In 2003, former WWE champ Randy Savage entered into the world of rap music with his hysterically bad album, Be a Man.
That compilation now serves as a treasure to those who enjoy mocking all things terrible.
Listening to Savage's first and only rap album 10 years later, there is little to take from it other than novelty. Recording those 14 tracks was a mistake in itself, but releasing it to human ears only compounded things.
The late Savage was a fantastic wrestler and one of WWE's most memorable characters. He undoubtedly should already be in the WWE Hall of Fame. Music though, was clearly not his thing.
There is more artistry in the snarky Amazon.com reviews of the album than the album itself.
The most grating rap music comes from a performer who isn't speaking his own language. Savage wasn't true to himself here. It sounds like he found a hip-hop phrasebook and picked out a handful of lines at random.
The best rappers, like wrestlers, present a persona that is an exaggerated version of themselves.
Straying too far from who one is makes the rap persona more like a Halloween costume.
Of all the tracks on Be A Man, three stand out. Savage's tribute to his friend Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig, "My Perfect Friend," the anger fest that is "R U Ready" and the Hulk Hogan diss song, "Be a Man."
R U Ready
This track is perhaps the album's best or more accurately its least worst.
Savage's trademark intensity blends with thrashing guitars and a snapping snare for a song with enough energy to mask some of its lyrical deficiencies. He sounds throughout the track as if he's legitimately pumped up for whatever it is we’re supposed to be getting ready for.
The effect is somewhat infectious.
The song's biggest flaw though is its unoriginality. The chorus includes the well-worn phrase, "Put your hands in the air, come on. Wave 'em like you just don't care."
Savage's verses are certainly less generic than that, but not an improvement.
He tells us, "I'm ready as ever like the batteries."
His message beyond his preparedness is unclear. His anger is not.
Like many of the songs on Be a Man, Savage seems to have stepped right out of rush-hour traffic right into the recording studio. His passionate emotions reverberate through his songs even if they don't come courtesy of clever lines.
Near the beginning of "R U Ready," Savage talks about ripping "the microphone like confetti."
There are admittedly only a finite number of things that one can rip the microphone like so it was perhaps inevitable that one day someone would rap about ripping it like confetti.
Be a Man
The album's titular track is its most famous and one of its goofiest.
In it, an angry Macho Man verbally assaults Hulk Hogan. Savage continues the long-standing tradition of rap diss songs but with nowhere near the effectiveness of something like Nas' "Ether."
What Nas' lyrical attack on Jay-Z didn't have however was an intertwining of rap bravado and wrestling references. Savage says to Hogan near the beginning of the song, "Dude, please, your pay-per-view was a joke. You're avoiding Randy Savage because you know you'll get smoked."
The track is decently catchy and straight forward. Savage's gravelly voice suits the rock-inspired beat.
It's just the irritatingly corny lyrics that turn this song from forgettable to infamously bad.
Savage goes on to make a Rodney Dangerfield reference, tell Hogan he'll wash his mouth out with soap and make a comparison of Savage's film career to Hogan's.
"Your movies and acting skills are both trash. Your movies straight to video, the box office can't stand while I got myself a feature role in Spider Man."
Savage gets points for intensity and passion, but lyrical precision? Not so much.
My Perfect Friend
The slow, serious tribute is a staple of the rap album and Savage didn't leave that element out of "Be a Man."
He delivered a cheesy but heartfelt tribute to the late 'Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig.
"My Perfect Friend" features Savage's worst lyrical delivery. It's a serious of awkwardly crammed together lines.
Savage raps, "You were one of the best, very high on my list. Not just in the ring, but out of the ring you're dearly missed."
While it's great fun to dismantle the rest of the album, it's harder to take delight in trashing this song because of how personal it is. It's clear that Hennig meant a lot to Savage, but the Macho Man just wasn't adept at expressing that feeling.
The song may have been inspiring enough to help Justin Timberlake to write, "What Comes Around." Some argue that Timberlake's song is a rip off of Savage's track.
Take the album at face value and cringe or view it as so bad that it's awesome. Savage's choice to put out a rap album is an odd one either way. His attempt at rap was mighty surprising.
There is a long list of attempted crossovers from the world of pro wrestling into other endeavors that saw the wrestlers trip up.
Hulk Hogan's Pastamania restaurant, Randy Orton's acting performance in "That's What I Am" and Macho Man's rap album are all proof that while a select few are great at many things, the rest of us need to stick with what we're good at.
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