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A different kind of hype playlist for a different kind of March Madness

There aren’t going to be watch parties this year, but that doesn’t mean the feeling of excitement has to disappear

The beginning of March Madness is just around the corner. Usually, there would be a sense of growing excitement around Grounds. Students would host or attend viewing parties and foster intense conversations about the likelihood of the basketball team winning the National Championship again. A lot has changed, and Virginia’s chances of even being in the tournament were recently in jeopardy. With clearance to play, here are some songs to listen to as Virginia prepares to enter the NCAA Tournament.  

“Ready Set” by Kash Doll featuring Big Sean

Whether you are watching the tournament alone or with your roommates — a mood setter is absolutely necessary. Listen to “Ready Set” as you prepare your favorite game-day meal and snacks. This song celebrates the big payoffs that come with patience. After being deprived of the basketball season last year, students and athletes finally have the opportunity to enjoy the collegiate season’s grand end. 


Hitting harder than the previous tune, “DICTATOR” is a confidence booster for everyone. Yes, REI AMI raps that she’s better than a queen because she is a dictator — but political power-correctness aside — this song is for those who need a little self-inspiration. It definitely won’t be the theme of the NCAA Tournament, but it oozes a certain kind of confidence other songs don’t quite exude. 

“Invitation” by Ashnikko featuring Kodie Shane

Have you ever had that annoying person that just won’t leave you alone? They just ruin the vibes you are trying to put out. Well, Ashnikko has created the perfect anthem for you. When people try to come into your court and tell you how things are going to be played out, this song will remind you they aren’t supposed to be in your space in the first place!

“Zoom” by Leikeli47

The big beats in this song can get even the meekest fan hype for the tournament. “Zoom” exudes quieter boss energy, but that is okay because people flex power in different ways. The lyrics of Virginia native Leikeli47 add punch to what would otherwise be just a popular TikTok song.

“Money” by Leikeli47

To keep the boss vibes around — enter “Money” next. This song, also from the wildly underrated Leikeli47, is about working hard to earn and keep prizes you deserve. A particularly good line is “I had to work like Kobe just to shine like Russell.” Sometimes, the rewards come a while after the work is done.

“BOZOS” by Tobe Nwigwe featuring Big K.R.I.T.

This tune is a slower entry for the playlist, but it’s about embracing the weirdness within. Typically, people discourage being a clown, but Tobe Nwigwe and Big K.R.I.T. encourage you to truly be yourself. Their message is that life is too short to try to assimilate. The greatest people don’t blend in with the crowd.

“Big Fish” by Vince Staples

The penultimate song on the playlist is about getting what you want. The 2017 hit by Vince Staples is an unfazed ode to being the biggest fish in the pond. If you want a song to tap your foot to, “Big Fish” might have you moving more than you expected.

“Sway With Me” by Saweetie featuring GALXARA

Now, this last entry is pure party material. The electronic bass and the amazing vocals by GALXARA make you wanna get loose. “Sway With Me” is from what should be a cult classic film, “Birds of Prey,” but that discussion is for another article. It is the perfect song to end with as the tournament begins!