All-New TMNT Gets All-New Ninja Rap


Is it a no ninja no ninja no?

For good or ill, one of the most memorable contributions to popular culture spinning out of the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies was “Ninja Rap,” a track by (then) momentarily-hot hip-hop artist Vanilla Ice that appeared on the soundtrack to TMNT II: The Secret of The Ooze.

As it turns out, this tradition will continue into the 21st Century. The soundtrack (from Atlantic Records) to the new Michael Bay-produced TMNT reboot from director Jonathan Liebesman prominently features “Shell Shocked,” an all-new TMNT-themed track by Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa & Ty Dolla $ign (featuring Kill Tha Noise & Madsonik.)

Sample lyrics:
“All my brothers try’na get some cheddah
We all want our cut like the Shredder
Me and my bros
Come together for the dough
Bought the orange Lamborghini
Call it Michelangelo”

The original “Ninja Rap” (recently revived, along with Ice himself, for a Kraft Macaroni & Cheese commercial,) was notable among movie tie-in hip-hop tracks of the 1990s (see also MC Hammer’s “Addams [Family] Groove”) for the song and it’s performer actually being part of the story and continuity of the film itself: During the climactic battle between the Turtles and Foot Clan, the fighting spills over into a dockside nightclub where Vanilla Ice is performing. Rather than flee the scene, Ice, (real name: Robert Matthew Van Winkle,) somehow intuiting that the creatures before him are in fact both ninjas and the good guys, courageously(?) remains onstage and seemingly improvises a song in their honor on the spot; allowing the Turtles the extra time needed to neutralize evil mutants Tokka and Rahzar with retromutagen, doubtlessly saving the lives of dozens of innocent club attendees – if not the entirety of New York City.

Source: Atlantic Records

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Bob Chipman
Bob Chipman is a critic and author.