Tom Hardy — the actor, the man who played Bane and Mad Max and a stormtrooper and will be playing Venom in an upcoming Marvel movie — was apparently a huge fan of underground rap back in the day. The proof is an unreleased, unfinished album entitled Falling On Your Arse In 1999 that was recently unearthed by a user on Reddit’s Hip-Hop Heads forum which finds Hardy rapping under the moniker Tommy No 1. The best part? You can listen to it, right now, on Bandcamp, courtesy of Eddie Too Tall, who was apparently Hardy’s partner-in-rhyme. It’s not the first time we’ve seen Hardy show off a little flow, but it’s the first public indication that it was ever more than just an unexpected hidden talent from the English actor.
It’s a long project at 18 tracks, but many of the beats feature no rhymes from either “Tommy” or Eddie Too Tall. The beats themselves are about what you’d expect of an underground rap tape from the late-’90s: Lo-fi, jazzy, samples awash with synthesized record pops and boom-bap drum breaks, liberally sprinkled with clips from obscure films. Likewise, Hardy’s raps fit the backpack rapper aesthetic of a late-Golden Era revivalist, stringing together multi-syllabic rhyme schemes in stream-of-consciousness sequences reminiscent of an MF Doom, Jeru The Damaja, or Ol Dirty Bastard.
It’s an interesting curio, a testament to the enduring popularity of hip-hop in all its forms. Of course, Tom Hardy isn’t the only actor with surprising mic skills. Ryan Phillippe of Cruel Intentions and Shooter served up a pretty respectable freestyle on Sway In The Morning (and showed off his Sean Price tattoo), while Shia Labeouf turned in his own verse a few years ago. Add Tom Hardy to the list of actors you’d take in a Bodied-style rap battle, and check out Falling On Your Arse In 1999 below.