Yoko Ono Said John Lennon Would’ve Become a Rapper
Over the course of his career, John Lennon made everything from blues-rock songs to avant-garde instrumentals — but never rap songs. Rap music was invented in the late 1970s so he could have gotten on the hip-hop train early but he didn’t. Interestingly, someone close to John said he would’ve become a rapper if he lived until the early 2000s.
The most famous John Lennon interview
In 1970, John gave a famous interview to Jann S. Wenner of Rolling Stone. This lengthy interview was published as a book called Lennon Remembers. Yoko Ono wrote the forward for a reprint of Lennon Remembers in 2000.
In this forward, Yoko says some things about John which may surprise his fans. She said Lennon’s comments in Lennon Remembers might cause people with weak constitutions to jump out a window. She compared the book’s impact to the jolt of “bad, bad espresso.” It’s unclear if this comment was a compliment or not. In addition, Yoko had some interesting views on John’s potential evolution as a musician.
Yoko Ono on her husband’s potential relationship to hip-hop and the Internet
“I’m often asked, ‘If John were here today, what do you think he would be doing?’” Yoko said. “Well, he was an artist, and he had always been innovative. … I remember John was a guy who was punk before Sid Vicious. A rapper before rap. What would John be doing now? Most likely, he would have joined the rappers, while plunging into the Internet at the same time.”
Yoko described John’s potential relationship with the Internet at length. She said John “probably would have loved the Internet. He always spoke of the coming of the Global Village. He would have been thrilled now that we really have it.”
John Lennon’s impact on rap
The very idea of John rapping will probably seem bizarre to many fans. However, it should be noted that John was a musical Renaissance man. He made music in a variety of genres, including folk, pop, rock ‘n’ roll, blues rock, and doo-wop. Is the idea he may have tried his hand at hip-hop really such a huge stretch? That’s an idea for fans to ponder.
Regardless of what you think of the concept of John as a rapper, he’s certainly had some impact on hip-hop. For example, he and the other Beatles have been referenced in songs by the Beastie Boys, Rae Sremmurd, the Wu-Tang Clan, and other rappers. In addition, Kanye West sampled John’s song “We’re All Water” for his song “Water.” You could argue rappers are keeping John’s legacy alive just as much as rock and pop singers — if not more so.
Lil Wayne even poignantly compared himself to John in the lyrics of “John,” saying “If I die today, remember me like John Lennon.” That’s certainly a legacy for all rappers to aspire to — regardless of whether John would have joined their ranks.