Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 30 November 2020

‘I’m so Sean Connery:’ 10 hip-hop tracks that reference the late James Bond actor

The star's name has become synonymous with being cool, masculine and cunning

Rappers Kendrick Lamar, left, and Eternia, right, have both referenced the late Sean Connery, centre, in their songs. AFP, Getty Images
Rappers Kendrick Lamar, left, and Eternia, right, have both referenced the late Sean Connery, centre, in their songs. AFP, Getty Images

The news of Sir Sean Connery’s passing was not only felt in Hollywood, but in the hip-hop world as well.

This is not as odd as it sounds.

The Scottish actor's various roles, from super-spy James Bond and tough submarine captain Marko Ramius to cop Jimmy Malone in the 1987 gangster film The Untouchables, have provided creative fodder for rappers to incorporate into rhymes for years.

That said, it was Connery’s role as the original James Bond that most struck a chord with hip-hop artists. And who could blame them? In his portrayal of 007, Connery harnessed many of the attributes that define modern day hip-hop culture – from glamorous threads and a jet-setting lifestyle to a ruthless instinct.

Such was the impact of Connery’s performance that both his last name and that of Bond’s have become synonymous with the genre, often used by rappers to express notions of coolness, masculinity and cunning.

From superstar Kendrick Lamar to Canadian independent artist Eternia, here are 10 ways the late, great Connery’s name and work has been referenced in hip-hop.

1. ‘Control’ by Kendrick Lamar (2014)

In 2014, hip-hop's next big star shook the industry with this controversial verse that declared his ambition to eclipse the genre's leading lights.

Lamar makes a play on words with James Bond to state how he didn't come into the music industry to make friends. "I put one on yours / I'm Sean Connery / James Bond-ing with none of you.”

2. ‘Panic Attack’ by Dave (2016)

In an emotionally wrought track, the British star reflects on his difficult relationship with his absent father. In highlighting that disconnection, he raps: "I just wanted us to bond like Sean Connery and Daniel Craig."

3. '75 Bars’ by Black Thought (2008)

As one of the best and most seasoned rappers in the game, it is only right for Black Thought, from the group The Roots, to reference Sean Connery and James Bond when describing his standing in the hip-hop game.

"My definition, I can finally explain,” he says. “Cold smooth like that dude Sean Connery was playing / I just gotta be the man, I'm the father figure.”

4. ‘No Country for Young Men’ by Ice Cube (2010)

When this track was released, Ice Cube was already a rap legend and successful actor. The artist put his success down to the kind of assured self-confidence that propelled someone such as Connery to leave Scotland to take over Hollywood. "Be who you wanna be in this economy / Drunk as Sean Connery at the finery / Can't throw me out ... I'm the honouree.”

5. ‘The Let Out’ by Jidenna (2017)

The Nigerian-American rapper does not accept competition when it comes to music or romance, as he makes clear in this track. Detailing a night out, he compares his pedigree amongst men to Connery as the original James Bond. “And that lame is trying to holla / he a Bond wannabe / He is a Roger Moore, I'm a Sean Connery.”

6. ‘Power Play’ by Ces Cru (2014)

Cool, calm and collected like Connery: that's the way rapper Ubiquitous from US duo Ces Cru describes his approach on the microphone. "Know that the artistry pump through my arteries,” he raps. “Double O control, I’m so Sean Connery.”

7. 'Horse Shoe' by Royce da 5'9 (2010)

It’s all Raw... @bigsweetzgs

A post shared by 🏋🏿Nickle🏋🏿 (@royceda59) on Sep 22, 2020 at 2:55pm PDT

This marks probably the first and only time the 1996 Connery fantasy film Dragon Heart was mentioned in hip-hop. And since it is uttered by Royce da 5'9, the acclaimed Detroit rapper used the title within a gritty context. “They gotta know, nobody as hot as me,” he says. “Got a dragon's heart, boy I'm so Sean Connery.”

8. ‘Da Villa’ by Pete Rock (2004)

Theee absolute best 007 Bond ❤️

A post shared by Pete Rock (@realpeterock) on Oct 31, 2020 at 12:38pm PDT

How did the veteran rapper maintain his relevancy over a three-decade career? As he explains here, he puts his longevity down to displaying a savviness similar to 007. “My sane mind sharp as James Bond part for Sean Connery / Your rhyme odyssey, possess a treacherous style.”

9. ‘Mind Over Matter’ by The Last Emperor

What does Connery's 1990 submarine spy thriller The Hunt for Red October have to do with hip-hop? Well, it's all in the name, of course. There are a few songs where the film's title is repurposed to become a competitive boast. One of the better lines comes from Philadelphia rapper The Last Emperor, where he says: “When I'm sober I hunt rappers like Sean Connery did Red October.”

10. ‘It's Funny’ by Eternia (2010)

Hip-hop usage of Connery is not only limited to his heroic roles. In describing her top-tier status as a rapper, Canadian artist Eternity makes reference to the film The Untouchables, in which Connery plays a policeman gunned down by Al Capone's henchman. “Please understand me,” she says. “I'm untouchable, so don't be Sean Connery.”

Updated: November 1, 2020 07:08 PM

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