The October issue of Rolling Stone Magazine recently published its annual "Hot List;" under the heading of Hot Influence, the hallowed rock rag listed none other than celluloid news buffoon Ron Burgundy.
It seems the persona immortalized by Will Ferrel in 2004's Anchorman
has been the focus of multiple references in hip-hop jams as of late. Among these are Detroit rapper Big Sean and Kanye West.
We're not quite sure what it is about the swarthy narcissistic newsman whose painful lack of self-awareness or humility makes him the inspiration du jour for many hip-hop artists. However, the blurb in Rolling Stone, which noted that earlier rap artists often idolized such figures as Scarface, suggested this recent fascination might have to do with the genre's adoption of an ironic style-aesthetic as of late.
Among the aforementioned artists is Detroit's Big Sean, who recently recorded a track with Canadian child star-turned rapper, Drake. The song, titled "Made," was leaked to the public in April. The tune features Sean boasting about his champion status and rapping "I be at the parties where you stuck outside and can't come in. Call me Ron Burgundy y'all the other anchormen."
Ouch. By the beard of Zeus, Paul Rudd must be using his own tears to rinse the stench of sex panther from his body. Big Sean, of course, signed to Kanye West's GOOD records back in 2007. West unleashed a torrent of tweets this September expressing regret for his behavior during Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the 2009 VMA's. During this online catharsis, West invoked the legend of Ron Burgundy. "Remember when Ron Burgundy cursed on air and the entire city turned on him? But this wasn't a joke. This was and is my real life."
Now we all know when it comes to hip-hop, West is an innovator and a trend setter. But we doubt this Ron Burgundy obsession started with him.
Begging the question?
When did this hip-hop Burgundy bender begin burning in the loins of artists like a flaming golden hawk? We don't have the answer. But we will respectfully suggest it didn't start with West. In fact we know last spring West posted the video of an up and coming hip-hop duo out of Philadelphia named Chiddy Bang on his blog. The song West posted was "The Opposite of Adults." Featuring some heavy sampling of the MGMT single "Kids," the song was first released online in 2009. In the video, lead MC Chiddy turns to his producer Xaphoon Jones and raps "Xaphoon. Thank you for the crack. But I play Ron Burgundy, I anchor on the track."
So there you have it. If there's any lesson music fans can glean from this recent trend, it's that tracing the origins of pop-culture is like untangling the Gordian knot. and is frustrating to say the least. All a person can do is stay confident, stay up and stay classy.