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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Gird yourself for battle by revisiting 2000's "Pokémon Combat Rap"

Illustration for article titled Gird yourself for battle by revisiting 2000's "Pokémon Combat Rap"
Screenshot: Curtis Bonds

During the first great Pokéwave of the late ‘90s, Martin “Ztorm” Culpepper accepted the grave responsibility of teaching the world’s youth how to survive the blood and fur-littered battlefields of the eternal Pokémon wars. Determined to shepherd his pupils to glorious victory, Zstorm created training videos filled not just with more traditional lessons but also with the original composition, “Pokémon Combat Rap.”

While many are familiar with the official PokéRap tracks, none of them go nearly as hard as Ztorm’s ode to the thrills of cartoon animal card battling. The song bounces along on a constant refrain of, “I put the smackdown with my Pokémon, Pokémon combat!” while its verses get into the nitty gritty of what that smackdown entails. “You bring out Squirtle, now that’s a start. I bring out Pikachu, known to give you a spark,” Ztorm raps. “ Now who’s next, I break out the Pokédex, let loose Machamp and watch him flex.”

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The video sees Ztorm striking warrior poses while wearing turn-of-the-millennium sunglasses. The camera moves from shots of him rapping in a dark room or in front of a green screen to Ztorm showing off some of the video game monsters he knows so well. Nintendo wishes it could have produced anything half as compelling as “Pokéman Combat Rap.”

And, lest anyone doubts the man’s credentials, just watch him teach his students the art of Pokémon war in The Advanced Pokémon Card Battle Guide. In the instructional video, Ztorm sits atop a makeshift throne while he schools children wearing backward baseball caps and short-sleeved Hawaiian shirts on how to win their fights.

Ztorm died in 2017, but he established a legacy as one of the Pokémon Wars’ great strategic minds—both in song and lecture. One day, perhaps, humans will not need to direct Pokémon into battle against another. But, until peace comes, we have the “Pokémon Combat Rap” as the perfect martial anthem.

[via Boing Boing]

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.