In Honor Of Heavy D: An Examination Of 7 Hip-Hop TV Themes

Thursday, November 10 by

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Ahhh. The one bright shining star in this list. The song is catchy and brings even a brand new viewer entirely up to speed on the premise of the show in about 55 seconds. Though Will Smith’s “Fresh Prince” brand of rap/talk/storytelling hasn’t held up since his “Parents Just Don’t Understand”/”Nightmare on My Street”/”I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson” days, this song will forever remain in the annals of TV history.

It’s pretty much achieved earworm status at this point. Once the seed is planted, you’re screwed for the rest of the day.

“Innnnnn West Philadelphia born and raised…”

See?

Ok. That was mean. Let me fix it.

“It’s beeeeeeeeen…ONE WEEK SINCE YA LOOKED AT ME/COCKED YOUR HEAD TO THE SIDE AND SAID ‘I’M ANGRY’….”

Justified

This song is included not because it’s tried-and-true hip-hop – it’s not, but rather because this is the shape that hip-hop seemed to take in television, specifically, cable crime dramas. Can you hear the fusion between bluegrass and rap? Well, you can hear it again in The Sopranos theme song by Alabama 3. Or how about the hybrid of shit-metal and rap for The Shield’s Kid Rock-esque theme song.

I’m not sure why they do it, as none of the aforementioned songs are that good. Maybe cause they don’t want to scare whitey. Well, I’m whitey. And I can handle it. Quit watering down my rap, showrunners.

Hammerman

Uhhh…here’s a rap song. From MC Hammer. For his TV cartoon series Hammerman.

I really don’t know what else to say here. It’s MC Hammer, which was at one point considered rap, but is now barely identifiable as such. Rather it sounds like some crystal meth-addled epileptic manned a sampling board.

Also, listen to this if only to enjoy MC Hammer struggle with the timing of the lyrics, rushing some, then drawing others out. However, you can pretty much feel his excitement and relief when he gets to the final chorus, like he knows he’s done with this shit.

“HAMMER-MAN…HAMMER!”

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