To commemorate the beginning of Black History Month, AEW revealed the upcoming release of Who We Are: A Celebration of Excellence, Vol. 1, a compilation album that will bring to life the stories of more than twenty Black AEW wrestlers through the music of established hip-hop and R&B artists. Executive produced by AEW’s in-house producer Mikey Rukus, the promotion’s first-ever full-length compilation LP will feature an introduction from legendary funk musician Bootsy Collins, with proceeds from CD sales benefiting the Bootsy Collins Foundation.
Who We Are: A Celebration of Excellence, Vol. 1 will be released on Friday, Feb. 18, initially available exclusively in hard copy format with pre-orders now open on ShopAEW.com. Featuring 21 tracks, the album includes contributions from artists such as Jon Connor, Mega Ran, Brinson, Omega Sparx, Monteasy, Josiah Williams, AEW’s own Max Caster and Sonny Kiss, and many more. In developing this project, Rukus utilized his previous experience working hand-in-hand with AEW’s roster to curate their entrance music, pairing wrestlers with producers and artists to tell their stories in a unique, collaborative format.
“One key aspect of my role in AEW is to deliver a multifaceted audio experience for fans that delves into the essence of the characters they see on screen every week, as well as the stories behind the individuals who bring these characters to life,” said Mikey Rukus, Music Producer at AEW. “Who We Are is like a bunch of ’30 for 30’ episodes for AEW’s Black wrestlers. Releasing this project during Black History Month in a format that is authentic to the culture and resonates in a familiar manner, while allowing these incredible talents to share their personal journeys, is special for everyone involved.”
Who We Are: A Celebration of Excellence, Vol. 1 will be released on streaming platforms in the near future, and its initial exclusive hard copy launch will directly benefit the Bootsy Collins Foundation, which Rukus and AEW’s Community Outreach Team identified as a viable partner during development of the album. The Bootsy Collins Foundation works to inspire, educate, and enrich the lives of individuals from all backgrounds through music.
“Bootsy helped define early on what it meant to be a Black entertainer in America,” said Patti Collins, Bootsy’s wife and President of the Bootsy Collins Foundation. “Bootsy’s involvement in this project is a perfect convergence of the past, present and future, and we are grateful to have the chance to continue inspiring future musicians as the album’s beneficiary.”
The tracklist for Who We Are: A Celebration of Excellence, Vol. 1 includes:
- Intro f. Bootsy Collins
- In The Mix (Red Velvet Story) f. Will Washington, Wrestle and Flow, Cutright, E.Quipped 3. Taiga Styling (Lee Moriarty Story) f. True God, Shokus Apollo
- Shine (Nyla Rose Story) f. Richa Latta, Monteasy, Jon Connor, Bliz
- Whatcha Lookin’ At (Sonny Kiss Story) f. Sonny Kiss, Brinson
- Victory (Jay Lethal Story) f. Alexv, Omega Sparx, Swats, Kit Walters
- Knockout (Jade Cargill Story) f. Rich Latta, Monteasy, Anthiny King, Righteous Reg 8. No Socks (Ricky Starks Story) f. Applejaxx, Brinson, E.Quipped
- I’m The Captain (Shawn Dean Story) f. Cutright, E.Quipped, Isaac Mather
- Mixed Messages (Max Caster Story) f. Max Caster
- BGM (Brandi Rhodes Story) f. Mega Ran, Touré Masters, FrivolousShara, Lost Perception 12. The Bootsy Collins Foundation f. Patti Collins
- Underneath Me (Anthony Bowens Story) f. Zane Oliver, Quinn O’Donnell
- Fish N’ Chips (Anthony Ogogo Story) f. Mega Ran, Tru God, Bliz, Tizzy
- Ready to Go (Private Party Story) f. Staylo Dom
- Legend (Mark Henry Story) f. Rich Latta, Monteasy, Wrestle and Flow
- Who’s the Coldest (Top Flight Story) f. Brinson
- Powerhouse (Will Hobbs Story) f. Will Washington, Righteous Reg, Gram
- Dats On Period (Kiera Hogan Story) f. Tamira Slade, Tizzy, Bliz
- Fully Loaded (Lee Johnson Story) f. R8ed R
- Up in the Clouds (Scorpio Sky Story) f. Omega Sparx, Swats, Teek Hall, Doe the Paperboy, Mega Ran, K-Drama