HBO Is Releasing a Mixtape With Big Boi and Common Rapping About ‘Game of Thrones’

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LaFace Records

A couple of things people have been known to enjoy: hip-hop, Game of Thrones. So HBO, like some mad scientist/Cool Dad hybrid, is distributing a free Westeros-themed mixtape online this Friday. It’s called Catch the Throne and will feature Wale rapping the words “I’m tellin’ whoever messin’ with me / I can bring you that Khaleesi heat / Use my King, knack for words, as an actual sword / I can decapitate a rapper” and Big Boi doing a chorus that goes “dungeons, dragons, kings, and queens.” Never has something had such equal potential to be incredible or awful. Or incrediful.

Common is a contributor as well. The tracks will either be frequently or completely tinted by “layered samples of dialogue from the show and music from its dramatic, orchestral score.” (“What More Can I Say” vibes, anyone?) HBO’s goal in contracting 10 “hip-hop and Latin-music artists” was to “encourage more rap fans to watch the show,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The network’s marketing execs discovered somewhere along the line that celebrities (particularly in the hip-hop realm, I guess?) were really alerting fans to this must-watch Peter Dinklage jam, and decided a mixtape was the way to go. The WSJ, always trying to follow those racks, was unable to determine “how much the campaign cost or how much the artists are being paid.”

As easy as it is to laugh and WTF all over this, there’s actual, intensely specific data explaining Catch the Throne’s existence. Last year, the average viewership on GoT’s prime-time telecasts was 13.2 percent black, 9.2 percent Hispanic, and 76.6 percent white. But for HBO’s overall year, average viewership was 16.8 percent black, 12.3 percent Hispanic, and 72.9 percent white. “The channel’s prime-time black viewership has fallen in each of the past two years,” the WSJ adds, “while the percentage of Hispanic viewers is down slightly from two years ago.” There’s a race-agnostic wild card, too: “The mixtape is also part of a broader strategy on HBO’s part to attract more viewers generally.” Because DatPiff is the new HBO.

On to the necessary questions:

  • George R.R. Martin = George Rap Rap Martin?
  • Will the whole thing sound like “H.A.M.”? Is that a bad thing?
  • Why haven’t the Wall Street Journal’s parents given it the talk about spoiler warnings yet? Pretty sad.
  • Is anyone surprised Big Boi, he of the Dungeon Family, is reading the Song of Ice and Fire novels and getting ahead of the show?
  • Will Catch the Throne be better than Cruel Summer? (Unlikely. Based on what the WSJ’s got, I’m guessing [a] what we see is what we get, as far as name-brand rappers go, and [b] only Big Boi’s song will be good.)
  • Why did Wale allow the WSJ to get the impression that he doesn’t really watch the show? Not the time to be losing points, man.
  • And why’d Common admit he’s only seen through the second season of a series he’s about to rap about? Why did he have to compare the Game of Thrones snippets in the songs to what RZA was doing with old kung fu flicks + Wu-Tang in the ’90s?
  • Speaking of entertainment-themed hip-hop: How close to the Wild Wild West/Men in Black vortex are we going here?
  • And does everybody know how high the bar is when it comes to Game of Thrones + hip-hop??

Filed Under: TV, Game of Thrones, catch the throne, HBO, Big Boi, Common, Wale

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Zach Dionne is a staff writer for Grantland.

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