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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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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11 Amazing TV Shows That Are Ending in 2019

All good things must come to an end.

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It might just be the beginning of 2019 but there are many TV series wrapping up already. There are many breathtaking and original pilots around along with several reboots coming. This might be one of the greatest year for TV.

However, all good things must come to an end. Some series have been planned out and are going to be finished while others have been cut short. Sadly, here's a list of TV series to say goodbye to this year.

1. The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

Final Date: May

12 Seasons//279 episodes

2. Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

www.youtube.com

Final Date: End of 2019

7 seasons//91 episodes

3. Jane the Virgin (CW)

www.flickr.com

Final Date: Mid-late 2019

5 seasons//100 episodes

4. Games of Thrones (HBO)

HBO

Final Date: Summer

8 Seasons//73 episodes

5. Broad City (Comedy Central)

Comedy Central

Final Date: March

5 seasons//50 episodes

6. VEEP (HBO)

HBO

Final Date: Spring

7 seasons//67 episodes

7. Homeland (Showtime)

Showtime

Final date: Summer

8 seasons//96 episodes

8. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)

Final date: January 25

4 seasons//52 episodes

9. The Affair (Showtime)

Amazon

Final Date: End of 2019

5 seasons//42 episodes

10. Friends From College (Netflix)

Final Date: End of 2019

2 seasons//16 episodes

11. Crashing (HBO)

HBO

Final Date: End of 2019

3 seasons//24 episodes

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