi posted a video of himself talking in the third person and speaking with a Nigerian accent as he watched his television while pleading for the Falcons to make the game-winning 63-yard field goal. “Please, Atlanta, please, please, please, Atlanta.,” Rotimi stated. His cries for help went unanswered as the New Orleans Saints blocked the field goal attempt. As he watched the Saints seal the victory with the block, Rotimi responded by stating, “Oh my God! Oh my God! No! No! No! No! They’re going to kill Rotimi!” The fanbase may not do harm to Rotimi, but they may demand that the organization arrange a remix to the ‘Rise Up’ anthem and request that the team learns how to protect a fourth-quarter lead.