With the vast amount of reviews at Cult of Whatever based around videos or video games, I thought I’d add a little collection of music reviews from the world of wrestling. So far, I’ve looked at the offering of Chris Jericho’s ‘Fozzy’, and WWE Anthology, a collection of theme tunes over the past 15 years. But what happens when the WWE meets the world of hip-hop? Thats what we found out when WWE released “Aggression”.
This being the late 1999-early 2000 period, where the big boom was starting to die down a little (even though the product was just as hot as it possibly ever had been, and was producing amazing battles in the ring), WWE, or WWF as it was at the time, was more than happy to reach as many fans as possible through as many different sources as it could. Obviously someone had the brainwave of, instead of solely catering for the rock and roll fans that wrestling was somewhat associated with (and I’ll admit myself that the WWF, and the Headbangers in particular, got me back into rock music, especially with the Marilyn Manson/Pantera scenes), that WWF would instead base an entire album around WWF theme songs performed to a hip hop beat, by big hip hop stars. And I do mean big. Anyone familiar with Method Man? How about ODB? Run DMC? Everyone knows Snoop Dogg right? That’s right. WWF spared no expense in bringing in household names to remix entrance music for stars such as D-Generation X, Chris Jericho, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Big Show, Mankind and er… Gangrel. Sounds.. erm… interesting.
The results are pretty good though. Now I’m pretty liberal in my music taste. I’m open minded. I understand this won’t really appeal to non-hip hop fans, but fans of the genre should take great notice in this CD. The album starts off as good as you could possibly ask for within the limitations with the Run DMX remix of the DX theme. One of the few songs on the album that was actually released with video (featuring The Hardy Boyz, Stephanie McMahon, Tori and Triple H, back in the days where he was useful), this was actually used as the DX theme on various TV shows and sounds pretty darn good. This is followed by another catchy song entitled “Wreck”, for Mankind, which only sounds like Mankind’s theme for about 20 seconds, before Kool Keith and O.D.B add their little spin to it. It’s not a song I’d ever imagine Mankind coming out to, but O.D.B does catch your attention with his addictive lyrics and style. The catchy theme continues with probably the second most well-known song of the album (behind the Run DMC hit). Featuring another Wu Tang frontman, Method Man (one of my personal favorites of the hip hop scene), The Rock receives royal treatment as Method performs probably the second best track on the CD (notice a pattern yet?), with a killer video to boot (not that you’ll get to see it unless Kazaa has a copy). With some cracking lyrics and great delivery, The Great One is served justice with a great one (see what I did there? Yeah I know, it was awful).
Track Four is my favourite off the album. Bringing together two great rappers in W.C (or Dub C for those in the know) and Snoop Dogg (fo shizzle ma nizzle), this remix of the infamous Stone Cold Steve Austin theme certainly gets you raising your arms in the air giving Snoop a “hell yeah”. I never knew how good W.C was as a rapper, but I certainly learned from this performance. The tune is also extremely familiar to the Austin theme, so you certainly won’t forget who the song is about. Certainly a plus. Up next is the McMahon “No Chance in Hell” theme which simply doesn’t live up to the original at all. Pretty much a waste of time, which is a shame considering Redman is on the vocals. Good to see that the guy has finally come into his own the past two to three years. The Gangrel “I won’t stop” mix sounds pretty good, and credit to C-Murder (means nothing to me either), he’s done a good job with it. But it simply isn’t as good as the original, nor does it try to take it into a level of its own as Run DMC do. The Kane remix by the Eastsidaz does actually sound a lot better than the original, at least to me. But if you played it on Raw or SmackDown, it would sound very out of place where rock is the dominant element. With anyone else, maybe. But with a monster like Kane, not a chance.
RA The Rugged Man does a good job with Chris Jericho’s theme, and makes it sound as true to the rock version as possible. If not for Jericho’s character being based around a rock star, this would actually fit his character a lot. The same goes for the Bad Azz and Technic mix of the New Age Outlaws theme (and a classic the original was too). In an arena, it wouldn’t fit. You can’t have a NAO theme without the Road Dogg spewing his crazy lyricism over it. But as a rap song, it is pretty damn good, and very easy to get into. Unlike The Godfather’s remix. This song was used quite a few times by The Godfather on Sunday Night Heat, and even at Wrestlemania 16 (Ice T performed it live), but it sucked, very badly. The original was so much better that it isn’t funny. Then again, I’ve never liked Ice T. Nor have I ever liked Mystikal. Here, with Ras Kass, his rendition of HHH’s theme (which sounds absolutely nothing like any theme the Tripper has ever had) sounds like it’s been strung together by a six-year old. Saying that, the lyrics are spot on (“I’m a do what I wanna do, when I do it. There’s nothing that you can do when I’m done through it” or something like that – you know how hard it is to try and listen to hip hop lyrics?). Obviously Mystikal knows about HHH’s backstage exploits too.
Another song actually used as a theme tune was the Big Show mix. This one is actually better than his current one, and I’m surprised they didn’t use it for longer. The tune sounds mean and tough, with hard lyrics. His current song sounds like a 50s underground club song sung by Michael PS Hayes (which it probably is). WWE blew it with this one. It’s a song they really need to start using again. Unlike the final song on the album, which belongs to the Ministry Undertaker. The theme should be used, mind, cas the rtune sounds extremely Taker like. Add a heavier guitar and you’ve got it perfect. unfortunately, The Dead Man can’t really come to the ring to a rap song. Doesn’t work, which is quite sad considering it’s actually a damn good song, very well rapped by Dame Grease presents Meeno. A good way to end a CD, in my opinion.
So now you know the basics of the CD. Now it’s time to break it down.
Best Song: Snoop Dogg & W.C – “Hell Yeah”
Best Lyrics: Method Man – “Telling us that Raw is War, what the hell you think we came for, to play with these whips and chainsaws, and sharp glass, shine ’em up real nice, turn ’em sideways, and shove ’em up your candy ass”
Song Most Likely To Sound Good On WWE TV: Mack 10, K Mac & Boo Kapone feat. MC Eiht – “Big”
Song Most Likely To Bore You: Redman & Rock Of Heltah Skeltah feat. Peanut Butter Wolf – “No Chance”
Overall… yes. I think it is, especially for hip hop fans. Die hard rock fans may get into it too, but you’ve probably gotta be quite liberal to get into most of the songs. Still, I think there’s at least one good song in there for everyone, and is worth a listen. Mind you, I wouldn’t buy it. Lend a song or two first, and then try it. I think you will like it, but just try before you buy. As I said, you’ve probably gotta be quite liberal and open-minded to enjoy it to it’s fullest. Either that or a die hard hip hop fan.