Listen, people: hip hop knows no cultural boundaries. While it would be disingenuous for most of us to act like we’re straight outta Compton, the beat-heavy, fast-talking style of rap can be applied across all walks of life. Consider: White and Nerdy by Weird Al Yankovic, Rapture by Blondie, this terrible anti-pirating PSA from 1992.
Admittedly, cross-subculture rap is almost never really good. But it’s still fun, and it can still be useful, even if that “use” is to immediately try to forget they exist. Here are some of my favorite bad examples. Do you have others? Share them in the comments!
Elements of Style
Strunk & White famously wrote the most popular (and concise) book on usage in the history of English language. By necessity, there’s some redundancy here (What else rhymes with “Strunk and White?”), but I think they’d be both ashamed and secretly pleased that their rules and advice have lived long enough to spit badly over a mediocre beat. (Probably mostly ashamed.)
American History Rap
OK, so they lose a few points for ripping TI’s beat from “Whatever You Like,” but gain a few for preserving a solid, amateur effort that would otherwise not exist—the original was deleted and this is the only version that exists. It has maps and bulleted lists. Learn something, if you can get “Stacks on deck, Patron on ice” out of your brain long enough to hear the parody lyrics.
What the hell is Bitcoin, you ask? The guys from Cracked are here (or, uh, at SXSW) to explain. Sort of.
Language advisory: Don’t watch this without headphones if you’re at work or in the same room as children or people who don’t like swearing, rap, or Bitcoin.
Marvel Supervillain Kingpin
Few things are as geeky as mentally embodying your favorite Marvel supervillain, which is exactly what rapper MCBEE-X (that’s Marvel Comic Book-X) does in his single, “I’m the Kingpin!” which was released by ACM Records last year. Does it work? Ehn. It’s the most sincere, concerted effort in this list. Is it geeky? Oh, absolutely.
Rap about Anime
We can’t show you any of these, but they exist. Off to Google you go, now, but be careful, most of these are highly NSFW.
Rap about Lego
It’s barely about Lego, but it features Lego and is a rap. Thanks, Jamie Kennedy and Stu Stone. (We think.)
Complicated Pop Culture Mashups
Anime-drawing tutorial of Doctor Who (Matt Smith!) meets an original rap song and beat. That’s a lot to happen in one video, actually, but here you have it.
Splitting Hairs: What’s the Difference, Anyway?
Some of the videos featured above are downright nerdy. Others are straight-up geekish. But what’s the difference, and how vast is the gap between nerdery and geekdom? Rhett and Link sort it out for us.
[More on Rhett & Link]
Way back in 1985, a group of kids from Crown Heights, Brooklyn made a series of promotional rap videos for the area’s local library. Between the mad beatbox skills and that fancy footwork, I am personally sold. Booking a trip (haha, puns) to New York in 1985 right now.
Part 1: TW – “liberry”
Part 2: Rad suit, plus “COME OFF THE DOPE.”
Part 3: These kids are about that life.