Superheroes and Villains
by Dan Weiss | May 26, 2014
If you’re surprised how many songs reference superheroes, maybe you shouldn’t be. Pop culture loves a good vs. evil narrative, whether it’s costumed crusaders or an allegedly wronged party singing “It Hurts Me Too.” In rap especially, comic book heroes and villains have commanded the interest of talents as diverse Ghostface Killah (aka Tony Starks, aka Ironman) and DOOM (who built his personality on Dr. Victor von Doom, foe of the Fantastic Four). The latter examines superheroes with the care of a forensic scientist, snarking tastelessly but effectively on Batman and Robin’s ambiguous sexuality in “Batty Boyz.”
Elsewhere, Soulja Boy’s biggest hit, “Crank That,” turns Superman into a mischievous verb. Veruca Salt sexualized “Spiderman '79,” and Tricky enlisted the Red Hot Chili Peppers to pay an arena-funk tribute to “#1 Da Woman.” Prince was tasked with making Batman funky (“Batdance”), while the likes of mega-rockers 3 Doors Down (“Kryptonite”) and jam band moe. (“Captain America”) examined morality from the eyes of two heroes. And it turns out The Ramones do the world’s most lovable version of the Spiderman theme.