Defron’s Top 5 Comic Book Rap Videos
It shouldn’t take Marvel’s recent hip-hop variants to remind us that hip-hop and comic books have a strong history. Artists including Jean Grae, Big Pun, Ghostface Killah and David Banner have named themselves after their favourite comic book characters. Not to mention comic book references are inescapable in countless hip-hop tracks.
If you’ve listened to my EP (which you can do right here) it should be no surprise that I am a comic book tragic. In fact I paid direct homage to my most expensive past-time with “Staple Snap!” a song I describe as “the ‘Kick Push’ of comic-book anthems”. And the video-clip for the EP lead single “Invalid” is jam-packed with nods to Spiderman, X-Men and Deadpool (to name a few) in both the lyrics and the animation.
On that note, I’m going to look at hip-hop videos where the song goes that extra mile in its aesthetic to pay homage to our favourite hobby. So without further bullshitting, here’s a list of my top 5 comic-book hip-hop videos which combine the music with the stories in an eye-catching way.
Speeding Bullets – Soul Khan
You might remember Soul Khan from his battle-rap days, but this cat is an incredibly talented and charismatic musician. This song’s hilarious video clip is the perfect proof. This one is my personal favourite, not just because the lyrics and the video compliment each other so well conceptually, but for a shoestring budget Soul created a cinematic and hysterical video-clip with an unexpectedly dark twist. Also, yes that is the same sample from “Cosby Sweater”.
You Can’t Stop The Prophet – Jeru tha Damaja
Jeru remains, to me, easily one of the most underrated emcees of his generation. Same can be said about his DJ Premier produced debut album, “The Sun Rises In The East”. This cut off that record is an immense example of perfect story telling in both lyricism and comic-book lore. In true Jeru style he manages to weave a clear conscious message while spinning an action-packed superhero epic, complete with origin story, in an old school cut-out animation style.
Madvillainy – All Caps
I couldn’t really leave out MF Doom on this list. I mean, the dude did name himself after one of Marvel’s greatest supervillains and he rocks his signature mask in all his appearances. MF took hip-hop to a whole other level by becoming his moniker. And while this tune’s lyrics aren’t really explicitly dealing with comic-books, the man’s commitment to his character alongside one of the greatest animated video-clips telling the story of his alias’s origins definitely earns its place here. Not only does the cartoon bring flipping through a comic-book to life but it also includes those dope retro advertisement cut-outs!
Dirty Herbs and Comic Books – Nix
This one was hard. For two reasons. One, because its lyrics matching the concept only just edged Maundz’s “Zero” as the local stand-out. Two, because I only stumbled across this joint when researching ideas for a video-clip for “Staple Snap!” Said discovery made me return my draft to the drawing board! That being said this clip quickly became a favourite of mine. Nix perfectly creates a chilled-out weed-smoking anthem by cleverly weaving in comic book references into what appears to be just braggadocio raps. Combined with Tycotic’s superb editing and effects, this rap tune is as visually stunning as it is smooth.
The Last Emperor – Secret Wars
Now this is pretty much the only obligatory entry here and it is sadly the only tune without an official video clip, which is a shame because it would be an epic one (luckily this fan-made slideshow is still pretty hectic!) But I’m guessing budget and rights restrictions would’ve made an official video pretty damn unfilmable. That said, this ultimate battle between hip-hop’s greatest emcees and history’s coolest comic-book characters comes to life thanks to Last Emperor’s machine-gun cadence and ballistic imagery. The perfect example of how these two genres intersect, you can’t really have a post about comic-book rap without it.
And there you have it. I know I painstakingly left some out so hit me with your favourite hip-hop meets comic book tunes if I didn’t do them justice.
Oh and cop my EP!