“Hip Hop music has always been a part of my life. When I started my wrestling journey, I always had a tape playing in the car on the road from city to city.  As I start this new adventure in music, I wanted to pay homage to the hip hop and reggae artists that motivated me through the years.”

This from the X account of WWE Hall of Famer Rikishi Fatu:

And so brings a new song from a wrestling star. Rikishi’s not the only one to take the Rap style and use it to show a musical side, Lio Rush and Rocky Romero have done this in recent years too.

That’s all very well, but there’s one question we must ask:

Is the song any good?

I’m seasoned, meaning that as far as HipHop and Rap goes, I was an early adopter. I was around for the early days, even Afrika Bambaata and the beats he produced, then Erik B and Rakim. I loved Public Enemy but eschewed NWA and after a real dalliance with the native tongues movement (De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest and more), plus a fandom of the Beastie Boys which lasted from beginning to end, I dipped out a little.

I really admired Eminem’s off-the-beat-but-not flow without really progressing from the first Slim Shady album.

Since then? I haven’t really bothered with that much Rap, to be frank. And I can be curmudgeonly about the back-to-the-future minimalist beats of modern Rap and the tendency to just talk of the beat — there’s no adherence to it, dammit! Just because Eminem can do it, doesn’t mean you can have a go; it takes talent.

So, as an up-front warning, I may fall into the trap of tut-tutting when modern HipHop is presented to me. It’s an upfront warning. With that in mind, let’s see what this Rikishi drop (see, I can be current) “The Sultan” is all about.

Bob Backlund and The Iron Sheik were managers to The Sultan.

Bob Backlund and The Iron Sheik were managers to The Sultan, who would later become Rikishi.

“The Sultan”

It’s about Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaizari, known to many as The Iron Sheik, or Colonel Mustafa in Sgt Slaughter’s Iraq-themed heel turn, or by most as the delivery system for Hulkamania by way of taking the WWF World Championship from Bob Backlund to put it onto Hulk Hogan who would defeat the Sheik.

Of course, Sheiky (as he was affectionately known by friends and fans) was so much more than that. Excellent wrestler, tough guy, great promo. and thorn in the side of some. In the later years of his life, he became a prolific (and hilarious) Twitter/X poster, and a larger-than-life personality, who, after his death, is sadly missed by many, me included.

When Rikishi was breaking into the WWE as the Sultan, Iron Sheik was his manager and mouthpiece; they developed a real feeling for each other whilst travelling up and down the road together and Sheik was surprised with the sounds Rikishi was playing. As he said on his X feed, “During my run as ‘The Sultan’, I was managed by the legendary Hall of Famer, The Iron Sheik. We bonded during that time learning about each other’s cultures and lifestyles. A few years later, I let him hear a song … Sheik was amazed by the Middle Eastern sound and it was one of my favorite songs to jam to on the road.”

The Song

Well, has anyone actually bothered to listen to the song (or, “track” if you prefer)?

Yes, they have. And what many have picked up on is actually the lyrical content. Famously, The Iron Sheik had a thinly veiled/not veiled at all dislike of Hulk Hogan’s shenanigans in the WWF business and this track seems to lean into that with comments around The Finger Poke Of Doom, “maniacs”, “creative control” and dropping the leg — seems like a diss track, eh?

Well, there’s more than that here. The backing is ticking and has an, as sort of promised, Middle Eastern (OK I’ll say it — a Shakira) sound. But on top of this is Iron Sheik’s voice and a Rap vocal from Rikishi which has a much more accessible feel than Rocky Romero’s recent tracks or Lio Rush’s, which conform much more to the charts.

Fightful reported that the song was inspired by Fat Joe’s “Lean Back”, a song that Rikishi and Sheik used to listen to on the road.

There’s drama here and yet a nagging feeling that there could be so more — this has a feeling of a fragment, something that’s being worked on. And something I want to hear more of.

This isn’t unusual with HipHop at the moment. Scraps of songs are accepted and their use is even encouraged. It isn’t my preference, but then again, I’m old.

More Music?

Rikishi is Bloodline. Jimmy and Jey Uso are his sons and he’s part of the famous Samoan wrestling Anoa’i family.

He’s also well thought of. The WWE released Rikishi’s track, “Put A Little A** On It” on its 2004 WWE Originals album. That number is a faux bedroom Soul track with a lot of fun at its heart.


This new Rikishi song isn’t on my streaming service. Rather, it’s listenable via his X account and bears all the hallmarks of an adventure that will not be repeated soon.

So, don’t expect an album.

In the meantime, though, it’s a (rare?) Rap track which doesn’t exist only to celebrate the person rapping it.

“In honor of him, Big Uce returns as The Sultan and going after one of his sworn enemies.

R.I.P. Sheiky Baby.”

How refreshing.