By ROB DUGUAY Pro wrestling is the most extraordinary kind of entertainment there is. It combines the storyline drama of a soap opera with high-level athleticism that rivals any major sport. Yes, the outcomes of matches are planned out beforehand and the
Pro wrestling is the most extraordinary kind of entertainment there is. It combines the storyline drama of a soap opera with high-level athleticism that rivals any major sport.
Yes, the outcomes of matches are planned out beforehand and the moves are choreographed, but before you start calling it “fake,” think about how you’d be feeling after falling from a 20-foot-tall structure into an announcer’s table in front of an audience of thousands.
Mick Foley did that back 1998 during his infamous Hell in a Cell match with the Undertaker as his Mankind persona during the “King of the Ring” pay-per-view that took place at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh.
Stunts like these are why Foley is beloved among wrestling fans worldwide, and West Warwick rapper Toadstool – whose real name is Mike Jencks – dedicated his “Have A Nice Day!” EP to him when it was released on New Year’s Day.
The cover of the EP captures Foley in mid-air after being thrown off of the cell in a black-and-white shot. Jencks identifies with Foley due to how he feels he needs to form his own path in hip-hop, much like the wrestler did during his career.
“I don’t think Mick Foley gets enough credit for his work in wrestling,” Jencks says about his favorite wrestler. “Between throwing himself off of a 20-foot structure, reinventing himself on three separate occasions and knocking each of his personas out of the park. Sometimes I feel like the local Mick Foley. No matter the punishment I go through, I’m not considered with the Steve Austins, Undertakers or The Rocks of hip-hop. That’s cool to me, though. Hopefully I can carve out a unique legacy like he did.”
“I’ll sample pretty much anything, as long as I think it’ll sound good, or what I think is good,” he adds about the funky samples within the EP. “I’ve been gathering records for a year now and I like to chop straight from vinyl, lock it in and then hit the drums with my Maschine MK2, which I absolutely love using. Then I’ll add any extra stuff from there. Straight up, I just love professional wrestling and hip-hop. I thought it was weird that I haven’t gone down that road yet, and apart from me always wanting to always do this, I didn’t want it to be tacky.”
Each of the three tracks on the record is named after one of Foley’s personas in wrestling. That soulful funkiness examined by Jencks earlier is very evident in “Dude Love,” and it’s easy to be mesmerized by the horn samples. “Cactus Jack” has a sinister vibe going on with voice distortion and a steady piano presence. Those horns come back in “Mankind” while riding a groove that’s bound to take hold of the senses. Along with each track named after one of his personas, each track also includes voice clips of Foley cutting a promo as his adopted character.
Extending his love for pro wrestling into his music, Jencks plans on releasing another Toadstool record titled “D-Generation Flex'” later this year. The title is inspired by the infamous WWE stable D-Generation X, so expect some voice clips from Shawn Michaels, Triple H, X-Pac and The New Age Outlaws to be included in the tracks.
Along with his solo project, Jencks is also the lead lyricist for the Providence hip-hop band Toad & The Stooligans. He’s currently working on another project called “Ranold Raygun” with bandmate Dan Pomfret that’ll be out relatively soon as well.
In the meantime, listen to the “Have A Nice Day!” EP via Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes or Amazon Music and enjoy a combination of two uniquely creative mediums.