Sol Yurick died on Saturday. As the man who penned the novel The Warriors in 1965—which was eventually adapted into the iconic film of the same name—he was hip-hop as fuck and as a really old guy he probably had no idea. The film depicted gang culture (albeit a highly stylized, often overtly silly version of it) in New York City in the late 70s, so it's a no-brainer that rappers took cues from it, and by extension Yurick's Greek-leaning novel.
In its own weird way, The Warriors was proto-hip-hop cinema. It featured a New York at its wildest, gang culture when it was more about being tough and sticking with your friends from the neighborhood rather than drugs, and like many hip-hop narratives it's an underdog story about finding the triumph in simply surviving. Hip-Hop has embraced the film throughout its history and you can find references to the film pretty much everywhere. Here are some of the best ones.
2Pac Feat. Dr. Dre - "California Love"
One of the more overt Warriors recreations in a music video. Cyrus's "Can You Dig It???" speech is updated to a post-apocalyptic party hell that turns into Mad Max really quickly.
Diplomats - "Crunk Muzik"
The only time dudes on skates has ever been cool or menacing was The Warriors, and I guess in this music video too. The Dips are supposed to be the Baseball Furies, and this is one of the many, many instances in which somebody clinks bottles together as a Warriors homage. I'm guessing Dipset won the inevitable fight. Shouts out to yet another instance of Cam, Jimmy and Juelz engaging yet another example of expert, subtly coordinated dances.
Eastsidaz - "I Luv It"
Very rare mashup of the Longest Yard plot and Snoop Dogg doing the thing with the bottles then telling the rest of the Eastsidaz to come out and play for some reason. This song still bounces like fuck.
"I keep my ghoul spirit concealed/Until The Warriors return to the Coney Island Wonder Wheel." Kind of unsurprising that Aes would reference The Warriors, seeing as he has also referenced everything else ever throughout his decade-plus of jamming as many words into songs as he possibly can.
Wu-Tang Clan - "Shame On A Nigga"
"Crews be acting like they gangs anyway/Be like, "Warriors, come out and playayyyyy!" -Ol' Dirty Bastard
Craig Mack - "Flava In Ya Ear" (Remix)
Before he had eleventy billion dollars, P. Diddy was the best at gingerly smacking bottles together and getting L.L. Cool J to rap amazingly while wearing a leather golf visor. Meanwhile, Mr. MFN eXquire and his rap friends paid homage to the "Flava In Ya Ear" remix with their world-beating "Huzzah" remix video, so does an homage to a Warriors homage count? Hip-hop is complicated.
"Abuse niggas verbally so call me Dyfus/I'm a warrior to the heart but I didn't kill Cyrus." The thing about Redman is he's low-key one of the greatest rappers of all time.
"Tried to get yo the hood, and you might guess/That a fool like me woulda shot Cyrus." Same goes for Cube.
D12 - "Fight Music"
This one's pretty much The Warriors, crossed with that one time your creepy uncle making you stick your hand in a bowl of spaghetti and told you it was brains when you were like eight. This video takes place in an alternate reality in which Marilyn Manson was still sort of cool.
M.O.P. - "Warriorz"
The chorus is literally them just yelling at the Warriors to come out and play, and also this song is just amazingly great. M.O.P. rapped in all caps before it was all trendy.
Drew Millard does Twitter Stuff over on Twitter - @drewmillard