FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- There was a noticeable lull during the earlier stages of Atlanta Falcons training camp Sunday. Then, someone pumped up the volume -- literally.
On the upper deck of the facility overlooking practice stood Jay Envy, a homegrown disc jockey who won the title as best local DJ in 2014. It was no coincidence how the energy level on the field elevated a notch as the sounds of Drake, Rich Homie Quan, and Young Dro blared through the speakers.
It's part of the reason why Falcons coach Dan Quinn sought out Jay Envy -- whose real name is James Lam -- to perform during minicamp and training camp.
"He worked downtown at a club and he is part of the Red Bull program of DJs through different contests," Quinn explained. "We didn't do a 'America's Got Talent' or anything. We were looking for somebody to provide the energy, the fast pace, and the beats we want -- boom, boom, boom.
"We want that mindset that when you're in your car driving, you're like, 'Oh, I like this one.' It's not the lyrics as much as the beat and it going fast. From the players' side, they like that energy. For the coaching side of it, it can get frustrating at times for them. So when we do our walkthroughs, we have no music."
Appealing to the musical taste of his players is far from the primary reason Quinn elected to turn practices into Hip Hop concerts. Yes, the 44-year-old coach enjoys rap just as much as the younger generation. But for Quinn, the constant flow of music serves as a method for improving focus.
"At some point, to get really close as a player, if you and I are playing next to each other, it's got to be a look or a hand signal," Quinn said. "The biggest difference about playing in the NFL and playing on the road? There's only once difference, and it's the noise. By having it every day, we don't have to be like, 'Hey, we're going on the road,' or 'We're playing at home and they get behind us and this crowd is rocking.' So, it's just part of the standard of how we go."
Quinn gave fans a glimpse of what was to come when he tweeted out his playlist this offseason. When he first met with Jay Envy, part of his request was to keep 2Pac and Rick Ross in the song rotation:
Quinn revealed some of his other favorites, both old school and new.
"If you just put on Backpin on Sirius and just played that, I'd be pretty good," he said. "Old 2Pac, old Run DMC, old Whodini, old Nas … and then there would be Bon Jovi and current stuff, too."
"I like Drake the best," Quinn said. "It's a cool style and it's fast. Like back in the day, remember Bones, Thugs-n-Harmony? That would be perfect for here, if we could play it."
The players have a playlist suggestion board in the locker room. Quinn said one unnamed person got suspended from adding to the playlist for playing the soft R&B tunes of Joe.
"He's on full suspension," Quinn said. "He's never been back."
So what do the players think about the whole concept? They appear to be all-in, for the most part.
"I love it," said veteran safety William Moore, a rapper himself. "Coach Quinn is here to do what we all want to do and that's win and play football. There's no secret to winning and playing football and that's coming out here and enjoying yourself. And that's what he's doing.
"Personally, the song I want on the playlist is 'Willy Mo Always Ready.' I heard something today and Tech-N9ne was on it, and he represents K.C. (Kansas City). I'm from the Show Me state, so I want them to run that back."
Cornerback Desmond Trufant was asked which songs he would prefer to eliminate.
"I don't think it's really a song, it's just the genre of country music," Trufant said. "I mean, it's cool. The stories and stuff are cool. But when I'm out here out at practice, I'm trying to get my bounce and my swag going. I just need a little up-tempo. So, I love the Hip Hop. They play some Future, some Snoop (Dogg), so it's all good."
Center Joe Hawley, one of the players whose concentration is critical as the point man along the offensive line, offered his take on the playlist.
"I think they do a really good job of mixing it up," he said. "They've got some country in there; some R&B. Yeah, I like the country. They played some Kenny Chesney. I like it all, man. The variety is just really cool. And it's not hard to focus."
Quinn certainly has the Falcons dancing to a different beat.