After dominating the box office, the wrestling ring, television audiences, and tequila sales with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, will he now take over the charts?
Johnson makes his rap debut on Tech N9ne's new song, "Face Off," in a career-defining move.
In an exclusive interview with Variety, Johnson stated, "I adore music." Whenever there is an opportunity to incorporate musical aspects into one of my films, I take it."
Tech N9ne's latest track, "Face Off," features Joey Cool and King Iso as well as other artists from Strange Music's "ASIN9NE" album. The song is a duet between the biggest A-list star in Hollywood and hip hop's most popular independent artist. Hip-hop legends have long courted Johnson, but when Tech N9ne DM'ed him on Instagram, Johnson knew he'd found his perfect match. "I got a reply from the world's biggest star! I don't think you get what I mean? I'm giddy with excitement. Everyone here is pumped up! On a recent phone discussion with Variety from his tour van, Tech N9ne goes off the deep end.
Tech N9ne and Johnson have a history dating back to their college days. Johnson, the world's most followed American, is a major admirer of Tech N9ne and has shared the rapper's music on his social media for years. Both met before the outbreak, on the set of HBO's "Ballers," after developing a friendship on social media.
My pals who are hip-hop artists, particularly well-known ones, have inquired about me several times. However, Johnson argues, "it just has to feel right," pointing out that on Wyclef Jean's 2000 single "It Doesn't Matter," he appeared chanting the song's title catchphrase but did not rap.
"As soon as Tech texted me, I knew this was going to work out for the best. We're on the same page as far as work ethic and motivation are concerned. While working on the set of Ballers, Tech and I talked about the importance of working as hard as possible in order to succeed. On the stage or in this room, there will never be enough food to fill me up because I'm constantly hungry. He mentioned something I really liked. That is something I really appreciate."
"Face Off" conveys this attitude of work spirit. "It's about drive," Dwayne sings in his line, which he penned himself. It's all about who has the most clout. We're always on the verge of going hungry."
As an anthem that can be played in stadiums as well as gyms, Tech N9ne had in mind that the song's featured artist would be a boxer. "This is a high-intensity track." People will be motivated to lift weights, fight, and play more aggressively as a result of this. "Plain and simple," he asserts. "And who could be a better choice? This isn't Conor McGregor, of course. I'm not acquainted with him. "I'm familiar with The Rock."
While Johnson was initially approached by Tech N9ne, the plan wasn't for him to rap on his track. Initially, Tech N9ne requested that Johnson simply recite spoken words at the end of the song. However, Johnson had a more expansive vision.
My request was simple: "At the conclusion, talk about real motivational stuff." Tech N9ne is on board with this. "We called each other and worked out the details. Man, he's gifted. To be able to perform with master MCs while also being a master MC? That's a huge accomplishment. Dwayne had done what he had to do. He stated that he desired to travel at a rapid pace, just like us. After his performance on 'Moana,' I knew he had the chops. The famous Disney film featured Johnson's musical abilities, and the rapper is making a reference to that. Many families now own the best-selling soundtrack, but "Face Off" takes Johnson into a new genre.
Lauren Hashian accompanied Johnson to the studio after he finished writing his stanza with Tech N9ne and arranged it in the style of N9ne's verse.
Johnson says, "One take." Teremana was my beverage of choice, so I was already a little buzzed and ready to go. We emailed it to Tech and his team, and the response I received was, "Fuck yes!!!!"
The rapper joked that he's not sure how Johnson, who stands 6'5 and weighs over 250 pounds, even managed to get inside the studio. This is him in his "Black Adam" physique, which makes him much bigger than when I originally met him on "Ballers." Are you aware of his whereabouts? Watch the video to get a sense of his size. Look at him, he's got some serious shave! Two years ago, he didn't have that shaved head.
Is a music career in Johnson's near future now that he has made his rap debut?
"I never wanted to be a rapper or a hip-hop musician," Johnson says to Variety. "So the direct answer is no." Nevertheless, I saw a chance to write a song that encouraged and motivated me to work harder and achieve my goals." I've always had a soft spot for musical instruments. Outlaw country, hip hop, and the blues are among my favorite genres. However, never rule anything out. In the course of his multifaceted career, Johnson has demonstrated that he can transform anything he puts his mind to into gold if he puts his mind to it.
"I would love that if the music is good and if the collaboration feels true and authentic," Johnson says. My dream collaboration would be with Tech N9ne and Strange Music once again. So, if there's a chance for me to work with another artist, let's talk about it. I'm interested in working with hip hop artists, blues artists, and outlaw country performers. If I can rap about the things that are true to me, then I'll be pleased to pull out the Teremana, have a few drinks, and return to the studio."
If I'm going to pay attention and push myself out of bed in the morning, it's only when I'm enthusiastic about anything." The amount of money isn't as crucial as it used to be. No, not because of the celebrity. That isn't the most significant aspect of the situation. Ultimately, it comes down to whether or not you're passionate about the project and whether or not you're having a good time doing it. That's all there is to it. In the end, that's what matters."
In the event that Johnson ever decides to enter the rap game, Tech N9ne claims he'll be able to claim credit for giving him a shot at fame.
"His priorities have shifted. The fact that he wanted to do this with me is a blessing, but I think he's going to be president so I don't know," Tech N9ne adds.