I had the chance to talk to Tommy Lee of Motley Crue about his two loves: rap and rock. The genre of rap rock, hip-hop influenced by rock, or whatever you want to call it has created a global impact since the two musical forces converged in song years ago. Tommy enthusiastically listed his ten favorite tracks in this world, and you can hear how they influenced his upcoming solo record ANDRO, available on October 16:
Beastie Boys – “So What’Cha Want”
TL: This song is a classic. When I first heard the Hammond B-3 and the super high vocals, I was hooked. I’m still hooked nearly thirty years later.
SW: Same. The song has a big beat, John Bonham feel as well.
TL: Love it! I’m freaked out to this day. RAW. Just raw. And that video!
SW: You can’t front on that.
Cypress Hill – “(Rock) Superstar”
TL: Speaking of powerful high-pitched vocals…
SW: Cypress Hill defines distinguishable. If you hear a song by ‘em anywhere, you know who it is the second the vocals come in.
TL: And you know what they stand for too! I’m not a huge weed guy, but I dig their vibe.
SW: I love that the Offspring took Cypress Hill on tour when this song came out.
TL: I know, right? We took (Hed)PE out once. Why should we only tour with bands that sound like us?
SW: Hey Bartender, hit me with a double.
Death Grips – “Guillotine”
TL: I saw Death Grips at a really small venue in Silverlake. We were in good company. It was the most destructive thing I’ve ever seen.
SW: The hipsters weren’t ready.
TL: It was a super heavy industrial vibing two-piece.
SW: With DMX-esque rough vocals!
TL: Super distorted. Super aggro. Love it.
SW: It goes, it goes, it goes, it goes.
House Of Pain – “Jump Around”
TL: When we decided to write this piece, this song HAD to go on this list.
SW: Agreed. It’s a semi-popular jam.
TL: No matter what room you’re in when you hear “Jump Around,” every time the song comes on and you hear the horns, everyone around you goes, “OH MY GOD!”
SW: Classic by definition. It’s an anthem that feels at home in just about any setting.
TL: And we’ll get to Limp Bizkit later.
SW: I came to win.
Jay-Z – “99 Problems”
TL: Jay-Z won with this HEAVY track.
SW: Courtesy of Rick Rubin. RR killed it with Jay and Beastie Boys.
TL: Jay is the best lyricist on the planet. I wish that I wrote this song.
SW: It has something for everyone. Rock kids loved it. Rap kids freaked out.
TL: You’re crazy for this one, Rick. It’s your boy.
SW: HIT ME!
Korn – “Shoots and Ladders”
TL: The 808 drops and Fieldy’s slapping bass hits you with this one.
SW: A lot of Korn songs have funky left-of-center instrumentation that would do well on a hip-hop track.
TL: The super heavy detuned guitars complement the freak-out deranged nursery rhyme bridge.
SW: NICK NACK PATTY WACK, GIVE A DOG A BONE!
TL: THIS OLD MAN CAME ROLLING HOME!
SW: Nuts. Speaking of craziness…
Kottonmouth Kings – “Bump”
TL: Don’t smoke weed with those guys. If you do, make sure you have nothing to do for the next couple of days.
SW: No one could say that they don’t rep their name.
TL: I love Kottonmouth Kings. Crazy group. Two rappers and the drummer plays a kit made out of a custom bicycle frame.
SW: Bicycle frames start parties! This is a party jam!
TL: While this isn’t as heavy as Korn, it’s in the same vein.
SW: I can see, I can see, I’m going bump.
Limp Bizkit – “Nookie”
TL: Limp Bizkit was rocking side stages until “Nookie”. Then they blew up pretty quickly.
SW: I remember when they played a controversial and huge set at Woodstock ’99. Insanity.
TL: Significant Other also had “N 2 Gether Now” with Method Man, which cemented the band’s place in the hip-hop world.
SW: Wes Borland’s unique and incredible guitar playing cemented him as a rock god in my book.
TL: And don’t get me started on Fred Durst. Mad style and swagger and brought a lot to the scene. And the band had DJ Lethal from House Of Pain too!
Rage Against The Machine – “Killing In The Name”
TL: This protest song is especially perfect for the current time period.
SW: Rage released an anthem for forever in 1992.
TL: Yup. “Killing In The Name” has stood the test of time and always will. I gravitate towards bands with lead vocalists who can cut through everything.
SW: NO one sounds like Zach De La Rocha.
TL: Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.
SW: (yells) FUCK YOU, I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!
Twenty-One Pilots – “Ride”
TL: A lot of people may tell me that this isn’t rap-rock, but this reggae track stuck out on popular radio and it had various hip-hop influences and rhymes.
SW: It certainly takes you to another place.
TL: Yup. I’m airlifted to a beach with this badass song from the hybrid band.
SW: And their shows are nuts! The fans are super dedicated!
TL: And Josh Dun is an incredible drummer.
SW: I’d live for you.
And that’s all she wrote! Here are the aforementioned ten tracks. Rock the fuck out.