March 12, 2015
By Brad Muller | More Features
Tina Roy launches threes and hands out assists at a pretty good clip for the South Carolina women's basketball team. In addition to dropping "bombs" and "dimes" on the basketball floor, she's dropping rhymes throughout Colonial Life Arena as the writer and singer on the team's entrance song each year. She may be launching another career for herself as well.
"I don't just rap," Roy said. "I can sing too. I like the spotlight, but if I couldn't be an entertainer or a rapper, I'd like to be a songwriter. I like just writing songs, too. I could write jingles for companies. I just want to work."
The aspiring rapper and songstress has written and performed the team song each of the last four years, and with the increased success of the team and attendance at home games, fans are seeing and hearing more of her talents on a regular basis.
This year's team song doesn't exactly have a name as she wrote the lyrics over the beat of Iggy Azalea's "Fancy," so Roy simply refers to it as "Garnet and Black." After penning original lyrics for an entrance song the previous three years, Roy was approached by head coach Dawn Staley over the summer to write a new song for the upcoming season.
"I just thought about what was popular at the time, and the words that I chose for the song are based on what each person on the team brings to the table in a game," Roy said. "I watched my teammates over the summer when we were playing pick-up games, and I saw what they could do, so I put it in the song."
Although the song was written in different segments, it didn't take her very long to put it all together.
"For some of the players, I might send them a verse about themselves to see what they think," Roy said. "Or they might come into my dorm room and I would rap it for them."
Roy recorded the song in a local studio with some help from teammate Khadijah Sessions as the "hype woman."
"If I didn't like the way something sounded after we recorded it, I could just do it over," Roy said. "I think I did the whole song in two takes."
"I think the fans really enjoy it. The kids really seem to like it, and I see some of the fans bopping their heads when it comes on."
Roy doesn't get tired of hearing the song and enjoys seeing the reaction from teammates and fans every time it is played over the loud speakers in pregame warmups.
"Last year, I think the team got a little tired of the song, but this year I still see everyone rapping the song when we're warming up," Roy said. "So they might say they're tired of it, but they don't forget it."
The song received an added boost this year when a video accompanied it on the video board at the Colonial Life Arena along with lyrics scrolling across the screen. The video went viral on social media and even received a positive review by NBC Sports College Basketball Talk columnist Rob Dauser.
"I think the fans really enjoy it," Roy said. "The kids really seem to like it, and I see some of the fans bopping their heads when it comes on. Then I read that article on the NBC Sports page, and it was just crazy."
Just like her on-court basketball skills, Roy feels like her song-writing and rapping have improved every year.
"The way I attack the song is different now," Roy said. "The first year I was sort of monotone, but now I feel like I'm more into it."
"Now that I'm older, I want to see how I can make them better," Roy said.
She's also toying with the idea of creating a song for the upcoming postseason, and have it focus more on the team, as opposed to the individuals, to coincide with the program's "One" motto.
Roy's academic track is in interdisciplinary studies, focusing on education and sports management. After graduation, Roy would like to go to graduate school and study music.
While being a part of the back-to-back SEC Champion Gamecock basketball team already makes her recognizable on campus, she has had one professor play the music video in class, and she's been asked for autographs by local fans of her music. She was also told by an opposing coach after a recent game that she liked her song.
Even Coach Staley has been known to rattle off the chorus during practice. While she can still learn a lot about the game from her Hall of Fame coach, it may be best to let Roy handle the singing.
"Sometimes I try to get her to give me some bars and I try to get her to rap, but she's not that good," Roy laughed. "Sometimes she'll start rapping parts of the song in practice. It's funny."
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