So here’s a wildly random, yet very interesting piece of news that I came across today. In a recent sit-down with the LA Weekly, Jake One – who recently released his collaborated soul/funk album with Mayer Hawthorne, Tuxedo, earlier this month – revealed the he was the mastermind behind WWE star John Cena’s theme music.
“I remember John saying that he wanted something that sounded like the theme from Rocky,” says [Marc] Predka [John Cena’s cousin]. “We put a bunch of CDs full of beats we received in a five-disc changer and kept pressing ‘play-change-play-change-play-change.’ But as soon as we heard the beats Jake One had put together, we said ‘Oh my God, this is it!’ We stopped and decided that it wasn’t even worth going through the rest of the beats we received at that point.”
That beat became known as “The Time Is Now.”
Jake says that he found the song’s sample, Pete Schofield and the Canadians’ “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” during a random “record-shopping excursion to Vancouver,” before revealing that the instrumental was originally slated for one Ghostface Killah.
…but back in 2004, he was a hungry young producer looking to take any work he could get. When Cena approached him looking for some entrance music, he was more than happy to contribute.
“I wasn’t a wrestling fan at that point,” says Jake One. “I didn’t really understand the depth of what was going on until WWE said it was going to be his theme song. I didn’t know he was going to be the champion or anything like that.”
The tracks that included the Schofield horn sample weren’t even originally meant for Cena. “I made the beats initially to give them to Ghostface Killah,” Jake One says. “But I didn’t have the conviction at that point to present them to him.”
Imagine if the track landed in GFK’s hands. This is an amazing story, nonetheless.