The wrestling and the hip-hop cultures are one and the same. You have your supervillains (R.I.P. MF DOOM) or heels in wrestling terms. You got your heroes or babyfaces like Rey Mysterio. You also have charismatic divas like Nicki Minaj and Trish Stratus. Obviously, you have your violence and gore, big-wig egotistical executives, and anti-heroes that don't trust anybody. In music, it could be artists that do not trust 360 deals from a major label and go independent.
People who indulge in the world of sports entertainment and rap music live vicariously through these characters. Fans curate playlists to motivate them to have a Hustler's Ambition like 50 Cent or play some XXX Tentacion (R.I.P.) songs that get them through tough times due to how that person can relate to his pain. Just like any form of arts and entertainment media, there are die-hard fans that represent the culture until they die. The G.O.A.T. conversations in rap and wrestling are always expanding as more and more generations come about. In wrestling, some people argue that Hulk Hogan did more for the industry than a John Cena or a Brock Lesnar. In rap, people argue that Wayne is better than Jay-Z or Eminem. It's one and the same.
There are also very mysterious characters that capture the awe of fans and leave them asking for more. We have seen that recently with The Undertaker showing more of his personal life as Mark Calloway. The same way that Taker kept his life professionally and personally a mystery for thirty years draws similar comparisons to Daniel Dumile and his MF DOOM persona. This article is made to examine the different times that hip-hop and wrestling have crossed over in different forms of media.
Ron Killings (R-Truth)
In the HOT 97 clip, the first-ever African-American NWA Champion discussed how his life shifted from rap to wrestling. He discusses the time when he met 2Pac at a Jack The Rapper event which was an iconic hip-hop event that was huge in the early days of hip-hop. R-Truth credited the event for helping him land a job with NWA thanks to meeting Jack Crockett, the brother of the NWA president. When Ron would walk down the ring, he would rap his theme song throughout his career. His music can be found under his name Ron Killings on all social media if you're interested in hearing his music outside of the wrestling realm.
Photo credit: 2paclegacy.net
The Puerto-Rican rapper is an emphatic wrestling fan. He is also one of the most popular artists in music today. When Wrestlemania 37 was weeks away, Bad Bunny ended up in a tag team angle with Damian Priest beefing with the tag-team duo of Miz and [John] Morrison. Bunny would be featured in promos for several months as he rapped his song, Booker T, as Booker T made his approach to the ring in the Royal Rumble, winning the 24/7 title only to pass it down to R-Truth and helping his Wrestlemania tag-team partner Damian Priest from random attacks. His Wrestlemania debut was met with very high remarks, breaking a bad history of celebrities wrestling on the grandest stage of them all. Wrestling Twitter broke that night with all the praise Bunny got from active and retired wrestlers. Plus, he hits one hell of a Canadian Destroyer, so you know the training he had to prepare for that match definitely paid off.
Smoke DZA, Wale, and Westside Gunn
(From left to right) Westside Gunn, Smoke DZA, Wale, and wrestler MVP together posing for the cover art of The Hurt Business Remix. They all share verses on the song.
Smoke DZA, Wale, and Westside Gunn are the Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Hulk Hogan of wrestling rap. Wale and former WWE writer Court Bauer created the famous Walemania event that would take place prior to the "Showcase of the Immortals". When discussing the origins of the event on Sportingnews, Wale credited Court as the guy who first came up with the idea. Wale stated in the same article that he always wanted his own promotion like a WWE or WCW but there were plenty of obstacles that came with it. He always wanted to be a part of the culture in some aspect and Walemania did exactly that. The first installment of the annual event featured a live panel with wrestling critic Dave Meltzer, Rey Mysterio, and Konnan, live podcast recordings from wrestlers, and a show from Wale. Current WWE superstar Big E credited Walemania for bridging the gap between wrestling fans and hip hop fans.
In that same Sportingnews article, WWE superstar Big E described Walemania like this: “This bridge between wrestling and hip hop is something that we never really explored,” said WWE superstar Big E, who has attended several WaleManias. “There are so many rappers who drop wrestling references in their lyrics, from 80s WWF to the current product. We (WWE) are not always on the ball with what’s relevant from a cultural standpoint. I don’t think there’s another hip-hop act who could pull this off. Wale’s passion for this is on another level. He lives and breathes this. It means so much to him. I can’t imagine anybody else that has the passion to pull this off.”
Fellow rapper and wrestling aficionado Smoke DZA credited Walemania for doing the same thing. Smoke DZA has countless mixtapes over classic wrestling theme songs such as the theme song of the chilling villain Jake "The Snake" Roberts on Ringside 2 or being the "Doctor of Buddanomics" over the John Cena instrumental on Ringside 3. New Jack is a song that plenty of Smoke DZA fans remembers not just for his rapping skills, but also for incorporating one of the most polarizing figures in wrestling history, New Jack. The wrestler is known for his ability to no-sell weapon shots and having his head stapled during a wrestling match. In layman's terms, no selling means that the person who receives a wrestling move or a chair shot looks harmful.
Westside Gunn is one of the most perennial faces when it comes to discussing the crossover between the hip-hop and wrestling cultures. The Buffalo emcee has plenty of songs