Is this more or less surprising than when he considered running for president? Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson has dropped what he’s calling his first rap song. He features on Tech N9ne’s new single “Face Off,” alongside Joey Cool and King Iso. The actor penned his own energetic verse, which closes out the track and includes lyrics like “Black and Samoan in my veins, my culture bangin’ with Strange / I change the game so what’s my motherfuckin’ name (Rock).” Though he described “Face Off” as his “historic rap debut” on Twitter, this isn’t his first connection to the genre. Johnson appeared on Wyclef Jean’s 2000 single “It Doesn’t Matter” to shout his wrestling catchphrase, and he was the subject of “Pie” on WWF: The Music, Vol. 5, which gave us poetic turns of phrase such as, “It’s tough to be the Rock (oh yes) / No no no NO, it really is.”
In an interview with Variety, Johnson said he recorded his “Face Off” verse in one take after getting “a bit lit” from drinking Teremana, his tequila brand. He and Tech N9ne connected over social media and met in person, pre-pandemic, on the set of HBO’s Ballers. Originally, Tech N9ne’s plan was for the actor to record a sort of motivational spoken outro, but Johnson wanted to rap. He told Variety that while he doesn’t see himself pursuing a music career, he would be open to collaborating with “another artist out there — hip-hop artists, blues artists, outlaw country artists” if the song was right. We notice that he didn’t include rock artists on that list — perhaps the world just isn’t ready for the Rock to do rock.