The Iron Sheik: A Wrestling Career in 10 Raps
The Iron Sheik: A Brief Biography
Discussed: rap songs with wrestling references, Iron Sheik, The Camel Clutch, WWE
Born as Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri in 1942, the Iron Sheik is a retired Iranian-American professional wrestler. His journey to stardom began in his native Iran, where he was a bodyguard for Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and a national wrestling champion. After moving to the United States in the late 1960s, he became a coach for the U.S. Olympic wrestling team before transitioning to professional wrestling.
The Iron Sheik’s wrestling career, which spanned over three decades, was marked by his flamboyant persona and controversial antics. His character, a villainous Iranian nationalist, was a staple of the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) during the 1980s. His most notable achievement was his WWF World Heavyweight Championship win against Bob Backlund in 1983.
The Iron Sheik in Rap: A Cultural Cross-Reference
The Iron Sheik’s influence extends beyond the wrestling ring, permeating the hip-hop world. His larger-than-life persona and memorable catchphrases have made him a recurring reference in rap lyrics. Let’s explore some of the most notable mentions.
Explore more wrestling references in hip-hop: Pro Wrestling References in Rap | Westide Gunn, JPEGMAFIA
Nas – “It Ain’t Hard to Tell”
Lyrical Wrestling with the Iron Sheik
In his 1994 track, “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” Nas references the Iron Sheik in the line below. Here, Nas compares his ability to ‘slam’ beats to the wrestling prowess of the Iron Sheik. The song, produced by Large Professor, was the second single from Nas’s debut album, “Illmatic,” and is considered a classic in the hip-hop genre.
“Vocabulary spills, I’m Ill plus Matic, I freak beats, slam it like Iron Sheik.”
JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown – “Lean Beef Patty”
JPEGMAFIA’s Camel Clutch on Rap
JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown’s collaborative track “Lean Beef Patty” features a reference of the Sheik’s finishing submission hold, The Camel Clutch. The song, released in 2023, showcases both artists’ unique and experimental approach to hip-hop on their album Scaring the Hoes.
“I been stretching your girl, Iron Sheik,”
Read More: SCARING THE HOES by Danny Brown & JPEGMAFIA
French Montana – “Diamonds”
The Iron Sheik’s WWE Legacy in Hip-Hop
In his song “Diamonds,” French Montana uses the Iron Sheik as a metaphor for strength and power. The song, which features Rick Ross and J. Cole, was produced by Swizz Beatz and was included in French Montana’s 2013 mixtape, “Mac & Cheese 3.”
“Know I’m draped like a king, strapped with Iron Sheik.”
Freddie Gibbs and Madlib – “Uno”
Gripping the Rap Game with the Iron Sheik’s Cobra Clutch
Freddie Gibbs references the Iron Sheik in his song “Uno” with Gibbs referencing the wrestler’s real-life tough-guy bonafide. he song, produced by Madlib, is from the duo’s critically acclaimed 2014 album, “Piñata.”
“hog me in, I’m swine-free, tough as the Iron Sheik.”
Killah Priest – “One Step”
Lyrical Wrestling with the Iron Sheik
In “One Step,” Killah Priest uses the Iron Sheik to symbolize power and dominance. The song, produced by True Master, is from Killah Priest’s 1998 album, “Heavy Mental.”
“Your arms too short to box with God, KP Iron Sheik.”
Inspectah Deck – “9th Chamber”
The Wu-Tang and Wrestling Connection
Inspectah Deck’s “9th Chamber” suggests Deck submit the mic like the Sheik would an opponent. The song, produced by Inspectah Deck himself, is from his 1999 album, “Uncontrolled Substance.”
“turn it up a peak, make the speaker tweet Iron Sheik, camel clutch the beat,”
Action Bronson and Statik Selektah – “Central Bookings”
The Iron Sheik’s Leg Lock in the Cut
Action Bronson references the Iron Sheik in “Central Bookings,” rapping the line below. The “cobra clutch” is a different name for the “camel clutch.” The song, produced by Statik Selektah, is from the duo’s 2011 album, “Well-Done.”
“lay you in a woven rug, I’m middle Eastern, Iron Shiek with the cobra clutch.”
Paul Wall – “I Ain’t Hard to Find”
Hustling Since Hulk Hogan Body-Slammed the Iron Sheik
In his song “I Ain’t Hard to Find,” Paul Wall raps the blow line. Here, Wall uses a historical event in wrestling history to illustrate his long-standing presence in the rap game. The track, produced by Mr. Lee, is from Paul Wall’s 2007 album, “Get Money, Stay True.”
“And I been hustlin’ since Hulk Hogan body-slammed the Iron Sheik.”
Cam’ron – “You Must Not Know”
Camel Clutching Rivals like the Iron Sheik
Cam’ron’s “You Must Not Know” features the line below. Here, Cam’ron uses the Iron Sheik’s signature move, the “Camel Clutch,” as a metaphor for his aggressive approach to his rivals in the rap industry. The song, which also features Hell Rell, is a diss track aimed at Jay-Z and was released in 2007.
“Camel-Clutch him, Iron Sheik.“
Slum Village – “We On”
Gold Figures and Submission Holds
In their song “We On,” Slum Village uses the Iron Sheik as a symbol of power and dominance. The song, which features Kam Corvet, is from Slum Village’s 2014 album, “Vintage.”
“Gold figgas n*gga camel clutch like Iron Sheik.”
Iron Sheik Rap References – Conclusion
The Iron Sheik’s influence on hip-hop is a testament to the cultural cross-pollination between professional wrestling and rap music. His persona, characterized by strength, resilience, and dominance, resonates with rappers who often use his name as a metaphor for their own prowess and control in the rap game. As such, the Iron Sheik’s legacy continues to live on, not just in the wrestling ring but also in the lyrics of some of the most influential rap songs.
Explore more wrestling references by rappers: Pro Wrestling References in Rap | Westide Gunn, JPEGMAFIA