'Stripes', hit Bengals anthem, written before season

Bengals hype song has over 100,000 views
Posted at 12:47 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-10 19:33:41-05

CINCINNATI — Few predicted the Cincinnati Bengals would be in the Super Bowl this weekend. However, a local producer and rapper did believe there was something special about the team this year.

"They had released theirnew uniforms earlier in the season and there's just the new young blood on the team, a lot of exciting energy and swag and everything that fans find exciting," said Tony Burkhart, the owner of Blacklite Productions. He is also a producer and engineer with the company.

Burkhart didn't think he would make another Bengals song. He did it once in 2012. Last year he found himself in his recording studio at Longworth Hall recording a song to capture what he was seeing and feeling from the team. His next step was to call local rapper GiftVader to collaborate on the project.

"It was something I couldn't pass up because I know this guy right here, said GiftVader, referring to Burkhart. "Musically, he's like the best I've ever worked with."

GiftVader also thought there was something special about the current Cincinnati Bengals team. He felt a familiar connection.

"Both of my parents are from Louisiana. I was born in Baton Rouge," he said. "So, I've always been an LSU fan. And, I've always followed the Bengals too."

"When Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase went to the Bengals, and then this opportunity came up, it just made sense to me. It's like a full circle thing," he said.

GiftVader and Burkhart spent a couple of weeks working on the lyrics and the beats. Then it was time to record.

"I don't know, for a rap song, if I've ever recorded so many takes or had the rapper do so many takes," Burkhart said.

GiftVader agreed. "With this particular song, I mean it took us like 7 or 8 hours to lay it down. So, I knew it was going to be good," he joked.

They released the song on YouTubeahead of the first game of the season. It had moderate success with about 50.000 views over about five months ahead of the AFC Championship game. But many Bengals fans who heard the song were instant fans.

"They love it. Fans are asking," said GiftVader. "They lobbied to get it played in the stadium all the time."

With the Bengals in the Super Bowl, the song was shared more, liked more and gained 50,000 additional views in the last two weeks. Right now, it has almost 105,000 views and climbing.

"A girl from Michigan actually sent me a DM and said her 67-year-old grandpa drives around bumping 'Stripes' in his Jeep. So I was like this song is different. It affects everybody from 4 to 67," GiftVader said.

"To be honest, I didn't think it would be this year's Super Bowl, but it felt like we're building something that's eventually going to be a Super Bowl or maybe a dynasty even," Burkhart said.

"The organization just felt different as a whole," he said. "Zac Taylor, his whole demeanor as a coach, everything just felt like it was headed in the right direction."

Meanwhile, GiftVader does have a favorite verse in the song:

"Cincinnati she's our queen, we're gonna show the world who's king."

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