You only need to look to history to see the crossover between wrestling and hip hop. Everyone from LL Cool J to Killer Mike have dropped references to our favourite form of simulated combat in their music. The iconic Ric Flair even appeared in the video for the eponymous track, Ric Flair Drip, alongside 21 Savage, Offset and Metro Boomin. Nerdcore rappers such as MegaRan have carved out a niche for crafting songs specifically geared towards paying tribute to pro grappling.
There is one man who is cooking up a storm with his work, though. I’m talking about one Mr. Josiah Williams, better known to wrestling fans as Wrestle and Flow. Josiah’s made a name for himself by rapping over wrestler themes, packing his bars with references specific to the wrestler in question. His efforts have garnered acclaim from fans of both hip hop and wrestling, as well as from the wrestlers he raps about. Every time a new episode of Wrestle and Flow drops, you can bet that a glowing endorsement from the talent he’s rapping about won’t be far behind. We reached out to Josiah to provide some insight into his work and outlook on what he does, and he was more than happy to oblige. Here is our interview with the man behind the music.
How extensive was your musical background before Wrestle and Flow? Has making music always been an ambition for you? I’d say about nine years? I wrote poetry and spoken word in high school, and I started making music in college. In the beginning, it was just a hobby, something that I would do in-between classes, homework and papers, really just to help avoid stress. As the years passed on, I saw that people were beginning to pay attention a bit more, which made me begin to pursue it professionally.
You’re a self-described Christian rapper, with your non-wrestling tracks garnering attention on Spotify. Are there any wrestlers who are known for their faith that you’d like to create a more religious-based theme cover for? Last year, I created an original song for AJ Styles, which he really enjoyed. There’s a Christian hip-hop website called Rapzilla, and they interviewed him a few years back. He talked about wanting to work with Christian rappers, so I decided to take a leap of faith and make something for him! It wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be, but he truly liked it. And I’m so glad that he did. Fun fact: AJ Styles was the first WWE wrestler to follow me on Twitter, and I lost my mind. Haha.
Wrestle and Flow caught on almost instantly, with Kyle O’Reilly publicly voicing support for your first episode, Undisputed Era. Did you ever anticipate the project blowing up so fast? I did not expect it at all. Honestly, I thought I would get a ton of “dislikes” on YouTube and negative comments. Wrestling fans can be incredibly ruthless. They will let you know exactly how they feel, and won’t try to sugarcoat it at all. So, I was prepared for the worst. And thankfully, that never happened. Having so many wrestlers embrace the project, and support the songs — it’s been an honor. And I’m so thankful.
Which retweet from a wrestler meant the most to you after covering their theme? I think each one is a dream come true. Anytime a wrestler interacts with one of the songs — whether they retweet it, like it, comment, share it, whatever — I still get goosebumps each time!
There are a few that stand out. Kenny Omega’s retweet and comment was unreal – especially because I watch the WWE shows more than anything else. So, to know the greatest male wrestler in the world saw my video? And showed it to all of his fans? That meant a lot to me. Becky Lynch tweeted it multiple times, and even typed out the lyrics, which was so awesome to read. Many of the NXT superstars have sent a personal message along with the retweets, etc. So, yes, I’m thankful for every wrestler that interacts with the video(s).
If you could play any wrestler to the ring, who would it be and at what event? Ricochet. Any event that WWE wants.
Who is your most requested wrestler to give the Wrestle and Flow treatment that you haven’t done yet? I get a ton of requests, but Pete Dunne is the most requested, by far. Followed by Seth Rollins, Tommaso Ciampa, Jeff Hardy and Lio Rush.
The most notable aspect of your work is that you don’t exclusively remix themes into a hip hop beat, opting instead to rap over the raw track as it is. Do you see this as a personal challenge when it comes to themes that are so distantly removed from the hip hop genre (Undisputed Era, Finn Bálor, Kane, etc.)?
That’s something that I intentionally try to do. Not only is it a personal challenge, but it also allows the listener, the fans of professional wrestling, to hear their favorite theme songs in a new way. There are a ton of rappers and musicians who change the instrumental, or sample it into a different beat, etc. I wanted to do something that really stands out, and show that I’m capable of working with any genre of music. Pop, rock, indie, EDM, rap, hip-hop, whatever genre you’d consider Bray Wyatt’s song to be. Just wait until I remix WALTER’s theme, haha. That’s gonna be a challenge.
Who would be some of your dream musicians to collaborate with, hip hop or otherwise? I would love to work with Andy Mineo and Trip Lee – two Christian hip-hop artists that have helped truly change my life. I listen to their music, and get completely inspired. They make me want to be much more committed to my faith, they make me want to develop my skills as a hip-hop musician, they make me dream about staging and arena set-ups, they make me want to grow deeper in my understanding of the Bible. There’s so much.
I also would love to work with Willow Stephens, a truly phenomenal singer.
What artists do you usually listen to in your downtime? My music interests are so wide! My favorite type of music is R&B. I listen to a ton of Bruno Mars, H.E.R., John Legend, Cautious Clay, Kehlani, Sevyn Streeter. I like hip-hop and rap. So, Kendrick Lamar, Andy Mineo, Hyper Fenton, Drake, Joyner Lucas, Royce da 5’9″. I also am huge on pop music. Tori Kelly, Charlie Puth, *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Ariana Grande, Elley Duhe, Alessia Cara, Austin Mahone, Jax Jones and more.
How long have you been a wrestling fan? Any childhood favourites that got you into it, or are you a recent convert? I’ve been watching wrestling since 2003/2004. I was a fan of Batista, Shawn Michaels, Eddie Guerrero, Randy Orton, and Rey Mysterio.
Have any wrestlers ever reached out to you to create entrance music for them? Would you be interested in that if they did? Yes! I have received a few offers. And yes, I am always interested. Anyone can just send me an email for pricing and details. ([email protected])
Simple question to finish, who is your favourite wrestler of all-time, and who is your favourite rapper of all-time? This is such a difficult question. I’d say Eddie Guerrero or Shawn Michaels and then my favorite rappers would be Andy Mineo and Black Thought.
You can follow Wrestle and Flow on Twitter (@WrestleAndFlow), and you can follow Josiah’s personal Twitter (@JDeanWilliams), where his non-wrestling ventures can be found.