DJ Nazem Kadri controls Maple Leafs’ warm-up playlist

Nazem Kadri joins HC at Noon to discuss his appreciation for the trust and support he’s received from management, and believes he can one day be in the conversation for the Selke Award.

Nazem Kadri is more than the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ shutdown centre, 20-goal scorer, and resident cat person.

He’s also the team’s dressing room DJ, a gig he and defenceman Jake Gardiner inherited when a couple veterans left the fold. A new rebuild needs a new soundtrack. Culture change.

“Jake does it in the morning. I do it at night,” Kadri says in an interview. “Dion [Phaneuf] would do it, and Cody Franson used to do it for a while. Jake’s music is more mellow, and come game time, I put on my music. It’s been working well for us.”

As the boys gear up, Kadri doesn’t stick to one set playlist but rather shuffles through a bunch of selections from his personal collection. He pays attention to which joints go over well with his young teammates and works them into heavy rotation.

“A lot of hip-hop music, dance music. Jay Z, Kanye West, Calvin Harris,” he says. “A few different genres to keep everyone happy.”

The most important task is landing on a victory tune for the season.

During the Leafs’ big win in Edmonton this winter, we heard frat rapper Wes Walker’s catchy “Jordan Belfort” ringing throughout the bowels of Rogers Place, punctuated by hoots and hollers. The sound originated from the visitors’ room.

“That’s the one. I picked it. It ran through my playlist one day, and the guys really liked it. Especially early in the year, when we strung a few wins together, it seemed to be working for us, so we stuck with it,” Kadri says. It’s become a bit of a good-luck charm. “You pick one song, and if everyone likes it, you run with it. If you start the season well, you keep it.”

Kadri’s selections aren’t restricted to Maple Leafs ears only. He also curated the five-song playlist the Air Canada Centre bumps at high volume during warm-ups before every home game.

“Everyone seems to like it, so that’s why we went with it,” Kadri says. “We’re probably going to change it up a bit. I just got to make another playlist for the second half of the season, just so it’s not repetitive.”

Toronto Maple Leafs Warm-up Playlist, as selected by DJ Nazzy Naz

Eminem, “Lose Yourself” (2002)

Kadri kicks off the warm-up party with Marshall’s classic arena anthem. Perfect for slapping on the warpaint. Vomit up Mom’s pre-game spaghetti and drop the puck already.

Relevant lyric: I was playin’ in the beginnin’, the mood all changed/ I been chewed up and spit out and booed off stage

Kanye West, “Power” (2010)

Say what you will about Mr. West, but he sure can make a song that will ready you to take on the world. Yes, you can appreciate an artist’s work and not agree with his politics.

Relevant lyric: Screams from the haters, got a nice ring to it/ I guess every superhero need his theme music

King of Bass, “Dubstep Boom” (2011)

This dancy remix of Nelly deep cut “Here Comes the Boom” doubles down on the bass and gives us a chance to remember the instantly forgettable Adam Sandler remake of The Longest Yard.

Relevant lyric: You better watch it ‘fore I stick to the plan/ And be the next Artest to run up in your stands

TJR, “What’s Up Suckaz” (2013)

Connecticut acid house producer/DJ TJ Rozdilsky is known for high-bpm dancefloor anthems like this one. Fun sports fact: TJR considered pursuing a golf career before choosing worldwide party DJ fame.

Relevant lyric: Everybody, put your hands in the air

AronChupa, “I’m an Albatraoz” (2014)

Surely Kadri’s nod to the great Maple Leafs Swedes of yore, such as Borje Salming and Mats Sundin, he turns to Swedish DJ-producer AronChup (and sister Nora Ekberg) for the skate-off jam before the final flood. A global smash, “Albatraoz” has gone platinum in Canada, Sweden, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Denmark.

Relevant lyric: With the money, money blow

BONUS BEATS

Introductory soundtrack: Drake, “Forever” (2009)

After the ACC’s pre-game video plays, the Maple Leafs always take the ice to this instrumental from the 6 God’s head-turning posse cut, which features Lil Wayne, Kanye West and Eminem.

Relevant lyric: Last name ever, first name greatest/ Like a sprained ankle, boy, I ain’t nothing to play with

Dressing room victory song: Wes Walker (feat. Dyl), “Jordan Belfort” (2015)

The catchy swing of Philly’s Wes Walker and Dyl’s “Jordan Belfort” and its somewhat-timely reference to The Wolf of Wall Street made it a viral smash with the frat-boy crowd a couple years back. Now it’s the soundtrack to every Leafs win.

“It’s a good tune,” approves Frederik Andersen.

Relevant lyric: Sometimes this life seems a little stressful/ Especially when they tell me that I am something special

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