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Artists vs TMNT/Rap Meanings

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Rap Meanings


The Renaissance Artists:

Leonardo (Artist):

Cowabunga, dude, so let's get it on.

(The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles often say "Cowabunga!" to express their excitement over any number of things. They also often say "dude" at the end of a sentence, which describes their informality. While da Vinci is eager to begin this battle in much the same way as the TMNT would be excited after a thrilling victory or other significant feat, he is also mocking their looseness, as he would be very formal himself.)

Reptiles against the fathers of the Renaissance.

(Turtles are reptiles of the order Chelonii or Testudines characterized by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs and acting as a shield. Da Vinci says that mere reptiles are battling great star figures of Renaissance art and don't stand a chance against them.)

We got the classical technique

(All of the artists are known for successfully reviving the Classical Period techniques of the Greeks and Romans.)

To kick these three-toed freaks back under the street! (Ooh!)

(They are going to use the aforementioned technique to kick, or otherwise beat, the turtles back into the sewers of New York City, where they live. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are shown to have three fingers and toes. After this line, Donatello shouts out an "Ooh!" as a way of expressing his pleasure with da Vinci's diss.)

I take a turtle, and I turn him into mincemeat.

(This is a reference to da Vinci's anatomical studies. During his era, the Church had outlawed any practices which violated the rights of the dead. Da Vinci, who was a pioneer of scientific thought, would steal bodies from graves so he could dissect them and study human anatomy. Getting "minced" by him is a reference to that. He is saying that he will cut the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles open like the dead bodies.)

You don't really wanna step to da Vinci!

(As he is one of the greatest scientists in history, da Vinci states that they don't want to battle against him.)

I love the ladies. I like to keep it mellow,

(Da Vinci was known for painting portraits of women, such as the famous "Mona Lisa". "Mellow" can refer to the color scheme in which some of his paintings are made, as mellow means having colors that don't pop out. Here, he is stating that he doesn't want to look too much like a show-off in front of the ladies since he is beating the Turtles, so he lets someone else take the microphone.)

So let me pass the mic to my man, Donatello!

(Da Vinci is telling them that it is now Donatello's time to rap. This is also a reference to the fact that da Vinci's actor, Link Neal, is partners and friends with Donatello's actor, Rhett McLaughlin.)

Donatello (Artist):

(Ugh!) Hard shell, but you're gross in the middle.

(Donatello compares them to a turtle chocolate, which is usually hard on the outside, but has a chewy inside. It also refers to a turtle's anatomical structure in which they have a soft body, even though they are attached to the shell. Here, however, he replaces chewy with gross. Turtle meat is often eaten in certain countries.)

Wouldn't wanna touch you with a six-foot chisel!

(This is a reference to the common expression to "not touch something with a ten foot pole". Since Donatello is a sculptor, he exchanges the pole from the idiom for a chisel, the most important tool in sculpting. Donatello the turtle's weapon is a six-foot bo staff. Donatello sees the turtles as disgusting enough that he would not want to touch them or even touch anything that was touching them, even if it was a six-foot-long chisel.)

Born in goop, raised in poop,

(The TMNT came into being when they and a mutagenic ooze were dumped into a storm drain; they turned humanoid when bathed in this "goop". The TMNT were also raised in the sewers, where one would usually find waste (poop). The fact that the TMNT were awash in mutagen and live near refuse is exactly why Donatello won't touch them.)

I slice through a group of ninjas like fruit. Oops!

("Fruit Ninja" is a famous iOS/Android/Xbox 360 game where fruit is launched on the screen and you can slice it with your fingers. Donatello is saying he slices the TMNT like the fruit in the game.)

Raphael (Artist):

(Yo!) Raphael, and I came to flow!

(Raphael says he came to rap against the turtles.)

Deemed dope by the Pope and I boned til I croaked!

(Raphael was a "Groom of the Chamber" of the Pope, which gave him status at court and an additional income, as well as a knight of the Papal Order of the Golden Spur. Also, he died because of misdiagnosis of the fever he got from having excessive sex with his mistress, Margherita Luti. That means he had sex (boned) until he died (croaked). He had quite an enjoyable life to his standards.)

I'm an emcee Shredder, but I get the feeling

(Shredder is the main antagonist in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. Raphael is saying he shreds, or easily defeats, emcees, but he should do something else, as stated in the following line.)

I should pass it up to my man on the ceiling!

(Michelangelo painted Genesis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Raphael is stating that it's Michelangelo's turn to rap. This is also a reference to the fact that Raphael's actor, Anthony Padilla, is partners and friends with Michelangelo's actor, Ian Hecox.)

Michelangelo (Artist):

(Ohhh!) Michelangelo, and I'm a giant!

(Michelangelo introduces himself by saying he is a very powerful and innovative man. He's also known as "one of the three giants of the Florentine High Renaissance". This line is rather ironic in that his actor is the shortest of the four.)

I made David, but I'll slay you like Goliath!

("David" is Michelangelo's most famous sculpture, depicting the biblical hero who fought the giant, Goliath. Michelangelo continues his previous line and illustrates what he'll do as a giant: slay the turtles.)

I'm a rap God, and you can't quite touch me!

("The Creation of Adam" is a famous fresco by Michelangelo, depicting God and Adam nearly touching hands. "Rap God" is a song by Eminem, used by Michelangelo to compare himself with God in this fresco. "U Can't Touch This" is a song by MC Hammer. Michelangelo uses this song to compare the Turtles to Adam, who are nearly touching, or "can't quite touch", (the Rap) God. Michelangelo is saying the Turtles simply can't compare to Michelangelo in rapping.)

This battle's your Last Judgment, trust me!

("The Last Judgment" was Michelangelo's most famous painting. The term "Last Judgment" comes from the Christian belief of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The painting is a depiction of the Second Coming of Christ and the final and eternal judgment by God of all humanity. Michelangelo is saying that this battle will basically be a trial for the turtles by the "Holy" fathers of the Italian Renaissance.)

Donatello (Artist) and Leonardo (Artist):

We drop science!

(A number of important scientists come from the Renaissance such as Tycho Brahe, Leonardo da Vinci, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, and Johannes Kepler.)

Raphael (Artist) and Michelangelo (Artist):

We got the mathematics!

(Many important mathematicians also come from the Renaissance such as da Vinci, René Descartes, Pierra de Fermat, and Blaise Pascal.)

The Renaissance Artists:

The architects of rebirth are rap addicts!

(The Renaissance is, quite literally, "The Age of Rebirth". The English word Renaissance is a direct borrowing of the French word that means "re-birth". In Italian, it's Rinascimento, which is a derivation from rinascere, "to be reborn". The various Renaissances were periods of cultural and scientific re-awakening across Europe after the devastation of numerous wars and diseases in the Dark Ages that preceded them. The four artists are members of the Italian Renaissance, which is the most expansive and best-known. An architect draws plans for buildings, including their design and appearance. All these artists studied and/or made innovations in architecture during this time period. They're saying that all four not only started (drew the blueprint for) the Italian Renaissance, but that they also very much enjoy rapping; therefore, the turtles don't stand a chance against them in this battle.)

You beat the Foot, but it won't go well,

(The Foot Clan is the Turtles' arch-nemesis, a band of ninjas, mutants, cyborgs, and aliens headed up by Shredder. The Turtles always manage to defeat Shredder and the Foot Clan, but it won't be the same with the artists.)

When you catch an Italian boot to the half-shell!

(Continuing their previous lines, the Italian artists say the turtles will be greatly harmed as they shove their foot up the turtles' half shells, in other words, as they kick their butts, making a connection between their feet and the Foot Clan. The saying "kick some shell" is also an older synonym to "kick some ass", meaning the artists sneakily call the turtles half-assed, which mean they are bad characters. The line is also delivered in the tone of the chorus of the famous TMNT cartoon opening of 1987-1997, "Heroes in a Half Shell". All four artists are Italian, so this is a reference to their heritage. Coincidentally, Italy is shaped like a "boot" readying itself to "kick" the island of Sicily, so the line may reference this as well.)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

Leonardo (Turtle):

The wisdom of our master (Splinter)

(Splinter is an old mutated rat who taught the Turtles the way of ninjutsu. He is depicted as a stereotypical ninja teacher, who always speaks with wise words.)

Donatello (Turtle):

Taught us not to rush to violence, (Master Splinter)

(Splinter never approves of immediate violence by the Turtles.)

Raphael (Turtle):

But our master (Master Splinter)


Michelangelo (Turtle):

Ain't here, dudes! (Hee-yah!)

(While Splinter may have taught the Turtles not to rush to battle, he isn't here; only the turtles are present. This negates the effect of his teachings and the turtles will be ruthless. The turtles are known for occasionally going behind their master's back and ignoring his rules in situations they deem fit whenever he's not around. The "Hee-Yah" in the background is the stereotypical sound a ninja makes when he attacks.)

Leonardo (Turtle):

I don't think you wanna mess with my katana blades!

(In the TMNT canon, Leonardo's blades were stated as katana before further research by the authors/publishers revealed them to be straight-bladed swords called Ninjatō, which are usually mistaken as katanas. The two swords may look similar, but Katana have a curve to them. He thinks the artists are intelligent enough to know that an angry Leonardo is really effective with his blades.)

Get back in your floppy helicopter, fly away!

(Leonardo da Vinci conceived the first prototype of a helicopter, which was rudimentary and floppy. The turtle advises the artists to leave this battle in the helicopter before something bad happens.)

Michelangelo (Turtle):

I can Bebop and steadyrock a mic, sucka!

(Bebop, a warthog, and Rocksteady, a rhinoceros, are among the Shredder's most famous henchmen. Bebop is also an old-fashioned dance. Michelangelo is saying he can dance and carefully rock a microphone, showing impressive talent, and he speculates the artists can't. Since he also references Shredder's allies, he's saying he's able to beat them on the mic.)

I'm a pristine Sistine nun-chucka!

(The Sistine Chapel's ceiling was painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti between 1508-1512. Michelangelo says that he is a pristine (perfect) user of nunchakus (pronounced nun-chucks), his weapon of choice. A well-concealed pun: Catholic chapels in Italy have nuns running day-to-day affairs. Mikey says he can throw nuns perfectly, and the line may be interpreted that Mikey considers the artists as a bunch of nuns.)

Raphael (Turtle):

(Uh!) Oh hi, I'm a cool but rude guy!

(The opening theme song from the 1980's TMNT cartoon states, "Raphael is cool but rude". Raphael is saying he is a cool and rude guy.)

Put you back in school with the tip of my two sai!

(One of Raphael Sanzio de Urbino's most famous frescos is "The School of Athens", in which Raphael also painted himself in the background. The sai are Raphael's weapons of choice. He is also saying that the artists are no longer talked about in schools, and possibly that they would be if their deaths were caused by the Turtles.)

Donatello (Turtle):

(Uhhh…) Dona-tell me who you are again, dude,

(Donatello doesn't know who his namesake is, thus creating a pun on "Donatello" and "tell". Meanwhile, Donatello is known as being the smartest of the four turtles, so here, even the smartest of them doesn't know who Donatello Bardi is to show how unknown and obscure the artist is.)

'Cause I don't Gattamelata clue what you do.

(Continuing how he has no idea who Donatello is, Donatello is best-known for making a statue of "Gattamelata" riding a horse, and the line is a pun on "got a lot of a". Also, considering that Donatello knows "Gattamelata", he's just stating that Donatello is too obscure for the turtle to know or remember.)

The Renaissance Artists:

Donatello (Artist):

That's because you mutants are too immature!

(The Turtles are mutants, and people often view teenagers as being mostly too immature. In this case, because of their ignorance of not knowing what Donatello has done, he says they are immature because they are too young to know.)

Leonardo (Artist):

You wouldn't know genius if it pissed in your sewer!

(A parody of an expression, "You wouldn't know [what something is] if it [hit you in the face]." Da Vinci is simply telling the Turtles that they couldn't tell a normal person from a genius, even if he relieved himself in their home, the sewers.)

The Renaissance Artists:

We got the talent, and the minds, and the rhymes so sweet!

(All the artists are considered talented geniuses ahead of their time. They're stating that they have more talent and intelligence than them and together they form the best rhymes to take down the Turtles.)

We're like your NES game 'cause we can't be beat!

(The 1989 NES game "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" was very hard and is considered essentially impossible to beat. As a result, retro reviewers hold nothing back when expressing their frustration toward it. The PC port had a level that was actually impossible to beat without cheats. Here, the artists are saying they're going to be just as tough for the TMNT to beat as the very first game starring the heroes.)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

Leonardo (Turtle):

Yo, go ahead and hate. We'll just skate on by!

(To quickly navigate the sewers, the Turtles ride skateboards through the tunnels. They'll simply brush off the artists' disses and keep going.)

Michelangelo (Turtle):

You guys draw more dicks than New York Pride!

(Many famous art pieces from the Renaissance era depicted nude figures, males included. New York, where the TMNT hails from, holds an event called New York Pride for the LGBT community. The turtles are dissing the artists, saying they have more of an obsession for drawing male genitalia than a gay pride parade can attract, or get drawn to it. This also relates to the fact that Donatello Bardi and Leonardo da Vinci were LGBT.)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

We're the TMNT, drop kicking Italy! (Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!)

(A drop kick is a fighting move, and the turtles are saying they are taking down Italy, where the artists originate. The "Go, Go, Go" line is a reference to "The Ninja Rap" by Vanilla Ice from the movie "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze", with the lyric in the song, "Go Ninja, Go Ninja Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!")

Michelangelo (Turtle):

Chowing on your tower made of pizza!

(One of Italy's most famous structures is the "Leaning Tower of Pisa" known worldwide for its tilt to the left[1], built in 1172. The name "Pisa" sounds very similar to the word "pizza", a food which the Turtles are widely known to love. Pizza was created in Italy, which is where the artists are from. Michelangelo is saying they plan to take down the Tower of Pisa, while also eating pizza.)

Leonardo (Turtle):

Save a slice for me!

(Trailing behind his brothers, Leonardo wants them to save a piece of the action and at least one extra slice of pizza for him to eat.)

Notes and references

  1. The "lean" in the Leaning Tower of Pisa is believed to have started when a massive sinkhole formed from dissolving limestone beneath the tower grounds.
Rap Meanings

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