When you’re stuck in self-isolation due to a worldwide pandemic, with a wife still at work and nothing but the sounds of a little boy from the country screaming, “Can I pet that DAWG?!” echoing in your eardrums all day, your mind starts to drift. One of the ways I’ve managed to cope over the past 10 days has been by thinking long and hard about the lives of our most beloved fictional characters.
We rarely get a full view of our favorite characters outside of what their individual stories want us to see. We know an extensive history of X-Men’s Wolverine in terms of his familial roots and his relationships with other mutants, but did anyone stop to ask what Wolverine’s top five mob movies might be? Bridget Jones wrote a lot down in her diary, but do we know if she’s one of those people who thinks hot dogs are technically considered sandwiches? Would Frodo Baggins be more of a CrossFit guy or a traditional strength training guy if given a choice? We don’t have the answers. We need the answers.
An even more prescient question—in my brain, and now hopefully yours, too— is, if dropped into today’s society, which rappers would our favorite fictional characters gravitate toward? I know what you’re next question is: “Matt, you seem unquestionably bored out of your fucking mind,” which, yes. I know the following question: “Who do you think these characters would love the most?” Great question. Let me oblige.
Optimus Prime Loves Nas
Nas, one of the most gifted lyricists and writers in the history of hip-hop, also has a knack for boring the shit out of you while proving the former. While he weaves his way in and out of concepts and storytelling with picture-perfect technicality, Nas often does it at the expense of middling beats, awkwardly sequenced albums and open-to-interpretation historical facts. Likewise, Optimus Prime, the main protagonist in almost every iteration of Transformers, gives rousing speeches about unity and humanity that make Bob Dole sound like Billy Danze. He almost makes you feel sympathetic for Megatron.
I can almost guarantee Optimus Prime, the savior of Cybertron, who has a penchant for lecturing us about history without any fact-checking, is neither the coolest Transformer nor the most endearing. He is too competent and too capable of a leader to not follow into battle, which means he would love something as good-intentioned but wholly uninteresting as Nas’ “I Can.”
SpongeBob SquarePants Loves Rico Nasty
Here’s the thing about SpongeBob: he’s the most lovably chaotic character. SpongeBob accidentally destroyed the Krusty Krab multiple times, set off Sandy’s rocket incidentally, crashed various boats during his driving tests, and this brand of recklessness is on par for nearly every SpongeBob SquarePants episode in existence. Yet, no matter how zany or ridiculous his behavior may seem, at no point does the audience not want to see SpongeBob succeed.
This is also the formula for Rico Nasty’s brilliance as a recording artist. Rico’s style is brash, eccentric, endearing, and relentless. Her entire persona bends your will to wherever she wants to take you artistically, and while her energy can consume you, it never suffocates you. This is SpongeBob’s aura as well, and it’s hard to imagine such an extroverted and colorful character not feeding off of Rico’s discombobulated perfection.
Lord Voldemort Loves Future
Lord Voldemort, the main antagonist of the Harry Potter series, wasn’t just a vicious, conniving wizard bent on the destruction of muggles and righteous wizards that stood in his way. Harry Potter’s archnemesis was also a broken one who spent much of the series with his soul split into seven Horcruxes scattered all over the wizarding world. Yet, for however sinister Voldemort was, he had a massive following of similarly broken wizards and witches, entranced by his destructive powers and drawn more to it the stronger he became.
I mean, honestly, was there ever a better Future comparison? Future’s entire persona is that of a broken soul attempting to put themselves back together through the most emotionally sinister, yet mesmerizing, music possible. Voldemort wouldn’t just connect to Future’s music. He’d probably have stormed Hogwarts to the tune of “Groupies.”
Marty McFly Loves Lupe Fiasco
This has less to do with similar personality traits—other than Marty McFly being a huge hipster nerd—and more to do with the hero of Back to the Future looking eerily identical to every white Lupe Fiasco fan on the planet. You can picture it now: Marty McFly, time-traveling to different eras, cornering people at parties in his red vest and Nikes, arguing about why they don’t fully understand the genius behind Drogas Waves. What I’m also trying to say is that I might be Marty McFly.
Winnie The Pooh Loves Rick Ross
Winnie The Pooh is a bear of simple tastes. All he ever wanted to do was hang out with his friends, somewhere secluded in the Hundred Acre Woods, and eat a shit load of honey. I have also just described to you most of Rick Ross’ music to this point—secluded vacations, partying with his friends, and lots of references to eating.
Even more, Winnie The Pooh has always been a loyal and deserving leader amongst the other animals, and one who has consistently shown nothing but love and support to everyone around him. In the same way, Ross has rarely faltered to put on everyone at, or associated with, Maybach Music throughout his career. Also, yes, you should be picturing Winnie dousing himself in honey while “So Sophisticated” blares throughout his cottage.
Johnny Cage Loves G-Eazy
You know how Johnny Cage isn’t the worst character in Mortal Kombat, but he’s also the guy no one wants to play with, but he also gets all the girls, but then you also don’t love using him either because his moves are so basic, so you’re stuck between not wanting and wanting to use him? Yes, I think Johnny Cage might find a lot to relate to with G-Eazy’s career.
Coach Herman Boone Loves JAY-Z
Remember the Titans’ Coach Herman Boone was a winner, plain and simple. The players and Coach Yoast may have questioned his motives or leadership at specific points during the Titans’ run to an undefeated state championship. Still, there was never any question in Coach Boone’s mind that he was anything less than the most skilled and qualified coach his team could have. Sure, he may have imperfections along the way, like letting racist Ray stay on the football team too long or implementing near-child abuse punishment tactics like making players run a mile for every fumble, but through all of it, he never lost.
Coach Boone would almost assuredly find admiration in Hov’s underdog to GOAT narrative. No matter what JAY-Z has faced to this point—from the Best of Both Worlds Tour with R. Kelly to infidelity to weird capitalist raps—he remains genuinely undefeated. He is the unrelenting champion who knows how to mold and maneuver himself into winning positions time and time again, and that’s the Type A persona Coach Boone would gravitate towards in any slight moments of weakness.
Hannibal Lecter Loves Pusha-T
“The Story of Adidon” is the “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti” of rap songs. Enough said.
Freddie Gibbs, Saweetie & Earl Sweatshirt: Best of the Week
Freddie Gibbs, Saweetie, and Earl Sweatshirt, among others, had the best new songs on Audiomack this week.
Michael Scott Loves Eminem
The Office’s Michael Scott, in response to a sexual predator running around the office parking lot flashing women, jokingly made his finger a penis and showed it to his employees to make light of the entire issue. I just described to you a recent Eminem song. Case closed.
Mary Poppins Loves Big Sean
Here’s the thing about Mary Poppins: With just the right dosage, her whimsical little songs can be pretty delightful, but if you turn that dial just a little too far, she becomes overbearing. Unfortunately, the person least aware of this fact is Mary Poppins herself, and that’s why she’d find a kindred spirit in Big Sean. Turn the dial just a little bit more to the right and you get a “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”-ass rap song. Mary Poppins might be the only person on the planet who could enjoy I Decided.
Spock Loves Roc Marciano
Star Trek’s Mr. Spock is too intelligent not to be riveted by Roc Marciano’s music. Everything Roc does is brimming with layers of detail and understatedness in ways that have you keep coming back for another serving. Spock, an alien devoid of most emotions and solely focused on the most technical inner-workings of other creatures, would spend weeks picking apart works like Marcberg and Behold a Dark Horse.
Dory Loves Westside Gunn
Westside Gunn is a skillful artist with a penchant for sound effects who doesn’t always make a ton of sense with whatever it is he’s talking about. That’s forgivable because he’s a helluva musical artist and surrounds himself with even more capable friends. I think Finding Nemo’s Dory, a fish with an extreme case of short-term memory loss, who loves random noises, getting tangled up in nonsensical sentences, and anything exhilarating, would be obsessed with one of hip-hop’s most interesting voices.
Bugs Bunny Loves DaBaby
It’s time to have the conversation about who Bugs Bunny is: a shit-starter. Although lovable, and unbelievably charismatic and creative with how he manages to avoid Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny loves talking and starting shit arguably more than any other animated character ever. So why wouldn’t he love DaBaby?
DaBaby is a tour de force of swagger and cockiness, with a natural ability to both antagonize and shit-talk with the best of them without ever making the process feel forced or boring. Like Bugs, DaBaby toes the line between being loose and clever enough to put himself ahead of his counterparts, but also menacing enough to demand the attention he’s earned. All Bugs Bunny has ever wanted to do is whatever the fuck he wants, and, like DaBaby, it’s our fault if we get in his way.
James Bond Loves Drake
The only things James Bond knows how to do is be dashing and self-isolated. He’s perfect at his craft. He’s slick on the surface, cold on the inside, and continually trying to out-maneuver every foe he encounters.
There’s a certain smoothness to Drake’s music that captures listeners, especially on the surface, which helps deter us from the truth that a lot of Drake’s best work is from a very isolated and emotionally immature place. Drake often seems obsessed with the physical components of a relationship. When he delves into the other connective tissue of a bond, he typically resorts to much colder ideas about control and manipulation.
Drake isn’t the womanizer that James Bond is, but I bet someone as emotionally unavailable and strange as 007 would find some sort of odd connection to a surface-level heartthrob.
Beatrix Kiddo Loves Wu-Tang Clan
Who else could you see being Kill Bill’s protagonist’s warm-up music to the Crazy-88’s fight?
Thanos Loves Megan Thee Stallion
The link between Thanos and Megan Thee Stallion is their shared bravado, and when you’re bored like me, you can talk yourself into the idea that their confidence is what makes them fearsome. Sure, I bet Thanos could appreciate quite a few conspiracy theory rappers (his second favorite would probably be Immortal Technique). Still, few other artists can feel so incredibly dominating in every capacity quite like Megan Thee Stallion.
Olaf Loves Jay Electronica
Olaf, the snowman, spends the majority of Frozen and Frozen II never shutting the fuck up about his existence. Sure, you might think his favorite rapper would be someone else obsessed with ice like Gucci Mane or Paul Wall, or someone too on-the-nose like Ice Cube. However, the truth is that Olaf is a traveler stuck in hibernation for most of his life, and only when he’s fully allowed to come alive does he open up in song and dance about things like growing up and all the life experiences coming his way.
Olaf, undoubtedly, would be obsessed with Jay Electronica: a hibernating artist who, once given a chance to come alive fully, is one of the most magical and introspective artists of our time. He could melt away at any time but, while he’s with us, there are very few artists we’d rather have around to describe to us the fullness of the life they’ve lived.
John Wick Loves Prodigy
It’s honestly hard to imagine John Wick doing anything for fun because he’s always busy killing 45 assassins using a food scale or a TV remote. It would take an emcee with the ruggedness and razor-sharp lyricism of Prodigy to break through the impenetrable John Wick exterior. Prodigy’s lyrics produce the same effects of a John Wick bullet to the face or kick in the chest; the hardness and veracity with which they hit are what determine their impact. Wick is a man of few words, but even fewer mistakes. So why wouldn’t he love one of the most faultless rappers in hip-hop history?
Jon Snow Loves Tupac
Jon Snow, quite possibly the greatest warrior in the history of Westeros, who was consistently compelling while also making painfully bad choices in crucial life moments, would find a lot of himself in Tupac’s music. Listen, I’m not going to try to make this too tricky of a connection, but towards the end of Game of Thrones, literally all eyes were on Jon Snow. The puns write themselves, folks.
Norman Bates Loves Hopsin
Someone out there has to be a Hopsin fan, right?