(Spoiler alert: Do not read this post if you do not want to know what Dragon-outfitted celebrity was eliminated on the Season 4 premiere of Fox’s “The Masked Singer.”)
The Season 4 premiere of Fox’s “The Masked Singer” unveiled the fire-breathing Dragon to be fire-spitting rapper Busta Rhymes.
Beyond the semi-obvious reference to his hot bars on hits like “Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check,” “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” and “Break Ya Neck,” Rhymes’ choice of getup on the silly singing competition goes a little deeper, he told TheWrap.
“As a kid, the dragon was something I completely identified with when I went to my first karate movie in a theater with my father,” the 48-year-old emcee said.
The way Bruce Lee “was whooping everybody’s ass” — and doing it with “charisma,” in Busta’s words — in “Enter the Dragon” never left the impressionable boy’s mind.
“The energy and the power and the strength and the focus and the confidence and just the passion that he had for what he did– it was something that I was able to completely identify with, even before I was old enough to understand how my identifying with him would really have an everlasting impact on my life and just my way overall of thinking,” Rhymes, the son of Jamaican immigrants, said.
Right around the same age, Trevor Smith Jr., who fondly recalled his days being babysat by the mother of a local graffiti artist, realized he wanted in on hip-hop. However, his tool would not be a spray paint can and his canvas not Brooklyn’s 2 and 4 trains: Smith Jr. wanted to bust a rhyme.
And he wanted to do it with “the passion and the strength and the resilience and the charisma and the showmanship that Bruce Lee had,” Busta Rhymes said.
An estimated 9 million albums-sold later, check and check.
Despite tonight’s result, Rhymes did Lee’s whole approach justice on Wednesday’s “Masked Singer,” performing LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out.” Unfortunately, Dragon was knocked out of the Fox competition by a pair of Snow Owls. We’d say “only in America,” but “The Masked Singer” is a South Korean import — yes, another Western adoption of Asian culture to help piece together this story.
Anyone who follows rap music knows that it is impossible to overstate the impact Lee and martial arts have had on hip-hop culture. Need more proof? Check out anything Wu-Tang Clan related.
“The Masked Singer” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on Fox.