Posted tagged ‘wrestling’

“Macho Man” Randy Savage’s Rap Career – The Definitive Guide

May 17, 2010

Randy Savage's Rap Album. Yes, this is a thing.

In retrospect, 2003 was a pretty important year for Hip-Hop. Over one 12-month span we had the debuts of 50 Cent and Kanye West, the utter domination of Roc-a-Fella as Jay-Z’s biggest retirement pushed him into a new level of superstardom, indie labels like Rhymesayers and Definitive Jux finally landing releases in the Billboard 200 and Outkast releasing the certified diamond Speakerboxxx/The Love Below the only rap album ever to win a Grammy*. A midst this hoopla, however, one commercial wound up cutting through the Hip-Hop soundscape like a hot chainsaw through Slim Jims:

Yes, a year after necrophilia sufficiently ended the wrestling “boom,” former grappling great “Macho Man” Randy Savage was set to release Be A Man, a rap album. The man had most recently been seen as “Bonesaw McGraw” in Sam Raimi’s Spiderman, so his mainstream presence seemed just enough to make maybe a book a novelty rap album seem like a worthwhile investment. With Big 3 Records (Carnie Wilson, Stryper) at the helm, Earth was set to become the first planet in the galaxy to host a Randy Savage rap album. However, Randy’s rap debut was in actuality a decade earlier…

Speaking From the Heart (1993):

Produced by “American Idol’s” Simon Cowell (not a joke) “Speaking From the Heart” was the first single off of Wrestlemania: The Album, a roster-wide musical endeavor that also boasted a Bret Hart ballad and an Undertaker disco endeavor. Here, not unlike the recording of the final Doors album, Savage seemingly has his rambling about planets or whatever edited and matched to an original composition giving the single some semblance of a song. It’s completely non-sensical, although if you listen closely to Savage’s promises to “be with you when it happens” and “climb that mountain together” it’s clear the song is him comforting his loved one at an abortion clinic. There’s also an accompanying music video that omits half of Savage’s second verse as Vince McMahon was probably wary of the ‘MATCH-O’ Man infringing copyrights left and right.

Randy Savage Gets 50 Cent’s Co-Sign:

A decade later this happened. The media blitz began and soon every media outlet across all age brackets was alive with the sound of Savage. From Nickelodeon to BET and everywhere in between Be A Man was about to snap into your psyche. I remember sneaking over to rap websites my senior year of high school with the sound off during Journalism class, only to have the Macho Man pop-up TURN THE SOUND BACK ON and echo throughout the computer lab a reminder that “Ooooooooh yeah, head over to MachoMan.com and check out my new CD!” Truly this was an event that everyone, including Dr. Kay, had to know about. Finally on October 7th, 2003 the fateful day arrived and since this was the week I was taking part in the National Youth Leadership Council, I had to do my part as one of the America’s top young minds and invest in its glory.

Be a Man (2003):

The title track and first single, “Be A Man” was Randy Savage putting one-time wrestling and all-time real life rival Hulk Hogan on blast in a dis record that would be scathing had its existence not been so absurd. While his actual reasons for wanting to “kick him in the butt and wash his mouth out with soap” are vague, claiming he cussed out the Senior Savage over the phone or refused to actually fight him for charity, Savage let his seething anger become the focal point of the album’s entire promotional campaign. A friend of mine went to Savage’s album signing at Minnesota’s Mall of America around this time and casually mentioned he liked the episode of “Baywatch” Savage was in. Randy half-mumbled replied “Yeah…too bad Hogan was in it.”

Hit the Floor (2003):

Unlike most rap albums of the posse-heavy post-No Limit era, the Be A Man’s sole guest appearance came from DJ Kool of “Let Me Clear My Throat” fame. The Lil Jon of his time, Kool was known for yelling all over other people’s records and therefore making them better. Here he and Macho go totally insane and, honestly, get the party started. Perhaps what’s most surprising about Be A Man is how adequate-to-passable Savage’s rapping is. Songs like “I’m Back” and “Remember Me” (where he reveals and breaks down the “MACHO MAN” acronym) are self-aware, well produced and about as good as something like this could be. He’s rapping about all the wrestling he’s done, how much he loves rapping and how he’s a ‘butt kicking’ wrestling rapper. When he deviates from this path is where things begin to get awkward. Case in point this LL Cool J-esqe next number.

What’s It All About (2003):

By now I’m certain my female readership is (understandably) wondering what a romantic relationship with Randy Savage would be like. Well if “What’s It All About” is any indication “the feeling’s deep, come home, make love and fall fast asleep.” My personal favorite cut, I challenge all of you who’ve never heard it to roundup everyone in the workplace and play this song see how long you can last without exploding in laughter. If you make it past the female appearance at 2:02, you’re a more Macho Man than I.

Perfect Friend (2003):

Closing the album is Savage’s tribute to my biological father his close friend Curt “Mr. Perfect” Hennig. Co-written by his brother Lanny ‘the Genius’ Poffo, “Perfect Friend” seems genuine, heartfelt and poignant. At least it does in comparison to Hulk Hogan’s obscenely self-indulgent “Hulkster in Heaven,” a song about a Make-a-Wish Foundation child whose name Hogan neglects in favor of mentioning his own several more times. Also, unlike any of Hogan’s music, “Perfect Friend” wound up having an impact on the pop charts when an interpolation of it reappeared three years later as a Justin Timberlake song.

Randy Savage Garden

Despite being critically acclaimed, Be A Man wound up moving only 3,000 units and went quietly out-of-print within a year of its release. Savage has yet to return to rapping, but with Lil Wayne’s recent obsession with the man it’s clear he can’t leave rap alone, the game needs him**.

We Give Be A Man a SLIM JIM! ART THOU BORED? SNAP INTO IT!

So until next time…Let’s Agree to Agree!

*LAURYN HILL DOESN’T COUNT!

**BONUS BEAT – A remix of Kanye West’s “Champion” completely comprised of Randy Savage quotes.

Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia – Movie Review

January 25, 2010

Last week the Democrats faced a shocking defeat in Massachusetts, losing the seat long held by the late Senator Ted Kennedy. In wake of his passing, the Democrats were unable to find a candidate that could maintain the attention of the predominantly blue state’s voters causing everyone’s favorite echo-chamber, “the internet,” to sound off on exactly what went wrong? Seeing as I try to keep my writing in any medium as apolitical as possible, I’m going to go ahead and chalk the loss up to a lack of name-brand recognition. If Democrats really wanted to keep the slot, they should have nominated someone who could continue the dynasty regardless their vastly different personal politics. I’m talking Mr. Kennedy…Kennedy!

Bad Movie...Bad Movie

If you don’t recognize the man in the poster, chances are you haven’t watched professional wrestling since 7th grade. His real name is Ken Anderson, but his wrestling persona is “Mr. Kennedy.” His gimmick is that he’s the one wrestler who, before his match, does his own introduction and says his last name twice. Yes, wrestling’s long past the days of a shaman from the moon fighting a half-dog clown-pimp, to now having characters that are either defined as guys who wear Ed Hardy shirts or guys who wear Affliction gear. In spite of this and the weekly two-hour blocks of fakey play-fighting, the clips I’ve found online of Mr. Kennedy paint him as the ever-elusive “wrestler who is intentionally entertaining.” You only get about two of those a decade and, like The Rock and Goldust before him, there’s something charismatic about him that just stands out.

I defy you to not be entertained by the following clip:

Wow, I can’t believe I got you to watch that.

Exhibit B:

So now you’re probably thinking “OK Chaz, he’s engaging for what he does, but why would you watch a movie with him?” It’s a fair question as the film careers of Terry “Hulk” Hogan (Mr. Nanny, Santa with Muscles) and Bill “Goldberg” Goldberg (Universal Soldier: The Return, Santa’s Slay) leave much to be desired. On the flipside, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson each have They Live and The Gameplan respectively, so their ilk have produced results that are nothing short of awesome.

The real sell to me, however, is the very existence of WWE Films. The tremendous upside to being the big dog in an industry 20 years behind the times, is the ability to channel the absurdity of an era long gone by. No other modern studio in their right mind would make movies that blatantly follow the “blow-stuff-up-then-say-something-badass” formula and produce 1980s-style action films with present-day capabilities. Their previous projects The Marine and 12 Rounds we both equally ridiculous and entertaining on at least a sub-Bronson mid-tier Segal level. The prospect of this track record mixed with someone who could say his last name twice gave me some high expectations that were not met in the slightest.

The third film in the successful (?) Behind Enemy Lines franchise, Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia follows the direct-to-video tradition of having absolutely nothing to do with the originals. We’re introduced to a new batch of NAVY Seals throwing a surprise party for one of their own as the camera freezes on them, gives us their name and little nuggets of insight such as “bench pressed a Civic when he was 15″ and “Loves Jesus, and cleavage.” As much as I love big dumb characters in big dumb action movies, I don’t need them read to me while they’re all having what looks like a frat party. What makes this opening particularly angering and misleading is how, for the rest of the film, all of these “characters” are completely interchangeable. How they managed to make these actors, most of which had roles on WB dramas, forgettable as I’m watching them is some quantum physics feat of suckage. Compound that with Tim Matheson’s (a bunch of shows on the USA network you’ve never seen and may-or-may not exist outside of commercials) direction where you’re so tightly zoomed in and cutting away while NOTHING is happening that you can’t tell what’s going on, and you have a film that manages to be both frustrating and sleep-inducing. If you watch the film you’ll also find more stock footage than most reels of stock footage, as well as actual explosions so poorly filmed that they look laughably fake. Faker than MS Paint. Faker than wrestling.

But let’s talk Mr. Kennedy. First of all, he’s billed in the opening credits as “Mr. Kennedy,” which I find hilarious. His real name is Ken Anderson, and he’s being billed in this work of fiction as his role in another work of fiction. Imagine if Sherlock Holmes opened with the credits flashing “Iron Man.” What’s just as bizarre is how little attention he’s given in the film. He’s on-screen a lot, but probably given the least lines of any of the soldiers, and the lines he does have are just awful. Para ejemple, in the “making of the film” bonus feature when Mr. Anderson/Kennedy describes his character as the ‘loud mouth’ they cut to him saying “time to reach out and touch someone.” In the pantheon of action jargon, that line ranks even below Jean Claude Van Damme’s incomprehensible early-attempts at English*. Dreadful.

My primary reason for reviewing this film was because there were just about no other reviews of it online and I really wanted to sound the alarm of another loud, obnoxious white-knuckle winner from WWE Films. Instead I’m the cautionary apparition of someone who should have known better. It’s really bad. The DVD’s commentary from Kennedy himself is entertaining and a bittersweet indication of what might have been, as is an inexplicably included but very funny additional track from the editors at ign.com who had nothing to do with this film they hadn’t seen but were friends with one of the actors so they just riffed stream-of-consciously and it wound up on the disc. Tragically, the movie is a missed opportunity, a tremendous letdown, and an embarrassment to the good name of WWE Films.

We give Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia a One out of Five

Until next time Let’s Agree to Agree!

*I’d imagine Van Damme would deliver that line as “Someone’s reaching out-time!”


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