Hip-hop and kid’s entertainment are two mediums of pop culture that don’t often mix, but when they do, it tends to be pretty amazing. Whether it is Ludacris doing a legendary reading of Llama Llama Red Pajama or a dad and son giving a much-needed remix to ‘the ABC Song,’ rappers have the ability to make any kid’s song, book, or TV show a whole lot more fun for both kids and parents. What makes this unexpected pairing work? The obvious contrast ignores the underlying similarities between the two genres. Kanye and Dr. Seuss may seem like opposites but, deep down, aren’t they both just absurdist writers who enjoy wordplay and creating their own heightened reality?
Here are found five of the best examples of rappers lending their talents to kid’s entertainment, including a fire remix of a classic theme song, a modern (and weird) interpretation of Dr. Seuss, and an epic rap battle between letters of the alphabet from the mind behind Hamilton.
Queen Latifah ‘O’ Rap on Sesame Street
Queen Latifah is one of the great multi-hyphenates in show business. She’s so successful in so many corners of pop culture, it can be easy to forget that she began her career as a dope as hell rapper. One of her hottest tracks? When she spit rhymes about the letter ‘O’ in an episode of Sesame Street in 1994. Latifah’s lyrics and flow are exceptional as always, and she beautifully sums up the importance of the often overlooked vowel. For her outstanding oral opination, Queen Latifah deserves a standing ovation.
Chance Remixes the Arthur Theme Song
The Arthur theme song already has an awesome backstory. How many other kids’ shows can say their theme was written by Reggae legend Ziggy Marley? But the legendary track gets even better when Stephen Colbert recruits Chance the Rapper to add his own fun flavor to the song. Ziggy even shows up, because sometimes life just works. Chance skillfully and playfully reiterates the song’s theme of believing in yourself, and his bridge improves an already iconic song.
Lin-Manuel Miranda Rap Battles Himself on The Electric Company
Before Lin-Manuel Miranda became the most famous playwright since Billy Shakespeare, he was a member of rap improv group Freestyle Love Supreme. Back in 2010, Miranda and beatbox specialist Shockwave made an appearance on the short-lived revival of The Electric Company, where Miranda rap battled himself over the superiority of a hard ‘G’ versus a soft ‘G.’ The general grammatical gamesmanship is genuinely great.
Tyler, the Creator Brings Dr. Suess to Life
Before Tyler, the Creator created Bill Nye’s new theme song, he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to perform a hip-hop remix of Dr. Seuss‘ What Pet Should I Get?, which was written by Seuss but released posthumously. Tyler brings his usual mischievous and childlike energy to the show, wearing a Cat in the Hat costume and providing some flow and swag that makes Seuss lively prose sound even more energetic.
Migos Remix Llama Llama
How does the ‘Bad & Bougee’ trio’s rendition of Llama Llama Red Pajama compare to Luda’s remix? The Atlanta group brings their trap stylings to the reading and insert their own signature freestyling that makes the track extremely fun and undeniably catchy. It may not quite live up to Luda’s bedtime masterpiece, but it still is a track that proves every kid’s book can be improved with a catchy beat and some sick flow.