Vanilla-Ice-Ninja-Rap

Peter Holslin always liked Raphael the best

“Ninja Rap” is the best song Vanilla Ice ever wrote. I’m not just saying that because I used to be a five-year-old boy who loved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. I know the original 1990 film is way better. But you can’t mess with that song. The dancefloor-ready New Jack beat is nice and brisk, filled out with horn hits and cheesy turntable scratches. And that trademark chorus? “Go ninja, go ninja, go!” It’s been 23 years and I’ll still chant that shit if I see Michaelangelo twirling nunchaku on the dancefloor.

However, I can’t say I’m as excited about “Shell Shocked.” The new song by Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa and Ty Dolla $ign, made for the Michael Bay-produced Ninja Turtles reboot, takes a fundamentally goofy idea—turtles doing ninjutsu in the sewers—a little too seriously. The rhymes are about brotherhood, true heroism, looking gangster with a bandana on your face, etc. The hook has all the groan-worthy bluntness of a Linkin Park chorus: “Knock, knock, you about to get shell shocked!”

The song has some redeeming qualities, though. I bet kids would dig those bouncy, “Turn Down for What”-style synths in the intro, and Juicy J seems to be having fun stringing together TMNT wordplay: “All this green in my pockets / you can call it turtle power.” But I kinda wish the movie producers went with Three 6 Mafia’s “Don’t Violate” instead: The thought of a gang of Foot Soldiers chanting “Put your foot up they ass!” while they do their thing is just perfect.

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