Men in Black 3 opens in theatres this weekend, but a major component of the beloved MIB franchise won’t be returning for this chapter. I’m not talking about Frank the Pug (who is also MIA) or even Tommy Lee Jones (who spends the majority of the movie being played by Josh Brolin). I’m, of course, talking about the prerequisite Will Smith MIB song – a catchy rap anthem that, like in Men in Black 1 and 2, plays over the end credits and gives us a snappy recap of everything that just happened in the movie. These film soundtrack staples are known as “overly expository end credit rap songs” and, in my humble opinion, they are among the finest traditions in film history. And, the fact that MIB3 doesn’t have one, I’ll admit, is one of the big reasons why I’m not really looking forward to the return of Agent J this weekend.
The sad reality is that Pitbull’s “Back in Time”, which was released as the “official” Men in Black 3 theme song, is a total piece of garbage. It’s unoriginal, lame, and, most importantly, it doesn’t offer up a rhyming synopsis of every story beat in the actual movie. (What rhymes with “Warhol”?) And Will Smith should know better. He is the reigning KING of the overly expository end credit rap song genre. His two Men in Black anthems – “Men in Black” and “Black Suits Comin’ (Nod Ya Head)” – were epic examples of rapping plot details, and his Wild Wild West theme is – and I mean this totally unironically – the only creatively successful element to emerge from that stinking pile of steampunk failure. Will Smith is a legend when it comes to making rapping story beats seem fun and cool, and it’s a real slap in the face to the OEECRS fans that he couldn’t be bothered to sit down a rhyming dictionary and come up with some “Rollin’ with Brolin” lyrics.
If Men in Black 3 underperforms this weekend, in my mind, it will be a result of opening-day audiences walking out of the theatre, completely unsatisfied because they won’t be able to recap the plot to their friends to the rhythm of an old-school Stevie Wonder jam. How you manage to spend $375 million on a movie and forget to spend ANY on an overly expository end credit rap song is completely beyond me.
So, since Big Willie didn’t feel like hooking you up with an OEECRS, I thought I’d give you a few examples of the best of the overly expository end credit rap song genre to fulfill your biological need for injesting rapping plot details. Now, one of my favorite examples of an OEECRS is the mind-blowing “City of Crime” that Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd performed during the end credits of 1987’s Dragnet. Misflix linked you to that legendary video a few weeks ago, so, here are a few other expository end-credit rap songs that aspire to, one day, be inducted into the Overly Expository End Credit Rap Song Hall of Fame, right next Will Smith and Sgt. Pep Streebeck. Enjoy.