Fifteen years ago, WCW launched an angle that would pit real-life rapper Master P and his No Limit Records against a wrestling faction known as the West Texas Rednecks. The angle was a beautiful disaster as it cost Eric Bischoff his job, gave us Lee Marshall saying “bouty bouty and rowdy rowdy” and birthed the greatest music video in wrestling history. So, without further ado, here’s a look back at the “I Hate Rap” feud.
Rey Mysterio Jr. And Konnan – They partnered up because Mexico and Konnan immediately started influencing Rey to say things like “keep it real” and “get real gangsta.” They would be the guys who carried the wrestling aspect of the feud for the No Limit side.
Master P and the No Limit Soldiers – In 1998, Master P was one of the most popular rappers in the world and No Limit Records was a multimillion dollar monster. By the middle of 1999, the label was losing steam but that didn’t stop Eric Bischoff and WCW from giving Master P an alleged $200,000 per appearance.
West Texas Rednecks – Curt Hennig (aka Mr. Perfect), Barry Windham, Kendall Windham, Bobby Duncum, Jr. and Curly Bill made up the group of redneck wrestlers that were the No Limit Soldiers’ foils. Curt Hennig is from Minnesota.
Eric Bischoff – Possibly after seeing how successful WWF was with Mike Tyson, Bischoff, the guy who ran WCW, decided to get some crossover appeal. Using Ted Turner’s ridiculous budget he paid Master P an exorbitant amount of money per appearance and also signed BIG SWOLL (more on him later) for a reported half a million bucks.
Now, on to the angle.
Superbrawl 1999 – Rey Mysterio Loses His Mask And Becomes A Gangster With Konnan And Wears Really Crappy Urban Wear: All of this starts with Konnan. As part of his evolution as Mexican Gangster, Konnan started yelling out “it’s time to get BOUTY BOUTY AND ROWDY ROWDY” before all of his matches, which isn’t even what anyone actually said ever but whatever. Soon, it caught on and he was adding all sorts of slang to his vernacular.
At Superbrawl, Rey Mysterio and Konnan wrestled the Outsiders. If the Outsiders won, then Rey would have to be unmasked. Of course, Hall and Nash won (meaning that in the span of three months, Kevin Nash ended Goldberg’s streak and unmasked Rey so there’s that). This led to a transformation and Rey became Konnan’s ethnic slang buddy for life. As part of this transition, the two started wearing the absolute worst urban attire of all time, including Avirex prison jumpsuits. Here, a gallery of these outfits and rap signs from kids whose parents have clearly lost control of their households.
Prison jumpsuits courtesy of Avirex.
Pre- Big Poppa Pump.
These kids need parents.
Great American Bash 1999 – Master P Shows Up And HOOTY HOOS At People: Master P’s first appearance at a WCW pay-per-view opens up GAB 99′. It’s pretty innocuous as dozens of big guys in camouflage roll out of a limo. They’re met with Curt Hennig – who is speaking like a guy from Minnesota. Hennig asks for Master P’s CD, then breaks it in proper heel fashion. This was all the culmination of Hennig bashing rap after WCW revealed a partnership with Tommy Boy Records. Master P and his soldiers respond by yelling HOOTY HOOOOOOOS, which is supposed to be a call you make when cops are approaching the drug house. But Outkast originally made the song about “Hooty Hoo,” which Master P bit so it’s no surprise he butchered the saying’s intent.
This made me uncomfortable.
Also, we get Mike Tenay explaining why Master P is the most diversified artist of our generation.
Great American Bash Again – West Texas Rednecks Debut “I Hate Rap” Entrance Music For A Match With Konnan and Rey: Here we get a glimpse of the greatness that is the West Texas Rednecks’ “I Hate Rap” song as it was their entrance music for a match with Rey and Konnan. The song stole the show as it was literally the only thing anyone talked about. I wish they would have done one of those ECW New Jack things and played the music for the entire match.
The big story coming out of the bout was the appearance of BIG SWOLL. BIG SWOLL was brought in as part of the Master P deal to be their wrestling representative. The problem was he was terrible at all things wrestling and he got paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to be terrible at all things wrestling. Remember the KISS demon wrestler? This is Black that.
The Nitro Where Everything Went South –
Really, this angle was doomed to fail from the beginning. What WCW forgot to take into account was that they were a wrestling promotion whose main market was the deep south. And the good guys in this feud were supposed to be the 40 or so Black rappers in fatigues. Surrounding the four country singing White guys who hate rap music. Needless to say the crowd didn’t cooperate. It didn’t help that an angle on Nitro featured Hennig presenting Master P’s brother “Seth” (who’s actually Silkk Tha Shocker, one of rap’s notoriously bad rappers of all time) with a custom-made cowboy hat for his birthday. No gimmick. No swerve. Nothing.
So of course Seth responds by stomping on the gift while Master P blindsides Hennig with a cake to the face. Thus cementing the fact that the Black rappers were thugs while the Texas rednecks were upstanding human beings. The angle never really recovered because the crowd learned to boo the celebrity who was making four times their annual income for one appearance.
“RAP IS CRAP” Music Video Debuts –
This. Guys. This is the greatest musical endeavor in wrestling history. You can keep your “Piledriver” and R-Truth butchering our ears and even Tyler Breeze’s MTV Awards. This is magic. We get Curt Hennig on the mic singing about Willie Nelson and how much rap sucks. Barry friggin’ Windham on the drums. A crowd of maybe 18 people. And a song that’s so infectious that it turned the would-be bad guys into crowd favorites immediately. Hennig had an illustrious career as Mr. Perfect in the WWF and his legendary AWA run, but you can’t mention any of his accomplishments without mentioning this video. The song legitimately got played on Country stations and in my brain for the last 15 years. I swear this is video alone is probably one of the top 10 moments in WCW history and you’re a Communist if you disagree.
I literally think of this song and video every time a sh*tty rapper is on the radio. So, you know, always. Master P and No Limit Records had a fantastic run, but they never reached the musical heights of the West Texas Rednecks.
Bash At The Beach 1999 – Big Swoll Debuts, Wears Reverse F*cking Braids:
The blowoff match to the feud featured the West Texas Rednecks (with full southern accents in tow) taking on The No Limit Soldiers – Rey, Konnan, BIG SWOLL and…Brad Armstrong. Maybe they figured jive talking Black stuff was a family trait.
The match starts with Konnan on the mic doing his pre-match ritual which now includes: “you guys are going to bow down, toss our salads and peel our potatoes.” I have literally zero words for that.
Rey then goes “shout out to the Shadow Lounge for keeping it real! Now give me the call of the soldier…HOOTY HOOOOOO!” And he dresses like this.
But this match is all about BIG SWOLL and how horrible he is at the wrestlings. Also, he’s wearing reverse f*cking braids. Braids that start at the back of his head and end at his forehead. I had corn rows in high school and college. I saw a lot of people wear braids. I’ve never seen this sorcery before in my entire life. He looks like he got put in one of those automatic hair dressers from the Jetsons and someone spun the chair around too fast.
The match is another whatever bout as it’s elimination and goes on for 10 minutes too long. In the end, Rey uses BIG SWOLL’S shoulders to jump on Hennig for the win and we never hear from these two groups on PPV again.
So in the end, what did we learn, kids?
1. It’s not a great idea to push a group of Black rappers that outnumber a group of country singers as the good guys in a feud that takes place in front of a deep south audience.
2. BIG SWOLL is a thing that happened.
3. Rey Mysterio saying “keeping it real” is the most uncomfortable thing ever. Only if you forget that Konnan says he wants opponents to toss his salad.
4. HOOTY HOOOOOOOO.
5. Curt Hennig is a national goddamn treasure.