The "One Piece Rap" is one of the most notorious theme songs to ever be released into the world of anime, created by the company 4Kids when Eiichiro Oda's anime adaptation was brought to North America, and the performer of the song, Shawn "Freshco" Conrad, recently released a video explaining how the theme came to be and how his background in the music world assisted in its creation. The rap song first premiered when One Piece first came to North America in 2004, attempting to summarize the story of the Straw Hat Pirates and their crew in a jaunty tune.
As explained during the video, Shawn Conrad began his career by creating music as the rapper "Freshco", which eventually saw him rapping alongside the likes of Jay Z and Notorious B.I.G. Eventually, Shawn found himself believing that even though he was famous thanks to his performances, he would need a new career to keep himself afloat, deciding on audio engineering as his trade. When he was offered an opportunity to work for "4Kids", Shawn hilariously states in his video that he originally didn't want to go to the interview, as he didn't recognize any of the shows that were being worked on. In a hilarious anecdote, Conrad notes that no one could pronounce "Yu-Gi-Oh" when it was first announced at 4Kids.
As Conrad explains, he was given a script that gave a breakdown of the characters, their abilities, and their roles within the Straw Hat Pirates, which he used in creating the well-known theme song. Within the video, Shawn breaks down the fact that he was the one to incorporate the "YO" that started the rap song as that was a theme at the time and he was attempting to make the rap closer to what he had produced in his career.
"Freshco" is still amazed at how big the theme song ultimately became, with him receiving letters from fans that the One Piece Rap was what had gotten many of them into rap and R&B to begin with. Though Conrad might be best known for this theme, he has also worked on the likes of South Park and King of the Hill and worked with the likes of Brittany Murphy and Will Ferrel to name a few.
What do you think of this behind-the-scenes look at one of anime's most notorious theme songs? Feel free to let us know in the comments or hit me up directly on Twitter @EVComedy to talk all things comics, anime, and the world of the Grand Line.