INGLEWOOD, Calif .– A trumpet sounded a vibrant beat as a string ensemble joined in.
“I have five! Sang the Mariachi Rams as the unexpected crowd at SoFi Stadium roared in anticipation.
Standing near the midfielder, a smile spread across Jalen Ramsey’s face as the Los Angeles Rams cornerback stared at the endless screen, saw the Mariachi Rams don his No.1 jersey. 5 and heard their tune, one of his favorite hip-hop songs arranged with a mariachi flavor.
“The energy was amazing and at that point I just wanted to be like, ‘Yeah, what’s up? Go away!'” Ramsey recalls. “It was something super special and personal that they did.”
At the end of the Mariachi Rams’ 60-second interpretation of Luniz’s 1995 success, Ramsey nodded, waved his hands in appreciation, then returned to the Week 9 game against the Titans in the Tennessee.
“We wanted him to really know that we were doing it for him,” said Jesse Hernandez, one of the nine band members. “Jalen is the man. He’s our buddy.”
The Mariachi Rams have become something of a cult since they started playing the Rams games in 2019.
“It’s electrifying,” said Santiago Alberto, a band member who arranges the band’s music. “The adrenaline rushes. It feels like we’re doing a gig for 70,000 fans.”
Rams fans often ask for selfies of perfectly fitting band members and give their undivided attention when the band performs from a stage in the northwest corner of the Stadium Bowl during breaks in the football action.
But perhaps the Mariachi Rams’ most notable fan is All-Pro Ramsey, a 27-year-old Nashville native whom they drew attention when he played his first game in Los Angeles two seasons ago. his successful trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars, which the Rams host Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox).
“It was a star-studded event unlike any I had ever experienced in my NFL career,” recalls Ramsey, thinking back to his first game in Los Angeles in 2019. “Then there was a group of mariachi bands. and it was something super unique and I obviously knew it was something that was specifically unique to the LA Rams, because we didn’t have that in Jacksonville. “
The Mariachi Rams perform authentic hits but enjoy the occasional mix of hip-hop music or mariachi-infused popular culture. They played 2Pac’s “California Love”, the “Rocky” theme song and even ESPN’s Monday Night Football theme. This is the first group of mariachi bands in the NFL.
“It’s so cool to see all of these different cultures all together, unified through sport and music,” said Alberto, a 27-year-old music teacher. “I just feel like we’re lucky to have the opportunity.”
“Being in LA and being in the culture here and being surrounded by so many different people in the community, they kind of embody what LA is,” Ramsey said.
Ahead of a Week 3 clash against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ramsey drove to SoFi Stadium in a blue and yellow Porsche and stepped out in a matching charro, a traditional mariachi costume, with custom white boots, proudly displaying his esteem for the group.
“It was just pure joy,” Ramsey said, describing his tribute. “They hand-sewn everything on a T, took my measurements, everything, the costume fits me perfectly.… It was super special. Super special moment.”
This is something Ramsey decided he wanted to do after watching the Mariachi Rams breathe life into the stadium with a performance in a preseason game, providing a much-needed change of atmosphere after the NFL teams have been forced to play mostly in silence in 2020 because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“We were like, ‘Damn, he looks better than us, man!'” Said Hernandez, 70, who is also a music teacher, with a laugh. “And he’s like a gigantic guy, really great. But that suits him perfectly.”
“He wore it with a lot of pride,” Alberto said. “He wore it with dignity and respect.”
Due to NFL security protocols regarding COVID-19, Ramsey was unable to meet the group in person, but he was able to face the group face to face the day he wore their costume.
“They were super excited, and I was super excited to meet them too,” Ramsey said. “I was happy to be able to represent them entering SoFi Stadium.”
Alberto said, “How cool to have an NFL player who wants to meet you or something that you’re involved in. Usually it’s the other way around.”
“It’s a good thing because you would never expect it,” Hernandez said of Ramsey’s fandom.
In a video produced for the Los Angeles Rams website, Ramsey mentioned that it would be cool if the band learned to play, “I Got 5 on It.”
Ramsey didn’t know it, they heard his request and got down to business, despite the challenge of taking an original piece that included drums, keyboards and synthesizers and making it authentically mariachi, using trumpets, violins. , a guitarron, a vihuela and a guitar with only one formal. repetition.
“I’m writing the arrangements for the band and I’m like, ‘You know what, we’re gonna do it and we’re gonna do it right.’ We’re not going to do it like, cheesy or whatever. We’re going to do it all the way, “Alberto said.” It was a challenge, but I was up for it. “
“It was drugs,” Ramsey said. “I did not expect that.”
As for Ramsey’s next request?
“I hope that right after the Super Bowl, God willing, the Rams play and win the Super Bowl and right after the Super Bowl I can meet them,” Ramsey said. “And we can have a good offseason where I’m learning to play an instrument.”