Artists of any craft are constantly on the lookout for inspiration of all kinds – anything that can spark creative momentum and lead to a masterpiece.
Whether in the form of timid references or loud, proud samples and dedications, a plethora of beloved TV shows find their way into songs, highlighting the practice of musical artists inspired by another medium and incorporating it into their work.
Let’s go through some lit tracks that scream memorable shows, especially cartoons and anime, which hold a special place in many people’s hearts.
“Tomorrow 2” door GloRilla
Starting from a still fairly recent title, it must be recognized that GloRilla includes a brief sample of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends at the very beginning of his collaboration with Cardi B, “Tomorrow 2”.
“Cheese, his name is Cheese,” listeners can hear at the start of the track, and it’s taken from a conversation main characters Mac and Bloo have about a supporting character named Cheese.
“Marceline” by Willow
WILLOW, aka Willow Smithreferenced another Cartoon Network favorite in “Marceline,” a 2-part track from her ARDIPITHECU album that pays homage to a character from adventure time.
Along with shouting out to Marceline the Vampire Queen, Lady Rainicorn also seems to be referenced.
“Pink Matter” by Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean gave a quick dragonball reference in “Pink Matter”, as he named a bubblegum-colored antagonist in the track.
“That soft pink stuff, / Cotton candy, Majin Buu,” Frank Ocean sings in the track, which Genius described as “a meditation on female anatomy, desire and fantasy”.
“Dragonball Durag” by Thundercat
While about dragonball references, we’d be remiss to leave out Thundercat’s “Dragonball Durag.”
A remix of this song notably features Smino and Guapdad 4000.
“Hey Arnold” by Rico Nasty
We have plenty of examples of Rico Nasty shouting out some of his favorite shows; on the one hand, it has a track centered around Hi Arnold!
Lil Yachty also hopped on the bossy track to deliver a poppin remix.
“Rick & Morty” by Soulja Boy
To briefly switch to some adult cartoons, Soulja Boy pays homage to rick and morty in a song that directly bears the name of the series.
Much of the track consists of the Atlanta rapper continually repeating “Rick”.
“Rick and Morty” by LIL PHAG
Soulja Boy isn’t the only rapper to shout out this cult classic, as LIL PHAG also released a track named after the show.
Notably, LIL PHAG teamed up with Rico Nasty for the song.
“Futurama” by Bali Baby
Babi Baby showed Futurama some love with his own piece.
While the lyrics don’t contain much Futurama references, the song’s cover art is quite killer and features the show’s beloved art style.
“Moves” by Rico Nasty
Getting back to Rico Nasty, scooby-doo gets a scream in “Moves”, which was included on her Tales of Tacobella album.
“Scary bitches remind me of Scooby-Doo,” the Maryland native raps in the track, acknowledging the eponymous character’s tendency to go totally freaked out during mysterious investigations.
“LaLa” by Rico Nasty
Rico also samples an old episode of Sponge Bob SquarePants in “La La”.
The song specifically opens with SpongeBob greeting a character named Kevin C. Cucumber by humming, “Hi Kevin”.
“Running Up Freestyle” by Megan Thee Stallion
Megan Thee Stallion is another rapper who’s not afraid to scream Sponge Bob SquarePants.
“Always in Bikini Bottoms ’cause I got that Goo Lagoon,” she raps, referencing the town the show is set in as well as a beach spot that’s referenced in many episodes.
“Avril Lavigne” by TiaCorine
TiaCorine is a rapper from North Carolina who samples Sailor Moon at the end of Avril Lavigne.
The track was featured on his debut album, 34Corine.
“Wonderful Everyday: Arthur” by Chance the Rapper
Chance the Rapper took a more hands-on approach to paying homage to a childhood favorite, directly remixing the arthur theme song.
In a song called “Wonderful Everyday: Arthur,” Chance the Rapper tells fans about his appreciation for the series (as well as its beloved opener).
“Swiper No Swiping” by Bali Baby
Dora the Explorer is another childhood jam that got a shout out.
Bali Baby did a whole tune around “Swiper, no swiping!” of Dora. command, which fends off an insignificant fox.
“Girls in the Hood” by Megan Thee Stallion
In “Girls in the Hood”, Megan Thee Stallion pays tribute to an anime bad boy: Sasuke from naruto.
“Gonna make it eat me while I watch anime/P***y like a wild fox, looking for a Sasuke,” H-Town Hottie raps on the 2020 track.
Anime World by SahBabii
naruto is also honored in “Anime World” by SahBabii.
Unlike Megan Thee Stallion, SahBabii references numerous characters in her track, including Orochimaru, Itachi, Neji, Gaara, and Kakashi; terms like jinchuriki and Byakugan are also integrated.
“Dark Tournament” by Denzel Curry
Finally, we have Denzel Curry’s “Dark Tournament”, which contains references to various different anime.
Of Death threat at Bleach and naruto, Curry isn’t afraid to show his appreciation for these poppin series. It also seems that the title refers to Yu Yu Hakushoas it is the title of an arc in the anime (as well as a video game based on the series).
What do you think of the list, and what other tracks come to mind? Sound off in the comments section to let us know.