From Nicki Minaj to Kool Keith: 20 Rappers We Wish Made Cartoons
Rappers have often dabbled into comic books. DMC (of Run DMC) created a comic book series named after himself and last year, Method Man wrote a Ghost Rider Christmas special. But it seems that the next generation of rappers are ready to take it to the next level with their own animated series. In the past week, it was announced that Childish Gambino will be working on an adult animated Deadpool series as a showrunner, executive producer and co-writer with his brother, Stephen Glover for FXX. He won’t be the only one: Tyler the Creator’s series, The Jellies, a show about a jellyfish family and their 16-year-old human son, will be coming to Adult Swim after being made available on his Golf Media app. And of course Andre 3000 released Class of 3000 back in 2006. In hopes of keeping the momentum going, we’re naming 20 Rappers We Wish Made Cartoons.
Gucci Mane has seemed like a cartoon character himself with his outlandish behavior in the past. I mean, how can we ever forget his “bitch, I might be” moment? But as Gucci becomes more level-headed and business-minded, we’re thinking that crafting a cartoon series might be the next best move for the rhymer. Whether it’s about his personal life or something else, we’re sure it’d have just the right about of hilarity and life lessons.
Imagine: THat Part: The Animated Series. The Kanye West-featured track seems to be ScHoolboy Q’s biggest song thus far and we sure he can spur that success into an animated series as well. Between his colorful language and artistic videos, the TDE rhymer isn’t far off from being about to create an animated series.
CL is one of the top rappers to come out of the South Korean music scene. Most recently she remixed Method Man’s “M.E.T.H.O.D. Man” for her track “Lifted.” She even had the Wu-Tang member himself in her video. But that’s not why we think she would make a stellar cartoon series. CL’s music videos, including “Lifted,” tend to be out-there. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise though since CL called herself a “musician-alien” in High Snobiety. And it’s that exact mindset that would certainly create an interesting cartoon series.
Kendrick Lamar seems to be at the top of the game right now, especially after releasing his fourth studio album, DAMN. But can Kung Fu Kenny make a cartoon? We think so. The “Humble” visual gave us some serious anime vibes and was nearly as off-the-wall as imaginative shows like The Regular Show or Rick & Morty. With The Little Homies’ skill set at his side, we’d have high hopes for a animated series by Kendrick. And cartoons doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be silly. Just as he does with his music, Kendrick can bridge comedy and political commentary for a Boondocks-esque show.
If Lauryn Hill were to create a cartoon series, it’d probably be a mix of The Matrix, Jesus and feminism. And if that doesn’t sound amazing, I don’t know what to tell you. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is regarded as one of the best albums of all time as Ms. Hill showed a raw vulnerability that was able to speak to the hearts of the masses in ways that left us triggered. As a creator at heart, we’re sure Ms. Hill could grace us with a coming-of-age story in animated form.
Noname is one of the freshest new voices in the hip-hop game. With her release of her debut album, Telefone, she’s garnered the attention of hip-hop fans all around and we’re sure she could do the same in the animation world. Telefone showed quirkiness, vulnerability and nostalgia as a splashy slice-of-life musical journey. If she can recapture this feeling in a cartoon series, count us in.
Chance the Rapper is the epitome of black boy joy at the moment and we’re sure that he can take his infectious happiness to the cartoon world as well. It was Chance’s creativity that led him to create the fun and inspiring mixtape, Coloring Book. Not to mention, Chance has a daughter, Kensli, now and we can’t help but to think how cool it would be to be able to have her grow up on a show that was created by her dad.
When Nicki Minaj popped up on the hip-hop scene, she was super animated with wacky rhymes and super colorful hair. Although she’s toned down the outlandish styles of the past, she’s still can switch into her multiple alter egos on a track including Roman, a cutthroat man who’s always ready to go off. Minaj is already producing a TV show based on her life growing up in Queens. And an animated show wouldn’t be too far off from that if she decided to venture off into the cartoon world. And who knows, maybe she can get Beyonce to guest star!
Over the years, Killer Mike has added more titles to his resume. Aside from being one of the best rappers in the game, the ATLien is an activist against police brutality, racism and social inequality.If he crafted a cartoon series, we’re sure that he’d be able to bridge his wittiness with social commentary as he does when he pens his lyrics. Plus, he’s already got an in. Killer Mike, who’s one half of Run The Jewels, met his partner-in-rhyme, El-P, through Cartoon Network executive Jason DeMarco back in 2011. He’s even done some voice acting work with the network as a Boost Mobile phone in Aqua Teen Hunger Force as a Boost Mobile phone and as Taqu'il, a rapper/actor who becomes President of the United States, in Frisky Dingo.
We couldn’t decide on just one member of the Wu-Tang Clan because a cartoon series would be best if they did it together. Afterall, they “form like Voltron and GZA happens to be the head.” Method Man is one of the most animated members would surely come through with an interesting animated series -- that’d likely be a great vessel for stoners. RZA already has connections into the animated world as well since he created songs for the 2007 series, Afro Samurai. Ghostface Killah has one of the most iconic voices ever and would surely make an amazing narrator for a series. (We also think that “M.E.T.H.O.D. Man” would make an amazing intro song). With the skillset of each member of the huge group, it’s guaranteed to be a classic that's "nothing to f--- with."
When people think of the cartoon world, Immortal Technique might not be the first person to come to mind. But as we think of darker cartoon series like Batman: The Animated Series or Gargoyles, we can’t help but to think how amazing his ability to tell a heart-wrenching story could work in the medium. As we think of gut-punching tracks like “Dance with the Devil” or politically-minded songs like “Point of No Return,” we know he could make a series that’s the good kind of bad.
Del The Funky Homosapien was one of the first rappers to delve into afrofuturism -- especially with the collaborative album, Deltron 3030, that he did with Dan the Automator and Kid Koala. Nonetheless, the point stands that Del is certainly ingenious. The Oakland-native also appeared on tracks with The Gorillaz including “Clint Eastwood.” And if he’s not busy crafting his next innovative project, we’d definitely like to see him try his hand in creating a cartoon.
Missy Elliott is known as one of the most innovative artists ever. Between her eccentric music videos and out-of-the-box raps, it’s already as if she’s in touch with another world. And now that she’s in the midst of a comeback with her first album in ten years, a documentary about her life and career and a spot on cover of Elle’s June issue, adding cartoon creator could be the next venture for Missy. It’s clear that Misdemeanor has the creative prowess necessary to be a natural fit as a cartoon showrunner.
Slick Rick is known as the “hip-hop’s greatest storyteller” and we’re sure that this skill can translate to a cartoon series as well. Ideally the series would animate the stories told by the Londoner in tracks like "Children's Story," "Hey Young World” and "Teenage Love.” It could also follow tracks like his song with Doug E. Fresh, “The Show.” And with his legendary status in pop culture, he has yet to lose his ability to draw a crowd -- a crowd that can be translated to viewership. And with his ability to create multiple voices, the 52-year-old could easily have a show with him as the only voice actor in the credits.
Kanye West seems to be dabbling in everything right now including music, fashion and video games. Why not add cartoon making to the list? We have to admit that we were impressed with the trailer for “Only One,” a video game that follows Ye’s mom as she ascends through the gates of heaven. If ‘Ye can take that same innovative feel to an animated series, we’re sure that he can create something special for us to watch.
De La Soul is known as one of the originators of alternative hip-hop. When they started out, they were the quirky crew who weren’t afraid to don flowers. Now, the rhymers may have less flowers but their rhymes are still just as creative. Not to mention, the crew has already worked with cartoons -- Gorillaz, that is. The group has collaborated with the cartoon group on several tracks including the Grammy Award-winning “Feel Good.” Why not let the good times roll and create a cartoon themselves? We’d love to see a series based on the guy on the cover of their album, And The Anonymous Nobody, or a series about their life. Either way, we’re in.
Kool Keith is one of the most eccentric artists in hip-hop and just one listen of Dr. Octagonecologyst is all the proof you need to understand why he’s on this list. The 1996 album was one of the oddest yet dopest creations as Kool Keith took on the persona of Dr. Octagon -- a time traveling gynecologist from outer space. Since then, he’s performed so many different personas on stage to the point that he said “I don't even feel like I'm a human being anymore.” Whether he’s running the show as Kool Keith or Dr. Octagon, if he’s mixing inappropriate humor with clever quips, we’re sure he’d hit Adult Swim’s sweet spot.
It’s no secret that Lupe Fiasco is a huge fan of Japanese anime. The Chicago rhymer has made numerous references to anime series over his career. In “Touch the Sky,” he boasts that he’ll “steal like Lupin the 3rd,” a reference to the series, Lupin III. Then in “Free Chilly,” he says that he “push ki like Dragonball Z,” a reference to the popular anime series of the same name. He was even seen showing off his samurai sword techniques on Instagram earlier this year. With his passion for Japanese animated series, we’re sure that Lupe has a few ideas of his own for an animated series and we’d definitely be interested in seeing it play out on our screens.
MF DOOM, who named himself after a comic book supervillain, Doctor Doom, could easily have his own series about the Marvel character like Childish Gambino will have with Deadpool. With his tracks, it’s clear that the rhymer is not only a fan, but an expert on the Marvel foe. But just like with Madvillain, MF DOOM, who’s not one for attention, wouldn’t have to do it alone. With Madlib, the two could work together to craft a cartoon series as fresh as Madvillainy.
Jean Grae named herself after the X-Men character, Jean Grey-Summers, and is known to be a huge comic book fan. She’s even made appearances at New York Comic Con to geek out last year. With that said, we’re sure that the Brooklyn-repper would be a great fit as a cartoon series showrunner. And if not that, she could hopefully make an appearance in Childish Gambino’s Deadpool series since in Deadpool #25, Jean Grae, the rapper not the X-woman, made a guest appearance and got into a fight with the anti-hero over a bike incident. But whether or not she makes a cameo, we’re sure she has some stories of her own to tell. And we want to see ‘em animated!