Say what you will about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the franchise’s history with rap music has never produced anything that should have left the sewer. I doubt anyone reading this story needs reminding that official Ninja Turtle canon includes “Vanilla Ice improvising a Ninja Turtle-themed rap in the middle of a concert that was temporarily interrupted by talking mutant animals.” Thankfully, their below-the-street cred has been re-established (back up to 0) with the latest video from the geniuses at Epic Rap Battles of History. The world’s most fearsome fighting team took on…some artists or something whose names I can’t remember. I’m no history buff.
All right, so the TMNT are battling the Renaissance artists that Master Splinter named them after. Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti, Leonardo di Vinci, Raphael Sanzio da Urbino, and Donato di Niccolò “Don’t Call Him Donnie” di Betto Bardi. We know they’re excellent in the realm of arts and progressive crafts, but are they as handy with the wordplay? It would not be a radical idea to say yes. (In either sense of the term “radical.”)
I’d feel like a traitor to the giant green good guys of my youth if I said that they lost this battle, but they lost this battle. Even if it was just based on the lines, “We drop science. We got the mathematics. The architects of rebirth are rap addicts. You beat the Foot but it won’t go well when you catch an Italian boot to the half-shell.” That part destroys.
The Turtles lay down some greasy rhymes, don’t get me wrong. “You guys draw more dicks than New York pride,” is such a well-constructed diss against seemingly everything that can be dissed at once. But the artistes brought up that bastard Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES game that was the bane of my game-renting youth. Plus, no cameo from Casey Jones, so the Turtles never stood a chance.
There’s no reason to revisit the “Ninja Rap,” but how about a dose of “Turtle Power” from Partners in Kryme?
If you ever owned the Coming Out of Our Shells album that came out when the Ninja Turtles had their music tour going, you know that these guys made some of the least timeless music ever blistered into a recording. But what that album didn’t have on it was the ear-curdlingly abhorrent “I Hate Music (Shredder’s Song),” in which Shredder hollers/raps about how much he hates music, and also delivers a painful blow to Barry Manilow’s credibility. Watch it below if you also hate music and want to hear something that in no way resembles it.
Do you think Jonathan Liebesman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hitting theaters next month is going to incite a rap revolution?