There's a lot to like about the modern film industry - the Coen Brothers winning Oscars, halfway-decent Batman movies, mercifully few Dane Cook "comedies" - however, there are certain age-old traditions that Hollywood has abandoned lately, and we're here to say enough is enough. Specifically, we're here to petition for the return of the overly-expository end-credit rap song. You know what we're talking about - those insanely catchy rap anthems that run during the end credits of movies, blithely recounting everything you've just watched to a drum-machine beat. What has happened to this tried-and-true Tinseltown tradition? Why was there no rap song during Iron Man's end credits, awkwardly trying to rhyme "Tony Stark" with something like "Maker's Mark" or "Noah's Ark"? Why didn't we get to hear M. Night Shyamalan freestyle on "Greenhouse Thug Style (The Happening Rap)"? This is not the Hollywood of the future we envisioned back in 1988 and, to be frank, we don't like it.
So, as an ode to the golden days of plot-summarizing hip-hop, we've assembled this list of ten of our favorite hilariously awesome end-credit rap songs. One note: Any movie rap anthem that was dubbed either a). not creative enough (i.e. dull) or b). too accomplished (i.e. too good - Eminem's "Lose Yourself" falls into this category) probably didn't make this list. Also, while the some of these songs did not play in their entireties during the end credits, they remain within the end-credit genre due to their tone and scope.
10. Maniac Cop 2 (1990) - "Maniac Cop Rap"
Why We Love It: We should hate any B-movie slasher film with the gall to replace genre legend (and star of the original Maniac Cop) Bruce Campbell with pock-marked place-filler Robert Davi, but you HAVE to love Maniac Cop 2 for having one of the funniest end-credit rap epics of all time. We're sure the "Maniac Cop Rap" was a chart-topping hit in some alternate universe, but, in our world, this underheard gem only has a growing online cult following (check out the fan-made music video below) thanks largely to classic lines like "Set him on fire, I shoot him with an Uzi / but he'll show up in your Jacuzzi."
9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) - "Turtle Power" by Partners in Kryme
Why We Love It: Unlike the "Maniac Cop Rap," this end-credit legend actually WAS a chart-topping mega-hit, peaking at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and, if you were a teen or tween during the early 90s, chances are, you can still sing every verse and spent way too much time wondering why PiK cites Raphael as the leader of the group when Leonardo is obviously the turtle in charge. (The oversight still galls us.) This ballad of shell-backed heroes "transformed from the norm by the nuclear goop" is not to be confused with the more often-cited (and much worse) "Ninja Rap" performed by Vanilla Ice in Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze.
8. I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988) - "Jack of Spades" by KRS-One
Why We Love It: We toyed with the idea of including KRS-One's end-credit "Generique Assault" from the lame 2005 remake of Assault on Precinct 13 on our list - if only thanks to such classic lyrics as "It's working, that force, I have been searching / Like Lawrence Fishburne when it's time to hurt things" - but we chose instead to highlight the rapper's actually pretty-great "Jack of Spades" from the woefully underrated comedy gem I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. Granted, the song is more about Keenen Ivory Wayans' Jack Spade than pure plot summary, but Kung Fu Joe and Flyguy DO get mentioned, and the song earns extra points since KRS-One shows up in the movie's final frames himself to perform the song walking behind Spade as his theme music.
7. Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991) - "The Reaper Rap" by Steve Vai
Why We Love It: Because it's non-non-non-heinous. Now, we admit, this might be one of the more debatable inclusions on this list - can you really call a song a "rap" if it's really just quotes from the movie set the music of guitar legend Steve Vai? - but "The Reaper Rap" is one of our favorite soundbites-masquerading-as-a-song movie anthems of all time. Perhaps the BEST part of "The Reaper Rap" is that the song includes tons of quotes from whole plotlines that were deleted from the final film - scenes that you can only find in Evan Dorkin's Bogus Journey comic book adaptation - thus, making the song the best director's cut that Bill & Ted 2 is ever going to get. (Check out the fan-made music video for "Reaper Rap" below.)
6. Ghostbusters 2 (1989) - "Ghostbusters" by Run-D.M.C.
Why We Love It: Simply put, Run-D.M.C.'s Tougher Than Leather is one of the greatest rap albums of all time, and this contribution to the Ghostbusters 2 soundtrack is the iconic group at their absolute silliest. Forget about "Christmas in Hollis." This is D.M.C.'s campiest career moment BY FAR, featuring such unforgettable lines as "All by myself, with no one around / Did not understand a hand comin' out the ground." But that doesn't mean the song isn't awesome. It's catchy as hell, deliciously goofy, and the montage it underscores in GB2 is one of the best parts of that truly underwhelming (though strangely watchable) sequel.
5. Tapeheads (1988) - "Roscoe's End Credits" by King Cotton
Why We Love It: In the cult classic Tapeheads, John Cusack and Tim Robbins play aspiring music video directors trying to break into the industry and, by far, the single best moment of the movie is the commercial they make for the legendary Los Angeles restaurant Roscoe's Chicken 'n Waffles, a side-splitting production number featuring King Cotton telling Roscoe's hungry patrons: "When I throw down the ladies all beg / Roscoe, let me taste your chicken leg." Perhaps knowing that Roscoe's Rap was the highlight of their film, the producers of Tapeheads chose to end their movie with Roscoe reappearing in the final frames, telling the audience to "Hold on a minute, don't leave yet / Roscoe's end credits are your best bet." Extra points for being hilarious and creating an end-credit rap anthem that actually acknowledges the end credits.
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) - "Are You Ready for Freddy?" by The Fat Boys
Why We Love It: You mean, aside from the sublime hilarity of a slasher film about a burned child molester who kills people in their dreams using finger-blades getting an up-tempo, family-friendly rap theme performed by one of the most huggable groups in hip-hop history? If that wasn't reason enough to love "Are You Ready for Freddy?", it also has a video that's 80 times funnier than the Fat Boys' feature debut Disorderlies AND it features Robert Englund rapping IN CHARACTER as Freddy Krueger. If you're ever debating exactly when the Elm Street franchise transitioned from scary to slapstick, we submit for your consideration - "Freddy Krueger's the name / you know my game / Elm Street's the place, if you got the time / listen to this / yo, bust a rhyme."
3. The Addams Family (1991) - "Addams Groove" by M.C. Hammer
Why We Love It: Because it reminds us of a simpler time in Hollywood, a time when a movie like Schwarzenegger's Last Action Hero could make a joke about M.C. Hammer doing the whole soundtrack for a big-ticket action movie, and, upon hearing that, the audience at the time actually thought, "Wow, that must be a high-profile project to warrant such an A-list soundtrack." While Hammer never did write the music for an entire movie - unless you count his made-for-VH1 fall-from-grace biopic - this top-ten sing-along hit from The Addams Family movie gives us a taste of what might've been. Sigh...
2. Wild Wild West (1999) - "Wild Wild West" by Will Smith
Why We Love It: If there was a lifetime achievement award in the field of overly-expository end-credit rap songs, the first recipient would, unquestionably, be Will Smith, a trail-blazing advocate for the art of recounting movie plots to dance-able hip-hop jams as you watch the names of best boys and key grips roll past. Even in this sad age when the end-credit rap anthems have fallen out of favor, Smith has turned at least 3 of his plot-driven rap anthems into bona fide radio hits - "Men in Black," "Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head)" (from MIB 2), and "Wild Wild West." We went with "WWW" for inclusion on this list, not only because it was a #1 pop chart smash, but also because the song remained a big hit even though the movie TANKED at the box office, acting as a prime example of how end-credit rap songs can truly transcend their origins and take on a life of their own. James West, tamin' the west, indeed.
1. Dragnet (1987) - "City of Crime" by Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks
Why We Love It: In 2002, the American Film Institute honored Tom Hanks with their Lifetime Achievement Award and the very fact that they did NOT include the music video for Dragnet's "City of Crime" in their montage of Hanks' greatest moments in film is, in itself, a crime against humanity. This song is the ULTIMATE overly-expository end-credit rap song, a relic from a more innocent time when the two stars of a major-studio, high-concept action-comedy could be talked into performing an energetic spoken-word rap theme song for said movie, even despite their a). lack of familiarity with the still-developing rap genre and b). inherent whiteness. Aykroyd and Hanks deserve SO much credit for going all out in "City of Crime," and the video for the song was actually in heavy rotation on MTV back in 1987 (back when they showed music videos).
Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to find a copy of the song or its music video nowadays. The soundtrack is out of print (though still buyable on Amazon), and there's only one copy of the beyond-insane music video on YouTube. We've included it below, but BE WARNED, the sound and video quality is TERRIBLE. However, if this is what we have to go through to watch Sgt. Joe Friday and Pep Streebeck rap about saving the Virgin Connie Swail from the PAGANS, then it's a well-deserved sacrifice.
Those were MovieRetriever's picks for the best in the fine tradition of overly-expository end-credit rap songs. Did we miss any really obvious choices? Can't believe we ignored the theme song from Samuel L. Jackson's S.W.A.T. or the classic (though not end-credit) "Take That" rap from Teen Witch? Either login or register for a MyVideoHound account today and use the comments section below to tell us what wicky-wicky morons we truly are.