1974’s iconic Rumble in the Jungle boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman is one of the sport’s all-time bouts. Before the pair squared off for eight rounds (ending with Ali toppling Foreman), local spectators in the crowd chanted their support for Ali, the underdog, in their native Lingala, “Ali Bomaye!” — translation: “Ali, kill him!”
This rallying cry has since become a go-to mantra in hip-hop, including for The Game in 2012, and now for South Carolina up-and-comer Nick Grant — the MTV PUSH artist for the month of September.
As he told MTV recently, he first encountered the phrase while watching Will Smith’s portrayal of the legendary boxer in 2001’s Ali. So he updated it with his own name for a song he called “Nicky Bomaye.”
“I just took that based on my position of the game and how I want to compete and contribute and always just want to be the best,” Grant told MTV. “Because that’s what hip-hop was based on from the start.”
He continued the boxing theme by calling DJ Khaled, whose trademark motivational maxims feature on the studio version of the track, the Mickey and/or Apollo Creed to his Rocky. “He’s encouraging me and talking me through it because in this time, I’m one of the guys that’s pushing that heavy and trying to put it back into the culture where people start to respect it again,” he said.
Watch Grant break down the meaning behind the song above. Then watch his full performance of “Nicky Boyame” below.