Many people believe that after Mr. Good Vibration, Funky Bunch having Marky Mark retired from rapping he turned into Mark Wahlberg, horrible actor of Boogie Nights and Planet of the Apes infamy. Not true.
What actually happened was, after Marky Mark’s shortlived rap-career and Calvin Klein add-jobs he gassed up on a crazy amount of steroids and became a professional wrestler. No shit. At least that’s the only way I can explain the phenomenon that is John Cena. The current WWE champion looks like Marky Mark, dresses like Marky Mark, acts like Marky Mark and raps like Marky Mark. Well, actually that’s the only difference – he raps better than Marky Mark.
But before we get to that, let me describe John Cena. Cena sports a baseball cap turned backwards, a pair of jeans cut into shorts, and a giant chain with a lock in it around his neck. His followers are known as the chain-gang, who will hoot and holla as Cena works the mic by reciting 8 Mile styled battle-rhymes like “Oh and Big Show, don’t think that I forgot about you homey! He’s a giant! Well I’m a giant whistle, so go ahead and blow me” to diss his opponent. His catch-phrases include You Can’t See Me and Word Life. While most hip-hoppers will remember these terms as classic mid-90’s rap-slang along the lines of everything is everything, these terms seem to puzzle the WWE-audience. Another popular Cena line is Ruck Fules which is funny if you’re trained in the art of bakke snagvendt.
Cena started out as a heel (slang for bad guy) but turned face fairly quickly because the younger audience really enjoyed his antics. Older fans were concerned that he: dosn’t look the part of a wrestler, wearing basketball boots instead of wrestling boots, devaluates the titles he holds by turning the title-belts into blingbling-styled spinners and of course the fact that his wrestling isn’t too scientific and his FU finisher is just a variation of a boring fire-man’s carry slam. However he’s grown with the challenge and his last match at Summerslam this past weekend was fairly good.
This isn’t the first time wrestling has taken it’s cue from rap. Men On A Mission were assisted by the horrible rapper Oscar, who made MC Hammer sound like Aesop Rock and other forgettable wrestlers such as PN News have tried to use rap as a gimmick. Even veterans like Macho Man Randy Savage have cut rap-records. What makes John Cena work is that behind all the Marky Mark and Eminem gimmicks he is a certified hip-hopper.
Esoteric of 7l and Esoteric and Rebel Alliance fame remembers this about John Cena in an Artofrhyme-interview: “Trademarc would bring his cousin around every now and then and he was always this diesel muthafucker, John. Then all of the sudden he was in the World Wrestling Entertainment jumpoff and Trademarc told me he was spitting my old lyrics in the ring! So naturally we hooked up and 7L produced his ring music. The shit the crowd goes wild to every Thursday night on Smackdown, that’s a 7L beat.”
This year Cena along with Trademark released a CD aptly titled “You Can’t See Me”. While out thru WWE distribution the rhymes are credible, and Cena’s not only assisted by Esoteric and Trade Mark but also Freddie Foxxx who’s diesel as hell in his own right. If you want to check a clip of Cena rhyming he’s in the “Hustler” video by veteran west coast MC Murs from Living Legends. You can even see Cena body-slamming Murs into a dumpster! Yeah!
So while you may see this as hiphop being exploited by the wrestling entertainment industry I certainly see it as a case of Marky Mark surviving the small turd otherwise known as Donnie Wahlberg‘s baby-brother. Hopefully wrestling will save more rappers gone actors, so in the future we can all appreciate Mos Def dropkicking competition instead of embarrasing himself like he did in Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy.