With Wrestlemania right around the corner, it seems like the perfect time to take a look into the world of hip hop and see what references rappers make to the sport (controversial word, I know). There’s multiple parallels to the wrestling world and hip hop, flashiness and nonchalant excessive money spending can be found in both, so can trash talking and insulting the competition and whilst rappers are telling a story with their words it’s wrestlers that tell one with their bodies. Hell, rap and wrestling go so well together that both Lil Kim and Three Six Mafia have made theme songs for wrestlers, and WWF Aggression is a real album that had the likes of ODB, Method Man and Snoop Dogg remixing WWF themes. So without further ado let’s get into some of the best wrestling references in hip hop.
Smoke DZA & 183rd – The Ringside Series
It’d be easy to just make a list of Smoke DZA and 183rd’s Ringside EPs but instead of doing that I’m going to recommend to you to listen to it outright! The projects have been released coinciding with Wrestlemania weekend – pro wrestling’s greatest stage – and they never fail to disappoint. Every year 183rd makes some delightful beats revolving around different wrestler’s theme songs, ranging from NWO to Shinsuke Nakamura to The Shield, truly making them fan favourites of this wrestling rap scene. They also feature names like Peter Rosenberg, Big E and even Jeff Jarrett having their own skits, it’s really a crazy series and I’m too excited for this year’s instalment. It’s now truly part of the Wrestlemania weekend tradition.
Madvillain – Great Day
“Prepare to get hurt and mangled like Kurt Angle rookie year”
Probably my favourite wrestling bar, maybe because DOOM is my favourite but also the bar is so specific and shows actual knowledge of wrestling. When Kurt Angle burst onto the scene in the late 90s he was already known as a legitimate gold medal winning Olympic wrestler (which he won with a broken freakin’ neck). His first calendar year saw him pick up the Intercontinental title, the European title, King of the Ring and also the WWF Championship – quite the year. He was revered as one of the fastest learners in the industry and used his aforementioned Olympic wrestling credentials to put opponents in multiple uncomfortable, torturous manoeuvres on his way to being considered one of the greatest. DOOM compares Angle’s skills to his own and issues a warning out to all the other rappers in such a great line, oh it’s true, it’s damn true.
A$ton Matthews – Latino Heat pt. 2 (ft. Bodega Bamz)
“I’m Vince McMahon with an automatic”… “I guess that I’m Val Venis, hello ladies, it’s young Brick Flair in that CL ‘cerdes”… “Big Poppa Pump it’s a gun show”
A$ton linked up with Bodega Bamz to create another masterpiece between the two Latino rappers, the track is named after legendary wrestler (my personal all time favourite) Eddie Guerrero, the intro even has Matthews say “Eddie Guerrero hologram in this motherfucker”. His verse is full of wrestling references, comparing himself to the maniacal Vince McMahon – the owner of WWE – who is known for his over the top vindictiveness and ruthlessness, so picture that type of personality with an automatic rifle… damn. He also compares himself to Val Venis whose gimmick was that of a pornstar, before calling himself Brick Flair which is a play on the name of the great Ric Flair. Lastly referring to Scott Steiner (of steroid accusation infamy) he calls himself Big Poppa Pump which was the Steiner brother’s nickname, when talking about the collection of guns he has, kind of genius in a way that Steiner would approve of surely. A$ton and Bodega have been doing this for a while, both having wrestling references throughout their music and their videos see them wearing a multitude of different wrestling merch…. I need to get my hands on one of them Latino World Order tees that Bamz has.
Flatbush Zombies (Meech) – MRAZ
“I am like Randy Savage on acid, that’s very vibrant and classic”
Meech snapped here. Randy Savage and acid are both known for their colourful and vibrant experiences, Savage’s gear was always one of the most eye catching aspects of any show he was on. The classic part references Savage’s theme song which is one of the most recognisable tracks on earth, Pomp and Circumstance. This isn’t the last Flatbush bar in the article, they really came into rap like the Dudley’z came into the wrestling world, young guys making a name for themselves and putting out songs like nobody else was.
Metro Boomin & Offset – Ric Flair Drip
The whole damn track.
One of the highlights off of Metro, Offset and 21 Savage’s joint album last year, Ric Flair Drip saw Offset fully embrace the “woo” adlib he’s been doing for years by dedicating a whole song to the man who started it, Ric Flair. Flair’s braggadocious nature mixed with his love for all things expensive makes him a firm favourite in the rap scene. Add into this the fact Flair spent a lot of time at WCW which was a wrestling company based in Atlanta and you see why he’s so idolised by these rappers, so much so that the Nature Boy was enlisted for the video for the song.
Jazz Cartier – Forever Ready/Band on a Bible
“Everytime I pull up with the clique (kliq), see a flock of hoes”
So this is one I’ve been debating putting in because it could be coincidence or it could be one of the best wrestling bars I’ve heard. The Kliq were a backstage tightknit group of wrestlers (including Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Kevin Nash), the Flock was Raven’s stable from ECW and WCW and the hoes, well Godfather was a wrestler who would parade around with ‘The Ho Train’ – his gimmick was a pimp, the 90s were weird. The usage of these 3 terms in just one bar makes it outstanding to me and it works so well in a non-wrestling context so I have to show props to it.
Flatbush Zombies (Meech) – Death
“And my n***as stay with the medal like Kurt Angle”
Meech once again here for Flatbush delving into the wrestling world for some bars, referring to Angle’s gold medal, suggesting his team is full of champions and they always got the medals. How he pronounced it on the track also sounds like ‘metal’ so there’s food for thought with that bar.
Snakeyman – Bringing Home the Bacon (Jammer Diss)
“I was in fatal 4 way handicap clashing war on twitter”…. “They didn’t know my middle name was Bret Hart, why? ‘Cause I’m a sharpshooter”… “You music’s dead like Owen Hart”
A Fatal 4 way handicap match isn’t a thing in wrestling, it seems like Snakeyman just through in wrestling words here, but they worked! In the diss to Jammer in 2012, Snakeyman had a point to prove and found himself making that point with two of the Hart family. Bret Hart was a phenomenal wrestler who made his name in the WWF in the 80s and 90s and used the devastating submission finisher known as the Sharpshooter. Owen Hart was Bret’s brother, he tragically lost his life at Over the Edge 1999 when he was entering on a harness that sadly broke and caused him to fall 70+ feet to his death. So it was more than a bit controversial to have that line in but still managed to work for him.
Giggs – Whippin Excursion
“Soon be the million dollar man, like I’m living with Virgil”
Ted DiBiase’s character is known as one of the greatest, he was the Million Dollar Man, an evil and egotistical man who made sure he always had a wad of bills on him. He was so in love with money he created the ‘Million Dollar Championship’, a title belt that he would parade around with, and he also had a man by the name of Virgil with him for a long time too. Sort of a manager sort of a wrestler, Virgil would be in DiBiase’s corner for the most part of his WWF career, before turning on him and going after the Million Dollar Championship. This slick bar was a nice nod to the classic wrestling Giggs would have grown up with.
Drake, Lil Wayne and Kidd Kidd – Stunt Hard (Lil Wayne)
“I been pimpin’ since Hulk Hogan was N.W.O, yeah/ I’m wild, Drizzy tough, and the Kid vicious/ The three horseman, we just need Sid Vicious”
Lil Wayne’s execution of this line was outrageous, at a time when he was still on top of the rap game (2008) he managed to nail a perfect wrestling line, and not even just a throwaway line but genuine wrestling knowledge. Hulk Hogan was part of the NOW back in the 90s, a notorious stable than ran rampant on WCW till the company’s demise. The 4 Horseman are arguably wrestling’s the greatest stable in the history of wrestling, there was several incarnations of them in different companies over the year, and the Sid Vicious one doesn’t often spring to mind first so that’s why it’s more impressive to hear it here from Weezy. His flow here was ridiculous too, at a time when Drake was about to take over, Lil Wayne was the king and Kidd Kidd was still an up and comer, Young Money truly were the 4 Horsemen of that time.
Krept & Konan – Fire in the Booth pt.2 (Konan)
“Used to watch wrestling, now we do Big Shows”… “In primary I used to be The Rock when we played, now most of my Road Doggs see Kane”
Konan is comparing the size of nostalgic wrestling shows he used to watch to the ones him and Krept do now in a smart flip with Big Show’s name. The Rock, Road Dogg and Kane were all stars of the Attitude Era – wrestling’s biggest boom. It also means when him and his friends were younger they’d play wrestling but now they’ve grown up them friends have turned to the streets and start messing about with Cocaine. It’s always interesting to hear guys revered for realness in their lyrics include wrestling in it because it shows a true sense of honesty and lets into their personal lives, what they were like as kids.
Action Bronson & Wiz Khalfia – The Rockers
“Hit you with the dropkick, Marty Janetty”, the song name.
Rappers may rap about wrestling, but few actually live it out but Bronson does – to an extent. The rapper is notorious for performing wild stunts on stage and these include clotheslining a fan and also putting one in Lex Luger’s torture rack. The East Coast artist namedrops Marty Janetty here, who was a part of the tag team The Rockers with Shawn Michaels until the latter superkicked him and through him through a barbershop window. Shawn went on to be a main eventer and considered one of the greatest of all time, whilst Janetty didn’t amount to much afterwards, so it was a nice nod to him. Bronson also has a track called Barry Hororwitz, named after infamous jobber (a person who loses pretty much all their matches) so maybe he likes the underdogs.
Da$H – Intoxicated Scarfaces
“Catch me jumping out the rafters like I’m Owen Hart”
As explained before, Owen Hart tragically died from that fall. Now Da$H is comparing his shows to Owen Hart’s death, kind of messed up but a sick bar nonetheless.
GZA – Shadowboxin’ (ft. Method Man)
“My style broke motherfucking backs like Ken Patera”
One of the best hip hop songs ever, Meth and GZA both delivered here on GZA’s Liquid Swords album. Method killed his verses but GZA’s middle verse made the track, this was the second line in his verse and wow, what a wrestling reference to throw in. Ken Patera was a wrestler who really made his name in the 70s and 80s, and used a lethal bear hug – a move that puts immense pressure on the opposition’s back. For GZA to name drop Patera in 1995, years after his mainstream stay had ended, it was ridiculously cool.
Rockie Fresh – God Is Great
“Vince McMahon, I am Raw”
Rockie’s comparing his realness in rap to that of not only Vince McMahon’s realness but also his and WWE’s flagship show, Raw. It’s something rappers don’t do as they usually flip a bar about Raw and Vince McMahon into drugs, but Rockie is able to make a much more sophisticated bar here so bravo.
Black Zheep DZ – 4.1.0
“If I get cross you’ll get your face crossed like Benoit”
What is left to say about Benoit that hasn’t been said already? Benoit was a great in ring technician, truly one of the greats, but sadly in June of 2007 he murdered his wife and his son before ultimately committing suicide. Benoit’s viciousness in the ring is probably one of the first things people think of when asked about him, and he was a massive name in the ‘Ruthless Aggression era’. His finisher was named the crippler crossface, so I guess you don’t want to get in Zheep’s way.
Ro Ransom – CM Punk
Song name, “I know I’m CM Punk, best in the world/ Go to sleep, anaconda vice, pepsi plunge/ I’m about making classics and collecting funds”
At a time when CM Punk’s name was the hottest in the wrestling scene, Ro Ransom used it to his advantage. His wrestling knowledge is present through a lot of his music but this is one of my favourite usages of it, towards the end of the song he refers to himself as the “CM Punk, best in the world” which is a moniker Punk was going by at the time, and proceeds to list off his moves from WWE days and his independent scene days – something I’ve never heard another rapper do. Incredible stuff and it put me onto Ro.
Ro Ransom – Anaconda Vice
“When CM Punk lost the title I said fuck school”
A smart play on Waka’s “when my little brother died I said fuck school” this bar resonated with me because when Punk lost the title I was still in school, and like any kid my age my thoughts towards school were always negative. Being a wrestling fan as well however, and moreover a CM Punk fan, I remember him losing the title and not wanting to go to school because I was so invested in that title reign, still not over it.
World’s Fair (Cody B. Ware) – Your Girl’s Here pt. II
“I’m Masahiro Chono mixed with Sonny Bono”
His rap name came from wrestler Koko B. Ware, so of course he’s got wrestling bars. Cody’s name dropping hits hard in his verse here, Yoko Ono is also mentioned but it’s this one here where he brings up not only former California congressman and former husband to Cher, Sonny Bono, but also one of Japan’s most eccentric stars Masahiro Chono. Just the sheer thought of those two mixed into one is enough to make anyone shudder, no one person should have that charisma with Chono’s aggression thrown in, but Cody’s rapping proves otherwise. Also check out his “They chanting 2 falls out of 3, Malenko and Guerrero but they talking to me” bar on Remy Banks’ Sky’s Falling from last year, a throwback to Malenko and Guerrero’s ECW series.
The Game – Bigger Than Me
“Who needs Hulk Hogan, when you got Sting on this motherfucker?”
Hulk Hogan may be the biggest name to come out of wrestling behind The Rock, pretty much everyone knows him. His take your vitamins and say your prayers dialogue was heard by millions worldwide but if you’re not a wrestling fan there’s a chance you haven’t heard of Sting, a wrestler who went from a colourful geared guy like Hogan to a black and white facepainted hard hitting favourite. Sting went it alone more often than not and made his way to the top of WCW, so what Game is saying here is why would you need someone like Hogan – a posterboy for all that is good, and a safe image – when you could have a Sting – a no nonsense champion.
Juelz Santana – S.A.N.T.A.N.A
“Do mo’, mo’ street talkin’ than Stone Cold Steve Austin”
Steve Austin really is that guy when it comes to wrestling. He was a badass through and through and people loved him because he was a ‘regular guy’. His don’t trust anyone attitude, as well as a fuck the rules mentality meant he was a fan favourite and when he was on the mic, wow he could talk. Whether it be verbally tormenting people or hyping himself as the “world’s toughest son of a bitch” whilst a mere two feet across the ring from Mike Tyson, Austin knew how to talk true street. It’s something many rappers can’t even do now, so for Juelz to compare himself to Stone Cold here, it was a bar that just couldn’t flop.
Flatbush Zombies (Juice) – Regular and Complex (GNB)
“You can’t see me, John Cena”…. “Put him in the casket like the Taker, 21-0 on you haters 21-0”
It’s time for Juice’s instalment in this article, a devout wrestling fan through and through (just check his twitter) it’s always a treat to hear him rap about it, and back in 2013 when John Cena wasn’t exactly the most male adult appealing wrestler it was quite cool to hear him used his catchphrase. Just like Cena’s opposition can’t see him, Juice feels his competition in rap can’t see or match him. The Undertaker reference came just a few months before he lost his awe-inspiring undefeated streak at Wrestlemania, which at the time stood at 21 wins and 0 losses. And now, after years of speculation, Cena and Undertaker are finally having their own Wrestlemania match, shiiiit.
Peep the playlist below filled with some tracks here and other wrestling related songs! And don’t forget to watch Wrestlemania, April 8th.
Words and playlist by Rohan Parmar.