Living the Dream: NBA licenses local rapper’s music for playoffs

Any sporting event you’ve ever been to has had some kind of music playing pre-game to get you all energized and hyped.

Well, one local artist got to be at the center of that process on one of sports’ biggest stages.

Behind every lyric, and every beat drop, there’s an artist with a dream.

Pelly, “I was raised in Fountain City on a 300–acre tree farm.”

29-year-old Winona resident Pelly is chasing his dream through hip-hop.

“I loved to express myself through words. In high school I really got into rap music, hip-hop, the culture, especially embedded in that 90s golden era.”

The Cochrane-Fountain City grad three years ago partnered with manager Jordan Lyga, another C-FC grad. That summer, several producers specializing in trap, a subgenre of hip-hop, had a beat laid down, but needed a voice.

“They sent it to Pelly to do a top-line vocal over the top, which is where you write the melody and lyrics on top of it,” Lyga said.

“I recorded it downstairs in my parents’ basement. I still remember to this day my dad, while I was recording that, was upstairs in the kitchen listening in. When I came up he was like ‘What are you downstairs yelling for? You’re yelling so loud.’ And I was like, ‘Dad, it’s a trap song. I had to bring the energy. I had to get into it.”

That song called “Bodied” took off. A New Zealand fitness company licensed it to use in their workout programs,

“I want people to just feel that energy in the spaces that they need it.”

and it wasn’t long before it made its way back to Pelly.

“At the Winona YMCA. Walking in the hallways going to play ball, and all the sudden I heard my song. And I’m like why are they playing that? Is that me?”

The last year and a half, Pelly’s been working on new music, but that song took on a whole new life last month, when Jordan and Pelly got an email from their label.

“Hey, we’ve got this licensing opportunity. It’s for the NBA playoffs. They want to use your song ‘Bodied.'”

“As soon as it said NBA in the email, I said bet, what do we have to do? Hey, sign this.”

The Denver Nuggets in the NBA wanted to use the song for their home playoff games, and Nuggets fans on Reddit told them exactly how the song was used.

“The intro hype tipoff song. And it just–I was like yo.”

They had to experience it for themselves, so they messaged the Nuggets PR team and flew out to Denver for Game 4 between the Nuggets and Warriors.

“You couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces for the entire time we were in Denver. We were just grinning from ear to ear.”

The team set Pelly up with a courtside pre-game interview and then took them up top to see tipoff. His music–hyping up world-famous athletes and 19,000 fans.

“When you’re interacting with 19,000 people at once, it was like boom, let’s go. Literally one of the best experiences of my life so far.”

The artist with a dream–making it a reality.

“It’s another leg up the mountain for me. I’m just trying to climb this mountain that I see for my career and what I want to create. It just gave me all the energy in the world that I needed to keep climbing.”

The Nuggets got Pelly a signed Jokic jersey and have already told him they want to re-license the song for next year. For more information on Pelly and his music, click here.