Hulk Hogan spent the better part of the '80s as the single biggest name in professional wrestling.
With his massive, bright red, 6'7" frame and signature horseshoe mustache, Hulk Hogan embodied American machismo to millions of fans. But after 15 years in the ring, he wasn't getting any younger, and a massive doping scandal revealed that his juiced up body truly was running on "juice."
Hulk Hogan tearing his shirt. This will come into play later.
Perhaps it was then, in 1995, that Hulk Hogan finally came to terms with the mortality of Hulkamania. For so many years, he had stood tall as the leader of legions of fans, his "Hulkamaniacs," to whom he extolled the virtues of his three "demandments": training, saying prayers, and eating vitamins. Maybe then, in spite of the still-screaming crowds, he knew it couldn't last forever.
So Hulk Hogan did the only thing he could think of to ensure his legacy would last. He released an album. Or maybe he just wanted to make some extra cash, who knows?
Reasoning aside, Hulk Hogan's Hulk Rules is the goofiest, most unintentionally hilarious album ever created. The entire experience is less than 30 minutes long, but somehow it feels much, much longer. We're talking about a full ten tracks, running the genre gamut from rock to kind-of-rap, all of which revolve around Hulk Hogan singing about Hulk Hogan. It's mind blowing. So come dive with me into the void of Hulk Hogan's Hulk Rules, as we plumb the bleach blonde depths track-by-track:
"Hulkster's in the House"
Hulk Rules opens exactly how one would expect Hulk Hogan to open an album—with a wannabe rock anthem. Featuring the kind of guitar licks that seem made for commercials wherein action figures smash together, "Hulkster's in the House" amps up listeners by describing Hulk Hogan's exact location as he moves through and destroys a house.
"The Hulkster's in the room / You know he's on the move," sings The Wrestling Boot Band in unison. Then Hulk Hogan shouts, "When the going gets tough / The tough get rough!" Rinse and repeat, as Hulk Hogan smashes things. Connecting these disparate sentiments together suggests that perhaps Hulk Hogan is destroying the house in order to cope with inner turmoil, effectively lashing out with violence in response to a tough situation. Very deep stuff.
Hulk Hogan is super American. We know this because he poses in front of flags a lot, and also because his WWE entry song is called "Real American."
As a side note, the WWE official music video for "Real American" aged ridiculously poorly. It's impossible to watch Hulk Hogan playing an American flag guitar alongside a superimposed image of Martin Luther King Jr. without thinking about the fact that Hulk Hogan also said the "n" word a whole bunch on tape. In fact, the WWE purged all mention of him for three years over the whole ordeal.
Hulk Hogan - Real American HD (Official Video) www.youtube.com
But we're talking about "American Made" now, not "Real American." And while both songs are straight-up Hulk Hogan-approved injections of jingoism, only "American Made" features what seem to be constant America-centric references to actual doping.
While it hits all the vague "standing up for freedom" notes expected of songs of its ilk, it also tells us that Hulk Hogan has "got the red white and blue running through his veins." Considering the album directly followed Hulk Hogan's doping scandal, it's fairly certain that Hulk Hogan is saying that steroid use is the peak of patriotism.
Imagine if Hulk Hogan tried to do a rendition of the The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song, but instead of rapping about anything coherent he was just yelling about vitamins and wrestling belts. Meanwhile, a woman doing the most stereotypical California accent she could muster keeps screeching phrases like, "OH MY GAHD" and "ARE YOU A HOLLYWOOD PRODUCER?" This same woman likely holds the secret to deciphering the song, but she probably lies buried in Hulk Hogan's backyard.
"Wrestling Boot Traveling Band"
Jimmy Hart looks exactly like he sounds.
As the first song on Hulk Rules not to feature Hulk Hogan shouting things, one might mistake "Wrestling Boot Traveling Band" for a welcome reprieve. It is not. Sung by WWE manager Jimmy Hart, who sounds like a unanimously rejected audition from any season of American Idol, this spiraling attempt at soft-country-beach-rock would be generic if it wasn't borderline unlistenable.
"Bad to the Bone"
Oh God. Jimmy Hart keeps wailing on this one, and his voice is so, so bad. What villain deluded this poor man into thinking that he could sing, and why did nobody choke slam them? Jimmy sings about a boy's night out wherein everyone is "bad to the bone," or whatever. Again, it could almost be considered generic, except Jimmy's voice qualifies as an actual form of torture.
"I Want to Be a Hulkamaniac"
Hulk Hogan- I Want to Be a Hulkamaniac www.youtube.com
Finally, thankfully, we're back to Hulk Hogan singing. That's a sentence I never thought I'd write, but there it is, entirely true. Better yet, "I Want to Be a Hulkamaniac" is a real standout, possibly even the shiniest gem in this gem of an album.
The premise is that Hulk Hogan is talk-rapping to the listener about how they, too, can become a Hulkamaniac. While 1995 was probably too late for anyone who actually did want to be a Hulkamaniac (the sing-songy chorus specifies that Hulkamaniac membership would allow you to "have fun with your family and friends"), presumably all anyone needed to do was not take drugs and say prayers. It's hard to say whether or not Hulk Hogan intended this ironically, considering he wouldn't qualify as a Hulkamaniac due to his own doping behavior.
Also, Hulk Hogan suggests that listeners respond to drug pushers by telling them outright, "I want to be a Hulkamaniac." Frankly, this seems like bad advice.
Hulk Hogan threatens people on a beach for looking at his girlfriend, while Jimmy Hart sings, "We are the beach patrol" again and again, like a sentient kazoo. It all sounds weirdly distant, as if none of them were close enough to their mics. The experience of listening to this song is not unlike watching two crazy people having a conversation on the subway.
"Hulk's the One"
A truly incredible track raspily sung by Hulk Hogan's then-wife Linda Bollea, "Hulk's the One" is a love ballad explicitly for and about Hulk Hogan. The best part of this song is the notion that anyone else would ever listen to it willingly.
"Hulkster in Heaven"
Hulk Hogan - Hulkster in Heaven www.youtube.com
For any tough guys out there who thought they could finish Hulk Rules without crying, think again. "Hulkster in Heaven" is a devastating in memoriam dedicated to a deceased Hulkamaniac. Hulk Hogan mourns this fan in the only way he knows how––by making wrestling references. "I used to tear my shirt / But now you tore my heart," he says before promising that he'll see them again "when the Hulkster comes to heaven."
On an actually sad note, this song was apparently inspired by a real young Hulk Hogan fan who passed away before he could ever meet his hero, Hulk Hogan. The tragic backstory doesn't stop the actual song from being hilarious, though.
Don't be too sad about "Hulkster in Heaven," because the album is almost over and this is the last track. Gotta end strong.
If the titular track title, "Hulk Rules," didn't give it away, this is a song about how much Hulk Hogan rules. That's it. Well, that, and freedom.
So on a "WOAHHHH HULKSTER RULES," we end our journey, at last.
The reality of Hulk Rules is hard to believe. Nobody would be faulted for deciding the whole album was a terrible fever dream, hallucinated on the brink of death.
But if that really is the case, if Hulk Rules really is just fiction, why is the whole album available on YouTube?
Hulk Hogan and The Wrestling Boot Band - Hulk Rules (Full Album) www.youtube.com