John Cena Says Hip-Hop Led Him To Wrestle; Talks '12 Rounds'

AllHipHop Staff

As one of the WWE’s most popular Superstars, John Cena is known to garner cheers and applause among pro-wrestling fans as he makes his way to the ring to the sounds of his M.O.P.-sampled entrance theme, “The Time is Now.”

The music, in addition to Cena’s freestyling in the ring when he first came on the scene, represents a solid relationship with Hip-Hop.

So much so, the wrestler/actor’s love of the culture ultimately became the catalyst for his transformation from a scrawny teen in West Newbury, Massachusetts to a muscular celebrity.

“I started listening to Hip-Hop when nobody else was, started dressing all urban when nobody else was, and I got hell for it,” Cena shared with Men’s Fitness magazine. “To counteract, strictly for self-defense, I wanted to get bigger. I figured if I worked out three times a week, I’d get big. If I did it seven days a week, I’d get huge.”

Cena’s appreciation for Hip-Hop is not a newfound revelation.

The pro wrestler released his first rap album, You Can’t See Me, in 2005.

The release featured guest appearances from Cena’s cousin Trademarc as well as rappers Esoteric and Bumpy Knuckles.

The hard work paid off as Cena found success in the and out of the wrestling ring, including a high profile role in the upcoming movie 12 Rounds.

The Renny Harlin-directed action thriller stars Cena as Danny Fisher, a New Orleans police detective who prevents internationally known terrorist Miles Jackson from pulling off a million dollar heist.

When Jackson’s girlfriend is accidentally killed, the criminal mastermind escapes from prison to seek revenge on Fisher through a series of near-impossible dangerous challenges that Fisher must complete in order to save the life of his fiancé.

“Renny (Harlin) originally thought, ‘OK, I’m getting a wrestler, he can’t act, so how can I build the best movie around a broomstick,” Cena joked.

Harlin disagreed with Cena’s assessment of his ability to act and stated that Hollywood needed more talent like the upcoming rapping/wrestler.

“He’s intelligent, he’s funny, and more invested than anyone I’ve worked with. I don’t know if it comes with his physicality, but he has such confidence in himself, definitely not to be confused with cockiness,” Harlin said. “I truly feel he’s a new movie star, a new action star, which Hollywood desperately needs.”

Men’s Fitness’ April issue featuring John Cena is slated to hit newsstands on Monday (March 16), while 12 Rounds arrives in theaters on March 27.