At halftime of Super Bowl XLV this past February, Terell Safadi was neither elated the Green Bay Packers held a 21-10 lead or depressed the Pittsburgh Steelers had a crater to climb out of, he was instead focused on the colours black and yellow.
Wiz Khalifa, a rapper from Pittsburgh, had created the song “Black and Yellow” as an homage to his hometown Steelers and hearing it going into halftime reminded Safadi, a rapper from Vancouver, of his Canucks.
Safadi put the word ‘Red’ between ‘Black’ and ‘Yellow’ and, abracadabra, a tribute to the Canucks was born. A blank sheet of paper was quickly covered in lyrics that eventually became the hit ‘Black Red Yellow.’
The song speaks for itself.
This story consumed more of my time than it took Safadi to pen ‘Black Red Yellow,’ which he calls a remix of Khalifa’s original. There are more than a handful of said remixes out there that have been clinically proven to produce upset stomach, nausea, heartburn and indigestion, but Safadi’s tribute to the Canucks is as smart and smooth as it is catchy.
Safadi’s love for the Canucks began, like many of us, with Vancouver’s run to the Stanley Cup Final in 1993-94. One of his earliest memories is his parents returning home from Game 6 at the Pacific Coliseum, which the Canucks won 4-1 to force a seventh and deciding game. Mom and dad were on cloud nine and so was five-year-old Terell.
Fast-forward to halftime of the Super Bowl and Safadi was caught up in the rapture of the Canucks all over again; flustered, nervous and excited.
“It just hit me: black, red, yellow,” said Safadi, whose been writing music for three years and performing for two.
“I called my engineer during the football game and I told him he had to get me in the studio ASAP. I was honestly scared that somebody might come up with it before me, so I just wanted to get it out right away so no one could step on my grass in that aspect.”
The official video for ‘Black Red Yellow’ made its debut a few weeks ago and the response has been overwhelmingly positive for Safadi, much like his foray into the rap game. He has already shared the stage with Rick Ross, D12, Tech N9ne and Warren G, with an opening gig for T-Pain in the books for March 31st in Vancouver – all before his 22nd blow of the candles.
Two lines of the song loop in Canucks players by name – one referencing the Sedins in the first verse, the other name-dropping Luongo in the second – while Rogers Arena is the opening scene of the video and the second half was shot outside the arena on a game night.
Safadi and his crew are in Canucks gear throughout the video making it even clearer this anthem is a gift to Vancouver and Canucks fans, but some have used the song to open up a colour controversy. Forget the blue vs. red of the crips and bloods; it’s black, red, yellow vs. blue and green.
The debate stems from part of the song’s chorus: “Yeah that’s my team, way before the blue and green, it was black red yellow, black red yellow, black red yellow, black red yellow.”
Colours have come and gone throughout the Canucks 40 year history, but make no mistake about it, Safadi knows blue and green were the true originals. Black, red and yellow were simply his originals.
“I did this song for the city, it’s not really a historical book where it tells every single thing that happens within the history of the Canucks,” said Safadi, setting the record straight.
“I appreciate all the debate on the colours, but I’m very aware that black, red and yellow are not the traditional colours and we did come in as blue and green. Fans obviously love the team enough to say something and defend it, and that’s cool, but I just want everyone to enjoy the music.
“I love Vancouver, I love my city, I love my heritage and I love my team.”
And it’s impossible not to love Black Red Yellow.
Note: Black Red Yellow was directed by Blake R. McRitchie, Filmthis Media.