Enter The Rapper: Martial Arts' Influence On Hip-Hop

Enter The Rapper: Martial Arts' Influence On Hip-Hop

Kendrick Lamar's new persona, "Kung Fu Kenny," is a reminder that martial arts and hip-hop are still tight.
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Since Kendrick Lamar's hot new album, "Damn." dropped earlier this month, the internet has been buzzing. While the well-crafted lyrics and K-Dot's undeniably meticulous flow is accumulating a lot of the attention, Lamar's new moniker, "New Kung Fu Kenny," has seemed to stick with fans. The alias, inspired by Don Cheadle's "Rush Hour 2" character, the "original Kung Fu Kenny," is referenced throughout the album and is portrayed by Lamar in the "DNA" music video (which also features Don Cheadle as an interrogation officer).

Lamar's new persona also pays tribute to the Hong Kong films of the 1970's, much like Wu-Tang Clan did in the 90's. On the surface, it may seem odd that martial arts and hip-hop would have any connection. After all, martial arts teaches simplicity and detaching oneself from material possessions, while hip-hop places a spotlight on an excessive lifestyle including money, women, and heavy drug and alcohol use. If you compare the history of the two, however, the relationship becomes evident.

Kung Fu films from Hong Kong were often purchased in packages by New York City movie theaters to save money. They were also shown on TV through programs such as "Drive-In Saturday." The films, primarily those produced by Bruce Lee and the Shaw Brothers, depicted an underdog overcoming an oppressive organization, or unjust leader, using nothing more than willpower and their hands and feet. This theme of rising above injustice with so little resonated with the African-American community of this time period. While hate-blinded police officers were equipped with guns and clubs, the oppressed had their fists and a voice through music, leading to the birth of hip-hop. Martial arts reinvigorated the warrior instincts African-Americans lost during slavery and the time of Jim Crow Laws. The films also gave young black and brown children non-white role models to look up to, which was quite rare in the 70's and early 80's.

There is no denying that tensions between the oppressed and the oppressive still stream through the cracks of this nation, making a hero like "Kung Fu Kenny" just as relevant today as he would have been in the 70's. The persona could also turn some people onto Lamar's music that never listened to him prior to "Damn." Wu-Tang Clan actually got me into hip-hop when I started listening to them in high school due to their martial arts-inspired music videos, personas, and lyrical imagery.

If you want to learn more about the historical connection between martial arts and hip-hop, check out Shawn Setaro's fascinating article "Kung Fu Kenny is Just the Latest Example of Hip-Hop's Fascination with Martial Arts."

Cover Image Credit: Reddit

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15 Texts We'd Get From Dogs If They Had Thumbs

"If you're reading this, send Milk Bones."
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Let's be real, anyone who has a dog knows that it if we could, we would text our dogs all day long. If they could text us, our thread would look something like...

1. "Are you coming home soon?! Let's go out!"

2. "So not to be weird... but you never ended up answering me last night... Am I the good boy? Idk I just want to be clear on our relationship I don't want to be lead on if I'm not."

3. "The cat is being such a bit** I literally can't stand her"

4. "Hey, just wondering, are you going to wear those black booties tonight? If you are, I'll chew the zipper out of the brown ones instead."

5. "Okay, so don't freak out, but something not so chill happened on the rug..."

6. "Are there any leftovers in the trash? I'm not gonna get into it, I was just curious. Love u."

7. "If you're reading this... bring Milk Bones."

8. "Hey, what's for dinner tonight?! Purina again?"

9. "Miss you!!"

10. "Are you gonna eat that food on the counter or is that for everyone? Asking for the cat."

11. "I LOVE YOU"

12. "OMG, I can't wait for you to come home on break! Can you sleep in the guest room tho? Mom said I could have your room when you moved out. Love u!"

13. "Ice cream date later?!"

14. "We should go for a walk I need to get my ass back in shape for summer. You should be my workout buddy!"

15. "Netflix and chill tonight?"

Cover Image Credit: Salon

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Poetry On Odyssey: Hustle and Bustle This Holiday Season

"...Have conversation, turn off the cable..."

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It's Holiday season,

Time to be freezin'.

Thanksgiving will be here before we know it,

Don't stop now, you can't quit.

Numerous trips to grocery stores,

Pure mayhem when you walk through those doors.

Shelves bare,

You're ready to pull out your hair.

Long check-out lines,

Or delayed airlines.

Prepare and cook the turkey low and slow,

Wait for that golden brown skin to glow.

Place the gravy and cranberry sauce on the table,

Have conversation, turn off the cable.


Before you know it, Christmas is here,

The classic songs are music to our ears.

Yet we all dread the trips to the mall,

To find the perfect gifts, big or small.

The Christmas Tree Lighting floods TV stations,

With singers from all generations,

The scent of candy canes fill the air,

We wish the day runs smoothly, Lord, hear our prayer.

Lots of wrappers and bows cover the floor,

As we obsess over our presents more and more.


New Year's creeps up on us,

Throwing a party is always a plus.

Streamers, noisemakers, food,

Who knew planning the perfect party was of this magnitude.

The line at the liquor store gets longer and longer,

Because of the stress in picking a champagne or sparkling cider.

Deciding to prepare finger foods or a five-course meal,

Why not get take-out? DEAL!

Clock counts down from ten.

As the clock strikes one, we've made it to another year, AMEN!

Glasses clinking,

People drinking,

"Happy New Year,"

We cheer.

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