A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
The rap theme for A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master could either be seen as a nail in Freddy’s coffin signifying the series’s fall into mediocrity or the one of the most awesome shark jumping events of all time. The guest verse from Freddy Krueger himself puts us firmly on the side of awesome.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze
This was likely the first thing to come to mind when you read the headline, and it is what it is. If you were young enough there’s a good chance you thought this track inserted into the final battle of the Turtles and the mutants was the greatest piece of music ever recorded to cassette, and Vanilla Ice was never going to fade away.
Like Oreo cookies and tuna fish, it was obvious that M.C. Hammer plus the Addams Family were a match made in heaven. There just had to be a reason to combine them… Enter the Addams Family feature film! This song anchored the soundtrack and paved way an even more ridiculous rap theme for the sequel Addams Family Values. In a weird twist it remains absent from the Internet. (A free T-Shirt to anyone who finds a clip of Tag Team’s Addams Family-themed “Whoomp! There It Is” remake called “Whoomp! (Addams Family).” It is arguably the most poignant example of “selling out” in history.)
Hustle & Flow
Three 6 Mafia’s theme was sung by Terrence Howard in the film, but it earned them an Oscar and made for one of the most surreal Best Song performances in Oscar history. The video below is the CD version of the track, but if you want to watch Terrence Howard perform the song in character while DJ Qualls whiteboys it up in the background, check out a crappy version here.
Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks deliver the rhymes hard and fast in “City of Crime” from their film Dragnet. The song is a terrible Beastie Boys-esque romp obviously dreamed up by a marketing department or ad-sales team, but I found myself weirdly enthralled by Tom Hanks. Had he gone another route, I feel he could have gone on to have had other hits and really established himself as one of the elder statesmen of hip-hop. Sadly, he chose to make things like The Polar Express instead.
Aykroyd learned his lesson and wisely stayed out of the rap for Ghostbusters II. For whatever reason (everyone has their theories), Run DMC’s Ghostbusters theme never gained the iconic status of the classic song “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. This live footage of Run DMC decked out in Ghostbusters uniforms is a treasure and definitely deserves your appreciation.
marketing vehicle movie Space Jam, this theme song by Quad City DJs really shows us why the mid-’90s were the golden age of movie rap awesomeness. Lyrics like “Shake it quick, it’s space kaboom” need no explanation or reason, just more volume.
Lose Yourself is one of the few movie raps in this list that failed to achieve at a campy or ridiculous level. This is a legitimately strong tune from Eminem, and if this song doesn’t make you wanna trash your trailer or rap-battle the first person you see it may be time to see a doctor just to make sure you’re still alive and human.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Partners in Kryme look like a couple of nerds straight out of prep school in this video for their song “Turtle Power” that tells the story of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. It’s been eclipsed in notoriety by “Ninja Rap,” but it’s a classic example of the power of using rap to tell the entire story of a movie in three minutes.
Coolio scored his biggest hit with “Gangster’s Paradise.” The video, which features Michelle Pfeiffer in her role as a bad ass high school teacher, holds up remarkably well today. Adding to its legend, this track also inspired one of the greatest rap parodies of all time.
Men In Black II
Will Smith pretty much owns this genre. Officially or unofficially, Will Smith’s love of movie raps has been apparent ever since, as Fresh Prince, he dropped the song “Nightmare on My Street.” Hell, this whole list could have been Will Smith movie themes. After consideration, the choice was clear. Wholly unnecessary and wildly over-the-top (especially after the phenomenal flop of “Wild Wild West”), “Nod Ya Head (Black Suits Coming)” from Men In Black II is our choice, if only because it is the most unnecessary and easily the most over-the-top in Smith’s catalog. Honorable mentions include “Men In Black,” “Wild Wild West” and “Switch.”
Deep Blue Sea
Update: Shortly after finishing this list it was brought to our attention that we missed one of the most egregiously ridiculous movie rap songs of all time. This track, “Deepest Bluest”, is from LL Cool J who does his best Will Smith here delivering a performance in the movie in addition to a nonsensical rap theme song. An almost literal jumping of the shark, the hook is one of those perfect rap hooks where it’s pretty clear the artist doesn’t even know what the words he’s saying actually mean. Lyrical content like “deepest, bluest, my hat is like a sharks fin” and “getting the lap dance while I smash through your boat” combined with slow motion shots of LL Cool J flexing his muscles and being sprayed with water make this one a real show stopper and take our list to an even dozen.