Halloween is a holiday where things are not always what they seem. Aside from all the paganism and all that, its really a celebration of illusion and projection; of how we can be what we arent what we wish to be, or what we wish to be perceived.
In this episode of DIGITS we address rappers who have been something else in their careers. That may sound a little ambiguous so let us explain.
Some rappers have in the past rapped with styles that were alien to how we normally are used to hearing them. In other cases, weve had emcees taking on other identities altogether changing voice, persona, cadence and in one case *gasp* their whole sex.
In this installment of DIGITS we take a look at the fantasy, trickery, and imagery in Hip-Hop. Were sure youll see a lot of scary rappers lists today but thats sooo 2007. Its not necessarily ghoulish, but you will be entertained. As with all DIGITS we cant put everything in so feel free to add on and as you come up with ill joints Ill add on and shout you out. Peace.
Derrick D. Dot Angelette as The Mad Rapper
Introduced in Bad Boys heyday to caricature the playa hatas, the Mad Rapper personal took on a life of its own and now stands as the Hip-Hop patron saint of hate. He ended up on more than a couple Bad Boy albums and even managed to get an album of his own. It gets no more John Blaze than that.
Andre Harrell as Dr. Jekyll
Before he morphed into Uptown Records Exec, Andre was one half of the rap duo Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Named after the famous split personality precedent, they were two sides of the same coin and Andre became even more of a chameleon following his career as a rapper.
Slick Rick as MC Ricky D
Probably the first example of an MC being two people on the Mic at the same time. I remember as a kid being confused about hearing about some damn Ricky D but never actually seeing him. Slow me finally figured it out (rocket scientist I was not). Rick used a variety of tricks to keep his audience off balance and to augment his storytelling. A real pioneer of lyrical entertainment.
Redman as himself?
In Redman vs. Reggie Noble, Redman actually battled himself on wax, switching cadence back and forth at a fast pace, crafting an ill song. Hed continue this with characters like uncle gully and the Supaman Lova, showing that you can be hardcore and clown at the same time. His performance as half the blues brothers in the How High video was also spot on and classic.
Nas as Scarlett
This was bizarre to say the least. On Sekou Story and Live Now There were people who actually thought Scarlett was a different person but you can hear Nas voice and cadence, albeit altered. Props to trying something REALLY different, but the results were strange. Nas also attempted a similar exercise on his album Hip-Hop Is Dead on the track Who Killed It? The voice was annoying as hell and obscured the point of the song, but it was creative.
Shock G as Humpty Hump
Embarassingly, I actually had to duff some kid out over whether Shock and Humpty were the same person. Homie must have been on some Lois Lane s**t fooled by a pair of glasses. I know I wasnt the only one mad at people falling for that. Anyway the Humpty Dance spread like wildfire across Burger King Bathrooms everywhere. Even Tupac had to do the Humpty!
The RZA as Prince Rakeem
Now we all know the Ruler Zig Zag Zig Allah as alter ego Bobby Digital. We all know the myriad Wu aliases. However The ultimate transformation came years before the Wutang and was even more startling that the Come Do Me version of the GZA that Wumaniacs try to forget. Imagine the RZA rhyming about having to many ladies and being a playboy? It was not all a dream. Fortunately he changed the style up and after the laughter we can wipe our tears.
Raekwon the Chef as Clyde Smith
After the infamous 50 Cent coming out party How to Rob, Many rappers were up in arms. Some, like Jay-Z and Big Pun responded in rhyme. Raekwon on the other hand got his ransom note voice on. The muffled voice reminds me of homie calling Ma$e talking about dont give my girl you number no more. After a ridiculous tough guy soliloquy about his jail respect he threatened to see 50. At press time, 50 Cent is in good health and unscathed except for those 9 shots.
Boss as A Gangster Rapper
She had skills, she had beats, she had arguably one of the best album debuts by a female rapper ever…she also had a made up story and a fake tough resume. Back when people still believed Hip-Hop was real (almost like when you found out that the Hulk Hogan leg drop was not real) people got angry at the lack of realness and dropped Boss faster than you can say fraud and she was never to be seen again. She probably has a degree 2.3 kids, a picket fence and a puppy now. Nothing wrong with that.
Rick Rauce the Bauce as Teflon the Don
Before Noriega owed him a hundred favors and even before he appeared with Trina in that video with the jersey on, and possibly even before his alleged Officer Ross time, he appeared as Teflon the Don on the Eric Onassis album on the track Aint SHHH To Discuss. He actually got busy on this. Peep game.
Bedeepbadeep that’s all folks. But what is Halloween without Thriller? Exactly. Peace out