NEW YORK — For the past few years we've been hearing members of the hip-hop community such as Jay-Z, DJ Kay Slay and Jadakiss equate the beefs in rap music to WWE wrestling. Finally it's cool to take to quarreling off of wax — at least in one instance.
Not only has grappling legend Randy "Macho Man" Savage announced that he's embarking on a career behind the mic as a rapper, he's still trying to settle an old conflict with one of his squared-circle nemeses.
"I've never been humble in my whole career, so I'm not going to start now," Macho Man, appearing at MTV's VMA radio forum, said last week of the love he was getting from all the radio DJs and fellow celebrities like Lil Jon. "Once again the madness is running wild. October 7 is the launch. [The album] is called Be a Man. It's got 13 hits on there, and it's gonna be rocking the house. Ooooh yeeeaaah!"
If it seems a little random that Macho Man, who has been wrestling professionally since 1975, would decide to pick up the mic, it is. Early this year, Savage was working with boxers in his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida, and ran into Big 3 Records chairman Bill Edwards, who was managing a local boxer at the time. The two hit it off and Savage, who said he listens to Eminem, Run-DMC and LL Cool J, among others, jumped at the chance to express himself to the world through another medium.
"Just like anything else, it takes a little bit of adjusting, but I caught on pretty quick," he said of working in the studio. "Right now I'm all about it. This is everything to me. We just had our first show in Florida. People felt good about it, there was a lot of energy. Now we're ready to take this thing on the road, man! I've been loving music all my life. Music's been a part of me. Now I'm going to put the power on. We're going to rock the country; we're going to rock the world."
The first step in shaking up the world for Savage is making it hot in the clubs. DJ Kool, who teamed up with Redman for "Let's Get Dirty (I Can't Get in Da Club)," helps Macho Man out on the synthesizer-heavy "Hit the Floor"
"You could party by yourself or party all alone," Kool says, trying to encourage dancing.
Randy comes in later with his signature growling monotone, rapping, "Coming right back at ya is the Macho Man/ DJs in the club, slam the jam/ I'm coming with the heat that's sizzling hot/ When I drop this beat, it's blowing up the spot."
On "What's It All About," Savage proves that he's not too macho to mend a woman's broken heart. "I wanna keep ya happy, not just financially, but mentally, physically, romantically/ I know it's funny 'cause I'm usually slammin' cats/ Elbow off the rope in a wrestling match/ But you bring out another side of me."
The Macho Man also opens up his heart with a down-South bouncy flow on "My Perfect Friend," dedicated to late wrestler Curt Henning, better known as Mr. Perfect.
"Mr. Perfect's the name that will never be forgotten," he rhymes. "As long as Macho's around, I'mma keep your spot in/ Wrestling history, 'cause you were all about perfection/ ... 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."
Another person Macho Man misses is Hulk Hogan. No, Savage doesn't miss the days when he and Hogan formed the Mega Powers tag team and dominated the WWF. He misses the days when he used to ascend the top rope and jump down on his blond-haired, vitamin-taking, prayer-saying foe.
"I had 13 songs on the album and I had to dedicate one to Hulk Hogan," Savage said, getting more emphatic. "Every time I call him out, the dude has 101 reasons why not to fight the 'Macho Man' Randy Savage. I know the fans are demanding it, especially when you get to the hip-hop culture. We got him boxed in right now, and I think the fans want to see Hogan and Savage fight it out one more time."
Macho has the perfect place where he and Hogan can get it on: March's WrestleMania XX at Madison Square Garden.
"Hulk Hogan, I'm calling you out and I'm begging you, for once in your pathetic lifetime, be a man and answer the 'Macho Man' Randy Savage's challenge," he added.
If Hogan still doesn't get the point that his on-again/off-again friend and enemy is trying to drive home, he can listen to Be a Man's title track.
"Used to be hard, Hulk, now you just turned soft," Savage scoffs. "Doing telephone commercials I seen ya, dancing in tights as a ballerina/ I knew all along you had those tendencies, 'cause you been running from Macho like I had a disease."
Be a Man was produced by Big 3's in-house team Da Raskulls. In addition to the hip-hop-flavored tracks, the producers also supplied some rock beats for Macho Man to rap over as well.