Songs for the Sonics
Macklemore’s apparel choice of a Shawn Kemp jersey for his Bumbershoot performance at Key Arena last month is just the latest gesture in what has been a prolonged era of public mourning since owner Clay Bennett moved the Supersonics NBA franchise to Oklahoma City and renamed it the Thunder in 2008. The team had a history of musical references in its life, earning odes from Sir Mix-a-Lot and the Presidents of the United States of America, as well as cameos in songs by Ice Cube, Nelly, Das EFX and even Adam Sandler. In the month that the team would have kicked off a new season, we explore the post-mortems from miserable musician fans.
“Supersonic” by Pearl Jam 2009
A power-chord-heavy rocker from the band’s Backspacer album, the song was altered to fit the setting for a show at Key Arena. “I’ve been bleeding the yellow and green for years,” Eddie Vedder growled. “Now you’re pissing all over me. Solidarity or so I thought. And now you’re telling me to just get fucked, yeah.”
“Light ‘em Up” by Bound by Honor 2009
By Tacoma rap duo of Big John and Mic Daily, this track contains what is certainly the most violent denunciation of Bennett and former owner, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. “Assassinate Clay Bennett,” the line starts. “I’m being brutally honest. Put a hit on Howard Schultz for sellin’ Seattle Sonics.”
“Missin’ the Supersonics” by Manther 2010
The most ridiculous of the Sonics laments, this song is performed, if the video is to be believed, by three green-and-gold clad MCs and a sasquatch who plays drums. A very down-tempo jam, it’s also the sweetest tribute to the team. “Supersonics, I’m wishin’ ya hadn’t left,” the chorus goes. “I’m missin ya.”
“Take a Trip” by Grynch 2010
From his Something More EP, Seattle MC Grynch gives an ode to his rainy city and slings mud at the Sonics owner. “I stay in it,” he raps. “I won’t leave because of thunder, motherfuck a Clay Bennett.”
“Delusions of Grandeur” by the Physics 2011
In the video for this bumping, melodic track off the hip-hop trio’s latest, Love Is a Business, an interior shot of a kid’s bedroom reveals a poster that reads “Bring Back Our Sonics” while the lyrics attest that “I got an old team that they call the Thunder. Because of that I got a lot of resentment.”
“Slick Watts” by Blue Scholars 2011
For this song off its Cinematropolis release, the Blue Scholars shot a short film with former All-Star Slick Watts. The now-60-year-old Sonic stars as himself, shooting hoops, playing poker and reminiscing about the good old days as Geo recites a list of the greatest Sonics of all time. Also, Sabzi dunks.