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Like Clockwork: Hip-Hop’s Obsession With “Orange”

Stanley Kubrick’s 1972 masterpiece A Clockwork Orange is not only a favorite among movie nerds everywhere, but it seems to have had a lasting influence on the hip-hop audience. Whether it’s the ultra-violence, the colorful slang or the gangsta fashion sense, the film keeps showing up on rap’s radar. Peep, or should we say viddy, this list of XXL’s favorite rap references to Clockwork.

Cage – The underground lyricist extraordinaire—back in his hardcore “Kennylz” days—made no mystery of his affinity for Stanley Kubrick. In addition to admitting on record that he named his dog “Kubrick,” the nihilistic MC employed producer Necro to lift A Clockwork Orange’s dizzying score for the monstrous “Agent Orange,” included on 2002′s Movies for the Blind.

Eminem – Before Em was a household name, he was beefing with fellow talented honkey Cage. In an effort to embarrass the NY rapper, Shady posed on the cover of Stress magazine dressed as the lead character Alex from Clockwork, Cage’s alias at the time. He also opened his verse on D12’s Devils Night with this line, “Lock your doors, drop to the floors, get your shotguns drawn—here comes another Clockwork Orange.”

Gnarls Barkley – The pre-release campaign for Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse’s 2006 debut, St. Elsewhere, was full of random pop imagery, including a Clockwork sight gag in which the duo sported the white tights/black hats look, accessorized by the requisite cane and glass of milk, worn by Alex and company in the film.

Three 6 Mafia - Three 6 has a long history of sampling tunes from classic horror movies, but for their protégé Frayser’s 2003 track “Pistol Playa,” the Memphis-born trackmasters left the blood-and-guys genre to embrace Wendy Carlos’s brilliant film score.

OJ Da Juiceman – While the tape has absolutely nothing to do with the movie, the cover art speaks for itself. The Juu man might have a lack of vocabulary, but he certainly has good taste. Aye!

Usher - Ursh and his droogs channeled Clockwork in the video for “My Way” back in 1997. Dancing dudes in eyeliner never looked this creepy. —compiled by Jesse Gissen and Matt Barone

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