Last night the celebratory Slim Jims were snapped into, as WWE’s Monday Night Raw confirmed the news that iconic wrestler “Macho Man” Randy Savage would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. With the induction ceremony set for the night before Wrestlemania 31 in late March, you can expect the next few months to feature multiple retrospectives on Randy Savage (real name Randy Poffo) and his work as a sports entertainer, actor and pitchman for Slim Jim.
But you should also be reminded that “Macho Man” Randy Savage released a rap album.
The year was 2003 and “Macho Man” had fully set his sights on Hollywood. He hadn't done any wrestling promotions in over three years. After Savage's unforgettable cameo as “Bonesaw McGraw” in the 2002 Spider-Man film, the silver screen seemed primed to explode with Macho Madness.
But being a renaissance man, Savage said he also wanted to enter an avenue that nobody expected. So we wound up with his debut rap album, Be a Man.
Released October 7, 2003, by Big 3 Records, an indie label based in Savage’s home state of Florida that's also put out records by Carnie Wilson and Stryper, Be a Man is a rap album about being a retired wrestler, rocking a party and the many facets of Savage’s relationships with women. Produced and written with the in-house help of "Da Raskulls" (who haven't been heard from before or since), Be a Man is 14 tracks of pure Savagery.
The title track, “Be a Man,” is a dis track aimed at fellow wrestling icon Hulk Hogan, with whom Savage had real-life beef at the time. Savage told Rolling Stone he hated Hogan for his alleged cowardice in refusing to settle their differences face to face, going so far as to say that Hogan was the Ja Rule of the wrestling world and that he himself was 50 Cent. As if to back up this claim, a video of 50 Cent endorsing the album soon surfaced on the Internet.
The 50 Cent clip was just one of the many absurd online tactics used to promote the record. The most diabolical was a pop-up ad that, if your computer’s sound was muted, would turn it back on and declare, “Ooooooooh yeah, head over to MachoMan.com and check out my new CD!” This ad was particularly effective in reaching high schoolers trying to sneak a peek at wrestling websites with the sound off in the middle of class.
What may be surprising to some is Savage’s surprising competency behind the mic. As one of the biggest names in wrestling and meat-stick shilling, Savage was a charismatic figure, which makes the bulk of the album listenable. Not just another athlete casually stringing words together, Savage knows how to hold your attention with an on-point flow that shows quite a bit of range. For someone who had never really rapped before (outside whatever the heck this is), Savage does his thing.
There’s also something here for the aspiring Miss Elizabeths out there with “What’s That All About.” Savage describes what a loving relationship with the “Macho Man” entails: “The feeling’s deep/Come home, make love and fall fast asleep.” The only time the album really shows its budgetary limitations is in the unintentionally hilarious female punch-in that concludes the rhyme at 2:02.
Be a Man concludes with the serious side of Savage, a touching tribute to the then-recently departed “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig. Co-written by Savage’s brother, poet/wrestler Lanny “The Genius” Poffo, “Perfect Friend” has the most impressive rapping of the entire record, with Savage switching off double-time flows as he expresses the sadness of losing one of his closest buddies. Also notable is the fact that the track sounds like it may have been sampled for Justin Timberlake’s “What Goes Around.”
Be a Man wound up being Savage’s only rap album, selling a mere 3,000 copies. After a brief return to the ring for then-upstart TNA Wrestling the following year, Savage stayed out of the public eye, only occasionally popping up in voiceover work and at movie premieres. Instead, Savage found peace, taking care of his father Angelo and settling down with his wife Lynn Payne.
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While we hope that unreleased songs or alternate takes of the Be a Man sessions may surface someday, we’re more than happy with the one-of-a-kind miracle that the album truly is.