Jacques: Hip-Hop’s love for Dragon Ball
is no secret.
The long-running manga and anime was originally
created in 1984 by Japanese artist Akira Toriyama,
and burst onto American screens in the late
90s with its successor ‘Dragon Ball Z’
on Cartoon Network’s afternoon programming
Jacques: Many of today’s rappers grew up watching the show
and Adult Swim creative director Jason DeMarco said
said that ‘D-B-Z’ is a quote, “empowerment fantasy” and that many young minorities told him
they loved the show, saying quote:
“I get why that same kid would become a
rapper, and then rap about wanting to be like
Goku because you take your heroes where you can get them.”
There are thousands of hip-hop lyrics that
reference Dragon Ball’s characters
and their strengths, weaknesses, appearances and personalities.
Here are a few.
Jacques: ‘Dragon Ball’’s main protagonist,
Goku, is a happy-go-lucky, kind-hearted alien
called a Saiyan.
He’s a defender of Earth and arguably the
universe’s top fighter.
Jacques: Rappers invoke Goku to indicate strength, whether it’s bravado, violence or good drugs.
Jacques: Goku’s fellow Saiyan, Vegeta, is
self-absorbed, arrogant and ruthless.
Jacques: Vegeta and Goku go from rivals to
allies and many of his mentions deal with
his superiority complex and cut-throat nature.
Jacques: One of ‘Dragon Ball’’s biggest
themes is the Super Saiyan transformation.
Now, when Saiyans undergo extreme duress they turn into powerful beings characterized
by yellow hair and a glowing golden aura.
MCs sometimes use this as a way to demonstrate lyrical prowess.
Jacques: Goku first goes Super Saiyan after seeing his best friend Krillin get killed by Frieza.
Jacques: Although he is one of the strongest
humans on Earth, he’s pretty weak compared
to the regular alien adversaries.
Now rappers are quick to highlight this and poke
fun at his massive head.
Jacques: Frieza is one the show’s most iconic
He’s the destroyer of the Saiyan world,
MCs use him as a personification of evil,
a frigid play on words and even jewelry.
Jacques: Piccolo is the
spawn of King Piccolo, one of the earliest
villains on the show but grows into one of
Goku’s best friends.
His green color and purple blood appear often
in rap lyrics.
Jacques: Gohan is Goku’s half-human half-Saiyan son whose had latent power
since he was a child.
Jacques: Artists use him for strength in the
same vein as his father, occasionally pointing
out his inherent strength.
Jacques: Buu is one of the anime’s most
He has many transformations but
his consistent pink color is something artist’s love to reference.
Jacques: I’m Jacques Morel with Genius News,
bringing you the meaning and the knowledge behind the music.