Rap and wrestling have always been close cousins, and further proof surfaced this week when Diddy was announced as executive producer of the WWE 2K17 video game soundtrack.
Diddy hand-picked selections from Action Bronson and Joey Bada$$, French Montana (of course), Anderson .Paak, Wale, Raekwon, and his own 2000's gem “Bad Boy For Life” for the soundtrack, along with artists like Black Sabbath and Twenty One Pilots.
“I am a huge WWE fan. I love the intensity and the competition and I wanted fans to feel that energy in the soundtrack for WWE 2K17,” Diddy said in a statement sent to Billboard. “While prepping for the upcoming Bad Boy 20-Year Family Reunion Tour, I’ve been thinking a lot about the past and the artists that inspired me. I mixed some of my favorites with some of the best new acts in the game today to create something really special.”
This isn’t the first collaboration between WWE and Diddy; he also provided the theme song for Wrestlemania 29 with “Coming Home (featuring Skylar Grey),” he performed at the 2010 Tribute to the Troops, and the two powerhouse brands teamed up for an anti-bullying campaign.
This partnership, which might look awkward from the outside looking in, confirms what most rap and wrestling fans have known for years: the two entities are virtually one in the same. Both have a time-honored tradition of competition where superstars are out to prove they’re the best, ready to wipe out anyone in their path in order to reign victorious.
Even if detractors were to make the case that competition isn’t a factor in today's hip-hop like it was in yesteryear, the theatre, spectacle and showmanship are just as vibrant as they’ve ever been. The variety of larger-than-life, almost cartoonish personalities in rap these days - Kanye West, Rick Ross, Action Bronson, Young Thug, and Lil Yachty, for example - are indicative of the multiple personalities in wrestling.
There are also the storylines. Following your favorite blogs and radio shows for the ups and downs of the Drake vs. [Fill In The Blank] saga is no different from tuning into Smackdown or Raw on a week to week basis. And haven’t these big summer festivals staged iconic moments for these stars in much the same way the WWE has long hosted main events?
It’s no coincidence that Pusha T worships Ric Flair, emulating his signature “Woo!” and weaving it into his songs, or that rappers have referenced wrestlers in their records for decades. Diddy and WWE understand the similarities, and they’re smart to cash in.
See the track list for WWE 2K17 below:
- Action Bronson & Joey Bada$$ (feat. Rico Love) – “What About The Rest Of Us”
- Anderson .Paak – “Come Down”
- Andy Black – “We Don’t Have To Dance”
- Axwell Λ Ingrosso – “This Time”
- Black Sabbath – “Paranoid”
- Bring Me The Horizon – “Run”
- FIDLAR – “Drone”
- French Montana (feat. Kodak Black) – “Lockjaw”
- iSHi (feat. French Montana, Wale, & Raekwon) – “We Run”
- P. Diddy, Black Rob & Mark Curry – “Bad Boy For Life”
- Travis Barker & Yelawolf – “Out of Control”
- Twenty One Pilots – “Ride”
- Yellow Claw (feat. Lil Eddie) – “We Made It”
By William E. Ketchum III, follow him at @WEKetchum
Photo Credit: WWE Games