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Bijan Robinson’s warm-up playlist is just as smooth as he is

How does the sensational rookie play faster than everyone else? He starts by slowing things down.

Atlanta Falcons v Tennessee Titans Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

Most NFL players turn to hard rock, hip-hop or other intense and upbeat music to get in the zone before three-plus hours of battle on Sundays. Bijan Robinson’s warm-up music, however, is downright chilly.

The Falcons’ star rookie running back has a pregame preference that is as unique as his ankle-breaking ability.

“My number one artist on Spotify is this group called Bonobo,” Robinson told Chris Long on the Green Light podcast this week. “And you probably have no idea who they are, but they’re like an Indie-Soul, Indie-Chill instrumental [band].”

As someone whose musical tastes could certainly be described as “Indie-Chill” at times, I decided to check out Bonobo—whose real name is Simon Green. However, I wanted to experience this band in the same way as Robinson, so I waited until my morning workout before firing them up. Here’s the thing: If you’re into a super-mellow, headspace-focused workout, this band rips.

But the music would be far more at home in a planetarium than coming out of the earbuds of one of the NFL’s most exciting offensive players an hour before he needs to perform at a peak level.

“They are the most chill group,” Robinson said. “I listen to them before games while I’m warming up, and it just gets my mind in a different place.”

According to Spotify, Bonobo is far from an unknown band. In fact, someone is likely reading this article who has already gone bananas for Bonobo. The band has 3.3 million monthly listeners on the streaming service and the most popular song, “Cirrus,” has over 82 million plays.

Now, this isn’t necessarily a new admission for Robinson. He told a crowd of reporters from a podium at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, “Before games, I listen to the ocean.” But now Robinson seems to have found a new artist to meet his soundscape needs.

Whatever Robinson is doing is working, and there’s something distinctly awesome about him choosing to channel a zen-like focus instead of head-banging power. Robinson has a bit of a Neo quality to his game, seemingly moving at 1.5 speed while keeping a balanced demeanor. It’s clear why the Falcons were drawn to him during the draft process.

Their decision to draft him with the No. 8 pick in April’s draft may always be a subject of debate, but Robinson’s talent and hopefully bright future in this league are worth betting on. He ranks 14th in yards from scrimmage this season with 1,022 yards, 4 shy of Derrick Henry, and has six touchdowns.

That production is even more impressive when considering that Robinson received just one carry in Week 7 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to an illness that developed prior to the game. He’s expected to see much more action this Sunday in Atlanta’s rematch against Tampa Bay. Robinson has emerged as the team’s bell cow and has 56 carries and 13 receptions over the last three games while helping the Falcons reclaim first place in the NFC South.