The Best Comic Book References in Hip-Hop

at 4:32 pm | By

Hip-hop and comic books have a long relationship

Hip-hop and comic books have more in common than it might seem. Both require creativity, artistic expression, and loyal cult followings. Anyone familiar with the great Wu-Tang clan will know all the comic book references dropped in albums like Liquid Swords and Iron Man. Method Man’s nickname is Jonny Blaze and Ghostface’s is Tony Stark. When the Human Torch and Iron Man get on a track like “Ice Cream” and flame it out, it becomes legendary.

Hip-hop and comic books both have clear cut sub-genres and numerous niche sectors. MF Doom and Czarface are known comic book heads, and it shows in their rhymes. It’s satisfying to dissect MF Doom’s intricate verses and catch all the nerd references. It makes listeners feel cool and connected to the rapper on a more personal level. As the rappers reveal something classically considered nerdy, and own it, making it cool. Add in the nostalgia the listener feels from hearing a dope Silver Surfer reference, and the parallel you can see from sneaker heads to comic book collectors is a no brainer.

Honestly, I think it’s awesome. It’s refreshing to see it be a cool thing to be black and smart. Hip-hop promoting an intellectual influence rather than the usual gangsterisms, drugs, and misogyny—that are all too pervasive in the rap world—is a breath of fresh air. Hip-hop comes from neighborhoods that are notoriously dangerous. So smart kids that grew up poor would likely use comic books as an escape from the usual violence and police brutality that invade their daily lives. We’ve got the best rappers that nod their heads to the comic book world. Keep reading to check it out.

 vintage Spider Man and X-Men Marvel comic books

Photo Illustration by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Check out the homage hip-hop pays to comic books