In this weekly column, MC/DJ Hesta Prynn pairs pop culture stories with an original playlist.
I've spent the past two weeks traveling in China -- playing records, meeting people and learning about this amazing country. Before this trip my knowledge of the nation didn't extend far beyond Shaolin shadow-boxing and the Wu-Tang sword style. It seems, though, that Kung Fu films and hip-hop music aren't such bad introductions to Chinese culture, and have been great common ground on which to connect with people over here. In this week's Five 'n' Five I've paired some of my personal favorite Bruce Lee fight scenes with the best records by a certain rapper who took his name from a Kung Fu film.
Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris (The Way of The Dragon): Notorious B.I.G. featuring Method Man, "The What"
Possibly the most sophisticated fight ever caught on film, this scene stuns by featuring two masters at the top of their game. Similarly, Meth and Biggie shut it down on this collab that came out at the pinnacle of both of their careers. When they trade lines all through the second verse, it's hip-hop history.
Bruce Lee vs. Han Ying Chieh (The Big Boss): Method Man featuring Mary J. Blige, "I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By"
Both Lee and Meth show great style and strength in what are easily their most raw and real recorded moments. In the final scene of Lee's first film he showcases his Kung Fu style while fighting the crime boss for the love of his woman. Likewise, Meth shows off his dope steady flow on this Grammy-winning love song for the decade. Both artists keep it sensitive thug all day long.
Bruce Lee vs. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Game of Death): Method Man, "Bring the Pain"
Things that are amazing about this scene include but are not limited to: BL's yellow jumpsuit, KAJ's white basketball shorts, BL changing up his tactic mid-fight, KAJ officially being the largest person on earth. Things that are amazing about this song include but are not limited to: the lyric "I've heard that when you drink Absolut straight it burns enough to give my chest hair a perm" and the outro.
Bruce Lee vs. Jackie Chan (Enter the Dragon): Wu-Tang Clan, "Method Man"
Before Jackie Chan was a huge mega-star he appeared in an uncredited role as a jailed thug who briefly fought Bruce Lee in his most famous film. Conversely, after Meth became a huge mega-star he appeared as a very credited (yet still jailed) thug in Oz. (He also played Cheese in The Wire.)
Bruce Lee vs. the Japanese School (Fist of Fury): Method Man and Redman, "How High"
In Fist of Fury, after learning that his master had been poisoned by the Japanese military, Lee's character descends upon the enemy dojo and KICKS EVERYONE'S FUCKING ASS. This film won him great acclaim and gratitude from his country, where he remains both a star and hero. In the words of Method Man, "Fucking with us is straight suicide."