Horse fanatics rejoice! This week, the perennially stoned rapper Wiz Khalifa and his sweetheart Amber Rose (a.k.a. Kanye West’s old flame) star in the western film Gang of Roses 2. A not-hotly-anticipated-by-anyone-at-all follow-up to 2003′s Gang of Roses, which saw Lil Kim straddling her legs around the saddle, the trailer for the sequel suggests the flick is aiming to set a new benchmark for shoddiness. Still, quality concerns to the side, it features the undeniable combination of a rapper commingling with a horse. So in honor of Wiz’s western enterprise, here’s a trot through hip-hop’s horse history.
1. Horses in the Drug Game!
Just when you thought cowboys were all about rustlin’ cattle out on the range, along comes DJ Khaled to join the dots between the life of a high-level international drug kingpin and a man who sits on a horse all day. Entrusting Akon to vocal duties, “Cocaine Cowboy” concerns a trafficker who is “considered to be the realest of all the other dealers” and is constantly galloping around to avoid becoming the victim of another raid. Not to be confused with: “Ridin’ the white horse,” as in the blow-addled gal who succumbs to her habit in the second verse of Nice & Smooth’s Tracy Chapman-sampling “Sometimes I Rhyme Slow.” [Listen here.]
2. Horses as the Key to Life Success!
One-time Three 6 Mafia member Playa Fly is a Memphis mainstay — and he might just owe his longevity in the rap game to his proficiency at both accumulating and riding horses. At least if we’re interpreting the lyrics to his “Horses” track correctly. Based around a hook that repeatedly boasts “Got me some horses to ride on, ride on,” the rap vet explains how he’s “got myself a stable” and details how he’s going to “teach my son how to ride these thangs.” The key? It’s all about how you hold ‘em by the reigns! [Listen here.]
3. Horses as Transportation!
The milky white drop-top Phantom may be rap’s current whip of choice, but back in the late-’90s when Cam’ron was still rolling with his one-time Children of the Corn bandmate Ma$e, the duo dropped a club-friendly tribute to riding in around in a horse and carriage. Titled, er, “Horse & Carriage,” the ditty includes the Dipset icon’s sagely advice that you “might see Cam in designer underwear.” Presumably it helps smooth the riding process. [Listen here.]
4. Horses in the Ghetto!
Rappers have frequently equated the rap game with the drug game, but there are a few rustic figures who have bucked the party line and preferred to score their comparison kicks by likening low-budget inner city environments to the days of the lawless west. True old school master Kool Moe Dee scored big with “Wild Wild West,” which kicks off at 129th Street and contains an anti-gun message because Moe Dee’s posse “prefer to fight you on like a man/ And beat you down with our hands.” Moe Dee then ends by rapping through a roll-call of compadres like Mike Chillion, Don Ice and Peter Wax — although from their names alone we have suspicions they’ve never actually saddled up and roamed pioneering lands. (See also: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s “Ghetto Cowboy.”) [Listen here.]
5. Horses as MC Inspiration!
Back in the dusky days of the late-’90s, Nas put together a group of his favorite cronies and anointed them the Bravehearts. One such member went by the unlikely MC name of, er, Horse. As the world’s most equine-friendly MC, Horse didn’t last long, retiring in 2002 — but like a good leader of the pack, Nas kept Horse in his posse as his bodyguard. [Watch here.]