Why Alex Song chose 'Mo Money, Mo Problems' as his Barça theme
We were initially intrigued to hear that to accompany his Barcelona presentation, Alex Song had chosen the Notorious B.I.G.'s Mo Money Mo Problems. It might not seem like the most empathetic choice for a millionaire footballer emigrating to a country ravaged by economic meltdown, but further study shows that Song's choice is fitting in a number of ways.
One of the most popular hip-hop releases in history, it is musically based on Diana Ross's I'm Coming Out. Not that the happily-married Song is about to reveal anything new about his sexuality, but Ross was referring to her impending switch from Motown and longterm mentor Berry Gordy, which may have echoes in Song leaving Arsene Wenger.
Presumably Song identifies with the lyrics; he may even have had it blaring out in the dressing room at Colney or the Emirates. If so, Wenger and his coaching staff would be upset to hear Song sing in the very first verse that "Cooter schooled me to the game, now I know my duty".
Elsewhere in the first verse, we hear guest rapper Mase ask "Tell me who rock, who sell out in the stores". Perhaps Song is confident his shirt sales will outdo those of his Barcelona peers. Like Mase, he has high hopes: "Can't stop till I see my name on a blimp" Ã¢ÂÂ an ambition Song may not fulfil, unlike former Wimbledon defender Clive Goodyear (who is also one ahead of Alex in owning an FA Cup winners' medal).
In the second verse, performed by Puff Daddy, we learn that "I call all the shots" Ã¢ÂÂ a handy ability if providing a defensive screen in front of the back four. Barcelona may have lost their domestic and continental titles, but Daddy foresees a dynasty Ã¢ÂÂ "ten years from now we'll still be on top".
Indeed, in words which may be seen as a direct attack on the Arsenal hierarchy's perceived parsimony, Daddy/Song notes "Bag a money much longer than yours / And a team much stronger than yours", although it's hard to imagine Stan Kroenke agreeing to "violate me".
Taking over for the third verse, B.I.G. himself notes that Song's new side play the right kind of football: "My team supreme, stay clean". However, a footballer's fate is fragile, and the lyrics could refer to the potentially disastrous economic effect of injury Ã¢ÂÂ "Bruise too much, I lose too much" Ã¢ÂÂ or becoming a target for fans' frustration: "Step on stage, the girls boo too much".
Good luck to Alex Song, and remember the final verse's closing words: "Got the flow down pizat, platinum plus like thizat, dangerous on trizack, leave your ass blizzack." We couldn't agree more.
You can listen to the song (but not Song) here.
Advisory: contains words which some may find offensive.