Panther Tracks

The growl in this Panther-fan-made rap video? Wow.

Panthers superfan Ken Woodley, 50, of Greenville, N.C., put some basic team enthusiasm in a rap lyric, added a very basic beat and put it out there on YouTube for the other fans. About 125,000 people have viewed his work.
Panthers superfan Ken Woodley, 50, of Greenville, N.C., put some basic team enthusiasm in a rap lyric, added a very basic beat and put it out there on YouTube for the other fans. About 125,000 people have viewed his work. KEN WOODLEY

Look, Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepson launched their music careers on YouTube, right? So who’s to say it can’t happen for Ked Woodley?

The 50-year-old Greenville, N.C. resident – a former barbecue restaurant waiter and a HUGE Carolina Panthers fan – is riding a sudden wave of success, after a Panthers-themed rap song he wrote last year and recorded last month became a viral sensation literally overnight.

“I noticed it jumped from like 185 views yesterday to over 1,400 today,” Woodley said by phone Thursday. An hour after that call ended, the number of views of his “Dominate the Foe” video had climbed to nearly 5,000. By Friday afternoon, the tally was 125,000.

Granted, these aren’t exactly Justin Bieber-like figures, but this may just be the tip of the iceberg for Woodley.

The Carolina Panthers’ official YouTube page left a comment Thursday that simply read, “#KeepPounding.” A reporter from the NFL Network posted a request for permission to use the video in a broadcast. And Zack Luttrell, founder of Panthers’ fan club Roaring Riot, posted – with a straight face, it seems: “Can you perform this at our tailgate on Sunday?”

As of Friday afternoon, YouTube users had given it 923 likes and just 63 dislikes. And the remarkable thing? At first blush, the song seems to not have much going for it at all.

Woodley recorded his performance in one take, in the front yard of a relative’s house. He said a teenager he’d never met before held the cellphone for him while he nervously rapped. The drum machine beat that backs the track is, to put it mildly, unsophisticated.

Yet something about this guy, the setting, that drum machine beat and those lyrics – I don’t know... In a matter of just 1 minute and 22 seconds, this silly song and that unassuming singer in the Panthers T-shirt wind up stealing a little piece of your heart.

Woodley himself is entirely straight-faced about “Dominate the Foe,” both on the video and when talking about it over the phone.

“I just thought, I will make an attempt to try and write as good an NFL rap song as anybody’s done, or at least one that can maybe stand tall with the best of ’em,” he said. “Many times I quit writing the song, ’cause it wasn’t as easy as I wished it would be. So I stopped and started probably over a dozen times until i felt like, hey, I’ve got something here that I think fans of football ... would enjoy.

“I really look forward to somebody maybe helping me come up with some better music, like, better than just the drum machine beat. It’s better than nothing, but I’m sure that it can be much better musically. And we could even maybe get a rapper – an experienced rapper – to do the song, which would probably make it more popular around the world.”

Stranger things have happened.

The strangest (and most awesome) things that happen in Woodley’s song? His repeated growling. You need to hear it to believe it. Personally, I’ve never heard a human being re-create the Panthers’ trademark growl as remarkably well.

“I appreciate it,” he said, when complimented. “I listened to that over and over and tried to copy it the best I could. ... But I thought it would be a plus to do something crazy like that. I’m thinking, surely some of those Panthers players have growled like a Panther at least once, even though they might have felt crazy for doing it. I mean, they’re always dabbin’ and stuff, so surely they’ve gotta get crazy and do a growl.”

Anyway, if you haven’t watched Woodley’s video yet, you really, really need to get on YouTube and search for “Dominate the Foe.” Now.

Janes: 704-358-5897;

Twitter: @theodenjanes

‘Dominate the Foe’ lyrics by Ked Woodley

Carolina Panthers with sharp teeth and claws

We growl to win this game

We call pro football

(Panther growl)

Our offense and defense so intense

Ya team will be the losers if ya gotta lick of sense

Ya dig the NFL my lyrics and my rhymes

Ya eat up what I’m saying

Spitting fly hip-hop lines

(Chorus)

Yo! With a TD or a field goal

Gonna get that W

Dominate the foe

Carolina Panthers with sharp teeth and claws

We growl to win this game

We call pro football

(Panther growl)

When running, passing, or pitching the ball

We got blazing mesmerizing plays y’all

Wanna holla atch’ya TopCats who cheer us on

Gimme dem digits

I’ll call ya on my phone.

(Chorus)

Yo! With a TD or a field goal

Gonna get that W

Dominate the foe

We Panthers keep pounding

Paid lots of doe

Soon to be our victory at the Super Bowl

Let’s go! Let’s go!

(Panther growl)

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