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Looking back at the best and worst novelty rap songs

Yardbarker Logo By Jeremy Smith of Yardbarker | Slide 2 of 26: When Biggie Smalls asked “Remember ‘Rappin’ Duke’/Duh-huh, duh-huh,” a whole generation of rap fans had to ask their elders what the hell he was talking about. Shawn Brown’s hip-hop parody found the artist adopting the tougher-than-leather persona of John Wayne to poke fun at other emcees’ boastfulness and, midway through the song, to recount the political rise of Ronald Reagan via the lyrics of “The Beverly Hillbillies” theme song. Though it didn’t burn up the Billboard Hot 100 (rap rarely did prior until Run-DMC/Aerosmith’s crossover smash, “Walk This Way”), it got loads of Top 40 airplay (also unusual for rap songs). One wonders if the song would’ve hit the mainstream to the extent that it did had listeners known Brown was African-American.

"Rappin' Duke" by Shawn "Rappin' Duke" Brown

When Biggie Smalls asked “Remember ‘Rappin’ Duke’/Duh-huh, duh-huh,” a whole generation of rap fans had to ask their elders what the hell he was talking about. Shawn Brown’s hip-hop parody found the artist adopting the tougher-than-leather persona of John Wayne to poke fun at other emcees’ boastfulness and, midway through the song, to recount the political rise of Ronald Reagan via the lyrics of “The Beverly Hillbillies” theme song. Though it didn’t burn up the Billboard Hot 100 (rap rarely did prior until Run-DMC/Aerosmith’s crossover smash, “Walk This Way”), it got loads of Top 40 airplay (also unusual for rap songs). One wonders if the song would’ve hit the mainstream to the extent that it did had listeners known Brown was African-American.

© Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

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