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Old School Archives

When The Rock made a rap song with Wyclef Jean

Last year, The Rock made his ‘official’ rap debut when collaborating with Tech Nine. However, it wasn’t his debut at all, and Dwayne Johnson made his first foray into rap back in 2000.

There’s a reason why The Rock has tried to brush his collaboration with Wyclef Jean under the carpet, and despite the track being cringe-inducing, there’s a novelty to ‘It Doesn’t Matter’. The title comes from the catchphrase of Johnson’s wrestling persona, and throughout the song, he blurts it out on several occasions.

At that time, every kid wanted to be The Rock, and his character in WWE (then WWF) had become a mainstay of popular culture. Even if you didn’t watch wrestling, you knew his catchphrases and practised his finishing move, The Rock Bottom.

Wyclef Jean was riding high in 2000 too, and he was yet to become a meme following his hilarious Haitian presidential bid. Additionally, his reputation nosedived further in 2016 when he was accused of stealing money from his charitable organisation, Yele Haiti.

The Fugees had only been split up for a short time, and his solo debut was a resounding success. It seemed a match made in heaven between him and The Rock, but it wasn’t to be. Instead, it was a disaster that both men would rather forget.

Over the years, The Rock has had plentiful opportunities to get back in the rap game, but it wasn’t until Tech Nine came calling that he felt it was right to jump back in.

Explaining why he said yes to the track with Tech, Johnson said: “Because this music speaks to me, and I think his music speaks to a mass, yet specific, audience in hip-hop — who love and embrace the rush, who want that fire, who want that aggression.”

He added: “The opportunities in the past that have come my way, to rap, to sing, have been great, and a lot of them are [from] my friends, and they’re monster stars in the world of music. I love and respect their music, but those, it just never felt like — it’s got to feel right, and it’s got to feel real. And this did, with Tech.”

In 2000, The Rock was less picky about it being the right project, and he jumped at the first opportunity to make the shift into mainstream pop culture.

Unsurprisingly, ‘It Doesn’t Matter’ flopped and only reached number 80 on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. Although, it’s hard to deny that the ska-infused beat is dope.