10 Martial Arts-Inspired Hip-Hop Videos – Let’s Kick It
While different, Nicki Minaj’s martial arts-inspired “Your Love” video is nothing new for hip-hop. For years rappers have let their infatuation with Asian culture shine through their videos. XXLMag takes a trip down memory lane and recalls 10 rap videos that pre-date Nicki’s newest clip.
WU-TANG CLAN “DA MYSTERY OF CHESSBOXIN’”
Whoever thought of arranging Shaolin ninjas on a chessboard is a genius. The sword brandishing to block out the song’s explicatives were a nice touch also. “Da Mystery of Chessboxin” clip is proof positive that when it comes to martial arts and hip-hop that Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to fuck with.
BUSTA RHYMES “DANGEROUS”
Is Busta Rhymes the meanest, the prettiest (pause), the baddest, toughest low down in this town? That’s debatable, but when it comes to re-creating Hollywood blockbusters for his music videos, Bussa Buss is sho’ nuff the greatest. Take his clip for “Dangerous” as an example, where the Dungeon Dragon takes pieces of Lethal Weapon and mixes it with The Last Dragon for a classic result.
When it comes to fighting games the Street Fighter franchise is tops amongst fanboys; it’s a shame we can’t say the same for the movies. Still, Pharcyde’s “Pandemonium” was one of the bright spots in the otherwise lousy 1994 release of the first Street Fighter flick, which starred Jean-Claude Van Damme. The Pharcyde get bonus points for mixing green-screened in-game shots with real life action. Sonic boom!
JERU DA DAMAJA “YA PLAYIN’ YASELF”
With DJ Premier’s drums, Jeru’s poignant lyrics and the vidoe’s John Woo-like choreography, the clip for “Ya Playin’ Yaself” was an instant classic. Forever embedded in the minds of mid-‘90s hip-hop fiends is the towel-fighting scene around the 2-min mark. It gets no better.
SPECIAL ED “THE MISSION”
Remember when rap wasn’t so serious? For his storytelling 1990 single, the Youngest In Charge goes head to head with a karate master and fights him “Flatbush style.” Take that, take that.
VANILLA ICE “NINJA RAP”
We’re not sure what’s more amazing, the fact Vanilla Ice made a song and dance for the second live-action adaptation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s cartoon or that Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo and Michael Angelo made a cameo. Either way, Mr. Ice Ice baby cowabungaed his way through this video and probably got a big check for his troubles.
If you’ve ever been to an Afu-Ra concert then you know the wordy MC has been known to incorporate martial arts moves into his routine. For the clip to his 2000 DJ Premier-produced single, Afu took it to the dojo and got busy.
Even before his venture into Hollywood, Mr. X-to-the-Z has always had a flair for the dramatic in his videos. In this 2006 clip, Xzibit gets straight cinematic. The song may have been so-so, but the video kicks ass!
The Abbott travels from the East Coast to the Far East to do battle with an evil shogun. RZA easily defeats his enemy who dared to slap box with the God and he makes off with the fair maiden. Flawless victory.
BUSTA RHYMES FEAT. P. DIDDY & PHARRELL “PASS THE COURVOISIER, Pt. II”
Initially taking cues from Eddie Murphy’s Harlem Nights,” Busta, Diddy and Jamie Foxx find inspiration in Rush Hour as they lay the smackdown on some dojo roughnecks trying to lay hands on their bottle of Courvoisier.