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Wednesday, April 5, 2023

The Short History of the Disrespected DK Rap

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Humiliated and shortened at every turn.

Today, The Super Mario Bros. Movie released to the public in American theatres. Donkey Kong voice actor Seth Rogen revealed in the movie's official marketing that the DK Rap from Donkey Kong 64 (which describes all five playable Kongs—Donkey Kong, Tiny Kong, Lanky Kong, Diddy Kong, and finally Chunky Kong—and then the contents of Cranky Kong's fridge) would be in the movie, while also describing the DK Rap as “objectively one of the worst rap songs of all time.” To the disappointment of original song writer Grant Kirkhope, when the DK Rap appears in the movie's credits, he isn't credited, unlike the composers of other songs in the movie's soundtrack.

The DK Rap would then appear in Super Smash Bros. Melee's Kongo Jungle stage (now named Kongo Falls), but with the music and singer totally changed. ...He changes in every verse, even. But at least all five Kongs and Cranky's fridge are represented. Personally, I like the Super Smash Bros. Melee version than the Donkey Kong 64 version. That's a very controversial opinion, though.

So by the end of 2001 there are two different versions of the DK Rap. What happens next?

Two to three years later, depending on your region (and your region matters a lot here), Donkey Konga released on the Nintendo GameCube. This was a rhythm game played with the DK Bongo accessories, which made it physically difficult to play for long periods of time. A story that came out last year was that Reggie Fils-Aime apparently thought Donkey Konga would be bad for the Donkey Kong brand in North America and he didn't like it. But it was actually the beginning of the butchering of the DK Rap, because the DK Rap (or Monkey Rap in Japan) would appear in Donkey Konga.

Unusually, despite them saying it's from Donkey Kong 64, they use the Super Smash Bros. Melee version of the song. Well... part of it. Only Donkey Kong's, Tiny Kong's, and Lanky Kong's (the first three) verses actually were in the game across the different regions before the song ends, for an approximate two minutes of runtime. (Japan video and American video for reference.) The DK Rap is also the most expensive song in the game, which is a shame since it's short-changing you. (You unlock songs on the hardest difficulty to recreational play using an in-game coin currency.)

Then for Super Smash Bros. Brawl in 2008 on the Wii, they brought back the Super Smash Bros. Melee version of the song, but named it “Kong Jungle” as opposed to “Kongo Jungle”, which means Brawl made an error. But at least all six verses were in-tact.

Super Smash Bros Brawl music sound test Kong Jungle DK Rap
Missing an o in your Kongo will be the least of the bastardisations this song will face.

Skip ahead to Super Smash Bros. 4 in 2014. The DK Rap also gets to return, but it was drastically shortened to only include Donkey Kong's, Tiny Kong's, and Diddy Kong's verses so it only had about a two-minute runtime, in accordance with many other songs in Super Smash Bros. 4. This is part of the alleged #ChunkyGate conspiracy theory that surrounded that game's release. Why did Diddy get to be in there instead of Lanky, like in Donkey Konga? Probably because Diddy Kong has been a playable character since Super Smash Bros. Brawl. And, hey, Tiny Kong is a woman, so she's there for diversity.

Then in 2018, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate came out, and despite many songs being much longer than two minutes, retained the Super Smash Bros 4 shortening instead of using the entire six-part Super Smash Bros. Melee version. What, did they lose the file or something? The only unblemished version of the Super Smash Bros. Melee version is... in Super Smash Bros. Melee, despite the DK Rap appearing in THREE subsequent Super Smash Bros. titles! It's been on the Nintendo 64, the GameCube, the Wii, the Wii U, and the Switch.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate music DK Donkey Kong 64 Rap James W. Norwood Jr. shortened
You can see from this article's second embed that 2:08 is far too short. It cuts out almost half the rap!
Thanks, HAL Laboratory...

Some may say the shorter and less relevant the DK Rap, the better. I say that it's a shame. And now since Donkey Kong 64 and the whole Wii U eShop is gone with it, our hope for people accessing the original version lies in Donkey Kong 64 coming to Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack. Or you can hear (part) of the original version in The Super Mario Bros. Movie. But I don't recommend that approach

Ludwig hasn't gone and seen the movie, but it's possible that he could get roped into watching it someday. In the meantime, he believes the DK Rap is unfairly treated by both fans and by Nintendo, and that there doesn't appear to be a legitimate reason for leaving out Grant Kirkhope's name from the movie's credits.


  1. I agree with liking the Melee version, however losing touch with much later Smash Brothers games I had no idea they were desecrating something old as usual. Maybe that's a little dramatic, but tidbits pertinent particularly to old fans still hanging in the fandom, such as this article, are precisely why I frequent this site.

    1. Aw, thanks. ^.^

      It's easy to not know that they drastically shortened the DK Rap in Smash 4/Ultimate because if you search DK Rap Smash 4/Ultimate, some YouTubers (like this guy ) uploaded the Melee version but label it as being from Smash 4 or Ultimate.


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