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    Tuesday, February 27, 2018

    #ThemeSongTuesday: Five Ric Flair Shoutouts in Hip-Hop

    This past Sunday, Ric Flair turned 69.

    No, that's not a dirty joke at all. Ric Flair is actually 69 years old and he celebrated his birthday last Sunday, February 25.

    In my work in radio, I've always longed to play songs that have references to pro wrestling. I never really got the chance to do that during my time at Mellow 94.7, but now that I'm with Wave 89.1—which is an urban music station—there's so much material to choose from. That's because there are a lot of Ric Flair references in hip-hop alone.

    There is a reason for that. Damien McDuffie wrote an insightful piece on Complex last July entitled "How the Legendary Ric Flair Became Hip-Hop's Favorite Wrestler." In it, he identifies just what it is that rappers see in Naitch.

    "His lifestyle has become the rapper blueprint and his name has become a metaphor for pageantry. In Ric Flair, rap artists have found the embodiment of their brashest selves, co-opting his character’s brand as a stand-in for extravagance and excess."
    It's no surprise given that a lot of rap songs are about lavish lifestyles that rappers either dream about, crave, or have achieved and want to flaunt. In many ways, it reflects the background of a lot of hip-hop artists, most of whom came from humble beginnings and went through rags-to-riches stories, much like Ric Flair himself.

    To celebrate all of this—and the Nature Boy's 69th birthday—this week's #TST column features five recent hip-hop tracks that have Ric Flair's influence all over them. Give me your best WOOOOO! if you're ready!

    "Ric Flair Drip" — Offset & Metro Boomin

    "Ric Flair Drip" is Offset's first platinum single as a solo artist and pretty much rides off the momentum he's created over the last couple of years through his work with Migos. Listen closely to Migos tracks and you'll find a lot of WOOOO-ing from Offset as he adlibs in between bars. "Bad and Boujee" is a great example of a track like this, which shows you just how big of a Naitch fan Offset is.

    He took this to a whole 'nother level with "Ric Flair Drip," which is basically a tribute to Flair. Not only does he go "WOOOOO!" all throughout the track and drop Naitch's name a lot on the hook, he also uses the song to brag about his massive wealth, like Naitch used to flaunt it back in the day. It's quite the banger, and it even helped Offset establish a relationship with Ric Flair himself! What a mark. Just kidding, I'm actually quite jealous.

     "Commando" — Migos

    Let's stick to Migos for a second and include this track on our list. "Commando" is a track that really goes hard from the moment Takeoff spits the hook and his verse. His bars are so hot and come at you like the bullets of a machine gun, which fits well with the song's theme revolving around Migos' days as drug dealers and how they pretty much had their own private army.

    In Takeoff's verse, one of his last lines has him rapping that he'd "clap a n**** with the Ric Flair robe on." A contributor at Genius.com interprets this line as Migos being so flashy that they'd kill someone while wearing one of Ric Flair's trademark flamboyant robes. That's a lot of balls. Kids, murder is bad. So is drug dealing. Okay, moving on.

    "Ric Flair" — Tory Lanez

    Here's another entire song which pays tribute to the Nature Boy.

    The song actually starts with a clip from a Ric Flair promo on Nikita Koloff during their days in the NWA, the National Wrestling Alliance, not Ice Cube and Dr. Dre's rap group from Compton.

    Much like Offset does in "Ric Flair Drip," Tory Lanez goes to great lengths to illustrate just how untouchable he feels now that he's wealthy and powerful. He gloats about everything from his clothes, to his gadgets, to his weapons, and even to all the "bitches" he says that love him. If you think a song like this is silly, let me point you in the direction of all the arrogant heel promos your favorite wrestling villains have cut over the years. A song like this is actually no different. It's not surprising that Ric Flair would go on to inspire so many songs like this over the years.

    "Ric Flair" — Soulja Boy & Bow Wow

    First off, who knew Soulja Boy and Bow Wow were still in the game? And who would've thought these two would actually collaborate?

    Like the Tory Lanez track, their Ric Flair tribute starts with clips of Flair going off on a heel promo, too. What makes this particular Flair tribute track different is how this one has Soulja Boy and Bow Wow referencing Flair's claims of having slept with Halle Berry. In fact, they even adlib at the start and say that they have "Halle Berrys" of their own to sleep with.

    Compared to Tory Lanez' song, I actually like the beat on this one much more. It's more bombastic and feels like a song you could see a big baller come out to. Good shit right here.

    "New God Flow" — Kanye West, Pusha T, & Ghostface Killah

    Speaking of hip-hop songs that would make great entrance themes, "New God Flow" would be absolute fire for anyone with a gimmick that resembled someone like Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes from Luke Cage. You know, minus the being dead part.

    "New God Flow" has got an elegant-sounding piano track in the background, with a mid-tempo beat that would give anyone the swagger of a brother making a killing on any given Sunday. Having Kanye rap over this beat just ups the braggadocio factor as he fancies himself a rap god.

    Wait, did you hear that? That's Eminem coming for you, Kanye.

    The hook features Kanye shouting, "that's rare, n****!" and "Ric Flair, n****!" in between Ghostface Killah's vocals. It references lines from Pusha T's verse in another Kanye West track, "I Don't Like (Remix)."

    Pusha T has always had an affinity for Ric Flair, having grown up watching the NWA as a kid in Virginia. His father used to scold him for liking Flair and what he stood for. But like a lot of us fans who gravitate towards larger-than-life heels who represent the type of person we wish we could be but can't, Pusha T identified with the Nature Boy and aspired to be like him, too. Can you really blame him?


    I'm sure there are dozens of other songs either about Ric Flair or that shout him out in hip-hop alone. But these are the ones that stood out to me as I went through the list on Genius.com's search feature. 

    Which songs do you think should've made the list? And what's your favorite Ric Flair shoutout in hip-hop? Let me know in the comments section below with a loud WOOOOOOOO! Yeah, show Bobby Roode how it's done.

    Photo from Highsnobiety


    Stan Sy (@_StanSy) is the Editor at Large of Smark Henry, and is also a radio DJ on Wave 89.1, an events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of The Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He also used to be one of the hosts and writers of The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, NXTLucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. You can ask him questions about wrestling, Survivor (yes, the reality show), or whatever you like on his CuriousCat account.

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    Item Reviewed: #ThemeSongTuesday: Five Ric Flair Shoutouts in Hip-Hop Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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