From Action Bronson to Cam'ron: 11 Wrestling-Inspired Rap Songs
Wrestling has put the rap game in a choke hold on more than one occasion.
A meaty subject for all genres (both Bruce Springsteen and The Ramones crafted wrasslin’ tunes with “The Wrestler” and “The Crusher,” respectively), it’s hip-hop where the sport has truly flourished musically thanks to rap stars shouting out their favorite moves, players and moments.
Here are several notable examples from the wrestling-inspired rap cannon. Can you smelllllllll what this playlist is cooking?
Action Bronson, “Barry Horowitz”
For those unacquainted, the real Barry Horowitz was a staple of the WWF (World Wrestling Federation), WCW (World Championship Wrestling) and GWF (Global Wrestling Federation) throughout the '80s and '90s. Earning cult status, Horowitz was beloved as a “jobber,” where he’d never win matches and would essentially be brought in to make the bigger stars look good. As a result, Action Bronson forever immortalized Barry in a song named after the legend, which starts off with the triumphant intro, "His opponent from St. Petersburg, Florida, two-hundred thirty-one pounds… Barry Horowitz!"
Unfortunately, good ol' Barry was none too pleased to be shouted out in Bronson’s track. “[Bronson has] no respect”, Horowitz told Rolling Stone in 2015, recalling a time he declined Bronson's invite to appear at one of his shows. "If anything, when I came out there, they would know who I am and not him."
Ruff Ryders (Drag-On Jadakiss, Styles P & Eve), “Pay Per View”
Released at the height of WCW fame, “Pay Per View” (from the 1999 compilation WCW Mayhem: The Music) is an ode to all things wrestling, with numerous shout-outs peppered throughout the star-studded song, where each rapper picks a wrestling star. Jadakiss goes for Ric Flair (“You know stylin’, profilin' like Ric Flair dressed me),” Styles P nods to Diamond Dallas Page (“guaranteed to leave you screaming’), with the group even shouting out specific matches during its chorus: “Whether Monday Night Nitro/ Or Thursday Night Thunder/ A Pay Per View event where everybody get bent."
Cam’ron, “Get ‘Em Daddy” remix
For this 2006 banger, the rapper does his part to drop a flurry of popular wrestling names from past and present. Here, Cam lovingly raps, “I’m Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Bob Backlund," before doling out the hard truth: “Part-acting, haha, who they think they car jackin’.”
Cam’ron Feat. Vado, “Ric Flair”
Three years later, Cam’ron channeled the flashy Flair for an eponymous track about The Nature Boy. “Get it clear, if you want it we get it there,” the Diplomat boasts, “Need more than six pairs, I’m like, ‘Woo! Ric Flair!'”
LL Cool J feat. Redman, Method Man and DMX, “Fuhgidabowdit”
The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bruno Samartino, Dusty Rhodes, Bob Backlund and Stan Stasiak: Those are all of the names, both famed and obscure, who are featured on this LL Cool J jam. While the song boasts a trio of features, it’s LL who solely handles the references on this track, with the Lip Sync Battle host calling the aforementioned group his "favorite maniacs."
Wale, "Razor Freestyle (Bad Guy)"
One of rap's biggest wrestling stans, Wale reaches deep into the history books of grappling with shouts-out to icons like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jerry Lawler to Curt Henning and Flyin' Brian Pillman, as well as the McMahons.
Lil' Kim, "Time to Rock and Roll"
What happens when two badass chicks combine forces? The result is "Time to Rock and Roll," a theme song from the early aughts that hip-hop star Lil Kim crafted for WWE diva Trish Stratus. A three-time WWE Babe of the Year, the originator of the "Stratusfaction" was also the youngest person to ever be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Cody B. Ware, "K.O.W. (Kings)"
Throughout Cody B. Ware's career, the Queens rapper crafted numerous tracks for the WWE's bevy of popular soundtracks, from a theme for Smackdown in 2014 to an anthem for wrestler Chris Hero. For this 2010 track, Ware immortalized both Hero and Claudio Castagnoli, a duo otherwise known as the Kings of Wrestling, who floated between independent and professional status. "K.O.W. (Kings)" also features Emilio Sparks and J. Glaze.
Killer Mike, "Ric Flair"
Tracks dedicated to the larger-than-life icon that is Ric Flair can be found elsewhere on this list, though none probably go as hard as this Killer Mike dedication. Released in 2011 as part of the rapper's album Pledge and produced by SweatBeatz, the nearly four-minute track features Nature Boy-worthy lines like "I am the greatest of all time forever and ever."
In case it wasn’t already apparent that Cam’ron is a wrestling superfan, he goes and drops this track, which features a sound bite from none other than his subject, Ric Flair. “D.I.A” which stands for “Done It All," also features the Harlem rapper calling himself "Black Trump" and was unveiled last week on Noisey. As for what the Dipset leader says about his latest musical offering? "I leave that up to the writers and the bloggers and everybody else who has an opinion on that."
Smoke DZA, Ringside 5 EP
Timed to Wrestlemania 33, which took place earlier this year, Smoke DZA dropped an EP chock full of tunes dedicated to grappling. The eight-track project, the fifth installment of the Ringside series and produced by 183rd, features everything from DZA rapping over Kurt Angle's entrance music to a feature from wrestler Kashush Ohno. Extra points for DZA being a longtime supporter of wrestling: his video for "100K" even featured a cameo from none other than '80s superstar Virgil.